My Google images search for “attorney yelling” could not have gone better. Exhibit 1. If you can explain to me the connection between a crocodile eating a python (AWESOME!!!) and an attorney yelling, you will get a prize.
One of the topics I end up teaching students is how to draft a demand letter. I cover the basics: (1) make a demand; (2) make the demand for a date certain; (3) use the persuasive voice; and (4) document the legal and factual basis for your claim.
While I emphasize that the purpose of a demand letter is to prompt resolution of the matter prior to litigation, I do not generally discuss in depth the distinction between persuasive voice and extortion. It’s never really been an issue.
Exhibit 2: Lionel Hutz, you are missed.
But now I can point to a counterexample of a demand letter gone wrong. Apparently, a judge considered this demand letter to rise to the level of extortion: https://plus.google.com/109385971027097330016/about?hl=en
Whether the implicit threat of revealing salacious details rises to the level of extortion is a tough call, but also an issue that could have been avoided altogether through a more professional, law-focused approach. (“Law-focused” = focused on your legal claims and the relevant facts that support them–not overblown rhetoric and lurid details. I mean . . . “see enclosed photo”?–really?)
Remember people: You’re a lawyer–not an agent, not a bully, and not a politician. A lawyer. Act like one!
Exhibit 3: During the years I was practicing, I made this face on a daily basis.
Super-Associate! Image from blog.rocketlawyer.com
Sharing some excellent advice from legal writing guru Ross Guberman:
Some more props for out amicus brief in the DOMA case here.
Tanya Washington: Professor, Co-Author, and All-Around Awesome Lady.
Today my DU colleague, Catherine Smith, and I, along with Tanya Washington from the Georgia State University College of Law, filed an amicus brief in United States v. Windsor, better known as the case before the United States Supreme Court challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). (The brief can be found on SCOTUSblog here: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/12-307-bsac-Scholars-of-Const.-Rights-of-Children.pdf)
The doctrinal superstructure of equal protection analysis is somewhat complex. However, at the end of the day, there is a limited set of fundamental questions the Court may address to determine the outcome in both of the marriage equality cases currently before it: Hollingsworth v. Perry and Windsor v. United States.
Excellent lawyer stock photo.
I had the chance to chat recently with an outstanding former student who is starting work as an associate at a law firm. This student described some of the challenges that I remember from my own time as an associate. With the benefit of hindsight, I shared some thoughts on strategies that I wish I had employed myself (but didn’t). I’m going to repeat that here along with some wisdom shared by former students.
Today we will be welcoming a new class of 1Ls. It is my job to introduce them to and interest them in the Academic Skills Program. In thinking about how to do this, I was again struck by one of the fundamental challenges of communicating with 1Ls in the earliest days of their legal education, which is that they have not yet had the types of experiences that allow them to contextualize the information you are giving them.