f/k/a . . . the archives

February 23, 2005

dull pencil

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

the longest night –
the waterfall’s sound
smothered by ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

haiku notebook
this spring’s seed order
on the last page

 

 

 









  

 


dull pencil

    the staff meeting

    goes on and on

 

 


the longest night” & “haiku notebook”  WHC Double Kukai Contest (20 Shortlist) 2002/2003

“dull pencil” from New Resonance 3: Emerging Voices



 

 

 









middle finger

papercut

middle finger

 

 






afraid to look

under the bed –

dust dinosaurs sleep

[Feb. 23, 2005]

 

 


potluck



 There’s an interesting conversation at My Shingle — Carolyn is “never more mortified”

than when she sees “lawyers trying to shut down legal document preparation services.”  

(see Chicago Sun Times article) Lawyers need to understand that clients deserve low-cost options.

Some consumers must choose the lowest price, others will knowingly take the risk of lesser services,

while others choose full-service or discount lawyers.  If the client really comes first we, can’t deny them

options — indeed, we should help create the options and inform clients about them. 


tiny check  Bravo to Steve Gottleib and Andrea Moran for their ongoing pro bono work helping hat tip small flip 

the homeless to access the justice system.  (Poughkeepsie Journal article, “Law firm steers

needy through legal system, for free,” Feb. 22, 2005)  Bob Ambrogi is absolutely correct: “ it

reflects poorly on the legal profession as a whole that their efforts are seen as extraordinary.

It would be great if ‘lawyers help needy’ were as commonplace as ‘dog bites man.’”




  • Real lawyers do real pro bono and work to directly help clients expand self-help options

    and access to courts.  None of those promotional-trickle-down rationalizations for me.


bulldozerSN  I’ve been pleased to see how much coverage the Kelo eminent domain case has been getting

this week in every media.  I’ve read, seen, and heard (but not podded) accounts that did a good job

presenting the issues in a way easily understood by nonlawyers — and in a way likely to have average

Americans talking constitutional law over coffee.  Publicly useful.

 

tiny check   If you’re following the Florida Bar’s bullheaded crusade against 800 PIT BULL (see

pit-bully pulpit), you can find Pape & Chandler’s Answer Brief here.

4 Comments

  1. David,
    While it’s important for lawyers to actually do real pro bono work (like Morgan and Gottlieb), I do believe that legal blogs also play an important role in making it easier for attorneys to provide low cost or pro bono legal services. In many instances, attorneys who provide pro bono service don’t practice in the areas where they represent clients. Thus, if they can learn about those practice areas from weblogs at no cost, those attorneys can better serve clients.

    The advent of weblogs also makes solo and small firm practice more viable. With so much information available on complex topics like ERISA, Daubert, communications law, appeals, etc…qualified attorneys can leave large firms and start lucrative small practices – where they will hopefully set aside time for pro bono work or legal service at lower cost. This has always been my business model.

    When I started my energy practice, I was so lacking for funds that I used to have to trek to down to the Edison Electric or FERC library to read the energy weekly newsletters to keep up with new developments. That took time from my practice – time I could have spent handling pro bono matters. Now, with so much information available on line, more of my time is freed up – and I imagine the same is true for other solos in complex practice areas.who subsidize pro bono matters with revenue generating matters.

    Of course, blogging is not a substitute for representing an indigent in a civil matter where the client has no other options. But to the extent that it helps to improve the quality of representation, it’s an important contribution nonetheless and shouldn’t be trivialized or overlooked.

    Comment by Carolyn Elefant — February 23, 2005 @ 1:55 pm

  2. David,
    While it’s important for lawyers to actually do real pro bono work (like Morgan and Gottlieb), I do believe that legal blogs also play an important role in making it easier for attorneys to provide low cost or pro bono legal services. In many instances, attorneys who provide pro bono service don’t practice in the areas where they represent clients. Thus, if they can learn about those practice areas from weblogs at no cost, those attorneys can better serve clients.

    The advent of weblogs also makes solo and small firm practice more viable. With so much information available on complex topics like ERISA, Daubert, communications law, appeals, etc…qualified attorneys can leave large firms and start lucrative small practices – where they will hopefully set aside time for pro bono work or legal service at lower cost. This has always been my business model.

    When I started my energy practice, I was so lacking for funds that I used to have to trek to down to the Edison Electric or FERC library to read the energy weekly newsletters to keep up with new developments. That took time from my practice – time I could have spent handling pro bono matters. Now, with so much information available on line, more of my time is freed up – and I imagine the same is true for other solos in complex practice areas.who subsidize pro bono matters with revenue generating matters.

    Of course, blogging is not a substitute for representing an indigent in a civil matter where the client has no other options. But to the extent that it helps to improve the quality of representation, it’s an important contribution nonetheless and shouldn’t be trivialized or overlooked.

    Comment by Carolyn Elefant — February 23, 2005 @ 1:55 pm

  3. Carolyn, thanks for adding to the discussion.  I don’t want to trivialize any genuine attempts by a lawyer to fulfill his or her public service obligations, but I think we’d be hard-put to find examples that fit your rosy scenarios.  
    A lawyer who wants to do pro bono outside her expertise would have a hard time getting up to speed using weblogs — there are more direct ways to do it.
    And, your idea that weblogs will increase pro bono by helping to make highly successful solo practices seems quixotic (they broke the mold when they made you).  The notion of doing pro bono “as soon as” some career milestone is reached has — as D.C. Bar President John C. Keeney, Jr.,  described — led to very few lawyers ever doing substantial amounts of pro bono.
    As my links suggest, I am especially skeptical that any “moral” or “ethical” obligation to inform the public will be fulfilled through weblogs — especially those that a lawyer is primarily maintaining as a promotional tool.
    Like most things in life, the best way to “do” pro bono is to do it.  Twisting the meaning of the phrase to cover just about anything that might trickle down to the economically challenged or ricochet to the “public interest” seems to me to be a way to avoid performing services or dealing with clients that are in some way not appealing. 
     

    Comment by David Giacalone — February 23, 2005 @ 2:26 pm

  4. Carolyn, thanks for adding to the discussion.  I don’t want to trivialize any genuine attempts by a lawyer to fulfill his or her public service obligations, but I think we’d be hard-put to find examples that fit your rosy scenarios.  
    A lawyer who wants to do pro bono outside her expertise would have a hard time getting up to speed using weblogs — there are more direct ways to do it.
    And, your idea that weblogs will increase pro bono by helping to make highly successful solo practices seems quixotic (they broke the mold when they made you).  The notion of doing pro bono “as soon as” some career milestone is reached has — as D.C. Bar President John C. Keeney, Jr.,  described — led to very few lawyers ever doing substantial amounts of pro bono.
    As my links suggest, I am especially skeptical that any “moral” or “ethical” obligation to inform the public will be fulfilled through weblogs — especially those that a lawyer is primarily maintaining as a promotional tool.
    Like most things in life, the best way to “do” pro bono is to do it.  Twisting the meaning of the phrase to cover just about anything that might trickle down to the economically challenged or ricochet to the “public interest” seems to me to be a way to avoid performing services or dealing with clients that are in some way not appealing. 
     

    Comment by David Giacalone — February 23, 2005 @ 2:26 pm

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