- JVDIt's that hectic time of the year where I've got a different event on my calendar every night, and I'm frantically trying to wrap up cases prior to the Christmas holiday. (Not to mention that I've got appeals coming out of my ears...) None the less, there are lots of interesting reads right now, and here's what I'm suggesting :
I'd heard some buzz about this case from somewhere (How do you know you're a nerdy attorney? The "buzz" you hear about is a cert petition, rather than the coolest new bar in town), but I really hope SCOTUS grants cert, because this case is FASCINATING. Cell phone data is difficult for me to wrap my head around, and this case brings us to the legality of accessing location data points. Go HERE for the petition.
I wasn't really paying attention to the Victim Rights' movement back in 1998, but that's when Tennessee passed a constitutional amendment, giving victims of a crime certain rights. I've always had a lot of questions about it, including whether it was necessary to pass a CONSTITUTIONAL amendment. Either way, it's done here, but this article discusses the challenges that it is posing in Montana. Also, check out the Marsy's law website, which is interesting.
Also, this piece on immigration court in Lumpkin, Georgia.
Breyer is urging the Court to take a look at the constitutionality of leaving someone on death row for 40 years, HERE.
The Most Valuable Lesson I’ve Learned in Five Years
Lawyers are notoriously disliked. It’s primarily because people don’t interact with attorneys until they need one. Sometimes they need one for a happy occasion (buying a new business, adopting a baby), but often, they need one because something bad has happened (criminal charges, investigation by a government agency, car wreck, divorce, injury at work, business breakup, etc.) The bad times definitely outweigh the good times. Attorneys can be expensive and they don’t always come bearing good news. So basically, people love us.
Attorneys don’t have a tangible good to hawk. We aren’t a beautiful, pearl paint job or a cozy cashmere sweater. We have our brains and the intangible ability to solve problems. It’s hard for people to want to pay attorneys for something they can’t actually see. (It’s hard for me to want to pay for a root canal, and that’s semi-tangible! Although, I’m told when the pain gets bad, it’ll be very tangible.) I’ve had this conversation with one of my law partners no less than 60 times in 2016.
The importance of retaining an attorney is actually best illustrated by every other profession you can think of. I recently met with a contractor to discuss a kitchen renovation for my little house. After talking about options, he suggested I get an architect to draw up a plan because: 1) he can better estimate costs, 2) he can better estimate time requirements, 3) his employees can work the project without his constant oversight, and 4) we would be on the same page with the plans – no surprises. I think he expected some resistance to spending money before even getting started, but my response was, “I think that’s a great idea!” And my enthusiasm was based on my observations as an attorney. Generally speaking, you’re going to pay for the project one way or another, and I’d much rather dole out some money on the front-end to save stress and heartache later on. Plus, what do I know about tearing down walls? Just because I’ve watched some HGTV doesn’t make me an expert.
Clients can be reluctant to hire an attorney, but I believe that once we get involved, we are peace of mind. (At this point, any attorney reading this is nodding their head to the extent that it might fall off.) Let’s put it in perspective:
Some people might make it through the judicial system relatively unscathed, but peace of mind is priceless. Clients are paying for our training, our time, our relationships with District Attorneys or opposing counsel, our skill in the courtroom, and our ability to advise them about all their options. But, that can be hard for non-attorneys to see because it’s not tangible. Watching a lot of Law & Order does not a law degree make. (Although, Sam Waterston was undeniably great.)
So that’s it. That’s my most valuable lesson -- which I now apply to every other part of my life. I’ve learned that it’s better to spend the time and money on the front-end, especially when it comes to engaging legal counsel. It is a lot harder to hire an attorney once you’re in jail. It may not be necessary to hire the finest legal counsel, but I certainly wouldn’t start at the bottom. I’d be skeptical of anyone that promises you the moon. Just like I’d be skeptical of the contractor that offers me a cut-rate price, the doctor that tells me there could never be any complications, or the salesman that tells me his tire will go 130,000 miles.
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