DISCLAIMER: DO NOT READ WHAT FOLLOWS IF YOU ARE EXPECTING SOMETHING ACADEMIC, SERIOUS, OR EVEN MEANINGFUL
Rob C. Jarosh, Hirst Applegate, LLP Cheyenne, Wyoming
other day my seven-year-old daughter asked me, "Dad,
what kind of law are you an expert in?" The answer
that immediately popped into my mind was, "Honey, the
Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist
or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently
investigate the lawyer's credentials and ability, and not
rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed
After quickly realizing that she was not looking for a lawyer, would not understand the answer, and would not think the answer was funny, I answered, "Dad just likes to help people solve their differences, but especially if the differences are between a boss and her employee. Also, in case you're thinking about it, the family could sure use a doctor when you grow up, not another lawyer."
My initial instinct to answer Addi by reciting the previously-required disclaimer got me thinking about all of the kinds of disclaimers lawyers make. Attorneys provide disclaimers almost daily. "In my experience, the judge usually does, but I can't make any promises.""I think your case is strong, but I have to remind you, juries are unpredictable.""I can't make any guarantees." "I think the answer is 'yes,'but I'll need to research it to make sure." "Yes, I'm licensed, at least for today."
After more time pondering disclaimers, I started to wonder why we previously had the disclaimer I nearly recited to my daughter, its origin, who drafted the disclaimer, how it changed over the years, and why it is no longer required. I set out to research the answers and write my first official President's column, but quickly realized two things: a) it was going to be a boring research project; b) it was going to be a boring column. Next, I decided to investigate disclaimers other states use for attorneys, which states use disclaimers, and which states do not. Even more quickly I concluded that: a) the research, while still boring, would be...