I’ve promised my employers a management plan memo in the next few days. This will serve as the initial road map for how I might bring some quality control to the practice of law. It is all well and good to spout aspirational platitudes, but it is quite another thing to put the proverbial money where they proverbial mouth is.

I think, in their short term, I need a more diffuse monitoring system. I continue to believe that the “task” is  the correct conceptualization of our unit of work. As a result, task management may be, temporarily, set up outside the existing (potentially inadequate) law firm practice management software. That may ruffle feathers, but it will give me a modicome of control, both symbolic and actual.

All the deliberate steps and implementation are bound up with the assertion of confidence. It should be no fiction. I’m taking control.

A burdensome madness

I’ve pretty much lost it.  My mind, I mean.  It’s not such a bad thing to have happen, so long  as it’s temporary, so long as no one gets hurt.  I came damn close to that line on Friday morning, even crossed it a little.  It was almost “bye-bye, job.”  But I’m getting reeled in now, with lots of help.  This long weekend is well-timed, even with the “insane” (pun intended) amount of writing I have to do.  There are certain things I can live with, certain fears, both rational and otherwise, I can tolerate.

At work, I’m going to bite the bullet and endure several weeks of “unpleasantness” in the name of a much needed quality push.  I’m seriously considering whether I can leverage my suffering in an attempt to indulge thoughts that came up (perhaps serendipitously) earlier in the week.  Maybe I can make some of those flights-of-fancy into reality.  Alternatively, it could make a bad situation worse – trying to force people to do something they don’t want to do while I’m being forced to undergo my own (heretofore referenced, though not fully described) unpleasant process of transition.  Well, I’m getting to a stage where I don’t really care.  If my place in this smal law practice is going to disintigrate, I’d prefer it to happen while I fight to do better and fight for what I want.  So, that’s how it’s going to be.

And also, I’m going to start listening to Uriah Heep.  That should help as well.

Can victims of catastrophic brain injury have ‘awareness’ of their plight?

A recent study in The Lancet, as reported in the New York Times, suggests that, at least some patients in a vegetative state do have awareness.

[S]aid Joseph T. Giacino, the director of rehabilitation neuropsychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, who was not involved in the research. “…it sure looks as if there’s not just a little bit of consciousness but a lot” in patients who had been deemed unresponsive.

In proving damages to help benefit victims of catastrophic injury, this study could potentially be used to support a finding of conscious pain and suffering, which is compensable.

On Trial Again!

Another short one, this time in the beautiful new court facility in Woodbury, New Jersey.  Closing arguments will start sometime around 9:45AM tomorrow in Courtroom 305, so you can all come on down, if you like.  Really, I’m very impressed with Gloucester County’s new building.  It’s wonderful to have such great facilities.  Also quite impressed by the staff and Judge McCaffrey.  It’s my first trial in front of him.

We’ll have a verdict tomorrow, probably early afternoon.

Court, Deposition, Court again

Trial list this morning, but they weren’t ready for us. That means we could get called to pick a jury and get started at any moment between now and Wednesday. Luckily, I have an understanding, and patient client.

Now I’m in a deposition trying to pin down the exact location of a slip and fall accident. There’s lots of confusion and this witness isn’t helping. In this city there are lots of property lines right next to each other.

Tomorrow, if my trial doesn’t start, I go to Court in Media, Pennsylvania to meet with the Judge about a trial the will start sometime next month. I’m hoping we can settle.

In a holding pattern…

Trial was scheduled to start today.  I’ve got nine witnesses in my case, so it’s a pretty big deal for me – could take as long as two weeks and I’ve got over $1.5 million in lost wages to show the jury.  Also, a significant sum has been offered, but it’s not enough.

New Jersey trial courts are extremely congenial and the Judges and their staff are terrific to work with.  One problem is that the state has had to cut down on the number of judges, so cases have to wait to be tried.

On the one hand, I could get all grumpy about spending so many hours last week and all weekend getting it ready and being mentally prepared to get the show on the road today.  That being said, that’s just not how my job works.  So, whenever I get the call, whether it’s tomorrow or next month – I’ll just tighten everything up, call my witnesses and go do what I do.

My opinion of civil justice and our jury system is, temporarily, quite low

I just finished a two day trial and got an horrendous result. Disappointment is part of the reality of trying cases; I know no attorney who has won every trial. Sadly, my clients were two of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, let alone working for. But it is the nature of the beast that I sometimes get very good results for less deserving clients and much worse results for folks like the couple I worked with this week.

My greatest annoyance right now is that the jury did not give the case proper consideration. They made a VERY wrong decision on one aspect of the case in order to avoid even discussing the other issues. They did themselves a favor and took a shortcut, just to wrap up their duty a little quicker. I know this because the Judge spoke with them after and then explained to me once they left. Perhaps this jury would have reached the same decision if they had given proper consideration to all aspects of the case, but that’s not the point. They were lazy and took the easy way out. It was appallingly disrespectful to my client who was injured in an automobile accident and her husband, who was by her side throughout the trial.

Even with this disappointment and outrage, I continue to feel that trying cases is the most exciting aspect of my job. I had wonderful clients to work with and all my examinations and PowerPoint presentations went smoothly. There will be more inattentive and lazy juries in the future, but I will keep fighting for my clients and finding new and better ways to prove their cases.

A quick recap… And now a funeral.

Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Schneeberg

The world is turning rapidly under our feet.  This can not be avoided, but it need not always be celebrated.

Last Thursday we attended the successful settlement on our first home.  It is a bittersweet moment because it means leaving the city limits of this glorious and frustrating town.  I wish I had the money to be a stylish, bohemian intellectual with a beautiful row home in a safe neighborhood, but it ain’t gonna happen.  not now, anyway.  I’m taking my liberal politics and my strange music to the ‘burbs.

In the midst of preparing for closing, I left a pair of work projects for the weekend.  this meant several hours at the office on Sunday, when I should have been home packing for our move 0 which is just a few short weeks away.  One thing I was not working on was a trial that has been listed several times, but for one reason or another, has never gone forward.  My clients grow weary of the hurry-up-and-wait approach that the Courts insist on.  Because the matter had been listed so many times, I am ready.  I just have to drag all my files and tech (computer, project and screen for power-point presentation and video testimony to show the jury) to Court and I’m ready.

So our latest listing for this trial was yesterday, and, low and behold, the Judge was actually ready for us.  He dismissed us for the morning and advised us to come back after lunch to pick a jury.

As I pulled into the parking lot after getting my gear and a quick snack, I check email and learned that Arthur Schneeberg had died.  Arthur was my Mom’s first cousin and a man I had admired my whole life.  He was a gifted physician and a loving family member.  He was the most unassuming man, completely unpretentious.  Yet his level of scholarship about his work and religion always inspired me.  I am proud to be a part of his family.

So, instead of finally putting on my trial, the case goes back into the “waiting to re-list” category and today I take my Mom to a funeral.

Trial prep has taken over my life, temporarily

Got a nice little case in front of Judge Fernandez-Vina starting tomorrow. I would much rather be telling you all about all the killer music that was added to the collection this weekend OR how we’re getting ready to pack up all our shit and move across the river.

All that will have to come later. For now, make sure you are up to date on Ms. Emily’s prodigious writing efforts. She’s carrying the blogging ball for both of us at:

See Emily Play

I don’t even know what to call this post

I guess it’s another catch-all.  The holiday weekend is pretty much here, so everything is starting to slow down, and that is perfectly fine with me.  I’ve been enjoying (NOT!) some bowel distress over the past 24 hours, so I’m glad that there’s no work tomorrow.  I prep’d my butt off for an Arbitration on Wednesday and it went south on me because the panel didn’t like my client – they actually said that to me after.  Hours and hours of prep down the tubes.

I’m just about done with Greg van Eekhout’s (like Vonnegut?) first novel – Norse Code.  Despite the title, it’s actually been quite a good piece of fantasy fiction.  If I were in another line of work, perhaps I could have read this book over a weekend, but with distractions and trials, it has taken a bit longer.  Great action, well written, and sexy cover.  What more could you ask for?  As a rumination on Ragnarok, it’s a bit more fluid and entertaining than Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.  The retelling of myth is a bit more fluid in Gaiman’s work, but the van Eekhout has been a more cohesive read.  I certainly liked them both, but in being a bit less ambitious, Norse Code is actually more fun.  Although, I don’t think Gaiman was going for fun.

Company’s coming to mpomy HQ to help celebrate the holiday.  We’re looking forward to Oscar and his mom and dad.  Pictures will undoubtedly be posted.  Also, we’ve arranged a trip to Morris Arboretum to hang out in nature’s beauty with my mom and our guests.  It should be just the ticket after my beleaguered week.

Over at, the insanity continues.  we’ve got Mr. Delaruss now actively blogging, which is great news.  I’ll also try to do little more micro-music because it’s so damn fun.  Maybe Oscar can help with the next composition.

We have also found out that a cousin has breast cancer – which absolutely sucks.  She’s got a bunch of little kids and she’s almost definitely going to have to go through some of the most heinous shit.  But she’s got a great husband (Em’s 1st cousin) and they’re within shouting distance of top notch healthcare.  It’s still going to be a bumpy ride for that family, so we’ll be sending the good vibes that way as the situation and treatment regimen become clearer.

And lastly, I’ll be trying to get Em to watch Virtuality tonight.  It seems like good, low-impact fun before our guests arrive, and I need to take another look before I write up my thoughts.

Have a great weekend, everybody.