On the True Value of a Law Degree

January 16, 2011
U.S. Capitol building

Over the last year or so, there has been a lot of talk on listservs and in the blawgosphere about the glut of new lawyers coming onto the market, about the expectations of these lawyers in terms of… Read More

What Does Evil Look Like?

January 11, 2011

Evil looks a lot like the pasty, bloated face of Jared Loughner grinning at us from the front page of today’s New York Times. Children have an innate sense of these things. We do too. We know that,… Read More

On Carrying Pictures of Chairman Mao

January 7, 2011

For the most part, the Assistant U.S. Attorneys here in D.C. seem to have things right. For one thing, they return your phone calls, usually on the same day, and I have to give them credit for that…. Read More

On Jabbar Collins and Other Jailhouse Lawyers

January 6, 2011
U.S. Capitol Building

I have only seen one “law library” at a prison, and I have to say I was not at all impressed. A converted broom closet with a broken chair and a rickety metal bookshelf, the library consisted mostly… Read More

Knowledge Comes At Middle Age

January 5, 2011
D.C. skyline

My mother fell on the ice in front of her house and broke her shoulder. She lay in the snow for 15 minutes before the emergency response people arrived. My two sisters who live in the area can… Read More

You Should Be Translating, Not Interpreting

January 1, 2011

During an earlier life, I was a member of the U.S. delegations that negotiated the international ozone and climate treaties. The negotiations often lasted a couple of weeks, with the opening statements alone — from the 100 nations… Read More

Because Transcripts Can Be Unforgiving

December 30, 2010

When I was a public defender in Philadelphia, my office mate used to come across me reading transcripts from court hearings I had done and kid me. I thought I was being conscientious, working to make myself a… Read More

Rule 1: Get The Money Upfront

December 6, 2010
American flag

One of the advantages to being a criminal defense attorney, at least one who defends people accused of street crimes as opposed to white collar offenses, is that you get your money upfront. There is the initial negotiation…. Read More

The “Almost Went To Trial” Blues

December 1, 2010
Jefferson Memorial

You are wearing one of the good suits you save for trial.  Your trial notebook is at your side. You got up early to exercise, and now you are feeling rested, relaxed, and confident.  You don’t go to… Read More

Neutral Tones

October 8, 2010
U.S. Capitol building

I stand by the bed.  The fingers of your hand are loose and warm, and though your eyes are closed your head is toward me.  Are you sleeping, in the country you have got to?  On pathways of… Read More