The Common Scold

The Common Scold is named after a cause of action that originated in Pilgrim days, when meddlesome, argumentative, opinionated women who displeased the Puritan elders were punished by a brisk dunk in the local pond. Believe it or not, the tort lasted until 1972, when State v. Palendrano, 120 N.J. Super. 336, 293 A.2d 747 (N.J.Super.L., Jul 13, 1972) pretty much put it to rest. But the thought of those feisty women, not afraid of a little cold water, has always cheered me up and inspired me. I first used the moniker as the name of my humor column at the University of San Francisco School of Law many moons ago, and revive it now for this blawg!


As frequent readers
of Law Technology News know, a key mission of our publication is to champion the members of our legal technology community — IT leaders, paralegals, lit support and e-discovery professionals, firm executives, vendors, et al. I am constantly on my soap box hounding law firm managing partners and corporate GC to fix gender pay inequity, and preaching the power of diversity.

For years, LTN's art director Shane DeLeers and I have insisted that when we run photos of members of our community, that they be in "go-to-court" professional attire; e.g., jacket and tie for the gents; equivalent for the gals. We believe that presents them in the most authoritative, positive light; and helps earn respect from the legal organizations that (at least historically) have not always recognized their contributions.

But lately I've been getting some push back from folks I admire — who tell me that I need to loosen up, because our community does not wear ties (except for funerals and court appearances) and that by requiring ties, LTN is not reflecting our community. Sure, I know you would never get hired if you showed up for a job interview at Google in a suit. But does it help get you a seat at the decision-making table in your organization?

What do you think? Is it time to stop requiring ties in photos for Law Technology News?

Update: To clarify, I am referring here primarily to photos submitted for President's Corner and our People column, and "controlled" photo shoots; as opposed to "live" photography from events such as LegalTech or ILTA where almost everyone is in business casual.

February 24, 2010 in Diversity, Etc. | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

MAILBAG #112007

21147622 We open the inbox and find a variety of items:

The ever-prolific Mark Reichenbach
blogs in On the Mark about the Georgetown eDiscovery Institute sessions. A highlight of the meetings, he says, was the closing roundtable:

Moderated by John Rosenthal, (an expert in e-discovery and a litigation partner at Howrey, LLP) , the event closed with a roundtable composed of judicial heavy hitters in the field, including Judge Lee Rosenthal (former chairperson of the Federal Rules Advisory Committee), Judge Shira Scheindlin (former member of the Federal Rules Advisory Committee), Judge Kent Jordon (3rd Cir.), Judge Francis (S.D.N.Y.), Judge Facciola (D.D.C.) and Judge David Waxe (D. Kan).

Reichenbach, veep of client and industry development, also wants you to know that his company, MetaLincs, has upgraded its namesake software. 411 here.

Stanford students are switching the tables — and issuing report cards on would-be employers, grading them on their diversity performance. Matthew Schwieger, online media coordinator for Stanford's Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession offers a link to recent media coverage in The New York Times.

Eric_3 Never underestimate the creativity of bloggers. Eric Turkewitz, of The Turkewitz Law Firm, writes The New York Personal Injury Blog, and his Blawg Review #134 is an hysterical spin on the ING New York City  Marathon. If you look really carefully, towards the end of the race, you just might spot the Scold, with exceptional seats from which to watch the event.

eWeek always comes up with a clever slideshow, and here's a post-Halloween treat: The 13 Scariest Things in IT in 2007.

Yup, the holiday shopping blitz has started: Reid Trautz offers his third annual Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers, available on Reid My Blog (that title always makes me giggle.)

2007cover233pwAnd Chadbourne & Parke counsel Lawrence Savell has released his annual LawTunes parodies, this year's Live at BlackAcre, which leads off with "(She's an) Electronic Discovery." You can hear a sample at the website, but a caveat, Clapton it ain't. :)

November 20, 2007 in Etc., Marketing, People, Technology, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


KittyblackThis is just toooo funny (and definitely very odd) not to share. My sister Martha sent it along... it has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything legal or tech, or even the Yankees, but I cannot resist. (OK, I'm absolutely fried with exhaustion, but it had me laughing so loud the dog got startled).

The setup: "Jennifer and Jim kept getting huge water bills. They knew beyond a doubt that the bills weren't representative of their actual usage, and no matter how they tried to conserve, the high bills continued. Although they could see nothing wrong, they had everything checked for leaks or problems: first the water meter, then outdoor pipes, indoor pipes, underground pipes, faucets, toilets, washer, ice maker, etc., all to no avail. One day Jim was sick and stayed home in bed, but kept hearing water  running downstairs. He finally tore himself from his sick bed to investigate, and stumbled onto the cause of such high water bills. Apparently this had been happening all day long when they were not at home. Knowing that few would believe him, he taped a segment of the 'problem' for posterity:"

Download waterleakproblem.wmv

Somebody needs to notify Letterman for Stupid Pet Tricks on this one. In fact, it just might be the Ultimate Stupid Pet Trick.

January 31, 2007 in Etc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Chorusline_1Sally Gonzalez, one o' my fave edit board members, helped me (literally) kick off LegalTech New York -- we were able to get tix for the revival of Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line.

Before the theater, we enjoyed a chance to catch up at one of my favorite small bistros, Little Bangkok. We chatted about Sally's new gig at Navigant Consulting, which she's very much enjoying (she left Baker Robbins & Co. last fall), and compared notes about e-discovery, etc.

Then we headed to the theater. I've seen A Chorus Line twice before -- in its original Broadway run at the Shubert, and the second time at Tri-Arts Playhouse up at Sharon, Ct. -- but this was hands-down, the best. Frankly, I was a bit apprehensive that the production would feel dated, but unlike the original, it's actually toned down and understated, which improves the production and softens some of the 70s-specific material.

Jessica Lee Goldyn is one of the strongest players, in her Broadway debut as Val ("Dance: 10 Looks: 3," a.k.a. "Tits and Ass,") -- and Natalie Cortez gave me goosebumps with her "What I Did for Love." Sally and I both thought the show's weakest link was Charlotte D'Ambroise, playing the emotional centerpiece of the show, Cassie. Her dance solo was just bland -- not the breathtaking emotional grabber it needs to be.

But overall, this production is a keeper.

January 28, 2007 in Etc. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



*Struggling with your resolutions? Ross Kodner found this free high tech device that can help. :)

* Rumor mill sez that Baker Robbins & Co.  has been acquired in late December by Thomson but no official confirmation yet.

* Alan Brooks, of Pure Communications, alerts us to a post on TechCrunch (by Michael Arrington) about confidential client documents from the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

Says Arrington:

"...In a bizarre story, the bankruptcy court handling the Brobeck case, citing the historical value of the records, has given permission to turn over all confidential client documents to the Library of Congress and put on display in a new public archive. The project even has its own website and will have advertisements published in The Wall Street Journal and The San Francisco Chronicle.

The court is sending out notices to former clients, asking them to Opt-In or Out of the process (copy of notice is here). If the client is unreachable, the documents will be included in the new archive. Documents relating to clients who do not opt in will be available in a closed archived only, and the public will have only limited access (see more here).

I did a bit of quick research to see if my colleagues at ALM had written anything about this, and did find this interesting 2005 article by Justin Scheck of The Recorder.  (Note: registration required). It covers the debate about whether or not Brobeck documents should be literally trashed, because storage costs were so high.

* On a lighter note, Rufus Young checks in with news:

"As a Christmas present, my son-in-law Richard Goldman created a website for my occasionally-published WineValueList. ... You will recall that creating and updating a "cheat sheet" of reasonably priced wines, with Robert Parker's Wine Advocate or Wine Spectator ratings of 85 or higher, and with minimum case production of at least 10,000 cases, is a hobby of mine. (I don't sell wine, nor do I own any stock in any wineries or wine stores.)"

Alieninduck_large_1_1 *Who could forget the 2006 Alien Duck? Well, AOL is featuring it in a bizarre (and sometimes in terrible taste) vote for the weirdest animal story of the year. It may be tacky, but check it out -- and vote! The "alien duck" X-ray sale benefited a wonderful cause, The International Bird Rescue Research Center, where my dear friend Russ Curtis (LTN's photo editor) volunteers.

January 1, 2007 in Etc., Law Firm Management, People, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Dechouse_002 The fabulous Tom Collins and Rick George "tapped" me to participate in the "Lawyers Appreciate" chain-post of goodwill.

Here's mine:

Lawyers appreciate: a December sunset on Lake Wonoscopomac that creates nuances of blue, and pink-cream clouds; the joys of talk and silence; a winter day curled up on the sofa with the dog and cat; peppermint ice cream; James Taylor’s liquid silk voice; Manhattan’s surprises and Princeville’s green.

Wishing you a happy, joyful, healthy, peaceful, surprising New Year.

I tap Robert Ambrogi, Ernie Svenson, and the gang at Preston Gates.

December 29, 2006 in Etc. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


XmaskidsAre you, like moi, a sucker for Hallmark moments? No matter how bi-coastal I try to be, my midwest roots (born in Chicago, five years in Mpls) shine through whenever I see some of those down-to-earth TV advertisements from Kansas City. (I especially like the one with the woman bringing a birthday card to an uncle in a nursing home.)

I've even gotten drawn into some of their made-for-TV movies, especially the ones that teach tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance and compassion. I know, I know, some of their stuff is amazingly schmaltzy, and over the top. But many hit the spot.

Anyway, check out New Orleans-based McGlinchey Stafford's 2006 Holiday e-card. It's a simple message, but very "Hallmark" if you will. (That's meant to be a compliment).

Produced (not surprisingly) by Tenrec Inc. (head honcho Per Casey is a long-time member of our LTN edit board) it's simple, but very effective.

So call me a marshmallow. I get that way in December.

Hat tip to Bodine's LawMarketing listserv for noticing it first.

December 16, 2006 in Etc. | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Turkeyday_1I hope today brings you opportunity for quality time with friends and/or family; some time shared and alone; great music; good food; and refreshment of your spirits.

Peace, joy, surprise, home runs, and as always, peppermint ice cream for all!

November 23, 2006 in Etc. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Phone7 THE GOOD NEWS...  It's over, and the  shoulder surgery itself was not as bad as it might have been..... Dr. P was able to do it arthroscopically, which dramatically reduces my pain and will speed my recovery time.

The bad news... it was an absolutely nightmare 48 hours... not because of anything surgical, but because of a Kafka-esque series of events that I blame entirely on the administrative procedures and protocols of Mt. Sinai Hospital.

When I can really type I will send them a very very long letter -- but here are a few highlights:

First, you probably know that I am the most organized person on the planet. This was suppzd to be ambulatory surgery -- I had someone with me going to the hospital, someone scheduled to pick me up, and a backup for the pickup. And my friend Garry was scheduled to arrive the next morning to drive me to my Connecticut cottage.

* My surgery was supposed to be at 1 p.m. I duly checked in at 11 a.m., filled out paperwork, got into the "gown" -- and then sat, and sat, and sat. NO ONE at the hospital could be bothered to tell me that my surgery had been postponed until 4 pm.  The only way I found out was when I got pushy, with the help of my pal Roberta who had come with me to the hospital. The delay completely screwed up my long-made plans -- because my scheduled escort had expected to pick me up in the afternoon, and had an evening commitment that would be difficult to break. Fortunately, my friend Dru, who had volunteered to be backup, said she'd come get me post-op. But it would turn out that I wasn't going home.

* Once out of surgery, all hell broke loose. The ward clerk who monitored the recovery room traffic (I doubt she was a nurse) was brutally insensitive, obnoxious, and flat-out rude. She treated me like an annoying 12 year old -- while I was hyperventilating, grabbing the gurney for dear life, and sobbing in unexpected pain. I'm a veteran of 7 ambulatory surgeries, I have a high pain threshold, and am not a wimp. It was awful. I felt absolutely invisible. I had to yell to get anyone to give me water. After extensive debate they finally decided to give me some pain medicine -- and to admit me to the hospital. They never bothered to hook up the ice-cooler-device that my doctor had delivered to the recovery room -- that would have alleviated much of my pain.

WHAT a contrast to the now-gone Beth Israel North, which had a superb recovery room with staff who made you feel almost pampered -- with soothing attention and warm blankets. The closest analogy I can give you about my experience at Mt. Sinai was that it was worse than feeling ill while in a middle seat in coach on an under-air conditioned, oversold July flight to London.

Once I was admitted to the main hospital, things got much better -- thanks to the wonderful night nurse, Gheena Aimable, who was as positively fabulous as the day team was horrible. Dru refused to leave my side until I was safely transported to my room, and comfortable. Bless her.

But back to the administrative snafus: I've learned from prior ambulatory surgeries to bring as little as possible -- so i had 1 credit card, my heath care card, my driver's license govt ID, and $40. I did not bring my cell phone, nor my Rolodex.

That should cover everything, right? Nope. I brought a Visa card -- and guess what... the hospital's phone service took AmEx, Discover, and MasterCard -- but not Visa. Try being drugged to the eyeballs and trying to fumble with reading a CC number only to find out that they don't take Visa. I can't wait to see the bill for the operator-assisted calls I had to make. I plan to protest them.

Making matters worse, I couldn't actually reach anybody, I kept getting answering machines. And all the incoming phone calls to me kept not getting thru, puzzling the night staff who were trying to forward them to my bed-side phone. I kept getting calls for other people. Great phone system.

So I wasn't sure if Garry knew I wouldn't be at the apartment in the morning. Nor could I call my friends at my NYC apt bldg who were planning to check on me, bec i did not have any of their numbers memorized. (Fortunately, one of them had much experience with hospitals and literally bullied her way thru the bureaucracy to confirm that I was OK and staying overnight. )

On top of everything else, my mom managed to knock her phone off the hook, so my pals trying to call her to tell her that I was OK could not get thru to her.

I'll be honest -- it was too much. I broke down and sobbed. Not from the pain, but from a feeling of complete and utter powerlessness to communicate with the outside world. I have a wallet full of credit cards, and the one I bring is the one they don't take. WHY would a hospital take Discover and not Visa????

I truly felt like I was a cockroach in a Kafka nightmare.

Moral of the story:

1. If you have to go to Mt. Sinai (or any large hospital) -- never be alone. Have someone with you at all times. It's not enough to have someone take you there and pick you up. This is a time when you can't be your normal, independent self -- you have to reach out and ask for help. This is very  very hard for single people who live alone and are used to being self-sufficient.

2. Don't assume you are going to go home -- even if you are scheduled for ambulatory surgery -- and plan accordingly. Have back up, back up, back up plans.

3. Bring your cell phone, multiple credit cards, and a large-type print out of your key contact persons and phone numbers. Make a couple copies.

4. Plan for more support than you think you will need. The best thing I did was to make arrangements with the Salisbury, Ct. Visiting Nurses Association for post-op care.  Their wonderful director, Marilyn Joseph, and nurse Melissa Luz, with just one visit, salved my anxiety and with gentle grace, made me feel like a human being again.

I am so amazingly grateful for my wonderful circle of friends who got me through this nightmare. Fortunately for me, it was only 48 hours of hell. I can only imagine what others must experience with much more severe challenges. It was a very very humbling experience.

November 10, 2006 in Etc. | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Slingblue_3Campers: Gonna have a few days of radio silence, cuz I'm headed this morning to Dr. Mark Pruzansky's Tune-Up clinic over at Mt. Sinai for Pedro Martinez surgery.

Mt. Sinai's website is dreadful -- the search engine especially sucks. I tried to find a link to their ambulatory surgery unit and found everything but. I can tell you how to find the family visiting room, and ATMs -- but nuttin' about the actual surgery unit. Oh well... at least I can find my doc on it.

Baseballad_1 And they do have great ads.... Ironically, I actually liked this one so much I had it on my fridge (I thought it was really clever) long before my close encounter with the open dishwasher door.

Speaking of which, my friends have been hinting that when asked about how I whacked my shoulder, I should ditch the dishwasher story, and instead mutter under my breath about Yankee Stadium, Al Leiter and ...  Hmmm.  Interesting idea.

Hopefully, I'll be back in a bit... but don't expect my normal speedy typing... I'm gonna have my left arm in some sling contraption thang. The posts may be shorter for a while, but i will be back.... Wish me luck.

November 2, 2006 in Etc. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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