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1998-05-29 09:20:04


Lawyers Gear Up for the Year 2000



Law firms see that Year 2000 litigation will put a lot of bacon on the table in 2000 and beyond. They are gearing up.

I predict that most of them won't make a dime. Here's why:

1. All governments above the county level will go bankrupt, or close to it. The court system will go with them.

2. If governments do survive in some form, legislators will vote to stop all Year 2000 liability suits. The business community will force this on the legislators.

3. The y2k suits will jam up the courts. Judges will throw out these suits in order to save the court system.

4. Juries will not convict.

5. Insurance companies will go bankrupt, leaving businesses naked. Without the deep pockets of insurance companies to reach into, trial lawyers will not sue.

6. Civilization will collapse, the entire legal system will be restructured, and 95% of all lawyers will have to find productive employment in another line of work.

This is from COMPUTERWORLD (May 25).

* * * * * * * *

What will year 2000 lawyers be doing over the next few years? Only a handful of lawsuits have been filed so far, but Gartner Group, Inc. analyst Lou Marcoccio estimates that more than 90% of U.S. law firms are looking to benefit from year 2000 litigation. . . .

IS directors, managers, year 2000 project directors virtually anyone who works on the date-change problem may find themselves subpoenaed as witnesses in litigation against their companies. . . .

But most year 2000 legal advice won't come from technology law firms or lawyers with technical expertise.

Trial lawyers don't think that's necessary. "Trial lawyers are like sponges," Ey says. "They soak a lot up and then you squeeze them, and it should come out in a coherent story." . . .

Once the calendar flips over to 2000, the peacemakers will become gunfighters, and a lot of year 2000 litigation will be about sharing the blame. . . .

Although a $10,000 lawsuit by a supplier would be far less devastating than a claim that a securities filing is materially false, any case that goes to trial is all-consuming, and lawsuits drag on, Ey says.

"People who have been involved will tell you it's a horror show," he says.


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