Laments of excessive regulation and litigiousness frequent the media. Critics of our legal system often–though wrongly– cite the Shakespearean “First let’s kill all the lawyers” as the battle cry of a freer, simpler society. Those of us in the legal profession are sometimes torn: on the one hand understanding the constant risks of “overlawyering” but at the same being cognizant of the need for what we do. We help provide order and assist our clients to build personal and business relationships on the basis of fair and reasonable expectations. We do indeed provide value. We can also go too far.

I humbly suggest that we as a society are now at a point at which we must determine if that line may have been crossed. Even Santa’s delivery of toys to a worthy child–or perhaps more accurately a child who believes himself worthy; we must avoid qualitative evaluation– has become entangled in pre-delivery negotiations. I am concerned that any remaining innocence, any reasonable basis for believing in the simple reliability of a person’s word (and not just any man’s word but Santa’s word, or the word of a young child!) is in shambles. If my concern is well-grounded, then the best for which we may hope is that each party is well-represented.

That seems to be the case here. I offer two letters. The first is from Ward Council, a friend and fellow-attorney who, approached by the family of Master Johnny Smith, sensed and fulfilled his professional obligation to do what he could to avoid dashed expectations for Master Smith and his family. The second is the response from James Tyre, Esq., of Culver City, California (surprisingly enough; certainly a multi-jurisdictional firm), as special counsel to Santa Claus. I make no effort here to evaluate or critique the two letters, although I will say that both parties in this transaction were well-represented. This is zealous representation at its finest.

With that,I the undersigned (hereinafter referred to as “Wishor”, which term includes but is not limited to the undersigned and the undersigned’s immediate family members, together with their respective successors, assigns, executors and administrators) hereby expresses to each reader hereof (each such reader hereinafter referred to as a “Wishee”, which term includes but is not limited to each such reader and such reader’s immediate family members, together with their respective successors, assigns, executors and administrators; excluding, however, those immediate family members to whom such Wishee expresses in writing Wishee’s determination not to wish, express or share the sentiments herein expressed) Wishor’s desire (without representation or warranty regarding Wishor’s ability to effectuate such desire and without obligation, implied or implicit) that each Wishee shall experience (1) an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the holiday of Wishee’s choice, if any, most closely approximating the date of the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere or the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, as applicable to each respective Wishee), practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious or secular persuasion of Wishee’s choice, with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and traditions of others, or the choice of others not to practice religious or secular traditions at all, and (2) a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects whose contributions to society have helped make America great (without implication, however, that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only “AMERICA” in the western hemisphere), and having regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the Wishee.

By accepting this greeting (which acceptance is for all purposes conclusively presumed from Wishee’s reading hereof), Wishee is bound by the following limitations and qualifications: (a) this greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal; (b) this greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the Wishor, if any, are acknowledged; (c) this greeting implies no promise by the Wishor to actually implement any of the wishes or desires; (d) this greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain Wishees in certain jurisdictions; (e) the greeting and sentiments set forth herein are revocable at any time at the sole discretion of the Wishor; (f) this greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first; (g) the Wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the Wishor; and (g) Wishor makes no representation or warranty regarding Wishor’s owning any interest in this greeting or wish, by statutory or common law copyright or otherwise. Wishee assumes all risk in accepting, relying upon or enjoying, or purporting to enjoy, the greeting and wish set forth herein.

Political correctness to this extent translates into job security for many lawyers. I have to wonder how effective it is at enhancing relationship.

My view is much simpler. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I cannot desire for anyone anything more meaningful than the blessings of God With Us. No obligation, no expectation; I can simply do no better. I wish for you, the Wishee, that blessing this Christmas. The blessing will find a home where it is welcome. Simply allow it, please, to express my wish for the absolute best for you and yours.

John Taylor