Monthly Archives: May 2010

From Positivity Blog: 7 of My Favorite Timeless Tips from the Last 2500 Years

These 7 tips describe very practical approaches and attitudes for life challenges. The quoted tip below reminds me of the Supreme Court, and all the confirmation-process talky-talk where Justices are described with labels like “activists” (bad label) or “umpires” (good label). Behind all the labels and analogies, as well as behind the intellectual rationalizations of complex legal decisions, there are concrete benchmarks– actions by the Justices– that are much more predictable and telling than what is said about and by the Justices. Is a Justice an “umpire,” as described, or do the Justice’s actions on occasion reflect idealism and contradict the umpire ideal? Not to pick on Justices. This is something we all struggle with, to make sure our actions constantly back up our stated intentions.

1. Andrew Carnegie on paying attention to the more important things.

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

I have to agree, I pay less and less attention to what people say. Because in the end, what someone does is the most important thing. Talking is easy, but walking your talk is harder. And walking it consistently even though you fall, slip back into old habits and make mistakes is a huge part of success.

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7 of My Favorite Timeless Tips from the Last 2500 Years

These 7 tips describe very practical approaches and attitudes for life challenges. The quoted tip below reminds me of the Supreme Court, and all the confirmation-process talky-talk where Justices are described with labels like “activists” (bad label) or “umpires” (good label). Behind all the labels and analogies, as well as behind the intellectual rationalizations of complex legal decisions, there are concrete benchmarks– actions by the Justices– that are much more predictable and telling than what is said about and by the Justices. Is a Justice an “umpire,” as described, or do the Justice’s actions on occasion reflect idealism and contradict the umpire ideal? Not to pick on Justices. This is something we all struggle with, to make sure our actions constantly back up our stated ideals.

1. Andrew Carnegie on paying attention to the more important things.

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

I have to agree, I pay less and less attention to what people say. Because in the end, what someone does is the most important thing. Talking is easy, but walking your talk is harder. And walking it consistently even though you fall, slip back into old habits and make mistakes is a huge part of success.

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Lipsen/Roll Call Article re Importance of Civil Justice System and Trial Lawyers

Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, wrote at RollCall.com about the importance of trial lawyers as the last resource (and often, the only resource) to address corporate misconduct.

Reading this article made me think, as I often do, of a thought experiment.

Here it goes– think about your answers to the following questions:

(1) How many individuals, yourself and/or others, do you know of who filed a lawsuit against a corporation?

[I bet your answer is very few].

(2) How many of those individuals were found by the legal system to have a frivolous claim?

[I bet your answer is zero].

(3) How many individuals do you know who in effect “won the lottery” and walked away with a big payday as a result of their lawsuit? (This being individuals you KNOW FIRSTHAND won what you think– people routinely gossip, second hand about individuals supposedly winning far, far more than actually occurred).

[I bet your answer is zero, or very few].

(4) How many individuals do you know of who have lost $500 or more as a result of a corporation’s careless or intentional conduct?

[I bet your answer is far more people than your answers to 1-3 combined].

Ms. Lipsen writes:

It has been a daily occurrence to see the news dominated by the latest example of corporate misconduct. Each saga follows the same pattern: Tragedy occurs, followed by apologies tempered by denials and claims of innocence, and evidence that profits were knowingly put ahead of the safety and well-being of the American people.

At the same time, we have also seen how federal agencies lack the resources to adequately protect and safeguard the American people. Regulation is difficult when corporations brag about the millions of dollars saved by limiting their recalls or ignoring industry guidelines in spite of consumer safety.

Ultimately, Americans simply want safe products, fewer preventable injuries and a restoration of checks and balances that give people a fair chance to obtain recourse — before a company’s rampant negligence secures its position in the hot seat. But only after tragic accidents do we closely analyze the agencies and systems that failed, and what must be corrected.

Every time we do so, there is only one institution that consistently protects consumers and holds wrongdoers accountable: America’s civil justice system.

[O]nce these [corporate] scandals fade away, it will be telling to see whether some lawmakers continue with their fixation on “tort reform” — or handing out immunity to the very same corporations responsible for injuring consumers in the first place. Because today, such calls are not only illogical and tone-deaf, but contrary to the interests of all Americans.

Corporations, or their hired guns at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have dedicated millions of dollars to demonize trial attorneys. Yet each corporate scandal and dangerous product show that when the first lines of defense fail to protect the safety of consumers, only the civil justice system can hold negligent corporations accountable and restore justice. At the end of the day, it’s trial attorneys — not the corporations that put profits ahead of safety — that speak for the interests of these families and consumers.

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State Bar Post, Video: Legal community responds to Justice O’Connor’s concerns about politicization of judicial elections

This State Bar video shows attorneys’ reactions to a talk by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor about problems with judicial elections and public perception of judicial integrity.

Justice O’Connor’s cause hits home, as Wisconsin’s more recent Supreme Court elections have generated controversy.

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New Blog (“On Point”) By the Wisconsin State Public Defender

The WI Public Defender has launched a new blog, which is described as follows:

The Wisconsin State Public Defender distills the latest decisions concerning criminal law and tracks issues pending before the United States and Wisconsin Supreme Courts. For the Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer, this is an indispensable source for news and analysis of cases “On Point.

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Bill Moyers: Chevron’s “Crude” Attempt to Suppress Free Speech

This article discusses the Chevron case, and the parties’ battle between two important principles: (1) journalists’ right to confidentiality for their sources/source info; versus (2) litigants’ right to access evidence that is important to their litigation.

The article also had an interesting quote about lawyers:

In a 1905 speech before the Harvard Ethical Society, Brandeis said, “Instead of holding a position of independence, between the wealthy and the people, prepared to curb the excesses of either, able lawyers have, to a large extent, allowed themselves to become adjuncts of great corporations and have neglected the obligation to use their powers for the protection of the people.

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Article About High Worker Productivity– Here for the Long Haul?

Interesting article that discusses an increase in U.S. workers’ productivity, but questions whether the gains are part of a short-term burnout that will actually hurt us over the long haul.

Tony Schwartz: The Productivity Myth

Consider this:

 The average American sleeps 6 ½ hours a night — and the costs include not just much higher rates of illness, but also significantly worse performance.

 A comprehensive study by Ernst & Young showed that the longer the vacation their employees took, the better they performed. Yet more than half of all Americans now fail to take all of their vacation days and 30 per cent of Americans use less than half their allotted vacation time.

 Working more than 50 hours a week has been correlated in a raft of studies with less sleep, less physical activity, higher job dissatisfaction and ultimately worse performance.

 In our own work in companies, we’ve consistently observed that the longer and more continuously people work, the less marginal return they get from each additional hour — and the more alienated and disengaged they become.

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