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Our Independence!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

I was looking across the history books and saw that July 4 is a date with a lot of activity. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published. OK, maybe that doesn’t qualify as history. July 4th is the date that France offered the Statue of Liberty!

I find it quite ironic that July 4, 1826, is the day that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died. History has recorded some great back-and-forth between those two.

Jefferson died on that date at age 83. The night before, he knew death was close and gathered his family around his bed and uttered, “I have done for my country, and for all mankind, all that I could do, and I now resign my soul without fear, to my God, my daughter, to my country”.

That night, he woke at 8pm and asked his doctor whether it was yet the fourth. His doctor replied, “it soon will be”. Jefferson obviously placed great importance on July 4th and lived until one-o’clock in the afternoon the next day. He had made it!

As to Adams, his last words were “independence forever” and then he exclaimed that, “Thomas Jefferson survives”. Adams had also made it to that date that was so important to him and referenced his political opponent… not knowing that Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier.

July 4 was important to them just as it is important to us. An acknowledgement of our independence.

This is my last blog until Monday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a special July 4th.

God bless America!

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The July 1 Laws

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

July 1st is the day that new laws  go into effect that were enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in this past session. Drivers can now legally cross over double yellow lines to pass pedestrians and bicyclists safely.

In the state of Virginia, farmers can now grow industrial hemp as part of a university research program. Do you think that means that college professors will research whether their students pay attention… while smoking “the ganga”?

Employers cannot ask employees or prospective employees for the username and passwords of their personal accounts.

Bicycles and mopeds are now included in the list of vehicles under the law that governs being ticketed for following a vehicle too closely.6

Here’s one that students should appreciate. Virginia is now reducing the number of standardized tests administered to elementary and middle schools students. There used to be 22 tests given. Now… 17.

And here’s one for the wild. Sunday is no longer a day of rest for wild birds and animals. That law is now repealed and Sunday hunting is now permitted. I guess that means that we need to get the word out to those birds and animals. Perhaps we should stand next to those signs that show where deer know to cross the road.

One last one that impacts the pocketbook. As of midnight, we are now paying 5 cents more per gallon on our gas. Doesn’t taxation feel special! Thanks Governor.

And for pic o’ day, here’s some Wednesday cat dancing:

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The Lawyer Costume

Monday, June 29th, 2015

A man looking through job listings came upon an ad for a job that was available down at the local zoo. He was told that because of funding cuts, the job required that he dress up in a monkey suit and perform in one of the cages.

All went well for several days until he was swinging from tree branch to branch and fell to the ground. He began to call out, “Help, Help!”. In the next cage over the Lion whispered, “Shut up… or we’ll both lose our jobs.”

Costumes are a funny thing. It’s someone hiding behind a disguise to be someone else. When I saw this first Ronald McDonald from 1933, I wondered why anyone would want to be this… or why McDonalds thought that this would be a fun mascot.

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I guess I probably am not a good judge of clown costumes. Not a big clown fan.  This is Willard Scott who supposedly invented Ronald McDonald. He went on to greater heights as the weatherman on The Today Show.

     Ronald  McDonald remains and I remain confused about it…  but I digress.

This brings me to the subject matter… and conclusion of the blog. A few years ago I heard a jury consultant say something about the practice of law that had a profound effect on how I now conduct myself in jury trials.

This consultant said to, “stop acting like a lawyer”. In the initial seminar speech, he basically was telling a group of lawyers to get rid of all the legalese talk and start talking like normal people talk.

Somewhere along the line, lawyers started using terms like whereas and wherefore. We started arguing why for is the word thereforetherefore!

Being real. Not putting on the costume of lawyer. Since that seminar talk, I have followed up with that speaker on some of our cases. I have read some of his books and been directed to other lawyers who speak the same language of being normal.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt left us with some good advice along the same lines.  Be sincere. Be brief. Be seated.

And for pic o’ day, I was going to post something on sincerity and then I saw this… on focus!

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What Makes a Good Lawyer?

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

This week during an interview of an applicant, I was asked, “what are you looking for in an attorney?”.

A few years ago I was asked by a  sales manager at a local TV station to speak to their salesforce. I was to talk on the topic of what we were looking for in a person who sold us TV advertising.

In preparation for my morning talk at their station, I asked the manager what he thought were the qualities of a good TV salesperson. He summarized by saying that his group was basically in two sections. Instead of saying the lazy and the workers, he classified them as order-takers and true sales people. As he put it, someone could just show up and take orders for commercials and they would earn a decent living. Those who really made money were the sales people. Those who were not satisfied just to take orders.

An old Chinese proverb says that One dog barks at something and a hundred bark at the sound of his bark. 

Several years ago, a renowned marksman was traveling through the U.S.  He stopped in a small town and saw evidence of amazing target shooting all over the town. On trees, on walls, on fences, and on barns he saw targets with a bullet hole in the exact center of the bull’s eye target.

The marksman determined to find the person responsible for such incredible shooting. When he found him he said, “this is the most incredible shooting that I have ever seen. How in the world did you do it?”. “Easy as pie”, replied the man. “I shot first and drew the circles afterward”.

As I continued interviewing potential candidates this past week for attorney positons, I thought about these various thoughts. What makes a good lawyer? Ultimately, it’s those who stop talking and instead start doing.

And for pic o’ day, here’s a South Carolina TV station who appparently thinks that math has become a problem.

 

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Friday in Law

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

As a practice, we saw three trial verdicts and hired two attorneys. Plus, I heard from intake that “It has been a busy week!”. All good things. Still, sometimes when you arrive at Friday, the weekend really looks attractive.  So, I thought that these two pictures capture it.

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And as I look at both of these pic o’s , I smile… and yawn. The power of suggestion.

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I hope that you have a great weekend!

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Sports and Winning the Case

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

I admit it. This is a random Thursday blog ride, but we conclude with believing in the right ending!

“When I hear somebody sigh life is hard, I am tempted to ask Compared to what?” Sydney Harris

Sometimes you just have to concede,  “How can you argue with that?”

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This is the new mascot of Scotland’s Partick Thistle soccer team. Again, how can you argue with that choice of a mascot… when you don’t know what it is? The announcement of the team simply indicated that this is Kingsley and he will be attending all game days.

It looks to me that someone in their marketing department just decided that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Pretty soon, this will be an acceptable mascot. For now, it will get a lot of headlines. This is the mascot, they say, and they just move forward.

This past weekend, it was well known that the golfers at the U.S. Open were complaining about the putting greens. One of the TV announcers recited an old quote from Arnold Palmer. He basically said that when he would walk into a golf locker room and hear golfers complaining about the course, he knew that he would beat them.

In the practice of law, sometimes a lawyer may find it real easy to see all the problems in their case. In fact, if you believed the defense, the case is not worth pursuing.

(The negative life of defense)

To some extent, I combine the thoughts of the mascot and the quote of Arnold Palmer. Sometimes, you just move forward. “Assess-adapt-overcome”. There’s only one reason that you know that you will win your case. You listen to your client… and you know.

For pic o’ day, I decided to stay with  sports and random news…

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Half of Everything

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Sometimes I receive a news article in my in-box that is “right-on-point” blog material. It even includes its own pic o’s for illustrations!  (that’s pictures for first time blog readers) So, here’s what I found.

From CNBC comes the story of a bad divorce. This man from Germany posted a video of how he decided to fairly give his wife one-half of everything they own. So, he decided to cut everything in half. Thankfully, there were no children!

First, their car:

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Then their joint cellphone:

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Then the couch:

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And the bike:

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And their bed:

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The landline home phone:

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Their laptop:

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And finally…. the teddy bear

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Church and Law Notebook

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

I benefit from always having my iPad with me except when I lose it. I guess that’s what Captain Obvious would say. I now have lost 2 iPads by the usual forgetfulness. I left one on top of my car roof and drove off. The other got mistakenly thrown out at a gas station. while on a trip (at least that’s how I think that I lost them)

I say that I benefit because I can always save or bookmark things quickly and come back to them for blog ideas. Sometimes, I realize that I have items that have been with me for a while. So, here’s from the “notebook”.

This  blog is basically a collection of things that you might classify as church humor or might hear as a joke from the pulpit. I know what you are thinking, “how is this in a legal blog?”. My reply, “if you classify it from the notebook… anything goes!”.

The church decided that it needed to call a meeting to vote on some church business. The deacons got into a heated discussion over buying a chandelier for the church. So, one man stood and formally made the motion by saying, “I move that we buy a chandelier for the church”. Then, a second man stood and seconded the motion.

     One of the members then stood to address the motion. He said the following, “I’d like to speak against this motion. First, no one knows how to spell it to even order it. Second, no one knows how to play it. Third and most importantly… what this church really needs is some lights.” Boom!

And here are the pic o’s…

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And this would be considered dating advice?

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I suppose she might answer something like, “That is quite a Revelation… and I guess that’s a signal for my Exodus”.

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Sideburns and Swimsuits

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

I can tell that summer is here. I wrote a Friday blog that I forgot to post and all weekend, our email was down. So, I am late posting the blog this morning. However…

It’s Monday and we are full steam into the steam! So, I thought I would give you some history… of the sideburn and the swimsuit. It reminded me (ok… google reminded me when I did a search) of Greek Philosopher Heraclitus who said that, “The only thing that is constant is change!”

Which leads me to our first historical part of the blog that combines a bit of war, leadership… and a horrible hairstyle look!

First we have Civil War General Ambrose Burnside. He coined the phrase sideburn. Wow!

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Which leads us to controversy in history. This is Annette Kellerman in 1907, who was arrested for indecency after showing up at the beach with this fitted one-piece bathing suit.

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Yes… laws have changed.

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The Riddle of Life

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Sometimes I like to start out the blog with something to test your thinking. So, here’s a riddle for you.

Dave and Carl were born the same day of the same month, of the same year. They were born to the same mother and the same father; yet, they are not twins. How is that possible? (Answer is below this blog’s pic o’ day)

Why do I start with a mental puzzle riddle? Because this is a blog about extending life. Whenever I read an article on extending life… it extends my attention span!

Gerontology is the study of aging. (Wikipedia). More specifically, researchers and doctors are studying the effects of social, psychological, cognitive and biological possibilities for extending our lifespan. It differs from Geriatrics because that is the study of the elderly and aging. Virginia Tech even has a Center for Gerontology.

Right now, researchers in this field are studying medications on animals. There are claims that some of these medications have truly extended the lives of rats by up to two years.

Millions and millions of dollars being spent to extend life, even for a little. Yet, if you were to ask a dying man how much he would pay for two more years of quality life, he would be unable to put a price tag of worth. Priceless!

Gerontologists have determined that length of life can be impacted by heredity, diet, weight, sleep and depression. It can also be impacted by trauma.

I suspect that you know where this blog is headed. So, let me put in the last piece of the puzzle.

We typically include a claim for pain or permanent injury against the graph of a person’s life expectancy. These charts utilize studies of an average life span; much like a car dealer uses the Blue Book for a fair market value of a car.

Usually, one of my closing comments at trial asks the jury to quantify the value of a permanent injury over the life expectancy of my client . Meanwhile, researchers are proving the point that extending  life has unlimited value.

I expect someday in the next few years, we will hear about drug companies seeking approval from the FDA for some kind of pill that should extend the quality  and years of life. Hopefully, this will also impact diseases that effect the mind and body.

The positive is that progress is being made. The converse to that is that a car crash can easily be shown to impact a life span just from long term pain. Many times, the real damage in a car crash that far exceeds medical bills.

One last thing. Here’s a shameless plug.  Tomorrow, we will be emailing and posting our June eBlast. I hope you will click on it and check it out. It has a picture of my mom and dad at a picnic, as well as a photo of my nieces in our new Joel Bieber sunglasses.

And for pic o’ day, a dog who will not be outdone by something small called the Grand Canyon!

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Our riddle answer: They are not twins because… they are part of triplets!!!!!

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