About 300 miles due north of the Wired GC man cave is Lake Superior State University. It is in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where they occupy a nice campus, near the Soo Locks.
What they are known for this time of year beyond snow is their List of Banished Words. There are some amazing ones each year, and 2012 is no exception. One did catch my eye, however:
THE NEW NORMAL. “The phrase is often used to justify bad trends in society and to convince people that they are powerless to slow or to reverse those trends. This serves to reduce participation in the political process and to foster cynicism about the ability of government to improve people’s lives. Sometimes the phrase is applied to the erosion of civil liberties. More often, it is used to describe the sorry state of the U.S. economy. Often hosts on TV news channels use the phrase shortly before introducing some self-help guru who gives glib advice to the unemployed and other people having financial difficulties. Robert Brown, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Huh? Wait a minute, we were just getting used to this concept in the law! What’s next if it’s not new or normal? Let’s just hope Mr. Brown never needs a corporate lawyer by the hour, at money-center firm rates. No value for you!
I was concerned that banishment of this particular phrase could do harm to a quality resource written by two of the most intrepid leaders of the legal change movement (maybe there are now three, or four). So I called in a few markers from the LSSU faithful and think I have an understanding that the use of “The New Normal” for good and right legal purposes is grandfathered in for 2012. Beyond that, we shouldn’t push our luck, or there might be some blowback.
While I am glad in some ways for the shared sacrifice that was 2011 to come to an end, I think 2012 has potential for real progress. Perhaps even involving some ginormous things. I will outline seven that reflect “The State of Legal – 2012” right after New Year’s Day. I immodestly predict that at least a few will help smart lawyers win the future (without any trickeration).
I want to wish everyone a very happy new year, and thank you in advance for coming back next week.