By John G. Browning While I enjoyed Marcel Strigberger’s recent Your Voice column on how the use of humor can help in law practice, I have to disagree with its central thesis. Don’t get me wrong—I appreciate the need for levity in our profession as much as the next lawyer. After all, I write humor columns for the Texas Bar Journal and Texas Lawyer focusing on the more lighthearted aspects of our justice system. From strange but true cases—like the DWI suspect whose name was Sober, or the premises liability plaintiff whose slip and fall happened at a place called the Stumble Inn—to wacky warning labels to the flat-out bizarre moments like an attorney’s pants bursting into flames during a closing argument, I write about those funny moments in our professional lives as a way of providing a temporary escape from the stresses of daily practice. Yet, at the same time, my 30 years as a trial lawyer have taught me that using humor in the courtroom is … [Read more...] about Humor in the courtroom: No laughing matter
Closing argument example plaintiff
Nearly a thousand years ago in small Anglo-Saxon villages, trial by jury arose as part of the Magna Carta. When a villager was accused of a crime, a group of local men of similar status to the accused was assembled to hear the charges and reach a verdict. There were no attorneys, no witnesses, no testimony, no examination, no cross-examination and no evidence—as we think of it. Instead, jurors were expected to ask around the village, discuss what they knew and what they learned about the accused person’s reputation, history and character and decide whether the accusations were true. The entire trial took no more than a few hours, and if facts were missing, jurors relied on local gossip to fill in the gaps. Historians of the Anglo-Saxon jury system refer to these early jurors as “self-informing.” Today’s jury trials are nothing like these trials of the past, but jurors are still self-informing in surprising ways. When they can’t understand … [Read more...] about When it comes to jury trials, should you tell a story or stick to the facts?
America’s foremost attorney for far-right extremists wanted “a little gravy,” then lied to cover it up. That’s just part of his twisted journey through a lax legal system. By Luke O'Brien 12/27/2018 03:09 pm ET Updated 2 minutes ago One morning this June, a group of lawyers filed into the office of the State Bar of Nevada and closed the door. It was summer in Las Vegas, the morning temperature already nearing 100 degrees, but inside the low-slung tan building, the lawyers had a chilly question to address: what to do about one of their own. Marc Randazza had been a problem for years. Randazza, who represents conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and many other far-right extremists, had long relied on lawyer buddies to pump his public image. By their telling and his own, Randazza was a First Amendment “badass.” But he was a combative badass, even vicious, and he’d left a trail of bad blood and trampled ethics behind him. Randazza had … [Read more...] about Alex Jones’ Lawyer Violated Legal Ethics By Soliciting Porn Bribes. Just How Dirty Is Marc Randazza?
Joe Heim, The Washington Post Published 5:23 pm PST, Tuesday, December 18, 2018 Schools in Mercer County, West Virginia, were allowed to resume Bible classes after a judge threw out a challenge to them in 2017. An appeals court sent back his decision on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Schools in Mercer County, West Virginia, were allowed to resume Bible classes after a judge threw out a challenge to them in 2017. An appeals court sent back his decision on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By Wade Payne. Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By Wade Payne. Image 1 of / 1 Caption Close Image 1 of 1 Schools in Mercer County, West Virginia, were allowed to resume Bible classes after a judge threw out a challenge to them in 2017. An appeals court sent back his … [Read more...] about Court sends back ruling that allowed Bible classes in West Virginia county’s schools
Mike Moore says he's, "just a country lawyer from Mississippi." But this country lawyer has engineered two of the most lucrative legal settlements in American history. As Mississippi's attorney general, he engineered the historic 1998 settlement under which Big Tobacco paid billions to address smoking-related health issues. In 2015, he convinced BP to settle multibillion-dollar lawsuits over its huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now Mike Moore has taken aim at the manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers, claiming they should pay for the epidemic of addiction and death that has swept this nation. As you'll hear in a moment, he has powerful new evidence that he says proves that states like Ohio, among the hardest-hit by the opioid epidemic, should collect billions from all the companies he's suing. Mike Moore: If we try the Ohio case, if we win a verdict against these manufacturers and distributors there, it could bankrupt them. It'd put them outta business. Bill … [Read more...] about Opioid Crisis: The lawsuits that could bankrupt manufacturers and distributors