A STATUE WITH SEVERE LIMITATIONS

If you thought winning an Emmy Award would enable you to cash in on your proud victory, it is my unfortunate duty to tell you that while you might be able to parlay the award into big bucks in your next show, you should not count on selling the statuette. That’s what Whitney Houston’s estate discovered the other day, as it was barred from auctioning off a statuette that she had won. On June 23 the Emmy Awards organizers succeeded in obtaining a California federal court’s restraining order blocking the sale. (The opening bid was to be $10,000.)

 

WEIGHING IN ON THE SCALES OF JUSTICE

As a lawyer who practices in court and whose clients are often affected by the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to whether President Obama’s nominee to succeed Justice Scalia, Judge Garland, should be given full consideration by the Senate, or whether the Senate would be justified in refusing to seriously entertain that nomination—or any other one by Obama--in favor of dealing with the new President’s nomination in January 2017. Some interesting considerations lead me to conclude that, on balance, any nomination by the current President should be given the shortest of shrift. ...

               A MATTER OF JUDGMENT

               

                With each passing year of practice, I have come increasingly to appreciate how important experience is in the successful practice of law. It’s not enough simply to ply the trade for many years, since a mediocre or poor lawyer can sell the same shoddy wares for 30 years. It’s vitally important to have a wide range of experience, and, more crucially, to learn from it so that the next client and case benefit. These ideas were loudly and clearly brought home to me as a result of spending 4-1/2 years—no typo—defending a case for two clients. In the midst of the war, I lacked the perspective and clarity on which to base mature conclusions. Now, having settled the litigation very favorably, just a day before a jury trial was set to begin, I have had the luxury of prolonged contemplation about the case, the issues, the opposing lawyer, and the adversary client, such that I feel confident in offering some observations that may be useful to litigation counsel and their clients. I hope to memorialize these ruminations in occasional future posts.

 

“. . . AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER”

It’s always uplifting to learn that a hard-litigated lawsuit has resulted in great benefits to my clients beyond the substantial six-figure damages settled we engineered. Earlier this year I represented a severely disabled young boy and his parents in a civil action against their homeowners’ association and its property manager. The complex complaint alleged the family members had suffered significant damages as a result of a panoply of wrongdoing by the defendants—a list of unlawful behavior that a law student might expect to confront on a comprehensive law-school exam.

SHORTENED BAR EXAM IS NICE FOR THE LAW GRADUATES; IS IT GOOD FOR THEIR NEW CLIENTS?

The California State Bar Association initiated a major change this week, dramatically shortening the three-day bar exam to two days, beginning July 2017. The first day will feature five essays instead of the previous six, as well as a 90-minute performance exam to replace the previous three-hour exercise. The second day will be taken up by the Multistate Bar Exam, which will account for 50% of the grade. The Bar seems to have been motivated by a combination of improved efficiency and relieving the test-takers of some of the considerable stress of the exam.