Thursday, February 5, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Different approaches to regulatory practice

I am on the service list in the FCC's TELRIC proceeding because of my earlier comments. The punishment for doing this is that I end up on the parties' service lists. A study in contrast are the Reply Comments of Sprint and AT&T. Sprint: 3 pages, including signature block. AT&T: 153 pages, plus a few hundred more pages of exhibits. (AT&T also takes time to attack me as a stooge on page 55 of their Reply Comments. I would be flattered but for the intellectual laziness of it all. But with only 152 additional pages, they had a lot of ground to cover.)

Both liked TELRIC, AT&T apparently just a lot more.

Update: BellSouth came in at 77 pages, with another hundred or so pages of exhibits.

Which inspires a reverie: One thing that struck me first as a law clerk and even more pointedly as a regulator was the mismatch between the often gargantuan size of lawyers' submissions and the ultimate audience; namely me. Routinely at the Commission we would get hit with multiple hundred page filings by parties, all presumably to be digested and reflected upon within the course of a week, along with dozens of other items on the docket. Of course, it was preposterous that we could actually read and digest all of the verbiage tossed our way. (The judge I clerked for quite sagely noted that the worst thing to happen to the law was the invention of the word processor because it allowed lawyers to easily go on at length.) I realize that lawyers have to cover their bases, preserve the record for appeal and exhaust all arguments, but often on the other side of the bench this came at the expense of getting to the point and giving a succinct, brief cogent argument. It almost makes one wonder whether there's an agency problem between an attorney who gets paid by the hour and the client....nah.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 7:34 AM | General