"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Women and minorities should work three times as much (or more)

In my youth I had a revealing experience.  I was studying at a night university, and during day time, I worked as a typist.  Since I became a typist after I became a pianist, typing at the speed of speech was easy for me.  Since I studied at a linguistic university, correcting the author's mistakes, spelling, grammatical and sometimes stylistic, was also not difficult - and garnered me respect of my boss.

Yet, there appeared a problem.

I studied at the evening department of the Moscow Linguistic University.  I had loads of homework.  A language is not something that can be faked, you either know the words and expressions or you don't.  There is no cutting corners in language studies, and anybody who tells you that you can learn in your sleep or in an ultra fast fashion... Well, I don't believe it. 

I worked during day time.  I spent nearly 3 hours in commute every day.  I had to study sometime during the day.  For that reason, I consulted the labor norms for my job (in the Soviet Russia there were such beasts actually) and verified that a typist must type 24 pages a day, and not more.

I typed 25 pages from 9 am  to noon and then opened my textbooks.

Some people in my department started to complain about me to my boss claiming that since I CAN do more per day, I MUST do more per day.  And since the second typist who worked with me can produce only 12 pages a day (!), she should not be pressured for more than that.  For the same salary.

I was lucky that my boss was (1) an intelligent man;  (2) I was the only one who could read his handwriting;  (3) I corrected his spelling mistakes.  For that reason, I could graduate from my night university since he allowed me to work my norm till noon, and then to study. 

When I graduated from the Linguistic University and started to work for a British company as a translator, my British boss, apparently without any bad feelings to anybody, as a joke actually, told me once - "you know about America, women and minorities should work three times as much".  I did not believe him.  Now I do.

Time and again, when I ask for an adjournment of an impossible deadline from a court, a different standard is used than when a male attorney (especially a male attorney working for the government) asks for an adjournment.

I have to pour my soul out to a judge, usually also a male, and I have to account for every hour in all days leading to the deadline, including weekends - and I still get an adjournment denied, and a man may quote simply that he has "other litigation" pending - and will get an adjournment for the asking.

That happened to me both in state and federal courts.

Sometimes I am simply flabbergasted by the callousness of judges who deny adjournments, even though it is clear that they are putting on me deadlines that are physically impossible to accomplish.  No male attorney-opponent was denied adjournments when he asked, and usually such adjournments were granted for the asking, and even if I objected. 

Any attorney is the voice of her client, and if she is not given adjournments when several courts impose the same deadlines on large motions which cannot be done at the same time, her clients necessarily suffer without any fault of hers, because there are 24 hours in a day and a single attorney, no matter how fast she formulates her ideas, how experienced she is on the subject of the motion, how well she researches and how fast she types, is still one solo attorney and simply cannot multiply hours in a day to do what courts sometimes impose. 

I don't believe judges who impose such deadlines do not understand what they are doing, because they do give adjournments freely to male attorneys, for the asking, and judges come to the bench after a minimum of 10 years experience as attorneys - that's a requirement in New York State.  I believe, the double standard in giving adjournments to male attorneys and not giving adjournments to a female, and a foreign-born female, is intentional - and the purpose is to teach that foreign woman who got into the "old boys' club job" - that the old boys still rule the game.

The purpose is also to set the female attorney up for failure - and then claim that she failed and she is incompetent.  I am lucky so far I was able to meet those deadlines anyway.  By working three times as much, or more.

When  I am exhausted, I blog - this way I relax.  When I blog at the end of the day, and a very full day, no matter how much I did that day, how many pleadings I filed that day, I get aggressive comments by opposing counsel that if I blog, I must have some forces left to do some more (even if I put in 14 hour working days every day) and I am not entitled to that adjournment that I am asking for.

When I hear that, I have a flashback right back to Soviet Russia - "if she CAN do more than an average worker, she MUST do more".  Do I, really?

I guess, my British boss was correct.  In America, at least women should work three times as much - and then some.

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