Making the Right Choices

It’s been a very long time since I’ve attended a CLE presentation and found myself absolutely riveted by the speaker and the content of his or her presentation.  That happened on May 5 at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and Appellate Practice Institute.  The speaker was Egil “Bud” Krogh who served as White House counsel under President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973.

Sure his story is remarkable.  He is one of the “White House Plumbers” who created and authorized one of the most infamous covert operations ever.  His actions resulted in a criminal conviction, a six-month prison sentence, and later disbarment from the practice of law.   This is where his story becomes important to me.

His time in prison and subsequent reflections on his years in the White House allows him to share a perspective about the importance of good and sound decision-making with a sense of integrity.  Notwithstanding his actions in the early 1970’s, he is now able to lead by example and talk about how the pressure of our work, our relationships with co-workers, our need to address client demands, and our internal pressure to succeed can interfere with our need to maintain both personal and professional integrity.

He talks about the legal profession with a level of respect and, candidly, enthusiasm that is infectious and truly inspirational.  He has lived through some tough life experiences that are certainly unique to him.  Nonetheless, his message resonates with all of us.  Thank you, Mr. Krogh, for sharing with us your recipe for how to make the right choices.


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Lawyers: Play Nice

As you may have already seen, the blawgs have been discussing this recent order by United States District Court Judge Eric Melgren. Judge Melgren issued the order granting a motion for a continuance of a trial scheduled for June 14, 2011, in Kansas, after the defendant, a Dallas attorney,  sought the continuance on the grounds that his first-born son was due to be born on July 3, 2011. The judge expresses his dismay at the plaintiff’s attorneys’ decision to oppose the motion:

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Why Twitter Shouldn’t Scare Lawyers
Black-necked stilt, AKA "lawyer bird"*

It’s fair to say Twitter has taken the social media world by storm. In less than five years, Twitter has become one of the go-to media outlets for bloggers, newspapers, companies, and the everyday Internet user. I won’t go into a long discourse on what Twitter is, what it can do, or how it works. Other people have done a much better job at describing it than I could have.  (Consider checking out’s “What is Twitter” article or viewing Common Craft’s “Twitter in Plain English” video. Also, Twitter has its own about page.)

I’ve discovered through casual conversations (with law school classmates, lawyers, businesspeople, and family and friends) that there are three basic reactions to Twitter. A) “I don’t get it. What’s the point?”, B) “That would never work for me,” or C) “Awesome. Sign me up.” The links in the previous paragraph address the first reaction, and the third reaction needs no additional encouragement, so my message today is directed at the second: don’t be afraid of Twitter. As law students, lawyers, or professors, Twitter offers something for each of us.

The basic benefit of Twitter as a lawyer (either as a solo practitioner or a member of a law firm) is in providing information to current or potential clients and to other lawyers. But it’s about more than just “tweet”ing firm news releases or updates. Indeed, as an individual lawyer, any specific updates you could provide would likely breach attorney-client confidentiality or violate state ethics codes. Twitter is, instead, a useful tool in keeping your followers up-to-date about legal news. That news could be about important decisions in courts around the country, news about legislation, or a story about how the law operates in practice.

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