f/k/a . . . the archives

March 31, 2004

Antitrust Lawyers Fear Outsourcing

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:59 pm

The American Antitrust Institute has a preview tonight of a Wall Street Journal report on the reaction of the antitrust community to the outsourcing of its legal and economic services.  (WSJ reports: Antitrust Community Terrified of Outsourcing: Economists, Attorneys Looking to U.S. for Protection., April 1, 2004).


praying hands  The exclusive story is appearing on the day of the Spring ABA Antitrust Section meeting in Washington, D.C.  The article explains that a coalition called Americans for Keeping Antitrust American is being formed, with the motto “Cutthroat Competition Won’t Fly in a Free Country.”   The WSJ report gives gruesome details of current and planned outsourcing, along with quotes from key figures in the antitrust community. 



  • Editor’s Note:  The antitrust crowd has always been pro-free-trade, including outsourcing, until the trend came home to roost in their nests.  I guess it depends whose Outsourcing Ox is being gored.  How foolish of me to expect principled consistency.
  • Update (04-02-04):  Like one of my favorite weblawgers, I feel the need today to remind visitors that I knew the WSJ article “previewed” at AAI’s website, and discussed above, was a spoof.  You did notice that I highlighted the word “foolish” in my Editor’s Note, didn’t you?  Hats off to Bert Foer and the aai gang for a classic, well-crafted April Fool’s prank. [Disclosure: Bert's a friend, and I'm responsible for compiling the aai Guide to Antitrust Resources on the Web.]

March 30, 2004

monkeys’ uncle unable to stand up

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:47 am

(Very) Weakly Special


The post-vacation resumption of this weblog has been postponed, as the Editor was found this morning in what may be a permanently horizontal position; to wit


mouse lawyer horiz


How did this happen?  The culprits, who apparently subjected Uncle Editor to 48 hours straight of (purportedly affectionate) torture are pictured below.


“lissa james 2-04″




  • Persons over 50 years of age, in less than robust health, are warned to use extreme caution when approaching said duo, as the suspects are armed and persistent.  The female primate is 6 and one-half years old and the male is 3 and one-half years old.  They were seen at the Buffalo [NY] Zoo in the presence of Uncle Editor over the past weekend.

March 25, 2004

a short vacation (from branding and more)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:49 pm

we're closed  Don’t know whether “we” earned it, but ethicalEsq and haikuEsq are taking a few days off (to visit a favorite niece and nephew*).



If you need some reading material during the hiatus, let us know what you think of  InterAct‘s white paper “Branding the Law Firm,” which looks quite interesting, but (to be honest) not interesting enough to warrant postponing a little Spring Break.  According to The Virtual Chase, “The 8-page paper talks about the advantages of branding, trends in law firm branding, how the legal environment affects branding, the practical application of branding and creating a brand.” 


lasso flip . .


Don’t forget to read it with the open-minded skepticism we cherish at this weblog.  Our recent posting Brand LEX should get you in the mood. 


_____________


ajg & kids  [No, that's not their grandfather, it's their dad, my twin brother, Arthur.  Yes, the kids are cuter and smarter than their uncle and father (but not than their Mommy).]

Anti-Bias CLE is Not Indoctrination

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:00 pm

podium flip  We posted earlier today that Minnesota attorney Elliot Rothenberg has lost his fight before the Minnesota Supreme Court to eliminate an anti-bias continuing legal education requirement for the State’s lawyers.  The result is not surprising and ethicalEsq concurs.  However, as we noted in our prior post (where the issues are discussed at some length). there has been strong opposition to the CLE requirement among a portion of Minnesota lawyers who denounce the courses as “ideological indoctrination” violating their constitutional rights to free speech, religious freedom and free conscience.    [See, e.g., Powerline, MyShingle, Overlawyered, Political Junkie, Spitbull, and this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.]  



  • ethicalEsq remains very skeptical that competent members of the bar can easily be  “indoctrinated” by sitting through a 60-minute CLE presentation.  ["Annoyed," yes, indoctrinated, no.]  We believe that the regulating authorities in each state have the power to require anti-bias CLE — even if the course offerings are far more limited than in Minnesota, where the Court notes the existence of perhaps 150 different course syllabi.  [One weblog, strongly disputes that there are adequate ideological choices among Minnesota's anti-bias offerings.] 

As the high court states in the Rothenberg decision upholding Rule 9(A)(2) of the Rules of the Minnesota CLE Board, Rule 2(I) defines continuing legal education courses on the elimination of bias in the legal profession and in the practice of law as courses that are


directly related to the practice of law that [are] designed to educate attorneys to identify and eliminate from the legal profession and from the practice of law biases against persons because of race, gender, economic status, creed, color, religion, national origin, disability, age or sexual orientation.


The Court goes on to find that courses meeting those criteria do not violate Rothenberg’s constitutional rights.  Here are some important excerpts from the decision (emphases added):






href=”http://www.courts.state.mn.us/opinions/sc/current/opa030884-0325.htm#_ftnref5″ name=_ftn5>[5]          These courses include: “Representing Muslim and Arab Clients After 9-11: Can the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel Survive?”; “‘With Justice for All’—An Ethics & Elimination of Bias CLE Featuring Morris Dee”; “Civil Liberties in a Post-9/11 World”; “Impeach Justice Douglas!”—a theatrical performance focusing on several issues with which Justice William O. Douglas was involved during his tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court; and “Presumed Guilty: Eliminating Bias in the Legal System.”




  • Rothenberg asserted that the elimination of bias requirement was unconstitutional, opining that the findings and conclusions of the Race Bias Task Force Report, which formed the basis for the elimination of bias requirement, were based on dubious claims of bias in Minnesota’s justice system.  Rothenberg also argued that certain elimination of bias courses promote political beliefs he disagrees with and unconstitutionally promote religion.  In particular, Rothenberg referenced courses that he claimed give preferential treatment to Islam and oppose the United States’ efforts against terrorism, as well as capital punishment courses that he alleged presented only one side of the issue.


At oral argument, Rothenberg conceded that “there is prejudice and bias in society” and among lawyers as well.  Rothenberg agreed that bigotry, prejudice, and bias “ought to be combated at every turn.”  Furthermore, he acknowledged that “lawyers and judges should educate themselves, should * * * reflect on these issues, should want to ensure that their conduct as leaders in society and leaders in government does not hurt anyone [and] does not deny anyone’s rights on the basis of bigotry or prejudice or bias.” 


podium neg flip . .


Rothenberg also conceded during oral argument that there are “a vast variety of courses” on the elimination of bias.  Nevertheless, Rothenberg argued that the operation of the elimination of bias requirement is unconstitutional because “all the courses have an ideological content” and the presence of any ideological courses or any courses discussing religion is unjustified.  Therefore, Rothenberg argues, it would be unconstitutional for our court to punish a lawyer for failing to attend courses on the elimination of bias.





  • In contrast, the elimination of bias requirement does not force Minnesota lawyers to say “I believe in X” or manifest agreement with anything.  It only requires that Minnesota lawyers be passively exposed to certain ideas by attending courses on the elimination of bias in the legal profession and in the practice of law.  For this reason, the California Court of Appeals, which appears to be the only other court to have considered a similar issue, held that a California requirement that lawyers attend classes on elimination of bias does not violate the First Amendment.  See Greenberg v. State Bar of California, 92 Cal. Rptr. 2d 493, 496 (Cal. Ct. App. 2000) (stating that lawyers are merely “passively exposed to classes relating to these subjects, without being compelled to manifest any agreement or allegiance to their goals or other political agendas.”), rev. denied (Apr. 26, 2000) .


    Rothenberg asserts that being forced to pay for a course would make him more than passively exposed to those ideas.  However, having concluded that the elimination of bias requirement is germane to the goal of regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services in Minnesota, we also conclude that requiring lawyers to pay for such a course does not raise such concerns.


    pointer dude neg  Rothenberg’s other arguments, that the elimination of bias requirement was designed on an ideological basis or that the Board has approved courses on an ideological basis, also lack any support.  Rothenberg has presented no evidence that the elimination of bias requirement was designed on an ideological basis or that the Board has approved courses on an ideological basis. In the context of Rothenberg’s argument, “ideological” appears to be shorthand for something with which he disagrees.  Merely asserting that the elimination of bias requirement has ideological origins or is applied ideologically does not create a cognizable claim.


    Moreover, we disagree with Rothenberg’s characterization of the elimination of bias requirement as necessarily seeking to inculcate beliefs.  Courses approved for elimination of bias credit must be “directly related to the practice of law” and “designed to educate attorneys to identify and eliminate [bias] from the legal profession and from the practice of law.”  Rule 2(I), RMBCLE.  These courses must be designed to meet educational goals such as educating lawyers regarding barriers to hiring, retention, promotion, and professional development of lawyers of color, women, and others.  Such goals illustrate that the elimination of bias requirement seeks to change behavior by informing lawyers how to identify and eliminate bias.  For purposes of reference, a course presented in 2001 and discussed in the record before us was entitled “Understanding Deaf Culture and Working with Deaf Clients.”  The materials for this course state that its objectives include identifying specific needs of people who are deaf with respect to communication and adaptive equipment and identifying ways of enhancing communication.



pointer dude flip



We conclude that the elimination of bias requirement serves the legitimate function of informing lawyers how to identify and eliminate bias in the legal system.  We recognize Rothenberg’s disagreement with the views expressed by some of the approved elimination of bias courses.  However, our decision to prescribe rules allowing a broad array of courses that could qualify for elimination of bias credit was made after taking into consideration concerns by members of the bar who cautioned against having a limited view of what constitutes bias.



[The Court also addressed in a footnote the "captive audience" argument of amicus Peter Swanson]:


jailbird neg  Amicus curiae Peter Swanson argues that the failure to allow lawyers to opt out of the requirement makes the elimination of bias requirement unconstitutional because lawyers are a “captive audience.”  . . . We have found no case where the Supreme Court has applied the captive audience doctrine in the “negative” sense, that is, where the government requires an individual to be “captive” as opposed to protecting the individual from being captive.  Assuming arguendo that the captive audience doctrine is relevant in the context of this case, we believe that it raises essentially the same First Amendment concerns that Rothenberg makes when he argues that he is unconstitutionally forced to attend elimination of bias courses.




  • [Swanson's point-by-point rebuttal of the Court's opinion, is available at his website, 599 to 1.]

In its article High court upholds required anti-bias classes for lawyers (A/P, 03-25-04; free reg. req’d) the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes: 



 “The state requires lawyers to complete 45 hours of continuing legal education courses every three years. In each reporting period, lawyers are required to complete at least two hours of courses on the elimination of bias in the legal profession and in the practice of law. That typically works out to one course.


That’s right: two hours of anti-bias CLE required every three years, with at least 150 different courses to choose from.  I bet lawyer Rothenberg and his allies are about to make a federal case of it.

Anti-Bias CLE Upheld by Minn. High Court

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:30 pm

The Minnesota Supreme Court today upheld the requirement that lawyers attend anti-bias continuing education.  Click here for the decision In re Petition of Elliot Rothenberg for Review of a Decision of the Board of Continuing Legal Education.  (A03-884)  See our follow-up posting for full coverage.

March 23, 2004

“The Simpsons” and the Lawyers

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:58 pm

Homer and Marge Simpson surely fall into the “average legal consumer” group that this weblog aims to protect.  And their attorney Lionel Hutz most certainly fits the category of lawyers that we’d most like to influence (and slap upside the head).  So, I did my duty and closely read the The Law of “The Simpsons”  when I discovered the article last week, and I want to officially assign it as ethical CLE for counsellors at law everywhere.

 

Written by Minneapolis real estate attorney Larry M. Wertheim, the article first appeared in Bench & Bar of Minnesota (Feb. 2003), and has been reprinted in the current edition of The Docket [Denver Bar Assoc.], Vol. 25, No. 3, March 2004, with the unnecessarily-long new title, Legal Light Comes From ‘The Simpsons’: Life Imitates Simpsons Imitates Life.  Given the proclivities of some of the best-known weblawggers, I was surprised to find no weblog links to the article, when I Googled it.

 

mouse lawyer flip  mouse lawyer small flip  There is something here for everyone — from a compilation of the most significant legal problems faced by the Simpsons, and quotes from Lutz and Homer relevant to the status of lawyers in our society, to a discussion of hyper-irony as applied to lawyers.   I won’t tempt you to skip this assignment by quoting excessively from the article in this space.  However, I do want to point out, given my recent writings on lawyer marketing and branding, the author’s take on the subject (emphasis added):



Since the 1977 Supreme Court decision legalizing lawyer advertising,  the commercialization of legal practices has continued apace. Besides being sleazy in the traditional sense, Hutz represents the ultimate “consumerization” of law. He offices under the name “I Can’t Believe It’s a Law Firm!” in the Springfield Shopping Mall, an indication that legal services are really no different from groceries.


Similarly, his marketing efforts are akin to those of the shopping mall. In seeking Bart’s personal injury case, he tells Homer, “You’ll be getting more than just a lawyer, Mr. Simpson. You’ll also be getting this exquisite faux pearl necklace, a $99 value, as our gift to you.”


Other highlights from the article, include discussion of:




  1. self-enforcing ethical rules, in the context of Rule 7.1(b) and creating unjustified expectations.
  2. “the real problem of applying guild-like ethics to a consumer culture. Although both practiced law in a town called Springfield, the modern-day Hutz is a far cry from “Honest” Abe Lincoln.”
  3. clown “our culture’s belief, based upon our TV lawyers, that the practice of law is really not all that complicated and that anyone could manage to maneuver the law.”
  4. the difficulties for laypersons of appearing before an unsympathetic judge, and of cross-examination (e.g., of the Devil).
  5. “the popular fear that in the legal process one’s future may be in the hands of lawyers like Hutz.”

The author concludes, “While there are not many Lionel Hutzes practicing, there is at least some of Lionel Hutz in too many lawyers. Moreover, with its ability both to attack targets like legal consumerism and incompetence and also to engage in Hyper-Irony, “The Simpsons” requires constant reexamination of all verities, including legal ones.” 


mouse lawyer small ..  (semble)


I’m not sure lawyer Wertheim achieved his professed goal of eliciting the respect of his own children by writing this article.  Maybe Joel and Ira Wertheim will leave a Comment at this weblog to let us know.   Of course, thanks to the author’s explanation of hyper-irony, we can recommend the article without endorsing all or any of its contents.

 

Meanwhile, keep in mind the famous colloquy by Marge and Homer concerning Bart’s future:



Marge: Do you want your son to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or a sleazy male stripper?


Homer: Can’t he be both, like the late Earl Warren?




  • For comprehensive materials about lawyer Hutz, see The Lionel Hutz File at The Simpsons Archive, which includes personal information, academic history, business ads [e.g., "Don't wait, Litigate!"], and much more.  Also, see The Best of Lionel Hutz from OirishTimes.com ; and the Hutz listing in Encyclopeida4U.


  • Update (03-25-04): Even the tasteful and culturally-astute Fool in the Forest is using Simpsons tie-ins to pump up his page hits.  Hey, it works, even when we webloggers don’t.  As an added bonus, Fool Wallace educates and elucidates while expounding.

You and the EU Microsoft Case

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:59 pm

Even technophobes and antitrust neophytes will get a lot out of an excellent, “plain English,” Briefing Paper on the European Microsoft Case, posted today at the American Antitrust Institute website.  Written by AAI Research Fellow, Prof. Norman Hawker of Western Michigan University, the Paper tells how the EU case differs from U.S. v. Microsoft, discusses expected outcomes, and explains why “American consumers stand to benefit from a strong and effective remedy in the EU case.”

 

Prof. Hawker notes:




  • computer weary flip [T]he U.S. focused on Microsoft’s effort to eliminate rival web browsers as a to Microsoft’s monopoly in the PC operating systems market. The EU case, however, appears to be directly focused on Microsoft’s efforts to stifle competiton in the media player and low-end server markets.




  • Microsoft’s strategy seems to be to lose on liability, if necessary, but win on the remedy. With respect to the U.S. case, Microsoft drew out the case, successfully wearing its opponents and observers down. . .  [A]s previously noted, Microsoft has succeeded to large extent in the U.S. by delaying the imposition of remedies until the markets in question had irreversibly tipped in Microsoft’s favor. The EU case presents the same risk.




  • Consequently, the conduct remedies may be most significant part of the upcoming decision. With respect to the Workgroup Server market, the main remedial issues revolve around interoperability. Competitors want to see something similar to what was imposed on IBM in a much earlier case. “Full interoperability” is the key term. It has been defined in the Software Directive as access to all functions and features so that they function as they were intended to operate. Disclosure of the Windows APIs and protocols is another probable remedy, but this could Invite foot-dragging by Microsoft.




  • computer red A credible remedy with respect to Windows Media Player needs to require at least two things. First, Microsoft must unbundled the Windows Media Player from Windows. Preferably, Microsoft would not be allowed to distribute Windows Media Player with Windows. Most reports, however, suggest that the EU will require Microsoft to offer two versions of Windows, one with and one without Windows Media Player. So long as Microsoft is not allowed to charge the same (or higher) price for the stripped down version of Windows, this will still be a significant step forward. Second, Microsoft must open up the formats at the server level so that Content Providers can choose among competing providers of streaming technologies.




  • It is probably true in Europe, as it was in the U.S., that the price of Windows did not fall as rapidly as it would have fallen in a more competitive market. But the strongest arguments for enforcement action lie in the realm of consumer choice being reduced by anticompetitive behavior and investments in innovation being deterred by fear of Microsoft’s ability to usurp any innovation that shows signs of success.


I also recommend Hawker’s March 10th article Microsoft: There’s a Media Player Story in the U.S., Too.

March 22, 2004

Ads Inciting Litigation Banned in Florida Bill

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:59 pm

Maybe we need laws against frivolous legislation.   Tomorrow, the Florida Legislature may consider a bill that would make it illegal to advertise in “a manner that solicits legal business for a profit by urging a person to consider bringing legal action against another.” 


  • Yep: “Thou Shalt Not Incite Litigation!” I don’t know if inciting mediation is okay.

garbage pail point gray  As explained in an article from the Miami Daily Business Review (“Fla. Lawmakers May Vote Today to Curb Lawyer Advertising,” by Matthew Haggman, 03-23-2004; via Law.com Daily NewsWire), the legislation was passed by the House Judiciary Committee last week, and


It defines “solicit” as meaning “to entreat, request or urge another to use the services of an attorney or a law firm.”

“The bill gives the Florida attorney general’s office standing, along with The Florida Bar, to bring a complaint against a lawyer or law firm for violating the provision.” [It proposes a civil penalty of $1,000 for the initial offense and $2,000 for each subsequent offense.]

The bill’s primary sponsor is state Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, “an attorney who has handled personal injury cases. He argues that The Florida Bar has failed to effectively police its members when it comes to advertising.”   The bill, like a similar one covering medical negligence cases, asserts that attorney advertising has “created a crisis in this state’s judicial system.”   The article notes that “the sponsors offer no empirical evidence for that controversial claim.”

 

The lengthy article details some of the constitutional, regulatory and political issues raised by the bill.  It notes that “Elizabeth Clark Tarbert, the Bar’s ethics counsel, said her organization had no comment on the legislation.”   It wouldn’t be fair or fun for skepticalEsq to lampoon this legislation — it’s just too easy.  I wonder what Walter or Ted has to say.  Evan‘s take should also be interesting.


  • The Florida ethics Rules for Lawyer Advertising are perhaps already the most restrictive in the nation.  See Rule 4-7.1 to 4-7.11.

Update (03-23-04):  Walter Olson, wrote to me via email, that he was alarmed to see Florida lawyers arguing that only the judicial branch of government can regulate lawyers.  I agree with W.O. that such a position (besides being incorrect as a matter of law) will likely make lawyers look like an arrogant super-caste, asserting  the sole right to police themselves..

Ads Inciting Litigation Banned in Florida Bill

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:59 pm

Maybe we need laws against frivolous legislation.   Tomorrow, the Florida Legislature may consider a bill that would make it illegal to advertise in “a manner that solicits legal business for a profit by urging a person to consider bringing legal action against another.” 


  • Yep: “Thou Shalt Not Incite Litigation!” I don’t know if inciting mediation is okay.

garbage pail point gray  As explained in an article from the Miami Daily Business Review (“Fla. Lawmakers May Vote Today to Curb Lawyer Advertising,” by Matthew Haggman, 03-23-2004; via Law.com Daily NewsWire), the legislation was passed by the House Judiciary Committee last week, and


It defines “solicit” as meaning “to entreat, request or urge another to use the services of an attorney or a law firm.”

“The bill gives the Florida attorney general’s office standing, along with The Florida Bar, to bring a complaint against a lawyer or law firm for violating the provision.” [It proposes a civil penalty of $1,000 for the initial offense and $2,000 for each subsequent offense.]

The bill’s primary sponsor is state Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, “an attorney who has handled personal injury cases. He argues that The Florida Bar has failed to effectively police its members when it comes to advertising.”   The bill, like a similar one covering medical negligence cases, asserts that attorney advertising has “created a crisis in this state’s judicial system.”   The article notes that “the sponsors offer no empirical evidence for that controversial claim.”

 

The lengthy article details some of the constitutional, regulatory and political issues raised by the bill.  It notes that “Elizabeth Clark Tarbert, the Bar’s ethics counsel, said her organization had no comment on the legislation.”   It wouldn’t be fair or fun for skepticalEsq to lampoon this legislation — it’s just too easy.  I wonder what Walter or Ted has to say.  Evan‘s take should also be interesting.


  • The Florida ethics Rules for Lawyer Advertising are perhaps already the most restrictive in the nation.  See Rule 4-7.1 to 4-7.11.

Update (03-23-04):  Walter Olson, wrote to me via email, that he was alarmed to see Florida lawyers arguing that only the judicial branch of government can regulate lawyers.  I agree with W.O. that such a position (besides being incorrect as a matter of law) will likely make lawyers look like an arrogant super-caste, asserting  the sole right to police themselves..

March 20, 2004

Well, We Told You So

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:33 pm

Weakend Special:  Techie jargon and early-adopter buzzwords turn off normal folk.  The headlines from this year’s CeBIT technology fair in Hanover, Germany, tell the tale:



Tech Fair Hawkers Woo the Geek-Wary (A/P, The Porterville Recorder, CA, 03-20-04) 
Firms Dropping Jargon in selling gadgets” (A/P, The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY, 03-20-03, at C2)

Tech fair hawks wares to nongeeks  (A/P, Louisville Courier Journal, 03-20-04)

Gadget fair offerings go beyond geekdom (A/P, Allentown [PA] Morning Call, 03-20-04)

Savvy companies who want a broader appeal have figured it out.  As the A/P article reports:


 question dude  ” Sharp design and simplicity are in. Acronyms are out, along with data transfer speeds, kilobytes and megabytes as marketing tools.” 


   ” At this year’s CeBIT technology fair, computer and telecoms companies are trying to muffle the jargon — aiming their pitches at people indifferent or even hostile to geektalk who still love the gadgets.”


    “‘The consumer is not buying these acronyms, the consumer is buying solutions’,” Rudi Lamprecht, head of Siemens’ mobile phone division, said as he introduced his company’s new phones.

Same things goes for the (we)blogosphere:  if we want the “we” to grow significantly and participate consistently, we need to put the “we” back in the term “weblog” and get rid of that ugly, little four-letter word.  (Hey, I haven’t been on this soapbox in over a month.  It feels good.)

Well, We Told You So

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:33 pm

Weakend Special:  Techie jargon and early-adopter buzzwords turn off normal folk.  The headlines from this year’s CeBIT technology fair in Hanover, Germany, tell the tale:



Tech Fair Hawkers Woo the Geek-Wary (A/P, The Porterville Recorder, CA, 03-20-04) 
Firms Dropping Jargon in selling gadgets” (A/P, The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY, 03-20-03, at C2)

Tech fair hawks wares to nongeeks  (A/P, Louisville Courier Journal, 03-20-04)

Gadget fair offerings go beyond geekdom (A/P, Allentown [PA] Morning Call, 03-20-04)

Savvy companies who want a broader appeal have figured it out.  As the A/P article reports:


 question dude  ” Sharp design and simplicity are in. Acronyms are out, along with data transfer speeds, kilobytes and megabytes as marketing tools.” 


   ” At this year’s CeBIT technology fair, computer and telecoms companies are trying to muffle the jargon — aiming their pitches at people indifferent or even hostile to geektalk who still love the gadgets.”


    “‘The consumer is not buying these acronyms, the consumer is buying solutions’,” Rudi Lamprecht, head of Siemens’ mobile phone division, said as he introduced his company’s new phones.

Same things goes for the (we)blogosphere:  if we want the “we” to grow significantly and participate consistently, we need to put the “we” back in the term “weblog” and get rid of that ugly, little four-letter word.  (Hey, I haven’t been on this soapbox in over a month.  It feels good.)

March 19, 2004

Fairness and Balance

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:55 pm

Daniel Doernberg, President of Fairness.com LLC, wrote an informative  Comment to our recent post questioning his organization’s anti-self-help-law position.  We then engaged in a friendly and useful exchange of correspondence. 


tightrope  Showing that Fairness.com is in fact fair (and maybe even astute), Dan has added a page linking to this weblog, and even one linking to a post on enhancing pro se representation.   Sometimes, gadflies get tiny victories — especially, when dealing with folk who want to be fair.

Fairness and Balance

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:55 pm

Daniel Doernberg, President of Fairness.com LLC, wrote an informative  Comment to our recent post questioning his organization’s anti-self-help-law position.  We then engaged in a friendly and useful exchange of correspondence. 


tightrope  Showing that Fairness.com is in fact fair (and maybe even astute), Dan has added a page linking to this weblog, and even one linking to a post on enhancing pro se representation.   Sometimes, gadflies get tiny victories — especially, when dealing with folk who want to be fair.

March 18, 2004

Teaching/Learning What a Lawyer Should Know

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:27 pm

Like Carolyn at MyShingle and Nancy in Stark County, I think Unbillable Hours’ TPB, Esq has a lot of wisdom to offer on what a lawyer needs to know to serve his or her clients well.


In an essay caled on On Thinking Like a Client, which originally appeared at DeNovo, Lawyer B says



“We need to know humanity. We need to find a way to bridge the gap between our own experiences and the experiences of others so that we may better serve them.”


TPB adds:



 In order to serve a client well, you need to understand how that client thinks. Law school is not the place to learn that. It is there to teach you how the law works and how judges, lawyers, and other decision-makers think.  Outside study, whether of psychology, economics, criminal science, sociology, or simply of how drunk bar patrons act, is necessary to understand your clients and to serve their interests zealously.  (emphasis added)


diner dude . . .


Of course, I had to offer two cents of my own on the topic.  Since I hadn’t posted yet today, I have pasted my Comments to TPB below, concurring in part and dissenting a little:



The attitudes and skills that you’re discussing are so integral to the practice of the legal profession, that helping law students begin to acquire those skills should be at the core of the law school curriculum. The fact that law school can only begin the process of learning to understand and empathize with our clients (and our colleagues, judges, opponents, etc.) is really no different than with any of the skills that we hope are acquired in law school.



pointer dude neg  It’s been 30 years since I started law school, but back then we did not spend one minute learning about how to understand and deal with the fears, anger, needs of human beings that would be our clients (nor even how to conduct any interview). Perhaps the single most important introduction for me to those skills was my first mediation training seminar — just 40 hours over one weekend, with a multi-disciplinary team of instructors. The aptitudes and attitudes needed to be a good mediator are the very ones you’ve pointed to.



I used to say that a divorce mediator could simultaneously commit malpractice in several professions — law, psychology, accounting and more. But the single most important skill for a good mediator or counselor at law is being a good listener. The good listener can understand, and gain trust, and coax out a story, and help reframe and solve problems. The rudiments of listening well can indeed be taught. Our colleges aren’t doing it, so our law schools must.



Then, with that degree on the wall, lawyers have to remember that continuing to learn about human beings and being human is an everyday, active, participatory obligation of our “learned” profession.

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