Would you believe I just saw for the first time that Legaltech is early this year? Yep, it’s June 13-14 at the Embarcadero Center Hyatt Regency. Follow the link for the latest info and to download a copy of the event catalog.
Wow…I haven’t posted in two months. Why not? Well, the bulk of my *spare* time has been occupied with something called “Deunification“. This isn’t actually a word, by the way (as your spellchecker will probably tell you), it’s what the State Bar of California – and the legislature – have adopted to describe the prospect of splitting the Bar in two; Regulatory on one side and Voluntary on the other. If you want, you can refer to it by its official name, “Governance in the Public Interest Task Force“.
Every time I hear the word “Deunification”, I think of the Moonies.
Needless to say, this is by no means a simple process, and the educational Sections are caught in the middle of it. The debate – as you can probably figure out – is over which side the Sections should occupy.
To put this in the form of an essay question on the Bar exam, it would be followed by this simple word:
“Discuss!” [‘bang’ added]
And we have been. And we are. And we will be, into the foreseeable future…
Well, I received the results of the Board election on March 10th, literally as I was leaving town, so I didn’t get a chance to report back. In a field of five candidates, I came in last!
So, in the short term, it’s back to work! I’ll have to consider whether to run again in three years, but for now, there’s plenty to do.
Thanks to all who voted for me.
The election is underway in earnest. In fact, I received my ballot via email a little more than an hour after midnight, January 1st (yes, I’ve already voted). I understand that ballots will also go out via regular mail.
For those who took the time to read my District One candidate statement (thank you), you already know that my campaign is focused on “The Technology of Law” and how I can assist the State Bar to leverage technology with the goal of: 1) Better preparing lawyers to use technology to advance their practices and support their clients, 2) Opening up more lines of communication from lawyers to other lawyers and the public, and 3) [Maybe the most important of all] Opening up more lines of communication from the public to lawyers.
Coincidentally, the State Bar conducted their usual monthly poll: “What’s the most important change in the legal profession since you joined?” The poll was posted around Monday, January 4th and with the first 235 responses collected, look at these results!
It’s heartening to know that a lot of attorneys out there see what I see. If you agree, perhaps you’ll consider giving me your vote. If so, I thank you.
Balloting remains open through February 29, 2016.
I thought you’d like to see my “official” candidate statement for District One. We were limited to 500 words, so I’ve reproduced it verbatim. Naturally, I’ll be fleshing this out over the coming weeks:
“I have an unusual story in that I’m a technology expert who decided to put myself through law school in my late thirties. Fifteen years ago, I saw the increasing convergence of law and technology issues and how they would affect my clients – and the law firms who support them – into the future. I feel my experience as owner of a consulting business since 1999 and approaching my 17th year – adding a solo law practice in 2008 – gives me a unique understanding of how the laws apply to these technological advances.
As a Technology Consultant, I’ve managed groups of people as well as complex projects (with budget control) for some very large international conglomerates. I have carried my leadership skills to the State Bar by being appointed to the Law Practice Management and Technology Section Executive Committee only 18 months after passing the Bar exam and being elected Vice-Chair, then Chair by my third year on the Excom. I was appointed an Ex-Offico Member of the Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform (TFARR) by former Bar President Jon Streeter, receiving high marks from him for my contributions.
I currently serve as Immediate Past Chair of the Council of State Bar Sections. I write a popular blawg, eDiscovery Insights (www.ediscoveryinsights.com), that was selected by the ABA as one of the top 100 law blogs in 2010 – written by lawyers for lawyers – and selected for inclusion in the archives of the Library of Congress. At the time of these accolades, I’d only been an attorney for two years. I present several CLE programs for the Bar annually, and personally wrote a large portion of the book, “The California Guide to Growing and Managing a Law Office”. I possess the ability to liaise seamlessly between legal and technology issues to facilitate cooperation between the two disciplines.
I’m firmly behind the State Bar’s mandate of protecting the public and have made it a cornerstone of my practice. In fact, I consulted with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on their “Protecting Our Kids” program, which was created to protect the Internet activities of young people.
In less than eight years, I’ve expanded my practice from Los Angeles to San Francisco, New York and Nevada. I feel that I can make a valuable contribution as a business owner, multi-state solo law practitioner, and technology expert. As I say in my classes, “Older attorneys are too intimidated by technology, and younger attorneys aren’t intimidated enough!” I would very much like to contribute by making the ‘technology of law’ less intimidating and mysterious to both groups, with the end-game to protect lawyers – and by extension, the public. A better-prepared lawyer protects the public!
I want to be clear where I stand. I’m very bullish about the State Bar and believe that our best years are ahead of us. It would be a privilege to put my knowledge to work for the Board of Trustees. I’m ready to contribute any way I can.
Thanks for your consideration.”
Back to the Vault for a reminder of what’s really important this Thanksgiving. All the best!
This is a tribute to my dad, who passed about 18 years ago. Without his guidance, who knows where I might have ended up?
What you’re looking at is his tie-clip and cuff link set that I cherish greatly, especially in tough economic times like these. I haven’t posted as often nor as robustly as I would like lately, and this is the reason. To a certain extent, you can do business by phone, email or through the internet, but ultimately, “You Can’t Do Business Sitting On Your Ass!”
Late last week, my nomination as a candidate for the State Bar of California Board of Trustees in District One was certified (I just haven’t had time to mention it until now). For those who are wondering, District One includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma counties.
Who can vote? “Any active member of the State Bar, in good standing on the date the eligibility list closes, whose principal office for the practice of law is located within a county that is included within the State Bar district in which there is an election, shall be eligible to vote in the 2016 election.”
I understand that ballots will be mailed out December 31, 2015 and voting concludes February 29, 2016.
More to follow.
Another one from ‘the vault’ to celebrate the silly season of politics. A lot of people missed the apolitical point of this post, which was that it was all just a tempest in a teapot:
Listen my children to a tale in error
Of the midnight ride of Palin, Sarah
On the tenth of June, in Twenty-eleven;
Many a reporter is now in heaven
Who remembers that famous day and year.
She said to her friend, “If the Alaskans power
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry tower
Of the North Church arch as a signal light,–
One if by ‘Times, and two if by ‘Post;
And I on the opposite shore will at most,
Be ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Juneau village and farm,
That the lamestream-press means to do me harm!”
Then she said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently steered to the New Hampshire shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her RV lay
The NY Times, American man-of-war;
A phantom Grey Lady, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, her friends through alley and street
Wandered and watched, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around her she hears
The muster of newsmen at the office door,
The sound of typing, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the cop-iers,
Marching down to their presses on the shore.
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That she could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it fell
Creeping along from dell to dell,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only she feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
For suddenly all her thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of six boxes that bends and floats
Of 24,199 e-Mails like a bridge of boats.
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in her flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
She has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath her, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of her steed as she rides.
It was 9 am by the village clock,
When she came to the bridge in Juneau town.
She heard the bleating of the flock,
And the Twitter of Droids among the trees,
And felt the breath of the Daily Breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
You know the rest. In the papers you have read…
So through the night rode Sarah Palin;
And so through the night went her cry of alarm
To every Juneau village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to wailin’
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the e-Mail message of Sarah Palin.
As a (former, recovering, retired) musician, I relate to this post by my friend, John Sadler:
Playing music in a band is a team activity that can be complicated by the ego issues and creative preferences of the band members, as well as role ambiguity. Over many years of playing music with other people, I’ve learned some behaviors that help a group work well together musically, and others that can make it fall apart. Many of those lessons port nicely to other team activities.
The biggest element of success in a band is to show respect for your bandmates. Other necessary conditions include:
Show up, on time – Clarinetist (among other vocations) Woody Allen has been quoted as saying that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. It’s important to be dependable and do what you say you’re going to do. It’s equally important to pick bandmates who do the same.
Come prepared and in tune – don’t waste your bandmates’ time by playing your part poorly or wrong if you could have practiced it beforehand. Similarly, nobody wants to stand around while you set up and tune your instrument. If you have a complex kit, show up early and be ready to go when everyone else is.
Listen to the band – not just yourself. A great bandmate is a great listener, and will adapt his or her performance to make the band sound as good as possible. There is a lot to this. When you accompany, your job is to make the soloist sound great. What you don’t play is at least as important as what you do play. Leave space! (AKA silence). Get used to hearing yourself in the context of the band to get a feel for the right volume level. If you’re accompanying a soloist or a singer, make sure you’re not too loud – you may even lower your volume so the featured performer stands out in the mix. What sounds like the right volume when you practice may be way too loud in the context of a band. When you solo, you need to be a bit louder; more importantly, others need to back off. If in doubt. record the performance and listen carefully.
No drunks, no jerks – it’s hard enough to make great music without impairing your ability to think and perform. Give yourself every chance to have sound judgement and the best possible control over your actions. Check your ego at the door as much as possible – there needs to be honest give and take to make great music. You may think that you are a creative genius, but the odds are against it. Few team efforts are improved by verbal abuse, ego games, or infliction of emotional distress. A great band can rise above the limitations of its individual members if everyone is working well together.
Take mistakes in stride – the audience notices how you react to mistakesmuch more than the mistakes themselves. It’s OK to make a mistake. It’s not OK to call attention to it while performing. If someone makes a mistake (and everyone will) during practice, keep playing and have a critique at the end of the song. Remember that you will make mistakes as well – treat people kindly. They’re supposed to be your friends.
Everyone should have a chance to contribute ideas to improve the sound and performance. Everyone should be able to try ideas, especially during practice, that might result in a better sound. So mistakes have to be OK in order to perform at the highest possible level.
Expecting mistakes to happen and handling them with grace is a huge life skill. As bassist Victor Wooten points out in his excellent book The Music Lesson, a “good” note is never more than one fret away. Did you know that you can practice recovering from mistakes, the same as an astronaut practices dealing with emergencies?
Discuss and align your goals together – this one issue is responsible for the demise of many bands. You and your bandmates must agree on goals, whatever they may be, in order to form a cohesive team. If one person needs income or commercial success while the rest want to jam on the porch on a Sunday afternoon, you have a problem. You must decide what kinds of music you will play, what the roles of the members are – to name a few:
- Who selects the material?
- Who is the band leader?
- How many soloists or lead singers are there?
- Who are the song writers?
- Who buys the beer? (Just kidding)
Finally, a couple of ideas for performance:
Play it the way you practiced it – Conversely, if you practice poorly, you will perform poorly. Good practice skills are highly underrated! Here’s one pointer that is easy to miss and hard to learn, but works exceptionally well: go slow to go fast. Practice only as fast as you can play smoothly and without mistakes. Speed up the tempo gradually. If you practice too fast, you will be teaching your muscle memory to make mistakes, and you will never play your part well. This general principle applies to almost any physical activity.
By the way, most great soloists practice their solos. Really. They don’t just step up and fake it unless they have to. Yes, there are exceptions, but I’ll bet they worked very hard to become exceptions.
Don’t stop until the song is over – Starting and stopping together are the second steps to sounding like a band (the first step is to play the same song together in the same key and tempo). You need to agree as a band on how you will know the song and tempo, how it will start, and how you will know when to end it. These things do not happen by magic. They happen by agreement, by knowing the material cold, and possibly by years of playing together.
Those are a few lessons I’ve learned the hard way by playing bands since I was a kid. I think many port nicely to the workplace. What do you think?
Reprinted by Permission. Photo credit: Tomasz Budzyński.