Monday, July 13, 2009 | by AMY GOODUSKY | The Connecticut Law Tribune
The stock in trade of most lawyers I know is language. No single class of persons plays as well with semantics, vocabulary, and most pertinently, doctoring the spin of it all. We are famous for tweaking, modifying, shading, couching, maneuvering, posturing, inflaming, exhortation, rumination, innuendo, implication, vindication, fervent advocacy and equally ardent defense. Lawyers are also expert in surreptitiously inserting clauses, codicils, provisos, exceptions, dodges, disclaimers and definitions in our quest for linguistic legerdemain. This stuff is called the fine print.
Monday, July 6, 2009 | by AMY GOODUSKY | The Connecticut Law Tribune
More often than I imagine I will be, I am cooling my heels, in and out of the courtroom, waiting for things to be typed, deponents to arrive, other arguments to proceed before my own; and finally, spinning out the final moments before a deadline expires in order to file a motion for non-suit or order of compliance. At some point, I decided to turn my restless energy into something creative. This is what I was doing when I should have been looking busy - telling the story of a lawsuit in haiku.
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Monday, July 6, 2009 | by EMANUEL MARGOLIS | The Connecticut Law Tribune
President Barack wishes to "turn the page" on America's past torture policies. We must "look to the future," he declares, not the past. That may well serve the politics of the present. But it ill serves the needs of the numerous victims of these policies, many detained without charge and without access to legal advice or assistance. These torture victims cannot simply block out their past humiliations, pain and degradation.
Monday, July 6, 2009 | by NORM PATTIS | The Connecticut Law Tribune
Candor is more than a cardinal virtue among lawyers. It is a professional requirement, something like the air we breathe. Whether dealing with the court or third parties, lawyers are expected to be truthful and fair. Perhaps that makes us quaint. It certainly makes us easy marks for those who view deception as part of their craft.
Monday, June 29, 2009 | The Connecticut Law Tribune
Not since 1978 has Connecticut judged its judges through a comprehensive judicial performance evaluation. It was in that year that the judiciary lobbied the Connecticut Bar Association leadership to end its nationally acclaimed review program. Judicial Branch officials cited fears of an end to judicial independence and potentially unfair attacks on judicial character. The then-chief justice claimed that the judiciary could review the performance of its own judges and would quickly implement a judicial performance program.
Monday, June 22, 2009 | by NORM PATTIS | The Connecticut Law Tribune
I read an interesting essay on judging the other day. The author noted that the image of a federal trial judge sitting dispassionately at trial calling balls and strikes should be supplanted by a new image: the manager, sitting by his or her computer, checking out case reports and researching case law on pending motions. That is not a reassuring image. Many reasons are given for the vanishing trial. Filings in the district court have increased, but the number of cases going to trial has decreased. There have been no new rules of procedure that would account for the decline in trials. The increases in filings suggest we are more litigious than ever.
Monday, June 22, 2009 | by AMY GOODUSKY | The Connecticut Law Tribune
Recently, I attended a status conference. As always, in accordance with tradition and in an endeavor to avert a pointy e-mail from the client asking me what happened, I typed a letter describing the events. The letter did not tell the whole story. As I hunted and pecked with the requisite three fingers, I thought that I would like to recount what really happened. The first thing I omitted was my conversation with the marshals going through courthouse security. I had some carrot pieces in my vest pocket which I had inadvertently neglected to give to the horses the previous afternoon. I was obliged to dump them into the yellow plastic bucket. The marshal remarked that he understood why there was a herd of rabbits outside.
Monday, June 15, 2009 | by AMY GOODUSKY | The Connecticut Law Tribune
Having made my living in the music business before I turned to law, songs are often on my mind. In fact, my internal radio is almost always playing. In moments of inactivity, while waiting for the exhortation to rise for the short calendar call, or in the dentist's office, to avoid dreading the drill's expensive whine, I think about music. In particular, I think that trials should have a soundtrack. First I imagined how we would accomplish this. PowerPoint is now a standard feature of courtroom presentations, along with light boxes for viewing CT scans, video playback of expert witnesses contradicting themselves and each other live and on-screen, and myriad technological devices making the spectacle more interesting to the observers than days of dry, technical testimony punctuated only by the occasional vociferous or blasÉ objection.
Monday, June 15, 2009 | by NORM PATTIS | The Connecticut Law Tribune
Were Sigmund Freud alive and well, he would despair over the state of criminal justice in Connecticut. We've criminalized desire to such an extent that many of us are now criminals at some point or another. And rather that put the brakes on a system run amok, lawmakers are finding more and more ways to lock people up. Is the only business booming amid the recession the prison-industrial complex? A story in last week's Hartford Courant reported that a couple of dozen folks were arrested as part of a dawn sweep of convicted sex offenders. Many of those arrested were charged with the felony of failing to provide a correct address to the good folks managing the sex offender registry. Others, no doubt, were arrested for being too close to children; perhaps even for living with their own offspring.
Monday, June 1, 2009 | by AMY GOODUSKY | The Connecticut Law Tribune
Would you like to know why health care costs so much? Once upon a time, there was a Hospital doing business in darkest Connecticut. A person presenting for treatment there became disgruntled. The disgruntled one huffed and puffed, and arrived at the following notion: "I'll sue the bastards!" She leapt upon her stallion and galloped south to Stamford, where the wild attorneys grow by dozens in the bulrushes and the rules of the court do not apply.