February 21, 2024

Partner Emeritus: On the Sanctity of Associate Lawyer Privacy Rights.

If you work for a peer firm, you will encounter me or someone very much like me. I or some form of my embodiment will exist to make your existence as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it can be.

-- Partner Emeritus, New York City, September 3, 2009

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I've loved practicing law. After three years of working on Capitol Hill, I became one of two associates in the small DC branch office of a now-defunct Pennsylvania firm. They gave me a wonderfully eclectic mix of work to do: environmental litigation, energy law, U.S. Supreme Court practice and lobbying for coal companies and banks. In two years the DC office merged with a bigger DC-based firm. We went from 10 to 35 lawyers. And I went from a window office on Eye and 15th, N.W. off McPherson Square to a smaller no-window office three blocks down the street at International Square. I was a 4th or 5th year associate. I didn't complain. I drew a picture of a sun and posted it on the wall.

Meanwhile, up in New York City, and at about the same time, Partner Emeritus' white shoe firm was negotiating a lease renewal--and the Great Man would have gone one step further:

Back in the early '80s when my firm negotiated its lease renewal, I ardently advocated to take less space as I thought placing associates in offices was a waste of resources. Offices are for closers and relevant playmakers who need personalized space to entertain clients. Given that young associates are not permitted to directly interact with clients, there is simply no need for them to have offices.

One of my pet peeves when I was at the firm was the contumacious habit of associates who closed their doors. Whenever I saw an associate's door closed, I assumed he/she was doing one of the following: 1) taking a nap; 2) checking their private email account (e.g., Ashley Madison, etc.); 3) masturbating; 4) engaging in personal phone calls; or, 5) watching internet porn.

As far as I am concerned, associates do not require privacy unless they are on the commode. I personally took a note of all the associates who closed their doors and would often reprimand them or make a notation on their annual review. If it were up to me, I would have had the building maintenance crew remove the doors off of the hinges but I was outvoted on the matter.

I prefer that associates and non-equity partners share the window cubicles. This way, the partners and staff can easily monitor how busy associates are. Moreover, the window cubicles will keep associates on their toes and prevent them from slacking off.

And please spare me the argument that window cubicles dehumanizes associates by making them feel like zoo animals on display. Unlike the animals in the zoo, trust me, no one wants to waste time watching troglodytes push paper.

--Comment by Partner Emeritus to an article by my friend boy wonder David Lat on August 28, 2015 at Above the Law entitled "More Bad News For Biglaw Associates?"


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3rd year associates share 'premium' window cubicle in 1987 (J. Riis).

Copyright 2015 J. Daniel Hull, Ellen Jane Bry, ____ Doe. Best of Partner Emeritus (#6)

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February 20, 2024

Stand-up Guys: Daniel O'Connell, Trial Lawyer.

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), the "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. History knows him as a witty, eloquent and formidable politician, and the Member of Parliament for Clare. The English found him infuriating. But O'Connell was first and foremost a consummate and thorough trial lawyer, called to the bar at age 23 in 1798. As a cross-examiner, one modern writer has said, "he had no equal at the Irish bar." And not surprisingly O'Connell was a bit of a showman. In lectures published in 1901, Prof. 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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Tavern Scene, David Teniers, c. 1658

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February 19, 2024

Wordsworth

We no longer require humor in poets. We demand salvation.

— Mark Van Doren, 1950, commenting on the subtle graduation of William Wordsworth (1770-1850) from his role as "nature poet" to one of philosopher who offered hope and reassurance to troubled Europe.

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February 18, 2024

Work-Life Sir Thomas Malory

No one really knows who wrote “Le Morte d’Arthur.“ The best bet is Sir Thomas Malory, a mid-15th century knight and rogue’s rogue. I won’t summarize his crimes and exuberances here but an English nobleman and knight named Malory who died in 1471 was jailed frequently and certainly had time to write. My version (Modern Library, 1999) is nearly 1000 pages long. Its editor Elizabeth Bryan wrote in the introduction that though he “may have been a scoundrel, Malory was also, it seems clear, a man of ideals who believed in courage and loyalty, and who mourned the passing of chivalry.”

Below: Page one from the original manuscript of ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’ published in 1485.

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February 17, 2024

Kundera on Political Obsessives

Immortality, the 1990 novel by the late Czech writer Milan Kundera (1929-2023), is the one book everyone should read to understand ultra-political ‘single-issue’ humans. It’s also been said that “reading it might make you a better lover.” For real.

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Stepping away from mediocrity.

This is a 2020 book by an angry, misguided, talented black woman. Some good points here on white male mainstream mediocrity. Assuming she’s right—white dudes are flukes and unwitting scumbags—why not a repatriation or segregation movement by 14% of America? Who needs whites around?

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February 16, 2024

Aldeburgh, Suffolk, East Anglia

Go somewhere different. Meet someone different. Aldeburgh, Suffolk, East Anglia. Always a festival.

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February 15, 2024

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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Rule 7: Know Thy Client.

Rule Seven: Know the Client

The "12 Rules of Client Service" I have been posting one-by-one starting on November 19 [2006] 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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February 14, 2024

“Romeo and Juliet" by Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893)

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Dylan Thomas reading Fern Hill

Dylan Thomas (d. 1953) reads Fern Hill: "Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs...." His voice--those Welsh pipes--was also one of his many gifts. A sad early death in Manhattan/So far away from his heart.

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February 13, 2024

Fat Tuesday

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Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1879

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Catherine Deneuve, 1995.

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Catherine Deneuve, 52, in 1995.

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February 12, 2024

State of the West

Based on my various news aggregators and feeds, Western culture is now so fragmented and degraded that we’ve raised minutia and trivia to high art forms, and made heroes out of turds. Am going to ditch my devices and spend more time outside. You’re welcome.

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February 11, 2024

Disraeli on Lawyering: Is law just life on the sidelines?

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Young Ben Disraeli: "I rust like a Damascus sabre in the sheath of a poltroon."

Is being a good lawyer enough?

Consider what the young, precocious, mega-talented, persistent and world class pain-in-the-ass Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) thought--years before becoming Prime Minster of England--as he abandoned his legal career before it really started, in favor of writing and politics. According to one biographer, he exclaimed:

The Bar: pooh! law and bad tricks till we are forty, and then, with the most brilliant success, the prospect of gout and a coronet. Besides, to succeed as an advocate, I must be a great lawyer, and to be a great lawyer, I must give up my chance of being a great man.

--A. Maurois, Disraeli (Random House 1928)

Sidelined? Hobbled? Self-discarded in the great race of life? Maybe it's true. Hard-driving lawyer friends (both in-house and in law firms) do articulate a feeling of being "sidelined"--yet they are very proud of what they do as lawyers. They may think: Why merely advise--when you could lead, create boldly, and command? And do that every day? Lots of lawyers are Type-As. Yes, some of us who advise great companies really end up as officers, CEOs, and COOs? Sure, many more of us run for office.

But most of us are at best mousy posturing technicians. Should more and more of us throw our golfing hat in the ring of other life, the fields of commerce, and bigger--or at least different--ponds? Does law school and the profession make many of us so risk-averse, passive and routinely academic in our approach to life that it knocks the will and energy to lead out of us?

Or were we just that way from the beginning?

Original post: 5.28.06

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Super Bowl Now

I raptly watched the first Super Bowl with my dad and brother in 1967. To us, a jock clan, nothing was cooler. Now Americans also celebrate passivity and sloth. But some violence, even in play, is what humans do, and have always done. Below: Jack Kerouac playing for Columbia

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February 10, 2024

Modern Alcoholics Anonymous: Springboard? Or Permanent Cocoon?

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When will my beloved AA get back to getting people clean and sober to participate in real life?

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February 09, 2024

Storytelling for trial lawyers, writers and actual humans in 16 words.

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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February 08, 2024

Euripides: On Dog Fights

Ten soldiers wisely led, will beat one hundred without a head.

--Euripides (480-406 BC)

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Lafayette Park: Rep. Daniel Sickles was a Far-Out Mother.

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In 1859, in Lafayette Park, U.S. Representative Daniel Sickles shot and killed fellow lawyer Philip Barton Key II, son of Francis Scott Key. Sickles was a talented, ambitious, somewhat shady and philandering Manhattan politician who counted President Lincoln among his many friends. He discovered that Key was having an affair with Sickles's young yet long-neglected wife, Teresa. During his life, Sickles made American foreign policy, helped create New York's Central Park, had a hand in the development of the modern insanity defense, and was a celebrated if controversial Union Army field general. The best book on Sickle's amazing, checkered and long public life is Thomas Keneally's American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles.

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February 06, 2024

This is East Anglia. Suffolk County. I start here.

Neither the tiny rural village of Lindsey nor the surrounding countryside has changed much since 1634, when one side of my family called Holden left there via Ipswich on the River Orwell for Massachusetts and, in time, a new "Groton", named after another small village near Lindsey. Three hundred and eighty-six years later, Lindsey is pastoral, green, mainly un-peopled and fairly remote. No visible overt 21st century commerce. Some farming. No tourists.

St Peter, a rough Anglican church, at one time Catholic, the one my ancestors attended, built in the 1300s, and even older church ruin, St James (1200s), are the only man-made constants. Still a "parish", Lindsey is on the B1115 Hadleigh-to-Bury road.

This is part of East Anglia--coveted, held and loved for so long by the Danes. The region's been victor and victim over and over again. Mainstream tribes from all over Europe battled here for centuries. It is storied. It is still beautiful. Nothing compares to it.

And it is a key "feeder" region in the English migration to America. From 1625 to 1640, Charles I had tried to rule England without calling the Puritan-dominated Parliament. Puritan dissenters, lots of them, lived in the area around Lindsey, and

from here hundreds of families fled across the Atlantic to the new world. The Winthrops, of tiny Groton, would become founders of the State of Massachusetts. But most of the settlers were poor, working families, and they would devote themselves to quiet, prayerful unpersecuted lives, and of work hard to build new communities. Of course, they would never see Suffolk or the valley of the gentle Brett again.

--Simon Knott

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St. Peter in Lindsey

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108 Things Hopelessly Amoral Lawyers Master.

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WJC and writer, January 1, 2009, noon, Charleston


1. Date no one named Zoe, Brigit or Natasha.

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

3. Don’t do the au pairs.

4. British women are named Lucy, Pippa or Jane.

5. British women rarely like British men.

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 and woke interviews don't tell you much.

8. Have a co-worker 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. 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. Narcissists get stuff done.

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 dinner jacket trousers.

33. Wear khaki pants and suits or seersucker suits in Summer. Summer is Memorial Day to Labor Day.

34. Twice a month dress like a pimp from a New Orleans whorehouse.

35. Know who you are. Learn your family history on both sides back five generations.

36. Talk to people on elevators. All of them.

37. Don't do Europe with other Americans.

38. Just 2 cats.

39. Sheehan's Rule: "If I don't remember it, I didn't do it."

40. When in Rome, do as many Romans as you can. ~ Hugh Grant (b. 1960)

41. Always attribute. Especially when you think no one will notice.

42. More than one person can have the same original thought.

43. Never let anyone tell you how to feel, think, act, write or speak.

44. Never let anyone tell you who you are.

45. One juror will always surprise you big time. Learn who that is before you close

46. Always talk to jurors post-verdict.

47. Never communicate in any manner ever with that one female juror who seemed to like you.

48. Women are meaner, more vindictive and more treacherous than men.

49. The dumbest woman is 100 times more complex than the smartest man.

50. Men are simple. There is not much going on.

51. Rule 36 (Requests for Admissions), my friend.

52. Rule 56(d) (When facts are unavailable to the non-movant) is misunderstood.

53. Civil RICO is an unintended consequence. Use it the right way.

54. Seldom watch television.

55. Every Mom suffers.

56. Your Mom is your best friend.

57. Buenos Aires has the best looking people on this planet.

58. Great lovemaking cannot be learned.

59. Love can be learned.

60. There are no lapsed or recovering Catholics.

61. Don't buy cheap shoes.

62. Shoe trees. Cedar.

63. Jewish women rarely have great legs.

64. Japanese women are the best helpmates.

65. Slightly insane WASP women are the best lovers.

66. People born after 1980 should not have babies, jobs or dogs.

67. Brown shoes go well with gray suits. No one knows why.

68. Your handkerchief should never match your tie.

69. Nothing takes just 10 minutes.

70. Being Right is Expensive.

71. No prayer is imperfect.

72. The best prayer says thank you.

73. Not caring what people think is a Superpower.

74. The English look down on anyone non-English. This will never stop.

75. The French and Irish are playful.

76. Eastern Europeans are not playful.

77. When your mouth is dry, you know you're plenty high. ~ George Thorogood

78. Don't tell people you just met your problems.

79. Copy someone on every letter.

80. Never write a letter. Never throw one away. ~ Unknown

81. Jewish men are overly-suspicious. There are reasons for it. Work with it.

82. Irish men talk too much. There are no reasons for it. Work with it.

83. Never needlessly anger the Irish, the Welsh, Scots or Sicilians.

84. Be nice to people who just had a downfall. Don't pile on. They'll be back.

85. Avoid people with no enemies.

86. Beware of the Lily White. ~ J. Dan Hull, Jr. (1900-1988)

87. Employees who say they'll double-check never checked the first time.

88. Tighten up. Like Archie Bell & The Drells.

89. Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton worked harder than you did.

90. Attitude is more important than facts.

91. Employees either help you or hold you back. Nothing in between.

92. Persian women make too much noise. Way.

93. Tribes are always important.

94. Dogs have owners. Cats have staff. ~ Ellen Jane Bry

95. Nothing is more important than a first kiss.

96. Don’t hire broke or broken people. Bad.

97. Write prompt handwritten thank you notes.

98. The arts are central to life. They are not optional. ~ Julian Barnes (b. 1946)

99. Plan for surprises.

100. Resist perfectionism.

101. Each person has a thousand selves. ~ Hermann Hesse (1877-1962)

102. Men say the vilest possible things to each other they don't mean.

103. Women say the nicest possible things to each other they don't mean.

104. Everyone you meet is not in your mood.

105. You will never know anyone's entire story.

106. Be the ball.

107. End everything on a high note.

108. Trust no one in Budapest.

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Wayne Stanley Kramer, 1948-2024

RIP Wayne Kramer. “I’m sick and tired of playing these blues/And I’m sick to my guts of the American Ruse.”

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February 05, 2024

One Night/One Person: Season 9: It's Cold Again, Campers.

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Damn. It’s getting cold again in the northern hemisphere. Cold as a witch’s tit, Jack.

The purpose of this post—which over the years I keep annoyingly if faithfully revising—is simple. To keep these homeless humans alive during the 30 coldest nights of the year by doing something simple and effective for others. And without holding pressers about what great people we are when it’s cold and we help.

Those nights are coming back.

Bear with me.

As a Yankee, Eagle Scout, outdoorsy dude, lifelong camper and all-weather philanderer, let me assure you that spending a night outside in colder weather has unique challenges. Even in the Fall. And generally in the period October through March.

Exposure. The Elements. And hypothermia. Call “it” what you will. Authors Jack London and Hans Christian Andersen each wrote well-known stories about it. And you can die from hypothermia well above 32 degrees F.

You say you would really like to help the urban homeless on both cold and super-cold American Northeastern and Midwestern nights? Chilly, plain cold and the bitterly cold, there are unpredictable nights that many cities are prepared to accommodate more homeless residents at shelters but for a number of reasons (both good and bad) thousands of Americas's rough sleepers take their chances outside?

Good. So see our inaugural post about our One Night, Person (March 5, 2015) campaign and our follow-up March 7, 2015 post. No, we don't have time to go over all of this again; we're working stiffs like you. Just read the posts.

Once again, and in short, here is the idea and the rules:

You're a Yuppie, professional or other generic dweeb between the ages of 22 and 82.You live in towns like New York City, Philly, Boston, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Wilmington, DC or Chicago.

Or similar cities in Europe. Or Asia. Generally? Think Northern Hemisphere. Planet Earth. Wherever Yuppies roam. You may live in the suburbs or in a downtown neighborhood of these cities. But if you work during the day in a downtown area of any of them, you and yours will go forth and do this:

1. Pick out and ask a homeless woman or man what articles of warm clothing she or he needs that you already have at home or in storage--thermal gloves, wool scarfs, warm hats and beanies, big sweaters, winter coats, thermal underwear, socks, etc.

2. Ask just one person at a time.

3. Agree on a time to meet (preferably at the same place) later that day or the next day.

4. Find the winter stuff you have at home or in storage.

5. Bring said stuff to the homeless woman or man as agreed.

6. Nine out of ten times, your new friend will be there when you show up.

7. Wait for forecasts of the next super-cold night--and repeat.


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February 04, 2024

Doing Rome

Comparisons between old Rome and modern U.S. are exciting and instructive. ~ What About Paris?

When in Rome, do as many Romans as you can. ~ Hugh Grant

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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February 03, 2024

TJ O’Hara - Dan Hull interview on J6

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Indian Hill

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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Writing Well

“You and your firm are judged by every piece of writing that goes out the door.”

--A wise person, possibly Dan White, lawyer-writer-humorist

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Henry Miller, American writer (1891-1980)

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February 02, 2024

Bring back real dames.


Bring back real women and girls: Annabelle Wallis, English, b. September 5, 1984

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February 01, 2024

The Book of Kells

Is anything human-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. This page opens the Gospel of John. Illustrations in the Book of Kells mix pagan, Celtic and Christian symbols and motifs covering nearly 8000 years of Irish history. The result is an ancient montage of mixed media that's playful, quirky, sexual, mystical and yet deeply Christian. A masterwork of Western calligraphy. 680 pages of the book survives. Housed at Trinity College Library in Dublin.

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January 31, 2024

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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January 30, 2024

E. Jean Carroll’s alright by me.

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I like E. Jean Carroll. Always have. Fine and accomplished writer. Hoosier. Midwesterner. Funny as hell. Former super-jock. Cheerleader. Ex-beauty queen. Former Miss Indiana. Hunter Thompson’s gf for a while. Once mentored a talented young Hull family writer about writing and getting writing gigs. Write me a nasty letter.

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January 29, 2024

Drink Colonial Predator

Don’t forget. My new Colonial Predator Unfair Trade Coffee product launches March 1. All the Oppression,Twice the Caffeine.

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January 28, 2024

Hull Hoops DNA

Center bottom photo: My Great Aunt Helen Hull in 1922. Born 1906. So that makes 4 generations and counting of serious Hull-McCracken hoops talent. My dad John Hull III (b. 1928). My first cousin Mike McCracken (1951). My nephew David Hull, Jr. (1982). And a few lesser lights here and there. Thanks to Mary Helen Allen, her daughter. Just saw this today.

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January 27, 2024

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.

Original WAC/P? post September 3, 2008

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

Lucien Carr: Beat icon, pro, original, work ethic rich kid, excitable boy. I met Beat badboy legend Carr once and briefly when he was much older than in the image below and working in DC for one of the wire services where he had flourished for nearly five decades. Way talented, charming guy. And serious American history icon. Everyone even a little hip should know about his story. In the photo below, Carr is on the right with hand on hip. Research him properly, however you learn stuff; you will not be disappointed, I promise. And that’s of course Memory Babe Jack Kerouac on your left. Two friends. Both gifted in different ways and eventually noticed by The World. But Carr? Lucien Carr, who died in 2005, had the luck on him. In spades. Kerouac would have killed for Carr's luck.


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January 26, 2024

Herman Hesse 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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January 25, 2024

April 30, 2022

John Shields, 1971 Class Valedictorian, Indian Hill High School, Indian Hill, Ohio, on April 30, 2022. No, he’s not dead. I just like the photo. And I like John. My neighbor for years. We met when we were both 9 in early 1962. Third graders at Drake Elementary. Mrs. Oldham’s class. Almost 60 years later we are in parking lot of Tod Swormstedt’s great American Sign Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio. 50th IHHS reunion.

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January 24, 2024

Rule 6: "...sending to clients barrages of small but powerful ads."

It's scary. If you're working, you're marketing--and that is Rule 6 of the 12 Rules.

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J. London, honorary Boomer

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

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January 22, 2024

Oppression Joe

“Oppression Coffee” is a startup I’ve joked about but I am now thinking seriously about launching it. Unlike 'fair trade' coffee products you see in Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, beans will originate from the most sorry and hopelessly oppressed parts of the Third World. What do you guys think?

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The Shakespeare Edition. Blawg Review #318: Fully-Engaged, Participatory, Risk-Taking, Pro-Immersion, Get-Off-Your-Knees, Change-the-World Will Shakespeare-Hunter Thompson Edition.

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HORATIO
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

HAMLET
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet, Act 1. Scene V.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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"Maybe there is no Heaven."
Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame & Degradation in the '80's.
Hunter Stockton Thompson (1937-2005)

And Heaven on Earth? That's up to us, right?

Welcome to Blawg Review No. 318, which follows Texas trial lawyer Mark Bennett's inspiring No. 317 at the well-regarded Defending People. My name is Dan Hull. I practice law to (1) make money, (2) ensure that every day will be different than the one before, (3) use everything I have practicing law so I can feel alive, (4) serve sophisticated purchasers of legal services who "get it"--corporate clients with in-house counsel normally represented by much larger firms--and put them first, and (5) treat my law practice and firm as both a shop and a laboratory for new ideas.

"Immersion" is what I seek in life and work. So that my life is full, and full of surprise. For me, this is exactly what William Shakespeare (or whoever authored the works bearing his name) and Hunter Thompson had in common. It is the gift, and courage, to get us to fully participate in the story along with its creator. The Singer, if you will, becomes the Song.

April of course is National Poetry Month. Today, April 23, is the day on which William Shakespeare was very likely born and also (strange as it seems) most definitely the day on which he also died. Happy 448th Birthday, Sir--and thank you. In your plays, characters, story and theme strut, bellow, work, play, dart and dive in and out together with all the surprise and verve of real life. As in Thompson's work generations later, you are always "there". With us. In fact, the sense of writer participation in the work of both Shakespeare and Thompson shoots through each line. In Thompson's case--"as your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown bottle in my shaving kit"--writer involvement is impossible to ignore as he throws himself into the narrative. The capacity for detachment, while occasionally important and present in the works of both, is just one tool in the arsenal of storytelling. These two authors are fully-engaged. In the story. With us. Now. Immersed.

I want to be that kind of lawyer, too.

Six years ago, in Blawg Review #43, Boston's Diane Levin gave us a fine Shakespeare edition which celebrates a man whose 38 plays, 154 sonnets and other poems changed the English tongue forever and made it work harder, bend more, stretch mightily and finally give England a language that could keep up with its cascading, unrelenting and wonderfully vibrant and ancient imagination. He used words, made new words and experimented with word-combinations so that both the writing and the author were fully-engaged, participating, immersed in the story, risk-taking. It was not like anything that had gone before it. Read, for example, the entire Hamlet scene above.

Hunter Thompson--I have inadvertently channeled this journalist for nearly three decades since I covered for a college daily an infamous speech he gave--took participatory one step further in his feisty-funny yet oddly clear-eyed new journalism. But, for his time, William Shakespeare's body of work revolutionized what the English language could do. Changed forever how we saw ourselves. His work demonstrated in and of itself what humans could do to change the world. Simply put, Shakespeare, like Geoffrey Chaucer before him, made English cool. Very cool.

And all of you? I hope all of you will do the same thing with your law practice--and with the entire law profession itself. Please push the envelope a bit for us all.

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But first things first, as they told me when I exited my Final LL.M Program. Shakespeare's Works? Who wrote them? Francis Bacon or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, are my two personal favorites for the honor. Perhaps a number of people or a combination wrote them. But not Shakespeare. The chances that the historical person, a well-meaning actor-bumpkin from Stratford named William Shakespeare, wrote all these assorted, richly-layered erudite and intricate gems in a working life in which he retired at 49 is about as likely as learning in a few years that Billy Carter, Jimmy's brother, invented the Internet, thought up Twitter, and did both theoretical and initial lab work resulting in three Nobel Prizes in Physics over a 20-year period. Or, staying with rogue presidential brothers, that Roger Clinton brokered several Middle Eastern cease fires, engineered Procter & Gamble's Gillette acquisition, and still had time to join the special forces, get buff and shoot Osama bin Laden.

If he were living today, Will Shakespeare would reside as a community theater local "star" amongst my many cousins in eastern Tennessee in a house with a front porch decorated by all-year-long Christmas tree lights and featuring a really big Coke Machine. My childhood friend Ernie from Glen Burnie, who has an English degree from Yale, and is now a partner and trial lawyer in a well-known DC-based law firm, dismisses the historical Will Shakespeare more comprehensively, if crudely: "Kind of guy who'd try to blow himself with a Dust Buster, if you ask me." Note: Just heard that Ernie lost his slot again at The University Club.

So Shakespeare couldn't have written "Shakespeare". But Someone Cool, Brave and Hard-Working did--and he, she or it changed Everything: character, story, our sense of an inner life, consciousness itself, words--and how they could sing.

So let's celebrate those who do things, whoever they are, famous or unsung, and especially those who do great things. Which are almost always difficult, frustrating things. A gentleman from South Carolina, trial lawyer Bobby G. Frederick, reminds us at Trial Theory that today is also the 112th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt's "Citizenship In A Republic" speech delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, France, 23 April, 1910. It is an Ode to Quality long-loved by hard-working full-time lawyers worldwide. Excerpt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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You get the idea. This Edition of Blawg Review for lawyers who get up and do it every day. Let's start with three "non-virtual" friends of mine. Patrick Lamb, the Chicago business trial lawyer and law firm innovator who got me interested in blogging back in 2005, is a "trench lawyer" if there ever was one. We share similar career paths and a real drive to build a completely new kind of law firm for higher-end clients. I've spent more time personally with Pat than any other lawyer who writes. For several years, and directly due to our connection through blogging, our respective law firms were main drivers together in the same invitation-only international business law consortium based in Austria. We are still members together of a second invitation-only group based in Charleston. We've served on each other's panels on the subjects of higher-end customer service, law practice, and litigation. Pat has great business sense (rare in lawyers) and a fabulous legal mind. See his commentary in "WSJ on ever increasing hourly rate: anyone else get a sense of deja vu?" at his always-provocative In Search of Perfect Client Service. He is one of a handful of people who is changing our profession.

Brit pundit, law professor and velvet-voiced Charon QC, another innovator and doer I met in London in 2007, is one of the funniest and most erudite human beings alive, in or out of the law. If Pat Lamb got me writing again, Charon kept me doing it because he always made blogging, well, great fun. And there were all these great young female "assistants" around him when we met in Mayfair. Anyway, a useful and serious guest post on the UK Facebook litigation by Stephens Scowns Solicitors comes our way in "Careless talk costs jobs". The UK now has 30 million Facebook users. In Preece v. Wetherspoon, an employment tribunal held that a pub manager was fairly dismissed for gross misconduct after she used Facebook during working time to make comments about two difficult customers. You say you had your privacy settings on? Sorry, Sweetie, not a defense. It's still public domain.

The ultimate New York City trench lawyer, and non-virtual friend, is criminal defense lawyer Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice. Scott's made legal blogging--there is no other way to say this--important. Scott, like any number of great lawyers, and great men, is a straight-up pain in the ass. Verbatim quote: "Not trying to be difficult. I just am." He owes me lunch. He owes me at least $5. But I would, and will, refer any corporate criminal investigation I encounter to any general counsel I know to this man. In serving clients, which is the hardest thing on earth to do well, he gets the importance of: speed, lightning application of law to fact, being right there and being organized. He knows how to talk to the most sophisticated clients in the world when they need a little tough love. Hear him, for example, charm Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Yard and Harvard itself in this one: "Taxing the Frugal Future". Talk about immersion in the subject matter.

Another Brit doer, David Allen Green, aka Jack of Kent, is a lawyer-blogger with an impressive record of investigative journalism. He asks "should there be a legal blogging prize?, based on his experience last year of reviewing 2000 blogposts for the George Orwell political blogging prize. One of his sources for this thoughtful piece? Our man Charon QC.

Back in the States, well-known Miami trial lawyer Brian Tannebaum writes at "The Practice", his "combat pay" column at Above the Law, "It's Not Always About the Clients", about abusive clients. It's at once a brave and common sense article that educated me about other practices, especially in the criminal defense area. I did not like the title--I can think of a few others that might fit better here--but I liked what he had to say. He made me think.

Another Alpha Dog, Innovator and Doer: Fellow Midwesterner and Seattle-based Dan Harris writes China Law Blog. Like Greenfield and Tannebaum, he lawyers--and writes--every day. If you work, or want to work, in Greater China, follow Dan. See "The Apple-Proview China Trademark Litigation. It’s Gonna Settle. Bet On It". Can you ever imagine Dan not telling a client what he really thinks? I can't.

Super-Athlete and New York PI lawyer Eric Turkewitz covers the Boston Marathon, The Importance of Drinking Water, and my second favorite poet in The Boston Marathon (Highway to Hell)". This Don Rumsfeld (disclosure: I like and admire the guy) quote and triple-haiku, frankly, has always made sense to me:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

And humorist-lawyer Kevin Underhill of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a name which is at once lyrical and kind of funny-sounding, but I am not sure why, has written "Plaintiff: This Soap Did Not Attract Women as Promised" at his Lowering the Bar. In my next lawyer life, I would like to do some serious class action work in male pheromone or enhancement products that fail.

Mega-Doers in the Profession:

See the ABA Journal's interesting piece, which echos my thoughts on how powerful GCs have become, called The Rise of General Counsel". "The supply of sophisticated business lawyers has increased beyond demand, increasing the power of a few hundred general counsel who control the budgets," the article notes. And I think that is a very good thing for the right outside lawyers who can make the transition from specialists to "quarterbacks" and project managers.

At Above The Law, find out what lawyers worldwide are among the most influential people in the world on the Time 100 list.

At Jamison Koehler's Koehler Law, see a post addressed to the dreaded Slackoisie as infants. It's entitled "Advice To An Incoming 1L: Humble Yourself Before The Law. Surrender".

AttorneyatWork has something that I, for one, can use: "Staying Healthy: 10 Tips for Traveling Lawyers".

The Economist and the Judge on the Bigger Picture, Services, Subsidies: Near and sadly dear to my heart is a must-read by Decline of U.S. Manufacturing by Richard Posner of the enduring Becker-Posner Blog, where Judge Posner hits a few Rust Belt nails on the head. Excerpt:

Becker points to the analogy of agriculture. Employment in agriculture has plummeted, leading to anxieties spurred by agricultural companies about the decline of the “family farm” and the loss of the imagined virtues of the independent farmer, to combat which agriculture continues to be heavily subsidized. The subsidies are widely recognized to be a pure social waste, and the same would be true of subsidizing manufacturing. Like manufacturing, American agriculture is thriving with its historically small labor force.

Finally, here's a soulful, erudite and off-beat article by Steve McConnell, one of the writers of Dechert LLP's Drug and Device Law called "The Long Goodbye".

What About Paris/Clients? is grateful for the opportunity to host Blawg Review a third time. Blawg Review needs to sign up future hosts. It's always an experience. If you are game, get in touch with Ed, the Editor 'n' Chef. The next scheduled Blawg Review will be on May 21 and hosted by Cyberlaw Central, by Kevin Thompson, of Chicago's Davis McGrath LLC.

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Original post: April 23, 2012 In memory of John (aka Ed. Post)

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January 20, 2024

Mother’s Day in Ohio.

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January 17, 2024

Romain Rolland, 1866-1944. Nobel Prize in Literature 1915.

Let’s hear it for those who create. Babies, books, music, art, new ideas. New forms and new minds.

Below: Romain Rolland, 1866-1944. Nobel Prize in Literature 1915.


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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)

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January 16, 2024

Listen to this again.


Listen to this again. And again. Get your mind right, Campers.

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January 14, 2024

Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963)

You think you're scrappy, resourceful, resilient and tough? Robert Frost spent his life as a poet, student, teacher, newspaper reporter, farmer, factory worker, father, husband, plugger and accomplished Yankee. Personally, he lived through a never-ending series of tragic and painful episodes. Both his parents died young. When his father died, leaving the family $7, Frost was 11 years old. Fifteen years later, his mother died of cancer. Four of Frost's own six children died prematurely. Only two survived him.

He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize four times: 1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943. The first, in 1924, came at age 50.

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January 12, 2024

World Famous Soulful Way-Awesome 12 Rules of Client Service

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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 2005-2024 John Daniel Hull, IV. All Rights Reserved.

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January 11, 2024

Hail Charlotte.

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My 2nd favorite Tom Wolfe book. "I am Charlotte Simmons." Plot: Hillbilly Mensa babe cracks Duke University.

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January 08, 2024

Charlotte Rampling. Still Smoldering in 3 Languages.

Bring back real women. Please.


Below: Cannes Film Festival 2001.
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January 03, 2024

Girls Hoops Game Outside, 1918, Blue Eye, MO, The Ozarks

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Claudine Gay

The point may now be moot, but the important question for Harvard was never whether Gay should step down. It was why she was brought on in the first place, after one of the shortest presidential searches in Harvard’s recent history. How did someone with a scholarly record as thin as hers....reach the pinnacle of American academia?

~Bret Stephens, NYT op-ed, January 2, 2024

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January 02, 2024

Robert Doisneau, 1950, Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville

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January 01, 2024

Seven Years at Choate: Mysteries of the Handwritten Thank-You Note

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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 Choate, 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 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. 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 or "linked-to" on the Internet? However, "electronic thank-yous" by e-mails to express thanks for links, comments or mentions in posts or articles on the Internet--i.e., three different people link to your blog every day, you are working full time for clients, busy firing looter-style staff and associates, and writing op-ed pieces entitled "Summer 2015: The Mood of the Midwest"--are totally okay.

Short, sweet, and press "send".

Blogging about you or your ideas is, of course, very nice--but it's not like they bought you dinner, or invited you up to Newport for the weekend. Besides, you'll always miss a few kudos thrown at you in the digital ether.

But what if you are trashed in the ether? A "reverse" thank-you? Sure, you may be insulted, purposely mis-paraphrased, misinterpreted, or just inadvertently misquoted. It happens. Remember, some bloggers and pseudo-journalists are (1) angry, (2) disorganized, or (3) essentially unemployed. Our suggestion? Let 'em have it. And you can be rude. You've earned it.

Anyway, let's get back to manners. If you don't regularly thank people for links or mentions of you or your firm's blog or website, you are fouling your own nest.

Not thanking people in the blogosphere is (1) arrogant and (2) dumb. It adds to the notion that (3) bloggers are insular, passive-aggressive lightweights lacking in people skills.

So develop some habits about all thank-yous for everything--and make handwritten the default position. If you don't, bad things will happen:

1. No one will give you any more business, or invite you to The Hamptons.

2. People will say mean things about your dog, your wife, your girlfriend, or about all three. Worse, they trash you.

3. If you went to Brown, snide people will remind you and your friends that Brown used to be the safety school for the Ivies.

4. If you were at Duke, they'll re-float the completely untrue story that Duke exists only because Princeton had too much honor and class to accept Buck Duke's filthy tobacco money and re-name Princeton Duke.

5. If Princeton, they'll just say you were always kind of light in the Cole Haans, too, and were once even seen dancing at an "alternative lifestyle" bar in the city--dressed in full leather biker garb--so what can you expect?

You get the idea. So thank people in writing. Handwritten as a general rule. E-mail only for a cyber-mention.

Finally, if your site is so successful that your links, e-mails and comments are through the roof, hire someone else to do the thank-yous--written or electronic--for you.

Original post November 14, 2017

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December 31, 2023

Thomas Cahill’s The Gifts of the Jews

Now's a good time to buy or borrow a book your friends and colleagues have raved about for a quarter century and you still haven’t gotten around to reading: "The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels," by Thomas Cahill, who died at 82 last year. First published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in 1999. 304 pages. Cahill wrote the Hinges of History series, the best popular history series you can read. This is his best book. Please buy it, read it and read again.

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December 29, 2023

Just Ask Alice

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

~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth, d. 1980

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December 28, 2023

Rule 1: Represent Only Clients You Like.

You cannot afford to act for business clients you do not like and respect. Rule One: Represent Only Clients You "Like". Life's short. The profession is demanding enough. From our annoying but dead-on accurate, world-famous, wise and must-follow 12 Rules of Client Service. Excerpt from Rule 1:

By "like", I mean it loosely: to derive for whatever reason real pleasure and satisfaction while doing legal work for a individual or organization.

My firm shies away from individuals as clients, regardless of his or her resources. We usually represent businesses. So in the case of an organization, we "like" the client because overall we somehow feel comfortable with or maybe even admire the personality, business culture or goals of that client, personally like/admire the client reps and general counsel, or both.

My firm "likes" business clients which are experienced, sophisticated users of legal services. When we perform well, the client appreciates us and signals that appreciation. So then we like the client even more, and want to do an even better job or keep doing the good job we are doing so we can derive more real pleasure from the engagement, and obtain more work.


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December 25, 2023

London's 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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