678 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
“Certainly,” said Associate. “Fire away.”
Partner looked grave. “Well, first of all, it’s hard to see how a short story
competition could cause anyone problems like this.”
“True, and that is certainly an argument that one could make,” said Associate,
“but this wasn’t exactly a normal short story competition.”
Partner’s face mildly contorted in confusion. This was a practised technique,
but this time the confusion was real.
“People are invited to write a short story. What else could there be?”
“Well,” said Associate. “There were certain … stipulations. Conditions.
“What conditions?” asked Partner, revealing the thoroughness of preparation
and understanding that was the hallmark of the Firm’s senior practitioners.
“The length of the story?”
“Yes, that’s one of them. It has to be no more than 2,500 words,” said
“Surely that’s enough words for anyone,” said Partner, wondering if he
had ever read that many words in a single sitting. “Is Plaintiff suing because
he wants to use more words?!”
“No. Some of the rules are fine, according to Plaintiff’s pleadings. Specifically,
no issue is taken with the requirement that the story be ‘a fictional
work, written in English, to a strict maximum of 2,500 words.’ Nor is there
a problem with the requirement that the story must deal ‘if only incidentally,
with legal subject matter’,” explained Associate.
Student spoke up hesitantly. “What does that even mean, ‘if only incidentally’?
Couldn’t that cover just about anything? Someone gets a parking
ticket and the person writing the story could claim that’s a ‘legal subject
matter’, couldn’t they?”
Partner looked at Student approvingly. Partner had been thinking the
very same thing, and said so. “A very good point, but if Plaintiff wasn’t concerned
about it, I think we should just be thankful. One less thing to have
to defend, I should think.”
Associate joined in. “Exactly. Vague and confusing as it might be, that
isn’t the problem.”
Partner looked as though he was thinking and said: “And what exactly is
the problem, according to Plaintiff?”
“The next part,” replied Associate.
“The next part of what?” asked Partner.
“The rules. They go on. ‘The story must contain the following: 1. at least
two lines in iambic pentameter; and 2. the words cannabis, sunset and post-