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  #51  
Old 11-30-2007, 08:42 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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2: Do you watch Law & Order (or have you ever)? If so, what is your general impression of the courtroom scenes, specifically the motions/objections/etc. that are made?

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Mrs. T used to love L&O and so I've watched it from time to time. The hearings are abbreviated but surprisingly close in terms of articulating issues that a judge might actually use to decide an issue. They're more theatrical than reality, but not absurdly so. In general, I'd say they're A-. Most real-life arguments cover more than one argument as to why one side is right; my recollection is that L&O boils these down to single-issue arguments.
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  #52  
Old 11-30-2007, 08:46 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Quick Noob Q: Thoughts on Gerry Spence and Cochran, probably the two most famous lawyers of our generation?

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I've read Spence's book but have never met him nor seen him live. He seems new-agey but wildly charismatic to me, and has historically been highly effective. Cochran (and his partner Carl Douglas) were witnesses in arbitration across from me. I crossed Douglas, who is a lying sack IMO. I thought Cochran was also disingenuous, but he was also very smooth, very careful and very charismatic. In fact, I liked him personally even though I thought he did not testify honestly. I did not cross Cochran; one of my partners did.
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  #53  
Old 11-30-2007, 08:50 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Why do you think juries are so pro-prosecution in criminal cases? I've seen statistics that indicate conviction rates of 75%+ in some jurisdictions. Given how easy it is for prosecutors to get indictments, There should be a LOT more aquitals in our court system. It's very very difficult to prove that a person did something beyond a reasonable doubt. Especially given constitutional limitations and rules of evidence. Just looking at the design of the U.S. criminal justice system on paper, I would guess the conviction rate should be somewhere between 15-25%.

I think the two factors that contribute most to this phenomenon are the facts that sample of the population that serves on criminal juries is skewed towards excessively pro-government people, and the police/prosecution have exponentially more resources at their disposal than your average defendant.

Any thoughts on this?

Do you think there's a chance that this bug in the system can/will be fixed?

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I think this has much more to do with the fact that prosecutors are largely overwhelmed and thus only choose to prosecute cases they think they can win, and plea everything else. The one exception is, I think, high-publicity cases in which prosecutors might generate headlines.

I'm actually surprised that conviction rates aren't higher than 75%. I was on one criminal jury and there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that the guy was guilty. The prosecutor wasn't very good, but he sure did have an excess of evidence.
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  #54  
Old 11-30-2007, 08:55 PM
El Diablo El Diablo is offline
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Default Re: Ask Howard Treesong About Law or Lawyering

Howard,

How much does Joe Jamail rule?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIxmr...eature=related

(PS: The correct answer is "a lot")
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  #55  
Old 11-30-2007, 08:55 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Default Re: Ask Howard Treesong About Law or Lawyering

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this is very me specific, but im hoping you could answer anyways:

My brother is debating between law schools and has a full preacceptance scholarship offer from GWU. If he accepts the conditions is he has to go there. Im wondering 1) What can they do if he doesnt? And 2) It is that much more highly regarded than a canadian school like University of Toronto or Mcgill?

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If he wants to practice in the US, he'd better go to GWU. Very few firms of which I'm aware hire foreign nationals to work here in the US. If he goes to GWU (where my dad taught for several years late in his career), he had better finish high up in his class, top quarter to have a wide breadth of options on graduation. GWU is somewhere about 25th or so, although as a poster noted, is trying hard to move up.
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  #56  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:01 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Howard,

How did you come to make the transition from big firm to in-house? Was your new employer a former client? How does being an in-house lawyer compare to being a partner at a firm?

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I did not develop my own client base, and I thought my upward track was coming to an end. In my particular situation, the office expanded more rapidly in LA than it should have, and was thus vulnerable. I might have been able to survive long-term, but I was unhappy spending my time spinning wheels trying to generate new clients. My then-firm certainly represented my current company, although I personally did not. There were many close connections, though, and I have (and will continue to) hire my old firm.

I'd say that the range of issues I confront now is far wider, even though I had a pretty broad commercial practice. I have a much much much higher caseload, all but a few of which I do not dig into particularly deeply. In general, I'd say the current job is broader and somewhat shallower. I've given up the courtroom work and have gotten the ability to call the shots. It's an interesting trade; so far, so good.
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  #57  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:08 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Default Re: Ask Howard Treesong About Law or Lawyering

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HT,

Long time no talk, how the heck are ya??

1. If you're arrested or brought in for questioning for something you didn't do, how long before you should ask for your lawyer?

2. Same question, but you DID do it.

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On (2), immediately. Prosecutors cannot be trusted to be objective, and you must assume the worst. On (1), I would personally retain counsel immediately for any kind of felony. I would like to think that being up-front with prosecutors is the right move, but Nifong is a good counterexample to that: he simply didn't care that the lacrosse team just didn't commit any crimes. Dealing with that on your own is really tricky, so I'd only try dealing with it on my own if the downside were pretty minor.
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  #58  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:12 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Howard,

I'm a young attorney, just licensed, and your last job as a civil litigator is exactly what I want to be doing in 5-8 years.

In terms of preparing myself for that, would you say that a job in the DA's office, the City Attorney's office, or a small general practice civil firm would be best?

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Wow, that depends. I think I need to know more. There's great variation among each category, but I think I'd tend towards DA. The one downside of starting out that way is that you don't have the time and resources to litigate things slowly and carefully and find your way -- it's more slapdash, which can cause you to learn some bad habits. Small firm can be OK, but you have to find the right spot --quality in terms of care and thought and discipline really does matter.
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  #59  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:14 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Default Re: Ask Howard Treesong About Law or Lawyering

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Howard,

How much does Joe Jamail rule?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIxmr...eature=related

(PS: The correct answer is "a lot")

[/ QUOTE ]

Jamail is an arrogant jerk. He can be effective, but his conduct is out of line here and elsewhere. I've seen that video before. Had I been defending this witness, I'd terminate the deposition and certify it.

I do love the witness's line: "Are you threatening to fight?"
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  #60  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:16 PM
Howard Treesong Howard Treesong is offline
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Default Re: Ask Howard Treesong About Law or Lawyering

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What would you advise this guy to do? He ignored a jury summons and now has his own court date on misdemeanor charges.

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I'd advise him to retain counsel and stop ignoring jury summonses in the future. I'd also tell him to be sure and pay his taxes on time.
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