Vol. 76, No. 5, May
Human Factors in Traffic
By Robert E. Dewar & Paul L. Olson (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers
& Judges Publishing Co., 2002). 719 pgs. $110. Order, (800)
Reviewed by John A. Kornak
The hallmark of a great general reference book for the busy
practitioner is ease of use combined with practical application and
sufficient technical information to assist in finding and
cross-examining experts. For attorneys who practice in an area of the
law that uses human factors experts, this book is an invaluable addition
to the library.
The field of human factors is described as "a scientific discipline
concerned with the interaction of people and devices of various kinds."
In this book, the focus is limited to the interaction of people and
motor vehicles. The editors bring together all of the major human
factors topics of concern to driving and traffic safety to show how the
science of human factors contributes to traffic safety and how it is
helpful to investigating motor vehicle collisions.
This book has four distinct parts. Each part applies the science of
human factors to traffic safety from a different perspective: the
driver, the vehicle, the roadway environment, and accident causation and
remediation. Each chapter within the four parts is written by experts in
their respective fields. All of the chapters were reviewed by the
editors, and most were also reviewed by outside experts.
The book also suggests source material for further study. Such
disparate topics as driver perception-response time, alcohol and drugs,
roadway design, and visibility under roadway lighting are addressed.
Despite the occasional instance of hypertechnicality, this book is a
tremendous aid for busy practitioners. It provides enough information on
disparate topics while maintaining a comfortable approachability to a
field of science that often is difficult to understand. As a primary
source for information on human factors and its interaction with traffic
safety, I highly recommend this book.
All They'll Need to Know: A Comprehensive
Account of My Financial Records and Personal Requests
By Joyce Pierce (Houston, TX: Emerson Publications, 2002). 32
pgs. $9.95. Order, (832) 724-4889.
Reviewed by Scott B. Franklin
"What do you own?" If not the first question, this is probably one of
the many initial questions an attorney will ask his or her client before
undertaking an estate or tax planning project, an elder care/Title XIX
planning engagement, divorce litigation, or prenuptial negotiations. Or,
when attempting to inventory a decedent's assets after death, a personal
representative might find records to be lacking and incomplete.
All They'll Need to Know: A Comprehensive Account of My Financial
Records and Personal Requests is marketed as a resource handbook to
help assemble the various types of financial and other personal
information everyone should have readily available and organized.
Although the publisher's promotional guides might lead one to believe
that this product is reading material, it is in fact a 32-page booklet
of fill-in-the-blank forms designed to accumulate a personal database.
(The author suggests using pencils to make it easier to update the data
over time.) The goal is to have the forms ready to assist with pre-death
planning issues or post-death administration without the stress of
gathering records during an emotional time.
Some forms have two blanks, one for each spouse. These include
questionnaires collecting vital statistics such as names; addresses;
dates of birth; family members; dates of marriages or divorces;
educational, work and military histories; and so on. Many testamentary
documents now provide for the disposition of personal items through a
separately drafted letter the individual will write as he or she thinks
of things. The booklet provides pages for listing who gets what item to
facilitate this process. It also includes pages on which burial
instructions could be detailed, again with the intent of making this
information easily accessible at a time of grief.
Other pages are designed to itemize financial holdings. Depending on
the individual, these forms may not contain enough room to list all bank
accounts, stock or mutual fund holdings, retirement plan accounts, real
estate holdings, automobiles, and other assets. Space also is included
to list credit cards and liabilities owed to others as well as life,
medical, health, and disability insurance policies.
This booklet could be very useful to attorneys who provide planning
services and might replace other forms of questionnaires they distribute
to clients. Family members also will find the information they need to
assume control for an ill or incapacitated parent. However, before
ordering a large quantity, attorneys should make sure that the booklet
covers all the issues they normally would address. More information is
available at the publisher's Web site, www.emersonpublications.com.
First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in
By Kenneth W. Starr (New York, NY: Warner Books Inc.,
320 pgs. $26.95.
Reviewed by Michael B. Brennan
This book describes the legal tools used by the U.S. Supreme Court to
interpret the law and decide cases. It also explains the beliefs that
may have moved individual justices over the years to vote as they did in
certain decisions. Starr, a former federal appellate judge, U.S.
Solicitor General, and independent counsel, describes the Supreme
Court's origins and current justices and the Court's recent opinions in
cases involving individual rights and the powers and structures of
American government. Through these accounts he examines the role of the
Supreme Court in American life.
For Starr the Supreme Court is moved by foundational ideas. Equality,
for example, motivates many decisions, but as a unifying principle has
different results in affirmative action and congressional redistricting
cases. Neutrality is at the core of the First Amendment establishment
clause, while protecting individual conscience animates decisions on
school prayer and flag burning. "Judicial restraint" - finding specific
answers to legal questions in the text, structure, or history of the
law, or not ruling at all - is the opposite of "judicial statecraft" -
balancing competing interests as a guise to the Court making a policy
judgment. Starr sees the necessity of stability in the Court's decisions
through application of the principle of stare decisis.
As Starr portrays how legal decisions reveal these ideas, we see the
significance of legal craftsmanship. Of supreme importance to Starr is
sharp and painstaking legal analysis. He finds the current Court to be a
more lawyerly tribunal than were past Courts. It is made up of careful
appellate judges "self-consciously struggling for greater rigor and
persuasiveness in its doctrine." To not do so is to abdicate a solemn
judicial obligation to be principled in coming to judgment. The law's
text, structure, constitutional history, and precedent are the "tools in
the judicial workshop." Starr contrasts the looseness of some decisions
of the Burger Court with more careful analysis in some Rehnquist Court
opinions. Today's Supreme Court is "a court of lawyers in which history
is treated with genuine respect."
First Among Equals is written for an audience beyond just
lawyers. Its clear writing is easily accessible and is sprinkled with
personal anecdotes, such as which five of the nine current justices
Starr finds most influential and why. The chapter on the Court and the
executive branch, given Starr's role as independent counsel, is ripe for
deeper treatment. But he follows this with a strong chapter on the
politics and law of Bush v. Gore.
In the end Starr highlights the continuity among the Warren Court and
its successors under Chief Justices Burger and Rehnquist. In each era
the Court has asserted judicial power over similar subjects. Starr finds
a dedication to moderation and stability, such as when the current Court
declined to overrule controversial cases of the 1960s and 1970s. Still,
it has not abandoned a central role in governing, for example, in
Bush v. Gore. The Court remains engaged in many areas of our
Legally Speaking: 40 Powerful Presentation
Principles Lawyers Need to Know
By David J. Dempsey (Atlanta, GA: Miranda Publishing LLC,
2002). Order, www.mirandapublishing.com.
Reviewed by Richard L. Binder
When was the last time you took stock of your public speaking
ability? A better question might be whether you have ever even thought
about it. Attorney Dempsey starts with the premise that while almost
everything an attorney does involves some form of persuasion, most
attorneys are dreadful speakers. He uses himself as a prime example,
describing the mortification he felt upon hearing a juror refer to him
as "Jell-O Boy" after he delivered his first opening statement. While
his "Jell-O Boy" gambit seems manufactured, it is certainly true that
many attorneys lose sight of the value of technique when speaking in
both public and private. They just don't have good "bedside manners."
Since public speaking is a learned skill, Dempsey offers his formula for
success, drawing on his background as a lawyer, a toastmaster, and an
adjunct professor of public speaking at Oglethorpe University in
The book is structured around 40 principles ranging from the patently
obvious ("Stand Tall" and "Act Confident") to the more subtle
("Capitalize on Potent Pauses" and "Take Command of 'Q and A'"). Each
principle is supported by subpoints, variously described as secrets,
practice pointers, guides, techniques, keys, and so on. Dempsey has done
his homework, as the book contains more than 225 quotes (not always well
anchored to the text, but always interesting) and numerous Web sites to
help obtain additional information. It also has a good list of
recommended readings and suggested sources.
Perhaps the best insight Dempsey provides is that a good speaker
always remembers that success lies more with the audience than with the
presenter. Most listeners are tuned into frequency WIIMF (What's In It
For Me), and the speaker must earn their attention through form and
substance. His best advice to the trial lawyer is his observation that
the attention of jurors is a fickle and fleeting gift. It's easily
Legally Speaking is a good review of a topic most lawyers
ignore, but it is not a good cover-to-cover read. Rather, it's a
reference book for use when you feel that your speaking technique is
letting you down, and you're looking for help.
Wisdom, Tips, and Musings on Marketing and
By Jane E. Hosmanek Kaiser (Franklin, WI: Communicator for
Hire Inc., 2002). 48 pgs. $20. Order, (414) 423-9127.
Reviewed by David B. Kuehner
This is a small book with a lot to say. Covering three topic areas;
marketing, public relations, and media relations, it strikes a delicate
balance. Not comprehensive enough for use as a "how-to" manual, its
broad brush approach encourages discussion. For example, the author
advises against operating without a marketing plan, creating a plan
without initial market research, and ignoring a plan once it has been
created. Obvious, right? But how many of us do just that? We purchase
biographies on Martindale-Hubble, create expensive Web sites, and
advertise to the extent we can afford in the local yellow pages. But do
we ever really evaluate our return on these investments? Do we even know
Atty. Kaiser's musings are varied. Topics include building a strong
client base, prioritizing time, and evaluating all those pesky
invitations to attend this or that event. She includes a checklist for
organizing and conducting a seminar. The marketing section ends with a
discussion on Web sites and the necessity of a client-oriented
Kaiser's discussion on philanthropy is interesting. Why do so many
firms give a little bit to every "good" cause? Is it guilt? Ignorance?
Fear? Just plain lack of thought? According to Kaiser, fewer and larger
donations give the greatest payback. Gifts of less than 5 percent of the
total fundraising goal render little lasting benefit. Do you act
pursuant to a charit-
able giving policy or just fly by the seat of your pants?
Other topics include focusing public relations efforts, creating
disaster plans, honing employee communications, working with the media,
and adjusting communication to a particular audience.
Marketing and public relations cannot be adequately covered in 48
pages. Kaiser's work is succinct but thoughtful. Too often, we continue
to do what we have always done simply because that is the way we have
always done things. If your "slice of the pie" is shrinking or if you
are hungry for more, I recommend this little book. Readers are
challenged to reexamine their circumstances and consider alternate
strategies. It is a quick read and worth your time.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publications and videos available for review
- Attorney and Law Firm Guide to the Business of Law: Planning
and Operating for Survival and Growth, 2nd ed., by Edward
Poll (Chicago, IL: ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section,
2002). 642 pgs., with diskette of forms.
- International Franchising in Industrialized Markets: North
America, the Pacific Rim, and Other Countries, edited by
Dianne H.B. Welsh & Ilan Alon (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2002). 368
- State Public Construction Law Source Book, by
Michael K. Love & Douglas L. Patin (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2002).
- The Right to the Assistance of Counsel: A Reference Guide to
the U.S. Constitution, by James J. Tomkovicz (Westport, CT:
Greenwood Publishing Group Inc., 2002). 258 pg