August 08, 2022

Potomac Boat Club. 3530 Water Street, N.W.

Established in 1859 as the "Potomac Barge Club", the Potomac Boat Club is a rowing club on the Potomac River that sits on half an acre along Georgetown's southwestern border. It hosts several hundred members: recreational rowers, Washington-Lee High School crew team and professional athletes. Two members, Larry Hough and Tony Johnson, won the silver medal in coxless pairs at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The club's current building (below) dates to 1908.

potomac.jpg


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August 06, 2022

Cultural Literacy For America’s White Collars: When?

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Île Saint-Louis on the Seine, seen from a famous bridge.

Americans, the Alpha-humans, the elect and the "winners" in modern world history, are not well-rounded in our knowledge of the world, its people, and how we all got to this point on earth. Art, literature, the humanities, world history and political theory are not just for the rich, the elite, intellectual, and people who attended Choate and Oberlin. These things are the best part of all of us; they can inform, stir and improve every moment. If America could put real education before "jobs", we would astonish--and charm--the entire world.

Education is about more than just getting a job. Cultural literacy has never been an American strength. Oddly, even American professionals, and executives in leadership positions, continue to be satisfied with becoming, and remaining, in effect, "techs". Four years of college or university training. Seven years. Eight years. More. We are not "well-educated" in a traditional or historical sense.

If you don't regularly read this blog--we have a small but steady non-wanker following--here's a suggestion. Before reading further, skim "Thinking Warriors " and "Ernest, the French Aren't Like You and Me". If these posts make you angry, cause a tizzy, give you a headache, or make you pull a hamstring, just try another blog.

Put another way, Americans, the Alpha-humans, the elect and the "winners" in modern world history, are not well-rounded in our knowledge of the world, its people, and how we all got to this point on earth. Browse the American blogs of the Internet for a few hours. Mostly bad neighborhoods--and getting worse and dumber every month. We are insular and at best (being charitable here) semi-literate as a people. We are uninformed about the history, political roots, ideas and art of the West.

Sure, our schools and universities are called "the envy of the world"--and it's all a crock. We are delusional about our true educational achievement for the rank-and-file. We're a pretty dumb lot--and that includes the vast majority of our white collars and execs. The Net, ironically to some, has only made the situation worse; it imparts the idea that everyone (1) has great value and (2) has something very valuable to share. Neither is true. Neither has ever been true.

In short, very few people seem to know what they are thinking and talking about. But that's not important to most of us. We are 300 million "talkers" and know-it-alls, most of whom have four (4) die-hard hobbies: 1. Sitting, 2. Eating, 3. Watching Bad Television, and 4. A Relentless And Seemingly Eternal National Wankfest: Hanging Out With And Talking To The Same People Over And Over Again. Most of us never travel further than Lake Erie. It shows.

The result: not knowing very much, thinking we know everything, having a limited frame of reference about the World--and 80% of us are now Big Enough To Have Our Own Zip Codes.

The future? Well, it's not looking too good. Consider our human resources.

Some view the 18-35 generation as already broken down, and functionally retarded, with lots more budding failures coming up behind them flying the giddy colors of Sloth and McLife. The pattern mentioned above--in which American students at all levels are given poor grounding in global, cultural and historical "basics"--is even worse for these kids. We have dumbed them down silly.

Our short-term solution for younger adults? We've told them all along that they are "just fine". But they are not fine. They are a bust and--please don't lie to yourselves, your customers, co-workers or shareholders--they are dangerous to have in places of work where quality problem-solving is the main daily event. Or on any terrain where you cannot have a "bad day". Mostly drains and bad investments. Our firm will no longer hire them without probation periods--and very tough ones (which can still be a lot of fun for everyone). Nothing less is fair to our clients and co-workers.

Can Americans change any of this? Sure. If we could just learn some things, and put education before jobs, we would astonish and charm the entire world. We would produce better people. We'd have better employees. (Partners across the country again would be able to invite associates to lunch with clients who can read.)

Art, literature, the humanities, world history and political theory aren't just for the rich, the elite or the intellectual. They are the best part of all of us; they can inform, stir and improve every moment.

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Milan Kundera: On Older Women.

An older woman is a jewel in the life of a man.

--Milan Kundera (1929- ) in "Immortality", 1990

immortality.jpg

One critic: The book will make you "maybe even a better lover".

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August 05, 2022

Whitman on Emerson.

I was simmering, simmering, simmering. Emerson brought me to a boil.

--Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

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Lawyering: A Backstage Pass to the World.

The Strip, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood. As the fictional movie character John Milton said, law done right is a "backstage pass to the world." We've a client doing good things in Africa with an office here. How many lawyers have a practice with client meetings two blocks from the Viper Room and The Whiskey? Probably quite a few. But I grew up in the Midwest--where TGIF restaurants are considered to be pretty wild, and it's eccentric to wear a trench coat and tasseled loafers on the same day. So this kind of meeting venue may be my notion of gratitude.

viper-room-profile.jpg

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August 04, 2022

GOML #130: Interview of Joe Biggs Defense Counsel Dan Hull on J6 1-Year Anniversary Show

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August 03, 2022

The Real Paris

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In this illustration from the 1400s of an important Greek myth , Paris, the Trojan prince, judges a beauty contest. The goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite compete for a golden apple.

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Lucien Carr: Beat icon, pro, original, excitable boy.

I met Beat badboy legend Lucien Carr once and briefly when he was working in DC for one of the wire services. Way talented, charming guy. And serious American history icon. Everyone even a little hip should know about his story. Carr’s on the right below. Google him or research him properly, however you learn stuff. That’s Memory Babe Kerouac on your left.


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August 02, 2022

Rasputin.

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (1869-1916).

Wanderer. Holy Man. Mystic. Drunk.

Insider. Healer. Player. Stud.

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Rule 3: Make Sure Everyone Knows the Client is the Main Event.

Rule 3 of our astonishing 12 Rules of Client Service was written in December of 2005. It's simple to understand--but hard to enforce. Rule 3 is about your colleagues and co-workers at work. Everyone needs to buy into a customer-centric culture where you work. Everyone. Clients and customers are more important than you, partners, employees and even the firm itself. There is nothing without buyers of your services and products.

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Real Women: Elizabeth McGovern.

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Elizabeth McGovern in 2012.

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August 01, 2022

Hot with increasing existential dread by Monday.

Dog days.jpg

Global warming-driven or not, now is the always-hot weather period between July 1 and August 15 that early Greeks and Romans roughly 25 centuries ago named after the Dog Star, or Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens. Be reminded, however, that the "dog days of summer" coming early this year isn't just about the heat. You feeling okay there, Jack? If you are uncomfortable due to the heat and humidity alone, no problem. It does look like Al Gore was right about something.

But if you are walking around your town or city not only sweltering but also confused, overly-emotional, a bit paranoid and perhaps seeing mythical animals, penguins, weasels or other fauna you know for a fact are not real or certainly not native or known to survive in Metro Detroit--and finally you are not too much of a whack-job or flake to begin with--you may do well to head for a short summer respite at a local looney bin or garden-variety detox. Three or four days may be all you need. There are also some highly-recommended, reputation-saving out-patient programs where you can meet not only men and women for dating purposes but also a healthy chunk of the city's Irish big law partners who would much rather try six-week breach of contract and UCC Article 2 cases than spend time learning the names of their own children back in Swampoodle.

Indeed, dog days are not just about crazy hot summers. They are in league with Chaos Itself: "the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies". See (above) Brady's Clavis Calendarium, 1813.

Woof, y'all.

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July 31, 2022

Encore: What would this old German-American farmer say?

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To us, in our lapsed estate, resting, not advancing, resisting, not cooperating with the divine expansion, this growth comes by shocks. We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out that archangels may come in.

We are idolaters of the Old. We do not believe in the riches of the soul, in its proper eternity and omnipresence. We do not believe there is any force in to-day to rival or recreate that beautiful yesterday. We linger in the ruins of the old tent.

--R. E. Emerson (1803-1882), Essays, First Series, "Compensation" (1841)


Middlebrook, Augusta County, VA (near Charlottesville ). Population about 250. In my tribe you can live a long life if you don't drink too much or work at the wrong jobs. Working near here this week here I detoured to visit this grave, and this time found it without difficulty. This Daniel Hull (1768-1854) was my great-grandfather's great-grandfather, then a first generation German in the U.S. There is no picture of him; photographs were, however, taken of his children and all the next generations. I know some but not enough (85 years, what wonderful stories will never be told...) about this fellow, a farmer who was the last of my line to die in Virginia, shortly after the family changed the spelling from Hohl to the more English-like Hull. His son, also a Daniel, moved to the Ozarks where every one of these John Daniel Hull creatures afterwards were born since save me. I just know I owe him and need to promise him that every generation gets better as life in America becomes easier. Are we doing that? Is that happening? Or do we armor ourselves with conformity and settle for ordinary, even though we know it's not enough? Or, as Emerson would ask, are we happy to be "idolaters of the Old." What would this old German-American farmer say?

Original: April 14, 2015

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Blaise Pascal: Time and Brevity.

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

― Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), The Provincial Letters, Letter 16, 1657

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By François II Quesnel for Gérard Edelinck, 1691

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July 30, 2022

Blind Willie McTell: Statesboro Blues.

Woke up this morning,
We had them Statesboro blues.
I looked over in the corner,
Grandma and Grandpa had 'em too.

--Blind Willie McTell

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Disraeli: On Bad Books.

Books are fatal: they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense.

--Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

disraeli.jpg

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July 29, 2022

William Carlos Williams: A New Mind.

Without invention nothing is well spaced,
unless the mind change, unless
the stars are new measured, according
to their relative positions, the
line will not change, the necessity
will not matriculate: unless there is
a new mind there cannot be a new
line, the old will go on
repeating itself with recurring
deadliness.

William Carlos Williams in Paterson, Book 2 ("Sunday in the Park")

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Doing Rome.

“The comparisons between ancient Rome and present-day America are exciting and instructive.”

~ Dan Hull, 2013

“When in Rome, do as many Romans as you possibly can.”

~ Hugh Grant, 2013

Rome. I don't like working here--charitably put, work-life balance is totally out of balance in some regions of Italy--but I love being in Rome. You can walk in this city. You can frolic in it. You can play all day long in and around the The Forum and Palatine Hill, where antiquities are still being found. There's a guy with a shop at the Piazza Navona--2000 years ago the Piazza was a Roman circus (i.e., track) you can still see if you try--who sells me these unique old prints, beautifully framed, that I bought for my father in Cincinnati. I go to that shop on every trip. The Tiber River is still gorgeous and, like the Seine in Paris, steeped in history, and a bit melancholy and mysterious. Lots happened here--maybe too much--and it's as if the river can remember it all.

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Pannini (1743): Ruins, Chiostre, Statue of Marc-Aurèle

In the West, our strongest ideas and institutions, including what became English law, were conceived or preserved by Rome. The increasingly-made comparisons between Rome and the U.S.--no, they are certainly not new--are still exciting and instructive. The Romans were competent if grandiose empire builders who borrowed their best ideas and forms from a previously dominant Greece, while America's cultural debt is chiefly to western Europe. Like Rome, America tended to overextend itself in all spheres. Like Rome, America was globally aggressive. (Other peoples resented it.) You get the idea.

But you can't see, experience and "do" Rome on one trip--same thing with New York, London or Paris--and you shouldn't try. Our advice: do several trips, and "live in it" each and every visit, taking small bites. And spend your trip with anyone but those from the same nation and culture as your own. If you go there with Americans, break out of that bubble. Politely say goodbye--and disappear into the streets on your own.

Original post: September 15, 2013

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July 28, 2022

Encore: T.J. O’Hara - Dan Hull interview, November 17, 2021

Written intro by T. J. O’Hara

“John Daniel Hull, IV, founder and partner of the D.C. law firm of Hull McGuire PC, joins T.J. O’Hara, host of Deconstructed, to share his political experiences and observations from inside the Beltway. Mr. Hull is a distinguished attorney who, as a Democrat, served as a Legislative Assistant to a congressional Republican before beginning his career as a litigating attorney.”

“In recent years, his political affiliation has shifted to a more conservative point of view, and he explains what drove his change of heart. He cites the tenor of the media in Washington, D.C. and how it has impacted the way with which events and individuals are often portrayed.”

“Mr. Hull describes the similarities and differences he personally observed in the Black Lives Matter protests he attended as well as the January 6th rally that served as a precursor to the insurrection at the Capitol later that day. His observations of the attendees and some of the groups that drove the behavior of the crowds are quite interesting in each case. As a former journalist, his “takeaways” are quite compelling.”

“Then, Mr. Hull does a “deep dive” into “free speech” differentiating the actual element of that phrase and its misplaced use. T.J. quizzes him on “freedom of the press” as well, and he dissects that issue as well.”

“From Antifa to the Proud Boys, Mr. Hull has had an opportunity to directly observe the behaviors of both and the aftermaths of their actions. He describes what the media reported relative to the facts versus the impact of any partisan spin on national perspectives. Learn how an actual observer evaluates the actions he saw, the people he met, and the way each was presented to the public. Some may be in complete alignment with what you might suspect. Others may stun you with what the genuine details reveal… particularly with respect to the law.”

“Leave your political biases at the door and enter the world of someone who lives in D.C. and regularly experiences history as it occurs. Then, ask why this isn’t what you may have read or seen from either side of the aisle.”

Broadcast November 17, 2021

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July 27, 2022

301 Flowers, Duke University.

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The Daily Chronicle, est. 1905

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Sparta: Money, Guns and Women We Love.

War is the last of all things to go according to schedule.

-- Thucydides (460 BC - 395 BC) in The History of the Peloponnesian War.

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Spartan Woman Giving a Shield to Her Son, 1805, Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier. In the lore and legend of Sparta, when a son left home for the armed forces, his mother said: "Fight well and fairly. Return with your shield or on it."

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk). Permalink | Comments (0)

My dispute to date with LinkedIn: I am losing. So are you.

From: John Daniel Hull
Date: July 27, 2022 at 4:05:02 AM EDT
To: LinkedIn Customer Support
Subject: Re: LinkedIn Account Recovery Appeal [Case: 220720-017655]

Thank you for update. Appreciated.

J. Daniel Hull

Hull McGuire PC
Washington Square
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
001.202.429.6520 direct
001.619.895.8336 cell
001.412.261.2627 fax
www.hullmcguire.com
www.whataboutclients.com

Washington, D.C. Maryland Pennsylvania California

On Jul 27, 2022, at 4:03 AM, LinkedIn Customer Support wrote:


LinkedIn John Daniel Hull
Reference # 220720-017655
View your case(s) on our Help Center
Status: Open
Response (07/27/2022 03:03 CST)
Hi John Daniel,

Thanks for writing back to us.

As stated earlier, your appeal is currently under review. Once we have reviewed your account we will contact you regarding the status of the account.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Warmest,

Hope
Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
Member (07/24/2022 04:32 CST)
PS LinkedIn, rather. Lol.

On Sun, Jul 24, 2022 at 5:31 AM J. Daniel Hull
wrote:

> Thank you.
>
> What is the real reason you don’t want me on Linked? Because I’m a speech
> advocate, trial lawyer, published writer and long-time award
> winning/ABA-acclaimed blogger? Don’t like my views?
>
> I worked on Capitol Hill for a Dem Senator and GOP Congressman. I raised
> money for Hillary Clinton. I went to Duke. I think for myself. I’m not on
> anyone’s “team.”
>
> I’ve an enduring civil rights record. Since the 1970s. I even covered the
> CR beat for a fine college daily. I majored in American southern history. I
> was a law review editor. Three articles on constitutional law. Feature
> pieces in major newspapers on zoning and free speech.
>
> I am amazed by all this. It’s frightening. And frankly “anti-Intellectual.”
>
> What are you people doing?
>
> Dan Hull
>
> linkedin_support@cs.linkedin.com> wrote:
>
>> [image: LinkedIn] John Daniel Hull
>>
>> Reference # 220720-017655
>>
>> View your case(s) on our Help Center
>>
>> Status: Open
>> Response (07/24/2022 03:44 CST)
>> Hi John Daniel,
>>
>> Your appeal has been received and is currently under review. Please allow
>> up to 14 days for us to contact you regarding the status of the account.
>>
>> Thanks for your cooperation.
>>
>> Warmest,
>>
>> Hope
>> Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
>> Member (07/24/2022 03:41 CST)
>> Dear Hope,
>>
>> I have reviewed your policies and you have my explicit consent that I
>> will
>> abide by your policies going forward.
>>
>> What's next?
>>
>> Dan Hull
>> 619-895-8336 cell
>>
>> On Sun, Jul 24, 2022 at 2:29 AM LinkedIn Customer Support <
>> linkedin_support@cs.linkedin.com> wrote:
>>
>> > [image: LinkedIn] John Daniel Hull
>> >
>> > Reference # 220720-017655
>> >
>> > Status: Closed
>> > View your case(s) on our Help Center
>> >
>> > You may reply to this case for up to 14 days
>> > Response (07/24/2022 01:29 CST)
>> > Dear John Daniel,
>> >
>> > Thanks for writing back to us.
>> >
>> > If you have questions or complaints regarding this Policy, you can also
>> > reach us by physical mail.
>> >
>> > For users outside the Designated Countries:
>> > LinkedIn Corporation
>> > Attn: Legal Dept. (Privacy Policy and User Agreement)
>> > 1000 W. Maude Avenue
>>
>> > Sunnyvale, CA 94085
>>
>> > USA
>>
>> >
>> > For users in the Designated Countries:
>> > LinkedIn Ireland Unlimited Company
>> > Attn: Legal Dept. (Privacy Policy and User Agreement)
>> > Wilton Plaza
>> > Wilton Place, Dublin 2
>> > Ireland
>> >
>> > Note: Designated Countries to refer to countries in the European Union
>> > (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland.
>> >
>> > Please know that the restrictions on your account will continue to
>> remain
>> > until you review our policies and provide us with your explicit consent
>> > that you will abide by our policies going forward.
>> >
>> > Thanks for your understanding and cooperation on this issue!
>> >
>> >
>> > Warmest,
>> >
>> > Hope
>> > Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
>> > Member (07/23/2022 05:03 CST)
>> > Thanks for your response. I'll consider this. I need to think about
>> this.
>> > I've read your community rules, policies and guidelines many times. I
>> was
>> > one of your first users. But what you're asking is very difficult: to
>> > agree with something that only LinkedIn has the power to interpret.
>> >
>> > Query: Are you or any of your colleagues familiar with--or have you
>> > read--George Orwell's (1903-1950) novel *Nineteen Eighty-Four? *Has my
>> > friend Reid Hoffman read it? An enduring best-seller, it was first
>> > published in June of 1949.
>> >
>> > I'll get back to you. But this is all very difficult for me or any
>> > minimally educated person to grasp. Please consider Orwell's book.
>> >
>> > Dan Hull
>> >
>> > J. Daniel Hull
>> >
>> > Hull McGuire PC
>> >
>> > Washington Square
>> > 1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
>>
>> >
>> > Washington, D.C.
>>
>> >
>> > 20036
>>
>> >
>> > 001.202.429.6520 direct
>> >
>> > 001.619.895.8336 cell
>> > 001.412.261.2627 fax
>> > www.hullmcguire.com
>> > www.whataboutclients.com
>> >
>> > https://www.linkedin.com/in/dcdude1/
>> >
>> > Washington, D.C. Maryland Pennsylvania California
>> >
>> > On Sat, Jul 23, 2022 at 4:53 AM LinkedIn Customer Support <
>> > linkedin_support@cs.linkedin.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > > [image: LinkedIn] John Daniel Hull
>> > >
>> > > Reference # 220720-017655
>> > >
>> > > Status: Closed
>> > > View your case(s) on our Help Center
>> > >
>> > > You may reply to this case for up to 14 days
>> > > Response (07/23/2022 03:53 CST)
>> > > Dear John Daniel,
>> > >
>> > > Thanks for writing back to us.
>> > >
>> > > I'm sorry we wouldn't be able to interpret our User Agreement and
>> > > professional community guidelines any further. The mentioned points
>> > clearly
>> > > indicates the violation associated with your account and we've also
>> > > provided you with the contents that were in violation in our very
>> first
>> > > communication.
>> > >
>> > > Please know that the restrictions on your account will continue to
>> > remain
>> > > until you review our policies and provide us with your explicit
>> consent
>> > > that you will abide by our policies going forward.
>> > >
>> > > Warmest,
>> > >
>> > > Hope
>> > > Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > Member (07/23/2022 03:01 CST)
>> > > How can you consent to rules and policies which are vague and
>> > arbitrarily
>> > > applied?
>> > >
>> > > J. Daniel Hull
>> > > 619-895-8336 cell
>> > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > Response (07/23/2022 02:55 CST)
>> > > Dear John Daniel,
>> > >
>> > > Thanks for writing back to us.
>> > >
>> > > I do understand that you prefer talking to someone over the phone
>> > however
>> > > currently we do not have an option to call you back.
>> > >
>> > > However assistance is available over email support at this time.
>> > >
>> > > As stated earlier please note that when content is found to be in
>> > > violation of our policies, we encourage our members to view our
>> > >
>> > > LinkedIn User Agreement (
>> https://www.linkedin.com/legal/user-agreement
>> > )
>> > > and
>> > > Professional Community Policies (
>> > > https://www.linkedin.com/legal/professional-community-policies ).
>> > >
>> > > We can certainly take your feedback regarding the policies, but if
>> you
>> > > need to further detailed explanation of these polices and what they
>> > mean,
>> > > we would encourage you to seek assistance from legal assistant who
>> could
>> > > help provide further explanation.
>> > >
>> > > Once we receive your consent that you will abide by the LinkedIn User
>> > > Agreement and professional Community Policies going forward we will e
>> > able
>> > > to assist you further!
>> > >
>> > > Thanks for your understanding and cooperation on this issue!
>> > >
>> > > Warmest,
>> > >
>> > > Hope
>> > > Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
>> > > Member (07/22/2022 23:38 CST)
>> > > Sorry. But the policies are extremely vague. Difficult to know in
>> > advance
>> > > what is objectionable. I can explicitly agree to them in advance but
>> it
>> > > doesn’t mean anything. Can someone please call me. I’ve done speech
>> law
>> > > much of my career but this is truly concerning.
>> > >
>> > > Dan Hull
>> > >
>> > > linkedin_support@cs.linkedin.com> wrote:
>> > >
>> > > > [image: LinkedIn] John Daniel Hull
>> > > >
>> > > > Reference # 220720-017655
>> > > >
>> > > > Status: Closed
>> > > > View your case(s) on our Help Center
>> > > >
>> > > > You may reply to this case for up to 14 days
>> > > > Response (07/22/2022 23:11 CST)
>> > > > Dear John Daniel,
>> > > >
>> > > > Thanks for writing back to us.
>> > > >
>> > > > I see that you have requested a phone call, but generally we find
>> > we’re
>> > > > able to resolve questions better over email since we often need
>> time
>> > to
>> > > > investigate. This way we’ll have time to find you the right answer
>> and
>> > > we
>> > > > won’t keep you waiting on the phone.
>> > > >
>> > > > Please know that the restrictions on your account will continue to
>> > > remain
>> > > > until you review our policies and provide us with your explicit
>> > consent
>> > > > that you will abide by our policies going forward.
>> > > >
>> > > > Warmest,
>> > > >
>> > > > Hope
>> > > > Member Safety and Recovery Consultant
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > Member (07/22/2022 04:51 CST)
>> > > > Can we talk on the phone about this? That would help. Thanks. Dan
>> Hull
>> > > >
>> > > > J. Daniel Hull
>> > > > 619-895-8336 cell
>

Continue reading...

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July 26, 2022

Hull House, Mountain Grove, Missouri circa 1905

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Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980)

If you have nothing nice to say, come sit by me.

-- Alice Roosevelt Longworth
Died on February 20, 1980 at 96.


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July 25, 2022

Best of Partner Emeritus No. 3: Summering Correctly in Gotham.

Several years ago our hero Partner Emeritus commented in response to an Above the Law piece on summer associate offers:

It's a sad world we live in where kids think they are having the time of their lives by raising bottles of Korbel champagne adorned with cheap sparklers. The video [in the ATL article] is proof that law firms are not celebrating like it was 1984 or 2007 for that matter.

When I was a younger partner, I would take a handful of summer associates to Smith & Wollensky or Peter Luger's in Brooklyn and then party hard at the VIP lounge at Flash Dancers ('80s) or Scores ('90s). Most of the summer associates were caught in compromising positions during these soirees. For example, I had many Polaroids with SAs who were photographed in salacious positions with female entertainers. I even photographed a few doing lines of coke in the VIP lounge.

Once the summer associates became associates I would bring them into my office and give them copies of the Polaroids and remind them that I was the last person they ever wanted to cross if they wanted to keep their job or law license. Most of these folks became partners, which proves my methods for inspiring peak performance were quite effective.

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Photo taken in 1986 believed to be PE instructing summer associates Photo: Paramount Pictures).

Original post: Summer 2015

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Indian Hill

I miss growing up in Indian Hill, Ohio. A community that protected its own. If I were driving around at 17 and the local cops stopped me, this:

“Why it’s Dan Hull. John Hull’s eldest. Got any beer, dope or cocaine there in your Daddy’s car?”

“No, sir.”

“Would you like some?”

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July 23, 2022

3rd and East Capitol SE

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Reading Room at the Folger Shakespeare Library

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July 22, 2022

The 7 Habits of Highly Useless Corporate Lawyers

1. Be risk-averse at all times. Clients have come to expect this from their lawyers. It's tradition. Honor it.

2. Tell the client only what it can't do. Business clients are run by business people who take risks. They need to be managed, guided, stopped. Don't encourage them.

3. Whatever you do, don't take a stand, and don't make a recommendation. (You don't want to be wrong, do you?)

4. Treat the client as a potential adversary at all times. Keep a distance.

5. Cover yourself. Write a lot to the client. Craft lots of confirming letters which use clauses like "it is our understanding", "our analysis is limited to..." and "we do not express an opinion as to whether..."

6. Churn up extra fees with extra letters and memoranda and tasks. Milk the engagement. (If you are going to be a weenie anyway, you might as well be a sneaky weenie.)

7. As out-house counsel, you are American royalty. Never forget that.

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July 21, 2022

People, Not Ideologies, Solve Problems. Got That?

Since the summer of 2005, this blog has showcased a number of pet issues and themes. We’ll keep doing that.

One topic has been the importance of thinking independently about law, government, politicians and political ideologies. Or about The Upanishads. The Sun Also Rises, Huck Finn. About my friend Ernie from Glen Burnie, who is a seer. The Art of Seduction. The Old Testament. Parker Posey.

Or thinking independently about Anything.

There are these days lots of good, and arguably "bad" notions and ideas--nationally and internationally--all along the political and cultural spectrums, and there is no reason to pick one party, camp or pol to follow on all ideas.

After all, people, not ideologies, solve public problems.

You don't need a label. You need not be a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Anarchist or Nihilist. You can "mix and match" both pols and ideas. Me? I've changed, if subtly, and in ways that trouble a friend here and there. But my thinking is pretty much the same as it was when I was in my 20s. As a "liberal", I never really trusted Big Labor. I've never liked the "politically correct" speech regimen many traditional liberals unfortunately embraced. To the contrary, I've always admired free speech--and I revel in it. But the main change is that in 2017 I registered Republican for the first time. Not much else is different.

Most of us do have a Political-Civil Rights-Human Rights-Social Justice resume, CV or profile (hereinafter "Political CV"). I use "political" broadly here to describe anything related to participation in public affairs where some social purpose was fully served beyond my own self-aggrandizement, ego or pleasure. More than one purpose is okay; few of us do anything out a pure heart to "will one thing." So below I've fashioned my Political CV. Forget about Dem or GOP or Libertarian scripts. I've listed things that I did in large part "for the public good." For example, things I'm not including are Senior Class President (mix of duties and agendas), Eagle Scout (the same), working in a union-shop factory (Keebler's, in my case), membership in student or church groups with some but not primary political or social welfare slant, merely being asked to run for Congress (and saying no), merely voting, serving on an elected but non-partisan Zoning Board for a community of 40,000 or going to see Jerry Rubin, Timothy Leary or Milo speak at the Cow Palace. Or throwing a huge pickle at an on-stage Iggy Stooge (and hitting him).

But passing out leaflets for a political candidate, demonstrating against POTUS candidate and Alabama Governor George Wallace or working regularly with the urban homeless? Oh yeah. Those are "political". They reflected my idea of furthering "the public good" at the time I did I them. You get the idea. There's got to be a cause, some heat, some passion in an activity that helps others. Doesn't matter if it's a national issue or not. Doesn't matter if there's rhetoric involved.

Anyway, I've been an activist in everything I've ever done--and particularly with respect to groups I've joined or with which I've identified. So, and since I was 16, here is my political resume in chronological order. All of this is part of me now. All of it I’m proud of and still believe in. I'll update it as I remember things things.

1. Campaigned twice for Jerry Springer (Ohio-D), for runs for Congress and City Council in Cincinnati.

2. Campaigned more briefly but earnestly for Howard Metzenbaum, U.S. Senator (Ohio-D)

3. Worked with Armstrong United Methodist Church in Indian Hill, Ohio on several long-term projects for inner-city kids in Cincinnati, Ohio. Some with my mother (Head Start). Some in connection with working toward God & Country Award for BSA. (I was an Eagle Scout.)

4. Worked twice at as counselor at a camp for handicapped kids at summer camp in Cincinnati.

5. My party's candidate for 1970 Governor of Ohio Boys State. I was "liberal" party candidate and lost to a black kid from Sandusky. Ohio named Tony Harris. The race made news on television and in newspapers all Ohio Midwest. I lost.

6. Student Reporter, Duke University Daily Chronicle. Civil Rights Beat, Durham. (1972-73)


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7. Demonstrator, anti-Vietnam war movement. Several marches, demonstrations, including Moratorium in D.C. Demonstrated against POTUS candidate George C. Wallace in Michigan in runup to Michigan primary.

8. Wrote "Soul City: A Dream--Will it come true?" feature for Duke daily Chronicle. March 1974. Interviewed among others Floyd McKissick, one of founders of Soul City, the first model black city in America. Paper won acclaim and 2 awards for this reporting.

9. Aide, Sen. Gaylord Nelson (Wis.-D) (1974-1975, parts of 1976) Spearheaded demonstration project passed in Congress in preventative health care for Menominee Indian tribes in Wisconsin.

10. Worked for Lawyers Committee Under CIvil Rights suing VA furniture makers under Title VII. Class action suit. Covington & Burling.

11. Worked off and on but actively for 2 years helping probe possible violations of Voting Rights Act by large Ohio city. Department of Justice/Legal Aid Society.

12. Awarded 1-year poverty law fellowship in Toledo, Ohio. Turned down to move back to DC.

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13. Test "husband" for "the white couple" for mortgage and leasing redlining discrimination investigation conducted by HUD

14. Two of three law review articles on racial discrimination under Constitution. Zoning and Voting. Two awards.

15. Two feature articles appearing in major paper Sunday magazine. First on zoning in a small Ohio River town, New Richmond, Ohio. Second about a 1st Amendment and zoning crusader named John Coyne in rural Clermont County, Ohio.

16. Aide, Representative Bill Gradison (R-Ohio) 1978-1981. Health. Energy. Natural Resources,

17. Treasurer 2003 State Assembly Campaign for CA Democrat, Karen Heumann.

18. Wesley Clark for President (2003-2004). Chief San Diego Fundraiser and (briefly) CA Convention Delegate.

19. Board of Directors, North San Diego County Democrats (2002-2012)

20. Hillary Clinton for President, 2008, 2016.

21. Co-Founded (with Peter B. Friedman) One Night/One Person Winter Homeless Program in Northern America & Europe 2015. Now in year 6.

22. Defense counsel for two mainstay leaders of the Proud Boys, before both courts and Congress, re: January 6, 2021 events.

Original: April 3, 2019
Updated: July 21, 2022

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July 20, 2022

London, 1841: Ben Disraeli is Fed Up.

I cannot be silent. I have had to struggle against a storm of political hate and malice which few men ever experienced.

--Young MP Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), asking Robert Peel for a post in the Peel Ministry in an 1841 letter. Peel refused him.

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"Dizzy"

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William Carlos Williams’s New Mind.

Without invention nothing is well spaced,
unless the mind change, unless
the stars are new measured, according
to their relative positions, the
line will not change, the necessity
will not matriculate: unless there is
a new mind there cannot be a new
line, the old will go on
repeating itself with recurring
deadliness.

William Carlos Williams in Paterson, Book 2 ("Sunday in the Park")

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July 19, 2022

Malcolm Lowry's “Under the Volcano”

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Lowry's great romp about an alcoholic British consul in a small Mexican town was published in 1947. The story is set on All Souls' Day--or the Day of the Dead--on November 2, 1938 in Quauhnahuac, Mexico.

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Alcoholics Anonymous: Springboard? Or Perm Cocoon?

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July 18, 2022

Jack London: On Inspiration.

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

--Jack London (1876-1916)

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Daniel O’Connell: Statesmanship, balls, Irish wit. Trial lawyering on crack.

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July 17, 2022

Lower England: 'Are you a Man of Kent?'

As with London, and with the County of Suffolk to the north, from where my mother's family came to Massachusetts via Ipswich 388 years ago, I am completely and hopelessly in love with Kent, mainly the eastern ("Men of Kent") part. The County of Kent is the southeastern doorway to the British Isles--it has even more history, legend and myth than London. Lots, and maybe even too much, has happened here during the past 2500 years. Eventually, in 51 BC, Julius Caesar called it Cantium, as home of the Cantiaci. Augustine founded what became the Anglican Church here in about 600 AD. And of course Thomas Becket, Chaucer's "holy blissful martyr", was killed here (Canterbury) in 1170.

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St. John the Baptist, The Street, Barham, Kent

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July 16, 2022

In Praise of Structure*

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Do lawyers know how to get things done, done right and done on time? Do we even value that?

I wonder.

No, I am not talking here about the simple "keeping face" or survival requirements of meeting client deal or court deadlines, or even about the clichés of "working hard", creative thinking, "out of the box" thinking, being persistent, or "working smart".

I mean structure--a real standard for working--and "practicing structure" every day. It's the discipline of: (1) having a plan or strategy for any one project (client or non-client), (2) meeting internal project deadlines (not just "jurisdictional" ones) no matter what, and (3) insisting that everyone in your shop "buy into" the discipline of keeping to that overall plan or strategy and timetable.

"Structure" is not just the hard process of getting things done. It's a frame of mind and a value which must be sold to others in your shop--like the importance of making that 5 minute call to a client about a loose end at the end of the worst day you can remember, even while you could do it the next morning at 8:00. It's realizing that letting anything but emergency tasks "slide" makes you inefficient, unlikely to meet your real goals, and tired.

Do you go into work every day with an idea of what needs to be done on each project, and knowing the difference between "important" and "urgent"?

Example: Monday is your deadline to have the final changes and notes to your web designer on your new firm website, an important but not urgent project you've talked about at internal meetings for months. So far, for once, you have been on track.

But on Monday a longstanding client calls with two new projects; the new projects are exciting but not THAT urgent in the sense they need to cut into internal deadlines and other goals for Monday. You need to take some first steps, though, to get on top of the new matters for your client. After all, these folks are the main event.

So we have a key ongoing internal project v. new client project. Which gets the most attention that day? Which slides?

Answer: they both get attention, and neither slides. The website (long-term important) and the new client project (short term important) are both critical projects.

Years ago, the Stephen Coveys and Edwards Demings out there pointed out that business people burn themselves out by waiting around only for "the urgent" in a kind of manic crisis management that keeps other important things from ever getting done or ONLY getting them done when they morph into a crisis.

For lawyers, other examples would be only respecting deadlines like transaction closing dates and court-filing deadlines--to hell with everything else.

For a long time I've thought that American business schools and the training programs of global and often publicly-traded companies do a much, much better job than do law firms of training recruits to value and adhere to the structure of a plan on an item for action. It's almost as if law school and firms deem us all such "professionals" and "artists" that we are beyond learning skills of project planning and execution.

What a crock. Because you're a lawyer, or other professional (MD, CPA, engineer, broker), you now have a license to be incompetent, semi-competent, or a chronic screw-up on the details of getting much (if not most) of your work done? You're special? An artiste?

Of course not.

Not learning the value of pushing non-urgent but important things along at a steady pace has cost us dearly. As motivated as lawyers often are, our discipline for sticking to anything and seeing it through is often poor; again, unless it's urgent, we just don't see its value. Do our best clients run their businesses that way?

This attitude is the norm, and we lawyers--who rarely innovate or take a leadership position on anything in commerce--are just fine, thank you, with it. After all, "all the other law firms" are mediocre on the discipline of getting things done, and have "crisis-only" mentalities. "Why shouldn't we be that way?"

So we waste time blowing off important, but longer-term projects. Worst of all, we send to others in our firms, and especially to younger lawyers, the message:

"No worries--just work on a barely adequate level; don't do things until you have to; and if it's not urgent, let it slide."

* earlier JDH posts, beginning 2007.

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Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, London

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July 15, 2022

Bring Back Real Women: Sigourney Weaver.

I need a woman about twice my height.
Statuesque.
Raven-tressed.
A goddess of the night.

--John Barlow and Bob Wier, "I Need a Miracle"

Patrician. Five foot eleven. Stanford and Yale. 71 years old.

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Susan Alexandra Weaver in 2008

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World Famous, Soulful, Accurate 12 Rules of Client Service.

1. Represent only clients you 'like'.

2. The client is the main event.

3. Make sure everyone in your firm knows the client is the main event.

4. Deliver legal work that changes the way clients think about lawyers.

5. Over-communicate: bombard, copy and confirm.

6. When you work, you are marketing.

7. Know the client.

8. Think like the client--help control costs.

9. Be there for clients--24/7.

10. Be accurate, thorough and timely--but not perfect.

11. Treat each co-worker like he or she is your best client.

12. Have fun.

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Copyright 2005-2022 J. Daniel Hull.

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O Rare Partner Emeritus

If you work for a peer firm, you will encounter me or someone very much like me. [Y]ou cannot avoid the essence of my character if you aspire to succeed... I or some form of my embodiment will exist to make your existence as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it can be. Welcome to the legal profession you self-entitled nimrods have created.

--Partner Emeritus, Above The Law, 2009

‘O Rare Ben Jonson’

--Words on the gravesite slab of eccentric English dramatist and poet Ben Jonson (1572-1637) in Westminster Abbey. Jonson also was buried upright.

Twenty-five years ago, before The Great Neutering, before attorney gene pools started to dilute, when service professionals were well-rounded, if not classically-educated Renaissance people, when it meant a great deal to be a lawyer, and indeed to be a man, we had practitioners like Partner Emeritus. That is the nom de plume of a retired Brahmin New York City lawyer with an impressive following on the internet and who many culturally illiterate people--i.e., most lawyers these days (sorry, but that is the perfect truth)--apparently simply do not get. He's intimidating and spine-tinglingly scary to the maggotry, a comedic genius and WASP Yoda to the urbane.

Whoever he is--I sense pretty much everything about the way he portrays himself is authentic save his real name--PE has been there and done that (his legal breadth intrigues me) in upper-tier corporate law. And, perhaps, in life. Like me, he is an accomplished and unapologetic philanderer. A cad. Color him, too, a bit picaresque. Well-read. Well-traveled. He acquired and trained two Afghan show hounds. He even played polo, for fuck's sake. And like me, he does love the law, and this profession, which he worries about. Partner Emeritus is also an accomplished satirist. A Lenny Bruce for those with Mayflower DNA. Governor-for-Life of Upper Caucasia. A Dean Swift for modern Manhattan.

PE entertains in two distinct, interchanging, modes. You commend his taste, and judgment, when he shifts gears from Satirist to Learned Critic. (You don't know when that is? That shifting? Your problem. Start getting a real education by attending the theatre, visiting art museums and reading Tom Jones, Candide, Huckleberry Finn. Devour Miller, Kubrick, Pope, Orwell. Behold Nabokov, Heller, Huxley, Mencken. View Pieter Bruegel. Listen to Gilbert & Sullivan. Will take years--but it's worth it.) Ninety-five percent of the time--no, I do not agree with his every assessment--he's right on the money about people, places and things. His writing is art. Class art. Informed art. Funny art. He disturbs, and brilliantly.

PE's best gift? It is his instinct for detecting two related (I think) qualities he detests: hypocrisy and mediocrity.

Watch him each week expose the growing cadre of bad actors--i.e., twinkies, teacups, imposters, poseurs, plagiarists, thieves--who regularly shill on ATL's eclectic pages, Partner Emeritus has an instinct for the jugular that is dead-on, lightning fast and funny. If you think--and not merely react--you will learn something. You may feel a bit uncomfortable about how you stack up in this universe. But you should learn something about yourself. Otherwise, try not to blow a tube, or pull a hamstring, laughing.

You can read him and howl along with me most weekdays to his comments to certain articles at Above the Law. For many people, PE is the best thing about David Lat's celebrated and storied website. Excerpts from one wistful ATL comment last week:

Prior to owning a 1981 DeLorean DMC 12, I owned a gorgeous 1979 BMW M1. One Saturday, while my wife was with her family at Martha's Vineyard, I took my car into the city and decided to visit the old Copacabana. There, I met a woman named "Sophia." We drank Dom Perignon and danced Salsa and some disco (I was a maven on the dance floor and could have given John Travolta a run for his money during his "Saturday Night Fever" phase). During that evening, Sophia slipped a drug into my drink. The next thing I know, I woke up with a throbbing headache and my lower body was in pain. Apparently, I had crashed my vehicle into a divider on the Long Island Expressway and Sophia was unconscious next to me. A police cruiser drove by and stopped. I explained to the officer that I had been drugged by the latina woman next to me and that she had robbed me (I made sure to place my wallet in her purse before she regained consciousness).

We were taken to the local police station where I filed a report against Sophia. My BMW M1 was totaled and impounded. After a few hours, Sophia and I were awkwardly outside the police station at 5AM. I was in excruciating pain but I had hungry eyes for her so I brokered a deal with Sophia. I offered to drop the charges against her if she agreed to get in a cab with me and go back to my estate and make love to me. She agreed. I will never forget that night. I should have gone to an emergency room (pro-tip: cocaine is more effective at numbing pain than morphine) but all I could think of was being with Sophia, who resembled a young Maria Conchita Alonso.

What I would do to be 37 again.

There are times when I think whether I regret that night. A vintage 1979 BMW M1 would fetch me a cool $750K today but then I would have no memory of Sophia. You could say Sophia was probably one of the most expensive hookers in the history of mankind (despite that my insurance carrier covered the NADA value of that beast of a vehicle at the time, it did not compensate me for the future vintage value of that car which I believe only 500 were made), well next to the women who divorce their wealthy husbands and take them to the cleaners.

Note: Original post July 6, 2015

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Partner Emeritus, New York City. Circa 2008.

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Master Coach. North Star. Exalted Teacher. Consigliere.: The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Yes, "read the rule..." The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are remarkable and, well, amazing. They vibrate, hum and glow with the hard work of the few who have worked on them over the years. In your first year. Tenth year. Twentieth year. Fortieth year of practice. They are shorter and better (i.e., much easier to grasp) than any non-FRCP-based state counterparts. There are flaws and ambiguities--but precious few. You notice something different every time. You never take them for granted. Look. At. Them. Every. Time. Read the Advisory Committee Notes, too. They, too, are to the point--and lean. Start with the Rule. Read the Note. And Onward.

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July 14, 2022

Men of Letters: Charlie Rose, Hunter Thompson.

Never write a letter, never throw one away.

--Attributed to the late private investigator and consultant Thomas Corbally, two medieval priests, and three U.S. mayors.

For reasons which go back to 1974, I miss Hunter Thompson. This son of Louisville put some of his best and funniest stuff in personal letters--and he wrote volumes and volumes of them. Over 20,000. I've read some off and on for years; my favorites (and the funniest) are his with boss Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone magazine's founder and editor, in the 1970s and 1980s. Others are published in Thompson's books over the years. See this clip from a Charlie Rose interview, undated, but his Rose's with Thompson, likely about 1997. HST talks about letter-writing here.


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“No, Sire. It is a Revolution.”

“Is it a revolt?”

“No, Sire. It is a Revolution.”

Jean-Baptiste Lallemand
The Storming of the Bastille
July 14, 1789

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Samuel Johnson: On Work and Habit.

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.

--Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

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July 13, 2022

Stand-up Guy: Daniel O'Connell

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), "Liberator of Ireland", led a movement that forced the British to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, allowing Catholics to become members of the British House of Commons. As a leader, O'Connell had moxie, brains, drive, patience, organizational skills, and big personality. More about him here and here. O'Connell was also a consummate and legendary trial lawyer, a bit of an actor, and way-fun just to be around. In a set of lectures published in 1901, John L. Stoddard said of him:

He was a typical Irishman of the best stock--wily, witty, eloquent, emotional and magnetic. His arrival in town was often an occasion for public rejoicing. His clever repartees were passed from lip to lip, until the island shook with laughter.

In court, he sometimes kept the spectators, jury, judge and even the prisoner, alternating between tears and roars of merriment. Celtic to the core, his subtle mind knew every trick peculiar to the Irish character, and he divined instinctively the shrewdest subterfuges of a shifty witness.

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Storytelling

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

--Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

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July 12, 2022

Folkways of The Slackoisie

Admitting Mistakes at Work in 2019

Boomers: “No errors occurred.”

GenX: “It is what it is, Man. Shit happens.”

Millennials: “It’s Brittany’s fault. I’m calling HR, too.”

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36 years. Period. Full stop.

Today July 12 is the 36th anniversary of my drink. It was at Kelly’s Irish Times on F Street.

Thank you Penny Hull, Valerie, Fritz, Larry, Bud and Rozann. Dad, I’m sorry I wrecked three cars. OK, four, arguably. Mom, you helped most, even though you washed my bong in the Kenmore for two summers.

No one is luckier than me. No one. I mean that.

I had the family. I had the friends.


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July 11, 2022

Bring Back Real Women: Lucy Liu.

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Rule 8: Think Like a Client. Help Control Costs.

Rule 8 is Think Like the Client--Help Control Costs. The 2006 Explanatory Note for Rule 8--we reluctantly decided that an Advisory Committee Notes regime was a bit grandiose--begins this way:

Ask an associate lawyer or paralegal what a "profit" is. You will get two kinds of answers. Both answers are "correct" but neither of them helps anyone in your firm think like the client. The answers will be something like this. (1) "A profit is money remaining after deducting costs from receipts." This is the correct young transactional/tax lawyer answer. Or (2) "it's money left over at the end of the hunt." This is the correct fire-breathing young litigator answer.

The right answer?

A profit is a reward for being efficient. And until a lawyer, paralegal or staffer gets that, she or he will never know how a client--or a law firm partner--thinks.

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July 10, 2022

The Holy Surprise of Thinking on Your Own

He was a loner with an intimate bond to humanity, a rebel who was suffused with reverence. An imaginative, impertinent patent clerk became the mind reader of the creator of the universe, the locksmith of mysteries of the atom and the universe.

--Walter Issacson, in Einstein: His Life and Universe (Simon & Schuster, 2007)


Children come with Imagination. It's standard issue.

--Holden Oliver in 2009

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"E" at the beach: Another fresh take.

Try this at home and work: The Holy Surprise of a Child's First Look. Forget for a moment, if you can, about Clients and Paris. This blog is at heart about Quality, Old Verities, and Values--the things no business, government, non-profit group, religion, politician or leader (a) wants to give you or (b) can give you. No, not even family and friends can. You have to find them on your own. Work and Service, whether you are paid for them or not, are inseparable from these things.

At the blog, at our firm, and in our lives, we seek--in the largest sense--serious overachievers, and aficionados of life, past and present: identifying them, learning from them, having them as friends, hiring them and above all, never holding them back. It is often hard to find these people--or even to remember that they once existed. We do, after all, live in a cookie-cutter world. Originality, intuition, authentic spirituality, and even taste are not valued--these traits are often feared and attacked--in most of the West. This is especially true in America, where we continue to be geographically, culturally and (some think) cosmically isolated. The United States, despite its successes, high standard of living and exciting possibilities, has become world headquarters of both moral pretension and dumbing life down. Besides, fresh thinking leads to painful recognitions. It's easier to let something else do the thinking for us.

"Fragmentation" is a word some people (including those with better credentials than the undersigned to write this) have used for decades to describe modern humans all over the world: lots of wonderful, intricate and even elegant pieces--but no whole. So, in our search for coherence, we look for clues. We look to television, advertising, and malls. To work, and to professional organizations. To secondary schools, universities, and any number of religions (none of the latter seem "special"--they say identical intuitive and common sense good things, but just say them differently), and to an array of other well-meaning institutions. In fairness, all of these have their moments (hey, we all like our insular clubs).

Continue reading...

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July 09, 2022

Hull’s “107 Things Slightly Amoral Long Divorced Traveling American Lawyers Know.”

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WJC and me, January 1, 2009, high noon, Charleston


1. Never swive anyone named Zoe, Brigit or Natasha.

2. Let no one leave anything in your home or hotel room.

3. All British women are named Lucy, Pippa or Jane.

4. Most British women don't like British men.

5. Every Woman's ex- is a Narcissist. No exceptions.

6. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, the most widely used legal citation system in the United States, was first published in 1926. It is always important.

7. Legal interviews don't tell you much.

8. Have a coworker in same room if you interview someone.

9. Don't jump to hire law grads with blue collar backgrounds. Some think they've arrived and are done.

10. Women make better associate lawyers.

11. On documents, Rule 34 (Production of Documents and Things) and Rule 45 (Subpoena) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do very different things. Know what they are.

12. Dogs are the best thing about this planet.

13. Cats not dogs if you travel.

14. Great looking women think they're ugly.

15. Pay attention to little things.

16. Irish, Welsh, Finnish, Ethiopian and Afro-American women are heroes. Forever in charge. Enduring.

17. A disproportionate number of Irish people are drunks.

18. A disproportionate number of Irish people are verbally or lyrically gifted.

19. Jewish doctors do not understand Irish, English, German or Russian drunks.

20. Jews and Italians are the best drinkers. They have the genes. They have rules.

21. The Jews are It. A consistently awesome and world changing tribe for 2500 years.

22. Well dressed Russian women are cheap, treacherous and insane.

The Cardsharps, Caravaggio, c. 1594

23. For decades the wrong people have gone to law school.

24. Lawyers are less well educated, less well rounded and less culturally literate every decade.

25. Many lawyers dislike lawyering.

26. There are at about 40 exceptional American colleges and universities.

27. Do one absurd or silly thing every day.

28. Never be impressed by Phi Beta Kappas.

29. Always be impressed by Marshall scholars, Rhodes scholars and Williams grads.

30. Have at least 3 impeccable suits.

31. Don't wear bow ties every day. Almost every day is fine.

32. Cuffs on all long pants except jeans and tuxedo trousers.

Continue reading...

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July 08, 2022

Gustave Courbet, Chillon Castle, 1874

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July 07, 2022

Goethe jokes 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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July is Pikey History Month

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Never Forget. Avenge Mickey O’Neil’s Mum.

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July 06, 2022

Rule 4: Deliver legal services that change the way clients think about lawyers.

Based on actual experience lawyering, we wrote and published 12 Rules of Client Service in installments during a six-month period starting in October 2005. The 12 rules do seem to have legs. We are flattered. In whole or in part, they regularly appear in publications and sites for lawyers and non-lawyers (e.g., accounting and real estate). Some folks who discuss, quote or mention them like all 12 rules. Others like one or two in particular.

Our favorite? It's Rule Four: Deliver Legal Work That Change the Way Clients Think About Lawyers. It's our "Harry Beckwith" rule. Harry Beckwith, who first ignited the thinking of many professional services thinkers in "Selling the Invisible", was a huge influence on how we could make changes in everyone's lawyering--and the idea here is really his, not ours. An excerpt from Rule 4:

Why try "to exceed expectations" when the overall lawyer standard is perceived as low to mediocre? If your clients are all Fortune 500 stand-outs, and the GCs' seem to love you and your firm, is that because your service delivery is so good--or because other lawyers they use are so "bad" on service? Why have a low standard, or one that merely makes you look incrementally more responsive and on top of things than the boutique on the next floor up? Why not overhaul and re-create the whole game?

If you read the better writers on selling and delivering services, like Harry Beckwith in Selling The Invisible, you pick up on this simple idea: Rather than under-promise/over-deliver, why not change the way people think of lawyers generally and what they can expect from them generally? Get good clients--those clients you like and want--to keep coming back to you by communicating in all aspects of your work that you care deeply about your lawyering for them, you want to serve their interests on an ongoing basis and that it's a privilege to be their lawyer. Show them you fit no lawyer mold.

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Hunter Thompson: On Quality Time.

Excerpt from the famous November 1974 Playboy Magazine interview with writer and humorist Hunter S. Thompson conducted by Craig Vetter, a well-regarded writer and storyteller himself.

PLAYBOY: ....this morning you've had two bloody marys, three beers and about four spoons of some white substance and you've been up for only an hour. You don't deny that you're heavily into drugs, do you?

THOMPSON: No, why should I deny it? I like drugs. Somebody gave me this white powder last night. I suspect it's cocaine, but there's only one way to find out...

PLAYBOY: What do you like best?

THOMPSON: Probably mescaline and mushrooms: That's a genuine high. It's not just an up -- you know, like speed, which is really just a motor high. When you get into psychedelics like mescaline and mushrooms, it's a very clear kind of high, an interior high. But really, when you're dealing with psychedelics, there's only one king drug, when you get down to it, and that's acid. About twice a year you should blow your fucking tubes out with a tremendous hit of really good acid. Take 72 hours and just go completely amok, break it all down.

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July 05, 2022

The 7 Habits of Highly Clueless Corporate Lawyers.

Lawyers who won't take a stand is a time-honored tradition. Ernie from Glen Burnie, a lawyer and a life-long friend of mine, is not such a creature. It's just his nature. He's an activist in all matters. He'll stand up for people who pay him--and for people he just met on the subway. In late 1995, when the championship Netherlands Women's National Volleyball Team were staying at the Mayflower, Ernie, I and two lawyers from the DC office of [firm name deleted] met the four tallest at Clyde's.....sorry, we're getting sidetracked.

There are so many wonderful stories about Ernie from Glen Burnie. But read first the very short story about Ernie's big find circa 1990. We first reported on it in June of 2006. It's about an old parchment he claims was discovered in Alexandria, Virginia, around the same time we both began practicing law in the District. Do see The Seven Habits of Highly Useless Corporate Lawyers. This is a true story, mostly. So listen up.

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Stand-up guys: The author, then a dead-ringer for writer Jack Kerouac, and EFGB in their pre-lawyer and pre-Netherlands Women's National Volleyball Team years.

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Seven Years at Andover: Hull’s Lore and Legend of Handwritten Thank-You Notes.

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The Governess, 1739, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin (1699-1779)

In case your Governess never told you, you're from Utah, or you were stoned all seven years at Andover, please remember that when thanking anyone for something important--a meeting, referral or a dinner--do it and do it promptly with a handwritten thank-you note. We all fail here from time to time. Yet no valid excuses exist for not writing short prompt notes.

Too few of us practice gratitude, in either business or our "other" lives, enough. Some say the practice of saying thanks is good for the soul. Others swear it's good for revenues, too. Many business people and even some lawyers with real standards (i.e., wear socks to meetings or court) think that no written thank-you note means no class--as harsh and low-tech as that may sound. Typed is okay--but handwritten is better.

Even if you are not convinced that thank-you notes are noticed and appreciated (they are), pretend that we know more than you (we do), and do it anyway (thank us later). Good stationery. We suggest Crane's on the lower end, or something better, like stationery from Tiffany's, or a Tiffany-style knock-off, on the higher end. A "studio card", maybe. Plain. Simple. Initials on it at most.

If you get personalized stuff, have a return envelope address to a home or business--but without the business mentioned. It's personal. Leave Acme Law Firm off it.

If you get mentioned on the Internet, electronic thank-yous by e-mails to express thanks for links, comments or mentions in posts or articles--i.e., three different people link to your blog every day, you are working full time for clients, busy firing GenY staff and associates, and writing op-ed pieces entitled "Winter 2022: The Mood of the Midwest"--are totally okay.

Short, sweet, and press "send".

Continue reading...

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Statesboro Blues: "Daddy died and left me wild...".

Mother died and left me reckless,
Daddy died and left me wild.
No, I'm not good lookin',
I'm some sweet woman's angel child.

--William Samuel McTier (1898–1959)

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July 04, 2022

Americans are Born Outlaws.

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July 03, 2022

Henry Miller: The Classics

A man with his belly full of the classics is an enemy of the human race.

— Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (1934)

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July 3, 1913

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Survivors of Pickett's Charge walk the field their comrades fell upon. Gettysburg 50th anniversary, July 3, 1913.

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July 02, 2022

House Committee on J6: Shame on you folks.

The House select committee on J6 has outdone Tailgunner Joe McCarthy at his worst. Some media thinks it’s not a shameful circus and show for the midterms. What happen to the old non-activist journalism? This is pure shilling. This is dangerous and sad. This “record”? Mainly smears, misrepresentations and lies. The ruination of lives with a cavalier disregard for the truth. Are there any liberal Dems in Congress? The committee’s work is leftist propaganda by older Dem MOCs and trusting GenY aides and support staff who actually think they’re “liberal.”

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July 2: Chicago Girl Gets Her Start

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July 01, 2022

Thanks you 2.

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Happy 72nd, you two kids. You were both broke, average students, and willing. Thank you for the constant caring, the time, putting up with me, the work ethic, the grace, the example. And of course the movie star looks genes.

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JDH IV smirk at 23. Highland Park, IL.

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Chekhov: Storytelling

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

--Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

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Chekhov with Maxim Gorky in Yalta, probably 1900

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June 29, 2022

Rule Seven: Know the Client.

Rule Seven: Know the Client

The "12 Rules of Client Service" I have been posting one-by-one starting on November 19 appear in a booklet Julie McGuire and I prepared internally 5 years ago for associates and non-lawyer staff. We just call it Hull McGuire Practice Guide* (*or how to become a productive associate or paralegal). In the Guide, we call the same rules "Blackletter Rules for Practicing Law". The idea is that each of the twelve overall practice rules harks back to the idea that the client comes first. Clients, clients, clients. For us, that is practicing law. Except for some rewording, the 2 sets of rules are substantially the same. The first six rules are reproduced here.

Several lawyer-bloggers I respect have posted--and in some very eloquent and interesting ways--on the idea of Rule 7, really knowing the client and its culture. I think they say it all. See Tom Kane, Patrick Lamb, Tom Collins and Arnie Herz. Some of the discussion lately was triggered by the nerve jangling report of complaints of some GCs at a Fulton County, Georgia CLE conference in early December 2005. I've chimed in on that, too--here and here.

The client, it seems, actually wants you to know him, her or it. Take time out to learn the stock price, industry, day-to-day culture, players and overall goals of your client. Visit their offices and plants. Do it free of charge. Associates in particular need to develop the habit of finding out about and keeping up with clients (and a client's trials and tribulations) in and out of the areas they are working in. Learn about your client--and keep learning about it. Devise a system to keep abreast.

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Original post February 3, 2006

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June 28, 2022

In Search of Alphas. It’s Time, Campers.

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Julius Caesar 100 BC - 44 BC

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June 27, 2022

Democracy doesn’t mean cretins, lowlifes, and straight-up human turds are equal to you.

“Democracy” HAS been tortured into “everyone is inherently equal”—and nothing could be further from the truth. We are only equal before the law. Let’s not dampen the ambitions of people who want to change world based on talent, moxie and hard work. Let’s encourage them to do great things. (No, not violence or storming the Bastille.)

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June 25, 2022

Now? Let’s get England back. England once had free speech.

Let’s get England back. I miss England. England was cool. England once had free expression.

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July 1 1950 Miami Beach

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June 23, 2022

Ile St Louis: Ernest, the French aren't like you and me.

Yes, they have far more class.

--with apologies to the Fitzgerald-Hemingway exchange.

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Like their natural enemy, the English, Parisians are wonderful--but neither nation's citizens are openly "friendly". When the English and French encounter Yanks abroad, they just can't get why Americans are so outgoing, or why they would even want to be. Most Americans are openly curious and warm everywhere they go.

Both the English and the French, however, would rather choke to death than ask a question about something they don't know, and they bristle at at the overly-familiar tone they associate with American tourists and businessmen. True, the reserved English are getting better at customer service. But a Parisian retail-level employee is still likely to treat basic customer service as horribly degrading to his or her person-hood: "I know it's my job, I know you aren't like the other Americans, but you are still bothering me, sir."

Despite my own predominately English roots--I've got smaller bits of German, Welsh, Irish and French, and dabs of any of the four can make you hopelessly eccentric and irritating in completely different ways--the French are my still favorite. They are flirtatious and serious, volatile and sturdy, civilized and feral, logical and irrational. But they do teach their children of all social classes that education and being steeped in the best of Western culture is not something like, as Brit author Julian Barnes once suggested in Something to Declare, an optional feature to a car. Art is a necessity, not a luxury. The French are

designed by God to seem as provokingly dissimilar from the British as possible. Catholic, Cartesian, Mediterranean; Machiavellian in politics, Jesuitical in argument, Casanovan in sex; relaxed about pleasure, and treating the arts as central to life, rather than some add-on, like a set of alloy wheels.


So the humanities, ideas and old verities from great men and women now gone are essential for living and enjoying life as a Whole Person. Art isn't just for the rich, the elite or the intellectual. Moreover, the French are not runners and cowards--don't make the mistake of buying into the notion that they shrink from adversity. Throughout most of their history, they've been calculating, competitive, courageous and war-like. They are intelligently patriotic. And they'll beat you with argument, and arms, if they have to. But their real gods are Reason and Art. My sense is that, in the next few decades, the French will manage to save us all from ourselves, as they can be counted on to remind humans of what's important--and who we all really are. Watch them.

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J. Dan Hull, II, 1933

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J. Dan Hull, II, 1933. Yale Ph.D picture. 2 words: Class act. American dream overachiever and gentlemen's gentlemen. Authentic and honest--and never went out of his way to trumpet either trait. My Grandpop. First Hull in Virginia-Missouri line to even go to college. His dad self-educated John Hull (JDH I) made his first stake as a laborer building railroads out West and ended up owning a drug store in Mountain Grove, Missouri. Grandpop, who fought with his dad a lot, entered University of Missouri at 16 years old and and got his Masters degree from University of Chicago. Grandpop's family were relative newcomers to the colonies compared to my Mom's side of the family, who got to Massachusetts in 1634. Grandpop's great-great-great grandfather came here as a teen from Germany to Virginia about 1750. Scholar. Author. Diplomat. World Traveler. Teacher. Manager. Executive. Musical. Great card player. Sportsman. Fisherman. He had taste, too. Well-read and well-traveled. Effortlessly well-dressed at all times, Grandpop looked more elegant in a T-shirt than most men do in a tux. Loved, admired and respected by the cream of Missourians and Washington, D.C. Member of DC's famous merit-based Cosmos Club. Hung out with John Kenneth Galbraith and Elliot Richardson. Not bad for an Ozarks mountain boy. And great, I'm told, with women folk. Raised 3 sisters after his young mother, Nancy Susan McQuitty--who he adored--died in 1917 on Christmas Eve, when he was always strangely quiet. He lived 87.5 years. (March 11, 1900 - October 13, 1987). Both his Dad JDH I and his granddad Bill (a confederate soldier) lived even longer lives, dying in 1929 and 1953. His wife--and my pistol of a grandmother, Alene Oliver Hull--died in their house in Springfield, MO at 101. Grandpop taught me a lot. I miss him a lot. If it were not for 3 Missourians--Pat Bevier and Mary Helen Allen, my Dad's first cousins, and my marvelous new-found cousin, Super-Mom and Walmart exec Kristi Towe--I would have had a very hard time putting all this together accurately over the past few years. (Well, I may never have; it's time-consuming and I was always doing it half-assed and guessing based on things Grandpop told me, the Internet and 3 "mysterious" not-so-mysterious wills dating back to the 1700s my Dad John Hull gave me.) But 99.5% of the German Hulls is knowable--just not as well-kept as the history of my Mom's family (Holden) who've been keeping accurate records through the Colonial Dames organizations for several generations. Thanks for the work, you 3.

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Suffolk Boy Makes Good

On this day in 1631, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, British lawyer John Winthrop became first Governor of Massachusetts. Winthrop was born near the village of Groton, in Suffolk, England, in 1587. He was one of the leading figures in the founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony, the second major settlement in New England following Plymouth Colony. Winthrop's writings and talks about the fledging Puritan colony as a new "city upon a hill" were influential in the religious and political life of Massachusetts Bay and neighboring colonies as New England expanded.

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Winthrop, in painting done circa 1630, by unknown artist

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June 20, 2022

The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew (from the Maestà), Duccio, 1311

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June 19, 2022

Guernica: "Did you paint this?"

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Here's a WWII story I first heard in 1992 in Paris from a struggling young Irish painter named Richard hustling his drinks and living by his wit, humor, charm and talent on a few choice blocks of the Right Bank. I never found out what happened to Richard. But ever since I've thought about this simple and apparently fairly well-known Picasso story, and more and more since 2005.

In the Fall of that year, Julie McGuire and I were together in Madrid. We made time to see Guernica, very likely Pablo Picasso's most famous painting, and some other great modern Spanish works, at the Museo Reina Sofia in central Madrid. Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 after both German and Italian bombers shelled Guernica, in Spain's Basque Country, on April 26 of that year, during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing by Germany and Italy happened at the request of Spanish Nationalist forces. The painting is an outcry, protest and lament of the self-assured, polite, smooth and famously composed Picasso.

The smallest details of the story seem to change. But historians and journalists seem to agree on the following:

In 1942, during the 1940-1944 German occupation of Paris, German officers often visited Picasso's Paris studio at a time when some of his paintings were being burned as decadent. On one visit, an aggressive Gestapo officer found a simple postcard with an image of Guernica in the studio. The officer confronted the painter, and held before Picasso's face the postcard with its breathtaking indictments of war, national pride, meaningless death, pointless suffering, waste, government hypocrisy, inflamed leadership and self-destruction.

"Did you do this?", the officer asked.

“No, sir. You did."

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June 18, 2022

Suffolk Blues

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12 Rules of Client Service. Get off your knees.

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1. Represent only clients you like.

2. The client is the main event.

3. Make sure everyone in your firm knows the client is the main event.

4. Deliver legal work that changes the way clients think about lawyers.

5. Over-communicate: bombard, copy and confirm.

6. When you work, you are marketing.

7. Know the client.

8. Think like the client--help control costs.

9. Be there for clients--24/7.

10. Be accurate, thorough and timely--but not perfect.

11. Treat each co-worker like he or she is your best client.

12. Have fun.

Copyright 2006-2020 John Daniel Hull, IV. All Rights Reserved.

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GeekLawyer on Dan Hull

@Geeklawyer on Dan Hull and What About Clients/Paris?

“Hull? A depraved evil sociopathic neocon beast pretending to love clients to get into their wallets. Then there's his dark side.”

—Geeklawyer, London, 2009


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June 17, 2022

Editing


“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

― Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), The Provincial Letters, Letter 16, 1657

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June 15, 2022

Racehorse Haynes

I would have won them all if my clients hadn’t kept reloading and firing.

~ Richard Racehorse Haynes, 2009


Below: Haynes in 1979. War hero, Texan, trial legend, risk-taker and wit, Haynes died in 2017 at the age of 90.

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June 14, 2022

Hull’s Lore, Law and Mystery of Handwritten Thank You Notes.

Break the rules at your peril. People will say mean things about your dog, your wife, your girlfriend, or all three.

In case your Mother or Governess never told you, you're from Utah, or you were stoned all seven years at Choate, let us remind you to never thank anyone for something truly important--a meeting, referral or a dinner--with anything but a prompt handwritten thank-you note. No valid excuses exist for not doing it. Too few of us practice gratitude--in either business or our "other" lives--enough. Some say the practice of saying thanks is good for the soul. Others swear it's good for revenues, too.

Many, many business people and some lawyers with the highest standards taste (i.e., wear socks to meetings or court) think that no written thank-you note means no class--as harsh and low-tech as that may sound.

Typed is okay--but handwritten is better. Even if you are not convinced that thank-you notes are noticed and appreciated (they are), pretend that we know more than you (we do), and do it anyway (thank us later).

Good stationery. We suggest Crane's on the lower end, or something better, like stationery from Tiffany's, or a Tiffany-style knock-off, on the higher end. A "studio card", maybe. Just make it plain. Simple. Initials on it at most.

If you get personalized stuff, have a return envelope address to a home or business--but without the business mentioned. It's personal. Leave Acme Law Firm off it.

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Continue reading...

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June 13, 2022

Sharp Dressed Man: Raoul Duke Does the Kentucky Derby.

Cuff links, stick pin. When I step out I'm gonna do you in.

--Gibbons, Hill and Beard

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Raoul Duke (1937-2005)

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June 12, 2022

Rule 6: When You Work, You Are Marketing.

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When you work, you are marketing. You are constantly sending the customer small but powerful ads. Rule Six comes from our hopelessly arrogant and deeply infuriating but consistently right, practical, and world-famous 12 Rules of Client Service.

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