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July 31, 2006

Sensitive Litigation Moment No. 9: Proper Pro Se Appeals.

We don't know anything about the case. We have made no investigation. And we have made no secret of our preference for federal judges over the alternatives to them in the American judiciary system. Don't get us wrong. But this man, this Appellant, is in any event an artist. See this July 12, 2006 Notice of Appeal.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2006

Blawg Review #68: Blachman is Everywhere--More Power to Him.

Jeremy Blachman is out early with Blawg Review #68. His new, much-discussed and apparently funny-as-hell book Anonymous Lawyer makes me happy, and I haven't even read it yet. Here's an overachiever who's about to get rich and famous satirizing a class of overachievers--lawyers--who in real life are 10 times worse than the jokes about them. A happy thought. The ultimate. We stand in awe and envy. From what we've heard about the book, AL will do more to spotlight anti-client attitudes, lawyer-centric behavior and bad client service than WAC? will ever do. Thanks, Sir Jeremy. Fondly, J. Daniel Hull.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2006

SRO: "Stealing and Keeping BigLaw Clients".

That's a predatory title for a "how-to" marketing seminar. But while discussing that very course title with an influential blogger/thinker I spoke with on the phone this week (refreshing, because I wrongly never make time to do that), he said to me in effect: well, Dan, why not?

Certainly, two relatively recent developments in law practice--first, boutique firms formed by elite lawyers voluntarily leaving large firms and, second, reasonably-priced technological advances which made smaller firms more nimble and powerful--have changed legal markets. The large law firm (300+), an institution I am quite fond of in its saner incarnations, will always have its role. However, high-end clients are no longer forced to hire large firms to obtain top drawer lawyers, results and service. The contrary notion is a myth--a proven ruse.

GCs are now smarter and bolder. Smaller firms can and do land and serve top clients. At top rates, too. It's about service, not price. No point not getting rich just because you start a new, smaller and more client-centric firm. Keep your high rate; savor your lower overhead, if you can achieve one. You deserve it.

So a serious course on getting (okay, stealing) and keeping high-end clients (Fortune 500 companies and large Asian and European companies) might actually fly. But...I'm wrong a lot. Would that catch on? Are we ready? Any presenters out there? Hundreds might attend--but who would teach? Who can I get to speak? Who has experienced it, has credibility, is not afraid of the subject, can articulate it?

A new model is already here. Let's talk about it, and make it work. It's about time--and, hey folks, the time is right.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2006

Tune In.

Is the name of a really swishy bar in my old DC neighborhood but it's also what we at WAC? would like everyone to do this Saturday for an hour. Meet Howard and Robin with MBAs. Listen to mega-successful entrepreneurs The Baby (Neil Senturia) and The Babysitter (Barbara Bry) on San Diego's CA$H 1700 AM on Saturdays from 1-2 p.m Pacific time or on the CA$H web site. Or go to I'm There for You Baby and hear podcasts of the first 4 shows. Customer service ideas is a staple. Regular segments include: Billionaire Update, Trump Watch ("when is enough enough?"), the ongoing saga of the U.S. patent system, Crooks of the Week, and "I wish I had thought of that idea" Idea.

Posted by JD Hull at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2006

Emerging Markets: Vietnam as the Next China.

Is Vietnam the "next Asian miracle"? Asia Business Law has a great post inspired by Dan Harris's earlier and equally fine piece comparing Vietnam to China at his China Law Blog.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006

Keith Richards Watch: Pardons, Coconut Trees.

He'll be pardoned by Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for a 1975 reckless driving offense. And Richards is "begging" a Pirates of the Caribbean III director to fall Fiji-like out of a coconut tree in the movie but director Gore Verbinski is worried. He thinks Richards should not even climb up pirate ship steps--which might be best accomplished with a stunt double. According to Virgin.net news, Verbinski said: "For a guy who falls out of coconut trees, those steps could be a problem."

Posted by JD Hull at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2006

Sane American Employer Sought By 157 Mega-Productive Lawyers.

WAC? does not, generally speaking, love either American lawyers or the U.S. federal estate (or "death") tax. Neither institution encourages productivity, is efficient, has high standards or is "customer-service" oriented. However, as to lawyers, there are always exceptions. And everyone loves productive lawyering. According to a New York Times article by David Cay Johnston, in what may be the Bush Administration's "back-door" play to emasculate enforcement and collection of the death tax in lieu of an outright repeal, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is cutting 157 out of its 345 estate tax lawyers in the next 2 months.

Forget for a moment about how you feel about the death tax and consider this amazing fact. The NYT article says that "for each hour they [IRS estate tax lawyers] work, they find an average of $2,200 of taxes owed to the government" (emphasis ours). WAC?'s advice is (1) show the article to associate lawyers to inspire new efficiency techniques and (2) if you do tax work at your shop, find out who these 157 people are--and hire them.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

Coming of Age: Legal Blogs as a "Vast Amicus Brief".

See this particularly insightful and--if you think about it, exciting--Howard Bashman special to Law.com.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

Blawg Review #67 - Rules of reason and much more.

David Fischer and his colleagues at Antitrust Review have covered last week's better posts in Blawg Review #67. There's a nice balance here of everything from Denise Howell, Alison Margolin's wonderful YouTube performance and golfers on drugs to Ted Stevens, Presidential cursing and even BAR/BRI, which may owe quite a few of us money under the antitrust laws.

Posted by JD Hull at 06:48 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2006

Real Americans Read Blogs.

Fifty-seven million of us, at any rate. From Kevin O'Keefe's respected site Real Lawyers Have Blogs, here's "39% of Americans reading blogs" based on a BusinessWeek online article commenting on a Pew Foundation study. As Kevin notes, "[t]hat ain't chopped liver for something 99% of folks never heard of a couple years ago."

Posted by JD Hull at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)


An unusual, interesting and inspiring post by Blawg Review has made me re-think my career, fall in love, get inexplicably hungry. It's a post about the fearless young criminal LA defense attorney Allison Margolin. And in her video do we get a few quick glimpses of the 1936 anti-drug film turned-cult classic Reefer Madness?

Posted by JD Hull at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2006

Sensitive Litigation Moment No. 3: "Declarations" as Substitutes for Affidavits.

In 1976 Congress passed a barely-noticed housekeeping addition to Title 28, the part of the U.S. Code that deals with federal courts. Among other things, 28 USC section 1746 allows a federal court affiant or witness to prepare and execute a "declaration" rather than an affidavit--and do that without appearing before a notary. Under section 1746, a "declaration" has the same force and effect of a "regular" notarized affidavit.

Many lawyers who practice in federal courts don't know about the existence of section 1746. I wouldn't have known about it either--a DOJ lawyer clued me in about it years ago. But an un-notarized declaration with the simple oath required by section 1746 can be used any time you need an affidavit, e.g., an affidavit supporting (or opposing) a summary judgment motion. A useful and convenient rule, which makes you feel like part of a special cult when you use it. Federal judges understand and accept it. It saves witnesses and lawyers the time, cost and aggravation of getting client statements notarized. Notaries, however, don't talk about the provision much.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

"Name's Brad, I'm a Lawyer--Buy You a Drink?"

Most of this week I'm in Pittsburgh, City of Bridges, and for reasons I could never quite fathom a town of remarkably litigious steel-driving women and men. Here the news has been that a local male lawyer sued the "Don't Date Him Girl" site. I remembered that a couple of weeks ago Craig Williams of May It Please The Court covered and entitled it nicely. His post was "Craziness On The Internet, And Other Things You Probably Didn't Want To Know". It's a fine write-up. And whatever happened here, all this is: (1) crazy, (2) interesting, (3) forward-thinking, (4) inspiring, (5) funny (sort of), and (6) truly frightening for roues, cads and recovering cads of both sexes.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2006

Looking Southward: The Netherland Antilles

Surrounded much of the time by corporate tax people, I'm on the lookout for tax blawgs in US and abroad. And here's an active one that has interested me for a while. Karel's Legal Blog is published by Karel Frielink, a corporate tax and transactional lawyer in the Netherland Antilles, previously known as the West Indies, in the Caribbean. I haven't met Karel in person yet--but I'd like to. Educated in Amsterdam, Karel (a guy, by the way) is also an experienced litigator with the firm of Spigthoff Attorneys & Tax Advisers in Curacao, the main island in the Antilles. Karel's most recent post is old and new corporate tax regimes in the Antilles. His blog is in Dutch, Chinese, Japanese and English.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2006

A Short But Happy Carnival of Client Service.

There is no shortage of posts these days about the truly cross-cultural challenges of better client service. We start with better client service thinking. Allison Shields at Legal Ease Blog had "Why Lawyers Are Bad at Client Service" and "Are You Really Losing Clients?", inspired by the Michelle Golden post "Lost Clients? 'Reasons' are Symptoms, Not Cause" ....and lawyer-consultant-Chief Thinking Officer Matt Homan at the [non] billable hour is not only full of ideas and good writing but as usual reaches for ideas from other sources in "May I Help You With Anything Else?", "Top Things They Never Taught Me" and "When Creativity Takes a Holiday".

Posted by JD Hull at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2006

More International Weblogs Coming In Blawg Review #66

Blawg Review's global expansion of the digital conversation continues. And in a big way. The first non-US host of Blawg Review ever, David Jacobson, an Australian commercial lawyer and consultant, will be hosting Blawg Review #66, which springs forth on Monday, July 17. David will be posting from his site at External Insights in Brisbane, one of Australia's three biggest cities, in the southeast corner of the state of Queensland. Brisbane itself hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport gathering held every four years.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2006

Once Again: Jim Calloway On Client Expectations.

From Jim Calloway's well-regarded Law Practice Tips Blog, here is the June 20 post "What Creates Client Satisfaction? Meeting Expectations". Two excerpts:

Readers of this blog are seeking law practice tips. Well, here's a huge one. Schedule a meeting with your staff and discuss how you help your new clients have realistic expectations. With the guidance of the forms noted above, draft handouts that will be given out to every new client in your two largest areas of practice. Implement the policy and set a review date for six months from now.

Equally important [to predictions about client projects made by lawyers to their clients] are client expectations about how the attorney-client relationship will be managed. Modern technology allows us to be available to clients around the clock.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2006

On Blawg Review #65: "International Edition"

Here are five nice follow-ups on Blawg Review #65 which echo the "hey, let's all get un-insular" point we at WAC? were trying to make: "The Future of Law is International" by Asia Business Law, "There's a Whole World Out There" by Colin Samuels at Infamy or Praise, a clever piece of writing by Robert Ambrogi at Legal Blog Watch, "Blawg Review Salutes International Lawyers and the World Cup" by Boston's Diane Levin, and finally this one by Edge International principal Rob Millard at his fine and consistently interesting The Adventure of Strategy blog. Rob Millard is from and currently lives in South Africa, and we listed his The Adventure of Strategy blog is listed in the South Africa section of the WAC? directory to your left. Rob works, however, everywhere, and we're told he spends increasing amounts of time in North America.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2006

Born Lucky.

On July 12, 1986, around 1:30 AM EST, I had my last drink. By that, I mean my last Heineken, Jameson, wine, hooch or inebriant of any kind. Where this happened was a wonderfully depraved Irish bar my friends (cocky young litgators and news people, mainly) and I loved. It was midway between and my house on Capitol Hill and my job on Eye Street. Like all DC bars, it had fire-breathing trial lawyers, deal lawyers, politicians, journalists, students, professors, diplomats, and a novelist or two. But this was no "fern bar". It was whispered that the IRA raised money and ran guns through the place. It was common to see people in suits asleep on the floor. The waiters and waitresses had brogues from places like Tralee and Cork. The day bartenders were belligerent, and often drunk by noon. My kind of saloon. Perfect venue for the last drink: amazingly grace-less bar.

But there is nothing remarkable about why I quit. I had a great job, and was headed toward a partnership. My childhood had been lucky and fun. I could not have asked for more loving parents, siblings and friends. Nothing to drink about. I just liked it way too much. Born different, I guess. It isolated me, even with people around. That isolation, and knowing that drinking had somehow separated me from the rest of the universe, was enough. Sure, it's hard to quit. You may experience for the first time "exclusion"--even if it's self-imposed. You're in a minority. You feel left out. Yet lots of people, including adventuresome fire-breathing trial lawyers with one dash of the wrong DNA, do finally give up booze so they can tap into and use the gifts they have, and grow. Born different, maybe. Born lucky, too.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2006

Keith Richards Watch

MILAN, Italy - Along with age-old issues like how did the Universe begin, what is reality and is the refrigerator light always on, the question why Keith Richards is still alive is both a mystery and inspiration. This blog does not cover science or pharmacology. And Keith's not about Clients, Rule 37, the Clean Air Act or the global economy. But if you were born in the 1940s, 50s or 60s, he is somehow always important--baseline, yardstick, loudly ticking grandfather clock. If he's alive, then you must be, too. We find him okay after his April Fiji Tree Tumble and ready to play both music and Johnny Depp's dad in Pirates of the Caribbean III in "Richards Says He's Recovered From Fall" at MSNBC.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2006

Blawg Review # 65

We live in a world that never sleeps.

Most mornings, lawyers at my firm get e-mails from people in all manner of time zones: Hanjo in Bonn, Michael in London, Giulio in Rome, Paul in Cardiff, Angel in Madrid, Claudia in Pretoria, Ed in Beijing, Christian in Taipei, Greg in Sydney and finally Eric, a DC trial lawyer. Two or three times a year, I see Eric, a partner in an international litigation boutique of 35 lawyers. But I've never seen him in the US. Ever. In the eight years I've known him, Eric has had a plate full of international arbitrations. He could be anywhere when he e-mails--just probably not in this hemisphere. His client could be German with a claim against a Dutch company at a Brussels arbitration venue applying English or American law.

Lawyers sell services--and services are increasingly sold across international borders. In fact, services generally are becoming the new game. In 2004, services, sold alone or as support features to the sale of good and products, accounted for over 65% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the US, 50% of the United Kingdom's GDP and 90% of Hong Kong's. Our clients sell both goods and services. The growing "global economy", the expansion of the services sector, the Internet and the resulting ability to partner with people and entities all over the world permit our smallest clients to do business abroad. And lawyers in all jurisdictions can act for interests outside their borders. You, me, our clients and our partners are now international players. Every day we meet new ideas, new markets, new regulatory schemes, new traders and new customs. Our new world may not be exactly "flat" yet. But it's certainly become busier and smaller very quickly.

In Blawg Review #65, we'd like to introduce you to some people we've met. All of them are listed on the left-hand side of our site if you scroll down a bit on a directory we first published on our May 26 post The Legal World Outside America: Non-US Blawgs. The blogs on your left fall into 2 overall categories: (1) legal weblogs which originate outside of the United States and (2) blogs from all over which comment on international law generally, or on a particular subject matter, jurisdiction or region of the world. You can't meet all these people in one day. But here's a few:

Hail, Britannia!

Meet first Delia Venables, a well-known consultant in East Sussex, in the southeastern corner of England. "Delia central" is Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland. Our favorite is Blogs, News Feeds, Podcasts, Video Blogs and Wikis with UK and Irish Content. Delia also offers an Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. My friend Justin Patten at Human Law, subtitled "Law, Technology and People" combines, in a novel and interesting way, IP and Employment Law. This is an active, well-written and often provocative blog by a lawyer in Hertfordshire, just north of Greater London. Justin is one of the few non-American members of Law.com's Legal Blog Watch. See his recent post "How Interactive Do You Want to Go?", musing whether blogging lawyers can help create new terms, conditions and billing policies in the legal services market by using the blogosphere to assess and scrutinize them. And Nick Holmes's Binary Law, previously "What’s New on the UK Legal Web?", is consistently excellent and alert to new developments. See Nick's post "Sincere flattery or blatant affrontery?" on copy theft. For fun, charm and wit, also see Charon QC...the Blawg, who is the product of the imagination of Mike Semple Piggot.

Brits Who Love Tech. How can you not love a people who prize eccentricity, love poetry and words and still--judging from their number of Nobel Prize winners over the past 50 years--excel at science and technology? Meet Geeklawyer, an IP lawyer who once did R&D in the US for a company in the "evil American empire" and who blogs about IP, civil liberties, the UK legal system, and "angry liberal" things. He's got a motorcycle called The Terrible and Inexorable Wrath of God, a co-writer named "Ruthie" and--well, just go his site. Words fail me--but never Geeklawyer. A wonderful combination of the substantive and the absurd. See especially his and/or "Ruthie's" recent posts "Darling we're all working class now" or "You Cannot Fucking Swear in Dover". And TechnoLlama, published by Andres Guadamuz in Edinburgh, Scotland, will be blogging this week from Australia, where Andres is attending a conference on "Unlocking IP". Department of I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke--or a Pepsi--Whatever: British blogger Jeremy Phillips, who is popular on more than one continent, turns his eye toward Atlanta and weighs in on the Great Coke Heist in last week's last news at his IPKat-fishing for IP stories for YOU. His post is It's Not The Secret, Silly!


France, my second favorite country, and which in my view has more in common with the US than any other nation, had a bad day yesterday at the World Cup in Berlin at the hands of Italy. We'll start by going to straight to Ca’Paxatagore, with its permanent home-page and truly spectacular view of...the Grand Canal in Venice, of all places. So beautiful though that it's got to cheer anyone up. But blog-wise, the French have lots to be happy about other than the fact that all of the French blogs we've listed to your left are beautiful to look at even though you don't read French anymore. The French still have attitude, too. They wait patiently while we Yanks and Brits either learn or re-learn our French, which is still an official United Nations language. We, for our part, wait patiently while they translate more things into English. In the meantime, we must be happy with Droit en Enfer, with another great title page, and the quote:

God Bless Law

“Law is the ultimate backstage pass. There are more students in law schools than there are lawyers walking the Earth.”

– John Milton/Satan (L’Associé du Diable)


Three German Fulbright Scholarship alums in Hamburg, Berlin and Seattle publish the Atlantic Review, a press digest on trans-Atlantic affairs which won the 2006 award for the Best German Blog in the 2nd Annual European Weblogs Awards sponsored by none other than A Fistful of Euros. AR was founded in July 2003 out of a concern for the deterioration of the US-German relationship. Note the last two posts: German-American Relations on the Eve of President Bush's Visit and What? Germans Sing Nazi Anthem in World Cup Stadium?. There are other fine German blogs, many available in English. One favorite is Transblawg, by Margaret Marks, a British solicitor and translator who lives in Bavaria. Another is the German-American Law Journal, published by a consortium of mainly German lawyer-writers. See last month's post "Forum Shopping in Germany", which in discussing "Internet torts" likens the issue to the one faced by American courts. Nanotechnology Law, by Mohamad Mova Al 'Afghani, in Goettingen, assesses "legal implications of nanoscale technologies and the emerging molecular nanotechnology". Hey, no problem.


Bellissimo! Nice going in Berlin! Italy wins the World Cup: Italy Beats France for Title on Penalty Kicks. Enough said. Harvard publishes the Harvard International Review, which for its 100th post ever brings us Why the FIFA World Cup Is and Should Be a Big Deal. It begins:

In an increasingly integrated world with few platforms for international engagement other than war, trade, tourism and sterile political unions, it is understandable that the quadrennial FIFA World Cup has become a major avenue for countries to display their national pride, project their “national character” if there is such a thing, and to unify their diverse populations around a cause.

European Union

There are several sites, some listed on your left, which cover the European Union and European law and politics generally. The TransAtlantic Assembly covers an interesting mix of European and American international and constitutional law subjects, with an emphasis on the new European constitution. Recently TAA opined a little on "Election Year Politics, American Style", which is an interesting read. Also worth visiting is ECJBlog, by Allard Knook in the Netherlands, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Utrecht who covers the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.


We've tried to find Iraqi law sites--even American military justice or State Department ones. No luck. The University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Jurist Legal News and Research did post "Senior US Iraq general finds Marine commanders at fault in Haditha probe". And then there's Baghdad's Salam Pax, of The Daily Absurdity Report (previously, "Shut Up You Fat Whiner"). Salam Pax has had several blogs since 2002. See his "Democracy Day" post earlier this year on the anniversary of Iraq's first voting experience on January 31, 2005. See his latest post in early June. He says he's working on two video blogs, trying to blog about what's going on in Iraq these days. Excerpts:

A friend of mine, after seeing how desperate and frustrated I was getting trying to get someone to talk on camera, said that I should go to the Kadhimiya district. People will talk there he said. Right. I haven’t been there for ages and I had no reason to believe that it will be different there, but I was getting desperate. I decided to go there the day after a bomb exploded by a bus in that neighbourhood and killed 13 people.

In case you didn’t know Kadhimiya is a Shia district, I have a Sunni family name. The knot in my stomach was getting tighter the closer we got to the check point through which we get into the market area near the Kadhimiya Shrine. What if they ask me for my Iraqi ID? They had an explosion here yesterday and I have a Sunni family name? No this is not paranoia. I have the wrong name and I need to get myself a new forged ID with a Shia name. Anyway, I was lucky they were happy with my NUJ card (the first time I was really happy I had it on me, I usually fear that if people see it they think I’m a foreign journalist).

Once inside I had the biggest eye opener. I saw the future of Iraq, or at least Baghdad. Inside the barricade and past the checkpoint was a piece of the old Baghdad. Shops full of people, all relaxed and smiling. Everybody wants to talk and tell me how their lives are and I even got invited to have tea and accepted the invitation without thinking that this man saw my camera and he is just delaying me until the kidnappers arrive.

Just for fun, try e-mailing Salam Pax like we did and see if afterwards you get funny little clicks on your phone every time you talk to your Mom in Cincinnati.


Visit Seattle-based Dan Harris's China Law Blog--China Law for Business. Just do it. Dan's already an old China hand--and no one does a better job of day-in day-out reporting and commenting about business, government and culture in this incredibly powerful, important and exceedingly complex part of the world. And see Rich Kuslan's Asia Business Intelligence. The focus here is on China, but Rich covers most of Asia. For an interesting primer on multi-cultural manners and a clue why you need real experts in Asia, see Rich's post Sino-British Joint-Venture Dissolved for Rudeness? Similarly, Asia Business Law, based in San Francisco, is another fine resource, which featured on July 4 the post North Korea Intentionally Provokes USA While Iran is Waiting in the Wings--What is China's Role? and a follow-up on July 6 Prognosticating About The North Korean Missile Situation. For some time now, this blog has linked to another fine resource, Chinese Law Prof Blog, edited by GW Law professor Donald Clarke.


We can find just one, Singapore Law Blog, but it's very nicely done. Frequent and to-the-point coverage of legal news and developments in this very old center of trade. Note the recent posts on a free trade agreement with Korea and proposed rules addressing lawyers who defraud clients.

Australia and New Zealand

Next week's Blawg Review host, David Jacobson, is an experienced Australian commercial lawyer who founded Jacobson Consulting. David now publishes David Jacobson's External Insights, which focuses on helping businesses plan and develop policies and tackle complex projects, with a special emphasis on dealing with the ever-expanding maze of government regulations with which all businesses in developed nations must deal. This is a first-rate site from a broad-gauged lawyer. He writes on everything from customer service subjects to the risk of bad publicity in litigation and venture capital models. Oikos, by David Jeffreys, an environmental lawyer, is a blog about ecology, environmental law and related economic issues. If you are interested in fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and in the global warming "hoax", do see Climate Change Litigation in Australia. On client service and relations, Liz Harris has a new blog called Allocatur. In "Are You Defaming Your Client?", she points out that's it's bad enough to have an adversary relationship with your client--and even worse when that comes out in litigation during e-discovery. Finally, Wellington, New Zealand's Geoff Sharp has a blog you'll just have to experience yourself. It's called mediator blah..blah. Great graphics, too. See Geoff's post last month "Meet the Fockers".


One of the most comprehensive resources for client service ideas and education anywhere in the world can be found at the Canadian Bar Association’s CBA Practice Link. And American-lawyer bloggers are familiar with Gerry Riskin's well-known Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices and Toronto-based technology lawyer Rob Hyndman technology. Rob has a terrific recent post entitled Now Bloggers Really Can Be Journalists. Academic blogging is also strong in Canada, too. The University of Toronto Law Faculty Blog is an active and often provocative one. Recently, three UT professors wrote three different commentaries in three different newspapers on a recent Canadian "spousal misconduct" decision you can pick up on here. And Canadian lawyers are batting around the same issues which occupy American legal debate--see "Too Much 'Truthiness' in Judicial Activism Debate". Blawg Review's precocious editors also have introduced us to Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, who focuses almost entirely on IT privacy issues, such as monitoring by ISPs of customer communications. There are quite a few substantive specialty blogs, for example, Michael Fitzgibbon's Thoughts From a Management Lawyer, David Fraser's Canadian Privacy Law Blog, Simon Fodden's popular Slaw, "a co-operative weblog about Canadian legal research and IT" and Christine Mingie's interesting Gaming Law International, a subject which has received increasing coverage at International Bar Association meetings over the past three years.

Other Resources: International Law, Economics and Policy

The American Society of International Law has publishes the "ERG", known formally as the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law. Around since 1997, ASIL's "ERG" is a fabulous site which escaped us--thanks to the Blawg Review editors for pointing it out.

United States

Independence Day in the US last week prompted the usual range of commentary from patriotic to highly critical of American policies here and abroad. On balance, we are happy with and therefore reprise here last year's highly respected July 4th Jeffersonian Blawg Review (#13), by the Editor of Blawg Review. This year, on July 5th, ex-Enron chief Ken Lay died. No shortage of commentary here either, but some of the best was in Peter Lattman's WSJ Law Blog in Lay's Death: Questions and Answers and a later collection of reactions to Lay's demise and its effect on Enron litigation. Another very fine and thoughtful post belonged to Tom Kirkendall at Houston's Clear Thinkers entitled Ken Lay and the Enron Myth. Peter Henning, at his well-respected White Collar Crime Prof Blog, explained the quite-dispositive legal effect of Lay's passing on the criminal proceedings against him in Ken Lay Dies of a Heart Attack, also referred to in Lattman's posts. Larry Ribstein, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, at Ideoblog, prompted a stir by treating Lay insightfully but somewhat sympathetically, as reflected here and here. Do crimes in the "foolish" category really support, in Lay's case, a life sentence in prison? Dave Hoffman at Concurring Opinions came to Ribstein's defense in The Academic Business Judgment Rule. And last week another interesting "event" occurred--it went unnoticed by nearly everyone but the Secrecy News from the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the US statute presumptively requiring release of public record to petitioning citizens, turned 40 on July 4. FOIA is still about as "American" as a statute can get--and it has been replicated by nations all over the globe since Lyndon Johnson signed it into law on July 4, 1966.

"International" Lawyers? Say what?

What's an international lawyer, anyway? A lawyer who knows certain aspects of international law? Or a lawyer, as one joke used to go, "who is just an international kind of person"? Well, maybe both definitions apply these days. It's changing. In America, there's still a longstanding, relatively small, elite and irreplaceable bar of "real" international lawyers. These are your partners down the hall who represent domestic and foreign interests before several US agencies and forums responsible for tariff, trade and customs laws: the Department of Commerce, the International Trade Commission, the Trade Representative's Office, the Court of International Trade, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Customs Service. You may hear them talking about antidumping and countervailing duty law, export controls and unfair trade practices. Another segment of this group does complex transactions involving treaties and laws of jurisdictions abroad. Some have always worked abroad. Others somehow mix diplomacy and business. More recently, many lobby before and/or litigate against foreign governments, and some do commercial arbitrations. Todd Weiler, historically one of the real deals, asks "Am I Still An International Trade Lawyer?" one week ago in International Law and Economic Policy Blog. Excerpt: "I run in two circles: (1) historically and academically, I know a lot of trade law types (trade remedy lawyers, WTO scholars and enthusiasts, etc.); but (2) currently I spend my time with international commercial arbitration lawyers." Todd, to answer your question, your hybrid status in the future may be the rule.

Final Notes and Blawg Review #66.

We hope Blawg Review #65 was interesting--or at least gave you an idea or two. In recent years, "international law" has become a fluid concept that changes even as we were writing this. There are lots of ways to learn more. For starters, the London-based International Bar Association's annual meeting this year will be held 17-22 September 2006 in Chicago, USA. Details are here.

At this blog, we'd like to help "expand the digital conversation" afforded by the blogosphere and keep it full, fresh, inclusive, useful and reflective of our new world. Right now, though, the conversation remains lopsided. Not enough people in the conversation. What About Clients? would love to hear about legal or "international" (you decide) weblogs you can recommend in any language from or about Latin American, eastern European, Africa and Mideastern jurisdictions, and Russia. And we claim no turf here. So start including your own favorite non-US blawgs or blogs about non-US subjects on your blogrolls. Spread the word a little.

With that important request, we conclude Blawg Review #65. We thank the editors of Blawg Review and the creative if mysterious anonymous Editor 'n' Chef for asking us to do this, even if at the last minute. It was an honor. All errors or omissions are due to this hosting blog alone. If you have a site or post you recommend, e-mail us at jdhull@hullmcguire.com and we'll attend to it as quickly as we can.

Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

July 07, 2006

Tom Kane's Top Ten Client Getters and Keepers.

American client-centric blogs seem to be on a big roll. At his The Legal Marketing Blog, Tom Kane reprises his Top Ten Marketing Tips, with a link to each tip if you go to his post. These tips make way too much sense. Tom gets that doing a great job for clients and marketing work together--that, in fact, they are really part of the same thing. He starts with the existing client, the asset you already have, and builds on it. Note how (1) getting, (2) keeping and (3) servicing good clients are part of same seamless exercise:

10 – Be Active In Organizations
9 – Networking With Super-Connectors
8 – Take A Reporter To Lunch
7 – Write Articles of Interest
6 – Talk It Up With More Speaks
5 – Communicate Often
4 – Offer To Make Proposal
3 – Seek Client Feedback Often
2 – Entertain Your Client
1 – Visit Your Clients

Posted by JD Hull at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2006

Allison Shields: Real Client Service - Can You Teach It?

Here's a fine post on a favorite subject from one the best client-centric blogs out there. Lawyer-consultant Allison Shields at LegalEase wonders "Can Excellent Client Service Be Taught?" And the answer is yes. Notice especially the idea of developing in all staff and employees a "hospitality mentality"--Allison took this idea from a recent Inc. Magazine article--and where that mentality really starts.

Posted by JD Hull at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2006

Patriotism, Liberty and Learning.

Happy Birthday, America.

Yesterday my British friend Justin Patten at Human Law posted Britain falls out of love with America - Is this the death of the special relationship? I spent a good chunk of early 2003 through late 2004 in England, Wales, France, Germany and eastern Europe. I paid dues explaining and often defending the US decision to invade Iraq to European friends and business people who deeply cared about America and its role in the world. They thought America had gone nuts. I reminded them America's geographic isolation from the rest of the world, past successes, free-for-all mentality and unfortunate histories of violence and land acquisition were part of the reason. But Europeans seem to understand our history, traditions and culture much better than we understand theirs. Now, they are just as concerned and appalled as three years ago. The point is no longer Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, or Wherever. It's the fear that America has become so isolated, ignorant and dismissive of non-American cultures that we are now permanently out-to-lunch. It's no longer about US tourist run-ins with feisty French hotel clerks over room sizes or with London cabbies over fares to Heathrow. It's serious.

Americans are the new Romans. Looked-up to but feared. To be fair, ancient Rome made studied efforts to understand the new terrains and cultures in their path. We don't, and we don't care. We never have. Remember the JFK saying? "Liberty without learning is always in peril." Well, here's a better quote, from a dead-serious Hunter Thompson in 1972 during a different war: "This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it--that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesman with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms about killing anyone who tries to make us uncomfortable." You don't have to be a liberal, conservative, libertarian or even a-political American these days to find something true in those words. Everyone should be concerned. Our British, French, German and other friends abroad still love us. They just want us to snap out of it. They want Americans to understand and embrace the non-American world.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

Blawg Review #64

Blawg Review, which weekly samples the best of the previous week's legal weblog posts, is out. This week's Blawg Review #64 is published by Howard Bashman at his mega-popular, pioneering and always busy How Appealing, focusing on life after trial. It's right here.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2006

Can Real Client $ervice Make You a Billionaire?

Sure it can. If you live in or can somehow access the San Diego market on Sirius, tune into "I'm There For You, Baby" on CASH 1700 AM on Saturdays from 1-2 p.m., PST, with Neil "the Baby" Senturia and Barbara Bry. I've posted about my successful, serial overachieving friends Neil and Barbara before, here and here. The hour-long "Baby" radio show is about personal, professional and business excellence. The first show was yesterday, and Neil led it off with an hilarious but instructive segment on client service--how hard it is and why it's important--about how his now ex-fitness club lost several thousand Senturia-Bry dollars a year by making Neil and his family jump through stupid hoops to secure an extra membership card valued at $25.00.

Three great interviews by Neil (imagine if Howard Stern were an Ivy-educated B school prof) followed, including one with Alan Webber, the former Harvard Business Review editor who co-founded Fast Company Magazine. "Baby" will also have these regular segments: the Billionaire Update, Trump Watch ("When is enough enough?"), "the ongoing saga of the U.S. patent system", Crooks of the Week, and "I wish I had thought of that idea". CASH 1700 AM, owned by XEPE, features business talk. Most of its programming is carried by Connecticut-based radio network Business Talk Radio Network, but on weeknights from 7 p.m.-5 a.m, it airs CNN Headline News radio.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)