f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 19, 2005

help abolish lawyer tyranny

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:41 pm

sat. pm potluck


1] Sorry, Mom, I can’t help ya:  Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Bar’s

ULP Opinion 207 (Feb. 18, 2004), which concluded that a lawyer-trained social worker

would be guilty of the unlawful practice of law by assisting pro se litigants in the preparation,

or even the selection, of forms for Small Claims Court.  Virginia’s Bar Council met today (Feb.

19) in Richmond to consider approving, disapproving or modifying the opinion.  

topHatAbe The legal reform group HALT (f/k/a Help Abolish Legal Tyranny) submitted

comments to the Virginia State Bar on Feb. 17, 2005, pointing out that Virginia’s

Small Claims courts require the use of unusually difficult forms and, “The vast majority

of Virginia small claims litigants are unable to complete court forms unassisted.  If the

Virginia Small Claims Division is to serve any meaningful function as an accessible

arbiter of justice, litigants must be allowed to use the assistance of nonlawyers.”  HALT

has a small claims reform project that is fighting for the use of plain-English forms and

in-person assistance to consumers at the courts.

2] HALT‘s Feb. 16, 2005 newsletter suggests that bar groups are continuing to act like

guilds — putting their interests before clients’ interests and rights — while courts have

been at the forefront of assisting pro se litigants and the self-help legal movement.  Examples:

  • The Georgia State Bar may adopt a proposal preventing nonlawyers from

    drafting articles of incorporation.

  • The Montana State Bar Association is “gagging” consumers from speaking

    publicly about their complaints against lawyers. A consumer will face punishment

    if she decides to disclose to anyone, including family membersand friends, that she

    has filed a complaint.

  • In January 2005, the Wisconsin Board of Governors rejected the new ABA Ethics

    2000 rule requiring written fee agreements. 


On the other hand, thank you, Your Honor:

  • Throughout 2005, one of Hawaii’s family courts will hold monthly sessions of

    “Divorce Law in Hawaii,” a free session for the public offering an overview on

    the process and tips on finding self-help resources.

  • Wisconsinites going through a divorce will have a new resource starting in spring

    2005. The court system is putting the finishing touches on a project to create a set

    of standardized pro se divorce forms that can be used throughout the state. These

    forms will be available in courthouses and on the state’s Web site.


                                                                                                                                                          Sam B., click for original


3]  Now I understand:  It appears that both Prof. Steven Bainbridge and his then-puppy, Sam,

were exposed to significant amounts of Purple Snow a number of years ago.   Given the well-

known effects of purple rain and purple haze on other celebrities, the weblawgger a/k/a Prof. B.

can perhaps be excused for actin’ funny and asking “is it tomorrow or just the end of time?”

penny sm It does not appear that Steve is yet affiliated with this, this, or that product

penny sm  Speaking of the scent of money, given the extraordinary canine sense of  penny sm

smell [50 to 100 times better than that of humans, per this source, and “thousands of times”

better, per this report], I wonder which wines are Sam’s favorites — and whether Sam is a 

partner over at this weblog.  I bet he works for scrapsunder the table.



scattering onto
my purple sleeves…
spring snow


on purple clouds
when will I set sail?
western sea


ISSA, translated by David G. Lanoue


NODD Declare Victory, and then Do It Again:  I got an email today from the Not One Damn Dime folks.

Despite our skepticism over slacktivism, the NODDites claim their spending-boycott on Inauguration Day

was a huge success.”  And, on April 15th they’re gonna do nothing again — this time for the cause of

“responsible spending.”   I like the cause.  However, the now-revealed initiator of NODD, communications

professional and political junkie, Pete Smith of Minnesota, does not seem to be in touch with political

reality.  (Pete and Daily Kos’ Rabid Nation might have to take a paternity test to settle just who is the

progenitor of NODD.)


                                                                                                                 penny sm

faint first star

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:51 pm

Such a pleasant Saturday.  Before heading out to a sunny winter day, I just

“strolled” my favorite haiku garden and found one of my favorite haiku poets.


As a result, here are three poems from The Heron’s Nest by George Swede:  “thnLogoF” 



ebb tide
the sand castle moat
still showing clouds





old tombstone
losing its name
faint first star


by the statue
of the polar explorer
lingering snow


George Swede from The Heron’s Nest – a haikai journal


by dagosan:  


cirrus clouds and

a dusting of snow —

the midday moon is shedding


                                                 [Feb. 19, 2005]


snowFlakeSN  potluck


“tinyredcheck”   Frankly, my morning was not all pleasant.   I spent time at MyShingle

“discussing” reasonable contingency fees with Eugene, at a post that had

been about needing to have retainer agreements. (I don’t start these fights.

I just point out the logical responsibilities that go with professional & fiduciary

duties, and the primacy of the client’s, not the lawyer’s interests.)  


tiny check  Mike “Fedster” Cernovich never stops making work for me.  Please

go to C&F and answer his question:  Is a public defender system better for

indigent clients than having assigned counsel?  Or as Mike puts it:  “Is Mr.

Giacalone right?” that PDs are better.


tiny check  Thanks to Bob Ambrogi and Kevin Heller for pointing to Evan D.

Brown’s new Internet Cases weblog — a topic of interest to many of us.



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