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January 23, 2008

Ever so often, as the Firm has cultivated its last crop of litigation associate trainees into tested, field proven litigation advocates we then begin our search for the next group of new attorneys to begin the process again.  I’m in a new round of this process.  Since putting the advertisement up on craigslist just a couple weeks ago, the ad received over 2500 hits as tracked by the statcounter service that we use.  The position has also attracted some criticism from anonymous sources, which I’ve published here September 07, 2007

An arbitrator has ruled that celebrity Jennifer Lopez is entitled to a $545,000 award and a permanent injunction, which a Superior Court Judge has approved preventing Lopez’s former husband from disclosing details of their relationship that would disparage Lopez, according to an Associated Press article.

“A judge Wednesday approved a $545,000 arbitration award to Jennifer Lopez in a lawsuit against her first husband, Ojani Noa, over his plans to publish a tell-all book.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael C. Solner also issued a permanent injunction barring Noa from publishing negative, denigrating or disparaging details about Lopez.
Solner approved the award, which was decided in April by a court-ordered arbitrator. It includes $200,000 in damages, with the rest going for arbitration costs and attorney’s fees.
The judge also directed Noa to give the actress-singer or her lawyer all copies of materials related to the book.
Noa and Lopez, 39, married in February 1997 and were divorced 11 months later.
Lopez’s breach-of-contract lawsuit, filed in April 2006, accused Noa of violating a previous lawsuit settlement that prevented him from revealing private information about their relationship.
Noa, who had been representing himself, asked Wednesday for another 30 days to find a lawyer.
When Solner denied his request, Noa objected.
“I think it’s unfair, to be honest, your honor,” Noa said.
“I’m sure you do,” Solner replied.
Lopez’s attorney, Paul N. Sorrell, said a previous judge gave Noa chances to get a lawyer and he never did.
Sorrell declined to comment outside of court.
Noa’s unpublished, ghostwritten book claims that during the time of their marriage Lopez had multiple affairs, including one with her third and current husband, Marc Anthony, according to court documents.
Noa offered not to publish the book in return for $5 million, her lawsuit alleges.
In 2004, Noa sued Lopez for breach of contract, saying she lured him into taking a $1,000-a-week managerial job at her Pasadena restaurant, Madre’s, then fired him five months later.
Noa settled the case for $125,000 in October 2005 and agreed not to disclose information about their relationship or disparage his ex-wife, according to court documents.
Lopez’s suit claimed Noa’s book plans breached that agreement “

Personally, I think that it sounds like a misapplication of the stock nondisparagement clause.  But, that’s an example of why these clauses are not to be entered into lightly.

August 25, 2007

I read with some interest that the State Bar of California has issued guidelines for attorneys to treat one another with respect, although these attorneys—- with their penchant for big words—- use the term “civility” and “professionalism.”

New guidelines for civility and professionalism

I have heard these words bandied about by practitioners on a regular basis. Some of the same folks that pride themselves on being civil and professional, would not qualify as such in the eyes of a lay person. These various practitioners, who shall remain unnamed, will discuss civility and professionalism glibly. I have two attorneys in mind.
Unfortunately, while their words in court or on paper are without overt disrespect, their conduct is another matter. To preface my discussion, I will state unequivocally, that the best attorneys that I’ve ever met have all been really nice people as well. The mediocre attorneys, those have proven to be those attorneys that will use the words “professionalism” and “civility” and then act completely against those concepts.  It is almost as if they could not be the best in their field, but they could master the art of faux-civility.

I had one attorney adversary, who literally gave me a sermon on being polite. But, every-time I’d turn around in court during my oral argument, I’d see this fellow making faces. Making faces! As juvenile and rude as that sounds, it would not be surprising coming from someone who was unfamiliar with the decorum of a courtroom—but this was an attorney that had been practicing for many years.

Another instance that comes to mind is one attorney that prides himself on civility, but seems to invariably bring lawsuits against middle class folks, that can barely afford an attorney. The conduct would not be so reprehensible except for the fact that the some of these cases are not well founded in law.

Then there are the Rambo letter writers. I have a link for one such letter here.

I’ve made a vow to take the mean-spirited, nasty letters, and post them up on the web.

My theory is that if everyone had to explain what they did everyday to their grandmother, or some other elder who’s opinion mattered—the legal system would be a much healthier place.

July 28, 2007

The McMillan Law Firm website after nearly a year of work and expense, was brought online at 6:15 p.m., on Saturday, July 28, 2007.  The system now uses a content management software called Expressions Engine, which was originally recommended to me by Suuzen AndersonAlice Chan did the website design.  Steve Thomas made the linux box and programming work.  The design was implemented by Bryan Rho, who also ported the information from the previous site.  We also give php programming credit to Renjith G.R. and his most competent crew in the lovely state of Kerala, India.