Law Practice

A Prosecutor Melts Down

November 2, 2014 Law Practice

We had at least one meltdown every year at the public defender’s office in Philadelphia.  Sometimes the meltdown was very public:  the PD throwing down her files and stomping out of the court room.  Other times it was a more private affair.  The defender would simply drop his files back at the office and leave, […]

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It Is All About Respect

October 26, 2014 Law Practice

The judge takes the bench at 9:15 am. That she does this every day without fail is a sign of respect for herself, for the system, and for every person who appears in front of her. And it makes my job easier too: Make sure you are there no later than 9:00 o’clock, I tell […]

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Life Lessons for My Law Practice

October 2, 2014 Law Practice

I am in Nairobi.  Kenya is famous, among other things, for its malachite jewelry, and I would like to buy my wife a malachite necklace.  I check at the hotel store and see that the necklaces there sell for well over $100.  So I go out to a market on the street with cash. A […]

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My Real (and Not So Real) Heroes

August 19, 2014 Law Practice

Guest Post by Somers Brush I normally tell people that my desire to be a lawyer came after the couple of weeks I spent with my aunt and uncle during the summer before my senior year of high school. I shadowed my Aunt Susan and watched her in action during one of her trials, and […]

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From Law School to Law Practice: The Importance of Clinicals

February 15, 2014 Law Practice

Unless we were working in some capacity in which we were actually dealing with clients, everything we learned in law school was theoretical.  Maybe we motivated ourselves by imagining that some day we would be able to apply what we were learning.  More likely, considering that many of us had no idea at the time […]

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Common Sense in Dealing with Court Staff

February 14, 2014 Law Practice

It is a foolish lawyer who offends court personnel. During my first year as a public defender in Philadelphia, one of my colleagues made the mistake of being less than respectful toward a court clerk in a preliminary hearing room. Passing the word to his colleagues, the clerk did his best to make her life […]

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What We Learn About Our Colleagues

February 8, 2014 Law Practice

We feel like we know our colleagues. We know who the good ones are and we know who the bad ones are. But that is based mostly on reputation. We spend a lot of time together in the courtroom waiting for our cases to be called. But we rarely see each other at trial. Trials […]

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You Have To Love The Law Books

January 28, 2014 Law Practice

I just treated myself to the entire Wayne LaFave collection:  3 volumes on substantive criminal law, 6 volumes on search and seizure, and 7 volumes on criminal procedure.  I had been coveting the criminal procedure set in the lawyer’s lounge of D.C. Superior Court.  Now I have my own.  And once I got onto the […]

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Aspiring to Be A Good Lawyer (and Person): Keith Lee’s “The Marble and the Sculptor”

November 5, 2013 Law Practice

When I started law school back in 2003, I read a number of “how-to” books on going to law school.  There are many of them out there with all sorts of advice on outlining cases, preparing for exams, interacting with professors and your fellow students, and so on. The one book I wish had been […]

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LexisNexis Would Have Me Commit Malpractice.

October 18, 2013 Law Practice

I am working on a petition to seal a criminal record. I know that the statutory language was recently amended so I check first with my hardcopy version of the code – put out by LexisNexis — to make sure that I have the language right.  (As an old school guy, I prefer something I […]

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