Vol. 76, No. 2, February
Taking Sides on Takings Issues
Edited by Thomas E. Roberts (Chicago, IL: ABA State
and Local Government Law Section, 2002). 600 pgs. $90. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Edward S. Marion
Whether you are a seasoned practitioner, a newcomer with a particular
case to research, or just a reader with time on your hands, you will
find this beefy tome worth reading. The book arose out of a 1999 retreat
sponsored by the ABA State and Local Government Law section. Twenty-four
academics and practitioners spent four days attempting to reach
consensus on key propositions in this dynamic and complex field. The
resulting report forms the basis for this useful and enjoyable book.
Wisconsin lawyers are well schooled in the law of takings. Our
supreme court has tackled just about every land use issue (including the
landmark Just decision). So, a survey of Wisconsin takings
jurisprudence is not hard to find. But, for a general treatment,
Taking Sides on Takings Issues is certain to become the
one-volume treatise of choice. Its introduction - itself, a survey of
the law - is the contribution of Wake Forest law professor Thomas E.
Roberts, the editor of Taking Sides, based on his fine land use
treatise (West 1998). What follows are 22 chapters treating all of the
concepts introduced by Prof. Roberts.
You can read about the seminal federal Supreme Court cases from the
lawyers who argued them, the amicie who helped brief them, and
the scholars who have meticulously studied them. The chapters are
grouped into 11 relatively general categories, including a discussion of
fundamental property and nuisance law principles, defining the unit of
property, and the law of temporary takings. The book also covers the key
U.S. Supreme Court precedents and the state decisions developing
Takings law is a fascinating subject, combining bedrock
constitutional principles with familiar common law subjects, like the
law of nuisance. This book is so well done, it could be recreational
reading. Add it to your reading list.
Decision by Trial: A Collection of Articles
on Juries, Jury Research and Juror Attitudes
Edited by P.K. Anthony, A.H. Colman, H.Z. Hutchins (San
Francisco, CA: Matthew Bender, 2002). 365 pgs. $60. Order,
Reviewed by Donna M. Jones
For more than a decade, DecisionQuest Inc., a trial consultant firm,
has conducted psychological research on the jury trial process. Its
research has included extensive pre-trial mock trials and post-trial
interviews, and surveys involving "hundreds of thousands of actual and
surrogate jurors." Its goal? To provide trial lawyers with the "four key
elements to success in the courtroom: knowledge, control, persuasion and
winning." This all sounds very impressive.
In Decision by Trial, DecisionQuest attempts to share its
impressive research results with the broader community. Unfortunately,
the information is sometimes presented so poorly that it distracts the
reader from fully appreciating the contents. Too many of this book's 63
articles are affected. Quotation marks are missing from either end of
various quotes throughout. There is redundancy. The first typographical
error appears on page three. One article ends with a numbered list of
references, but its text lacks the corresponding reference numbers.
Single-page "Trial Tips" provide quick pointers, but they cannot be
revisited quickly because they are not listed in the table of contents
or synopses. Some tips even seem misplaced, like the "Trial Tip" on
risks involving voir dire. It appears at the beginning of the chapter on
"Gender and Ethnicity: Diversity in the New Century" instead of with
voir dire articles.
An unnamed author of the first "Trial Tip" refers to himself or
herself on page five with the word "my," but the reader does not know
who he or she is. In fact, no authors' names are given with
Nonetheless, several well-written articles do shine through. They
cover voir dire in business litigation, removing juror bias,
commensurability, "stage management" regarding jurors' attitudes,
importance of witness credibility, storytelling techniques and a legal
story, risks of arguing alternative damages, "adventures" in media
limelight, and visual evidence and ethics. Also, annual juror survey
results are summarized in the appendix.
DecisionQuest might want to remember that one never gets a second
chance to make a first impression.
Effective Use of Courtroom Technology: A
Lawyer's Guide to Pretrial and Trial
By Deanne C. Siemer, Donald H. Beskind, Anthony J. Bocchino,
Frank D. Rothschild (Notre Dame, IN: National Institute for Trial
Advocacy, 2002). 417 pgs. With disk. $59.95. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Reed J. Peterson
"[T]he advocate with the technology-enhanced displays often has a
significant advantage in holding jurors' attention and creating a faster
understanding of the facts, themes, and images that drive the case."
Effective Use of Courtroom Technology is about more than using
technology in the courtroom. It's about understanding current
technologies, knowing how to use them to your advantage before and
during trial, and knowing how not to get taken advantage of by an
opposing counsel who is more techno-savvy.
The book covers four main areas: discovery, pretrial, trial, and
current technologies and tips and techniques for using the technologies.
The book comes with a CD that illustrates some of the points in the
book, but if you are buying the book in the hope of getting a great
piece of software, you will be disappointed. For all intents and
purposes, the CD contains a PowerPoint presentation with several
examples of ways to use presentation software and an electronic brief
that was filed in the Microsoft case.
The chapter on discovery discusses how to leverage technology and how
to anticipate issues that may arise in electronic exchanges of discovery
materials. It also discusses potential conflicts and abuses in the
discovery process and ways to avoid problems. The chapter on pretrial
procedures focuses on how to prepare for trial using technology to win
your case. It also discusses how to ensure that you aren't taken by
surprise at trial by an opponent who puts a prejudicial exhibit or
illustrative aid in front of the jury. The chapter on trial discusses
using technology in opening statements, during the evidentiary portion
of trial, and in closing arguments. It also delves into common
objections that may arise. Of interest in this chapter are subtle ways
visual images can send subconscious messages, for example, the use of a
red border around photos of an accident intersection to subconsciously
convey that a traffic light was red. Given the ease with which these
subconscious messages can be created and removed, there is a greater
risk that attorneys will try to use these methods with newer technology
than with older exhibits, because if an objection to the subtle message
is sustained, the offending portion can be removed easily. The
successful trial advocate will want to be aware of these subtleties.
If you are not very techno-savvy, this book may be a difficult read.
Many of the terms in the first chapter are technical, and if you don't
have the background in the terminology, you will be flipping to the
glossary of terms quite often. If you are inexperienced with technology,
look at the CD first to give yourself a visual reference for the book.
You also may want to read chapter 5, "Tips and Techniques for Using the
Equipment," before you read the rest of the book because it will give
you a good sense of the equipment that is discussed early on.
If you don't want to be taken advantage of in the courtroom by
someone who has the technical sophistication to put on a
technology-enhanced case, it is necessary reading. If you are
techno-savvy, the book will give you ideas to enhance your use of
technology and to make your presentations better. However, the book does
not put enough emphasis on having someone in charge of the technical
components of the case at trial. The last thing you want to do at trial
is to focus on a computer rather than on your case.
Wisconsin Secured Transactions Under Revised
Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code
By Anthony C. Marino (Brooklandville, MD: Data Trace
Publishing Co., 2001). $197.91. Order, (800) 342-0454.
Reviewed by J.P. Fernandes
As Wisconsin (and the rest of the country) shifts from the original
laws of secured transactions written by Prof. Llewellyn to the new and
improved Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, most practitioners
will have to deal with these changes. Rather than attend yet another
seminar on the differences between "Old-9" versus "New-9" or invest
hours reading a treatise that in the end really does not tell you how to
actually do anything, the Wisconsin Secured Transactions Under
Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, Forms and Practice
Manual is a viable option.
The manual is organized with the practitioner in mind, and its
easy-to-use format is one of its greatest attributes. The manual's text
is composed of 14 chapters - 13 of substantive content and one chapter
of forms - which also are provided on disk.
The book begins with an explanation of the transition period from the
Old-9 to the New-9 and highlights important dates, deadlines, and the
consequences of improper filings et cetera. The remaining 12 sections
generally follow the new Article 9's structure, examining the new
definitions through the revised Code's enforcement and remedies
provisions. Throughout the manual, new terms are highlighted in bold
text so they can be easily spotted, and "Practice Pointer" text boxes
routinely appear, offering brief tips for the working lawyer. The forms
chapter provides a hard copy of the 72 model documents also on the
accompanying disk. The forms range from basic notice and filing letters
to lengthy security agreements - all of which are easily accessible with
today's word processing. Furthermore, the excellent Forms Index makes
finding the right document painless.
The only real downside is that the manual, particularly the forms, is
written from the secured lender's perspective and is not too favorable
to the debtor. In a perfect world, the forms might be written with both
sides in mind so practitioners representing commercial borrowers would
have more to work with. However, the author candidly discloses this
The manual comprehensively covers routine secured transactions under
the new Article 9. What makes this work so helpful is that Wisconsin
practitioners can extract what they need efficiently without giving up
any real substantive information.
To Review a Book...
The following books are available for review. Please request the book
and writing guidelines from Karlé Lester at the State Bar of
Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, (608) 250-6127, org klester wisbar wisbar klester org.
Publications and videos available for review
- Be Careful Who You SLAPP, by Michelangelo Delfino & Mary E.
Day (Los Altos, CA: MoBeta Publishing, 2002). 423 pgs.
- E-Health Business and Transactional Law, edited by Barbara
Bennett, ABA Health Law Section (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National
Affairs Inc., 2002). 782 pgs.CD-ROM.
- Emblems of Pluralism: Cultural Differences and the State, by
Carol Weisbrod (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2003). 232
- The Handbook of Law Firm Mismanagement for the 21st Century, by
Arnold B. Kanter (North Haven, CT: Catbird Press, 2002). 224
- Going to Trial: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trial Practice &
Procedure, 2d edition, with diskette, edited by Daniel I. Small
(Chicago, IL: ABA Publishing, 2002). 298 pgs.
- Megamall on the Hudson: Planning, Wal-Mart, and Grassroots
Resistance, by David Porter & Chester L. Mirsky (Victoria, B.C.,
Canada: Trafford Publishing, 2002). 520 pgs.
- Minnesota Legal Research Guide, 2d edition, by John Tessner,
Brenda Wolfe, George R. Jackson (Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co.
Inc., 2002). 479 pgs.
- The Rule of Lawyers: How the New Litigation Elite Threatens
America's Rule of Law, by Walter K. Olson (New York, NY: St.
Martin's Press, 2003). 352 pgs.
- State Public Construction Law Source Book, by Michael K. Love
& Douglas L. Patin (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2002). 1,616