Ocassional rants on the justice system and dating by a female litigator
|Observations from inside and outside the courtroom.|
|I believe a marriage license, like a driver's license or a license to practice law, should have an expiration date. I think that every 7 years (or whatever duration your state legislature chooses) you should have to renew your license. Think about it: when the deadline approaches, couples start to panic, they start to worry that their better half might let the license lapse, and they start the courtship process all over again. The prospect of sole custody of the kids might be just the thing to inject new romance into an otherwise lackluster marriage.
And if both parties agree that they should renew the license? This is cause for celebration! You have a big party every seven years (this is in addition to the anniversary, gentlemen, not in the place of). You re-commit every seven years . But both parties have to be on board.
And if the license lapses? Say one party was in a coma, or out of the country for an extended business trip that turned into a business travesty, and the significant other returned to the states a pro forma divorcee. Not a big deal. You do have to get a new marriage certificate and a new marriage license. But it shows that you are actively and currently committed to the one you still love. Right?
And, like the milk in the fridge, if it gets to the expiration date and it goes bad, you throw it out and you move on.
|I learned something this morning that amused me to no end. The state of New Mexico is about to update its ethical rules for attorneys to officially prohibit sexual relationships between lawyers and their clients...but there's a but. Sexual relationships between lawyers and their clients are NOT prohibited IF the consensual sexual relationship began prior to the representation.
I don't know what amuses me more: the fact that one possible end run around this ethical rule is to sleep with potential clients before accepting the retainer, just in case, or the fact that this is just now becoming a rule whereas before it was merely frowned upon.
I mean, I get it--we meet people we find attractive, and that depends on who we actually interact with, and sometimes they are our clients. And maybe a "Keep it in your pants" rule is totally appropriate or even necessary. But really, my fellow attorneys, if it is the case where the only people we are interacting with, and thus our sole dating pool, is restricted to our office and therefore our staff and clientele, maybe it's not the rule that is the problem. There is a whole world outside that door. Man up (or woman up) and go talk to someone who is not trying to pay you for services. Just sayin.
|I just wanted to give an update on that sudden, dramatic legal maneuver by our governor last month. She did indeed call a special legislative session to fix the state budget. She did indeed get some crime bills introduced, proposing to reinstate the death penalty, among other things. Those bills did not pass, and the death penalty is still (pardon the pun) dead.
The negotiations did, however, take up a good amount of time during this six-day special session, which (I really don't want the irony to be lost here) was supposed to address the state's budget crisis. The special session reportedly cost the state an additional $250,000. I'm just sayin', there is a whole regular session coming up just around the corner where we typically, you know, try to get laws made. I don't care for politics.
|They say that once you've seen the process, you will never eat one again. I worked for the New Mexico Legislature for one session, and I've seen the way the laws are made. I'm sure there is truth to the sausages thing.
The next legislative session isn't scheduled to begin until the third Tuesday of January, but, because of issues with the state's budget, it appears rather imminent that there will be a special session convening here shortly. And instead of waiting for the regular session to start making the laws as usual, our governor is taking the opportunity to tell the law-makers, "Hey, since I've got you all here, how about we put the death penalty back on the books?"
The death penalty was repealed from state law years ago. And honestly, I'm not a proponent for or against it. Conflicting studies show that it does this or that to criminals and society, blah, blah, blah.
What I would argue for the legislature to address in the special or any regular session is this ridiculous time change. And I would argue that with great passion. Daylight savings is an archaic practice that does far more harm than good. It needs to go. It needs to go now. It must be killed by statute. And if that statute is enacted this year rather than next, then all the better. Unfortunately, although I worked in the system, I am not a skilled lobbyist. As much as I'd like to think that a well-written letter to my representatives would make a difference, I know better. I've seen them make the sausages.
|So here I am trying to get work done, get a work out in, maybe do something fun just for myself (maybe some writing) and take care of family obligations. But it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to finish what I want to finish. But then Ruth Bader Ginsburg, The Notorious RBG, breezes into town and makes it all look easy and fun. She takes in a night at the opera (Romeo and Juliet), reads to the kiddies in an elementary school and then delivers a speech at our state's annual Bench and Bar Conference. And this was probably a super chill week for her. She is a badass. She was on two law reviews while she was raising a toddler. It really makes me wonder if she has ever gotten any sleep in her life. But here she is, killin' it in her 80s.
My favorite fact about Ruth is that she was a cheerleader in high school. That makes me about as happy as the fact that butterflies taste with their feet! I just think it's awesome.
I know people who were at the opera the same night as RBG, but they didn't spot her. There were plenty of people I know who saw her at the conference. I scrolled past the Facebook photos with a twinge of jealousy. That would have been cool. Anyway, it's past my bedtime now.
|This entry is in contemplation of the book I'm working on (I know. I seriously just dangled a preposition there).
The kiss to which I refer has no legal consequences per se.
There are first kisses, and those are great. But then there are those first kisses that are so fantastic they actually literally leave you breathless. They are intense and magical. They are truly silver screen worthy because they are the real-life embodiment of the Hollywood kiss in all its glory. They are the what I've come to call the "movie moment kiss". And I've had one or two.
I've been thinking (for my book) about what makes a kiss a movie moment kiss. I've come up with some RULES:
1) It must be a first kiss. Once you've kissed someone, there is no second chance to have a movie moment kiss. This is not to say that subsequent smooches can't be breathtaking. But they will never be that amazing moment of magic (two moments, actually, but I will get into that in a minute). This includes the first kiss after a break up or extended absence. I know it's harsh, but these phenomenal kisses are not amazing because they are handed out like candy or because the rules are lax. They are amazing because they are so damn rare.
2) There must be uncertainty about whether both moments will actually happen (see below). This means there cannot be an understanding, whether spoken or unspoken, that the kiss will happen. There can, at most, be an inkling on the part of each party that the kiss will come to fruition. Foregone conclusion = no movie moment.
3) The stars must align. There are so many things that can ruin a first kiss. Tiny, insignificant ridiculous things. If the timing is off by a hair, forget about it. If lip placement is off by a hair, forget about it. Both people go to the left. Teeth clink together. Noses bump. It's awkward, not magical. Choreography is key. One helpful hint is to dance with the eyes. Look the other person in the eyes, then look at their lips, then into their eyes, then down at their lips, and so on like a ground crew member marshaling a plane in. And although I generally think of super slow movement when I think of movie moment kisses, they don't have to be. The ones where the people inch in toward each other (and maybe there's a brush of the hair or finger tip across the lips) are excellent. But the ones where there is some haste look like they work too...as long as everything has fallen into place.
There are two moments involved in the movie moment kiss:
1) The instant of physical contact. It's miniscule. It's the time between the match being stricken and the flame appearing. Literally. In this instant, uncertainty vanishes, but only as to the question of whether or not there will be a first moment. There is still one question unanswered...
2) The return kiss. They kiss you back. They do not pull away. They commit to the moment.
Even after the physical plane is breached, there is still the potential for disaster. The spark has ignited the fire, but immediate extinguishment is always possible. All the tension in the prelude has built to this moment. The other person, for whatever reason, whatever fear or reluctance, could tear you both out of the moment so easily. They raise their hand and place it on your arm or chest. They gently push. Their lips separate from yours, and it all falls apart as you are jolted into this harsh reality. There is no recovery from the push away. In fact, in New Mexico, if you continue to kiss the person in a rude, insolent or angry manner, you can be criminally charged with Battery. Now there's a mood killer. Or, if there is some other lame event outside the control of either party (car horn, phone rings, earthquake, etc.), that can have the same effect. So setting is key too. But when all the pieces come together, and the moments come, the world disappears and there is magic. For a moment.
Not all first kisses can be fabulous. Some, as we all know, are dreadfully awkward or even icky. But Mark Harmon explained it best in one of my fave movies ever, Worth Winning, when he said, "There wouldn't be great sex if there wasn't awful sex." We must accept the good with the bad, and even be grateful for the bad because without it there would be no good. Likewise with the kiss. Unfortunately, rarely will they be worthy of Hollywood.
|I never gave much thought to the statue of the blind Lady Justice. Similar in structure to the Statue of Liberty, the ones I've seen before have been these modest, matronly, conservatively-dressed and sometimes even moderately masculine sculptures of dignified indifference. Much more Lincoln Memorial than Venus de Milo, for sure.* I've always thought of her as a no-nonsense type of lady. But the other day, I saw a blind Lady Justice statue on the bench that made me do a double take. This Lady Justice was super sexy. And hovering high on the front of the bench for all to behold.
The slit in her skirt was open to the top of her thigh. Her hip was thrust out toward the sword she gripped. Her hourglass figure was evident through the form-fitting loosely-draped dress. One bare foot stretched out slightly forward to deepen the thrust of her hip. She held the scales of justice out with a slender arm. Come to think of it, it was pretty similar to the photo on this blog. But I digress.
This statue stood between the judge and the parties who came before her. I doubt I'm the only attorney who has noticed it. Luckily, I can say that, although it caught my attention when I entered the courtroom, I was not distracted by it during my hearings. But I wonder if others are.
*thank you, lady ;)
|I have seven hearings set tomorrow. Back to back to back, and so on, until the last. Each of them involves someone who has been convicted of driving while intoxicated at least three times. And in fact the next seven days are going to be packed with either participating in or preparing for these types of hearings. Those and tax hearings, but I won't write about what happens in the tax hearings.
Anyway, I keep thinking about the upcoming days, the upcoming hearings, and the thought of the seven deadly sins randomly intrudes and will not allow me to concentrate on my task at hand because I can never name all of them unless I see a list! It's like those times when you can't think of an actor's name or you blank on a word that's on the tip of your tongue and it drives you crazy until you fill the hole in your life with the right answer. Before you look below, try to think of all of them.
So here they are (I totally cheated and found the list on Wiki):
I always remember sloth. And gluttony. I usually remember greed and envy. The other ones though, I tend to forget. I'm not sure if that says something about me or if it's truly just that the synapses in my brain don't snap together (or do whatever they gotta do to make a memory) when I see those words in the list. Something to think about.
Well, that was a nice little excursion. Back to the research...those legal briefs aren't going to write themselves. Here's hoping I don't get distracted tomorrow because I can't mentally complete the list.
|I love a good lawyer joke. And I think I've heard most of them. So if you've got a good one that you think hasn't gotten enough air time...spill it!
I also love a good engineer joke. I've heard some excellent ones.
Blonde jokes, you have to admit...pretty funny.
Brunette jokes, not as funny. We're kind of boring at times, frankly.
There are some good priest/rabbi jokes. Ooooh, politician jokes, now those...well, those can cause fights, so I won't go there.
There is nothing funny about people who like to write. Just kidding. Writer jokes are great.
But give me a good lawyer joke any day. If you can't laugh at what you do, then it's probably not funny. It's probably something that contributes to society.
My favorite joke is not a lawyer joke at all. It's about Superman. But anyway, if you have a good one, share it with a lawyer today :)
|"Here for the Beer." That's the newest t-shirt contender for the worst thing to wear to court. I saw that one yesterday. Really??...just...Really??
I had a brainstorm as I was leaving the courthouse--there should be one court where you can have legal questions decided by random methods. This could be a way to eliminate a lot of cost and time.
Here's how it works: there is a legal dispute that would generally require litigation (landlord/tenant, determination of legal rights, etc., it really doesn't matter), and both parties are represented by legal counsel, both parties agree to have the matter decided by chance, and their lawyers file the appropriate pleadings to have the matter decided. Not heard, just decided. Then everyone meets at one time, and the judge does nothing more than flip a coin or turn a magic eight ball (whatever would work best to give an appropriate answer). Then the judge writes an order stating the outcome and mails it to the parties. Boom.
Appellate courts would still be required to decide wether there was something hinky about the coin toss or whether it was a regulation magic eight ball. But other than that, the question has been decided.
OR....we take a cue from American Idol. Have a public hearing streamed on a dedicated YouTube channel. People vote for the verdict online. Again. Boom. We've been complaining so long about people being "tried in the court of public opinion." So let us try that! Maybe it could work. Or maybe It's just getting to be my bedtime. But I think I'm onto something.