Preaching to the Choir

This bit of news from the legal world probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise:

Florida Bar President Ramon Abadin invited every male South Florida law firm managing partner to a speech he gave Wednesday about gender bias in the legal profession. Apparently just one showed up, the head of a small law firm.

“I’m highly disappointed there aren’t more positions of power here in the room,” he said. “I realize I’m preaching to the choir.”

Anger bubbled over in the sold-out room dominated by women in the Miami chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. The chapter hosted Abadin weeks after a Florida Bar survey of female attorneys found widespread sexism in the justice system, with 43 percent of women reporting personal experience with gender bias.

“I thought the number should be zero,” he said. “In my naive mind, maybe it would be 5 percent. But people privately tell me the number is actually higher.”

At least he knows now, so I guess that’s something. Continue reading


America’s First Female Lawyer

Saturday, May 23 was the birthday of Arabella Mansfield (1846-1911), who, in 1869, became the first female attorney in the United States.

Via National Women's History Museum / Facebook

Via National Women’s History Museum / Facebook

Via the National Women’s History Museum on Facebook:

In 1869 she became the first female lawyer in the United States. Mansfield passed the bar despite the fact that the test was only supposed to be administered to men at that time. She challenged the legality of the restriction in Iowa and won her appeal, making Iowa the first state to admit women to its bar.

(h/t Georgette)

From the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys: Continue reading


This Week in WTF, February 6, 2015

I have gotten very far behind on this particular blog series, so here is a quick roundup of what I meant to post over the past few months (part 2 of 3).

– I’m Not Sure What These Are For: Have you ever thought that your poop just didn’t quite sparkle enough? If that describes you, (1) please don’t ever speak to me, and (2) do not consume these Glitter Pills:

Via GlitterPills / Etsy

Via GlitterPills / Etsy

The Etsy page says it quite clearly: Continue reading


Why You Should Never Ask a Non-Practicing Lawyer for Legal Advice at a Party

192px-Stop_sign_plus_silhouette.svgI quit the active practice of law in 2011. While I still have a few cases I’m wrapping up, I last took on a client more than two years ago. This means that, although I still have an active law license, I do not want to help you with your legal matter.

I’m not trying to be rude. In fact, this is my hail Mary attempt at saying this as politely as possible: your lengthy recounting of your “simple” legal issue makes me want to break things on your head. That’s not really your fault. It probably has a lot to do with the way several years of family law broke my brain. The specific reasons why I left the active practice of law are mine alone, but suffice it to say that I do not want to give out legal advice in exchange for money, so I really don’t want to do it for free in a social setting.

Of course, I’m too polite to say any of this to your face, especially when you are pouring out the sordid details of your recent arrest/divorce/custody battle/business merger/naturalization petition. About the only caveat I’ve ever been able to make before the onslaught of personal details involves the fact that I have never practiced criminal defense, yet this never stops people from asking questions about how to handle their upcoming court appearance. Here’s a hint for anyone considering asking a lawyer they know for advice: the advice can always be summarized as “Hire a lawyer, then go to court when ordered to do so.”

It is possible that I will return to legal practice some day. Even then, of course, I will not want to answer your questions for free. So please leave your legal queries for actual law offices or hotlines. If you want to talk to me, the following non-exclusive list of topics will almost never fail to engage me in conversation:

  • Game of Thrones (the books or the TV show);
  • What the plots of the new Star Wars movies should be;
  • Why “ancient alien” theories are idiotic;
  • Obscure aspects of World War II;
  • Why most M. Night Shyamalan movies don’t actually have plot twists;
  • The world’s best key lime pie;
  • Improv;
  • Why Tom Waits’ music was better before Swordfishtrombones;
  • How to be an advocate for animal welfare while still eating bacon; or
  • What might have happened in the 10th season of Firefly, had it not been cancelled.

Thank you for your attention, and please piss off with your legal questions.

Photo credit: By Liftarn [Public domain, GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.


Today in Good Lawyering

A school shooter faced sentencing this week for a 2012 shooting in Chardon, Ohio. He received a life sentence. It probably did not help that he wore a t-shirt with the word “killer” written on the front in black marker. The point I want to make is the heroic effort apparently shown by his lawyer to keep the kid from further damaging his own case.

Going against the recommendation of his counsel, Lane addressed the courtroom before learning his fate. He smiled periodically and showed little remorse for his actions.

“F— all of you,” he said, before raising his middle finger at the victims’ families, according to the Plain Dealer. (Emphasis added)

One of the first lessons I learned as a lawyer was “You can’t save your clients from themselves.” I salute this kid’s lawyer for trying.

This kid probably has some pretty serious psychiatric issues, and I hope that they get addressed. I’m not holding my breath for that.

(h/t TEGS, Samuel Warde)