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Opening Arguments

Courting business

In his final State of the Judiciary speech, retiring Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard makes an interesting point about the justice system and the economy:

He also said improvements in the state's legal system have helped courts become an aid — or at least not a hindrance — to Indiana's economic development.

Shepard said businesses shy away from some states because of the legal climate, but Indiana isn't one of them. He cited work done by judges and lawyers to simplify rules for juries and evidence, saying legal complexity could be a barrier to new business.

I think he may be overstating the case a little. When companies study the legal climate of a state they're considering, I suspect they care more about things like liability limits than "simplified rules for juries." But it is a valid observation. Overly complicated procedures and unnecessary red tape deter economic development, and we can't pretend they exist only in planning and zoning departments.