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

August 6, 2007

happy 10th birthday to Lissa!

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 9:48 am

I had the best of excuses for ignoring my weblog the past few days: I was in western New York, helping to celebrate the tenth birthday of my wonderful niece Elisabeth [“Lissa”] Grace Giacalone. (And, I was even treated by my haiga-collaborator brother Arthur to a fabulous concert at Chautauqua Institute by Emmylou Harris and Carolina Star (a reincarnation of the legendary Seldom Scene; see this article from the Wash. Post, which should inspire all aging boomers who love to play music).

Lately, I’ve often thought how lucky we are to be on the planet during the rather short part of human existence when photography has been available for saving and highlighting our memories. When other memory functions may be fading, photos bring back vivid images of the young ones who have enhanced our lives. In honor of Lissa and the many smiles and warm moments she has given me, I put together a Baby Lissa Montage (in color). See Lissa enjoying her first ice cream cone, her first Thanksgiving with Uncle David, her first night in a big-girl bed, and more. For more, feast your eyes on Lissa in her first pair of sunglasses.

Lissa and her delightful little brother James have graced this weblog often over the past few years. Check out their trip to a pumpkin patch, and their effort to teach us all to “Live to Love, to Laugh and to Learn.”

Of course, the visit has worn out this old uncle, so I’m going to head for a nap, after ending with a few poems from Jim Kacian, who was honored last week by the Haiku Society of America, for the bi-lingual re-publication of his book Presents of Mind (see our previous post).

brightest moon up all night

sundown –
one dog starts
them all

the melon splits
ahead of my knife –
midsummer heat

for my birthday
another trip
around the sun

……………………… by Jim Kacian – Upstate Dim Sum, guest poet, 2001/II

first page
of the new journal
untrammeled snow

after snowfall
a Buddha on the lawn
with coal eyes

……………………………… from Presents of Mind

p.s. Lissa noted recently that she was about to enter double-digits and “would be in double digits for most of the rest of my life.” She has a very good point.

p.p.s. Although he is cloaked in anonymity, the Editor of Blawg Review is almost surely in double-digits himself.  Ed pulled off a Blog Carnival double-header today (after being double-cross again by Steve Bainbridge), hosting both Blawg Review #120 (in Kingsfieldian style) and Carnival of Trust #3.  If, like myself, you have not discovered the Carnival of Trust, you might want to check out the prior editions (first and second) of this montlhy compilation of weblog materials dealing with the most important concept of trust.  (It is limited to the ten best recent postings as chosen by the host.) CofT is the creation of Charles H. Green of Trusted Advisors Associates.  Here’s what Charles has to say about the venture:

As I wrote when announcing the first Carnival of Trust my hope and ambition for the carnival is to begin establishing a home base, a center of gravity, for people who are interested in fostering greater trusted relationships in various realms of the world.

honest! While my own material is primarily business-oriented, the Carnival of Trust will be explicitly more broad than business alone. Trust is heavily personal in nature, and I hope the submissions will reflect that—postings that deal with personal trust, business trust, and political trust are welcome, as well as pieces on the nature of trust.

I’ll be setting a hard limit of 10 postings per Carnival. The host will personally make the decisions about inclusion, in an inevitably subjective manner intended to push the thinking ahead in those broad areas of trust.

May 7, 2007

Older & Wiser, LLP?

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 5:46 pm

RumpoleG  After yet another week writing about the perils ahead for our graying legal profession, I almost decided to pass over two pieces in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine (May 6, 2007) that dealt with issues of old age.  I’m glad I didn’t.  Although I’m still focused on aging and the legal profession, the two articles are interesting whether you care about old lawyers or not. 

In “The Older-and-Wiser Hypothesis,” Stephen S. Hall shows us how difficult it has been to define “wisdom,” and discusses the purported connection between being old and being wise.  In “A Longer, Better Life,” Sara Davidson interviews MIT biologist Lenny Guarente and Robert N. Butler, M.D., who won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for “Why Survive? Being Old in America,” and now heads the International Longevity Center, on whether we can expect longer, better lives.

Stephens gives a brief tour of academic projects that have tried to define wisdom and devine who might be wise.  There is no consensus. Here are some highlights in the Stephens’ piece:

  1.    “From the outset, it’s easier to define what wisdom isn’t. First of all, it isn’t necessarily or intrinsically a product of old age, although reaching an advanced age increases the odds of acquiring the kinds of life experiences and emotional maturity that cultivate wisdom, which is why aspects of wisdom are increasingly attracting the attention of gerontological psychologists.”
  2.     “[I]f you think you’re wise, you’re probably not.”  Gandhi1931
  3.      “Indeed, a general thread running through modern wisdom research is that wise people tend to be humble and “other-centered” as opposed to self-centered.”
  4.     The so-called Berlin Wisdom Paradigm emphasizes several complementary qualities: expert knowledge of both the “facts” of human nature and the “how” of dealing with decisions and dilemmas; an appreciation of one’s historical, cultural and biological circumstances during the arc of a life span; an understanding of the “relativism” of values and priorities; and an acknowledgment, at the level of both thought and action, of uncertainty.
  5.      Sociologist Monika Ardelt looked at the trait of “resilience” (bouncing back from advesity). “In Ardelt’s working definition, wisdom integrated three separate but interconnected ways of dealing with the world: cognitive, reflective and emotional. . . 
  6.      In Ardelt’s analysis, the cognitive aspect “included the ability to understand human nature, perceive a situation clearly and make decisions despite ambiguity and uncertainty. The reflective sphere dealt with a person’s ability to examine an event from multiple perspectives . . .And the emotional aspect primarily involved feeling compassion toward others as well as an ability to remain positive in the face of adversity.”
  7.     Psychologist Laura Carstensen of Stanford University says older people “disattend” negative information.  In 1890, philosopher William James had a similar insight: “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” 

checkedBoxS  According to Stephens, the Berlin Group “were among the first to reach what is now a widespread conclusion: There’s not a lot of wisdom around.”  The Germans also:

“punctured one conceit about growing old when they found no evidence, in four different studies, that wisdom, as they defined it, necessarily increases with age. Rather, they identified a ‘plateau’ of wisdom-related performance through much of middle and old age; a separate study by the group has indicated that wisdom begins, on average, to diminish around age 75, probably hand in hand with cognitive decline.”

The Berlin group reported that the roots of wisdom can be traced, in some cases, to adolescence. Others have also pointed out that many people we consider to be wise have been “vaccinated” earlier in life by adversity.

Red Rock Canyon:
my whoop comes back
sounding older


one more friend buried
I shorten my list
of priorities

………………. by George Swede, from Modern Haiku

Meanwhile, the Davidson interview with Guarente and Butler in A Longer, Better Life,” has some interesting things to say about the science of aging.  But, it doesn’t suggest we’re about to make major breakthroughs that will help assure the mental acuity and emotional maturity needed to increase our society’s wisdom quotient.   On the macro level, our society doesn’t seem, despite how rapidly it is aging, to be putting its resources where they are needed:

BUTLER: Why does 50 percent of all cancer occur after 65? Why does 80 percent occur after age 50? As we age, there are changes at the cellular molecular level that predispose us to disease and disability. But so far, no government, no foundation, no corporation anywhere in the world has fully embraced the importance of longevity science. If we could target aging, that would have an impact on diseases.

America has also failed so far to recognize Alzheimer’s as a health crisis. Why is it a crisis?

BUTLER: It afflicts about four and a half million people now. As baby boomers grow older and live longer, there could be 14 million afflicted — about triple what it is now — by 2030 if we don’t find a means of prevention and treatment.

Finally, Davidson asks a question we all care about: “There’s a lot of advice given about how to maintain a healthy body, but do we know how to maintain a healthy brain and prevent dementia?”

checkedBoxS  BUTLER: I’m afraid there’s a lot of romance in the literature suggesting that we can stop Alzheimer’s disease by cognitive exercises.

Davidson: Like doing crossword puzzles? My mother has done them all her life, but she lost her memory anyway.

BUTLER: Just as exercise keeps the body in optimal shape, exercise — both physical and mental — can keep the brain in optimal shape in terms of thinking clearly, making judgments and solving problems. But having a healthy body doesn’t prevent you from getting cancer. Similarly, maintaining a healthy brain doesn’t prevent you from having memory loss or getting Alzheimer’s.

old tombstone
losing its name
faint first star

………….. by George Swede – The Heron’s Nest 

With this information in mind, I’m wondering whether we can expect declining mental acuity suffered by lawyers as they age to be offset by increases in widsom.  See, for example, Stephanie West Allen’s posting at Idealawg (April 9, 2007):  

“The head beneath the grey hair often holds much wisdom; perhaps the aging heart represents the glue in a firm’s culture and values. I hope we will appreciate what greying lawyers have to give, no matter what form those gifts may take.”

My own initial response is in the negative.  Although many of us — and it is especially males who seem to need it — do get a bit more mature in our mid-to-late 30s (e.g., less reckless and full of ourselves), I’ve simply seen no evidence that individual lawyers get appreciably wiser as they age, much less that the ones who stick around the  longest are the wisest.   Regardless of the meaning of wisdom, if you’re going to be a mensch or an old soul, you’ve almost always grown into that role or demonstrated the characteristics long before your late 60’s or 70’s.  Furthermore, no matter what my own mediator predilections might be, I’m fairly sure that many partners would be most displeased to find out that the Wise Old Counsellor is recommending fewer lawsuits and less adversarial approaches to solving legal problems, and I’m not at all sure that many clients are seeking (much less expecting) wisdom in a lawyer.

I forget my side
of the argument

……………….. by George Swede, from Almost Unseen 

On the other hand, I’ve seen quite a few Overtimer Lawyers stuck in monumental emotional ruts and intellectual deadends (and traffic circles).  Which reminds me.  While writing about the graying bar last week:

  1. I came across an estimate by medical researchers that there may be 8000 physicians with dementia who are still actively treating patients. “Cognitive Impairment in Older Physicians May Be Widespread,” Medscape Medical News (free registration may be required), by Richard Hyler, discussing the work of Greg A. Sachs, M.D. and Caroline N. Harada, M.D.  I had estimated a couple months ago that there might be 10 to 15 thousand lawyers with dementia.  The physician number is pretty scary.  Also,
  2. I was reminded that there are a quarter million practicing lawyers in American who are already over the age of 55 (with that number expected to triple in the next two decades); that 12% of practicing lawyers are over 65; and that 48% of private practitioners are in solo practices, with another 15% in firms having 2 to 5 lawyers. (See American Bar Association, “Lawyer Demographics 2006”) Both logic and studies suggest that it is the solo and small-firm lawyer who is most likely to postpone retirement, while having no plan for the handling of their practice if they become incapacited.  They are also most likely to have Main Street practices with the least sophisticated clients.

 Mohandis Gandhi and Abe Lincoln are probably the best-known historic figures who had been practicing lawyers and are widely thought of as having possessed wisdom.  Most other “wise” (as opposed to merely smart) lawyers that readily come to mind are fictional characters. 

 Leo McKern as Rumpole  RumpoleLeoMcKern


at the height
of the argument      the old couple
pour each other tea

…………………………. by George Swede from Almost Unseen (2000)

GriffithAsMatlock Andy Griffith as Matlock

someone else’s affair
you think…
lanterns for the dead
……………………………… by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue 

Of course, literature and popular culture are far more likely to portray lawyers who are a bit shy of wise or are wiseguys.  For example, see OldRuin and HeadofChambers in BabyBarista‘s weblog serial.   But, I don’t want to close on a negative note.  Please let us know about elderly lawyers you have encountered who bring a lifetime of accumulated wisdom to the practice of law.  If you’ve got an especially useful definition or test for wisdom, share it with us, too.


MockingbirdPeck  Atticus Finch from to kill a mockingbird 


Divorce proceedings over
wet leaves stick
to my shoes


putting holes
in my argument
the woodpecker


thick fog lifts
unfortunately, I am where
I thought I was

……………….. by George Swede from Almost Unseen

KingsfieldPaperChase  For some readers, Prof. Kingsfield from Paper Chase may be an example of professorial wisdom (or at least tough love).  His ghost is filling in for Prof. Bainbridge today at Blawg Review #107, using what passes for the Socratic Method at many law schools to help illuminate the ideal lawyer weblogging (or, at least, the best thereof over the past week).  


April 10, 2006

Blawg Review #52

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:01 am

Tomorrow, April 11, 2006, is Blawg Review’s first anniversary (see

Blawg Review #1, at The Legal Underground).  Congratulations to

the named and nameless ones who have made it possible, and

nurtured BR into an institution that (a) gave this weblog a very nice

(stress-inducing) award, and (b) gave f/k/a the honor of rounding out

the first-year run of the original law[yer] weblog “carnival.”  If there are

further horns to be blown about this Blawg Review milestone, we should

let its Editor do it.


digital age —

aging digits

at the keyboard







If you’ve been here often, just skip down to that little picture of

Carolyn Elefant for Blawg Review substance.  If you’re new here,

click on the About page to learn how we evolved from ethicalEsq

to f/k/a and came upon “our” [Your Editor and his often unruly alter

egos] three-pronged mission:

(1) Nudge lawyers to put their client’s interests first for real 

rather than riches or “dignity” (see the ethicalEsq  archives)


(2) Bring the pleasures of real haiku to folk who never knew,

forgot, or just want more. 


(3) Allow the clowns, curmudgeons, and other characters inside

the Editor to express themselves, despite thirty years lugging

around a law degree. (for example, see Prof. Yabut’s Favorites)


tagging along

with an ice cream cone

the senior partner





the accused teen
and his lawyer…
dressed for spring  



first date

she groans with pleasure

. . . at my puns




                                                                                           boy writing flip


Scrolling down our homepage will give you a good taste of what it’s like

around here (except that the four-part series on Contingency Fees is even

more thoughtful and provocative than usual).   This Blawg Review edition

is set up like most of our posts: a lot of white space, a little organization,

some graphic images for contrast, and a bunch of haiku (which relate humans

to nature) and senryu (which focus on human nature), touched off with occasional

insights and/or wise-cracks from the alterred egos.  So, don’t expect techno-

wizardry, cinematic or literary erudition, or even naked bodies.


Spring arrives —


melting on the dashboard




Here we go Blawg Review #52:



General PraiseBob Ambrogi and Carolyn Elefant are doing a great
job with their new assignments at Law.com‘s Inside Opinions.  They
cull the most interesting-substantive posts from the Law.com stable,
plus other weblogs, giving helpful excerpts, often along with their
own reaction to the issue or news.    I wish they would leave posts on
the homepage longer, for those who can’t get back as often as we’d like. 
(And, is that Comment function working, or is it just me?)  In between

Blawg Reviews, Bob and Carolyn help keep us focused on the best in

lawyer weblogs.


using his nose
the dog searches
the violets

       translated by David G. Lanoue


tiny check  When I grow up, I’d like to have a weblog like the Volokh Conspiracy

Every single day, you can find interesting, substantive posts on topical

law issues, written by Prof. Eugene and his distinguished cabal.  They

don’t just toss out opinions or quips; you get reasoning and even legal

citations.  If I could read only one weblog for legal substance, it would

be VC — even though I tend to think of myself as more liberal (and sen-

sitive) than most of the contributors.  [my alter egos are aghast at their

Editor gushing; it does not happen often]


“eschewSN”  eschew obfuscation

After learning about Georgia’s lewd language law last week,

it was a relief to find out from Prof. V that the DeKalb County 

prosecutor realized the statute had been declared unconstitu-

tional in 1990, and dropped the case against Denise Grier,

whose bumper sticker read “I’m Tired Of All The BUSHit.”


General Prays: More weighty, is Eugene Volokh’s discussion of the

March 14, 2006 Resolution by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,

which urges “Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity has head of the

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, to withdraw his

discriminatory and defamatory directive that Catholic Charities of the

Archdiocese of San Francisco stop placing children in need of adoption

with homosexual households.”  Thomas More Law Center has filed a

lawsuit, on behalf of Catholics in S.F., seeking to strike down the Reso-

lution under the First Amendment, as an attack on a particular religion

or religious belief.  (also, see Religion Clause & Mirror of Justice)  This

raises important and difficult legal and political issues.  While others have

merely stated the claims on both sides, Prof. V. explains both why he

believes the Resolution is constitutionally permissible and why he none-

theless finds it troubling. 



What would Henry Drummond or 

Matthew Harrison Brady say?


good friday

the scarecrow gets

a new straw hat



Prof Grace  Grace Plays:   Speaking of Catholics, RiskProf Martin Grace wonders

Do Catholics Get a Better Deal on Life Insurance?  Having recently covered other

insurance risk classification issues, Martin uses his customary humor to explore

the ramifications of a new study showing “a positive relationship between regular

church attendance and life span.”   Naturally, he weighs the opportunity costs of

Church attendance and exercising to increase life span — and combining the two. 

[exorcising is not explore, however]


squinting to see him —

another generation

sent to right field



Gosh, Professor:  Christine Hurt, at the Conglomerate Law Blog, brought up an

intriguing professor-student issue this week, in On Poaching & Transfer Law Students,


“Does anyone out there have a policy of not writing letters

of recommendation for students seeking transfers to higher

ranking law schools?  I do not, but I have heard strong argu-

ments from people I admire that they have begun refusing

writing these letters of recommendation.”

The Comments, from professors and students, are quite varied. 

William Henderson of Indiana Law does some major axe grinding,

and is quite willing to keep law students right where they are, in

order to stop those evil Top 15 law schools from poaching.


                              What would Charles W. Kingsfield say?


Good Point/ Good Pointer:  A number of webloggers pointed us to articles

or studies of interest this past week. 

Solo Cheerleader-in-chief Carolyn Elefant reminds readers in the post

The Solo Majority that “a majority of firms in the U.S. are solo and small

practices, a whopping 89 percent in fact.”  Carolyn points to the article

Small Shops Do the Heavy Lifting  (NYLJ, April 6, 2006), by Lovely Dhillon

who explains why “Solo and small-firm practitioners, who comprise so

much of our legal profession and perform so much of the legal work for

people in every nook and cranny of America, deserve to be adequately

trained, supported and mentored.”



PesciAsVinny  Evan Schaeffer’s Illinois Trial Practice Weblog summarizes

and points to “Video Can Be Risky Business“– an article at Law Technology

News, by James McKenna and Jo Haraf.   Brandon Bass offers a calming

Comment. What would Vincent Gambini say? 



tiny check At Overlawyered.com, Walter Olson does a round-up on wrongful birth cases,

and Ted Frank points to a guest post at Legal Underground that clearly rankled

him.  The anonymous young writer was complaining about people who

complain about lawyers.  Ted replied (sounding a lot like ethicalEsq —

for example, see here and here):

“I’ve long said that attorneys upset that their profession is held

up to ridicule would have much less of a problem if attorneys were

more concerned about the behavior that led to the ridicule than about

the ridicule itself.”


There are scores of Comments at the Legal Underground

post.  Not much fun, though. 


new paperback —
the sun sets
without me





Responding to student requests, Prof. Steve Bainbridge has listed

with the idea of putting class learning about corporate law and

governance into a real-world context.


after the verdict
the tireless lawyer speaks
in falling snow 



HR Lawyers’ Blogger Chris Mckinney points to an npr story on the “Importance of

. . . . Slowing Down.”  The “rest step” practice of a professional mountain climber

has a haiku-vian feel to it. 


tiny check Prof. Bainbridge also gave of this photograph this week. BainbridgeCorks



school photo

the frown my sister

grew into



penumbra 2004 haiku contest, hon. men



law office picnic —

the ump consults

his Blackberry





[More] Good Posts:



Using his head at Declarations & Exclusions, George Wallace fills us in

on three Appellate cases from California that deal with assumption of risk

in sports activities.  “espn meets courtTV” discusses the Avila intentional

beanball case, plus a ski hydrant decision and a personal trainer suit.


April chill —

Wakefield’s knuckleball



           Paul David Mena




tiny check In Katrina Revisited, Robert Ambrogi reminds us of the importance of disaster

planning, with a pointer to Steve Terrell’s Hoosier Lawyer, which focuses on the recent 

mess in Indianapolis, and another to both a special issue of Law Technology News,

on Katrina’s impact, and to this week’s Coast to Coast, podcast, which focuses on

New Orleans’ legal community.


the city recovers
by restaurant


blown away by the hurricane
every stripper
I knew



help with mistakes                                                                                                     


Michael Harris at George’s Employment Blawg has put together the latest in a series of

Forget the Search Engine Optimization strategies of the big law firms, Michael has made

their website the search engine favorite for anyone interested in  “OFCCP Definition Internet


tiny check  My only plea to George and Michael: “Help the ignorant

who aren’t familiar with your acronyms.”  Clicking on 5 posts

did not reveal the meaning of “OFCCP,”  so I finally Googled

it. (For the similarly clueless: it’s The Department of Labor’s

Employment Standards Administration’s Office of Federal

Contract Compliance Programs.






one glass of wine –
Google keeps asking
“Did you mean _____?”




tiny check  It’s great seeing the wonderful placement weblogs can

achieve in search engine results. Our Inadvertent Searchee

pages are filled with amazing examples of 1st place results

for f/k/afrom weblog culture>, lawyer value billing>, and




past their peak –

boomers’ first date






Thompson of Cyberlaw Central voices his hope that the important

Net Neutrality issue can be resolved based on a discussion of its merits,

rather than stereotyping it as a “Republicans versus Democrats” fight.

Kevin gives a quick description of the actors and issues. [the skeptics

here at f/k/a haven’t seen any reasons yet to think that Kevin’s noble

wish will come true]  


                                                                                                    briefcase women neg small flip


Up to PAR is the weblog of the Project for Attorney Retention, in Washington, D.C.   

On March 31, Cynthia Calvert posted “New Partner Classes: Good News and Bad News.”

The Project has been taking a close look at whether firms are actually retaining and

advancing women lawyers.  They see mixed evidence this year.  Firms say they are

trying to retain and advance women, but are they really doing it?  Evidence from the

number of women promoted to partner this year is mixed.   The latest report states

“If the women aren’t staying at the firms long enough to make partner, the

issue isn’t the pipeline but rather the culture at the law firms. “

[The f/k/a gang continues to believe that women refusing to stay in large law firms

may be a sign of their wisdom and advanced priorities.  And see Prof. B.] 


“witherspoonAsWoods” What would Elle Woods say” 


fallen blossoms —


just another tree





mom’s arthritis

acting up again–

I take two Advil




 dagosan  – Roadrunner Haiku Journal (V:4, Nov. 2005) 


jailbird neg 


In “Burn in the U.S.A, “Norm Pattis of Crime & Federalism gives us a criminal

defense lawyer’s perspective on the death penalty — seen through the smokey

glass of the Zacarias Moussaoui case.  As usual, Norm has a unique way of

looking at issues he cares about greatly.


                                                             What would Arthur Kirkland say?  PacinoAsKirkland  

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




his quiet funeral—

a man who did

most of the talking



tiny check Two thoughtful posts dealt with a topic frequently discussed at this weblog —

alternatives to the billable hour.  Of course, we’re a little bit skeptical that changing

the pricing format will make much difference without changing the profit goals of

law firms and their lawyers.  [see, e.g., the value-billing babysitter (March 23, 2006)

and chronomentrophobia (Jan. 7, 2005)]   But, I digress. 


                                                                                                               less than eq s


Greatest American Lawyer, who always takes a balanced approach to the subject, wrote 

Is It The Hourly Bill Or The Lack Of Budget Which Is Most Harmful To The Client Relation-

ship?”  GAL tells us how his firm handles billing various matters and explains why he’s

come to believe that maximum bugets on projects may be the solution to the hourly

billing crisis.


                                   tiny check  What would Atticus Finch say?  MockingbirdPeck


Meanwhile, Dan Hull at What About Clients? writes about Exemplar Law Partners,

the fixed-price-only Boston law firm.  The post Catching Up With Exemplar Law:

“No Hourly Bills, No Hourly Bull,” is quite up-beat, and starts up a lively debate

in the Comments section on the viability of a fixed-price model in a world where

good talent is very expensive (and not much interested in taking risks or less




her eyes narrow,

seeing for the first time

my little house




boy writing neg   Before we go, here are a few pointers from the f/k/a Gang.  Prof Yabut

is always complaining about being stuck here in Schenectady, NY.  He found the

series this week from Scotland and Wales by J. Craig Williams to be a great

change of pace.   We all learned some interesting history, too.


the train picks up speed

in a paper coffee cup

concentric waves



       haikuEsq is usually reluctant to delve into poetry that has more than three

to five lines.  However, he recommends the humorous, PG-13-rated, “constitutional

law” poetry of the anonymous Canadian law student who haunts the Lawyerlike weblog.  

The Annual Joel Bakan Constitutional Poetry Contest is the inspiration.


city lights —

the brightest are all

selling something



       Your humble editor thinks Are Law Firms Manageable? at David Maister’s Passion

deserves the attention of many of the folk reading this weblog.  Some of you might also

want to check out the Whisper weblog’s discussion of the difference between branding

and advertising.  [Then, check out our rather jaundiced perspective on law firm branding

in Brand LEX — just how is the client better-served?]


up late update (3PM): Just got back to my keyboard after my

first “all nighter” in a very long time.  A few things are clear, now

that I’ve had my first mug of coffee of the day:

(1) Ben Cowgill’s soloblawg did finally go public very

early this morning (it hadn’t the last time I looked). Ben’s

reputation for putting together excellent content and

resources, bodes well for this new venture, which will

provide information of interest to solo and small firms, 

and “focus to a large degree on legal technology and

the Internet-leveraged practice of law.”  Best wishes

to Ben on this newest venture (and thanks for your

kind words about this edition of Blawg Review).


early Alzheimer’s

she says she’ll have . . .

the usual


  John Stevenson

   from Quiet Enough


(2) I forgot to mention my hope that 3L Epiphany will

reconsider the decision to leave “inactive” weblogs out

of its very helpful legal weblog taxonomy.  With the internet

being as close to eternal as things get on this planet, even 

“inactive” sites can be the source of useful information and

historical perspective.  Sure, indicate that a weblog has been

“inactive since ______”, but don’t leave sites like BeldarBlog 

or The Curmudgeonly Clerk out of the main categories of

the Taxonomy.


and our related post.


                                                                     the verdict  NewmanVerdictG 


(4) BWD: Blogging While Drowsy leads to many infractions, inclu-

ding my omitting a pointer to Dennis Kennedy’s April 4th post on

associates’ salaries and the Wired GC’s hyphenated word “price-

fixing.” [Related post: check out the results to Adam Smith, Esq‘s

poll “Are Associate Salaries Justified?] Although I wish Dennis

had not added “I’m just raising the question to see what people

think, not necesarily as a reflection of my own opinion,” I am

pleased to see him point out examples of recent  “ratcheting up

of the ‘protections’ of the legal profession from within” — leading to

[and, sorry Carolyn, but I refuse to use the newest cliche “money

quote”] the question:  

“Is the legal profession begging for outside (governmental)

investigation, intervention and antitrust regulation?”


the son who

argues everything

I study his face in a puddle


Sadly, we think, in a nation with such a fragmented system of attorney

regulation (and with so much politcal influence held by the legal profes-

sion over many of the consumer advocates most likely to otherwise lead 

a charge), outside intervention — such as that recently begun in UK

seems highly unlikely. 



me in one hand

a belt in the other

dads sings a lullaby




(5) If this old trustbuster had been more awake, he would have pointed

his arthritic digits at Dan Crane’s Antitrust and Presidential Politics post

at Antitrust Review.  Dan points out that one Italian candidate for Prime

Minister, Romano Prodi (an economics professor, I believe), has made 

antitrust law a major campaign issue.  Dan then goes on to show how 

little antitrust comes up in the public discourse of American presidents.  

“dgITsm”  Let me take this opportunity to point out yet again

that the Editor of f/k/a is NOT the David Giacalone who worked

for Mr. Berlusconi and is alleged to have “received a personal 

payment of more than $300,000 for his part in having the so-called

Mammi Law enacted favoring Berlusoni’s media empire. (The Nation

Emperor of the Air,” Nov. 11, 1999) [even The Nation misspells our

name!]  Berlusconi’s Giacalone has a website, policamente scorretto,

which means “politically incorrect” in Italian. 





On the other hand, Berlusconi’s Giacalone has been known to

insist that, back in 1971, he was not this David Giacalone.


one button undone

in the clerk’s blouse    I let her

steal my change






I forget my side

of the argument





stepping on

sidewalk ants     the boy

everyone bullies




George Swede – Almost Unseen (Brooks Books, 2000) 





tiny check   Next week’s Host will be tax professor Jim Maule of Mauled Again.  Jim has taken

a good look at the issue Is It Time to License Tax Return Preparers?, setting out many

of the pluses and minuses of regulating these service providers.


The beetle I righted

flies straight into

a cobweb



old dog and master


for the tiny spot of shade




storm alert

every kind of cloud

in one sky



white to pink–
who painted the clouds while
we shopped for wine?




“tinyredcheck”  Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions

how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.


p.s. Sorry we got this posted so late.  Sure hope no one was

inconvenienced (other than your very sleepy Editor).


his death notice . . .

the get-well card

still in my briefcase





all-nighter —

not the fun kind






                                                                                              computer weary



March 21, 2006

is that a trick question, counselor?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:52 pm

My Referer Page came through again for me, today, just when

I needed to be distracted from those darn real-world, evil lawyers.

Someone (a “Sucher”) in Germany did eine Google Suche with the

query /are all lawyers trustworthy/. Did the querist expect a yes

or no answer? Well, er oder sie found neither here at f/k/a,

but instead got an excellent quote by Sol M. Linowitz, from his book

The Betrayed Profession, on the profession needing to live up to its

rhetoric of providing justice for all.

movie film sm However, I don’t want to harp on Sol’s sermon. Instead, I want to

point you to an article that I found among the other Google results.

It’s a year old, but I haven’t seen it mentioned at other weblogs. It is

Court TV’s 15 Most Memorable Movie Lawyers” (Hollywood Heat, by

Daniel Green, May 12, 2005.) It’s a great list, with interesting analysis,

plus quotes from a few lawyers and law professors about their favorite

film lawyers.


Although the Dignity Police certainly won’t agree, I concur with the #1 result:




1. Vincent Gambini (Joe Pesci) in “My Cousin Vinny” (1992).

The author notes:

“Best of all, he keeps the jury (and the audience) entertained

and focused. Last year, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association

voted Vinny’s opening trial statement (‘Uh, everything that guy

just said is bullshit. Thank you.’) as the best in movie lawyer

history. In the end, we’re inclined to agree with screenwriter

David Mamet, who once said of My Cousin Vinny, ‘I think

that s the best movie ever made, don t you?’ “


[Ed. Note: And paralegal Mona Lisa Vito was very memorable, too! Did you say “two yutes”?]


Here are the other results (go check out the discussion), with a few quotes that I particularly appreciated:


MockingbirdPeck to kill a mockingbird


2. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in “To Kill A Mockingbird” (1962)

. . . “Atticus Finch was a genteel Southern lawyer. It was very

difficult to raise his ire to the level that’s needed today,” argues

attorney Mike Papantonio, author o the “In Search of Atticus

Finch: A Motivational Book for Lawyers.” “I don’t know if Atticus

Finch is relevant anymore.” Still, of all the lawyers Court TV

interviewed for this article, Peck’s portrayal was the performance

most often mentioned.


“I saw that film as a young kid,” recalls Scott A. Hughes, a

personal injury lawyer in Bellevue, Washington, “but it still rever-



“Was that why you became a lawyer?”


“No,” Hughes admitted. “I became a lawyer to make money.”



3. Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) inAnd Justice For All (1979)

. . . “Eighteen years later, Pacino portrayed a very different, much
less honorable type of lawyer in “The Devil’s Advocate.” In that film,
he played Satan, a partner in a successful New York firm.”

4. Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr (John Houseman) inThe Paper Chase (1973)

“He delivers probably the most famous line ever written about law school:
‘You teach yourselves the law. But I train your mind. You come in here
with a skull full of mush and you leave thinking like a lawyer’.”

NewmanVerdictG the verdict

5. Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) in The Verdict (1982)

“The practice of law, the real practice, is 99% paperwork. If they
ever made a movie about a lawyer and it was real, it would be 1,000
hours long, boring and no one would watch.”

Steven Moss with Kahn Kleinman in Cleveland.

TracyMarchInherit 6 and 7. Tie: Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) and Matthew Harrison Brady (Frederic March) inInherit the Wind (1960)

8. Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
9. Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) inA Few Good Men (1992)

WitherspoonAsWoods. 10. Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in Legally Blonde (2001)

“Susan Hitzig, a Manhattan real-estate attorney, said she connected with
Woods ‘because I was considered a dumb blonde too. She showed you
can be a good lawyer and not have to change your whole life around’.”

11. Paul Biegler (James Stewart) inAnatomy Of A Murder (1959)

13. Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) inAdam’s Rib (1949) Adam'sRibCover adam’s rib

“Hollywood is rarely kind to its female attorneys. Most are either incom-
petent (Demi Moore in “A Few Good Men“) or have sex with their client
(Glenn Close in “Jagged Edge“). Amanda Bonner, though, is smart, tough
and successful. . . . Bonner was certainly a nice role model for young
women interested in becoming lawyers, especially because she emerges
from the case [as criminal defense counsel vs. her ADA husband] triumphant.

14. Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) inLiar Liar (1997)

15. George Simon (John Barrymore ) in Counsellor at Law (1933)

movie film sm Is your appetite whetted for more films about lawyers and the law? Seethe 700 titles (linked to summaries) at the Law in Popular Culture Collection of the Texas/Austin Tarlton Law Library.

wind-beaten marque
saying only
“Coming Soon”



summer day
a seat in the movies
away from others

the summer sun
under the exit door


…………. by John Stevenson
“wind-beaten marquee” – Some of the Silence (1999)
“matinee” – Quiet Enough (Red Moon Press, 2004)
“summer day” – Upstate Dim Sum (2004/II)


drive in movie…

opening our eyes

during the love scene

ed markowski


leaving the movies-
believing this world
is the real one




a screensaver glows
through a dark window



clouds seen

through clouds

seen through




jim kacian

“leaving the movies–” & “insomnia–” – World Haiku Assn.

“clouds seen” – The Haiku Anthology (3rd Ed.); Six Directions (1997)



the paper chase PaperChaseG


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