Friday, June 28, 2013


I got a new phone today. I hit the wrong button on Twitter and invited everyone in my contacts to join. Oops. I knew not what I had done.  Please ignore the emails and I beseech you, it was in error and if you think negatively about me, let it be because of something of substance which I have done.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I get tired of hearing lawyer jokes. I don't think they are funny. I also don't like racist or religion jokes. It's easier to attack lawyers, though.  Throughout the ages, society has had a love-hate relationship with lawyers. I get it. We represent the best and the worst qualities in people. Some of our clients are greedy, and some of us lawyers are, too.  Some of us represent criminals, and society wants to feel safe. Some of us represent people with big money to get away with things they shouldn't get away with.   Some of us are simply down right greedy and selfish. Most aren't.

This weekend I went to a trial lawyer convention with some big wig lawyers. I assumed some of them must practice law primarily for the money.  i found that and many do not. I met some kind, compassionate people who feel called to the law. I think about what makes us look bad and I cherish the ones whom I admire.  Here are the characteristics that make the difference.


1.  Abundance of commercials, usually poorly done, leaving the impression that the lawyer only cares about money.

2.   Class actions for stupid things, like Southwest Airlines drink coupons, with the lawyers raking in millions.

3.  Lawyers who take cases, but won't try them. If you want to do litigation, you need to be willing to go all of the way.  Law firms should not be run like factories.

4.  Civil defense lawyers who tell you they don't want to settle cases until they have billed enough hours so they get paid a lot of money. Honestly, several lawyers have told me that.

5.  Lawyers who have ego issues and make their cases all about them and think little about what is in their clients' best interest.


1.  Lawyers who have dinner with their clients because the clients are despondent about their predicaments.

2.  Lawyers who promise the dying mother that she will protect the mother's children and make sure the children have a future.

3.  Lawyers who reduce their contingent fees because, under the circumstances, the client needs more money than he or she is due.

4.  Lawyers who battle through trial and beyond, never giving up, to obtain justice for their clients. Good lawyers are persistent lawyers ready to fight and willing to battle as long as it takes.

5.  Lawyers who put their clients first, truly listening to and empathizing with the clients, and always working to get justice for and to protect those clients.

Now for my lawyer joke:  How many lawyers does it take to promote justice?  Just one. Justice can prevail one case at a time.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rowdy's Blog: My Best Friend -MY SON'S BLOG

Rowdy's Blog: My Best Friend: This is Rowdy's Blog. I always thought I should do a blog. Many people have said I should. I’ve decided Rowdy would want me to, so her...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rest in Peace, My Good Boy

Rowdy, our beloved mutt, died unexpectedly today. He was 10.  We almost did not get him. Our daughter, Lisa, loves animals and volunteered at the animal shelter. Lisa fell head over heels for this gangly hot dog on long toothpicks. He had kettle cough and quivered with fear.  Lisa, in her own way, climbed into Rowdy's cage and played and played with him during Lisa's volunteer hours.

Rowdy was certainly not the handsomest of the canines at the shelter, nor was he the most cuddly. But, he sure could get excited, jump all over people, and run around. One Monday, Lisa asked her dad (my husband) if she could adopt Rowdy because the shelter was planning to extinguish the life of this active pup.  Mike's answer was a resounding, "No!"  At the time, we had another dog, Pepper, a border collie mix, an ornery cat, and a cockatiel.  We had enough pets.

Lisa, as is typical of her driven nature, would not take no for an answer. She devised a plan- take Mom (me) to the shelter and bank on my powder puff nature and on my solitary ability to prevail on Dad to change his mind.

We drove to the shelter, with dozens of barks and tens of prospective adopters.  However,  no one gave Rowdy a second glance, even though his death was scheduled later that very day. And, as scheming Lisa predicted, her Mom was smitten with the gangly, ugly, auburn furred creature. We dashed home. I confronted Mike. "We have to get this dog!  If we don't, he is dead by morning!"
"PLEASE!!!" Lisa and I exclaimed. Mike, a sucker to make his wife, and daughter happy, relented.

In the early years, Rowdy developed into the most handsome, muscled, athletic creature.  When he dashed in circles along our back fence, he was poetry in motion. Rowdy adapted well to Alpha dog Pepper and after Pepper passed to pit bull Grimm.  Lately, you would think that Grimm and Rowdy thought they were twins, anticipating my return from work with wagging tails and oodles of energy.

Last week, Rowdy, now 10 years old, was stricken with an undetermined ailment on Friday. By Monday, today, he was dead. We don't know why, but it probably involved a spinal column mishap.  We did not see this coming. My last words to Rowdy were at the vet's office, me kneeling and caressing his beautiful auburn fur, telling him I loved him and that he was a good boy. And that he was. In the last ten years, Rowdy brought infinite joy to my family. He was almost a brother to my son Aaron.

Oh, Rowdy, how we will miss you!  Rest in peace, my good boy!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

No Same Sex Couples Need Apply for Student Discounts

I am a Mizzou student starting this fall.  This past year, I was a UMKC student, online anyway. You see, a client clued me in that if you take a college course for credit, you can sign up for student health insurance. The group of students that form the pool of potential insured is much younger than me, generally youngsters. In their 20s and in good health. As a 60 year-old, this is the insurance pool I am happy to be in - providing great health insurance coverage at very reasonable rates. I am gladly expanding my educational horizons one class at a time.  So far, at UMKC, I have taken The History of Rock and Roll and How It Works - introductory physics for non-majors.  I decided to switch to Mizzou because it has a greater variety of online courses and I have always wanted to take an astronomy class.

I start Astronomy in August, and to my surprise, I am entitled to a plethora of student benefits, including a student discount to athletic events.  Apparently, Mizzou student tickets to football and basketball games are in high demand and short supply. I can request student tickets for me, and my spouse. Yup, my spouse gets the student discount, too.  Apparently, this spouse benefit is quite a coveted perk. If my spouse wants to cash in on this great deal, I have to supply my marriage certificate. Not just anyone can claim this companion deal, only those certified by the state as spouses.

Now, I can understand the university's need to restrict student seating. Student friends and acquaintances could fill Faurot Field, leaving wealthy donors out in the cold. I understand restricting student seating to just one accompanying ticket, or maybe fewer because of space needs. But why must there be a marriage between a man and a woman before a student gets two seats?  Is there some need for the ability to procreate in order to sit next to the one you love at a freaking football game? Is a committed relationship not good enough for football?  Should two people of the same sex be prohibited from obtaining basketball student seats because of religious doctrine?

People have weird rules for weird reasons. Sorry, gay people, you and your loved one will both have to be enrolled as students if you want to get student rates to see football or basketball with the one you love.

See today's article on the push to stop discrimination for sexual orientation in Missouri's Senate sponsored by Senator Jolie Justus.

P.S.  Al,though student ticket policy may be unchanged, the University of Missouri did allow a change in student health benefits today. That is progress!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Politicians - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Through the years, I have sued several politicians for discriminating against my clients. Politicians are different than other employers.  They have virtually no bosses.  Their real bosses are the electorate, and, depending on the nature of the case and the importance of the politician, the electorate may never know enough to throw the bum out.  We all remember President Clinton's famous,"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky". Not all harassers are the President of the United States. The local recorder of deeds' affairs may go totally unnoticed by the voters. As with all cases, it takes someone to notice and object before the discrimination will stop.   

Politicians remind me of the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly."   Here's how:

THE GOOD - Many, if not most, politicians become politicians because they believe they know how to improve society.  I like to think most people running for political office want to do good. They may be idealistic, they may be brilliant.  They want to be known as someone who fixes problems and makes society better. 

THE BAD - Just because a person can do what it takes to get elected, it doesn't mean they have administrative skills or know-how to run an office and supervise employees.   While mostly large employers have regular management training including how to prevent and deal with sex, age, race or disability discrimination, oftentimes elected officials do not.  Merely because a politician successful sought a political office, does not mean the politician understands government laws.  I have found that some politicians are ignorant of sexual harassment, age and retaliation laws, and have little desire to learn. 

THE UGLY- There are some politicians who just aren't strong enough to do what's right.  These are the people taken with the power of their office.  They feel that, since people voted for them, they must be really popular. And these are the people who really dig power.  They are bad bosses, even if they do not win their elections because they are insecure.  These insecure people get off on adoration. They think they are above the law.  While they recognize sexual harassment is illegal, when they come on to members of their staffs, it's not sexual harassment because they must be so. Desirable to everyone. These politicians are arrogant, insecure and insensitive.  If they want something to happen, like firing staff, they don't worry about their motives, like wanting younger employees, because those laws apply to the regular folks not bestowed with special powers from the electorate. As Cicero said, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

So what do you do if you are being fired for your race or age, or the boss wants to sleep with you, and your boss is an elected official?  Well, you can always leave, and keep your mouth shut. Try to move on and hope your experience does not hurt you in getting the next job. Or, you can fight.  Fighting is not easy. Your case will probably be in the news.  The politician's office may make up lies about you. Your most intimate secrets could be plastered over the newspaper. You may agree that you can't fight city hall. 

But there are some special people out there who have a keen sense of what's right and what sucks.  They have to fight back. They can't tolerate injustice. If they don't fight, they won't forgive themselves.  These people don't want others to experience the humiliation that the politician-employer caused them. I have represented several of these fighters, and I am in awe of them. What courage!  It makes me proud to be a lawyer. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


You might be an ageist if:

1.  You think anyone over 50 is too old to keep up with new technology;

2.   You make fun of people with grey hair;

3.   You think people over 50 are taking jobs from younger people who you think are more energetic;

4.   You think people over 50 are all set in their ways and resistant to new ideas;

5.  You think Baby Boomers are going to bleed Social Security and Medicare and leave nothing for you;

6.   You hate hippies and think most people over 55 were probably hippies;

7.  You think most older people get dementia and get too stupid to hold jobs;

8.   You think if older workers don't want to retire, they should be laid off for the good of the company;

9.  You think  experience in life is meaningless and there is no such thing as wisdom; and

10.  You think older people can't possibly be as hip, have as good as sense of humor, or be as smart as  you.

In this day and age, most people realize its wrong to call someone a racial epithet or call a woman the "c" word.  How often do you hear, and accept jokes about "old farts" and think nothing about it?  Many cultures honor and respect their elders. Will that ever happen here, or will we increasingly be a culture that wants to ostracize and isolate the grandparents and great-grandparents?  At least there is one equalizer, we all get older.