Welcome to the Blawg Review #243 from a sunny, snow-covered London.
Fighting Back: A Festive Meditation for Lawyers
The Physical Unverse tends towards chaos and dissolution …the Moral Universe towards injustice and despair ….the Legal Universe, for surely such a dimension does exist, towards obfuscation, misdirection and delay.
But there is a contrary principle.
…the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehends it not.
So let us declare this contrary principle that it may burn ever brighter and more unquenchable in the minds and hearts of all who practise the Law.
Let us, as lawyers, on the eve of the proximate festivities, at the threshold of another year, and as the destructive tide of the 2009 Recession begins to turn, celebrate and magnify all those amongst our number who, in the practice and profession of The Law, ….FIGHT BACK!
For should not the steely and dogged courage and determination to fight back, often in the face of overwhelming odds, often in total default of resource and often when the very capacity to fight has itself been exhausted, be the distinguishing hallmark of our profession?
The case is bad. The facts are poor. The evidence is not there. It seems a forlorn endeavour. It seems a hopeless cause.
No matter. We will fight. We will fight back. We are fighters to the core. We have no choice. We must oppose to overcome. We will keep alive the intermittment spark of hope. Whatever the cost. However long and hard the fight may be.
As @London_Law_Firm, I am known to figure the epigrammatic inspiration of Winston Churchill in my sporadic tweetings. I make no apology for this.
I would tweet Churchill anyway …because he fought back. Big Time.
He fought back when all hope was already extinct; when the British Parliament had already been bombed to rubble; when defeat and death had already taken up residence in men’s hearts; when there was no rational basis upon which the fight should continue.
When he was an old man ….still he fought back.
The legal blogosphere fairly rings with fighting spirit this week.
Ilya Shapiro, illustrious and ambitious champion of Individual Liberty, Free Markets and Peace, fights back this week against the constitutional dangers of vague laws arguing nobly and persuasively in the context of a Supreme Court review of ‘honest services fraud’ charges against Enron CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, that due process requirements of fair warning and definiteness apply equally in the contexts of white collar business crimes, business torts, and civil regulations. Tim Lynch also takes up the legal cudgels against the dangerous trend of overcriminalization in US federal law. Keep fighting, brothers.
John A Flood fights back characteristically with humour against the fact that all UK lawyers will soon be required by the Legal Services Act 2007 to be Superman (“Here’s my card, sweetie. I also happen to do a bit of lawyering on the side”). Now, in very truth, all UK lawyers must fight like super-heroes as the UK market for legal services undergoes virtually total deregulation. We say, ‘Bring it on’!
For another great example of a lawyer who is fighting back heroically against the devastating forces of natural disaster and political conflict, look no further than my twitterfriend, Thomas P Valenti, Member of the Board of Mediators Beyond Borders, fighting back undaunted against the consequences of Hurricane Katrina, Climate Change and the political tensions in the Middle East. Thomas it is a privilege to know you.
Brian Inkster is another lawyer who is fighting back, in true Churchillian spirit, this time against homelessness in Argentina….and not just by raising a phenomenal amount of money for the Habitat For Humanity cause. He actually carved time out from his busy and successful law practice in Scotland to go to Argentina himself and get building with his own bare hands, complete with hard hat and impressive boots that he broke in by wearing them to the office before he went. You can read the whole story of the fight from the links on yesterday’s Argentina compendium blog-post. To The Noble Inkster (aka ‘Lord of the Dance’), we say …..
…keep on dancing, brother!
No legal blog on the subject of ‘fighting back’ could hope to be complete without inclusion of the UK Legal Blogmeister himself, CharonQC who copiously and continuosly wrestles with all manner of subjects, some of whom are known to be perfectly law-abiding citizens. Most recently, he continues his trenchant commentary on ‘Trafigura‘ who have, ironically, extracted £25,000 from the BBC, for apparently straying wide of the mark on the subject of causation, a topic generally best left to lawyers. His most excellent podcast on Trafigura filled an otherwise futile 20 minute wait at the Bluewater checkouts recently whilst my eldest son attempted the purchase of exactly the right kind of hot water bottle.
Charon has recently taken up the fight against the pretentiousness of the contemporary art scene…a battle from which he has alreay emerged the victor with his revolutionary new concept, F**Kart ……Another Rioja? ….A la tienne!
‘Snow White Snorts Snow’ – Charondigliani
From the sublime to the subject of re-insurance and a particularly interesting blog by Philip J Loree Jr of Loree & Loree who is fighting back to ensure that the limits of arbitral power are kept within proper bounds. Fight on, brother.
Fighting back with both tactics and strategy is that mighty martial foe and quick-witted twitterer The Trial Warrior whose highlighting this week of some state-of-the-art (of War) thinking on forum and jurisdictional issues typifies his declared belief that: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” (Sun Tzu). Antonin I Pribetic has turned ‘fighting back’ into a noble art form of which he himself is a supreme embodiment. Fight on, oh quick-witted One!
The Efficiency Coach fights back this week against poor delegation skills in law firms . Quite right, Heather. Quite right! Fight on!
Fighting back is a mind-set whether you are One Minute Lawyer fighting back against the routine shackling of young offenders, Criminal Defense Lawyer fighting the 14,000 illegal US consumer scams or Lemon Law Court fighting against, well ….lemons.
Maternal generosity does not normally provoke a major legal battle unless, of course, the mother is, Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oreal fortune and one of the richest woman in the world and the generosity involves gifts totalling over a billion dollars. Andrew Mayoras in The Probate Lawyer Blog records the permission granted to Bettencourt’s daughter by a French Court to press criminal charges against the recipient of such lavish generosity and also to subject her mother to a medical examination on the assumption, presumably, that she must be deranged. It will be interesting to see how effectively the donor fights back in defence of her generosity. Nowhere is the ability to get up and fight back more necessary than in the growing field of UK contested probate work.
Illinois law firm, Levin & Perconti record the legal fight of Linda Kaiser that resulted in the product recall of 50 million roller blinds and window shades after the tragic death by strangulation of her baby daughter in 2002. She thought it was just an accident until she discovered many similar tragedies. She could not but fight back and she did.
The recent fight back in Brent, North London by a Jewish family against the attempt by the Jewish Free School to exclude their 12 year old son on the grounds that his mother had converted to the Jewish faith at a ceremony conducted at a progressive synagogue is highlighted by Law Less Ordinary along with the Supreme Court’s exhortation that all UK faith schools must now operate strictly non-discriminatory policies.
Some fights are eternal.This week @Clarinette02 fights back against Google’s apparently increasing disregard for the principle of personal privacy. With tenacity and gentle irony, she debunks the arrogance of the “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” argument. We don’t have doors and curtains to preserve our shame, but to retain some vestige of privacy. Google’s pre-eminent position as garnerer of our virtual lives is ever open to hackers, over-zealous government investigators and simple accident whatever the policy of Google may be…and that policy seems to remain frighteningly ambiguous. (..Have you found this blog yet, Googlebot?). Fight on, Tara, fight on!
This week, The AM LAW Daily fights back against a seasonal menace. A flying champagne cork travels at 60 mph. Tipsy lawyers are unlikely to blink in time. Here you will find advice about how to defeat Seasonal Champagne Cork Blues.
Neil Worral, guest blogging this week on The Barrister Blog fights back against the ‘conkers-in-goggles’ ‘elf ‘n safety gorn mad brigade. On balance, he says, over-regulation in the filed of health and safety is not prevalent.
Jonathan Mitchell QC fights back against holiday boredom with a 12 question legal quizz (Question 12: Which court sustained the refusal of a bank to replace a banknote allegedly eaten by the claimant’s cat?). There is a bottle of claret in it for the winner but wrap up warm ….because it is snowing on this site.
@ABeautifulMind1 is not just a beautiful mind. Although not yet sporting a blog (it will be a good read when she does!), she deserves a very special mention as a lawyer who has been fighting back in difficult circumstances and with admirable tenacity against a major UK bank. The bank will lose, of course. Her tenacity has recently yielded good news indeed. Follow her and learn.
Stephanie West Allen (Idealawg) is fighting back this week against the lack of creativity amongst lawyers. For reasons that we must presume are purely professional, she wants us all to dress up as fire-fighters. Result! Now our clients will be able to swoon when they first meet us and not wait until they get the bill. The idea is clearly catching on in London where I have just today seen a fire engine being driven by a team of perruqu’d barristers who are obviously celebrating creatively at the news that they can now be marked up and charged out at a profit and even take their own court bookings online.
Rees Morrison fights back this week against too much information-gathering and not enough intuitive thinking in law departments. This must be right, I feel.
Sam Hasler fights back against the incipient danger of The Stray Text Message.
China Law Blog fights back against ineffective food safety regulations in China in spite of a new Food Safety Commission and Richard Goldfarb on Food Liability Blog fights back against ‘bagel-related injuries’ and, the more prevalent, ‘chicken-related injuries’.
So should we celebrate all lawyers who fight back, in matters great and small, personal and professional. It is an art. We should cherish it.
Lawyers are marginal victors over a wet Sunday in London but in the perennial fight between lawyers and a night in with a good book, the solitary night in with a good book wins the contest convincingly.
We should not be too upset about this.
In a world defined by conflict and struggle, we must choose our battles well.
May God bless and sustain all those who fight back, on every level, and in every walk of life, against confusion, evil, injustice, lack, stupidity, oppression and the arbitrary exercise of power and let us, as 2009 draws to a close, recognise and celebrate our own role in that struggle.
Lawyers who fight back will triumph over oppression and injustice. Let us be in no doubt about this.
May I take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and joy-filled winter respite and a prosperous and sucessful 2010.
Thank you for allowing me to host this Blawg Review.
Blawgreview has information about next week’s host and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Author: Chris Sherliker