By: Legacy Staff
7 years ago
Former Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice John Simonett was known for writing decisions even non-lawyers could understand, according to the obituary Abby Simons wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Simons said:
It wasn’t long after John Simonett joined the Minnesota Supreme Court that the words “Simonett Opinion” began to mean something.
It was a judgment, the state’s legal community quickly learned, that wasn’t just well-crafted from a lawyerly standpoint, but also told a story. In most cases, it could be understood even by non-lawyers.
Simons included humor in Simonett’s obit.
In 1963, he wrote a satirical essay called “The Common Law of Morrison County,” where he opined upon imaginary unwritten rules, such as that no will should be signed with a ballpoint pen and executed on a Sunday. “This will mean going to see a lawyer and paying money, which might have otherwise been used for worthwhile pursuits, to get the mess straightened out,” he wrote.
Simonett “delivered a seminal quote during the 1985 case of an attorney accused of misconduct in advertising:”
“Simply because free speech allows us to make fools of ourselves is no reason we should avail ourselves of the opportunity.”
This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.