Bitter Lawyer http://www.bitterlawyer.com Legal humor, entertainment, video, and news Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:18:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Lawyer Receives Prestigious Award for Tweeting Excellence http://www.bitterlawyer.com/legal-award-tweeting-excellence/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=legal-award-tweeting-excellence http://www.bitterlawyer.com/legal-award-tweeting-excellence/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:28:15 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35684 An Alabama lawyer has received a legal award for excellence in tweeting, a bar association trade magazine reported Wednesday.

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carl-malmquist-featuredAn Alabama lawyer has received a top legal award for professional excellence because of his extensive tweeting, a bar association trade magazine reported Wednesday.

Carl Malmquist, who tweets under the handle “AlaAtty4u,” provides off-color legal commentary about ERISA law and legal tech. He also live-tweets dramatic re-readings of historic U.S. Supreme Court opinions. His live-tweeting of the Toledo ERISA Law Conference earlier in the year was widely praised for its accuracy, wit, and social media vision.

“We felt Mr. Malmquist really humanized all lawyers, especially ERISA lawyers, making all of us more approachable, modern, and forward-looking,” said the awards committee in presenting Malmquist with the semi-annual Justitia Award for Tweeting Excellence.

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5 Obsolete Legal Technologies that Shouldn’t Be Obsolete http://www.bitterlawyer.com/5-obsolete-legal-technlogies-shouldnt-obsolete/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-obsolete-legal-technlogies-shouldnt-obsolete http://www.bitterlawyer.com/5-obsolete-legal-technlogies-shouldnt-obsolete/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:36:16 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35667 Here are 5 fundamentally sound legal technologies the tech gods believe are obsolete. But they shouldn't be.

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selectric-2Lawyerist, which happens to be live-blogging some nerd confab in Illinois at the moment, recently admitted it doesn’t use quill pens or mimeographs anymore. More disappointingly, it came up with a somewhat blasphemous list of six legal technologies that should go the way of the Dodo bird, like the copier, fax machine, Dictaphone, and typewriter. Whatever. Except for the copier (which is too complicated for my liking), I use each one of these—and others, like the paperweight—in my practice and advise lawyers to do do the same. Why? We’ve moved far away from our inefficient but profitable origins and need to reclaim our hand-crafted bespoken heritage. For that reason, here are 5 fundamental legal technologies the tech gods believe are obsolete—but are just as good today and just as fundamentally sound as they were in 1984.

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Top Lawyer Ads & Stuff on Flickr http://www.bitterlawyer.com/top-lawyer-ads-stuff-flickr/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-lawyer-ads-stuff-flickr http://www.bitterlawyer.com/top-lawyer-ads-stuff-flickr/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:52:07 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35620 We've curated the finest lawyer ads and stuff available (for free!) on Flickr.

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half-price-lawyers-lighter
Where else can you find a multitasking lighter and beer opener than in Vegas? If Nevada lawyer and Half Price founder Adam Stokes has his way, you should see Half Price Lawyers franchises, lighters, and bottler openers not only in Vegas but also just down the street from you. Maybe you’ve already seen the billboards? As the ABA Journal earlier reported about Stokes’s discount law firm model:

On any given day more than a dozen experienced lawyers, both staff and contract, help churn cases through Half Price Lawyers’ doors in a fashion Stokes proudly likens to a factory production line.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelleirish/3921527352

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Are Tattoos Replacing Lawyer Business Cards? http://www.bitterlawyer.com/tattoos-lawyer-business-cards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tattoos-lawyer-business-cards http://www.bitterlawyer.com/tattoos-lawyer-business-cards/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 19:42:59 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35645 Tattoos are "uber" social media, combining the sensuality of human skin with a conscious desire for too much information

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resident-futurist-smallAs a practical legal futurist, I’m paid a paltry sum to predict things. But I typically do better than the schleps over at legal marketing and technology blog Lawyerist, who posed this question a while back: Lawyers, Is It Time to Toss Your Business Cards? First of all, the answer is yes. Just yes—most competent lawyers already knew this. But, unlike the novitiates over at Lawyerist, it’s not because of AOL, Quora, and other more passe social media like Twitter and Bitcoiner. It’s because of a recent shift in focusing on “uber” social media, which combines the sensuality of human skin with a conscious desire for too much information. The future of lawyer business cards? Tattoos.

Already, QR Code tattoos are making an impact on legal professionals. At one of the more recent big city Legal Tech thingies, I witnessed Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog, Ed Walters of Fastcase, and Brian Tannebaum of Tannebaum Weiss taking pictures of each others’ QR codes in the men’s bathroom. I witnessed the same thing in the women’s bathroom. Why in the bathroom? One, obviously the location of QR code tattoos have not yet made it north of the ass, for reasons I don’t quite understand but likely related to general modesty. Two, as early adopters, professionals using QR code tattoos are decidedly an exclusive bunch and have not yet announced that it is the next big thing. The notion of exclusivity, however, will change, particularly now that a futurist like me has blogged about it.

ex-bitter-qr-codeObviously, given the permanence of a tattoo, you need to be careful about the information you include on it. QR codes, however, redirect the end user to a web page, which gives you the flexibility to change that web page at any time, as well as make it interactive. This satisfies folks like Lisa Solomon, who commented on Lawyerist that she has to send out an email to people from whom she gets business cards, a real drag. A QR code tattoo on Lisa’s shoulder can do that automatically, and then some. There will be challenges, however, for lawyers in large firms with QR code tattoos, as the tattoo will no longer be accurate when you leave the firm. Think about that carefully before you get a Latham & Watkins tattoo emblazoned on your ankle or bicep.

I recognize that tattoos are taboo in a number of cultures, so understand that these limitations exist and that not all professionals will have a business card tattoo on their butts or forearms. Scarification may work as an alternative, as well as temporary henna cards. A new service known as ScreechCard also provides what it calls an “aural” business card. Push a button and a screech-like sound similar to the sound of dialup will beam your contact information to any smart phone within a 50 foot area (because of this, I actually predict that dial-up will make a comeback in the near future).

The business card is made of an outdated wood-based material that started out as pulp. Toss it. Go to your local tattoo parlor and ask about their QR code tattoo features. If they don’t currently produce QR code tattoos, consider a tattoo that artfully reproduces your business card. You can always add the QR code later. Good luck, and send us pictures of what you end up doing.

A version of this post originally appeared on the global legal marketing blog Big Legal Brain.

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Bitter Lawyer’s Quick Guide to Bitters http://www.bitterlawyer.com/bitter-lawyer-quick-guide-bitters/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bitter-lawyer-quick-guide-bitters http://www.bitterlawyer.com/bitter-lawyer-quick-guide-bitters/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 14:14:51 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35604 Once upon a time, to ask for a cocktail meant to ask for a spirit of your choice, mixed with water, sugar, and bitters.

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bitters-bartenderOnce upon a time, to ask for a cocktail meant to ask for a spirit of your choice, mixed with water, sugar, and bitters. All three worked to balance and enhance the spirit lying underneath, awakening and taming it’s flavor, showing off it’s strengths, hiding its weaknesses. Now we just call this an Old-Fashioned, as in the old way of making cocktails, but bitters still play an essential role. Too sweet, too boozy, too bitter, too dry, and no one wants a second—or to finish the glass. Bitters are a main component in finding the balance. Their use slowly faded away until finally it seemed no drink used bitters in the 1980s, and well, you know how that turned out. Luckily, bitters have made a strong comeback.

But what are they?

Bitters are spices, herbs, fruit, and roots that are macerated in alcohol to create a bitter and/or bittersweet liquid.

That last part denotes two different families of bitters: those with no sweetener and those where sugar or another sweet additive does some balancing. You can look at the basic Old-Fashioned and think of it as combining two steps, though you might still need other sweet or bitter additions depending on what actual product you’re using. At their root (pun intended), certain bittering agents and other herbs and spices were thought to possess medicinal benefits (digestive aids, healing of joints, circulation, and more) best obtained through extraction of the oils and acids into alcohol. I can’t say whether medical benefits exist from a shot, say, of Fernet Branca, originally a stomach medicine containing anise, myrrh, cardamom, saffron, and many other herbs and spices, with a pronounced licorice-driven flavor. But Fernet Branca certainly warms my belly and enlivens my attitude.

Many people are familiar with Angostura bitters and their trademark over-sized label. No bar, whether professional or home, is complete without Angostura bitters, whose recipe is secret but contains herbs and spices and exactly 44.7%% alcohol. The Manhattan and the Old-Fashioned, in their present day whiskey-focused versions, commonly use Angostura bitters, though people often substitute their own bitters or a favorite artisanal brand that compliments the flavors of rye whiskey and bourbon. Orange bitters used to hang out with gin and dry vermouth in the martini. They contain orange peel with other spices and bittering agents—often gentian root, cardamom, caraway, coriander—to bring out and emphasize bitter citrus flavors.

Campari, in the recently popular and resurrected cocktail the Negroni, uses bittering agents and citrus peels to evoke bitter orange and grapefruit notes. The above bitters contain very little sweetness and tend to help a cocktail finish dry or at least cut against the sweetness of other ingredients. That stands somewhat in contrast to certain vermouths with bitter wormwood and other herbs balanced against the sweetness of fortified wine. Italian amaros and German krauters (amaro means bitter, krauter means herbal)—both of which come in a variety of flavors—balance bitter herbs and spices against caramel and rich sugar syrups, like Cynar, an artichoke-centric bitter. In some cases you combine more than one bittering element (vermouth + orange bitters for example) to balance other liqueurs or sugar in classic cocktails.

Where does this all get us? Drunk. But balanced! Yet perhaps, a little discombobulated. Bitters appear in most cocktails, in some form or another, to balance sweetness, compliment citrus, spice and herbaceous elements, and to awaken the tongue. Or, in some extreme cases, to punish.

The Toronto

The Toronto cocktail, a spin on the Manhattan using both Fernet (a bitter amaro) and a second bitters.

2 oz Rittenhouse rye
0.5 oz Fernet Branca
0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth (carpano antica works best, but so does Punt E Mes, a slightly more bitter vermouth. Dolin Rouge is alright)
1 sugar cube (can substitute 0.5 oz simple syrup or a barspoon’s worth, 1/8th oz of demerara syrup)
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters (also can use Bittercube Orange or for a variation, Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla)
orange peel, oils expressed and used as garnish

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Local Lawyer Reinvents Himself as Middle-Aged Bearded Man http://www.bitterlawyer.com/local-lawyer-reinvents-middle-aged-bearded-man/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=local-lawyer-reinvents-middle-aged-bearded-man http://www.bitterlawyer.com/local-lawyer-reinvents-middle-aged-bearded-man/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 16:08:33 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35613 A Cleveland-area ERISA lawyer has successfully reinvented himself as a middle-aged bearded man, according to legal marketing insiders familiar with the matter.

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bearded-man-profileA Cleveland-area ERISA lawyer has successfully reinvented himself as a middle-aged bearded man, according to legal marketing insiders familiar with the matter. With the help of national legal marketers and brand evangelists, he has also refocused his practice around a new persona of being middle-aged and bearded.

“Frankly, I feel refreshed,” said Henry R. Jacobs, a 1992 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Jacobs said that, while he tried numerous other avenues to reinvent himself, none seemed to fit the bill. “I tried the whole Dropbox and iPad schtick and that didn’t work for me. Then I tried the whole virtual farming thing on Facebook and that was not so profitable. This bearded middle-aged thing really resonates, though, and I’m embracing it.”

Jacobs, however, joins a growing trend of male lawyers who are similarly undergoing extensive rebranding and reinventing themselves as middle-aged bearded men. Competition around the brand is considered fierce.

Photo not of actual middle-aged bearded man named Henry R. Jacobs but used by Creative Commons license. Source: Flickr

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7 Awesome Lawyerly Etsy Gifts for Valentine’s http://www.bitterlawyer.com/7-lawyerly-etsy-gifts-valentines/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-lawyerly-etsy-gifts-valentines http://www.bitterlawyer.com/7-lawyerly-etsy-gifts-valentines/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 15:27:14 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35581 With St. Valentine's Day approaching, Etsy remains a fantastic place to find that perfect artisanal gift for your special lawyerly someone.

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In December we put together a finely curated list of lawyer gifty things available on Etsy. It was a hit with readers and lawyers, one of which at least received the 1958 Legal Secretary’s Handbook. With St. Valentine’s Day approaching, Etsy remains a fantastic place to find that perfect homemade or artisanal gift for your special lawyerly someone. While most of the gifts we highlighted in December are, surprisingly, still available, here are seven more Etsy gifty things for people who happen to be tangentially related to the law.

Lady Justice Terrarium Accessory

lady-justice-terrarium-closeupIf your loved one is into justice and jarred turtles and mossy things, a Justice is Blind Lady Justice Terrarium Accessory may be just the thing. As the seller happily explains “Put your terrarium on your desk at work with this little figure inside, and be transported to a more peaceful place. All your co-workers will smile when they see this little scene. The tiny figure is about 1″ tall.” While considering this piece, check out all the other tiny people terrarium accessories, like miniature punk rocker terrarium dude. $18.95.

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Legal Dare #1: Use Wingdings in a Letter http://www.bitterlawyer.com/legal-dare-1/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=legal-dare-1 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/legal-dare-1/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 16:21:12 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35573 We legal dog dare you to send opposing counsel a letter, complaint, or interrogatory reply using Wingdings or Dingbats as the font.

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It’s time for Bitter Lawyer’s weekly legal dare, a challenge to lawyers who remain a bit bored and jaded at the office. For #1, we legal dog dare you to send opposing counsel a letter, complaint, or interrogatory reply using only Wingdings or Dingbats as the font. Some basic rules are below (e.g., e-mails don’t count).

If we can verify that you actually completed the dare, we’ll happily send you a $25 Amazon gift card, but we won’t vouch for you in any subsequent ethical proceedings. That’s not within our paygrade or jurisdiction.

legal-dare-1-640

Some Rules

Listen, we don’t want to litigate over a lousy $25 Amazon gift card, so here are some basic rules.

  1. It’s in Bitter Lawyer’s sole discretion to award a gift card. We thought about adding “sole and exclusive” but that’s overkill. Just us. We the man.
  2. For this particular dare, only items printed and sent by mail on real paper count. Wingbat emails are too easy—lawyers do that all the time already. Yes, you can address the envelope with Times New Roman or some other appropriate postal-approved typeface
  3. The first lawyer or paralegal human being to send us proof of a completed dare is eligible for a gift card. Notice how we said “eligible?” That means we still have the ability to verify whether you really did the dare or not.
  4. Proof must be forwarded to us by email to editor@bitterlawyer.com and could come in the form of an image, affidavit, blood oath, deposition testimony, or crowd-sourced verification by at least 10,000 people.
  5. If there is a tie—and we’re still not exactly sure how that would happen—we will use traditional trial by fire rules to break that tie. We may also consider any available Monty Python method of tie-breaking. We choose.
  6. We can change these rules at any time. This always seems grossly unfair but, hey, everyone else does it that way. We asked.
  7. If you have a suggested legal dare, we’re all ears. Send it to us by email (editor@bitterlawyer.com) or send/post it on Twitter with the hashtag #legaldare.

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Dad, Is It Legal to Serve Raw Meat? http://www.bitterlawyer.com/dad-legal-serve-raw-meat/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dad-legal-serve-raw-meat http://www.bitterlawyer.com/dad-legal-serve-raw-meat/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 14:58:38 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35568 Sure, I said, citing steak tartare. Then Max asked "what about chicken?"

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Logo for Legal Crap My Kids Ask MeI think we were at Noodles & Company eating noodles and a side of meatballs when Max came up with this one. My initial reaction was, sure, if there’s a market for it. There’s steak tartare, isn’t there? And the cannibal sandwich in Milwaukee, made with raw beef and onions. Then he asked “what about raw chicken?” Then I wasn’t so sure.

The Raw Meat Code

Welcome to the federal food code. All 50 states have adopted a version of the federal food code, whether it is a pre-1993 version or the most recent 2009 version. Minnesota is old school—it uses the 1997 version, one of only four states still using a federal food code older than 1998. One of those states, South Carolina, appears to be the only state currently that does not—at least by law—allow restaurants to serve up raw or rare meat. And until recently its neighbor North Carolina did not allow the serving of rare or even medium-rare burgers or steaks, though in 2012 it “modernized” and adopted the current federal food code.

The current federal food code provides:

raw animal food such as raw egg, raw fish, raw-marinated fish, raw molluscan shellfish, or steak tartare; or a partially cooked food such as lightly cooked fish, soft cooked eggs, or rare meat . . . may be served or offered for sale upon consumer request or selection in a ready-to-eat form if:

  1. . . . the food establishment serves a population that is not a highly susceptible population;
  2. The food, if served or offered for service by consumer selection from a children’s menu, does not contain comminuted meat; and
  3. The consumer is informed . . . that to ensure its safety, the food should be cooked . . . .

Minnesota’s food code is not quite as strict and simply allows the serving of “raw animal food . . . when the food is prepared in that fashion at the request of the consumer.” Minn. R. § 4626.0340. Unlike many states that have adopted more recent versions of the federal food code, there is no requirement in Minnesota that a restaurant inform consumers about potential problems in eating raw animal food, such as an advisory you would see in Wisconsin or Ohio if you order a cannibal sandwich (made of raw ground round, egg, and onions on rye bread):

Whether dining out or preparing food at home, consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

So, yes, it’s legal to serve raw animal food at a Minnesota restaurant, so long as it’s specifically requested that way. Bring on the rare burgers, seared beef tenderloin, and steak tartare.

But chicken? The practical reality of putting raw chicken on a menu—not to say that a consumer would request it—is another matter. Who wants to eat “slippery, limp, bloodless, room temperature” raw chicken?

Well, maybe the Japanese, who enjoy torisashi, which is sliced raw chicken served sashimi style. Presumbably, you could serve that in Minnesota, though I am not aware of a restaurant that does. It is at least served at a Japanese restaurant in Chester, New York and at Yakitori Totto in New York City where “Non-Japanese diners are asked if they really want to eat it raw, but the staff’s friendly professionalism reassures one that, as with trapeze artists or brain surgeons, whatever they are doing must be safe.”

Raw Meat, Self-Serve Style

A “consumer self-service operation” cannot offer raw animal food for self-service, which roughly translates to “no raw chicken at Old Country Buffet salad bars.” Exceptions to this, however, include “ready-to-eat” raw animal foods such as sushi and raw shellfish, as well as “ready-to-cook individual portions for immediate cooking and consumption on the premises including consumer-cooked meats or consumer-selected ingredients for Mongolian barbecue.” Minn. R. § 4626.0330 (2012). But in most states other than Minnesota, you still have to warn the “self-serve” consumer with an obligatory “raw meat” advisory. And, interestingly, the code does not define “Mongolian barbecue,” a Taiwanese invention from the 1970s that is neither Mongolian in origin nor closely related to barbecue. But at least it appears to be the only mention of Mongolian barbecue in the entire US Code. That’s something.

Legally offering up torisashi at a self-serve salad bar in Minnesota or other states is debatable. I’m not sure it qualifies as a “ready-to-eat” food—defined as food “in a form that is edible without washing, cooking, or additional preparation by the food establishment or the consumer and that is reasonably expected to be consumed in that form.” Maybe in Japan or New York, but I don’t think chicken in Minnesota is “reasonably expected” to be consumed in sliced raw form. Lye-soaked raw gelatinous whitefish, sure—that’s Norwegian lutefisk. Duh.

So, raw chicken at a restaurant in Minnesota: legally yes, if you request it (and the restaurant has the cojones to serve it). Self-serve raw chicken to be cooked Mongolian barbecue style: legal. Raw chicken at a salad bar: no. Unless, perhaps, it is torisashi—and even that’s stretching things.

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Add This to Our Top 5 Lawyer Videos http://www.bitterlawyer.com/add-top-5-lawyer-videos/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=add-top-5-lawyer-videos http://www.bitterlawyer.com/add-top-5-lawyer-videos/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 18:35:54 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35563 An amalgam of fairly lame and overblown Hollywood-style effects overlaid upon an interesting but vague personal story of a lawyer and his little brother

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If you haven’t seen this ad yet (or did not watch the Super Bowl in Georgia, where it aired), go ahead, give it a go. We’re adding it to Our 5 Favorite Lawyer Videos on YouTube. It’s from Jamie Casino, a Savannah, Georgia, personal injury lawyer. Commentators have gone so far as calling it “batshit amazing” and “insanely epic.” Really? To be honest, it’s an amalgam of fairly lame and overblown Hollywood-style effects and imagery, overlaid upon an interesting but extremely vague personal story of a lawyer and his little brother. Apparently, flaming sledgehammers plus lawyer equals epic. Now, a dentist, that would be epic.

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Top 5 Doodads for a New Lawyer’s Bucket List http://www.bitterlawyer.com/top-5-doodads-new-lawyers-bucket-list/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-5-doodads-new-lawyers-bucket-list http://www.bitterlawyer.com/top-5-doodads-new-lawyers-bucket-list/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 17:56:48 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35552 With hordes of law school graduates striking out to be lawyers and retail specialists, what should be in a new lawyer's bucket list?

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I get a lot of questions faxed to me about what a new lawyer should accomplish in his or her first few years of practice. With hordes of new law school graduates striking out to be lawyers and retail specialists, it’s a good question. And it may surprise you that the answers are fairly simple. Like these.

Create a Viral Internet Meme

What’s a meme? Where did you go to law school, Yale? Every new lawyer should strive to create a viral online do-hicky, otherwise known as a meme and sometimes informally known as “empty pixels in a bottle.” Who cares if you resolve a complex patent infringement case? Unless, of course, you are able to create a funny and viral Pinterest or Instagram image from it. Or at least craft a viral reply to a cease & desist demand letter. Remember, as a new lawyer, followers count. Clients, not as much.

Top 5 Doodads for a New Lawyer’s Bucket List is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Dad, Can We Own a Squirrel? http://www.bitterlawyer.com/dad-can-we-own-a-squirrel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dad-can-we-own-a-squirrel http://www.bitterlawyer.com/dad-can-we-own-a-squirrel/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35543 Max and August often wonder what animals they can legally have as pets, namely woodchucks, bears, ocelots, and squirrels.

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Logo for Legal Crap My Kids Ask MeMax and August often wonder what animals they can have as pets, namely woodchucks, bears, ocelots, and squirrels. Legally.

When one day they asked about taming a squirrel and bringing it home, I assumed two things. First, we are talking about a gray squirrel, not a flying squirrel. Second, you need to own a squirrel before you can tame it, at least for pet purposes. Sure, you can probably tame a wild squirrel and it could live out its halcyon days in your backyard, retrieving acorns tossed toward the garage. But we are talking about ownership—-i.e., the right to bring a squirrel into the house and family.

The Animal Ownership Food Chain

For the most part, the higher up on the food chain, the harder it is to own it, at least today, and at least in Minnesota, which is not known for being a state full of tamed lions and tigers. Regulated animals in Minnesota include “bears, nonhuman primates, and all the members of the Felidaie family (lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, and servals, but not domesticated cats).” This list is similar to those in other states, and a “regulated animal” essentially means it’s pretty difficult to own one personally, if at all. Add to that federal regulations and international treaties, and you begin to narrow the available field for so-called über wild animal pet ownership.

Luckily, however, for squirrel-focused kids who have a hope of playing with tame squirrels, Minnesota squirrels are not “regulated animals.” But that’s only the first legal hurdle.

And Now, Background on Wild Animals & Squirrels

Wild animals in Minnesota are defined as:

all creatures, whether dead or alive, not human, wild by nature, endowed with sensation and power of voluntary motion, and includes mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, and mollusks.

This obviously includes squirrels: not human, often dead in our streets, more often alive and wild by nature in our trees, and definitely—at least where I live—endowed with the power to destroy decorative pumpkins.

As a wild animal, though, squirrels in Minnesota are actually owned by the State of Minnesota “in its sovereign capacity of the benefit of all the people in the state.” And a person “may not acquire a property right in wild animals, or destroy them, unless authorized under the game and fish laws.”

So, Yeah, About Squirrels (and Gophers and Coyotes)

There are roughly 285 species of squirrels and, under the law, not all are created equal. Some squirrels are protected, others not so much. Take the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, also known as the Minnesota gopher. Along with with weasels, coyotes, porcupines, and striped skunks, gophers are unprotected wild animals in Minnesota, meaning they are not subject to Minnesota’s game and fish laws. In other words, if you want to “take” or possess a Minnesota gopher—the actual mascot of the University of Minnesota—you could, at least legally. Same goes for a coyote or porcupine, though it’s illegal to import or export a live coyote in or out of Minnesota, at least without a state permit.

Unlike gophers and weasels and coyotes, gray squirrels are considered protected wild animals, subject to the state’s game and fish laws. They are also the most populous squirrels in the state, if not the country. There is probably one outside your window right now, or in your backyard, raiding the bird feeder. Yeah, that kind.

And because the state’s fish and game laws define gray squirrels as protected wild animals and small game, it puts them beyond your reach as a legal pet.

I wrote to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to clarify my research and ask, perhaps, if my kids only needed a permit to own and tame a gray squirrel. A DNR representative kindly wrote back:

Gray and fox squirrels are protected wild animals . . . and small game, with seasons and limits. Minnesota’s game and fish laws require that small game that are taken must be killed. So, it would not be lawful to possess live gray or fox squirrels.

Thirteen lined squirrels are generally referred to as striped gophers. Gophers are unprotected wild animals . . . under Minnesota’s game and fish laws. Unprotected wild mammals could be possessed alive, though I am not convinced that is a good idea—but that wasn’t the question.

There is no permit that I am aware of for a pet gray squirrel.

OK, I Can’t Own One, But I Can Shoot One

It seems odd to raise the question about owning and taming a cute little creature and then asking if you can shoot it, but that’s the game laws, folks. Yes, you can legally shoot a squirrel in Minnesota, at least under two circumstances: 1) it is causing damage to your property; or 2) it is squirrel hunting season and you are hunting a gray or fox squirrel (but not a red squirrel or flying squirrel).

Interestingly, in hunting protected squirrels such as the gray and fox squirrel, you may not set fire to a tree in order to kill it, nor can you enlist the aid of a ferret. Those things are specifically against the law. In addition, if you wound or capture a gray or fox squirrel and it is “reduced to possession,” you must kill it. You cannot capture or “take” a gray or fox squirrel without killing it. Wanted, dead or alive? Sorry, it has to be dead. And that actually puts the final nail in any hope of live pet gray squirrel ownership.

By the way, squirrel hunting season in Minnesota runs from September through February. You are limited to 14 squirrels per day.

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Goodbye, LinkedIn, You Were Boring & Useless http://www.bitterlawyer.com/goodbye-linkedin-boring-useless/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=goodbye-linkedin-boring-useless http://www.bitterlawyer.com/goodbye-linkedin-boring-useless/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 16:09:10 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35533 I deleted LinkedIn because it was boring and useless and increasingly annoying. I'm actually surprised I let it hang around for so long.

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gregoryluce-avvo-profile

Hey, wanna connect?

I deleted my profile on LinkedIn. This follows deleting my Facebook account a few years ago. I deleted Facebook because I thought it was creepily cloying, excessively memish, and a waste of time. I deleted LinkedIn because it was boring and useless and increasingly annoying. I’m actually surprised I let it hang around with me for so long.

But my story with LinkedIn is probably like yours, or maybe a bit like other professional and slightly introverted web netters like me. A few years back, say 2008 or so, there were three primary choices for engaging in social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Facebook was decently well-established and growing fast, doubling its users from 50 million to 100 million  between 2007 to 2008 (it now has over 1 billion screen people). Twitter was relatively new and seen as the exciting up-and-comer, though people—especially lawyers—still scratched their heads about a service that provided excellent updates on what was digested for breakfast.

LinkedIn, though, was the “safe” choice, the one for “professionals” to engage in if you really didn’t want to engage in anything at all. As I remember during my days running online services at the Minnesota State Bar Association, it was the recommended social media for lawyers because, well, you have to do something online, dontcha? And LinkedIn was, increasingly for lawyers, that “something.” Safe, secure, professional, maybe even a place to get a job or, ha, a client.

And that’s the problem. LinkedIn was certainly “something” but it was—from the beginning—almost always dead, an endplace on the web with nothing of real consequence. It still is today. It is not a place where you would want to go to mess around and learn something, unless of course you had the urge to respond to the increasingly vapid requests for connections with people you do not know (or possibly remember vaguely from a bar conference four years earlier). There’s no there there in LinkedIn and, worse, it began to clog my email with notices that made me feel I was falling down on a vague professional “obligation” to connect with people I did not know and to let them also know, for instance, that I worked for the law firm of Christensen Laue & Rasmus in 2006. For something I never visited, it sure liked to visit me a lot.

I gave myself a choice. Either change my LinkedIn profile to my alter-ego of Goat Lawyer or delete the account. I tried to upload my Goat Lawyer profile image, but LinkedIn obviously uses facial recognition software which, not surprisingly, does not recognize goat-headed lawyers, even those wearing a tie. Goat lawyer would never load, despite numerous attempts. So, instead of doing the next best thing and adding all of Goat Lawyer’s accolades to my own profile, including an advisory membership in the Ruminant Lawyers’ Bar Association, I deleted my LinkedIn account. I was done. Why have something hanging around that I never used and, for the most part, always found a way to use me? In my own recent personal effort to rid my life of useless things, LinkedIn made the list, easily.

In the course of the last six or seven years I managed to scrabble together 290 connections on LinkedIn, which, for social media metrics, is paltry and pathetic. But to you 290 people who connected with me, well, thanks, I guess. And thanks to those who congratulated me on my one-year work anniversary. That was touching.

Goodbye, LinkedIn, You Were Boring & Useless is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Dislawyering Conference 2014: Call for Submissions http://www.bitterlawyer.com/unlawyering-conference-2014-call-submissions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unlawyering-conference-2014-call-submissions http://www.bitterlawyer.com/unlawyering-conference-2014-call-submissions/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 16:01:58 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35521 Dislawyering Conference 2014 will disrupt the legal profession through hard-hitting seminars that will mention paradigms, trolls, and agents of change

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dislawyering-conferenceWe are finalizing details on Bitter Lawyer’s 2014 Dislawyering Conference, with this year’s theme “Rise of the Hobbyist Lawyer.” The conference promises to attract all the leading law bloggers and to disrupt the legal profession through hard-hitting conference seminars that will also mention paradigms, trolls, and agents of change. In fact, if you mention “paradigm” or “agent of change,” a little “droplet bell” goes off in your ear and your name is broadcast on the Duplovision screen at the conference. We hope to ring in a great new conference for years to come.

Though we understand our Dislawyering Conference coincides with Above the Law’s Attorney@blog conference, we knew that all the leading law bloggers would prefer a Dislawyering Conference that has a more lawyer-focused participant track like ours. Here are samples from each of our four tracks. We also welcome your own submissions for consideration.

The Hobbyist Lawyer Track

Rise of the Hobbyist Lawyer. The coming year will be a breakout year for hobbyist lawyers, those who maintain law licenses but spend most of their time on non-revenue producing law-related activities, including blawging, commenting on blawgs, and implementing cost-saving technologies. With nearly 20 percent of lawyers today considering themselves “hobbyist” lawyers, what does it mean for the future of the legal profession? How can you ease into being a hobbyist lawyer, and what are best practices and ethical issues? Plus, where does Etsy fit in? We’ll also answer the question: hobby or dabble—which is better?

I Has Blawg Track

TMZ Your Blawg: The Basics. How to search for, find, and use titillating content on your blawg that is only loosely-related to the law and legal profession, all while surreptitiously building a more serious blawg readership. It’s TMZ meets WSJ meets LOLCats, and the end result is awesome traffic. Hear from some of the leading titillating blawgers out there, a few of them ABA Blawg 100 award-winning readers. Includes bonus separate breakout session with attorney Harvey Levin of TMZ, who will talk about the TMZ social media strategy for building a massive audience using Skype and the New York Post.

Sex, Drugs & Mobile Track

Augmented Reality Lawyering. Augmented reality, a concept formerly called LSD, will be another breakout development this year. But what does it mean for lawyers? It means that, with an iPhone and a little bit of duct-tape on your bike helmet, you get real-time information fed back to a computer screen—information that “augments” your view of your immediate surroundings. Depositions won’t be tedious anymore—they’ll be fun, full of great augmented facts like “yes, the deponent was a baton twirler in high school (with a picture)” or “the court reporter declared personal bankruptcy in 2010.” Think of it as VH1′s Pop-Up Video meets WestLaw PeopleMap. First 100 attendees to receive a bike helmet for use in mounting smartphones with duct-tape. Session sponsored by GoPro and Schpoonkle, and includes how to install a GoPro discreetly on your favorite courtroom helmet.

Legal Writing for Viral Impact Track

So, You Got a C&D Letter. Awesome! One of coolest and hottest legal trends in the last few years is overly indulgent cease and desist letters, typically from a massive law firm threatening legal action if you use the word “candy” or “Starbucks” in one of your products or even in passing conversation. What’s the best response: humor, snark, or both? And what elements should you include to assure that your reply to the C&D letter goes viral? Should you ghost-write the letter and let your client hand-write the actual response on a beer coaster? What’s the best way to mock opposing counsel? Features a guest appearance from Jeff Britton of Epic 6 Brewery, along with samples of the brewery’s new Mr. Bucks’ F Word Pale Ale.

Dislawyering Conference 2014: Call for Submissions is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Transcript of Phone Call from Jail http://www.bitterlawyer.com/transcript-phone-call-jail/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=transcript-phone-call-jail http://www.bitterlawyer.com/transcript-phone-call-jail/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:02:38 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35512 The future of jailhouse phone calls, courtesy of WorldWiide Legal Services

Transcript of Phone Call from Jail is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Please be advised that this conversation may be recorded for quality control and training purposes. WWL: It’s a great day at WorldWiide Legal Services, where we always have two “i’s” on your legal issue. My name is Darby and I’ll be your Legal Ninja today. Welcome, how can we help you? THOMPSON: Uh, did you say Ninja? WWL: Yes, Mr. Thompson, I’m a certified Legal Ninja prepared to help in any practicable way with your issue. What can WorldWiide Legal, the global leader in innovative legal services, do for you today? THOMPSON: I, um, got arrested for DUI, for drunk driving. WWL: I’m sorry to hear that, Mr. Thompson. I’m sure that is a difficult thing for you. THOMPSON: I’m calling from jail. WWL: That is unfortunate, Mr. Thompson, being in jail must be hard on you and your loved ones. THOMPSON: Yeah. I need a lawyer. WWL: I understand from our conversation that you are calling to talk to a lawyer, is that correct? THOMPSON: I think I just said that. WWL: Good, thank you for clarifying that, Mr. Thompson. Because of your value to us, we need to escalate your matter to one of our legal Ronins, who should be able to help immediately with your issue. Please hold while I escalate your matter. THOMPSON: I, I only—- WWL: Please hold—- WWL: Hello, Mr. Thomas—- THOMPSON: Thompson. WWL: I am sorry, my apologies, Mr. Thompson, let me make a note of that so we don’t make that mistake again. THOMPSON: Thanks. WWL: My name is Alisa and I am your Legal Ronin this morning. I understand that you are calling from jail. THOMPSON: Yes, I told that to the Ninja. WWL: Good. I just need to go over a few things first as your Ronin level legal provider. Were you or any loved ones injured in the accident? THOMPSON: I wasn’t in an accident. I was pulled over by the cops. I’m now in a drunk tank and I want a lawyer to get me out. WWL: Thank you, Mr. Thompson, for clarifying that matter for me. I understand that you are in jail and in a drunk tank and that you called WorldWiide Legal for legal help related to drunk driving. Is that correct? THOMPSON: Yeah. WWL: Good, thanks. Just a few more questions, Mr. Thompson. Have you seen a chiropractor? THOMPSON: I’m in jail. I've been arrested. WWL: Thank you, Mr. Thompson. I understand that you are in jail. Just a couple more questions. Has anyone talked to you recently about a Living Will? THOMPSON: I’m sorry, I’m calling about a lawyer. Can I please speak to a lawyer? WWL: Yes, Mr. Thompson, at WorldWiide Legal we take your matter very seriously. Unfortunately, I am not a lawyer. I am a Ronin level service provider. You need either a Samurai or Shinobi level provider. Would you like to upgrade to Samurai for only $19.99 more per month? Our first month is always free and Samurais offer unlimited texting. THOMPSON: Jesus Christ, whatever. Yes, just get me a lawyer. Now, please. WWL: Thank you, Mr. Thompson. Let me connect you immediately to one of our Samurais. Please hold for a moment. THOMPSON: Hello? Anyone there? There are people here . . . there's a line for the--- I don't--- WWL: Good morning, my name is Gareth and I am Legal Samurai number 292991-2, this is matter number 3302-49RP, that's R as in Randy and P as in peanuts. How can I help you, Mr. Tonsil? THOMPSON: Thompson, you shithead. WWL: I’m sorry, Mr. Thompson, it must be difficult for you that I mispronounced your name. THOMPSON: No, it’s difficult because I am in jail, I’ve now pissed my pants, and I have one phone call, to you shitheads, of all my luck. Are you a lawyer? WWL: Thank you for that information, Mr. Thompson, it may be useful for your matter. I am a Samurai level service provider at WorldWiide Legal, a global innovator in online and real-time legal solutions. THOMPSON: Honestly, why did I call--- did you even go to law school? WWL: Mr. Thompson, all of our Samurai and Shinobi level legal representatives receive extensive training in civil and criminal law, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. THOMPSON: Let me be clear. Are you a L-A-W-Y-E-R? A lawyer, a fucking attorney who knows, I don’t know, maybe something about being drunk, in jail, getting real people out of jail? Huh? Yes? No? WWL: Thank you for spelling lawyer, Mr. Thompson. I have made that notation in your file. But, no, Mr. Thompson, I have not been in jail nor drunk and in jail. It must be difficult for you to be drunk and in jail, but let’s see what we can do to help. Please wait a moment while I consult with another Samurai. THOMPSON: Hello? THOMPSON: Hello? WWL: Thank you for waiting, Mr. Thompson. What province are you in? THOMPSON: What? WWL: What province are you in? THOMPSON: I’m not in a province. I’m in fucking jail, in Tucson. WWL: Thank you for clarifying that for me. You said you are in Tucson. What province is that in? THOMPSON: What the? I, I'm--- It's in the province of fucking Arizona. Yeah. WWL: Please hold for a moment. WWL: I'm sorry, Mr. Thomke, but Worldwiide Legal does not currently provide services in Arizona provincial law. THOMPSON: I'm shocked. Just give me a refund or do I have to talk to an emperor or something like that? WWL: I'm sorry, our Emperor level service is still in beta, but I can add you to our prelaunch ---- THOMPSON: [Hangs up]

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Best Ways to Serve Booze in the Office http://www.bitterlawyer.com/best-ways-serve-booze-office/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-ways-serve-booze-office http://www.bitterlawyer.com/best-ways-serve-booze-office/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35409 Four great ways to serve booze in the office, law office or otherwise.

Best Ways to Serve Booze in the Office is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Our pals over at Lawyerist recently posted about the best ways to serve coffee in the office, complete with a slideshow, a $6,700 espresso maker, and a coffee menu to give to your clients while they sit in the lobby and stew about an upcoming deposition. Whatever. While coffee manages to pull average duty as a law office drink, booze is the true standard-bearer. Here are four great ways to serve booze in your law office.

Standard: Full-On Office Bar

office-barI’ve written about the office bar before and I’ll say it again: one of the best and most overlooked options to keep clients in the office (and your billable clock ticking) is to establish a well-stocked office bar. While popular in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s, the presence of an office bar diminished precipitously in the 1970′s. Lawyers may have been partially responsible for its demise, but savvy attorneys today should bring it back to the forefront of a solid client marketing plan.

What do you need? A trip to your local liquor store to pick up booze, an ice bucket, tongs, at least six double Old Fashioned glasses, and some cocktail napkins. You’ll also need a place in the office to keep your booze and accoutrements, but don’t hide them. Make sure wherever you establish your bar that clients and others see it as soon as they walk in. Nothing says you are relaxed, savvy, and supremely confident than an open bar stocked with gin, bourbon, scotch, and Disaranno.

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A Layperson’s Interpretation of Legal Terms http://www.bitterlawyer.com/laypersons-interpretation-legal-terms/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=laypersons-interpretation-legal-terms http://www.bitterlawyer.com/laypersons-interpretation-legal-terms/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 14:13:28 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35471 Simple legal terms usually have a whole 'nother meaning to a layperson.

A Layperson’s Interpretation of Legal Terms is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Rule 26. Don’t put your elbows on the table.

Voir Dire. Generic term for fatty, gamey French food, often blamed for indigestion. Whoa, that voir dire did a number on my bowels.

eDiscovery. A children’s educational program used to teach the importance of vowels.

Plaintiff. A digital image file with no content.

Pretrial Appearance. Grooming efforts made just prior to entering a courtroom.

Request for Admission. A British idiom meaning “I’d like a ticket.”

Movant. Last person to use the restroom. We all knew that Uncle Jenks was the true movant that morning.

Eminent Domain. Detroit.

Unliquidated Claim. A draft beer that is ordered but not yet poured or tapped.

Motion to Strike. A fake bunt; also, a phrase commonly used in police reports. I observed the suspect make a motion to strike, then I shot him.

On the Record. Snide reference to a song that sucks but is otherwise part of an album; the 12th song on an album. Yeah, Lil Wayne’s “Romance” was on the record, that’s all I’m saying.

Felony Murder. Worse then misdemeanor murder; murder that likely involves jail time.

Bench Trial. A euphemism to indicate an athlete’s suspension, typically in baseball. Also known as “going A-Rod.”

Frivolous Lawsuit. A lawsuits that a lawyer files for fun and entertainment; see also, jolly lawsuit.

Civil Action. A romantic liaison on Downton Abbey.

Shutterstock image: Think Positive Concept

A Layperson’s Interpretation of Legal Terms is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Re: My Clients’ Traffic Problems in Fort Lee http://www.bitterlawyer.com/traffic-problems-fort-lee/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=traffic-problems-fort-lee http://www.bitterlawyer.com/traffic-problems-fort-lee/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 19:35:40 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35465 The first of many anticipated letters seeking reimbursement from Governor Chris Christie for traffic problems in Fort Lee

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chris-christie-letter

My Clients’ Traffic Problems in Fort Lee is a letter from R. Henry Wethers, otherwise known as the Goat Lawyer.

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Consider Vinyl for Your Next Podcast Release http://www.bitterlawyer.com/consider-vinyl-next-podcast-release/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=consider-vinyl-next-podcast-release http://www.bitterlawyer.com/consider-vinyl-next-podcast-release/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:47:36 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35460 Vinyl provides instant street cred, captures the true fidelity of that lost podcast sound, and ultimately returns podcasts to their heyday in 2007

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An old record-playerPodcasts have not caught fire among lawyers. Sure, there are some star legal podcasters out there that I cannot remember. Part of the problem may be the growing overproduction of podcasts, with recent concerted efforts to improve podcast quality by eliminating the sound of tin cans bouncing off the floor. As one lawyer recently mentioned to me, “I really like Lawyer2Lawyer, but these days it’s way overproduced, with that dubstep thing and a bland hifi sound. I want to feel Ambrogi, not just listen to him!”

The issue isn’t related to the podcasters. It’s the medium and the overly textured production. Releasing podcasts on vinyl, however, resolves that issue. It also provides you with instant street cred, captures the true fidelity of that lost podcast sound, and ultimately returns podcasts to their heyday in 2007, when attorneys would get together in the office conference room for legal jam sessions recorded on Fisher-Price Record-n-Play Phone Centers.

While vinyl may prove a bit more expensive, the investment should pay for itself within 28 years. Press enough vinyl podcasts and you’ll have a personalized business card to hand out at legal tech conferences, to baristas, and to courthouse staff. You’ll also be able to moderate new online forums where your listeners will argue for decades over your “true” podcast sound, extending the life of your podcasts. More importantly, you’ll increase the value of your personal brand by expanding to a new and underutilized legal medium. Vinyl. It’s Sound Advice.®

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FDA to Distribute Free Zoloft to Exasperated Parents http://www.bitterlawyer.com/fda-distribute-free-zoloft-exasperated-parents/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fda-distribute-free-zoloft-exasperated-parents http://www.bitterlawyer.com/fda-distribute-free-zoloft-exasperated-parents/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 15:28:10 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35450 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a limited 48-hour free distribution of Zoloft to qualifying parents in 22 states.

FDA to Distribute Free Zoloft to Exasperated Parents is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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zoloftIn an effort to bring relief to millions of parents dealing with school closings and dangerously low temperatures that keep kids indoors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a limited 48-hour free distribution of Zoloft to qualifying parents in 22 states. The FDA announced the distribution program this morning, to be coordinated with FEMA staff and volunteers in getting Zoloft to where it is needed most, primarily New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and parts of Michigan and northern Pennsylvania.

“We felt that, given the extraordinary pressure on working parents, in conjunction with an arctic cold that is keeping multiple six-year-old children indoors, distributing Sertraline without normal prescriptive safeguards is the least the federal government could do,” said FDA spokesperson Scott Warner, referencing the generic name for Zoloft. “My, God, my kids are driving me fucking nuts,” he added.

State and federal officials have already come under withering criticism from many parents, who feel the government has not  done enough to relieve them from the extraordinary pressure exhibited when children stay home from school for more than fourteen consecutive days, taking into account the holiday season. Some state epidemiologists are now reporting dangerously high levels of cabin fever, an ailment that spreads rapidly if it is not adequately controlled.

“We need help. Nothing is happening,” said Arista R. Collins, an 42-year-old mother of three who has not stepped outside with her children in two days. “We’ve run out of things, out of ideas, we’re starting to color the walls in our rooms with permanent markers. Where is our government when you need it?” Her clothes were soaked with sweat, and tears streamed down her face.

Warner promised to get free Zoloft to Collins and to other parents like her “as soon as possible, if not today.”

Informal neighborhood  booze distribution centers have already been popping up in states affected by the record-setting cold, which meteorologists call a Polar Vortex but working parents have labeled “a cold blast from hell.” The FDA warned, however, that in those states with free booze, taking Zoloft with liquor may lead to detrimental effects, though possibly not as detrimental as playing Monopoly “just one more time.” Warner added, “all I can say, it’s working for me. I mean, yes, it could be worse, much worse—we are seeing that.”

Post image from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/divine_harvester

FDA to Distribute Free Zoloft to Exasperated Parents is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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5 Things to Do with Kids at the Office http://www.bitterlawyer.com/5-things-kids-office/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-things-kids-office http://www.bitterlawyer.com/5-things-kids-office/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 18:44:53 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35418 If you find no alternative but to keep your 3 or 5 or 6 kids at the office, there is hope to keep them busy and your work colleagues mildly intrigued.

5 Things to Do with Kids at the Office is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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If you live north of Tulsa, your brood of kids may be at home, school cancelled because of extreme cold, as in 200 degrees below zero with a wind chill that makes your arms fall off. If you find no alternative but to bring your 3 or 5 or 6 kids to the office, there is hope to keep them busy, you sane and productive, and your work colleagues mildly intrigued. Here are five creative things to do with the kids at the office.

Annotate Your Work Product . . . with Drawings

space-adventure-interrogatories

Honestly, no one reads anything anymore, especially if printed on paper, so why not draft up some legal documents, leave some room on the margins, and let your kids go nuts with crayons and markers. Have them address the envelope, walk it down to the mailroom or post office or whatever is applicable, and mail it, making sure they also complete an Affidavit of Service before doing so (which seems to be the way lawyers manage time travel). After that, extoll them about the “olden days” of practicing law. Y’know, when you could mail a letter and get a few days respite from that blowbag you call opposing counsel.

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Dad, How Old Do I Have to Be to Smoke Pot? http://www.bitterlawyer.com/dad-old-smoke-pot/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dad-old-smoke-pot http://www.bitterlawyer.com/dad-old-smoke-pot/#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 15:08:35 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35401 Max asked "how old do I have to be before I can smoke pot legally?" He already vaguely knew some states had legalized the possession of marijuana.

Dad, How Old Do I Have to Be to Smoke Pot? is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Logo for Legal Crap My Kids Ask MeLegally, that is. This question came about over dinner as we talked about a kid at Max’s school who had been expelled for having marijuana in her locker, or so Max had heard. Being a fairly sophisticated 13-year-old, Max didn’t really understand the big deal about pot, especially when you compare it to alcohol. He said this as I was downing my Bell’s Two Hearted during a local Thai restaurant’s happy hour. He then asked “how old do I have to be before I can smoke pot legally?” He already vaguely knew some states had legalized the possession of marijuana, at least in small amounts.

We weren’t sure if the age would be 18 or 21, though we thought it would be a bit strange if it was 18, an age when you still could not legally down a beer. Plus, at 18, it would allow some kids in high school to burn one, at least in private. Not that some don’t already do that, but we’re talking legally smoking weed.

The answer is 21, at least in the two states that have recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Colorado and Washington passed initiatives in 2012 that are now in effect and allow persons 21 years of age or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, with varying penalties for possessing greater amounts.

Washington’s law prohibits public use or possession of small amounts (up to one ounce) of marijuana, with a civil penalty of $100, apparently for toking up in public. Other provisions in Washington prohibit the sale or distribution of any amount, except as regulated through validly licensed marijuana retailers selling less than one ounce. Washington has increased penalties for selling it kids 18 or under, though there appears to be no increased penalty for the unlicensed sale to a 19-year-old.

For what it’s worth, an ounce of marijuana is roughly the equivalent of 60 joints.

Colorado’s constitutional amendment is similar to Washington’s, with no penalty for possessing up to one ounce of marijuana and no penalty for “transferring” up to one ounce to another person, without money being exchanged. It’s a petty offense to use or possess up to two ounces of marijuana in public. That is, consumption must be in private.

If you are 21 years of age or older, you can also legally cultivate up to six marijuana plants in Colorado, so long as only three of them are mature.

So, 21, for the two states that have decriminalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Dad, How Old Do I Have to Be to Smoke Pot? is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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Yo, Lay People: Beware of Lawyers Bearing Books http://www.bitterlawyer.com/yo-lay-people-beware-lawyers-bearing-books/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=yo-lay-people-beware-lawyers-bearing-books http://www.bitterlawyer.com/yo-lay-people-beware-lawyers-bearing-books/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 22:13:33 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35389 If you're a lawyer considering donating old law books, make sure you are aware of the unsophisticated lay person.

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I’ve been poking around trying to find out exactly where old law books go to die. In my research, I happened to come across a resource list from a county law library in Oregon. Turns out, if you’re a lawyer considering donating old law books, make sure you are aware of the unsophisticated and unknown lay person:

washington-oregon-law-library-used-books

Geez, I considered donating one of my used F.2nd’s to my cousin for his decorative needs, but then again he could misuse it and start mouthing off about barratry. I’ve since rethought my approach. Thanks, librarians, we love you (seriously, we do).
Source: How to Dispose of Used Law Books (Washington County, Oregon, Law Library)

Yo, Lay People: Beware of Lawyers Bearing Books is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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6 Strange Hangover Cures http://www.bitterlawyer.com/6-strange-hangover-cures/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-strange-hangover-cures http://www.bitterlawyer.com/6-strange-hangover-cures/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 17:41:25 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35385 Last time we looked, lawyers drink on New Year's Eve, and sometimes to excess. Here are 6 strange hangover cures for that unpleasant morning after.

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Last time we looked, lawyers like to drink on New Year’s Eve, and sometimes to excess—often depending on whether billable hour goals have been met for the year. Or not. For that unpleasant morning after, there are thousands of remedies to choose from, including six of the strangest.

5 Lemon Armpits. Apparently, revelers in Puerto Rico swear by this remedy: rub a sliced lemon into your armpits before you go out for a night of heavy drinking. Though there’s no science to this, it allegedly prevents dehydration. I’m no scientist, but the fact that I don’t see marathon runners lathering up in lemon slices makes me skeptical. In fact, I’m tagging this one as an urban legend. But feel free to try it.

4 The Highland Fling. For the Scot in you, heat up a pint of buttermilk and stir in a tablespoon of cornflour. Season with salt and pepper. Drink. In the morning, not as part of your New Year’s celebration.

3 Dried Bull Penis. This is a remedy from the manly folks in Sicily. Just chew on dried bull penis and your hangover abates. But, one problem for people stateside is finding dried bull penis. I Googled “Dried Bull Penis Whole Foods” and came up with plenty of listings for bull pizzle and bully sticks, none of which are apparently too healthy, even for dogs. So, no hair of the dog on this one.

2 Hangover Heaven. You have to be in Vegas for this one, but the 45-foot rolling hangover treatment clinic from Hangover Heaven can come get you and hook you up to “a small, pediatric IV.” You then have your choice of up to two liters of hydration, plus medicine for nausea, headache, or heartburn. And, if you want, you can get 30 minutes worth of oxygen as part of its “Rapture” package.

1 Prairie Oysters & Rabbit Shit Tea. Take one whole raw egg, mix with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and hot sauce, then gulp it down without breaking the yolk. If you don’t puke it up, it may do the trick, though we have our doubts. If that doesn’t work, try making tea out of rabbit shit, provided you feel well enough to go outside to collect some—Western US cowboys swore by this tea.

Our recommendation? Drink plenty of water and, in the morning, plan for a tried and true greasy morning breakfast, poutine if you speak Canadian.

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Standard Legal Clauses, Rewritten with Exclamation Points http://www.bitterlawyer.com/standard-legal-clauses-rewritten-exclamation-points/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=standard-legal-clauses-rewritten-exclamation-points http://www.bitterlawyer.com/standard-legal-clauses-rewritten-exclamation-points/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 15:56:32 +0000 http://www.bitterlawyer.com/?p=35380 It's time to give some extra oomph to standard legal clauses.

Standard Legal Clauses, Rewritten with Exclamation Points is a post from Bitter Lawyer. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.

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While we predict the exclamation point will fall out of favor in the general public in the coming year, that doesn’t mean lawyers should ignore it for legal clauses, pleadings, and correspondence. Go ahead, spice things up, give your writing the extra oomph it deserves. Use an exclamation point in the next year. Here are some examples to give you inspiration.

  • I have received your letter dated December 22, 2013!
  • Plaintiff is a citizen of the United States and resides in the County of Westchester, State of New York, which is in this judicial district!
  • Each term and provision of this agreement shall be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law!
  • The geographic scope of this Agreement shall be Planet Earth! Provided, however, if a court determines such a geographic scope is unenforceable, it shall be the United States! Provided, however, if a court determines such a geographic scope is unenforceable, it shall be the City of Des Moines!
  • ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED!!
  • Plaintiff incorporates and restates each of the above paragraphs as if fully set forth herein!
  • Enclosed and served upon you please find defendant’s Answer!
  • Being authorized to prosecute the offenses charged, I approve this Complaint!
  • This matter came before the Honorable David R. Cruxton on March 3, 2013, upon defendant’s Motion to Compel!
  • WHEREFORE, this Plaintiff claims TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($2,500,000.00) in damages!
  • Respectfully submitted!

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