Go Hornets

April 28, 2011 Comments Off

Today, I became a huge Chris Paul fan. This is why.

A Conspiracy to Demand Excellence

April 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

Conspiracy theorists amuse me–except when I’m attempting to do real work and they call me to beg that I take their case.

Lately, the big conspiracy is that smart phone manufacturers, service providers, and the government are all conspiring to track each individual American. I called bullshit on this a while back, and I still do. Having minored in computer engineering as an undergrad, I understand the challenges of creating computer-based systems and maintaining certain historical data in order to allow the system to operate at the optimum level. Plus, those struggling with thousands (and sometimes millions) of pages of code to allow us to own gee-whiz stuff are undoubtedly going to overlook something. Lord knows, I had a hard enough time debugging 10 pages of code (I got a C- on that assignment). It is infinitely more tedious than reviewing a trial record for appellate issues.

I don’t get upset when folks run around, hair afire, screaming conspiracy. It’s all part of the freakshow. What does upset me are mistakes that compromise our ability to remain private. This is also part of the freakshow, but it can do some serious, irreparable harm.

A friend of mine, Terry Howerton, sheds some light and reason upon this situation during an interview with a TV station in Chicago. Terry is a fellow Eagle Scout, and I’ve known him since the mid-80s. Currently, he is the president of the Illinois Technology Association.

Speaking of tech, there are a lot of wannabes and fanboys out there. They are the folks who purport to understand the innards of each latest piece of tech, and they delight in showing you how you should become a slave to some gadget. Terry is not one of these. He believes that tech should work for us, but only when necessary. He thinks that tech should improve and change to suit us, not the other way around.

He is the real deal. Where many people in Chicago complain about the state of the public school systems, Terry is actually doing something about it. The magnum opus of his labors is the Chicago Tech Academy, a magnet school designed to provide opportunities to incoming high school students from low-income families.

What a novel concept. A person actually doing something to help others and demanding a high level of commitment and accountability in the process.

Oh, you might also hear him mention “mentors.” At 3:35 into this clip, he starts rolling. He characterizes it as a “hard” program. He notes the need for long hours. He requires commitment, and if a person lacks total dedication, “get out of the way.”  He talks about the necessity of high expectations. Imagine that, and he’s only talking to prospective high school students, not professionals.

Speaking to those who may lack full dedication to education and learning: “If you’re not that student [with full commitment], I wish you well, but I also wish you to leave.”

I think we’ve heard similar things from someone in the legal industry.

If you demand excellence, you’re eventually going to get it.

If you disagree, fear not. All you need to do is click your heels three times, say “it’s all a conspiracy” with each click, and you’ll find yourself back in bed wrapped in the same musty blanket that’s covered you for years.

Trust Megalomania

April 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

Today, Scott Greenfield responds to an article by a Trust Advisor stating that Scott is logically flawed and often wrong. I read both, and it essentially revolves around marketing and its necessity (or lack thereof) in the legal profession. My take involves a bit of dicta from the Trust Advisor’s post.

To provide background, Greenfield made this statement as part of a previous post on marketing:

We don’t sell used cars.  We are responsible for people’s lives.  We used to be, anyway.  And people who are responsible for the lives of others don’t think of them as leads or consumers.

My gripe comes with the following quotes in response by Charles Green, the Trust Advisor:

When someone starts talking about being “responsible for the lives of others,” get your megalomania sniffer out.

And:

Scott says he’s responsible for his clients’ lives.  I suggest that’s a bad rule for the rest of us.

We’re not responsible for our clients’ lives; they are.  Our job is to help them—not live their lives for them.

Well, then that makes me a megalomaniac, because I know, firsthand, that I’m responsible for my clients’ lives.

Green talks about his experiences with lawyers and law firms. Just how deep is that experience?

I can’t speak for all CDLs, but I like to think that my experiences are similar to that population as a whole.

I’ve talked a client through a situation that might result in a loss of freedom for the rest of their life.

I’ve watched a man hug his wife and kids for the last time for many, many years.

I’ve held a mother as she cried when her son was led-away in hand irons and shackles.

I’ve helped to explain to a 5-year-old that “daddy wouldn’t be home for awhile.”

I’ve had clients detail to me, for the first time, the sexual abuse they endured throughout childhood.

I sat in a room trying to talk a tearful client through upcoming testimony and cross examination.

Countless times, I’ve had my hand upon a trembling shoulder as a judge asked the jury president “What are your findings?”

To think, the fact that I see that as taking a man’s (or woman’s) life in my hands makes me a megalomaniac (or at least a worthy target of a megalomania sniffer). If that be true, then I gladly accept it as a life sentence.

Frankly, I find every representation to be the most humbling experience of my life. I feel small, and my only goal is to help the kid standing next to me as much as I can. I want them to be free. I want to ease their pain. I want them to move forward and succeed. I want their kids and family to smile. They hire me in the hopes that my presence and abilities might improve their chances at getting any of the aforementioned opportunities. They bring me into their life. They show me their most shameful skeletons. They introduce me to their family. They tell me of their continuing desperation. Each takes their life, places it into my hands, and says “help me, please.” That’s humbling as hell.

For us, holding a person’s life in our professional hands is not a rule. It is a reality. Like it or not. That person’s life is our priority. With it comes their good name, future opportunities, and future happiness. For us to place that charge upon a pedestal signifies the importance we place upon each individual client. That dedicated prioritization is what gives us the ability to call ourselves professionals–not a degree, website, fancy suit, or search engine rank.

I don’t pretend to understand what Green sells. From what I see, it involves Trust Diagnostics, a Trust Roadmap, Trust Workshops, and Trust Based Coaching. He also offers a list of Trust Quotes and an exceedingly fun Carnival of Trust. For a fee, you can even learn your Trust Quotient. So much trust, so little time.

From my vantage point, he is a marketer, and he doesn’t like others disparaging his wares. Luckily, he’s not a megalomaniac like us CDLs. Of course, I’m sure he would change his mind if we opted to pay for some Trust Raisin Bran or an invigorating Trust Enema.

(Ed. Note: I considered juxtaposing his use of the word “Trust” with that of the word “Victory” in Orwell’s 1984, but I opted against it because I’m above such low blows. OK, I’m not above low blows. I was just lazy.)

As for me, I’ll keep affording people the chance to hand their lives to me in the hope that I might be able to safeguard them, if only for a bit. I’ll continue to take their lives seriously, while treating myself with opposite consideration.

As for marketers and their gnashing of teeth, I’m not personally affected by them. I don’t earn enough money to cause a blip on their radars.

A Short Open Note to Criminal Defense Lawyers

April 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

Kinda nifty to see, but tastes like shit. Just like LISTSERVs.

Dear Fellow CDLs:

Stop reading listservs.

Listserv technology is the Coelacanth of the internet–nifty that it remains after all these years, but of no practical value.

Several things, in my estimation, are more productive than listservs. Practicing your origami skills is one.

If you truly have a question about upcoming cases and clients, get on the phone with a trusted colleague. They will likely enjoy the chat. If you don’t have someone of the “trusted colleague” variety, spend your spare time finding one.

Thanks.

Your friend,

Eric

Unlawful Commander-in-Chief Influence

April 22, 2011 Comments Off

Unlawful Command Influence (UCI) has been frequently called the “mortal enemy of military justice.” The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Military Trial Judiciary take great pains in eliminating any command influence (real or perceived) from the sanctity of the military courtroom and justice process. It is a particular worry for the military because of rigid rank structure and the importance of obeying orders. This environment is ripe for abuse, if not properly managed. If allowed, UCI destroys trust in the UCMJ and impairs the proper application of the constitution to accused members of the Armed Forces.

For this post, I’d like you to remember some important things:

  • UCI is bad. Very bad.
  • UCI can be committed by anyone in a command position.
  • The President occupies the highest command position in the US Armed Forces (Commander-in-Chief).

Many who read this blog are not intimately familiar with the UCMJ or UCI. For this reason, I’ll give an example of run-of-the-mill UCI.

A Brigade Commander (Colonel) commands approximately 3000-4000 troops. One of these soldiers is caught smoking marijuana in violation of the UCMJ. The Brigade Commander orders a lower commander to punish this soldier as harshly as possible. This is UCI. The lower commander, by law, has independent authority at his/her level to dispose of this criminal misconduct as they see fit. If the Brigade Commander is so hot-to-trot about punishing the soldier, he can do so by elevating the matter to his level, if he feels so inclined. It is impermissible for him to order the lower commander in matters necessitating independent discretion.

That is an example of something relatively simple. The next example is a bit more severe.

A soldier faces a court-martial for child molestation. One potential member of his jury is Major X. Prior to the court-martial, Major X is called-into his Brigade Commander’s office. The Brigade Commander tells Major X that he expects his officers to show no mercy to “kiddie diddlers.” Further, he says that he read the soldier’s confession, and he is definitely guilty.

Wow, here is a high-level commander attempting to influence the outcome of a court-martial where the members of the jury should have complete independence in voting their conscience. This example is extreme, and potentially subject to prosecution.

The problems are numerous in the second example:

  1. He clearly implies that he expects a harsh punishment.
  2. The Major is under the authority of this Brigade Commander, and, presumably, his next promotion depends on a good evaluation from the Brigade Commander.
  3. The Brigade Commander tells the potential juror that the soldier is guilty (whereas the Major should presume not guilty unless and until proven guilty at the court-martial)(not to mention what happens if the confession is suppressed).

Today, I’m focusing on problems related to a commander saying something similar to #3.

I’ve used a Brigade Commander as the bad guy in my examples, but it could occur at any level of command. Most of the time, higher commanders are taught to respect the justice process, and they remain silent until proceedings finish. In more publicized cases, they defer to a Public Affairs Office. Colonels/Captains and Generals/Admirals are trained repetitively regarding their role in the justice process and the realities of UCI.

However, it doesn’t appear that the President read the memo, as he comments on the Bradley Manning situation and pending court-martial (pay particularly close attention at the 47s mark).

Here is a rough transcript, in case the background noise was too much for you (bold type added by me):

OBAMA: So people can have philosophical views [about Bradley Manning] but I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source [basis]… That’s not how the world works.

And if you’re in the military… And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I were to release material I weren’t allowed to, I’d be breaking the law.

We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.

[Q: Didn't he release evidence of war crimes?]

OBAMA: What he did was he dumped…

[Q: Isn't that just the same thing as what Daniel Ellsberg did?]

OBAMA: No it wasn’t the same thing. Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified in the same way.

OK, so, let’s break this down:

  • The President is the Commander-in-Chief. This is the highest command authority within our Armed Forces.
  • He can commit UCI.
  • “He is guilty.” “…he dumped…”

Come on. Isn’t there some Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff dude that should be holding a leash here? Sure, he isn’t exactly ordering an outcome, and I’m sure he doesn’t mean to influence a judicial proceeding, but UCI can be both intentional OR unintentional. All he had to say was “As Commander-in-Chief, I cannot comment on pending criminal cases in the military.” There you go. Simple.

Now, who knows what might happen. We already know that, if reports are true, a military judge will likely grant a lot of sentence credit for the allegations of abuse and discomfort during Manning’s pretrial confinement (provided they are founded). Now, the Judge must chew on the potential influence of the President’s comments.

Further, we have no idea what forum Manning will choose for his court-martial. He can choose one of three: Judge alone (bench trial), a jury of all Officers, a jury of mixed officers and noncommissioned officers. With this, the potential jury selection would be a nightmare, with defense attorneys taking days (and possibly more) to flush-out any effects of the President’s comments. I won’t even touch the potential appellate issues.

This may be a moot point if Manning initiates a plea agreement or chooses a bench trial. (Note: We must also remember that, even with a Bench Trial, the Military Judge still falls under the authority of the President).  Prior to these POTUS comments, I suspect his attorneys already decided on a method to mitigate the damage to their client through careful pleadings and a possible cap on sentence. With this news, they must completely reevaluate their strategy.

I figured that, in the first couple of days in office, some guy with stars on his epaulettes would sit with the President to discuss things like commenting on high-profile military cases.

I guess not.

H/T to Scott Greenfield, Blawg Review, and FireDogLake.

Package Poetry

April 21, 2011 Comments Off

Today, I received a brown package.

Inside the package was a USPS Priority Mail box.

Inside the USPS box was a UPS Express box.

Inside the UPS Express box was a DHL Express plastic envelope.

Inside the DHL envelope was a manila folder.

Inside the manila folder was a shotgun envelope

Inside the shotgun envelope was a standard business envelope.

Inside the standard business envelope was something for me.

What a lucky guy I am.

The moral of this story is that FedEx is not invited to the party.

Taking the Pursuit of Happiness

April 19, 2011 Comments Off

I have a secret to share with you.

For the last 30-or-so years, I’ve been attempting suicide.

In elementary, middle, and high schools, I was told of the importance of a healthy diet. This was reinforced with after-school public service announcements, commercials with the first lady, the Today show, C. Everett Koop, and the government. They all said that a healthy diet is essential to avoid dying from some sudden, massive heart attack. In movies, a recurring motif is a random fat guy eating a cheeseburger, sweating, gasping 1-4 times, and falling dead on the floor. It’s quick, the pain is short-lived, and in a few frames of film, he’s outta here. Plus, it usually accompanies a fantastically tasty meal.

Now, that’s my kinda way to go.

I realized early that life is an extremely harsh punishment for behaving oneself. Perhaps it is the fact that my family skipped a generation, and I attended a lot of funerals before age 10. The conversations at those uplifting events focused on how bad things were for the dead guy/gal and how they are now “in a better place.”

So, I chose food as my express train to get off this rock and to a “better place.” So far, I realize that the government, C. Everett, Hollywood, and Jane Pauley all lied to me. My health is depressingly good. Hell, after countless cheeseburgers, T-bones, and malts, I’m at least owed a decent stroke.

I’m pissed. Somebody’s ass is getting sued for this.

For this reason, I am insanely jealous of guys on death row. The government gives them a place to live (segregated from much of life’s bullshit), and feeds them. No bills to pay. No waiting in line at post offices. No commute. No marathon phonecalls from Aunt Mabel on her recent bladder surgery. No deciding on whether to buy Ketchup or Catsup. Eventually, tubes pump chemicals into their veins and, 10 minutes later, viola! They are out of here. No more suffering from bad drivers, bipolar bosses, Sarah Palin speeches, Joel Osteen, and American Idol. All of those torturous life experiences disappear as the electricity stops in the (now dead) brain.

Lucky bastards.

Continue reading

It’s Been Awhile

April 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

It’s been a few days since my last substantive post. Unfortunately, work will delay this for a bit longer, as I’m still catching-up from being on the road for most of last week.

Since I don’t want to keep you hanging, I thought I’d give you something to think about. You know, something that is intellectual, scintillating, and germane to our lives and livelihood. Something that is both controversial and inspiring in a capitalist society.

Here it is:

Tipping at Sonic: Yes or No?

Talk amongst yourselves…

Don’t Tell Me This Makes Us Safe

April 14, 2011 § 11 Comments

What do you say when your actions make no sense whatsoever?

“Sorry, this is standard operating procedure.”

This phrase provides cover for thousands of spineless lemmings whose only motivation for participating in semi-productive work is to collect a paycheck. Look at the video below. Notice the person wearing the TSA uniform? She doesn’t care–as long as the direct pay deposit clears twice a month. Our government is brimming with entrenched mediocrity.

What have we done? What have we sacrificed under the auspices of making our country safe? Please, tell me how this uniformed agent has positively contributed to these United States with her actions in this video. (Also, be sure to turn-up the volume and listen to what she says. In a courtroom, this is called “grooming behavior.”)

I suppose we don’t care. The priorities of this country don’t support it.

College kids across the nation protest regularly about rising tuition and professor tardiness.

Millions sit at home pining about the potential loss of the upcoming NFL season.

Wisconsin government workers swarm the state capitol to fight the abolition of their union.

Towns across the US rally in dense human clusters to celebrate when their hometown sports team wins a prestigous trophy.

Each year, hoards of protesters descend on our nation’s capitol for a variety of reasons. Most have no idea what it’s about. They’re just there for the party.

New Coke dies because of the overwhelming gnashing of teeth from dedicated sugary-drink fans.

An absolutely horrid teenie-bopper song called “Friday” gets over 101 million views on YouTube.

Yet, this video gets less than a million passive voyeurs, who largely forget the scene on their way to get a frappuccino. Shame on me. Shame on you.

Where is my country? Or, do I even have one anymore?

Please, someone tell me how the actions in this video keep us safe. Tell me how this keeps terrorists at bay. Tell me how this is reasonable. Tell me why we should suffer such actions by a non-elected, appointed branch of the federal government. Go ahead. The floor is yours.

It’s All About Your Brand

April 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

Morgan Spurlock is not afraid to put himself at risk of great personal injury/discomfort for your education and amusement.

Similarly, I am not afraid to put you at risk of great personal injury/discomfort for my education and amusement.

So, embrace transparency. Show yourself. Demonstrate your mettle. Take a chance. Be honest. Work your ass off, and let people see what you do. Stop hiding behind mahogany desks in some cookie-cutter highrise.

The best marketing strategy and brand is to be honest, prioritize the things that really matter (clients), and work hard. It doesn’t cost you a dime, and you can do it all yourself.

Have You Had That Phonecall?

April 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

This morning, while consuming copious amounts of caffeine, I remembered an incident explained to me by one of my junior defense counsel. He had a client who was having a lot of problems overall in her life. The disposition of her criminal proceedings was relatively low (but stressful), and he secured a decent result. A couple of weeks after her case was adjudicated, he received a phonecall. Afterward, he rushed to my office to recount what happened and ask for advice. He explained the conversation line-by-line.

Defense Counsel: Hello.

Client: Yes, Captain ____, this is ______. I need your help.

DC: Sure, what’s up.

C: (voice becoming panicked) I’m in my car, and the police just stopped me, and I don’t know what to do.

DC: OK, well, just stay calm and listen to what they say and…

Background Voice: Ma’am, you need to put down the phone and step out of the car.

C: I have my lawyer on the phone! You can wait! Captain ____, I there are more police cars, and there are like 8 cops around my car…

BV: Ma’am, put down the phone and step out of the car, or else I’ll have to…

C: (Yelling) You can’t tell me to…..I have rights……I have my lawyer right…….

DC: (Trying to calm her) Look, just calm down, nothing is going to…

C: GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OFF ME!

Now Multiple Background Voices: (Yelling) Ma’am, you need to put the phone down. Get out! Get the fuck out!

C: I’VE GOT MY LAWYER RIGHT……..(Click)

There wasn’t much we could do. We didn’t even know if she was apprehended in a jurisdiction where we could practice. Heck, we didn’t even know what jurisdiction, period. We were in Missouri, and she was stationed near Pensacola, Florida. He tried to call her phone for a few weeks. It always went to voicemail.

We never heard back from her. It makes you wonder…

Of Nuclear Bombs and Fallout (or Crap is King)

April 5, 2011 § 10 Comments

Yesterday was all Rakofsky, all day. Between writing briefs, calling clients, and prepping for some upcoming law stuff, I participated in the online flogging of Joseph Rakofsky.

Did I like doing it? Absolutely not. I suspect Jeff Gamso, Scott Greenfield, Brian Tannebaum, Mark Bennett, Jameson Koehler, Antonin Pribetic, and Carolyn Elefant didn’t either. Was it a fantastic teaching point? Absolutely. Was it pleasant? No way.

We all want our profession to work well, represent clients ably, and shepherd laws. Most of us want to do this in quiet existence, supporting our peers and working hard (yet interesting) matters for solid, appreciative clients. Unfortunately, in a large and diverse population, that can never happen. As a result, we police our own and call bullshit while it still lays steaming on the ground. Then, in the aftermath, we want to make sense of it all and gain something of benefit from within the stink.

This post is intended for two purposes. First, it follows-up yesterday’s vomit. Second, it is written to the two (that I know of) law students who regularly read this blog. Both are bright, insightful people who, I’m sure, want to do this lawyer stuff for the right reasons. Neither is a traditional student. One is in Arizona, and the other is in Florida.

Continue reading

Lying Piece of $%^&. With Screenshot as Evidence

April 4, 2011 § 38 Comments

I learned about Joseph Rakofsky from Jeff Gamso. Jeff learned of him from Jamison Koehler. Scott Greenfield put it all together.

I don’t like to contribute to internet redundancy, but I can’t help it here. This guy is a total piece of work. Let me bring you up to speed via info from Jeff Gamso’s blog. First, he quotes the Washington Post (please, do yourself a favor and read this Washington Post article).

Rakofsky’s Web page on lawsearch.net says he specializes in criminal law, DUIs, traffic law, malpractice law and negligence. He lists his firm’s address as 14 Wall St. in Manhattan, but the New York state attorney registration offices have no record of Rakofsky being licensed in New York. Rakofsky, who received his law degree from Touro College in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2009, has been licensed in New Jersey since April 29, 2010.

Notice the date he became licensed. Remember, that’s less than a year ago.

Jeff continues by looking at Rakofsky’s entry on some law marketing website.

Mr. Rakofsky has worked on cases involving Murder, Embezzlement, Tax Evasion, Civil RICO, Securities Fraud, Bank Fraud, Insurance Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Drug Trafficking, Grand Larceny, Identity Theft, Counterfeit Credit Card Enterprise and Aggravated Harassment. Following graduation from law school, he worked for one of the biggest civil litigation firms on the east coast and has worked for boutique white-collar criminal defense firms in Manhattan. During law school, Mr. Rakofsky interned at the Legal Aid Society (in Suffolk County). Prior to studying law, Mr. Rakofsky studied Economics and interviewed at a well-respected investment bank with branches all over the world.  Prior to law school, Mr. Rakofsky earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, concentrating his attention on DNA.

Note: Several folks have pointed out the humor in the passage “…interviewed at a well-respected investment bank…” Here’s a screen capture of his website, which lists a Washington, DC address.

Inserted here for archive and informational purposes only.

Wow, it seems that he has quite the rich resume after less than a year of practice. So, what is stuck in my craw about this guy? More from the Washington Post:

A D.C. Superior Court judge declared a mistrial Friday in a 2008 murder case and allowed the defendant to fire his New York-based attorney, who exhibited what the judge said were numerous signs that he lacked knowledge of proper trial procedure, including telling the jury during his opening statements that he had never tried a case before.
Judge William Jackson told attorney Joseph Rakofsky during a hearing Friday that he was “astonished” at his performance and at his “not having a good grasp of legal procedures” before dismissing him.

See there? The mistrial was because of Rakofsky’s blatant ineptitude. The judge found, sua sponte, that Rakofsky was ineffective in the trial courtroom despite his amazing resume’. Wow, pretty bad. But, that’s not all. More from the Post about the judge’s reaction:

What angered Jackson even more was a filing he received early Friday from an investigator hired by Rakofsky in which the attorney told the investigator via an attached e-mail to “trick” a government witness into testifying in court that she did not see his client at the murder scene.
According to the filing, Rakofsky had fired the investigator and refused to pay him after the investigator refused to carry out his orders with the witness. The filing included an e-mail that the investigator said was from Rakofsky, saying: “Thank you for your help. Please trick the old lady to say that she did not see the shooting or provide information to the lawyers about the shooting.” The e-mail came from Rakofsky’s e-mail account, which is registered to Rakofsky Law Firm in Freehold, N.J.

Wow. Well, no lawyer can be proud of this result, right? After all, you’re called incompetent, and the case is a mistrial as a result (meaning that the client has to spend a year or so in pretrial confinement waiting on the retrial). Plus, you are shown to be attempting to fabricate evidence. Clearly, you’re not proud of this, right?

Ah contraire. I could tell you about it, but, instead, I’ll show you.

Inserted here for archive and informational purposes only.

I don’t know what makes me more sick, the wall post itself or all the hands patting him on the back.

“It’s all for you, Damien.”

Please feel free to share the screenshot and story with everyone you know.

UPDATE: There’s a video. It’s on Facebook, but I didn’t have to log-in to access it. Here’s a screen capture.

Inserted here for archive and informational purposes only.

UPDATE 2: An official website with much more information for your bathroom reading pleasure, including the intrepid video mentioned above. H/T to Steven O’Donnell. It talks about “bricks of truth.” Bricks of truth are cool. Also, if you click around, you’ll find MORE VIDEOS.

Inserted here for archive and informational purposes only.

UPDATE 3: Any suggested captions? I was thinking “Look what the judge did to me when he found I was incompetent.” Thanks to Antonin Pribetic for pointing us toward his MySpace profile.

Inserted here for archive and informational purposes only.

We’ve Forgotten “Marjoe”

April 2, 2011 Comments Off

Many have forgotten this early-1970s Academy Award winning documentary. That’s too bad.

Produced during the age of tent revivals and before the rise of televangelism, it’s as applicable today as it was then.

Some lawyers are evangelists, saying what people want to hear and looking for that right moment to collect an offering. Some only masquerade as lawyers in order to get access to the offerings of others.

Integrity is a nontransferable skill, depending completely on an individual’s motivation and priorities.

As a profession of individuals, where are we?

Comparing Law Firm Endowment

April 1, 2011 § 6 Comments

I’ve heard the term BigLaw since I started considering law school. Recently, I heard that there is an opposing term to describe small law firms, but my attorney told me I’d get sued for using it here. Something having to do with copyrights and stuff.

From this point forward, I intend to refer to my office as “Fun Sized.”

Azimuth Check: April Fools Day

April 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

A US Army CID special agent

It's all fun and games until the FBI shows-up and investigates your investigators. Image via Wikipedia

It’s been a while since my last Azimuth Check. I thought April Fools Day an appropriate time to resurrect the recurring theme.

No, I have no designs on elaborate hoaxes or sleights of hand. Just a few random takes.

CID under investigation by the FBI

That’s right. The investigators are investigating the investigators. How’s that for karma?

It seems that four members of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID, the Army’s serious crime detectives) are under investigation for something bad. All four were assigned to the drug suppression team (DST, or folks who investigate drug-related offenses).

I’m dying to know what this is all about. Though, I’ve grown a bit callous to CID misconduct. I’ve seen an agent set-up her ex-boyfriend and then investigate him. I’ve seen a senior special agent who wore an unearned Ranger Tab for the majority of his career. Now, we’ve got these four.

Books I’d Like To See

I’ve been thinking about books I’d like to see from the legal blogging community. A few ideas (with a healthy dose of April Fools spin and sincere apologies to everyone listed below):

Practicing Law Alone In Your Mom’s Unfinished Basement By Choice, by Carolyn Elefant.

Social Media For Lawyers (2nd Ed), by Nicole Black, with special forward by Brian Tannebaum.

Forget Clients: Pathways to GenY Self Entitlement, by Dan Hull.

Guaranteed Early Success: Approaching Trial Like the British Conducted Operation Market Garden, by Antonin “The Trial Warrior” Pribetic.

How to Write 15 Blog Posts a Day In Less Than 15 Minutes, by Scott Greenfield.

Everything in This Country is Fair and Makes Me Happy, by Gideon.

Depositions with a Doo: Hair Care for Lawyers, by Rick Horowitz and Norm Pattis.

Hidden Behind The Podium: Memoirs of a Short Lawyer, by Mirriam Seddiq.

How To Smuggle A Condemned Man Out of Prison In Your Mustache, by Jeff Gamso.

And, for some anti nonsense on a highly nonsensical day…

The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) handed-out it’s annual Pigasus Awards. What is this, you say?

Since 1997, the JREF’s annual Pigasus Awards have been bestowed on the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers—and on their credulous enablers, too. The awards are named for both the mythical flying horse Pegasus of Greek mythology and the highly improbable flying pig of popular cliche.

Congratulations to all the esteemed awardees.

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