Category: Personal Thoughts

Tort Reform

Steven G. Kraus, a Massachusetts attorney, just told me about a doctrine in New Jersey that should be adopted in every State. It should make litigants act more reasonably.

Steve said: “…an insurance coverage doctrine that we in New Jersey call ‘Rova Farms‘ … The doctrine provides that if an insurance company can resolve a lawsuit reasonably worth more than its liability policy limits for those policy limits and the plaintiff makes a demand to settle for the policy limits, if the insurance company refuses the offer and the case is later tried and comes in for more than the policy limits, the policy limits are reformed to cover the full amount of the verdict.”

Wow! Talk about a way to make litigants, and their counsel, analyze their cases before they reach the Courthouse steps and act more reasonably! This should be adopted in every State, if not by Court doctrine, then by statute. That would be Tort Reform I could live with ….

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Drucker on Making Decisions

In a piece by Peter Drucker, he said that successful CEOs were effective because they followed the same 8 practices:

They asked “What needs to be done?”
They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
They developed action plans.
They took responsibility for decisions.
They took responsibility for communicating.
There were focused on opportunities rather than probelms.
They ran productive meetings.
They thought and said “we” rather than “I”. (more…)

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It’s not what you do now, but what you do after the mistake that counts

Alan Weiss, a well-known management consultant, wrote some prophetic words recently: We’re all human, he says, and that means we’ll make mistakes. We tend to be tolerant of other people’s mistakes. We know the mistake was not intentional, by definition.

The real issue is what we do after we make a mistake. Do we cover it up? Do we exacerbate it by seeking to focus responsibility for the error elsewhere? Or, on the other hand, do attempt to make recompense?

For example, if a hotel makes an error in the reservation, do they accept the mistake and then provide you with a free night’s lodging? If a restaurant server spills coffee on you, do they “comp” your meal and offer you a free meal for your next visit to them?

As lawyers, in situations other than missed court filing dates and the like, what do we do for our clients to assure them they will be served effectively … and, when we err, what do you we do to “make up” for our mistake or our staff’s mistake? That is where the client really understand our superior service … and our intent to be world class in serving their needs and wants.

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Support for “Profitable Law Office Handbook”

Tom Kane, yesterday on his very fine blog, said nice things about our book, “The Profitable Law Office Handbook.”

“I have seen the table of contents of the workbook and it looks pretty darn good, and very well organized. No, I still have not been offered a cut to recommend it. But, I do. Now, how about it, Ed?”

Tom, thanks for making referrals to our book — it’s part of the series that has been called “the Bible for running a law practice.” I know you respect my objectivity, and I yours. Thus, it would be difficult to give you a piece of the action … it would appear as a bribe! And I know, as a marketing guru, you understand the importance of appearances. Too bad our politicians don’t listen to you … they would understand the importance of appearances and then might actually do what they say they will do. What a novel concept that is!

To my readers: I again recommend that you check out Tom’s blog. It’s well worth your reading.

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A new Jack Welch

See the current issue of Newsweek with Jack Welch on the cover. This is the hard-nosed leader who “created” GE, who became the idol of all M.B.A. graduates and was titled, The Guru of Modern Business.” Now, Mr. Welch is talking about the Balance of Life!

I find it interesting that folks who have already made their fortune, and no longer need to work, talk about a “balance of life.”

I find it equally interesting that it is generally large firm lawyers who talk about how unseemly it is to “sell” or “market” legal services and vote to use the rules of professional conduct to make it unethiccal to advertise and otherwise solicit for new clients.

Yet, it is the law firms of these very same lawyers that use entertainmnet and other traditional means of marketing to get their business. What’s wrong with this picture?

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The Impossible Dream on this Ides of March

The Impossible Dream is just that, impossible. Unless YOU don’t know it’s impossible and you go for it! Then, it just might be possible.

That’s the point in the March 13th, New York Times article, “Sleeping With the Guitar Player,” about someone with no musical talent (according to his wife) becoming a “star” (according to his public).

As lawyers, we have the capability of helping our clients realize their dreams … What a marvelous opportunity that presents to us! And, with a little business sense, we can even make a good living doing what we love while helping others in their times of need. What a gifted life we live!

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To Gun or Not To Gun

Does the Judicial System have the authority to ban guns from courthouses? That issue was presented before a Pennsylvania trial court; the judge said the Second Amendment, right to bear arms, prevents the Court from banning arms even in the courthouse.

A Pennsylvania appellate court disagreed and ruled that courts do have the right to restrict guns. Although part of the decision is based on where the gun may be — in the courtroom, in the judge’s chambers or in the halls of the buildings. That seems to be “splitting the hair” too thinly!

While the gun lobby is very strong in this country, it seems to me that carrying a weapon is subject to reasonable restrictions, just as is “free speech.” The First Amendment does not give one the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre. I’m not sure how or why the gun lobby has been so successful in being treated differently.

The argument that “guns don’t kill, people do” evades the conclusion that restricted access reduces the opportunity to use the weapon for offensive purposes. And, historically, the Second Amendment was not created to allow personal attacks, but rather to prevent political abuse by a tyrrany.

I suspect that the current challenge/argument in Pennsylvania is merely a precursor to further litigation. Stay tuned, as they say.

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