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

September 27, 2005

fine print? schmine print!

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

Yesterday’s discussion of Missouri’s new lawyer advertising rules

raised the issue of how consumers choose lawyers.  Today, I want

to tell you about a wise consumer who knew which lawyers not to pick.


A reader who found this weblog when Googling about contingency fees,

wrote to tell me about a firm with whom she was discussing a case

potentially worths millions of dollars.   Here are her own words

(emphases added by me):



I had met with these attorneys a month ago about my case. 

They were with me for five hours learning the details and asking

lots of questions. Upon my leaving, they presented me with a

contract to review and sign.


One of the attorneys was putting lots of pressure on me to hurry

and sign, and at that point, I just needed some time to really think

about my decision and my motivations.  


I finally decided I was ready to proceed forward, and called them last

week.  We sent up a meeting for this past Monday.  I had brought with

me a copy of the first contract they had given me to make sure things

were the same. 


Once I was there, they presented me with the contract and things had

been changed. Big things…like the percentages and also their attorneys

fees had gone up.  I immediately questioned the percentages, and he

said that it was a mistake and was quick to correct those.  As far as the

higher attorney’s fees, he said it was to my benefit, since it applied to

the other side having to pay.  Needless to say, I was taken aback. 


eyeChart One of the attorney’s said to me this morning, “It’s like you are

purchasing an airline ticket.  You don’t ask all these questions about the

fine print on the back of the ticket…you just buy it!”  I said to him, “If that

ticket was going to cost me $5 million dollars I most certainly would ask

a lot of questions!”


Anyway, I went and picked up my materials today.  He had told me if I didn’t

have something ready to sign by tommorow at 5:01 I could come pick my

things up.

I’m glad she walked out.  Personally, I’d love to file a grievance against these

lawyers — or give them a little infam-e.  Am I being too critical, impractical,

or naive?


Fiduciary/Schmiduciary” is not an acceptable attitude for a law firm.



tiny check afterthought (Sept. 28, 2005):  A consumer who’s willing to invest some

time in finding a lawyer, should consider reading Jay G. Foonberg’s

Finding the Right Lawyer.  (even its table of contents is helpful)  The

author sells it for $19.95, but the Amazon.com Marketplace has

copies for as little as $1.14 today.   Also, legal reform group HALT

has an online brochure, “Before Your Hire a Lawyer,” that lists your  

rights as a consumer of legal services and the kinds of information

and treatment you should expect from a lawyer.



first snow falling
I trust in his hand…
bridge by the gate



entrusting it to young folk
I sleep…
cozy wood fire


trusting its fate
to the autumn wind…

       translated by David G. Lanoue  



kinkytoon #1: “I Looove Texas”

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:03 pm

Political and humor junkies better head right over to catch the

first online animated campaign commercial in Kinky Friedman’s

2006 independent race to be governor of Texas.  It’s called I Looove Texas,


As the weblog post launching the ad explains:

KinkyLoveTXg Narrated by Friedman, “I Looove Texas” features

endangered cowboys, sexy cheerleaders, and stereotypical politicians

proclaiming their love for Jesus.   It shows Texas through the

unconventional eyes of Kinky and reminds Texans they have another

choice for governor next year-a true Texas independent. 


“I grew up in Texas, I played music in Texas, I wrote my mystery

novels in Texas, and I have traveled the world, but Texas is my home,”

Friedman says in his KinkyToon(TM).

Not having a giant campaign warchest, the mystery-writing-ex-country-rocker KinkyLogo

says, “We’re asking our supporters to distribute the ad to friends and family

so that it spreads like a bad rumor.”   It left me smilin’, so pass it on.


tiny check  We reviewed Kinky’s latest nonfiction book, Texas Hold ‘Em:

How I Was Born in a Manger, Died in the Saddle, and Came

Back as a Horny Toad (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), here.



a flea jumps

in the laughing Buddha’s







autumn’s first geese
crapping on people
fly on




       translated by David G. Lanoue  







exploring the cave

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:36 pm

abandoned still–

broken mason jars

sparkle in the moss






exploring the cave . . .

my son’s flashlight beam

disappears ahead







morning calm . . .

heavy with frost the leaves

continue to fall




leaves falling



closing-out auction–

the farmer clenches the muscles

in his cheek



from Fresh Scent: Selected Haiku of Lee Gurga (Brooks Books, 1998) 



  • by dagosan                                         

three-years’ worth

of cobwebs — first,

he dusts off his Swiffer



                          [Sept. 27, 2005]





tiny check  When a new novel called “The Lincoln Lawyer” was 

mentioned on the radio this morning, I thought it must be about a lawyer

of admirable character.   Instead, I learned that it’s Michael Connolly‘s entry

in the legal thriller genre, and features a criminal defense lawyer of less-than-

sterling character named Mickey Haller. who runs his practice from the backseat

of his Lincoln Town Car, as he travels between the courthouses of L.A. County.

Connolly’s a favorite of mine and I find the rave reviews for “The Lincoln Lawyer

to be quite credible.   His well-defined characters, realistic dialogue and procedures,

and tight plots should set the standard for legal thrillers.   It’s available on

Oct. 3rd at your bookstore, and appears to contain a lot of good ethics hypos

for criminal defense lawyers.

  LincolnLawyerUK Can anyone tell me why books are given different

covers inthe UK than in the USA?   Compare the two for Lincoln

Lawyer here.  The Lincoln Town Car speeding by in a blur in the

USA edition, but looks stationary for the UK.

tiny check  Someone Googled Clarence Darrow’s quotation, “inside every lawyer is

the wreck of a poet” today, and I was pleased to see that the first result was for

an f/k/a post that blurbed about his birthday last April.    Of course, we say:

“Inside every lawyer is a heck of a poet!” (potentially)

                                                                                                                                                                        leaves flying




lawyers and spouses

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:32 am

Thanks to Todd “Mowabb” Chatman and Blawg Review #25, my newly-discovered
weblawg of the week is the two-day-old Law Spouse weblog.  It’s hosted by law-school
widow (and mother of two) “j spaulding.”  Law Spouse‘s tagline is “a blog community
for those who love a law student.”  The editor notes:
“If you’re married, law school and its attendant headaches affect BOTH 
of you, for good or for ill. It’s compounded by trying to work while you
attend law school — even more so if you have children (no matter what
their ages).
“This blog is meant to not only relate my experiences as a law school 
widow — what works and doesn’t, fears and victories — but to act as a
venting place for other law school spouses who sometimes feel like
they’ve earned the right to have that “Juris Doctor” tattoed on their behinds,
as well.”
This weblog is a very good idea and I hope it will attract a broad following — with
the “community” offering a lot of “what works” and not just “what irks” when
trying to share a life with a law student.
still no wife
his voice grows hoarse…
Kobayashi Issa 

       translated by David G. Lanoue  
Finding Law Spouse, reminded me that I’ve been meaning to mention two books
that could be helpful for those who are trying to love a law student or a lawyer:
MarryLawyer?  (1) Should You Marry a Lawyer?: A Couples Guide to Balancing Work,
Love and Ambition, by Fiona Travis, PhD (Niche Press 2003).  A promotional piece
for this book (for which I cannot vouch) says: 

“You will learn …

    The secrets behind the lawyer personality.
    How lawyers differ from the rest of us.
    How to love your lawyer without losing yourself.
    How to argue with your lawyer … and survive.
    How to build intimacy with the lawyer in your life.
    How lawyers can be better, more loving parents.
    How to keep billable hours from destroying your marriage
    How to help your spouse find career satisfaction in or out of the law
    “So, whether you date, live with, are engaged to, work
    for … or are already married .. to a member of the bar, this book is for you! “

(2) Living with Lawyers, by Frances M. Weiner, et al. (Quarry Publishing, 2001).
This book “explores”:

– The Lawyer Personality – the traits successful lawyers share   MarryLawyer?N 
– What the lawyer has learned in law school that changes him/her forever
– The unique stresses of the legal profession

Living with Lawyers will empower people and help them improve your
relationship with a lawyer by revealing:
– The 7 Secrets to Living with Lawyers
– The most effective techniques to communicate with a lawyer
– How you and your lawyer can manage your stress
– How to love a lawyer without losing yourself

Both books are under twenty bucks.  The life you save may be your own.
hey big cat
shake a leg!
the wife calls
pretending not to see
his wife’s face…
defeated wrestler
Kobayashi Issa 

       translated by David G. Lanoue      
handcuffsG  Lawyers Choosing a Spouse:   When drafting his recent sermons
advocating self-assessment by law school applicants, students and lawyers, as
well as keeping one’s options open (and budget under control), Prof. Yabut
avoided an important topic that needs to be mentioned — who you choose to
marry.   This may sound obvious, but sometimes it is lost in the blush of
young love and lust, or inertia: marrying a spouse who, for all your good traits,
is also highly invested in the expected lifestyle and respectability of a financially-
successful lawyer, can greatly (1) limit your future career and life choices;
and (2) exacerbate forces within the profession that so often lead to a focus
on profits, power, and prestige rather than service to society. 
Which is to say: your spouse could be the one snapping on those golden 
handcuffs — or at least be an enabler or cheerleader as you attach that ball
‘n’ chain.  So, while you’re finding out your own values and priorities, make
sure you also know those of a prospective spouse (including once children
arrive), and she or he knows yours.   

spring rain–
in the wife’s sleeve
coins jingle

a wife, a child…
foretelling my fate?
blossoms scatter too

becoming beautiful
Buddhas, butterfly
husband and wife

       translated by David G. Lanoue      

“can I ask you a question?”
ducking, the law students says
“you just did”

              [Sept. 27, 2005]


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