Archive for the ‘Not South Carolina Specific’ Category

The more things change…. (ode to the Fish House Punch)

1732 Philadelphia: A gentlemen’s boating club on the Schuylkill River is planning its annual Christmas party. For the first time in its history ladies will be welcome. Colonial America is a drinking culture and cocktails are a mid-19th century invention. Punch will be served. To commemorate the occasion these gentlemen decide to invent a new […]

“Can I do something” is rarely the right question to ask

A common question I, and I suspect many attorneys, get asked are variations of “can I….?” A common variation of that question, almost always asked in a mock-shocked tone, is “can the opposing party/attorney…?,” “can the guardian…?,” or “can the judge…?” That variant often accompanies a story in which the possibility being considered has already […]

WTF is irreconcilable differences?

A friend and colleague of mine suggested I blog about Angelina Jolie’s recent filing for divorce from Brad Pitt on the ground of “irreconcilable differences,” noting that South Carolina does not allow divorce on that ground. Instead, South Carolina allows a “no fault” divorce after one year’s continuous separation along with three fault grounds for […]

Are Sully’s views of masculine emotional intimacy outdated?

Clint Eastwood’s just-released Sully clearly admires its titular character, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, played by Tom Hanks. It presents Sully as an icon of competence, integrity, and calm under pressure. Like most such movies lionizing competent men, it relegates the wife, here played by the thrice-Oscar-nominated, Laura Linney to a background role. Yet, wittingly or not, […]

Script for defeating the “unclean hands” defense in contempt prosecutions

I don’t believe “unclean hands” is a defense to contempt. If an opposing party seeks to hold my client in contempt for conduct that party has engaged in, I believe proper procedure is to bring one’s own contempt action. If that party’s conduct has prevented my client’s compliance with a court order, I think the […]

Real emergencies versus fake emergencies

There’s a saying that in doing work quickly, inexpensively, and accurately, you are lucky if you can achieve two of the three, but can never do all three. While obviously not an iron-clad rule, experience has shown it to be true. For myriad reasons the process of trying to rush something makes it harder and […]

Lying to your attorney makes your case more difficult and more expensive

With every contested case, I sit my client across the desk, look him or her in the eye, and give some variation on the following advice: Whatever you tell me remains confidential unless you choose to reveal it. However what you tell me guides me on what goals to pursue and what evidence to seek. […]

First you investigate

Clients, and the young attorneys I mentor, often ask me to render an opinion on their cases when their cases have just started. Specifically clients want opinions on their likelihood of achieving their goals, the length of time the case will take to complete, and the expected ultimate cost. Given that these clients are often […]