Question from the Grammar Policeman

by Ted McClure 6. January 2011 13:23

Which one of these is wrong (or at least different in meaning from the other three), and why?

(a) After Ramsauer took office as Transport Minister, he proscribed Denglish.

(b) After he took office as Transport Minister, Ramsauer proscribed Denglish.

(c) He proscribed Denglish after Ramsauer took office as Transport Minister.

(d) Ramsauer proscribed Denglish after he took office as Transport Minister.

For details, see http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2891.

PSL Adjunct Professor wins in the Arizona Supreme Court

by Ted McClure 2. December 2010 16:04

Mark House, Adjunct Professor of Law at Phoenix School of Law and a principal in Becker & House, PLLC in Scottsdale, has won a case in the Arizona Supreme Court: Estate of McGathy/Waldow et al. v. LaPorta, CV-10-0102-PR (Dec. 2, 2010). Professor House teaches Trusts and Estates most semesters. This case demonstrates why civil procedure is important even for probate attorneys!

Blogs Every Law Student Should Monitor

by Ted McClure 23. November 2010 13:09

If you are not monitoring the following blawgs, you are falling behind:

LAW.COM (start at http://www.law.com/jsp/law/rss.jsp)

JURIST - Paper Chase (http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/)

SCOTUSBLOG (start at http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/11/scotusblog-4-0-and-the-rss-feeds-feature/)

Except for Paper Chase (which is not terribly burdensome), each of these blawgs permits you to narrow your subscription to the news you need. There may be other sources you need to follow based on the courses you are taking and any research you are involved in (see http://www.blawg.com/ or http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/by_topic/), but every student needs to follow these three.

Ted McClure, Faculty Services Law Librarian

Just Be Quiet

by Ted McClure 2. November 2010 14:07

Picture source

Just Be Quiet

by Brian M. Hirsch

Brian M. Hirsch is a partner at Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C., in Reston, Virginia, and practices exclusively in the area of family law. He is past president of the Virginia State Bar Family Law Section and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is a Commissioner in Chancery as well as a Neutral Case Evaluator for the Fairfax County (Virginia) Circuit Court, evaluating and mediating divorce cases. He also serves as a guardian ad litem, representing children in custody, and abuse and neglect cases. Brian has authored several family law articles and lectures regularly at continuing legal education seminars.

This essay is part of Reflections, a collection of essays by and about Virginia lawyers that was solicited by Immediate Past President Jon D. Huddleston as part of his Virginia Is for Good Lawyers initiative.

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. ... So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.


The events of the Book of Job are all too familiar to divorce lawyers, whether or not we have ever read the story or believe that the events actually occurred. We see people living it every day. People who had genuinely wonderful lives by anyone’s yardstick—a spouse, kids, a great career, travel, a lavish home, maybe a beach house, and perhaps much more. Then they divorce and that great life begins to fade, and what remains is often just a flicker. They are devastated that their spouse betrayed them. They come home to a house empty of their children. Their career begins to suffer due to personal distractions and days spent with lawyers, therapists, real estate agents, and accountants. They are possibly at the lowest point of their once-great lives.

This is the context—the setting—for most divorce lawyers’ cases. Our training tells us to spring into action—to “win” custody battles, support hearings, and equitable distribution trials. Often we are successful, sometimes not. Even after all of our hard work and dedication, our clients are not what anyone would call happy. We try to tell them that things are looking up; that tomorrow’s going to be a better day; that everything’s going to be all right. But, you know what? The reality is that it’s not going to be for a long time, and it certainly won’t be like it was. We are only telling them this since it is hard for us to see them in such pain. We are only trying to make ourselves feel better.

I have always found this hard to deal with—working hard and still not having a happy client. I would chat away trying to cheer them up. Things became a little easier one day when I thought about the two simple things that Job’s companions did for him—they sat down with him, and they did not speak a word to him, “for they saw his grief was very great”. They didn’t try to fill the empty space with words of comfort, since Job was probably inconsolable at that point. They just sat quietly with him. So, I tried doing that. Not long periods of silence. Usually less than a minute, when the client started tearing up or was in obvious pain.

I discovered that it was a sign of respect for their pain, a way of saying I’m here. I’m not your best friend or your therapist, but I’m here. It may just be thirty or forty-five seconds, while they sit there staring out the window or down at their feet in shock or sadness, or with a tear streaming down their face. No platitudes or verbal hand patting that everything is going to be just fine. Especially not saying that you know how they must feel, because you really don’t. Each client's pain is unique, their own.

After the time lapses and the pain seems to abate, we go on. I continue to be their lawyer, and just their lawyer, but maybe just a little more connected.

Used with permission from author. ©2010 Brian M. Hirsch

Brian M. Hirsch, Just Be Quiet, VIRGINIA LAWYER, Oct. 2010, at 62.

Civil Procedure Current Awareness- Keep Up with the Latest!

by Ted McClure 15. September 2010 17:43

Trying to keep up with Civil Procedure? Puzzled by Twombly and Iqbal? Take a look at these great blawgs:

And for the best on Twombly and Iqbal,

Yes, this blog is about products liability. But it has the clearest discussions of the “new pleading”.

Here are two ejournals that you can get through SSRN - the Social Science Research Network:

  • Federal Courts & Jurisdiction eJournal
  • Litigation & Procedure eJournal (found under “Litigation, Procedure & Dispute Resolution eJournals”)

Lots of brand-new articles on civil procedure. To access these ejournals on SSRN, register for an account at http://ssrn.com. Use your @phoenixlaw.edu email address. For help, see the video at http://ssrn.com/update/general/ssrn_faq.html#subscrDemo. Once your account is set up, you will get an email with instructions for registration and subscribing to journals. The first time you go to your SSRN start page, it will ask you to enter your email address. Hit the "Submit" button, and your User ID and Password will be emailed to you in seconds. Input your ID and Password, and you are on your way.

You can also set up alerts on bepress (use “Courts”, “Jurisdiction”, and “Practice and Procedure”), Westlaw, and Lexis.

With all these goodies, you should be well out in front.

Ted McClure, Faculty Services Law Librarian

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