One under-appreciated advantage of having a poor memory (of course, husbands know many others) is the pleasing rediscovery of one’s prior workproduct. That’s especially true for the f/k/a Gang, when the piece seems interesting, informative, irreverent, or in-sync with a hot current topic. Indeed, for a weblog editor, such rediscovery can mean avoiding the creation of a brand new post by republishing or reworking the resurfaced gem.
Recent visitors know that the topic of lawyer competence (and what bar leaders are doing about it) has been on my mind a lot lately (e.g. here and there). My curiosity was picqued, therefore, when I noticed on the SlimStat page for this weblog, that someone had visited an f/k/a post this afternoon titled ”an appearance of incompetence” (Dec. 12, 2005). Honestly, I had no idea what that posting might be about. However, so charmed and re-enlightened was I by it, that I am reproducing most of the piece below for your edification and entertainment.
In addition, if your memory synapses are firing well, you may recall that I promised a couple days ago to bring our visitors previews of the poems found in Baseball Haiku (Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, eds; to be released April 1, 2007, by W.W. Norton; prior post) As baseball is a theme often connected with memory (or vice versa), you’ll also find selections by three of our Honored Guest Poets from Baseball Haiku throughout this posting.
the faint scent of bubblegum
on an old baseball card
……………………. by ed markowski
My visit back to this “appearance” posting reminded me of my first experience with “Main Street Lawyers” filling out forms. After a dozen years as a government antitrust lawyer and manager, I had started on a new career path and found myself serving as a temporary law clerk in Family Court. Part of my job was reviewing the adoption applications, which were made on a standardized form. I quickly learned that the work of one elderly lawyer — who everyone was always saying was “brilliant as a young man” — needed especially close scrutiny. One question on the adoption form, in the section collecting data on the birth mother, was “Age at Birth.” Apparently thinking the question wanted the child’s age at its birth, the elderly lawyer wrote in “zero.” If done intentionally as a bit of humor, the answer was certainly witty. However, the adoption process was slowed down for his client, as the form had to be returned to his office for correction. I wonder if arrows would have helped him. Anyway, reprised herewith is the meat of this newly-rediscovered f/k/a posting:
“an appearance of incompetence” (orig. pub. Dec. 12, 2005)
Yesterday evening, I filled out my biennial New York State Attorney Registration form. . . . . Clearly, one never had to be a rocket scientist to fill out the old Attorney Registration form. In fact, even though some lawyers can be less than fully competent and — more often — less than fully diligent, we would have thought that being a member of the NYS bar might have been sufficient preparation to fill out the Form.
It was quite surprising, therefore, to find the following greeting, from the NYS OCA Attorney [Office of Court Administration] Registration Unit, accompanying the Form:
Dear New York State Attorney,
We are pleased to provide you with this redesigned Attorney Registration form, which includes, for the first time, graphically-enhanced, step-by-step instructions on how to complete the form . . . .
That’s right: “graphically-enhanced, step-by-step instructions”! To be more precise: in the lefthand margin of the Instruction Page, you will find tiny reproductions of the two-page Registration Form, with — hold on! — arrows pointing from each Section of the Form (you know, A, B, C, D) to the related Instructions (again, A, B, C, D).
“easy to assemble”
I put it back and
grab a teddybear
…………………………………… by dagosan
Am I being too negative? Well, go here to see just how helpful this graphic enhancement can be for the poor lawyer facing the task of filling out his or her Registration Form. Remember, the attorney gets only two months to perform this task.
We have at times accused bar regulators of treating both clients and lawyers as if they are simpleminded This little graphic instruction boost seems to suggest a new level of disdain for lawyer intelligence and attention to detail. Just who needs these arrows? What kind of mistakes were being made on prior forms? And, how much did OCA pay for the assistance of form-filling and graphic design experts?
Maybe we should show these Registration forms to pro se litigants, as they struggle to fill out court filings and pleadings. It might make not having a lawyer seem a lot less worrisome. In fact, each pro se party might start hoping the opposing side hires one of them lawyers who needs them there arrows.
in the shoe box
attic light from one window
and the creased Willie Mays
full moon just rising
we recount the best plays
on the drive home
………………………… by Tom Clausen – Baseball Haiku (2007)
“in the shoe box” – orig. pub. Bases Loaded, a renga chapbook
everytime i see his smile
on the Wheaties box
hot stove league . . .
did ryan’s fastball
cast a shadow?
……………………. by ed markowski – Baseball Haiku (2007)
“winter reverie” – orig. pub. bottle rockets, vol, 7, no. 1 (2005)
empty baseball field
a dandelion seed floats through
the strike zone
village ball game
through knotholes in the old fence
…………………… by George Swede – Baseball Haiku (2007)
“empty baseball field” – orig. pub. Almost Unseen (2000)
“village ball game” – orig. pub. As Far As the Sea Can Eye (1979)