Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / The Dark Side/page 5

The Dark Side

Commentary: Cutting deals in smoky courtroom chambers

Within the species known as Attornius Wisconsinis, there exists a subspecies referred to derisively by those outside of it as “the courthouse crowd.”You can identify “the courthouse crowd” by their jadedness and cynicism; by their intimate familiarity with the taste of institutional coffee; by their chain-smoking; and by their innate ability to cut a shady ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Printing on one side of the page

Of all the slanders against attorneys and terrible suggestions for improving the profession, the most pernicious is that lawyers are tree killers for all the paper we use. They say we should use both sides of the paper when writing briefs and recycle as much paper as possible.Well, I don’t use both sides of the ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Lawyers should whine for tax credits too

Reading the local progressive newspaper the other day, I came across a story about some farmers and municipalities who want land designated as “agricultural enterprise areas.”If that were to happen, the farmers would get annual tax credits of $5 to $10 per acre, in exchange for agreeing to keep the land in farm production for ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Observations from a morning in court

Last week, I spent 3 ½ hours in a courtroom in the Milwaukee County Public Safety Building. I needn’t tell you cats how tedious – I mean thrilling – that was.But I would like to relate a couple of experiences from that morning.At one point, while I was waiting in line to get through security ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: No ‘Big Love’ for polygamy laws

My favorite TV show, “Big Love,” is back on the air for a new season.If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a family drama about a man in Utah, his three wives, and their assorted children. A frequently-used device to drive the plot is their ever-present fear of criminal prosecution for polygamy.My hope is ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: An idea for a new video game

When I was a kid, I used to go to the bowling alley to play a video game called “Wizard of War.” Like most video games of the time, the goal was to navigate mazes and fight monsters of one sort or another.Over time, video games became more realistic. Now, you can play a game ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: I am not my brother’s dog’s keeper

Mark Twain once remarked that the major difference between a man and a dog is that, if a dog is cold and hungry, and you shelter and feed it, the dog will be grateful. The man, in contrast, will steal your best whiskey.Twain’s remark played out in a case that the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: I wish you a Happy New Decade

In a few days a new year, indeed a new decade, shall begin.The last decade sure was grand. Or at least the first nine years of it were. Let’s hope the decade to come is even better.In that spirit, let me wish all our readers a brilliant new decade filled every day with the most ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Excerpt from the diary of a madman

No reasonable person could possibly dispute that Nikolai Gogol was the greatest writer of his age, in Russian or any other language.Of course, he also wound up stark raving mad.Nevertheless, aware of the risks to my sanity, I shall write about my overcoat.Among my duties here at the Law Journal is attending many social functions ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Ideological discrimination in law firm hiring?

I am experiencing something very novel for me – internal conflict. The source is an advice column called “The Ethicist” in the New York Times that has the Internet all abuzz.Here’s the reader’s question: “While interviewing law students for jobs as paid summer interns and full-time associates for my firm, I noticed several had résumés ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Impartial justice or partial justices?

When I sat down to read the “Impartial Justice Bill” (signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle on Dec. 1), which provides government financing for Supreme Court campaigns, my intent was to look at it from a legal perspective.I just assumed that any legislation supported by the so-called “good-governance” groups will offend me on First ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Avoiding stereotypes about Generation Y

Just in case you’ve been reading this paper for the last fifteen years and haven’t noticed yet, I’m a total civil procedure dork.As such, I’m invited, from time to time, to talk about civ pro at CLE programs. A couple weeks ago, having a couple hours to kill after a presentation before the next train ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: FDA should have no power to ban caffeine in alcohol

On Nov. 13, the Food & Drug Administration sent notices to 30 alcohol manufacturers that they may be in violation of the law for adding caffeine to various alcoholic beverages.Since caffeine and alcohol comprise two of my four basic food groups (nicotine and lard being the other two), I am deeply concerned by this. As ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Honor, solemnity must be protected

Last Thursday, a young woman I know, Sgt. Amy Krueger, was murdered, along with a dozen others, at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. This woman was a friend of my roommates, and she would stay at our house when she was in town.She joined the military after the attacks on Sept. 11, to ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Government promises subsidized health care to attorneys

Yesterday, I discovered that I am no longer young.Yes, I know, those of you in the Milwaukee Young Lawyers’ Association or the Milwaukee Conservative Young Professionals, or other organizations like that, could have informed me of this fact long ago.But I didn’t realize it until yesterday. Two things triggered the discovery.First, I was talking to ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Proposed bill could make me rich!

I think I might be leaving the Wisconsin Law Journal to go back to private practice, depending on the passage of certain legislation pending in the Assembly. I think it could make me very wealthy.Before joining the Law Journal, I spent nine years doing criminal defense, specializing in sexual assault cases. I tried many cases, ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: A contest to determine the most employee-friendly law firm

This week marks a first for The Dark Side – it’s the first reader contest!An award will be given to the reader who submits an entry describing why his or her law firm is the most employee-friendly in Wisconsin.First, a word to the wise. If your firm has previously been honored by another publication, you ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: I can’t even be trusted to buy bananas

Over the weekend, I went to my favorite corporate-owned chain coffee shop.While there, I participated in a dastardly crime.No, I didn’t hold the place up with a gun. But I did buy a banana.How is that a crime, you ask? Well, I paid 90 cents for it; they were selling bananas for 90 cents per ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Picking peppers in the enlightened police state

Have you ever wondered who smokes the grape and peach flavored cigars that are available for individual sale in gas stations?Those few of you who are even less hip than I am may think, as the government claims, that these flavored cigars are “gateway” drugs, and the fruity artificial flavors are the enticement that the ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: Boohoo! Insurance rates are unfair

Here’s a story I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times before:A middle-aged, middle-class attorney gets divorced, and moves out of his house in the suburbs. Still saddled with a large mortgage and confiscatory property taxes on a house in which he is no longer able to live, there’s not much money to live anywhere nice. ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: ‘Cash for Clunkers’ was de facto taking of property

The Cash for Clunkers program has come and gone, and like most, if not all, government interferences in the market, its primary effect has been to transfer wealth from the poor and powerless to the wealthy and influential.Consider its effect on a friend of mine, a young woman who, like most young people, doesn’t have ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: This funeral would be long overdue

On Sept. 11, Milwaukee attorney Alan D. Eisenberg defended himself before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is considering whether to sanction him for his conduct in filing a frivolous lawsuit. He said that he feared the hearing would be the funeral for his law practice.Hopefully, it will be just that.First, I’d like to acknowledge that ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Commentary: When is a contract not a contract?

INSURANCE (in-shuur-ents), n. 1. An agreement by which one party (the insurer) commits to do something of value for another party (the insured) upon the occurrence of some specified contingency; esp., an agreement by which one party assumes a risk faced by another party in return for a premium payment.” (Black’s Law Dictionary (7th ed. ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Amend, don’t end, the diploma privilege

The question of whether Wisconsin’s diploma privilege violates the dormant Commerce Clause by discriminating against out-of-state law students and law schools is back before the district court.The issue the court must decide, on remand from the Seventh Circuit, is whether legal instruction at the University of Wisconsin and Marquette provides sufficient education in Wisconsin law, ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Imagine if every judge did this

Imagine if the federal government indicted someone for a victimless crime that in no way affected interstate commerce or any other legitimate federal interest, but no Article III judge would hear the case.That would be the situation if every federal judge in the country were to do what U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller appears ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

State Bar is squandering dues again

I’m so excited. The Wisconsin State Bar is updating its logo and slogan.It seems like just yesterday that they came up with the slogan, “Expert Advisers. Serving You.” For whatever reason, what was good enough a few years ago isn’t good enough anymore. So they are spending time and resources developing a new slogan and ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Congressional overreaching

Congress is exceeding its Commerce Clause powers again.This time, it’s S. 909, the “Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” which was recently passed by the Senate.Congress actually invokes two sources of authority for the law: to guarantee citizens the rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment; and to regulate interstate commerce.One of Congress’ findings is that ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Supreme Court opinions are too long

The opinions issued by the Wisconsin Supreme Court are too long.John J. Kircher, a professor at Marquette Law School, recently calculated that, since 1978, the average length of their opinions has quadrupled. The court’s longest opinion in 1978 took up 40 pages, and the average was 12.In 2008, the average opinion was more than 50 ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

Plaintiffs’ standing would be a good thing

Whatever the Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately decides on whether or not the domestic partnership registry is constitutional, it would be very unfortunate if that decision is delayed based on a holding that the plaintiffs in Appling v. Doyle lack standing to bring a lawsuit challenging it.The government enacted the law; and the government should defend ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »

An outrageous proposal to limit CCAP

Suppose you are considering dating a woman. But first you run her name through the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP), and based on what you find there, decide that wouldn’t be such a good idea.Suppose you own a duplex, and you reject an application for tenancy after CCAP reveals the applicant has been evicted from ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

Read More »