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A Thought to ponder.

I have joined a business group Westside Pepnet and have been a member for over a year and a half.

One of the many benefits of belonging, is the opportunity to explain what you do in a ten minute presentation during each of the meetings. When my turn came I stood up and spoke for ten minutes, received a very warm reception and proceeded to return to my seat. On my way one of the members at that time, Stan the Print Man, asked me as I passed ” what is it that you actually do?

I realized that I had never really given much thought to explaining what the actual role in society a lawyer performs.

I have performed this role for over thirty seven years now, right here in Colorado Springs. My answer usually began with – “well, it depends-” and then wandered off in verisimilitudes.

A society is a group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Law as a system helps regulate and ensure that a community show respect, and equality amongst themselves.

From Merriam Webster dictionary

noun law·yer \ˈlȯ-yər, ˈlȯi-ər\
Definition of lawyer for English Language Learners
: a person whose job is to guide and assist people in matters relating to the law
“to guide and assist people in matters relating to the law”

Alex on Latin legal terms (A must read!)

“Thing speaks for itself”
A Latin term meaning “the thing speaks for itself.” Res ipsa loquitur is a legal doctrine or rule of evidence that creates a presumption that a defendant acted negligently simply because a harmful accident occurred. The presumption arises only if (1) the thing that caused the accident was under the defendant’s control, (2) the accident could happen only as a result of a careless act and, (3) the plaintiff’s behavior did not contribute to the accident. Lawyers often refer to this doctrine as “res ips” or “res ipsa.”

A rear end accident presumption is based on res ipsa. One of my all time favorite phrases, like “superfluous ad nauseum” and “reducto absurdum”, I made those last two up !

Those torn up vents in Michael Montano’s closet were the foundation of the res ipsa argument that survived (barely) the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. My theory was that those vents could only be in that condition as a result of the careless actions of those roofers.

I love the sound of the phrase, it makes me sound SO smart-

Have a great weekend-

Alex checks in after week 1

Week 1 complete.

This week has been a crash course into the study of law. There is no time for slow learning I have come to understand. Last week, 1L’s, first year law students, were given 5 class periods to lean exactly how the professors are going to want their classes to run. And then boom into rigorous study we go. My biggest comment to say so far – I have read more in the first week of law school than I believe I did during the whole first year of my undergrad. The first night of Contracts really went to show me just how much about contracts I know nothing about. Law school does a good job at disassembling all knowledge you thought you had about law, or a certain aspect of law, and reassembling it in the way that the professors and academics view it. I realize the line “you gain knowledge in law school, and you learn in real life.”

Here’s to an even better second week!!

Alex is gone for now but not forgotten

Alex left for law school in Oklahoma today. I went to the office this beautiful Saturday morning and enough of his stuff was gone, I knew he would not be here Monday, in the flesh as he has been, every day, for the last six years. I already miss him.
After six years with me, he still wants to be a lawyer and still wants to be my partner. He left enough of his stuff in the office that I believe him. I am glad . He feels like a partner to me, he will be a good one and I am really looking forward to our partnership.

It sounds like a long time, three years of law school, but it is the blink of an eye. That blink of my eye happened thirty eight years ago-

Alex, as my dad said to me in the face of the unknown “You’re in the rapids now, so put up your feet and hold on-”
It is an experience like no other, so enjoy the ride. The days can seem longer than the years, but they’re not-

A Big Pile

My dad was a master storyteller. There are so many but some truly stand out and one of my personal favorites is big potato, little potato.

During World War Two, he served in the U.S. Army in Europe. As an enlisted man, he would be assigned to K.P. duty from time to time and this particular time the Sergeant in charge of the mess hall pulled him aside and said, “Come with me, I have a job for you over here in the warehouse.”

When they got to the warehouse, the Top Sergeant pulled the door aside to reveal a huge pile of potatoes in the middle of the floor. He turned to my dad and said, “I want you to go through this pile and sort the potatoes. I want you to put the big potatoes over here and the small potatoes over there.”

My dad in a way that was his alone, said he thought about it for a minute and then told the Mess Sergeant, “I believe I understand, you want the big potatoes over here and the small potatoes over there. Sergeant I think I can do that.”

The Sergeant then returned to the mess hall and left my dad in charge of sorting the potatoes. My dad said it went well separating the big potatoes from the small potatoes. As he got further into the project as the pile of big potatoes over here and the pile of small potatoes over there began to grow he came upon a pretty big, small potato. This one was too small for the big potato pile, but too big to be a small potato. All of a sudden he wasn’t sure what to do with a pretty big small potato. It was a “tweener”. What was he supposed to do with the “tweener”?

I like this story because most things in life are either a big deal or no big deal, and it is fairly obvious which is which, and to which pile it belongs. But more often than we like, we come upon something that is too big to be small and too small to be big. It’s all about how we sort the “tweeners”.

Even the simplest of tasks have their vagaries and nuances that make it harder than it seems at first. That is the practice of law, because the controversies are all about those “tweeners” in the pile.

Castle on Cascade

I came in this beautiful morning to my office where I have worked for over thirty five years. As I sit here looking out over the magnificent front range view, I think it may be the coolest place on earth. In the heart of the downtown just a half a block south of the courthouse, I think back on the story of my father and the Queen and her Castle.

It was the late 1970s here in Colorado Springs and the Old Courthouse was being replaced by the current Courthouse at Cascade and Vermijo. My dad came here in the late 60’s to practice law and after a few years on Vermijo he figured, as did many other practitioners that a Cascade address within walking distance of the new facility made the old residential neighborhood just to the south quite a desirable location. At the time the area was in some disrepair and the old duplex of houses here on the property at the time were certainly no exception.

Many lawyers coveted this location at the time and were not shy about contacting the owner about selling. Each would approach the door, bang on it loudly and when she answered, each would inquire with typical lawyerly bluster. “How much do you want for these old run down ramshackle pieces of junk?” She was an older lady who was quite reclusive but whatever number each of those who inquired threw at her, her response was always the same, “this junk is not for sale.”

After a long line of suitors had come and gone, my dad went to her door and, in his own unique way gently knocked and then in his best door to door salesman style stood back from the door so she could see all of him before she opened it. When she did come to the door, he told her how much he liked the property and how much he wanted a South Cascade address for his office. My dad asked her if she would consider selling her castle to him. She sold him her castle and for a lot less than some of the other attorneys had offered her for her junk.

I heard later that she was in fact a member of the Hungarian royal family who had fled the country following the communist takeover. Where others saw only junk, my father saw beauty and thirty five years later I enjoy my dad’s Castle on Cascade every day I come to work.