The law confuses the general public and invites distrust, including assumptions that it relies on arbitrary technicalities to facilitate manipulation in favor of the connected, powerful, or wealthy. People expect the law to use common sense and reach “right” conclusions. They also expect that the relevant “facts” and applicable “law” are obvious and indisputable, and that there is one correct result or a finite solution. Unfortunately, human judges and juries, as well as lawyers trained to fiddle with the law and facts, all conspire to produce the infinite variety of anecdotes of injustice that fuel the popular confusion and distrust.
Here’s a tiny example of how even a basic idea — that employers need to give employees notice of important rights and deadlines — can get mighty complicated and trigger lots of slow, expensive legal proceedings. There doesn’t seem to be any question that the employee was actually told what she needed to know — but how she was notified has become the technicality that might grant her more benefits than the law literally would otherwise allow. Continue reading