Thursday, May 22, 2014

Law is like cooking but not at all like baking

I once had a girlfriend who was studying to become a chef at Sullivan. One semester it was bread and pastry and the next semester it was soup and sauces. I remained, throughout, a willing taste tester.

Other than gaining a few extra pounds in the process, my big take away was that baking is a science, but cooking is an art. This means that baking recipes are rigorous and once you have a baking recipe you like, you stick to it exactly, every time. And, every time you follow the recipe exactly, of time, temperature, proportions and process, you will produce exactly the same results.

Cooking, on the other hand, is not so exact. It is more of an art. A little of this plus a little of that, add what you happen to have on hand and season to taste. The results are never exactly the same, but a good chef always produces good results.

So it is with the law. I learned this today from legal greenhorns. The issue was the transfer of continuing child support jurisdiction from one California county to another after everyone had moved away from the original county where the divorce and child support order had originally been adjudicated. It's dirt simple, but it's not foolproof.

Here are the California statutes on change of venue that contain the allowable grounds, read these few opinions from the California appellate courts, mix in your facts and draft a motion. Easy.

But, it's not quite easy for someone who insists that court proceedings work like baking bread. No, I'm sorry, that's not the way it works. There is no recipe that guarantees results every time, in every situation and with every judge.Your ability to say the right things at the right time and in the right way plays an important part.

Litigation, clearly, is an art. It is not a science. It is cooking but not baking.

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.

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