July 23, 2014

The 12 Rules of Client Service...

...are right here. Revel in their wisdom. Ignore them at your peril. Teach them to your coworkers.


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July 22, 2014

The Post Pub, 1422 L Street NW, Friday, 5:00 pm, July 25, 2014.

Most of this week, and early next, I'll be in Washington, D.C. I should be finishing work early this Friday (the 25th). If anyone wants to meet up, meet me for the first time or just meet some new people, starting at 5:00 pm a colleague and I will be at the infamous Post Pub, at 14th and L, Northwest, within staggering distance of the Washington Post's offices. Bloggers and writers are especially welcome.

An older saloon-restaurant located in midtown, the Post Pub is authentic, inexpensive, dark, a bit noisy and highly correct. It has shot glasses--as bars did before the Great Neutering. Open 7 days a week. So it's popular with reporters, novelists, trial lawyers, Irish people, my entire family and others unwilling to take The Pledge. Lots has happened here over the last 40 years, including to me. Again:

The Post Pub
1422 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 2005
Phone: 202-628-2111

Friday 5:00-7:00 pm July 25, 2014


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July 21, 2014

God on Stormy Monday.

But Tuesday's just as bad. Wednesday's even worse. Thursday's awful sad. The eagle flies on Friday, but Saturday I go out to play. Sunday I go to church and kneel down and pray. And I say, "Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me. Just trying to find my baby, won't you please send her on back to me."

--T.Bone Walker

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July 19, 2014

Anton Chekov on Storytelling.

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

--Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Chekov in Melikhovo, Russia, 1897

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Lebovits on Answering Interrogatories.

A couple of years ago, my friend and Renaissance man Ray Ward at his superb the (new) legal writer flagged a nicely done nuts-and-bolts resource for answering written interrogatories by Manhattan's Judge Gerald Lebovits which appeared in the January 2012 New York State Bar Association Journal.

What? You've seen this post before?

Good. It's one of our many "evergreen" pieces on working and practicing law. We will post it again and again until maybe we start hearing and reading reports that exemplary standards and uncannily high quality lawyering are taking over the profession--and it's all that clients, GCs, lawyers, judges and law school profs ever talk about.

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July 18, 2014

Quality Reads: Charles Clapp's "The Congressman: His Work as He Sees It."


In late 1963, the Brookings Institution first published "The Congressman: His Work as He Sees It" by Charles L. Clapp (507 pages, Anchor). Congressional Fellow, policy wonk and former Capitol Hill aide, Clapp was one of the first Washington "old hands" to study and write about the way a legislator actually thinks and works--as opposed to "how Congress works" generally--in the American Congress. It's based on a study of 36 non-senior House members (i.e., relatively new to the job) who varied in philosophy, districts represented, personalities, and even perceived abilities.

Sure, 50 years ago, Congress enjoyed much smaller personal and committee staffs, and arguably considered less complex issues than they do today. America and the world have changed.

But this book pinned down a few important things that have not changed, and not likely to change: the primacy of becoming an "expert" in one or two areas of national concern (usually reflected by committee assignments), the albatross of reelection every two years, sensitivity (even over-sensitivity) by members to discrete constituent communications and requests, and the fact that all of these men and women, regardless of overall intelligence, work ethic and personality, work hard (yes, no question, they all work hard, despite public's understandable animosity toward and need to demonize them) at a gig that would be daunting to anyone and is impossible to master in all respects.

As a friend notes, Congressional membership is "a lot of job." "The Congressman" is worth reading or at least skimming, whether you're a politics junkie or an average voter who wants to learn a bit more about American decision-making. It can still purchased through a number of online outlets and may be even downloadable, if you look around a bit.

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Hermann Hesse: Joking with the Immortals.

Eternity is a mere moment--just long enough for a joke.

--Hermann Hesse's version of Goethe, dead, possessed of a superior perspective, and speaking to Harry Haller, in Steppenwolf (1927).


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The Economist: India steps up to its age-old public sanitation crisis.


Finally, it's all about the toilets. And, more importantly, it's even okay now to talk about it. See The Economist feature Sanitation in India: The Final Frontier in tomorrow's weekly print edition. Excerpts:

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, says building toilets is a priority over temples. His finance minister, Arun Jaitley, used this month’s budget to set a goal of ending defecating in the open by 2019. That will be 150 years since the birth of Mohandas Gandhi, who said good sanitation was more important than independence

Ending open defecation would bring immense benefits. Some 130m households lack toilets. More than 72% of rural people relieve themselves behind bushes, in fields or by roadsides. The share is barely shrinking. Of the 1 billion people in the world who have no toilet, India accounts for nearly 600m.

India fares worse on sanitation than a host of poorer places including Afghanistan, Burundi and Congo, partly because too many of its leaders are too squeamish to face up to the issue. Thankfully, that appears now to be changing. The government, gung-ho for infrastructure, has just said it will build 5.2m toilets by September, or one every second.

[I]n spite of rising incomes and better diets, rates of child malnourishment in India do not improve faster. Unicef, the UN’s agency for children, estimates that nearly one-half of Indian children remain malnourished.

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July 17, 2014

John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 - July 16, 2014)

In Zurich, Switzerland. Too soon, sudden and so far unexplained. See today's Telegraph. Damn.

RIP You Crazy Fast Wailing Screaming Texas Albino Motherfucker.

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Rule 5: Over-Communicate: Bombard, Copy and Confirm

Over-Communicate: Bombard, Copy and Confirm. It's from our annoying but dead-on accurate 12 Rules. Our eternal debt to Jay Foonberg for this rule. We just changed the words.


Over-Communicate--just don't spazz it up too much.

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July 16, 2014

Alexandria: Best 'Hood in Northern Virginia.


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The Book of Kells: Is anything Man-made more beautiful?

Below is Folio 292r (circa 800) of The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. It's housed at Trinity College Library, in Dublin, Ireland. This page opens the Gospel of John. Illustrations in the Book of Kells are bursting with pre-Christian, pagan and Celtic symbols and motifs that had been evolving in Ireland for nearly 8000 years. The effect is a religious document of mixed media that ranges from the playful, sexual and mystical to the deeply devout and mainstream Christian. 680 pages of the work survives.

KellsFol292rIncipJohn (1).jpg

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July 15, 2014

Happy 125th Birthday, Coca-Cola.

On this day in 1889, the Coca Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, was incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia.


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July 14, 2014

Germany 1 Argentina 0

germany-world-cup-soccer (1).jpg
Well-played, both clubs.

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July 12, 2014

"Has the NRDC Gone Hollywood?"

NRDC's Hinerfeld: "They win lawsuits."

Several years ago, I wrote "Has the NRDC Gone Hollywood?" at the request of Environmental Protection Magazine, where I had a bi-monthly column and feature commitment. Based on my trip to the Robert Redford house in Santa Monica, California, and my interviews with environmental activists and strategists with offices there, "Has the NRDC Gone Hollywood?" is about white-hat environmental attorneys at the Los Angeles office of the well-regarded Natural Resources Defense Council, a national public interest lobby now in its 45th year. I'm told the piece is still hip and funny. We are not certain if it was ever linked to by this blog. So I am sharing this with you now.

Has the NRDC Gone Hollywood?

By J. Daniel Hull

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Daniel Hinerfeld, the young, ultra-articulate director of communications for the Southern California office of the Natural Resources Defense Council ("NRDC"), agreed to let me drop by in mid-September to interview him and some other NRDC staffers so I could write this installment.

I was slightly nervous about visiting. It was a little unseemly, I thought, for me to mingle brazenly with the Los Angeles office of the smartest, hippest, and arguably most successful public interest group in the world. I grew up in the Midwest, and as an environmental lawyer, I have represented chiefly companies -- some quite large and many of them processors, transporters, or storers of fossil fuels.

While several clients have been laudably progressive in their environmental quality management, more than a few of them allegedly violated their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits or were driven into consent orders under the Clean Water Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or Resource Conservation Recovery Act.

Plenty troubling was one ex-client: an operator of 50 underground storage tanks outside of Pittsburgh with a history of alleged groundwater contamination violations and a compliance program which, in the good years, consisted of sporadically checking properties to see if the ground had caught fire.

So, I wasn't really sure if I had the cultural, political, or professional qualifications to visit the NRDC's Los Angeles office and write this article. But the energetic Hinerfeld was quick to point out that, as a single issue, protection of the environment often transcends politics and culture wars.

"It's really a bi-partisan issue," he noted. "Everyone wants clean air and clean water." Hinerfeld, of course, is right. Although it's true that environmental compliance costs on occasion have put good companies out of business and good people out of jobs, strictly speaking, we all -- Republicans, Democrats, Independents, whatever -- want a healthy planet.

Continue reading...

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July 11, 2014

H.G. Wells: Editors.

No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.

--H.G. Wells (1866-1946)

Herbert George Wells in 1908

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In Vox Populi: New article on natural gas fracking.


We believe that the only way for society to change is for people’s voices to be heard. The subject of this dialogue is power--who has it, how is it used, and to what purpose. We welcome your participation.

--Vox Populi to online readers (April 2014)

I just published an article that focuses on the continuing and very shrill dispute over the environmental and safety issues of hydraulic fracturing--or "fracking". Fracking is a drilling method to extract natural gas from reserves underneath public and private lands that are deep and/or difficult to access. The drilling process injects liquids into, and fractures, rock or shale encasing the gas. Critics point out that fracking increases the risk of polluting ground water, soil and air in the areas of the drilling. In the article, I try y to pin down how proponents and opponents really view their arguments, and what each side really wants in the fracking controversy. Is compromise possible? Which issues? What would be a "win" for each side? It's called Commentary on NY Court of Appeals Fracking Decision.

But of equal (if not slightly more) interest to me in this post is publisher Vox Populi itself, the progressive online forum that published my essay. It was co-founded by Michael Simms, a nationally known poet, writer and editor, founder of Autumn House Press, teacher and social activist, and by Nisha Gupta, who will be Vox Populi's first editor. Gupta is also a Ph.D candidate in Clinical Psychology at Duquesne University.

About the forum's purpose, we are given more than just hints. The name comes from the proverb, Vox populi, vox De, which translate from Latin as "the voice of the people is the voice of God." Moreover, if you look at the forum's website, Vox Populi's "tagline" on each web page is A Public Sphere for the Discussion of Contemporary Politics. With these items in mind, and in view of the opening quote above, the Vox Populi forum intends to be very respectable, if not slightly wonky, grass roots clearinghouse of ideas to address real social problems: identifying them, talking about them, evening the playing fields where battles are fought, and crafting sound strategies to solve them. Issue categories already up on the Vox Populi website give us a better idea: Social Justice, War and Peace, Public Education, Environmentalism.

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July 10, 2014

Recession Story: This is what humility, courage and resilience look like.

This op-ed/story has made the rounds since we discovered it last night. Originally, it may have appeared in Newsday on July 8--but it's getting hard to tell as it's been popping up everywhere, albeit with different titles. Anyway, we don't want you to miss it. Darlena Cunha, writer, former television producer and stay-at-home young mother of twins, tells her story in the Washington Post: "This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to to pick up food stamps".

Darlena Cunha and Family

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July 08, 2014

John Kerry threatens Afghan presidential rivals with "Mother of All Time-Outs."

In the case of Afghanistan, the 'time-out' punishment means a crippling withdrawal of money, guns and American contractors that Afghanistan counts on to even minimally function. As Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani compete to replace Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan, and the Independent Election Commission continues to count votes from round two of the voting, the United States sees Afghanistan as a raging fire that very soon could get worse.

So Secretary of State John Kerry today issued the strongest possible warning through the U.S. embassy in Kabul. See, e.g, at Reuters, "Kerry warns Afghanistan as thousands rally in support of Abdullah." In it, Kerry emphasized that he's "noted reports of protests in Afghanistan and of suggestions of a 'parallel government' with the gravest concern"--and that this of course could have serious consequences:

"Any action to take power by extra-legal means will cost Afghanistan the financial and security support of the United States and the international community."

Afghanistan is heavily reliant on foreign donors to fund everything from building roads and paying school teachers to security. The United States pays the lion's share of all international aid.

Observers fear that a standoff between Abdullah and Ghani could plunge Afghanistan into disorder, with no clear leader in a country already beset by deep-rooted ethnic divisions.

Abdullah Abdullah. Least objectionable candidate?

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July 07, 2014

[UPDATED] Last Week's Zoning Power-Based Decision by New York Court of Appeals: A "Watershed" for Fracking Opponents?

For the future of fossil fuel extraction in America, here is an important and possibly game-changing development (although I was just informed that French actress Audrey Tautau's upcoming 38th birthday is "just as important, dude, if not more so..."). First, if you need some background, see this June 30 WSJ article, on the decision last week by New York States's highest court to allow municipalities to use their zoning powers to ban the practice of induced hydraulic fracturing--or "fracking"--to drill for natural gas. And see two blog posts by attorneys, both with the New York City office of the well-regarded Natural Resource Defenses Council, who have been covering the litigation: June 30 blog post by Dan Raichel and July 8 blog post by Kate Sinding.

The New York Court of Appeals' ruling is certainly not novel--or really even limited to fracking. That communities may use zoning laws to limit activities on land is black letter law in nearly every American jurisdiction. But the clash of interests on each side of the fracking issue--opponents correctly arguing that the best current methods of extraction threaten natural resources and human health versus large producer-corporations correctly arguing that fracking is getting America closer to energy independence, and at the same time providing good jobs--has been exceptionally intense, loud, emotional, enduring.

Fracking technology is not new--and has been used for over 50 years to extract shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and coal seam gas. Fracking's methods have never been particularly safe or without environmental risks. Geologists have known for decades about substantial shale natural gas reserves underneath us that fracking methods might be able to extract.

So what's really new? It's the huge, bold, previously unthinkable scale on which more recent fracking methods are based and are now being used all over the country. From the standpoint of the production of energy, and cheaper energy at that, it has been a hands-down success. No question.

Here's the problem, which is largely a matter of public relations. Each of the two respective arguments mentioned above--and this is not always the case, folks--has both merit and broad appeal. And, importantly, the nature of each of these overall arguments allows both sides to affect a certain righteous indignation. Opponents of fracking (i.e., let's protect humans, environment), those on the "David" side, have the advantage here. No one can deny either the morality or rationality of putting humans and nature first.

Fracking proponents (i.e., fracking is the key to American energy independence, and helps create needed jobs), or those in the Goliath camp, appeal to patriotism, energy security, and helping the American economic recovery with jobs. Granted, the energy industry has made a very similar arguments in the past (e.g., compliance with new regs forcing us to upgrade air pollution control equipment is expensive, and will eat up jobs) when faced with environmental barriers. Now, with a huge new supply of cheaper, domestic natural gas in the balance, the energy producer's argument is more compelling than ever. Producers have staff, experts and all manner of hired guns to help make that argument.

So both sides are "right". In government and politics, that can happen. But the sides here are David v. Goliath, and each is apparently willing to devote whatever money, additional resources, passion, organizational time and political capital it has to the fight, and fight indefinitely. That, frankly, is rare. In most cases, the grass roots David side--of veteran activists, new activists, fathers, housewives and college kids, and usually without much of a war chest or qualified lawyers for the long-haul--gets outspent or goes away by now. That has not happened here.

On July 7, The Hill, the daily newspaper covering Congress, wrote about the New York ruling in "'Watershed moment' for fracking foes?", but hasn't identified any significant long-term response from the energy industry. Our take is that the New York decision should and will stick as a matter of basic constitutional law, and will be closely looked at as a roadmap by other state judiciaries in similar cases. From proponents of fracking, you are likely to see a difficult, ardent and slightly demented attempt to 'federalize' fracking, probably under the Commerce Clause and coupled with policy arguments that the importance of energy security should trump local and state rights (which if successful in our judgment would make for bad law).

In any event, fracking, which no one sane and educated really likes, is here to stay, with or with or without zoning constraints, as long as producers keep finding ways to get leases on substantial "new" fossil fuel reserves. For some pols, the unexpected appearance of "successful" fracking on a huge scale is even a bit embarrassing. President Obama, an environmentalist, and Commenter-in-Chief who often chimes in gratuitously on big issues, has stayed away from the issue.

Right now, the best argument anyone can make for fracking is probably this:

"Even though energy companies lack safe, efficient technologies for fracking, we all need the energy source. We need the BTUs".

We know. It's somehow not enough, no matter who you "side" with, is it? So we can expect that in time, Americans will demand either a safer and more environmentally-friendly approach to drilling for hard-to-reach reserves, or require a stronger, more reassuring argument.


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Pantheon: Audrey Tautou is 37 years old.

Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe (2011)

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July 05, 2014

Prisoner of Rock 'n' Roll.

Below, in a 2005 Cream London performance of a blues classic, a man in his 30s or 40s dancing in the audience was briefly captured on film for about 12 seconds. Talk about a religious experience. In the moments of him we are shown (2:32 through 2:45 on the clip), he is possibly closer to god/God (no, not Eric Clapton) than most of us will ever get.

Royal Albert Hall, May 4, 2005

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July 04, 2014

Americans: Born Outlaws.


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July 03, 2014

[UPDATED] Life in the Dweeb Lane: To jurors, do your associates and paralegals come off like harpies and creeps?

Jurors are not dumb. They miss little. They watch you and your team in the courtroom, the back of the courtroom, hallways, restrooms, parking lots, restaurants.

Jurors will always surprise you. No matter what an expert might tell you, or how hard you've worked at selection, you are always wrong about two or three of them. You've heard that.

Creep Control. Well, now hear this: don't go out of your way to antagonize jurors with sideshows which have nothing to do with the trial itself. Bring no "creeps" with you to trial. Keep them in the office. If they must show up--even for a moment--teach them to "un-creep" themselves, starting at 60 second intervals, and practicing until they can hold out for five minutes at a stretch. Hint: They pretend they are happy confident people who genuinely like other humans. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. And remember, you seek progress--not perfection. Be gentle at first.

Non-Creeps. Recovering Creeps Who Under Pressure of Trial May Fold in Public. Bring to trial no "non-creeps" capable of any snide, "mean" or creepy gesture, facial expression or body language glitch lasting more than one half-second. Instruct your non-creeps to read this post to be on the safe side. Reformed creeps--you spotted them early and sent them to rehab but they are ultimately powerless over they way they look or act--need pep talks, and brief courtroom appearances. See above.

A Note on Nerds. In doses, however, a few generic dweebs and law weenies running in and out of the courtroom carrying a huge box of documents, a phone message from your wife about Nantucket later this summer with the Bloors, a good luck note from your mistress, your lucky bow-tie, your spats, your black cape with red lining, or your reserve pair of Bass Weejuns--the kind of people you routinely made fun of in high school--is okay.

Jurors expect all that. You're a lawyer. You live in a world where nerds are almost normal. Jurors get and tolerate that. But jurors just don't like self-important "assisting creeps".

That's really personal. Let us explain more.


Continue reading...

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July 02, 2014

July 2, 1928

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Happy Birthday, and much love, to Penny Hull.

Chicago Girl. Uber-Mom. Last of the Grande Dames.

Tolerator of Difficult Men.

Source of my Hollywood good looks, charm and annoying patrician manner.

Healthy, energetic, blessed with longevity, you will likely supervise at my funeral.

Call me so I can give you my notes on that.

I love you, Mom. Have the best day today.


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July 01, 2014

July 1, 1950


John D. Hull III and Arlene ("Penny") Reemer Hull
Rivo Alto Island, Miami, Florida July 1, 1950

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Steve Jobs: Genius, Baby Boomer, Sadist.

steve jobs illustration_02.jpg
Image: M. Nudelman/Biz Insider

Oh, the Humanity, Dude: Was Jobs seriously out of line asking employees "what are you working on?"

Business Insider has an interesting short piece on Steve Jobs. Interesting because it's a possible (read: for sure) reflection on generational differences in leadership styles, thick-skinned-ness and senses of humor in the workplace. Born in 1955, Steve Jobs was a Baby Boomer with an off-the-chart work ethic which, whether or not you like Boomers, Boomers are known for. By the time of his death in 2011 he was, at 56, older than most of his employees, many in their 20s and 30s.

Business Insider's Lisa Eadicicco, an accomplished, clearly talented and young (I'm guessing mid-20s from her bio, which makes her all the more impressive) tech news writer, explains "Why Apple Employees Never Wanted To Have Lunch With Steve Jobs". And I list further below Jobs-Apple employee interactions in the piece that help answer the question. In her article, our friend Ms. Eadicicco interviews Apple ex-employee David Black, who worked at Apple for 12 years before leaving two years ago to launch his own start-up. Black notes that whenever Jobs would have his lunch on Apple's patio, "employees would finish their lunches within 15 to 20 minutes" and exit. The idea was to avoid this dreaded scenario:

One of the first things they teach you at Apple is to be prepared to answer [Job's] question, 'What are you working on?'

"No one would fill the seats near him," Black said to Business Insider. "Just because you wanted to be ready for that moment."

Two incidents with interns/employees are cited. In one

Jobs asked an intern what he had been working on while in the elevator. He mentioned that he was doing QA (quality assurance) for a product. Jobs then asked him, 'Why are you going down? You should be going back up to work.'

The kid completely went pale-faced," Black said. "And Steve said 'Hey, just kidding.'

In the other, a luckless intern

ended up in the elevator with Jobs. When he asked her what she was working on, he also asked to see the project right then and there.

"What are you working on?" Brutal. Uncalled for. Oh, the humanity. Seriously, are these dick moves by Jobs? Rudeness? Or opportunities for an employee to shine? A toxic leadership style? Or just another passionate and occasionally abrasive manager-partner-owner asking employees reasonable questions with just a hint of irony and weird humor? In other words, just Steve Jobs being a wry and consummate Baby Boomer?

Am I missing anything here?

Frankly, I can't think of a more reasonable question--even one posed by a guy who intimidated lots of people--than "What are you working on?" And certainly for some with even average moxie that question was an opportunity in glowing lights. Yesterday I asked one Baby Boomer lawyer I once worked with--a real go-getter one, a gunner--what she thought of Jobs's question. Her response:

I would want the interaction with my boss, Jobs. Sell him on my enthusiasm, work ethic, and great next idea- might result in a promotion, a raise, or just good old-fashioned thanks.


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June 30, 2014

Catherine Deneuve in 1995

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Catherine Deneuve, 52, in 1995.

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June 27, 2014

U.S. Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr. (1925-2014)


Class Act: Sen. Baker (R-TN) at Watergate Hearings, 1973. See Chicago Tribune

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June 26, 2014

Willam Howard Taft Bridge

Lion No. 4, looking north up Connecticut Avenue, June 25, 2014

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June 24, 2014

Floundering, fear and a modicum of loathing at the EU.


And you think the U.S. economy proceeds at a limp and that citizen faith in leadership is waning? See The Perils of Merkelvellianism in England's enduring The Economist. It begins:

The European Union is in deep trouble. Growth is sluggish at best, unemployment punishingly high and deflation threatens. The European elections returned many populist, anti-EU members to the European Parliament; public support for the project has plummeted. Against this background, the squabble over who should be the next president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, looks an ever more dangerous tragicomedy: Franz Kafka meets Dario Fo.

The front-runner for the job is Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured). The former prime minister of Luxembourg was picked as “lead candidate” by the centre-right pan-European political group, the European People’s Party (EPP), in March. He stands for the cosy [sic] federalist consensus that many European voters want to change. He was an ineffectual head of the euro group of finance ministers, creating doubts over his ability to run the commission—a huge job at the moment.

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June 23, 2014

Rule 7: "What does the client sell?" "Who are the client's customers?"

See Rule 7: Know the Client. Every great client wants you to know him, her or it.

Take time out to learn the client's stock price, day-to-day culture, key management figures, industry players, industry reputation, overall goals and major things it tells the Securities and Exchange Commission. The client is publicly-traded, you say? Wonderful. You have much to read, friend. Also get a feel for what other credible sources--the client's website and public filings are not enough--are saying out there about your client.

Visit the client's offices and plants, too, especially if the client is small or privately held. Seeing live operations and key players moving around and interacting speaks volumes. Early on, and for every client, see as much as you can in 3D. Hey, it's fun. Do it free of charge.

Learn something about the client's history. Get a grip on its past and true origins. How your Houston-based petroleum or gas drilling client started out in 1884 in Indianapolis making pumps for bicycle tires will make sense, and maybe put a few things together for you. Even more importantly, history may tell you lots about the client's corporate "personality" and "culture", now and during the past 130 years. You may discover why the client now behaves as it does with its employees, and with vendors and competitors, or why it has a certain reputation in the marketplace.

By the way, in established and larger companies, my take is that corporate cultures and personalities--the Good, the Bad and the Strange--rarely bear any relationship to the make-up, character and day to day actions of individuals who currently lead and manage the company. And even if I'm wrong about that, personality, culture and atmospherics are certainly worth knowing about.

Finally, as you work for the client, does the talented in-house lawyer, GC or other client representative you must answer to actually pick up on your newly-acquired knowledge, nuances and insights? Yes. Absolutely.


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