Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who Killed Joe Camel?

Almost 15 years ago in November of 1998, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began the Clinton Administration's last assault on Joe Camel, an advertising character created and then owned by RJR Nabisco Holdings Corporation (RJR), contending that RJR was using the character to lure young smokers.  The FTC was seeking to force RJR to sign an order banning the company from using Joe Camel in any future cigarette advertisements.  RJR, involved in a lawsuit and under pressure from Congress and other "pubic interest" groups, had already voluntarily ended its use of Joe Camel in July of 1997.  Still, the FTC continued to kick Joe Camel in the head afer he was down.  Such can be the power and character of some federal agencies and bureaus.  

Joe Camel, RIP, July 12, 1997 

It has been asked, "Who is next, Ronald McDonald?" Can any survive such an attack? It seemed to me at the time that consequences for freedom of speech were involved, or perhaps for freedom of choice. Yet, much can be done in the name of "protecting" the children or some other group. What might truly motivate those in positions of power? Think about it. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hawaii Bar and Bone Fish Exam

By February 2012, I'd been studying on-and-off for about 6 months to take the Hawaii Bar Exam.  I'd gotten a copy of Hawaii Criminal Code, Evidence Rules, Civil Rules, Criminal Rules and down-loaded various subjects as I thought of them to review.
The real effort began about Thanksgiving of 2011, when an on-line bar refresher course was available to me--  the Kaplan Bar Review (Hawaii).  Wow!  Things have changed since I last studied for the Arizona Bar Exam (1983), studying out of one large book.  In short, there is now no limit to how much reading, watching, listening, testing, reviewing and practice an applicant can do to prepare for a bar exam.  The written materials came in two or three big boxes.


The first real order of business became to thin out the materials to what I'd realistically be able to (or want to) study.  More than half the volumes had to be thrown away, including practice exams.  On-line practice tests were to be taken only until I understood how to answer them and obtain a better than 50% result.  There would simply not be enough time to do everything. 

The remaining materials had to be put into an order that would show progress-- namely, lists that could be measured, completed and checked off.  The key would be to stay optimistic by seeing results.  Otherwise, sitting before a computer or book for hours upon hours, day after day, week after week, would be discouraging.


In short-- step by step, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, video by video--  each goal was checked off. Finally, I would visually see that I'd completed not everything, but what I reasonably believed could be achieved.

My advice to younger, future applicants-- don't try to read and do everything  possible.  Just study and memorize enough to reach your comfortable saturation point.  Beyond that, you'll only get discouraged.  Treat the materials as if you're preparing one of the most important two-day jury trials you'll ever have in your career.  That's workable.  That's do-able.

Well, the process worked.  I took the February 2012 Hawaii Bar Exam along with about 180 other applicants.  About 98% of the others were younger than I.  A good group of people.  After two full days, the test was over.  (In May I was notified that I had passed the exam, and could be admitted at a ceremony in June, which I attended in Honolulu and was sworn in).  I'm thinking that, having sat and passed the Washington State Bar Exam (1974), Arizona Bar Exam (1983), and now Hawaii (2012), there probably won't be a fourth effort.  This is enough.

Following the taking of the exam, I took a little time to go fly fishing for Bone Fish.  While studying for the examination, I'd relaxed by studying Bone Fish and flies.  It looks like I'd organized the Bone Fish subject the same way as all the Hawaii legal subjects-- 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Writing

In the February 2013 Edition of "Arizona Attorney," the official journal of the State Bar of Arizona, there is an excellent article titled "Writing Maketh an Exact Man" written by Attorney Robert J. McWhirter.  Here are excerpts which I found particular good--

Preparation before writing is important--

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax. -- Abraham Lincoln.

The purpose of the brief--

The secret ambition of every brief should be to spare the judge the necessity of engaging in any work, mental or physical. -- Mortimer Levitan

Brevity and clarity are essential in a well-written legal brief--

A judge who realizes that a brief is wordy will skim it; one who finds a brief terse and concise will read every word. -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner

Write well--

Be clear, so the audience understands what is being said.
Be interesting, so the audience will want to listen to what is being said.
Be persuasive, so the audience will agree with what is being said.  -- Cicero

The issue--

You need to give the court a reason you should win that the judge could explain in a sentence or two to a non-lawyer friend.  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner

The conclusion--

The conclusion in a brief is not just the major thing.  It's the only thing.  -- Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert.