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

March 8, 2006

more lawyer poetry from Legal Studies Forum

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:41 pm

West Virginia law professor Jim Elkins has done it

again — produced a mammoth collection of poetry by

lawyer-poets and poet-lawyers, in an edition of The

Legal Studies Forum (Vol. XXX, 2006). (see this post, and that post)


LSF XXX Cover (2006)


Vol. XXX (which should not be confused with Taboo Haiku)

contains more than 700 pages, 500 of which present

poetry from more than sixty living poets, who happen to

have earned law degrees: from New Hampshire public

defender Seth Abramson to Illinois appellate judge Warren

Wolfson. Click here for an image of the cover that lists all

of the contributors.


I’ll have more to say about the legal mind and poetry

soon. Until then, you might want to see what Jim

Elkins has said about the topic and about his labor

of obsessive love, Rattle #23 “In Search of the Lawyer

Poets,” 2005. A newer version of the Rattle essay

appears in LSF XXX.

Hint: Find subscription information

for the Legal Studies Forum here. Don’t

forget: it looks like a law review journal

on your desk or book shelf.

For my taste, of course, there are not enough haiku

poets represented, so I hope f/k/a visitors who are in the

legal profession will take up their pens and start writing

haiku or senryu (click for tips). Meanwhile, here are haiku

from LSF XXX, by two of my favorite poet-lawyers:


tiny check n



harvest moon

the long pull

of faraway children







quiet rain

. . . the deeper quiet

of uncut roses





tiny check n


my daughter’s hands

mend the link

on my earring

the latest skill

I never taught her


roberta bearyLegal Studies Forum XXX (2006)

“harvest moon” – The Heron’s Nest

“quiet rain” – Paperclips (Press Here 2001)

“my daughter’s hands” – Tanka Anthology (2005)


falling blossoms —


just another tree





Adirondack chair


with snow





frozen river —

snow hides

the elm’s reflection


david giacaloneLegal Studies Forum XXX (2006)

“Adirondack chair” – Simply Haiku (Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter 2005)
“frozen river” – Mainichi Daily News No. 669 (March 5, 2005)
“fallen blossoms” – Roadrunner Haiku Journal (V:4, Nov. 2005)


“zenJudaismR” “For this you went to Harvard Law School?”

tiny check bonus: a bit of Zen Judaism from David M. Bader

Let go of pride, ego and opinions. Admit your errors
and forgive those of others. Relinquishment will lead
to calm and healing in your relationships. If that
doesn’t work, try small-claims court.”

Legal Studies Forum XXX (2006);
from Zen Judaism : For You, A Little Enlightenment (2002)


tiny check When we featured a few of Bader’s Haikus for Jews
at Passover last year (see “haiku schmaiku“), we had
no idea that he was a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Finding him just a couple pages from dagosan‘s work in
LSF XXX was a pleasant surprise.

According to an article, from 2000, in the Harvard Law
Bulletin , Bader disliked the “boredom and adrenaline”
at his two post-degree law firm jobs. “He has heard vari-
ations on the theme of: ‘For this you went to Harvard Law
School?’ . . . Writing humor books was not what he ex-
pected to do when he enrolled at HLS. But he also didn’t
expect that he would not like his job practicing law. So
he plans to continue writing professionally. Because even
though ‘you can make a bad living out of it,’ he said, ‘the
hours are much better’.”


You can find samples from Zen Judaism at Amazon.com
and at the Random House website, including:

If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?

Bader’s latest best-seller is Haiku U.100 Great Books in 17
Syllables (2005). I hope David wouldn’t mind my saying that
they’re fun and funny, but they ain’t haiku (except perhaps
by accident).



New Lawyer Discipline Report Cards from HALT

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:28 pm

The legal reform group HALT has issued its 2006 Lawyer Discipline Report Card,

following up on its original 2002 Report Card. (click for a map linked to state-by-

state results; click for compared rankings)


You can go directly to the Report Card for any particular state by replacing

the “XX” in the following URL with the state’s two-letter abbreviation:






In its Introduction, HALT explains that the group “produced the 2006 Lawyer

Discipline Report Card to assess whether states have taken any meaningful

action to improve the lawyer discipline system since our last Report Card in


“Unfortunately, few states showed any improvement, and many states’

systems actually saw their grades decline!


“Consumers today are still not adequately protected by state systems

that investigate only a fraction of cases, almost never impose sanctions,

attempt to intimidate and silence victims, hide misconduct behind a veil

of secrecy, and often take years to process cases,” stated HALT Associ-

ate Counsel Suzanne Blonder. “After years of ignored calls for reform by

our organization, the American Bar Association and ethics scholars around

the country, the situation is not getting any better.”

Summarizing “What’s New Since 2002,” the report notes that there has been little

overall improvement.  Three noteworthy exceptions, however, did shake up the grades.

Pennsylvania‘s disciplinary body, which HALT rated as worst in the nation four years

ago, ascended to fifth in the nation in 2006, and was deemed Most Improved. “While

the system is far from perfect, Pennsylvania’s dedication to reform should be a model

to the rest of the nation,” stated HALT Associate Counsel Suzanne M. Blonder.

plungeGraphG  Massachusetts and California ‘s discipline systems

also changed significantly, but they both fell dramatically in

the rankings.

Another important improvement is the increased use and functionality of grievance

system websites:

“While disciplinary bodies are not publicized in court-houses and local media

as much as they were four years ago, their online resources have dramatically

improved since 2002. Today, most disciplinary Web sites offer downloadable

complaint forms, information about upcoming hearings and clear explanations

about the disciplinary process – features that most states lacked four years ago.”


Connecticut ranked #1 and won as the Best Disciplinary Agency in the Nation Overall.

“Although Connecticut does not shine in any one category, the state, as a whole, offers

the most effective system of attorney discipline in the nation. The Statewide Bar Counsel’s

office is investigating more complaints and disciplining more attorneys than most states,

offering more complete information about its disciplinary process than the average jurisdiction,

and processing complaints faster than the vast majority of disciplinary bodies.”



fail gray s  Utah had the lowest ranking, coming in 51st with the only F (after a showing

of 19th in 2002).   Next-to-last was North Carolina, with the only D. 


Here are some other rankings:

Rounding out the Top Ten:


#2 Colorado: “Colorado’s ranking jumped from 13th to 2nd in the nation. The

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel now processes complaints more promptly

and the system more widely publicizes case outcomes than it did four years ago.”


of Columbia, Georgia, Mississippi.  (the top 3 had a grade of B-; the remainder of

the top 10 received C+) 




Ben Cowgill‘s home state, Kentucky, came in 13th.  It’s best grade [C] was for

public participation; its worse [F] was for promptness.


Florida – 14th


Massachusetts fell from 1st to 17th.  “Four years ago, HALT ranked Massa-

chusetts’ attorney discipline system as best in the nation. Since then, Massa-

chusetts’ system has stopped widely publicizing its system and has been

hamstrung by shameful delays in processing cases.”

The worst discipline systems

From 40th to 44th: Oklahoma, Delaware, Iowa, Alaska, South Carolina,




California  At 45th, California’s ranking dropped dramatically — from 12th

in the nation four years ago. “The state’s 2002 grade of C also fell, primarily

because California now only investigates a third of the complaints received.

In addition, the Bar’s automated telephone system has become more confusing,

preventing consumers from obtaining prompt answers to specific questions from

a staff member.”


From 46th through 48th: Arkansas, Alabama, Hawaii


#49: Montana   “Montana’s disciplinary system has changed less than any disci-

plinary body in the country, holding firm at an abysmal 49th in the nation overall.

The state’s system continues to withhold information and still threatens complain-

ants with criminal contempt charges if they choose to publicly disclose any infor-

mation about a disciplinary matter.”


North Carolina – got the only D in garnering its 50th spot. “North Carolina’s Grievance

Committee holds steady as the country’s second-worst attorney discipline system.

The state continues to withhold critical data about its handling of complaints against

lawyers and still fails to make its discipline system known to the public.”


Utah – got the only F, and is ranked the lowest, 51st place. “In four

years, Utah’s standing plummeted from 19th in the country to worst

attorney discipline body nationwide. The disciplinary system no longer

releases as much information to the public, utilizes procedures that

are biased in favor of lawyers, fails to mete out sufficient discipline and

lags behind most states in processing complaints”.

help with mistakes


HALT graded lawyer discipline systems in six categories: Adequacy of Discipline,

Publicity and Responsiveness, Openness, Fairness, Public Participation, and 

Promptness.  Click here for brief summaries of the results in each category. 


HALT Executive Director James Turner had this wrap-up of the Lawyer Discipline

situation in 2006:

“American legal consumers deserve a system that investigates promptly,

deliberates openly, and weeds out unethical or incompetent attorneys,”

stated Turner. “Until there is meaningful reform, the legal profession has

only itself to blame for the widespread public mistrust that mars every

attorney’s reputation.”


p.s. The f/k/a Gang has written plenty about our inadequate system of lawyer

discipline.  See, e.g., Sustained Objection, David Giacalone, Sunday Gazette

(Schenectady, NY), June 22, 2003; and this page of the ethicalEsq archives.


afterthought (March 10, 2006): There’s a thoughtful post at Ben Cowgill on

Legal Ethics titled “Turnover Contunues at Office of Bar Counsel,” March

9, 2006), on the obligation of mandatory bar associations (and, we add, all 

bar counsel) to give attorney discipline top priority — which includes budgets

adequate to hire and keep excellent staff counsel.






her leg

swinging, swinging:

the test still incomplete



    from School’s Out (1999)  



spelling test

the teacher’s

squeaky shoes


  A New Resonance 2; Frogpond XXIII:3

september morning

none of the students

has failed






making a list — law weblogs collected at myHq

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:41 am

For the reasons given here (scroll down to Link Love?), I have never

had a “blogroll.”  Nevertheless, tonight I did place a link in the f/k/a 

Sidebar to the myHq law weblog page, which originated with the un-

identified Editor of Blawg Review, and is being maintained by said Ed.

and BR‘s associate editor-elves. 




Nice List: The myHq aggregation of law-oriented weblogs is

comprehensive, presented in alphabeticized columns, on one

page, and divided into useful categories: e.g., Lawyers, Law

Students, Law Professors, Judges, Law Libarians, Humor,

and more.   I plan to use it to quickly find weblogs I don’t

have bookmarked on my computer, and to browse for sites

that may offer needed information or diversion, as appropriate.


The myHq compilation will be even more useful, if the list of web-

logs is broken into subject-matter categories.  Any such list

should, I think, be separate from the current list (perhaps further

down the page), so the current, broader designations can be kept.

tiny check  If you have a weblog, and your status

changes from student to lawyer, or professor to

public intellectual and rock star, you should do

everyone a favor and let Ed and the guys know.


first tree buds
the list of baby names
not chosen


   W.F. Owen 

    tiny words (March 10, 2004)


Naughty: I do want to clear up one thing, however.  Editor “Ed”     “devil G”

is better at some things (e.g., picking award winners) than others (i.e.,

characterizing my positions).   In the post announcing the myHq page,

Ed correctly referred to me as their “favorite curmudgeon,” but he

incorrectly states that

David Giacalone thinks lawyers, law professors, and

law students have better things to do with their time than

everyone creating and maintaining similar blogrolls on their

law blogs.” (emphasis added; but see update below)

As editor of f/k/a. and in real life, I do have a lot of opinions.  How-

ever, I do not take it upon myself to tell other adults how they

should spend their time (at least, not outside a small circle of

supervisees, family, and friends).  That is especially true after my

being mightily annoyed, when others told me a couple months ago

not to waste my time fighting the use and spread of the word “blawg.”


even the nightingale
gives orders


After describing Sean Sirrine’s campaign to increase blogrolls, in

my post “too much to read, to much to write,” I stated my opinion,

starting with the words: “Sorry, it’s not for me” and gave my

reasons.  It is not my intention to tell anyone how to spend their

time and energies.


update (March 8, 2006):  Mr. “Ed.” has graciously made corrections

to the original post at Blawg Review announcing his myHq project:

. . . our favorite curmudgeon David Giacalone thinks lawyers,

law professors, and law students have he has better things

to do with their his time than everyone creating and main-

taining similar blogrolls on their law blogs.


flyswatter horiz



the samurai is ordered
to shoo the flies…
Sir Horse


        translated by David G. Lanoue


trailerG  Ed should add the brand-new tonight, totally-

to the myHq family.  It’s published by Grant Griffiths

of Home Office Lawyer.  As I had my family law and

divorce mediation practice located in my home for

several years in the early 90’s, I particularly hope

Grant’s projects are successful.



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