National Love Your Lawyer Day

Saturday, November 7, AD 2015

 

Did you know that yesterday was National Love Your Lawyer Day?  Me neither.

 

Most people know a lawyer joke or two. But one association is asking people to refrain from making any digs at attorneys for one day in November in an effort to show appreciation for the profession.

As part of its annual National Love Your Lawyer Day, the American Lawyers Public Image Association is asking members of the public to donate $20 to their charity of choice for every lawyer joke they let slip on November 6.

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4 Responses to National Love Your Lawyer Day

  • What do you call a lawyer with a .00000010 IQ?

    Your Honor!

  • “Leave it to a lawyers group to ignore one of the few aspects of being a lawyer that most people find, if not lovable, at least humorous, the facility of some of us with lawyer jokes.”

    A local aquarium with a large shark tank had a free admission day for lawyers as a “professional courtesy”, and took out radio ads to the effect. The state bar complained! At least they didn’t sue!

  • Once my grandmother was called for jury duty in a lawsuit and asked if she knew the parties. She had, she had babysat both of them as children. Dismissed.

    The stereotype of lawyers as suing over any trifle is definitely false. I’ve known quite a few people who thought they won the lottery but were turned down by multiple lawyers.

  • My two favourites:
    1) Queen Victoria was to visit the Court of Session and the Lord President, Lord Glencorse (John Inglis, a noted advocate and wit) had drafted a Loyal Address, which he read to the assembled judges for approval.
    When he came to the line, “Your Majesty’s judges, deeply conscious of their own many failings,” the Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Moncreiff (who had been Inglis’s great rival at the Bar) stoutly protested that he was not conscious of “many failings” and, if he were, he would demit office.
    Lord Glencorse suggested as a compromise: “Your Majesty’s judges, deeply conscious of each others’ many failings…”
    2) John Clark (who once described a witness as “not worth his value in hemp”) was attempting to argue a point of construction and the Lord Ordinary, Lord Meadowbank, the son of a famous judge, rather peremptorily insisted that “also” and “likewise” were synonymous.
    “Your father was Lord Meadowbank,” reposted Clark, “and your Lordship is Lord Meadowbank; also, but not likewise.”

Bear Growls: Lawyers as Bloggers

Friday, October 30, AD 2015

 

Alas, I must part company with our bruin friend in his most recent tongue-in-bear-cheek post at Saint Corbinian’s Bear:

Blogs are essential to the well-informed and motivated Catholic. Therefore, it is important to know which blogs are edifying, while avoiding the gimcrack offerings of slipshod shysters. To this end, the Bear offers the following qualifications you should demand from anyone who seeks your valuable time and attention. If you follow the Bear’s advice, you will avoid bloggers who are just sensationalistic click-prostitutes out to make a buck.

The kind of blogger you want must combine the following education and experience.

A blogger must be able to persuade people to follow the right course of action. Someone equally skilled in forensic debating and arguing before regular folks is required. To give an example of someone who should not be in Catholic media is a journalist. Journalists strive to maintain a detached objectivity. Is that who we’re looking for in these dark days? No. We need advocates!

A good blogger should be able to sort out competing claims using a well-developed instinct. He should be able to employ relentless questioning to wring the truth out of unwilling witnesses. He must have a razor sharp intellect.

A good blogger, it goes without saying, should be more than a pretty face. In fact, good looks are definitely not a requirement, because, after all, this is not television! He should be capable of writing his own material, employing all the tools of the wordsmith: interview, narrative, analysis, and even humor and irony. He must be persuasive, even as he remains fair and accurate.

A good blogger is capable of doing his own tireless research. He must be able to put together the jigsaw puzzle of complicated situations, and determining the means, motives and opportunities of the various actors.

If you look at these qualifications, you’ll see that there is really only one profession that should be allowed to blog:

Lawyers.

The blogger must have a JD. Lawyers are even licensed, so you know they’re legit. Are journalists licensed? No. Anybody can call himself a journalist and scribble for whoever will hire him.

But, still, something is missing. Not just any lawyer will do. Not even a good one. He must have an appeal that combines scary and cute.

When necessary, he should have the talent to employ the Old Razzle Dazzle. This requires extensive experience in secular show business:

It’s all show business kid,
These trials, the whole world, show business.
But kid, you’re workin’ with a star, the biggest!

So, unless your blogger combines all of these qualifications, he’s just in it for the money and should be avoided at all costs. 

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15 Responses to Bear Growls: Lawyers as Bloggers

Inevitable and Despicable

Saturday, December 29, AD 2012

 

 

 

On this blog I sometimes have written harsh words about my profession.  Sometimes I suspect I have been too harsh.  Then a story like this appears and I realize yet again that I have not been harsh enough:

 

A $100 million claim on behalf of a 6-year-old survivor is the first legal action to come out of the Connecticut school shooting that left 26 children and adults dead two weeks ago.

              The unidentified client, referred to as Jill Doe, heard “cursing, screaming, and shooting” over the school intercom when the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, opened fire, according to the claim filed by New Haven-based attorney Irv Pinsky.

              “As a consequence, the … child has sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet to be determined,” the claim said.

              Pinsky said he filed a claim on Thursday with state Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr., whose office must give permission before a lawsuit can be filed against the state.

              “We all know its going to happen again,” Pinsky said on Friday. “Society has to take action.”

              Twenty children and six adults were shot dead on December 14 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The children were all 6 and 7 years old.

              Pinsky’s claim said that the state Board of Education, Department of Education and Education Commissioner had failed to take appropriate steps to protect children from “foreseeable harm.”

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17 Responses to Inevitable and Despicable

  • Here is one for Pinsky to ponder; “Thy habitation is in the midst of deceit: through deceit they have refused to know me, saith the Lord.” Jer.4:6

    Love of money has blinded the fool. The “Jill Doe” family and hired hand pinsky should spend one weekend in each of the twenty households where the little souls lived. By the end of the twentieth weekend they might reconsider. Might!

  • Quite apart from the issue of liability, one would expect a plea-in-law that “The sum concluded for being nimious and excessive, decree should not be pronounced as concluded for.”

    Excessive claims have been greatly curtailed in Scotland, by the practice of ordering a separate proof on the issue of quantum, with pursuers being penalised in expenses, where the original claim was inordinate, either being refused their own expenses, or being ordained to pay the defender’s.

  • Pinsky’s claim said that the state Board of Education, Department of Education and Education Commissioner had failed to take appropriate steps to protect children from “foreseeable harm.”

    Well, that is true; if you warehouse high-value targets in an area where they have no defense, you are failing to take appropriate steps to prevent forseeable harm.

    Somehow, though, I don’t think removing the no-guns-in-schools laws would make the parent(s) of the little girl drop the lawsuit.

  • Foxfier

    I doubt if liability would extend that far.

    If I leave my watch with a jeweller for cleaning, he is liable for theft, for theft can be prevented by vigilance. But he is not liable for robbery, for no one can be expected to resist force (vis major).

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour-
    Even if he puts out a large sign saying “I have the following inventory of valuable objects and will be here, alone, from 10am to 4AM; I also have a moral opposition to violence, even in the face of loss or death”?

    In robbery, the person generally didn’t remove protections with force of law. If you remove protections from those who enter a building, you’re taking on the responsibility of those protections yourself.

  • As much as I utterly loath the “no CC on base” policies, at least military bases have armed guards at the gates, and decent defenses, with law enforcement at the most minutes away from areas that have good targets; ditto for court houses that disarm you down to the baby silverware. (no, not joking, had it happen)

    I don’t want schools to turn into fortresses, but if you’re going to disarm everyone who goes in, you’ve got to assume the responsibility.

  • Foxfier,

    The restrictions on liability should be simple and certain. In practise, their primary function is to determine the liability of insurers: in the case put, the owner’s or the jeweller’s. Underwriters can calculate their premiums accordingly.

    As for a sign, well, pawnbrokers are required to display a sign that that are not liable for fire, robbery, the Queen’s enemies, mobbing and rioting or act of God, but that cover is available, if requested, at 2.5% of the advance.

  • The restrictions on liability should be simple and certain.

    Yes, they should. And if you take responsibility for something then take steps that put it at risk, without doing something to counter that risk, you are in quite a different situation than someone who took no steps either way.

  • I think (I could be wrong) the trial liars were denied their opportunities for the 9/11 tragedy when the US government paid off potential plaintiffs. The plaintiffs signed releases to recieve their million-dollar checks.

    As to “forseeable harm”, how foresseable was the confluence of events wherein a madman murdered his mother and killed the school children? What were the odds, i.e., “forseeability”?

    For a long time, I thought such a school massacre would be committed by jihadis. They murdered a bunch in Chechnya a few years back.

    We need to control muslims not guns.

  • I guess the lawyers’ many lawsuits happen because people hire the lawyers to do so. There is just generally so much of the idea that some body owes me something for a whole array of victimizing events, lesser than this one. People want revenge and they want heads to roll- someone to be fired, some one to be electrocuted, somebody to pay big money.. none of which will make the wounds heal.

  • This is simply par for the course. I saw the headline this morning, and I wondered what took them so long. But then, I deal with attorneys every day who make outrageous claims and demand large sums. It would be silly to expect lawyers to stop lawyering. What truly concerns me, though, are the judges that are drawn from the ranks of such attorneys. One can mount a vigorous defense against an opposing attorney. It is impossible to defend against a judge who is determined to mangle the law and the facts in order to rule against you. Such an event is not infrequent.

  • Opportunist possibly?

  • As to “forseeable harm”, how foresseable was the confluence of events wherein a madman murdered his mother and killed the school children? What were the odds, i.e., “forseeability”?

    The specific events, not foreseeable; that when you collect a lot of people into one area, disarm everyone and POST SIGNS that they’re all defenseless?

    Good heavens, Washington state holds you liable if your car is stolen if you didn’t do a laundry list of things, including set the parking brake and (if it is on an incline) turning the wheels to the curb.

  • Atticus Finch is a fiction. In a society where every harm is reducible to a dollar amount, what do we expect? There’s Judge Posner, whom Libertarians worship, arguing to reduce babies to a commodity for sale to the highest bidder. There are icons of the Left with not a whit of common sense or an ounce or moral rectitude, who conjure penumbras (must be all the booze they consumed in law school making them see things which aren’t there).

    Combine a glut of people attending law school not because they seek to practice over a lifetime, but to cash out or further an agenda to “remake” society in their own image and likeness, and you’ve got real problems. I used to think it was funny when people described physicians thinking they were gods. I knew better: they’re not called the “Supremes” because they sang on the Motown label!

  • Donald, I second the stand by the First Respondent, Philip. This is what we should be discussing, not other irrelevant side shows.

    What are the parents of the dead children feeling when they read about this greedy Family and their crazy lawyers suing for a living child when theirs are gone for good. We have lost the sense of the Value of Life for the love of money. Shame on that Family and all those who think like them.

  • The claim (execrable in itself) amount isn’t really that high.

    Consider that the trial, appeals, and judgment could come down in, say, 2017. If the FRB doesn’t stop printing dollars, by then, the regime will be issuing (PhD recommended) $1,000,000,000,000.00 platinum/palladium, one-ounce coins.

    Then, a loaf of bread will cost $100,000 in Federal Reserve confetti.

  • Mary-
    Keep it simple….

    Thanks. Maybe I’ve oversimplified, however greed is contagious. Where is the beef?

One Response to You Have Been Warned !

So You Want to Do Criminal Defense Work

Tuesday, November 8, AD 2011

 

 

As long time readers of this blog know I am an attorney, for my sins no doubt.  Although the bulk of my practice is civil, over the years I have defended hundreds of defendants accused of crimes, mostly felonies.  This is part of my ongoing series about the life of a lawyer.  For people who have not heeded my warnings about the profession and want to become attorneys, here are some tips regarding criminal defense work:

10.   Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!-  Contrary to what you may have gleaned from television, movies and novels, almost all of your clients will be as guilty as mortal sin.  However, there is a difference between actual guilt and what the State has the burden of proving at trial.

9.     Clients lie-  People accused of crimes will sometimes be forthright with their defense counsel, but frequently they will lie.  This can be a dangerous handicap at trial, especially since an attorney has an ethical duty not to knowingly have his client commit perjury.  Sometimes the best thing any defense attorney can do is to rip to shreds a client’s lies in an interview prior to trial and advise them that what you have just done is merely a foretaste of what they will receive in cross-examination from the prosecutor.

8.     Cops lie- Not all cops by any means, but enough so that a defense attorney will treat police reports with the scepticism of a priest listening to a politician’s confession and not hearing the sin of lying brought up.  An example of this is the videotaping of field sobriety tests.  It was assumed in Illinois that this technological development would lead to more DUI convictions.  After all, cops arresting people for DUI would routinely report that the person arrested had badly failed the field sobriety test.  Instead, it has been a boon for defense attorneys, since the videotape evidence is often at variance with what the police initially report after the arrest.

7.      Witnesses can surprise you-Last year I was defending an individual where a witness identification of my client was a significant factor.  At the bench trial the State produced a witness to identify my client.  The witness took a look at my client from the stand and said he could not be sure as to his identification.  That took both the State and my client by surprise.  Never assume that either your witnesses or the State’s will not give you both good and bad surprises.

6.       Motion to suppressRemember your constitutional law course?  It wasn’t a complete waste of time after all!  I enjoyed constitutional law in law school, and it is extremely useful on motions to suppress, as Supreme Court cases on fairly fine distinctions of constitutional law come in very handy in determining whether evidence is admissible or not.  It is often advisable to do a motion to suppress even if you think you will lose.  It gives you more insight into the State’s case as the prosecutor defends against the motion to suppress, since the investigating officers are subject to cross-examination, and often-times aspects of the case can be made to appear weak in the eyes of the judge, even if he allows the evidence in.  That can be a useful factor at both the trial and, if your client is convicted, at sentencing.  Most judges will be more inclined to leniency in sentencing in my experience if the conviction was based on some weak or questionable evidence.

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11 Responses to So You Want to Do Criminal Defense Work

  • Just a couple of days ago my wife was pulled over by a police officer while driving. My wife was stunned that she was pulled over in the first place. However she was polite and respectful, but completely railroaded by the officer. He was condescending, rude, and intimidating.

    After she got home she looked up the citation, we realized at once the officer was wrong. But also that the violation results in a misdemeanor. We were stunned. Because of the nature of her job, the misdemanor could put her employment in jeapordy. We immediatly called an attorney. We knew that this was something we needed to take seriously.

    I have a new found respect for attorneys, and I realize now how important they are. I used to think they were all “ambulance chasers”. But the fact is police can be wrong and are wrong at times. They wield great power and they don’t always have the responsibility that comes along with it. In a matter of minutes your job and livelihood, as in my wife’s case, is in jeopardy…

    We both learned a big lesson about police that day. our experience has been a real eye opener.

  • I’m mainly a civil litigation attorney, but in the few criminal defense cases I’ve worked, the sentencing stage was the most important. Like you say, most defendants are guilty, so a lot of the work is trying to get the lowest sentence possible.

    So another item on the list could be: get to know your sentencing procedures/guidelines.

  • “get to know your sentencing procedures/guidelines.”

    Indeed. Other sentencing tips:

    1. Have the client express remorse for the crime and say almost nothing beyond that, other than to apologize to any victims of the crime. Defendants often aren’t very articulate, and if care is not taken they will frequently go into excuse mode for their behavior which is precisely the wrong attitude to take.

    2. Have parents of the Defendant present if possible.

    3. Keep your client’s expectations reasonable. “No, I am afraid that the judge is not likely to give you no jail time on an armed theft conviction.”

    4. Never attempt to minimize the offense to the Court in closing at the sentencing hearing, but bring up all points possible indicating that your client has learned his lesson and is salvageable. (The worse the record the less this argument works.) Judges are often wondering two things at sentencing: “Am I going to have this Defendant in front of me again for another crime soon”, and “Has he gotten the message that he needs to obey the law in future?”

    5. If restitution is going to be an issue, if it can be paid to the satisfaction of the victim prior to sentencing that can have an immensely positive impact on sentencing. I have had very good results doing that.

  • Good points all, Don… I would especially emphasize # 3, knowing your court. I’ve had countless cases where new/visiting defense counsel have failed to do the most basic prep in this regard, to their detriment. Just ask the prosecutor or a seasoned defense attorney: “what do I need to know about appearing before this judge?”

    Some cops lie, but in my 24 years in the business, I think it’s exceptionally rare. It IS true that, as with all witnesses, perceptions are shaded by life experience, assumptions, and tunnel-vision that can all contribute to a truthful, but possibly not entirely accurate, accounting of what happened. In my experience, cops outright lie MUCH less frequently than many in the defense bar.

    I’d be very judicious about filing motions to suppress. I dealt with one yesterday that was really just one shade away from frivolous, but the earnest defense attorneys wasted 90 minutes of the court’s (and my) time, even arguing issues that they themselves knew, from a prior hearing, were utterly without legal merit. They did their client no good, and possibly some harm, by arguing an essentially baseless motion.

    Which brings me to the most important point of all, for defense or prosecutor: your credibility with the court is the most important quality you possess as a litigator. Do not squander it for one case or one client, no matter how urgently you think you should push a bad case or how sympathetic you are to a particular client. Cases and clients come and go, your credibility before the bench should remain uncompromised.

  • Oh, and definitely, a beginning defender needs to realize the client is often feeding you a pile of manure about his case. I love the look on a defense attorney’s face as we review the police report or even the defendant’s criminal history after the attorney relates a convincing story of innocence provided by his client, much like the first youtube clip, above.

    The Bottom Line for a defense attorney: Don’s #10 is spot on: It’s about damage control in 99% of the cases. You might get that genuinely innocent person 1% of the time, but the vast majority of times, the goal is to minimize the damage, by either charge reductions or sentencing agreements (Don’s #1 point).

  • I suppose this goes without saying, but how about, “be prepared.” I was on a jury once and was struck by the basic ineptness of the PDA. He was an elder gentleman and his client was obviously guilty. Yet he looked lost out there, and remember one exchange with the primary witness where he harped on a point that was completely meaningless. It sure didn’t help his client.

    By the way, the bit about cops is also true for prosecutors. My friend is a former DA in New York, and the biggest complaint he had was about the cops. Not only did they not always speak the truth, but he couldn’t rely on all of them to even be helpful with the prosecution. It’s certainly not true of all or most cops, but his view of the police certainly soured during his time as a DA.

  • “I’d be very judicious about filing motions to suppress. ”

    In my rural Illinois county Tom we can usually dispose of them in about 20 minutes on average. I never file one unless I have some legal basis for it. I know our 3 judges well: one for 16 years before he became a judge, and we tried cases against each other and together, and the other two since they began practicing law. I have a reputation for not wasting time, and they all know that even when I lose a motion to supress the hearing has served a purpose for the defense. It always amazes me, however, the number of attorneys that go out of their way to tick off judges by wasting court time, not being prepared, not being on time, etc. Simple things like dating orders before handing them up to a judge so he doesn’t have to do it can demonstate simple courtesy that most judges appreciate. Judges are only human, and an attorney they respect is usually going to fare better with him or her than an attorney they don’t.

  • Mr. McClarey: I am an undergraduate studying history and I am very interested in law as possible profession. I have heard that the job market for lawyers is not very good but I am interested in some sort of public service law such as indigent defense as opposed to private practice. Would you happen to know if that would improve my chances of employment at all? Your posts on law (and everything else) are informative and entertaining. Keep up the good work!

  • Thank you Pat! There is always work for attorneys depending upon what they wish to do. Jobs that pay attorneys 150k a year at big law firms are, indeed, in short supply. If you go to a prestigious law school and are in the upper 5% of your class, however, you would probably get one of those, but that is not what you are interested in.

    As an attorney for the indigent, you could be an assistant public defender or work for an entity partially funded by the federal government which provides legal services to the poor. Linked below is an example of such an entity:
    http://www.pslegal.org/

    Other avenues of service would be as an assistant prosecuting attorney, either state or federal. You could also apply to be commissioned as a Judge Advocate General, JAG, with one of the armed services. However, those slots where you are commissioned as an officer and serve as a military attorney tend to be highly competitive these days and not easy to get.

    My advice to you as an undergrad would be to watch as many hearings and trials you can at the local courthouse to make certain that this is what you wish to get into. See if one of the local lawyers might allow you to follow him or her around through a typical day to see if what they do is of interest to you.

    When you go to law school, shoot for one with the best scholarship to debt package. Remember that most law school scholarships have a fairly high grade point average requirement at law schools in order for them to be retained. The first year of law school is a shock for many students, since for the first time in his life the student is competing against students just as bright as him. It is not unusual at law schools where grade inflation has not completely taken over for even very hard working students to get a few dreaded C’s the first year!

    At law school take as many courses as you can on criminal law. There will always be crimes and a good criminal defense attorney or prosecutor will never lack for employment. If bankruptcy courses are offered take them. A good bankruptcy attorney can always find emplployment, and if you are going to represent the indigent, a knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code will come in handy. Administrative law might well be useful. Most states have plenty of jobs for attorneys skilled in administrative law. It can be a good career path, with an eventual administrative law judgeship down the road.

    One of the good things about the law is that there are plenty of avenues of employment if you know where to look, and I haven’t even touched on private practice at a small firm which is what I have done for 29 years! The main things are to keep your debt from law school as low as possible, make sure that the law is something you wish to do with your life, and see the reality of the law for yourself before you go to law school.

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Pro Bono Publico

Friday, October 22, AD 2010

Hattip to Instapundit.  To all would be attorneys who read TAC, I have warned you about the law as a profession on several occasions, here, here, and here.  You have been adequately warned!   For those of you who ignore my advice and are jobless on graduation, you can always sue your law school.   (Of course my first born is planning on following me in the law, so my warnings must be inadequate!)  Now this post will have to be brief, because I have 10 calls to return, three bankruptcies to prepare, 2 trials to get ready for, and all the other charming events that the day will bring me in the law mines!

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19 Responses to Pro Bono Publico

  • Our attorneys at work are all outstanding people – no reservation.

    Two more I need to pray for! The wife’s brother-in-law and a nephew are (GASP!) lawyers.

    “Pray for the living and the dead.”

  • This is very funny. I actually clean the classrooms and offices of Saint Louis University Law School.

  • Oh My! That was very funny. I laughed out loud several times.

  • “Pray for the living and the dead.”

    By praying for lawyers, you can do both at once.

  • “Pray for the living and the dead.”

    “By praying for lawyers, you can do both at once.”

    Ah, that one is a keeper Michael.

    Nate, lawyers are a sloppy bunch, or so I’ve been told by numerous secretaries over the years.

  • There must be a special talent to writing dialog which sounds hilarious when delivered in the halting monotone of this movie generation software. Love it…

  • Funny and sad and accurate all at the same time. Well done. I recently had a conversation with friends and co-workers and none of them thought, in retrospect, that going to law school was a great decision – even with low-to-non-existent levels of debt. At the same time, some people really enjoy law practice – they are just a minority of the people who hold law degrees in my (necessarily limited) experience.

  • I loved law school. Let me re-phrase that: I loved going to UVA Law School, which, at least when I attended had a reputation for being a much more laid back and enjoyable atmosphere than other law schools.

    We referred to it as “Withers High” – the name of the building in which the Law School was located was Withers Hall – because it was so much like high school.

    John Henry, I don’t know whether your experience some 15-20 years later was similar, but that’s how it used to be, at least. So, it’s hard for me to say I regret going to law school – even though I HATED practicing law – because the experience for me was such a good one.

    But I would not encourage others to do it. I would NEVER encourage anyone to go into law.

  • Yeah, let me clarify. I loved law school too – UVA was and is a great school in a great location. I could not have been more impressed with most of the faculty. The conversation was more about going to law school to become a lawyer (which all of us currently are). I would not recommend that to pretty much anyone, unless they have spent significant time in the legal industry (or, like Don’s son, are very familiar with the work).

  • I hated my first year of law school at the U of I. The second was tolerable and the third was a breeze.

  • 9 out of 10 of the poli-sci post-grads at my school were on their way to law school.

  • By the way, having this video pop up while I’m scrambling to finish my submission I’m required to do for law review was perfect timing.

  • “By the way, having this video pop up while I’m scrambling to finish my submission I’m required to do for law review was perfect timing.”

    Ah that reminds me of the case note I did 31 years ago. I think I had done 31 drafts on a manual typewriter by the time that wretched thing was in print.

  • My younger daughter was not selected for a jury this week, largely on the grounds that she is related to too many attorneys. Both grandfathers, two uncles, a great uncle and she has a brother and a cousin in law school.

    When my father’s law school retroactively changed his LLB into a JD, he began making restaurant reservations as “Doctor Duffy,” in the belief that doctors got better reservations.

    Of course poli sci grads want to go to law school. Isn’t that the logical next career step in their plan to become President? Follow with a few years doing poverty law or something similar, polishing your credentials as a protector of the working man, and then you run for office… Oh, wait. I’ve already seen this movie.

  • I can’t help but to watch it over and over – The blackberry line was classic 🙂 I am going to use it at work… (no I am not and never have desired to be a lawyer – I am in aviation and there are plenty of nutty things in this profession as well LOL)

  • “I am not and never have desired to be a lawyer”

    Just one of your many good qualities I am sure Robert.
    🙂

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  • I ended up getting a job as a paralegal because that is the only thing I could get in this economy. I do a lot of complex cases in immigration law, and even though I feel pretty low on the totem pole, it pays the bills and whatnot (barely). Six figures of debt and three years gone in my life are not things that I want to do at this point in my life, all for a job that may or may not be there.

    My question, then, is this, if anyone is game: if you have paralegal experience, and there is a temptation to go to law school since you know that you are smarter than the lawyers you are working for, what other options does one have? I am just brainstorming ideas, because I don’t want to do this job forever.

  • Join the military cassianus. I assume you have your undergrad degree. The military has programs to pay for law school while you are in if you qualify:

    http://www.veteransbenefitsgibill.com/2010/07/16/law-school-assistance-for-veterans/

American Bar Association Considering to Support Same Sex Marriage

Wednesday, July 14, AD 2010

The American Bar Association will be considering supporting same-sex marriage at their next meeting in San Francisco.

It urges state, territorial and tribal governments to eliminate laws restricting marriage between same-sex partners.

Supporters say the adoption of the measure would build on past ABA policies supporting protections for gay couples and their families. The House of Delegates in 2004 approved a recommendation opposing efforts to enact federal legislation preventing states from allowing same-sex marriage. “Everyone who worked on it is hopeful,” said Michele Kahn, a partner at Kahn & Goldberg who chairs a New York State Bar committee on gay rights. The State Bar in June 2009 came out in support of same-sex marriage, dropping its support of civil unions or domestic partnerships as alternative measures.

Kahn said so far no formal opposition has come forward against the measure.

What I find amazing is that there is no formal opposition.

I know a lot of pro-life and practicing Christian lawyers, how can this be?

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17 Responses to American Bar Association Considering to Support Same Sex Marriage

  • There are a lot of pro-life doctors, too, yet the AMA and the ACOG are officially pro-abortion. There are pro-life teachers, but nobody would ever know that if the NEA were the only voice of that profession.

    It’s not about what the average professional wants. It’s about who is in power.

  • There may well be formal opposition to this within the legal profession, but it may not be widely known.

  • You’d be surprised by how many pro-lifers are for gay marriage, especially among the young. I think polls bear that out. I’d suspect that there are more among lawyers. Today, even pro-choice lawyers will concede that Roe v. Wade was a weak decision. The legal case for gay marriage may be stronger. The government interest in preventing abortion is stronger than in banning gay marriage. If you separate procreation from marriage as we have done in the US, there’s little reason to ban gay marriage.

  • Lawyers aren’t required to be members of the ABA to practice. So I oppose this kind of stuff the ABA does by simply not joining it.

  • I’m a member of the ABA but haven’t a clue how to express “organized opposition.”

    The ABA isn’t like the K of C. There aren’t any local monthly meetings in which policy is discussed. Instead, you are regularly invited to events like meet-and-greats or seminars – all useful to an aspiring lawyer but not a venue for expressing discontent with ABA support of particular political or social issues.

    In other words, her statement seems to me to be a misrepresentation since it presumes that there is a venue for such discussion – that ABA members are asked whether they support same sex marriage policies or not. This simply isn’t so.

  • The ABA is a completely voluntary association. About 29% of all American attorneys are members. I have never belonged simply because the ABA, like most professional associations in this country, has long been dominated by leftist activist members.

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2009/03/obama-brings-aba-back-inside-judicial-nominations-process.html

    http://volokh.com/posts/1237317675.shtml

    A good alternative for conservative attorneys is the Federalist Society.

    http://www.fed-soc.org/aboutus/

  • I agree with Don. The sort of lawyers who are strongly pro-life and opposed to same-sex marriage aren’t the sort of lawyers who would involve themselves in the ABA.

  • I quit the ABA years ago. It has a terrific Tax Section that is very valuable to tax lawyers, but I could not stomach the lefty politics. Most tax attorneys lean conservative and ignore the liberal politics of the ABA. I just couldn’t take it. Unfortunately I do not believe that the Federalist Society has a tax section.

  • Many of us left when it adopted a pro-abortion position in the early 90s. I had the privilege of resigning twice. My firm inadvertently re-enrolled us the year after I first resigned. I got the chance to write a second letter of protest and resignation.

  • A very similar thing happened to me, ctd.

  • I don’t disagree with the analysis of the ABA’s policy stances. Indeed, there are few law schools that are not as far Left. However, there is a caveat that need be stated: new lawyers cannot afford to paint targets on themselves by publicly stating their politics.

    The Bush Administration was not the first to use the internet to vet CVs and resumes and will not be the last. The present administration – in all of its departments down to the lowest level that hires attorneys – looks for the writings and affiliations of applicants to determine whether the prospective attorney has the right “temperment” to be hired. This is true for non-profit and for-profit corporations as well. Certainly the law firms are doing the same.

    Unless new attorneys wish to go right into their own practice – a choice that few can afford to make – newly minted lawyers should, in general, not donate money to campaigns, join organizations that betray their political leanings (e.g. like the Federalist Society or the St. Thomas Moore Law Society), or become active in local politics. They SHOULD join their local bar association, if nothing else than for the contact opportunities and in order to get notification of Continuing Legal Education opportunities. The ABA also provides these opportunities and the new lawyer ignores it at their own peril.

    Some would say that this position suggests a lack of conviction. Such a view is short-sighted.

    In order to have conservative judges, justices, prosecutors, and the like, there must first be lawyers that can find a job after passing the bar. Rashly putting one’s politics out there is foolish. I would even go so far as to say that first year law students should be advised by thier administrations to take down their social networking sites and adopt a pseudonym when commenting anywhere on the net.

    Such is the world we live in.

  • Well since i am only a pre-baby lawyer i can’t say too much about the ABA. I haven’t joined the organization and my only dealings are with Model Rules. I agree with G-Veg. I am weary of the internet and posting my views until i figure out the job plan. I don’t want to burn bridges before I get into the practice.

  • I don’t know how to respond to B-Veg’s rather sober assesment as a general matter, but I will say that at my law firm (which has decidely more Dems than Repubs), we hire plenty of lawyers with STM Federalist Soc memberships on their resumes. Thankfully, very few of my lib partners are intolerant of conservatives and vice versa. We disagree plenty, but are seldom disagreeable about our differences. I have a hunch that this is true at many other large law firms, but can’t really for sure.

  • Very sorry for my clumsy typo, G-Veg.

  • I think G-Veg outlines one of several possible approaches new lawyers can take. It really depends on the individual. As far as I know, my friends in both the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society listed those affiliations on their resumes. I listed STM, but not FedSoc or (for obvious reasons) ACS. None of my classmates relayed any horror stories or uncomfortable conversations in the interview process as a result of listing those affiliations; although a fellow summer clerk said he had once been treated to a lengthy lecture by a left-leaning partner who saw FedSoc on his resume (and a swiftly sent rejection letter).

    With regard to blogging and social networking, I think prospective new lawyers would be well-advised to make sure they monitor their Facebook pages, and comment under a pseudonym or handle of some type while blogging(although that may just be because I occasionally wish I could take back something I wrote, and wouldn’t want a prospective employer evaluating me based on that). Blogging and social networking are somewhat informal, and carry greater risks than a simple listing of membership on a resume.

  • I wish that “liberals” would actually be liberals and live up to the standards of their “coexist” bumper stickers. Aren’t they opposed to marginalization? Here we have the ABA marginalizing some lawyers; there we have the University of Illinois outright dismissing a professor. I just read a story in the local rag about eHarmony moving its corporate HQ out of Pasadena; the local hopenchangers are absoulutely giddy to be rid of that “homophobic” company.

    Where’s the tolerance? Where’s the love, man??

  • I never have joined the ABA although they keep calling me every couple years to sign up. Why would I pay $$ to a group that supports abortion and now, apparently, gay marriage?

    I just politely tell them I cannot join because of their pro-abort position. I guess I will now be able to add anti-marriage as well the next time they call.

    Not being a member of the ABA hasn’t hurt my career at all. You are better off (at least as a litigator) joining groups like your local bar associations.

I'm Shocked, Shocked!

Tuesday, June 8, AD 2010

Hattip to the Volokh Conspiracy.

From the Journal of Psychology, Public Policy and Law:

Lawyers’ litigation forecasts play an integral role in the justice system. In the course of litigation, lawyers constantly make strategic decisions and/or advise their clients on the basis of their perceptions and predictions of case outcomes. The study investigated the realism in predictions by a sample of attorneys (n = 481) across the United States who specified a minimum goal to achieve in a case set for trial. They estimated their chances of meeting this goal by providing a confidence estimate. After the cases were resolved, case outcomes were compared with the predictions. Overall, lawyers were overconfident in their predictions, and calibration did not increase with years of legal experience.  Female lawyers were slightly better calibrated than their male counterparts and showed evidence of less overconfidence. In an attempt to reduce overconfidence, some lawyers were asked to generate reasons why they might not achieve their stated goals. This manipulation did not improve calibration.

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