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

April 30, 2005

behind the clouds

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:23 pm


empty cabin —

the old sweater

hangs on a nail








mid-term exams
the leaky fountain pen
in his pocket







spring evening
knowing a new moon
is behind the clouds




empty cabin” – 5th choice, WHC R. H. Blyth Award  2002

mid-term exams” – WHC Tournament 

spring evening” – Robert Spiess Tribute, March 2002




  • by dagosan                                               

the nine-year-old’s

best shoes

the puddle-covered sidewalk


[April 30, 2005]



honest  Books that Overpromise:  I wonder why the Deception Police have never

gone after self-help books that fail to produce the promised results, or novels

sold with jacket-cover praise that is clearly (in retrospect) unwarranted.  A new

title I spotted at my local library got me wondering — How to Change Anybody:

Proven Techniques to Reshape Anyone’s Attitude, Behavior, Feelings, or Beliefs,

by David J. Lieberman, PhD.  The book jacket says Dr. Lieberman offers “simple

behavioral strategies that work every time,” and the book tells you how to:

* Make anyone more loyal
* Eliminate prejudice in anybody
* Stop passive aggressive behavior forever
* Infuse anyone with more self-esteem and confidence
* Eliminate self-destructive behaviors in anyone
* Make a wallflower into a social butterfly
*Turn a lazy bum into an ambitious go-getter
* And much more!

Like, if only!  I wonder how many brides will take a chance and put the book on their

wish list.


tiny check Today, Mike Cernovich takes a thoughtful look at the legal issues raised in Doe v.

Miller, which upheld residence restrictions on sexual offenders, which he also

discussed yesterday (as did we).   If you haven’t taken a look yet at the sentencing 

posts by Prof. Douglas Berman , now would be a good time.


tiny check  John Steele points to his spouse’s knitting weblog today.  He seems puzzled by the

fact that hers gets five times the visitors as does his Legal Ethics Forum.  Welcome

to the real world, John.  At NonaKnits, you’ll find a wise post asserting that “Adversity

is not necessarily a bad thing.”

April 29, 2005

do i dare smile?

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 8:23 pm


               wrong way sm Mike Cernovich has added another thought-provoking post at Crime & Federalsim, on the topic of residency restrictions for sexual offenders.  He asks whether we’re creating a new kind of leper colony.  (There’s a thoughtful comment by Nebraska attorney Maren Chaloupka. )  I wonder where such “colonies” will be allowed to exist — or, is this an economic development opportunity for enterprising communities? (Around my neck of the woods, it will definitely not be the prosperous Albany, NY, suburb of Colonie seeking such status, despite its having a few remaining trailer park communities).   

  In Albany, some activists and politicians don’t want sexual offenders living near parks.  This week,  Albany County Legislator Dan McCoy says: “You can live wherever you want in this great country, but they choose to live next to schools and parks. For what reasons?”

How about cheap motels?  A newscast on February 4, 2005 from CapitalNews9 in Albany, started with the words “Just down the road from the Malta Community Center and HighPointe development, four Level 3 sex offenders are living at the Shamrock Motel, leaving residents uneasy and concerned.”  Six days later, News9 reported “A spokesman for the motel said . . . the motel’s policy would be changed to prevent any Level 3 offenders from staying there again.”  If ex-con sex offenders can’t stay at crummy motels, just where are they supposed to live?

  Dr. Richard Hamill, a clincial and forensic psycholgist (with whom I worked as a Law Guardian in child sex abuse cases), is President of the NYS Alliance of Sex Offender Services.  He’s quoted in last Sunday’s Schenectady [NY] Gazette (April 24 2005, “Consequences stem from sex offender registry,” $ub. req’d) saying:

— “If a child is sexually assaulted, the person is more likely to be someone not on the registry than on the registry. . . .”

— “A sex offender who is at lower risk of offending is one who has a full-time job, is stable in the community and has a circle of friends with support.”

In the same article, Prof. Jill Levenson, a board member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual of Abusers, is quoted:

  1. “Sometimes good politics makes bad policy.  Good social policy needs to be well
    thought-out and based on research information so that it can be cost effective.” . . .
  2. “Eighty to 90 percent [of children] are molested by someone their family knows and

noYabutsSN There aren’t any easy answers and we shouldn’t let politicians or noisy activists (or vigilantes) say there are.  If I wanted to protect the kids in my neighborhood from a real, everyday threat to their safety, I’d be trying to get folks with vehicular moving violations as far away as possible.  [Prof. Douglas Berman has put together a list of  his prior posts on sexual offender sentencing, and promises to write soon on the Doe case and “what seems to be an ever-growing ‘sex offender panic’.”]  update (April 30, 2005):  Cernovich has posted on the legal issues raised by Doe v. Miller.

train toward Baltimore
the setting sun
jumps the tracks
dimming the headlights  mosquito2
in the midnight meadow:
falling stars
    plays hide-and-seek
        my sleepfilled eyes
subway blues
strummin’ light
through the tunnel
 …….. by Pamela Miller Ness from  pink light, sleeping  (Small Poetry Press, 1998) for info see                                           

storm clouds gather — ooh
the clock tower
just stands there
new kids moving in —
do I dare
the neighbor’s new dress —
that moment you forget
you’re twice her age
……..by dagosan

haiku schmaiku

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:28 pm

Levity is certainly not banned at Passover, so I’d like to treat you to some

by David M. Bader (Harmony, 1999), and wish Happy Passover to all my

Jewish friends and readers.




Left the door open

for the prophet Elijah

         Now our cat is gone





BLT on toast —

the rabbi takes his first bite,

           then the lightning bolt.






Quietly murmured

at Saturday services,

           Yanks 5, Red Sox 3







“Through the Read Sea costs

extra.”   Israeli movers

              overcharge Moses








  • by dagosan                                               


the kids suddenly

like macaroons



[April 29, 2005]




tiny check Flee before it’s too late:  Washington Post writer Mary Ellen Slayter is following up on her

column on making the decision to go to law school with a live online chat, next Friday, May 6th,

at 2 PM (East Coast time).  Her guest will be the author of Should You Really Be a Lawyer?, the

book we mentioned last week,   You can leave questions in advance and are urged to join in. 


tiny check  Nowhere to flee: At C&F, Mike Cernovich quotes from a disturbing 8th Circuit   commandments

opinion issued today, Doe v. Miller, >No. 04-1568 (8th Cir. Apr. 29, 2005), upholding a ban

against sexual predators living within 2,000 feet of a school.  As Mike notes, Miami Beach

is considering a similar law, which would in practice preclude sex offenders from living anywhere

in the town.  Our society needs to think through the many issues involved in dealing with sex felons

who have competed their sentences.  It’s not just rabid civil libertarians who think we may be going

too far with restrictions — besides the issues of fairness, rights and effectiveness, the measures may

be creating unnecessary hysteria and lulling parents and kids into false feelings of security, with

only grandstanding politicians gaining.   In my agrea there is growing agitation to do more, and a

Schenectay, NY, legislator wants to require GPS monitoring ankle-bracelets on all sex offenders, and

wants to require all landlords to check the offender registry before renting a unit.  [Related:  ABC News 

piece “City Mulls Buffer Zones to Ward Off Sex Offenders,” and AP article, “Fla. Bill Approves Sex-

Offender Monitoring,” April 9, 2005)] 



April 28, 2005

mba, ambrogi and mean old me

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:50 pm


The venerable Bob Ambrogi has taken issue with my treatment of the Massachusetts

Bar Association in the post “bar & guild.”  See LawSite‘s In defense of the Mass. Bar,

(April 28, 2005).  Click here to see both Bob’s statement and the Comments that I left

in response.  (thanks to Lisa Stone for the link).




packing away the scarecrow
grandpa says
his respects



Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue  




microphoneG Our Fool in the Forest friend located another podcast skeptic at Sploid, and George

is correct — “hilarity ensues”.   This old podriah is grinnin’.


doubleheader: Wilson & Kacian

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:30 pm


Together at last:  Billie Wilson from Alaska and

Jim Kacian from Virginia:



alpine meadow-
kneeling to photograph
white heather







warm beer–

heat lightning flickers

beyond the outfield





missing you–

the farrier’s hands

calm the mood mare







“warm beer”  frogpond XVII:2 (2004)

“missing you” frogpond XVII:2 (2004)

“alpine meadow”: The Heron’s Nest (Oct. 2000)




ooh flip




first date–

she lets go of my hand

by the monkey cage







calm evening
the ballgame play-by-play
across the water







the place i can’t reach itches your absence




“first date” Snapshots 10

“calm evening” & “the place” – TAO





  • by dagosan                                               


[sorry: I didn’t write any haiku today;

blame Ambrogi for the distraction]



[April 28, 2005]




tiny check  Noting CourtTV’s challenge to the total ban on cameras in courtrooms in New York State,  tv

Norm Pattis at Crime & Federalism is very down on Entertrials — but, he uses overbroad

arguments he would never accept if his own or his clients’ rights were being limited.  Forty-three

states allow tv cameras in court, and the NYS Bar Association filed an amicus brief supporting

CourtTV.  (see: AP/NYNewsday article; and Rochester, NY Democrat & Chronicle, editorial:

“Allow cameras in New York courts and the U.S. Supreme Court,” April 28, 2005)  Opponents

keep citing polls where lawyers and judges say cameras changed their behavior.  Given our notion

that most judges and lawyers would prefer to avoid being e-shamed of themselves, I’ve got to

wonder if their behavior got worse or better in front of tv cameras. 


tiny check  Carolyn Elefant writes about the occasional loneliness of the solo practitioner, and points

to a column offering some advice.  Carolyn admits she’s more of a loner, but still can miss

interacting with colleagues.  I’m pretty gregarious, and not having an office filled with

colleagues and staffers was a big downside for me in my years as a solo.  Luckily, my

practice got me to Family Court a few times a week (where I was soon reminded of the

pluses of solitude).


ooh neg  More Referer MadnessMore curious search engine results from my Referer Page

(or, is there a pattern here?):

curmudgeons> f/k/a is #1 in this Yahoo search, out of 91,000 results, due to our post


Ayatollah Khomeini Salmon Rushdie fatwah> we’re #2 in a Google search, thanks

to our ringing defense of Yusuf Islam, f/k/a Cat Stevens.


lawyers day>  #1 of 35.5 million results in a Yahoo search, because we wrote


Ron Baker value pricing>  our expose ron baker & price sensitivity placed us #1  

of 35,000 results in this Google Search.


“tinyredcheck”   Can antitrust law learn from the field of “complexity science“?   That intriguing topic is

of Antitrust to be held June 20, 2005, at the National Press Club, Washington DC.   You can find links to

related papers and books at the newly-created Compexity Page in AAI’s Guide to Antitrust Resources on the Web. [Note: Attendance at the limited-space Roundtable is currently by invitation, but will be opened, if

space is available.  If seats become available, I will let you know.]



April 27, 2005

her signature

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:36 pm


in the pollen

on my car

her sigature






waiting for you–

the faces

of missing children




paper clip horiz neg



last piece

of a jigsaw puzzle . . .

filling in the sky




John Stevenson from Quiet Enough, Red Moon Press, 2004



  • by dagosan                                               

twin beds arrive


  she says it’s ’cause I snore





gray and rainy —

the passers-by

smile anyway                 



[April 27, 2005]



tiny check Stu Levine at the TaxBiz weblog has shared one of his most cogent pieces of wisdom

(“Fools and Knaves, Wall Street Journal Edition,” April 26, 2005):

“I have developed a simple rule of thumb in analysing conservative policy

pronouncements, the Knaves and Fools Rule. The rule is simple: Conservative

policy pronouncements are made by knaves and then the pronouncements are

believed and repeated by fools.”

Stu’s example of this rule is the recent WSJ assertion that the rich are being soaked,

as our tax code become more and more progressive.  Read the post for the details,

but here’s its conclusion:

Contrary to the WSJ‘s conclusion, overall, the various changes in the tax

code since 1982 have made the federal tax system less, not more, progressive.

That is, the rich are paying a lower portion of the overall tax burden relative to

their income now then they did in 1982 and the system’s progressivity is headed

for further declines.

The Moral of the Story: Only fools rely on “facts” bruited about by knaves.


bishop  Over at Legal Underground, guest writer Abnu does he best to explain why the Catholic

Church’s Canon Law asserts sole jurisdiction over priests who sexually molest minors.  

Decide for yourself whether you’re convinved.



tiny check  Weblog Exposure:  A check on my Referer Page suggests one possible benefit of Comment

Spam — it can attract first-time visitors and give you a chance to keep them coming.  Example:

someone queried Yahoo for kelly clarkson swimsuit pictures> and comment spam gave f/k/a

the #5 result out of 2430.  [readers of this weblog know we are not likely to have a pix of Kelly

displayed here; click here for a mug shot) Of course, when it comes to referals, a link from Walter,

Nancy or Marshall is a lot more effective and far more appreciated.


tiny check Congratulations to Ted Frank on his new job as director of the Liability Project at AEI.  I hope that

won’t mean Ted will no longer have time to add his two cents and more at Legal Underground. 

(Ted, you forgot Evan’s name on your “great lawyers” list.  Looks like a litmus test.)



tiny check  For a whiney (and also whinny) litany of complaints, with absolutely no constructive advice, see

this contribution by frequent Letter-to-the-Editor writer, Charles Faktor, a 1990 graduate of Harvard

Law School, who’s complaining again about his alma mater. (The Record, “The failures of HLS,”

April 21, 2005) (via jd2b)


paper clip horiz gray

April 26, 2005

your local Bar & Guild

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


As we approach Law Day, bar associations across the nation will be heard

congratulating themselves on all they do to promote justice and protect the public. 

(see our post)  At this weblog, “we” think such self-aggrandizement should be 

avoided in favor of a bit of soul-searching.   Most bar groups spend much of

their time acting like guilds — promoting the interests of their members, and

“protecting” the public from competition, information, innovation and choice.  Maybe

Law Day 2005 (May 1st) can be an occasion to re-align our priorities and become 

public service organizations, improving the profession for the sake of our clients, 

the justice system and the entire public.  


MassMap   In this piece, I focus on bar groups from Massachusetts, but I hope

you’ll ask how your local bar & guild compares. . . .


“tinyredcheck”  Click here to continue reading this post, which includes

numerous examples of guild-like activities, and an extended look at  

the recent proposals from a Massachusetts Bar Association task force

called “Protecting the Public: Reforming the Disciplinary Process.”



getting drunk

       on my arm

the tavern mosquitos





the killer’s hands

   fold a paper






mirrors, mirrors,


with my bald spot




David G. Lanoue author of the novels Haiku Guy 


by dagosan:  

one sparrow

along the river —

squinting, there’s no city


                          [April 26, 2005]




tiny check  Well, time for some whining of our own:  It seems that the proud home of

ethicalEsq did not make it onto the newest list of “high-quality [legal] ethics sites 

on the web,” despite lamentation over the dearth of such sites.  Our response: try

a lot harder from now on, or learn zen-Buddha indifference.  Right now, I’m hoping for

the wisdom of indifference.  (via Legal Ethics [we]Blog)


tiny check  On the other hand, we topped two very interesting search engine queries

over the past 24 hours:

national hair stylist appreciation day 2005> — coming in #1 and #2 of

1540 results in a Yahoo Search, thanks to our post about unappreciated lawyers. 

By the way, you should honor your hair stylist on April 30th. 



self-aggrandize> — coming in #1 of 29,800 results in a Yahoo Search, due to

our discussion of the disbarment of Jonathan A. Weinstein.   This result inspired us

to use the term again in today’s post above. 

April 25, 2005

just because i’m dawdling . . .

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:36 pm

. . . doesn’t mean you should miss your haiku today.

Here’s three from our Welsh friend Matt Morden:




an old woman mops her step
before the rain stops 







last cast
a fisherman’s breath
becomes river mist




sea cave
only children fit through
a spring-water curtain


“thunderstorm” – Haiku Canada Newsletter  (Feb 2005)

last cast”  the heron’s nest (Jan. 2002)

“sea cave”  world haiku assn bio


by dagosan:  

spring sun behind clouds —

too much makeup

on her still-lovely face



                           [April 25, 2005]


tiny check  One reason I’m running late today:  Blawg Review #3 is   fishing pole

out at Appellate Law & Practice and Irrespressible Error has

accumulated too many meaty entree.  (Thanks for listing our piece

on applying to law school.)    For example, like your editor, BuffsLaw

seems sexual stereotyping and discrimination behind lawyer ethics

rules banning sex with clients (and suggesting it is the male lawyer

who is powerful and to be feared).


tiny check  Speaking of e-dawdling, Jeff Beard asks “Is technology making

us more scatterbrained?” 


pointerDudeSm   Having seen my Law Day post, Jeremy Richey sent me a heart-

warmer:  Southern Illinois University at Carbondale will present 12 one-hour

seminars on legal topics for the public, on April 30th, as part of their

Law Day celebrations. (SIUC news)  “Legal Research for non-lawyers”

looks interesting.  I’m not so certain a lot of the public is signing up for

“The fundamentals of restorative justice.”  Of course, I don’t think that

one day a year is enough.  There should be on-going programs that help

the public learn about, and how to protect, their rights.

April 24, 2005

forget Earth Day?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:24 pm

We forgot to highlight Earth Day on Friday, April 22 (and, yes, the gang here 

almost forgot last year, too).  The first Earth Day was 35 years ago, in 1970

(I was a college junior!).  For me, Earth Day is a lot like Valentine’s or Mother’s

Days — not necessary, if you’re demonstrating your love and respect every day,

as you should.


In my city (scroll down to #1), and apparently across the land, special arrangements   earthSG  

were made to encourage the proper recycling of obsolete or unwanted electronic

equipment.   While checking out celebrations around the net, I came upon the site

of the Earth Day Network, and decided to take its Earthday Footprint Quiz,.which

was developed by Redefining Progress.org.    I hope f/k/a‘s visitors will  take the

Footprint Quiz, which is described thusly:

Ever wondered how much “nature” your lifestyle requires?

You’re about to find out.

This Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive

land and water you need to support what you use and what you

discard. After answering 15 easy questions you’ll be able to compare

your Ecological Footprint to what other people use and to what is

available on this planet.




Despite my very modest lifestyle (I have about half the “footprint” of the average

American), the results told me:  “If everyone [on the planet] lived like you, we would

need 2.5 planets.”   There’s a lot of thought-provoking information at the RP website,

including RP’s Global Footprint Update (March 2004), which explains the concept, 

the global situation, and what needs to be done to help move toward sustainable 

economies and lifestyles.  Table 2 of the update (at 14) gives the Ecological Footprint

of Nations.  U.S.A. became the highest per capita Footprint nation in 2000.  Here is a

list that compares the U.S.A. with several other nations, to give you an idea of where we 

stand.  [A hectare is 2.466 acres; there are about 1.82 productive hectares — 4.5 acres —

per capita on this planet.]   

Footprint (global hectares per capita)


United States 9.57 (the only nation over 9.00, there are 6 nations over 8.00)

Russia 4.28

Germany 4.26

Italy 3.26

Japan 3.91

Isreal 3.97

China 1.36

Bangladesh 0.50

I’m going to try better to make everyday Earth Day.  Small or symbolic

gestures, however, won’t make a lot of difference — our homes and cars

are, in general, too big.  Even better than recycling: consuming a lot less.


earthSB  Barry George is a haiku poet who is very aware of

the connection between humans and our planet — even those who

live in cities.  Here are three of his poems:



lost in thought–
the track announcer’s voice
drifts over the river







city dawn–
window washers
rise on their scaffold





clear marsh sky –
the sound of geese
drinking water



Barry George  from the heron’s nest – a haikai journal


by dagosan:  

Earth Day —

recycled bottles

in a three-car garage                  

                                     [April 24, 2005]





“einsteinTime”   Fun Fact:  If you Google einstein plaids and stripes> our post from

last Sunday is the #2 result (even though the famous quote also appeared in an

AP story that ran in Sunday newspapers nationwide).   If you like Albert’s fashion

statement as much as I do, you can find it on t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, etc., here.

Law Day, Not Lawyers Day

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:35 am

Encore: As relevant as last year.

Sherman Adams, chief of staff to President Eisenhower, almost prevented the creation of Law Day, in 1958. Adams burst into the President’s office yelling “Do not sign that paper praising lawyers!’

scales rich poor According to the originator of the idea of Law Day, Charles S. Rhyne, here’s what happened next:

“The President held his hand up for silence until he had read the entire document. Then he said ‘Sherm, this Proclamation does not contain one word praising lawyers. It praises our constitutional system of government, our great heritage under the rule of law, and asks our people to stand up and praise what they have created. I like it and I am going to sign it.’ And he did.”

Rhyne, who wanted May 1st to be about the rule of law and peacekeeping, not Soviet-style May Day Parades, explained further:

“It has always seemed to me that Adams thought I was urging not recognition of Law Day but recognition of a Lawyers’ Day, sort of like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. I am glad that President Eisenhower set him straight.”

Despite this history, it seems to the editorial board here at f/k/a that far too many bar groups and lawyers think of May 1st as Lawyers’ Day, rather than Law Day — and, it is just this twisting of a noble cause into a moment for self-congratulation and public relations that makes Americans suspicious of lawyers (indeed, just as suspicious as human beings have been of lawyers under all other kinds of legal systems across the millennia). (See First Thing . . . Let’s Quell All the Liars)

podiumSN For an example of this little switch in emphasis, check out Trial Lawyers’ Care Is a Celebration of Law Day’s Meaning, from the American Trial Lawyers Association. Here are the first three sentences of the ATLA op-ed on Law Day (emphasis added):

May 1st is Law Day, an opportunity to reflect upon the privileges we enjoy and responsibilities we bear as citizens of a nation founded upon laws that protect our rights and ensure our freedom.

President Eisenhower no doubt recognized the great service that the American legal system and its practitioners would always provide when, in 1958, he signed a proclamation designating May 1 as Law Day. But no one could envision then that hundreds of trial lawyers would volunteer their time and talents, free of charge, to help victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and their families

Similarly, the American Bar Association has decided to polish the image of lawyers by focusing on the 50th Anniversary of the landmark, school desregation decision in Brown v. Bd. of Education. Near the top of its Sample 2004 Law Day Proclamation, the ABA praises “the work of dedicated lawyers in Brown and in hundreds of other cases challenging segregation demonstrated the highest standards of advocacy in the service of a great cause.” Nowhere, are we told, of course, of the vast armies of lawyers who struggled for decades across this nation to frustrate and stall the principles of Brown and equality.

paint can Likewise, we see a similar whitewashing in the ABA Law Day Talking Points, which boast — in a sample speech called How the Legal Profession Contributes to Our Society:

In a society based upon the rule of law, those who have studied it have played a role far out of proportion to their numbers in the population. We were present at the creation. Out of the fifty-five member of the 1787 Constitutional Convention that created the nation, thirty-one were lawyers.
From the beginning, because of the nature of our training in analysis, synthesis, critical thinking, and method of practice in a licensed profession, lawyers have been found in elected and appointed office far more than any other profession.

Overlooked is the less-than-courageous stance taken by all those founding-lawyers when it came to slavery and the status of blacks in America. (see, e.g., Garry Wills’ “Negro President“: Jefferson and the Slave Power.)

Of course, there have been courageous and admirable lawyers throughout our history. But, the American public knows that those virtues are rare — as they are in any profession, career, or walk of life. Indeed, the opposite traits seem to appear far too often in members of the legal profession, who — let’s face it — are mostly (1) in the business of helping those with money and power keep it or get more of it, or (2) doing very mundane tasks, for relatively good pay, that keep the wheels of society and government moving and individual lives running fairly well within the constraints of human limitations on planet earth.

Here’s the very first Law Day Proclamation:

“Now, therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, May 1, 1958, as Law Day — USA. I urge the people of the United States to observe the designated day with appropriate ceremonies and activities; and I especially urge the legal profession, the press and the radio, television and motion picture industries to promote and to participate in the observance of that day.”

Note that Ike urged the legal profession to “promote” the day, not promote itself. In closing his remarks in 2000 about the history of Law Day, Lawyer Rhyne expressed the hope (emphasis added):

“that the opportunity which Law Day provides to reflect on the use of law by both nations and individuals will prompt both you in this audience and the leaders of nations to explore ways in which not only the Internet, but also other new technologies, can make more law more readily available to those who need it.”

Those are goals worthy of Law Day and worthy of a profession that can and should be great, but that needs to be humble, too. Instead of proclaiming ourselves the Honorees on Law Day, we should be honored to put ourselves at the service of the Law and of our clients.

  • P.S. The legal profession’s image and self-image problem is not simply that “most lawyers do a terrible job of explaining to themselves or anyone else why what we do is important and valuable.” It is also that we don’t even try to explain or acknowledge that (or why) a lot of what we do is not any more important or valuable than what most workers do day in and day out at their jobs; nor do we explain very well why so many lawyers seem to be doing things that are harmful to society and, often, to our own clients.
  • Lots of lawyers like to say they are “proud of their profession.” That language is either meaninglessly broad or far too imprecise. skepticalEsq suggests that it’s more appropriate to be “proud” of one’s own knowledge, professionalism, dedication, and application of skills and effort — and of particular instances of all of the above in others.
  • prof yabut small flip Been sounding too much like my predecessor lately. Gonna have to (en)lighten up. For a lawyer-related smile, from Frank & Ernest, click here; Callahan on lawyers here: and Bizarro here.

tiny check update: Further food for thought: Bar & Guild (April 26, 2005), and towards a better Law Day (May 2, 2005).

  • Enjoy a few haiku, from Barry George, longtime “recovering lawyer”, now English teacher and haiku poet:

long deposition–
the lawyer’s
“at the risk of repeating myself”

first murder trial–
the D.A. arrives
in new gloves

autumn sun–
the lawyer carries home
a pumpkin

the accused teen
and his lawyer…
dressed for spring

April 23, 2005

the courage to speak to her

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:42 pm


no sign
where two roads meet
iris blooms







spring rain
a bruise on my arm
from donating blood







evening walk
a merry-go-round turning
in the fog








cherry blossoms
today the courage
to speak to her




paul m   from the heron’s nest — a haikai journal    “THNLogoG”

no sign”  “evening walk”  “spring raincherry blossoms


– find three more haiku from paul m. in the newest Roadrunner (V:2) –


by dagosan:  

rainy Saturday —

the chirping robin

needs a date, too

                              [April 22, 2005]


tiny check  Thanks to Marshall Camp at jd2b for pointing to the f/k/a piece on
law school promotional tactics and standards.


tiny check   jd2b also pointed to a recent Washington Post Career Track column

that is a must-read for college students thinking about going to law

school.   In a review of the book Should You Really Be a Lawyer?,

by D. Schneider and G. Belsky (2004), Mary Ellen Slayter lists some of

the most common traps that applicants fall into as they march mindlessly

toward law schools without figuring out their own motivations, adding up

the true cost, assessing realistic job options if saddled with large debt, or

seeking out unbiased and experienced opinions about law practice.  “First,

Make a Case: Is Law School for You?” (Wash. Post, April 17, 2005)

April 22, 2005

sidewalk ants

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:13 pm

lake without a ripple

I pocket the smooth

skipping stone










empty baseball field

a dandelion floats through

the strike zone









stepping on

sidewalk ants     the boy

everyone bullies




(Brooks Books, 2000) 



by dagosan:  

first-date stroll

April tulips

still closed tight

                                                       [April 22, 2005]


tiny check Give ‘Em More Choices: The Federal Trade Commission and Department of 

Justice urged the Texas Real Estate Commission to reject a proposal that would turn

back the clock by prohibiting the unbundling of real estate brokerage services

FTC & DOJ said the move would restrict consumer choice and raise the price of real

estate services, forcing them to take a mandatory package of services — including 

negotiation of the purchase price and multiple listing.  (FTC press release, April 21, 2005)


tiny check Yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court concluded that a mortage company   courthouse1

does not engage in the unauthorized practice of law when it prepares a document

for its own use and charges a separate document-preparation fee for the service.

King v. First Capital Financial Services (Docket Nos. 97263. April 21, 2005). It 

said that it is the character of the conduct — here, the pro se preparation of the loan

documents — not the charging of the fee that determines whether the conduct is UPL.

It’s a good decision, but HALT makes a little too much of it here.

tiny check   A few days ago, we mentioned that this website seems to be coming up as the

fourth result in a lot of searches.  Yesterday, there was another goody:  We were #4

of 5,310,000 in the Google query the word ‘blog’ is short for> (see our post “the

word blog — our Language Legacy“).   On a more serious note, it was quite gratifying

to be the #1 result for “lawyer’s” “Fiduciary responsibility”> (see this post).


pickup g The newest edition of Roadrunner Haiku Journal is now online.   In addition

to our Guest paul m., you’ll find haiku from 10 other fine haijin in Roadrunner V:2.


April 21, 2005

ron baker: sensitive guy?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:55 pm

I don’t know the private personality of value-pricing guru (and hourly-billing nemesis) Ron Baker, but he sure does care about price sensitivity. As I discussed in a post two days ago, Ron left a Comment asking me to read his work more thoroughly, before concluding that he’s insensitive to the ethical aspects of value billing and premium pricing by lawyers.

RonBaker Yesterday, while waiting to see whether Ron would send me a copy of his latest tome, I clicked on a link from my Referer Page to the Google query [Ron Baker hourly billing], and instantly came upon his articlesHourly Billing Limits Profitabilty” and “Pricing Strategies” (SmartPros, Jan. 2000), which eventually led me to a few other articles and then back to his book The Firm of the Future. I thought that many of Ron’s analogies and examples were inapt (e.g., airline tickets, insurance policies, mortgages) for pricing strategies to be employed within the special relationship of lawyer and client for the provision of legal services — especially to the less-sophisticated client. Mostly, though, I was struck by the centrality of price (in)sensitivity in Ron’s pricing strategy, as he campaigns against hourly billing and its “limited” profits.

Baker advises professionals to maximize their “leverage” over each client, maneuvering so that the client is far less price-sensitive. This allows the professional to charge “premium fees,” well over the amounts that would be yielded using the billable hour method, resulting in increased profits (and more leisure time for the professional). This is apparently Ron’s ethics-sensitive alternative to client dissatisfaction with hourly billing. His position is justified with a self-righteous condemnation of the billable hour system itself (rather than its abuse or the profit motive that fuels its excesses) as unethical. His definition of “value” is no longer the provision of a quality product at a reasonable price, but instead the provision of services at whatever price can be leveraged out of the client. The professional gets significantly richer and the client gets the subjective feeling of receiving more value.

hat rabbit So, yes, I’ve read more of Ron Baker’s teachings, and I’m even less convinced that “what-we-can-get-away-with” is an appropriate pricing strategy and ethos for lawyers. I’m also amazed by the ethical blindness created by the glow of pots of gold. Lord, please save the client from such professionals, such ethics and such fiducial protection!

click here to see excerpts from Ron’s writings on the subject of price sensitivity, leveraging and premium pricing in the context of so-called value pricing; some editorial annotation is also supplied. You might especially check out Mr. Baker’s proposed use of the Change Order to “leverage” premium fees from clients who have signed a Fixed Fee agreement. E.g, in Change Orders: What a Concept!“, Ron says:

“A favorite way to make the client insensitive to premium fees is the use of Change Orders when services are needed beyond those covered in the initial fixed-price arrangement [no kiddies, pricing can’t really all be done up front]. “

Ed. Note: In addition to adopting a more guru-new-agey image, Baker has taken some of his most frank, troublesome, avaricious phrases out of articles mentioned here at f/k/a.  In some instances, the version quoted is no longer available online, and we’ve had to link to subsequent, scrubbed versions.

for the fat green from
crouched on the log
time is flies

…………… by George Swede from Almost Unseen

in my thicket
they’re out of time…

cherry blossoms–
residents of this world
a short time

spring mist–
people without hoes
wasting time

……………………………. from Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

haiku potluck: horses, baseball, scarecrow

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:41 pm


Fog in the meadow —

the soft arc of horses’ necks

faintly visible




Rainfall pelts the roof —

smell of fresh pine chips

from the pinto’s empty stall



(Birch Prees Press, 2002)









     51 candles


     still this wish


     pitch in yankee








withering wind…

the scarecrow’s jacket





Ed Markwoski

“51 candles” to appear in The Elysian Fields Quarterly.








I’m the scarecrow’s









at evening’s bell
the fields are crowded…
with scarecrows!



translated by David G. Lanoue  




by dagosan:  

flood damage —


our new riparian beach







haven’t seen her

in 30 years —

sending one more chaste email

                                                                                 [April 21, 2005]



tiny check  Them too sensitive?  Why are Steve Bainbridge and other conservative Catholics so upset

by the negative responses of lefties and the nonbelieving media to the election of Cardinal

Ratzinger to the papacy?  I’d expect a more dignified — not to mention Christ-like — response

from individuals who think Benedict XVI was chosen by the Holy Spirit and possesses The

Truth.  Benedict certainly can take care of himself and doesn’t need his side of the blogosphere

reacting to negative press with their own counter-hissy-fits — not to  mention their own less-

than-objective interpretations of Ratzinger’s pre-papal actions, writings and comments.


tiny check Me too Sensitive?  Although Prof. B. didn’t seem to mind, I couldn’t help but feel the  “dagMugS” 

scourge of lookism in Don Hewitt’s op/ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times (“New with Views,”

April 20, 2005)  Hewitt, creator of “60 Minutes,” thinks network news broadcasts could attract

more viewers by “taking a page from the 60 Minutes book and offering some audacious commentary.  

So far so good, but Hewitt then limits the commentator role to “bright, attractive articulate men and

women.”  That gets this old goat‘s goat.  It’s tough enough being bright and articulate most days. 

Going for “attractive” is going to be a stretch.   On the other hand, this guy got a pretty good slot.


tiny check  She’s too busy:  I’m sorry to hear that Marcia Oddi is going to stop posting at her always-interesting

(even to non-Hoosiers) site, The Indiana Law Blog.   Marcia says “I love doing the blog, but it is

taking up far too much of the time that I need to spend: (1) producing income; and (2) finding new

clients for my “information solutions” business. ”  I wish Marcia all the best and hope she’ll have

time to be a commentor and visitor at other weblogs.

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