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

November 29, 2007

short but tart

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 4:32 pm

Here are a handful of items that deserve more attention than I can give them this week. Feel free to contribute your own deep thoughts, skeptical reactions, or studied indifference. And, enjoy a few poems from the echoes 1 “New Resonance” reunion anthology from Red Moon Press.

Indian summer
a spent salmon
washes ashore

the picture on the wall
straightens itself

…………………………… w.f. owen – from echoes 1 (Red Moon Press, 2007)
“Indian summer” – HSA Henderson Haiku Contest 2004, 1st Place
“aftershock” – HSA Brady Senryu Contest 2003 1st Place

Now it can be revealed: Rich McNally, the self-proclaimed “lunch pail lawyer” and recently-elected District Attorney of Rensselaer County [NY], wrote last week in response to our piece asking “what’s a lunch-pail lawyer?.” Click on that link, where we just added an update in which Rich explains the origin of the sobriquet. After seeing our speculations, Rich revealed: “FYI: I have a Coleman mini cooler type lunch box.” [I’m sort of glad it wasn’t the inspirational insulated ABA’s Law Day Cooler Pack.] The smallest Coleman mini-cooler we could locate, with a bit of Googling, was the 5 Quart Blue Take 6™ Cooler. It “Holds 6 12-oz cans plus ice” and brings to mind the familiar ethnic joke about “an Irish 7 course meal.”

smelt run …
my father’s bucket
full of beer cans

Paul Quirk has supplied us with a great photo, featuring the Classic St. Patrick’s Day Feast.

become months
become years . . .
in moonlight
my beer stays cold

……………. by Andrew Riutta
“smelt run” – Haiku Harvest Vol. 5:1 (Fall/Winter 2005)
“days” – Simply Haiku tanka (Summer 2006)

On Nov. 21st, we wrote at some length about the Georgia Supreme Court decision striking down the state’s sex offender residency ban. Here in the New York Capital Region, the Albany Times Union ran a story yesterday titled “Local echo in overturning of Georgia law” (Nov. 28, 2007) . In it, veteran Law Beat reporter Carol Demare reported that “Similar local laws have popped up throughout the Capital Region. Albany attorney Terry Kindlon, who has has filed suit against three counties that passed similar legislation, said Monday he intends to step up efforts to get the residency restrictions ruled unconstitutional.” The article has some tasty quotes from well-respected criminal defense lawyer Kindlon, of Kindlon Shanks & Associates, who was one of my co-signers on a letter from the NYCLU threatening to sue Schenectady County over its SORR. The TU states:

Kindlon represents registered sex offenders in separate lawsuits in state Supreme Court in Albany, Rensselaer and Washington counties. His clients, who want to rent apartments in cities with public transit, contend they have trouble finding homes that do not violate the bans. Kindlon and an associate, Kathy Manley, are handling the cases pro bono.

He will ask acting state Supreme Court Justice Judith Hard, to whom the case was assigned, to declare the law to be unconstitutional.

“We can move for summary judgment because there is no dispute about the facts,” Kindlon said. “The only thing that needs to be resolved is the legal question” surrounding the constitutional issue.

Naturally, I’m hoping Kindlon and Manley will be successful. I wish, however, that the TU article had said a bit more about the relationship between the Georgia decision in Mann v. Dept. of Corrections and the laws passed in the counties of Upstate New York. The TU merely says:

Last week’s decision in Georgia doesn’t have a direct impact on the local laws, [Kindlon] said, other than that the unanimous opinion by the Georgia Supreme Court is “instructive.”

“That’s what lawyers and judges do, look to other states,” he said.

The problem is that the Georgia decision was based on the lack of a grandfather clause in the state statute — on the forced eviction of a homeowner from his residence and the violation of his property rights. Schenectady County’s original law did not grandfather-in existing residences, but that portion of the law has been rescinded. The current laws under attack in Kindlon’s three lawsuits do not, as far as I know, present that issue — they all apply to sex offenders moving into the exclusionary zones (around schools, playgrounds, day care centers) after the laws were passed. There are some other very good reasons for striking down the local SORRs, but the differences between them and the Georgia statute and decision should have been mentioned.

first day of spring
my bull’s eye dart
doesn’t stick

……………………………………. by Carolyn Hall – from echoes 1 (Red Moon Press, 2007) Winner, 2006 Snapshot Haiku Calendar Competition

femaleSym maleSym It has been two weeks since the National Association of Women Lawyers released the results of its survey on the newest report about the income gap between male and female lawyers at the 200 largest firms. The ABA Journal News had another article about the income gap today, “Women Lawyers at the Top Earn Significantly Less than Men,” Nov. 29, 2007), which quotes one female bar leader who finds the widening differences in mean income to be “unsettling,” and points to an article in The Legal Intelligencer. When the results of the report were first released, this weblog worried about the “perils of advocacy group statistics” and lamented the fact that the actual survey was not released, so that we might discover whether there could be non-discriminatory explanations for the income discrepancy between male and female equity partners (e.g., the males are on average older and hold larger equity shares than younger partners of either gender; or they simply “make more rain”). Carolyn Elefant raised some of the issues two weeks ago in her post at Legal BlogWatch.

she cleans the ring
around the tub

…………………………… w.f. owen – from echoes 1 (2007) – HSA Brady Senryu Contest 2002, 1st Place

I just went to the NAWL website, and again could only find their press release summarizing results, but not the survey. Frankly, on a topic this important, the failure to release the survey is quite irksome and troubling — and maybe telling. So is the silence among blawggers and the legal press regarding the lack of transparency about the income statistics and how they were formulated.

As I have said often, there is no room for gender bias in the legal profession. But differences — even on the macro level — do not by themselves prove undue discrimination. Sorry, but women who want equality don’t get to play victim and hide from scrutiny, when they hand out worrisome conclusions that suggest gender bias, while providing insufficient data to allow those who truly care about gender discrimination to judge the meaning of the numbers. Is it impolite to ask? Unfair? Non-chivalrous?

computer weary Sadly, as happened yesterday, my computer is acting up, acting sluggish, and acting like it might crash any minute now. I therefore am going to quickly point to a number of recent posts by Scott H. Greenfield at Simple Justice, without doing them even Quickie Justice.

  • Scott makes a very important general point in “too much applause for aimless rambling.” The post deals with the performance of Gerry Spence in a criminal trial, but it makes a point I often want to press in many contexts (like at certain poetry sites) that “We want to be positive, praise success and support those with whom we share the bond of the ‘good fight.’ But we need to be cautious about applauding things that are undeserving to avoid sending the wrong message.”
  • Criminal defense lawyer Greenfield also notes: “Tasers don’t care if you’re Canadian.” I was pretty surprised to find out that Canada (with its 33 million residents) has been experiencing police-related taser deaths over the past five or six years that are just as bad per capita as in the USA. Scott is correct to ask: “If they use the words ‘extremely agitated, aggressive and combative,’ does it serve to eliminate the need for any factual explanation of what he did to deserve death?”

retreating glacier–
how long since we’ve heard
the black wolf’s song

winter wind–
a cradlesong sung
in an ancient tongue

……………. by billie wilson – from echoes 1 (Red Moon Press, 2007)
“retreating glacier–” – Modern Haiku 38:1
“winter wind–” – The Heron’s Nest VIII: 4, Readers’ Choice 2006, Award Grand Prize

  • In the “The Death of Writing” (Nov. 26, 2007), Scott points to a video posted at Concurring Opinions showing a law student symbolically shooting his legal research memo, and he aptly explains why “Writing is one of the most important things lawyers do. . . . If we can’t write, and write clearly and persuasively, we can’t do our job. I don’t mean we can’t do it well. I mean we can’t do it at all.”

I agree that there are is far too much bad legal writing, but I disagree with the part of a Comment by my friend Carolyn Elefant saying, “Legal writing takes time and lots of drafts and contemplation – and typically, large firm attorneys are the only ones who have this luxury.” Good legal writing does not have to take “lots of drafts.” If you need lots of drafts to produce good/competent legal writing, and are charging by the hour, you should be discounting those bills significantly.ed

  • Carolyn also start a conversation with Scott over mutual respect between BigLaw attorneys and Solos. She says that solos being respected is very important to the clients of solo practitioners. Scott backs and fills and continues this interesting discussion in this post from Nov. 28, 2007.

winter hills–
what the truck’s insurance
doesn’t cover

………………. by paul m. in Called Home and echoes 1

  • Treating a story that was covered in the Albany Times Union two days ago (“Town justice receives his fourth reprimand: Columbia County judge censured once again, but keeps his position,” Nov. 27, 2007), Scott Greenfield also wonders why infamous legal mischief-maker, Raoul Felder is so empathetic and “feels for challenged judge” (Nov. 28, 2007). Felder’s dissent on the Judicial Conduct Commission seems to suggest that this multiple-offender (non-lawyer) local judge should have been given a pass, because he has suffered enough due to quadriplegia. I agree that Valatie Village and Kinderhook Town Justice Edward J. Williams’ wheelchair did not make him do it.

p.s. Finally, for a strange story about Dangerous Art, see Declarations & Exclusions, “crack of doom,” by the artsy Pasadena insurance lawyer George M. Wallace, the enormous exhibition of Colombian artist Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth, at Turbine Hall of London’s Tate Modern museum.

migrating whales
all our footprints
wash away

……………….. paul m. The Heron’s Nest IV:11 and echoes 1

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