Category: Legal Profession

A Tactical Wheel for the Defense?

Every defense attorney has their own favorite metaphor for what we do.  Some talk of it like a street fight, envisioning a slugfest with the cops or the court or DA (or all three).  Others speak as if it’s a poker game (with the other side usually holding all the...

The Law Students’ Lament

For a while there, it seemed like not a day went by without us reading of some firm or other laying off a mess of lawyers.  Things have changed.  Now, it seems as if not a day goes by without us reading of some law student getting upset at the...

Let’s Take a Show of Hands

Let’s wind up this content-free week with a poll. Criminal defense attorneys are often asked how they can stand to defend people they know to be guilty.  But to see just how off-target that question is, go and ask them what they believe to be the most difficult case to...

“This offer is only good today.”

Another good post by Mark Bennett today over at his blog “Defending People,” entitled “Today Only?”  He recounts the plea-bargaining tactic some prosecutors use, attempting to force a plea by saying the offer is only good that one day, and won’t be offered again. Did the words mean what they...

The Rules of the Game

  Note to incoming first-year law students:  The law itself is not terribly difficult. We lecture to schoolkids from time to time, and they seem to get the concept pretty easily when we explain that the law is nothing more than the rulebook for how to play the game of...

All the Wrong Reasons

  So we’ve been hearing about this new blog, “UnemployedJD.com,” where some guy named Ethan is documenting his hunger strike “to bring awareness to the concerns of [his] classmates. Their primary concerns are inaccurate employment statistics, ineffective career counseling, and rising tuition costs. [His] intention is to have these concerns...

Character Matters

We’re one of the few Republican defense lawyers out here — and perhaps the only one living in Manhattan, so it’s odd that we’re so intrigued by the race for the Democratic nomination for the Florida Attorney General race. Well, maybe not so odd.  The issue of character has come...

Don’t Abolish the Bar Exam — Change It

Over on the Volokh Conspiracy, Prof. Ilya Somin has a good post today on whether the bar exam ought to be abolished.  He agrees with Elizabeth Wurtzel that the exam “is primarily a test of memorization,” the bulk of which will be irrelevant to any given lawyer’s actual practice.  We...

How the Jury System Defeats Justice

Our jury system is supposed to maximize justice.  So how come our system only makes it harder for jurors to do the right thing? Take this example: A judge in Florida today began reading some 100 pages of instructions to the jury in a case charging a lawyer with stealing...

“Collars for Dollars”

“Nathan, when you become mayor, I’m gonna be the first volunteer for your security detail.”  This was a detective speaking, back when we were an ADA in the Manhattan DA’s office.  My office, as usual, had about five cops in it.  I liked this detective, and asked how come he...

Can Yoo Be Sued?

In the early days of the War on Terrorism, the Bush administration wanted to know what interrogation techniques were legal.  So it asked the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel for a memo on what could and could not be done to prisoners.  Staff lawyer John Yoo was tasked with doing...