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    Book Reviews

    Joshua KastenbergLance MuellerRobert AlexanderNilesh PatelBrian Nuedling

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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 78, No. 10, October 2005

    Book Reviews


    Book: The Winning Argument

    By G. Christopher Ritter (Chicago, IL: ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, 2004). 435 pgs. CD-ROM. $199. Order, (800) 285-2221.

    Reviewed by Brian G. Nuedling

    A picture may indeed be worth 1,000 words, but that picture may be entirely meaningless, or worse - confusing - if it is presented to a jury before it stands the test of a rigorous, gate-keeping review. That is the essence of G. Christopher Ritter's trial aid, Creating Winning Trial Strategies and Graphics, a compilation of illustrations, war stories, and anecdotes that is as much about the power of a well-choreographed graphic as it is about refined and coherent trial presentation.

    Ritter encapsulates more than 20 years of experience in litigation and trial graphic strategy into a manual on illustrating the key points of a case in ways that will be effective for the trial lawyer, memorable for the jury, and successful for the client. While setting out on such a course threatens to be a bumpy ride, at least in keeping the reader's attention, Ritter carries it off with a blend of conversational style and in-the-trenches recollections, so that the pace never seems tedious nor the material self-evident.

    Ritter subdivides his discussion, spun from the jury's point of view, into nine focused chapters on topics that include persuasion (how jurors interpret information), jury deliberations (the power of getting "active jurors" to be your advocates), and technology (the thought process behind choosing a blackboard versus a flipchart or a high-power projector). All the topics are filtered through numerous examples of trial graphics, many of which are presented for further review in an accompanying CD-ROM.

    Even amid intricate discussions about trial graphic strategy, Ritter hopes readers will take from his book one simple message: Never let the medium drive the graphic; always determine content and the most persuasive design before selecting the technology to present the information. For Ritter, that message is just about picture-perfect.

    Brian G. Nuedling, Marquette 2003, is an associate at Thorpe, Compton & Christian S.C., Delavan. He can be reached at (262) 740-1971 or com bnuedling tcclaw tcclaw bnuedling com.

    Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights

    By Alan Dershowitz (Boulder, CO: Perseus Books Group, 2004). 250 pgs. $24. Order, (800) 345-5359.

    Reviewed by Lance E. Mueller

    According to Prof. Alan Dershowitz, "the `source' of rights is in the experiences of humankind, most particularly our experiences with injustice." That theory, formulated in an effort to identify where rights come from, is unique because it repudiates traditional notions that rights are derived from nature or religion. The author believes that rights come from wrongs. Ultimately, the source of rights is important because, in the author's view, the status and content of rights are determined by their source.

    Divided into three main sections, the book is smartly organized to persuasively present the author's theory. First, Dershowitz exposes shortcomings concerning theories about the more commonly accepted sources of rights, including God and nature, and establishes the framework for his own theory. Second, the author tackles anticipated challenges to his approach and elaborates on his ideas. Third, Dershowitz applies his theory to actual controversies, including the right to life, the separation of church and state, government censorship, and animal rights. Throughout the book, Dershowitz draws on a wide array of historically significant events and offers poignant examples and compelling arguments to support his theory and diminish other theories. His advocacy is convincing. Given the controversies involved, some level of disagreement with the author is inevitable, which makes reading the book stimulating and entertaining.

    The book presents an interesting read. On the one hand, Dershowitz demonstrates that he has the special ability to present complex and profound ideas in a clear and readable fashion. On the other hand, although it may be a function of the subject matter itself, the reader is left with the lingering feeling that the author's theory may not be as accessible to the public or as readily understandable as the author would have hoped. Nevertheless, the author's intriguing analysis and confrontation of thought-provoking issues make the book a fulfilling, affecting read.

    Lance E. Mueller, U.W. 2002, is an associate at the Appleton office of Herrling, Clark, Hartzheim & Siddall Ltd. He focuses on business and employment law and litigation.

    Tax Planning for Lifetime and Testamentary Dispositions, Second Ed.

    By Don W. Llewellyn and Jill R. Fowler (Philadelphia, PA: ALI-ABA, 2005). 672 pgs. CD-ROM forms. $139. Order, (800) 253-6397.

    Reviewed by Robert G. Alexander

    This volume is part of the ALI-ABA series of practical tax and estate planning volumes. As with the other volumes, this book is designed to provide practical advice and forms that can be assessed and implemented easily into day-to-day practice. Its specific aim is to help practitioners "plan for the uncertain future of the estate and generation-skipping taxes." The book includes an overview of estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes and includes chapters on testamentary dispositions; prototype plans for married couples; tax planning for the marital deduction; postmortem tax planning; the conduit income tax system for taxing estates, trusts, and beneficiaries; tax consequences of funding estate planning documents; tax consequences and penalties with respect to tax qualified plans (including planned distributions for beneficiaries); planning for transfer of business interests; Section 529 plans; Chapter 14 valuation rules; life insurance planning; charitable planning; and planning for nonresident aliens. The authors suggest how to avoid the negative consequences that may occur if the carryover basis rules become effective, if and when the estate and GST taxes are repealed. The volume also includes a free CD-Rom with more than 20 practical forms that can be edited and used in individual practices. The text is well laid out and has a comprehensive index, many excellent examples, and thorough references to the Internal Revenue Code and regulations. Future supplements will be available to keep the text current.

    This book is a comprehensive desk reference that estate planning practitioners can refer to on a daily basis to answer questions regarding advanced estate, gift, and GST tax planning issues. This is not a volume for beginners nor is it a comprehensive treatise on each individual subject the authors discuss. The book is written in a crisp and clear style that makes it ideal for practitioners looking for concise, accurate, and easily accessible answers for everyday advanced planning needs. I highly recommend this practical hands-on desk reference for advanced estate planning needs.

    Robert G. Alexander, U.W. 1976, LL.M. (Taxation) DePaul 1984, serves on the board of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, holds an accredited estate planners designation (AEP), and is a board-certified estate planning law specialist.

    When Duty Calls: Military Leave and Veterans' Rights

    By Cynthia L. Hackerott, Kathleen Kapusta, and Ronald Miller (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2003). 229 pgs. $69.96. Order, (800) 449-9525.

    Reviewed by Joshua E. Kastenberg

    Since Sept. 11, 2001, large numbers of Active Reservists and National Guard members have been called to active duty for extended periods of time. Indeed, it is possible that a reserve service member may be called to active duty for up to two years. This phenomena has not occurred to today's extent since World War II. There are seven reserve components in the U.S. Armed Forces:the U.S. Army Reserves - with two subcategories; the Army National Guard; the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Reserves - with two subcategories; the USAF Air National Guard; the U.S. Navy Reserves; the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves; and the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves.

    This book purports to be a comprehensive view of veterans' rights, in particular the rights of reservists, because the G.I. Bill of Rights guarantees job rehiring to military members returning to civilian life. These rights have their origin in the WWII Roosevelt administration and are as much in force today as they were in 1945. Guidance to employers, however, is particularly important because although the laws have not changed, the nature of work performed by many Americans has. Still, the laws are enforceable with penalties for noncompliance. For example, an employer may not deny employment on the basis of a person's military service obligations.

    When Duty Calls: Military Leave and Veterans' Rights is a not a comprehensive read and should be used for general guidance only. It provides no case law, but it does provide analysis and examples of the controlling statute - the 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). In addition to USERRA, a helpful compilation of 50 state companion codes is provided. Of its shortcomings, the book does not list education and retraining rights and educational privileges, such as the G.I. (Montgomery) Bill, that may assist returning veterans who find themselves without an employer. Additionally, it does not detail the full spectrum of who qualifies as reserve guard personnel. For example, an individual assigned to the U.S. Army, inactive reserve (one of the subcategories), might not have worn a uniform for more than a decade. However, because of a continuing obligation to the government, that individual might be recalled to active duty, and thus may qualify as reserve guard personnel. Likewise, people recently processed from one unit into another might find themselves serving longer than a two-year stint. Finally, the book could have been more comprehensive if it included a section on how the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act (50 App. U.S.C.A. §§ 501-596, now titled the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) could apply to unfair employment termination lawsuits.

    I highly recommend this book for attorneys practicing in civil rights, employment, and labor law, and for individual reservists and their employers. This book, if read before employers take what may prove to be detrimental employment actions, may save employers from unwinnable litigation.

    Joshua E. Kastenberg, Marquette 1996, LL.M. (highest honors) Georgetown 2003, Major, USAF, is an active duty judge advocate assigned to the international and operations law division of the Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps at HQ-USAF, Pentagon. He has deployed and served alongside reservists and guard members since Sept. 11, 2001.

    Workplace Injury Litigation

    Edited by Todd McFarren and Glenn J. Grossman (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2004). 510 pgs. $99. Order, (800) 209-7109.

    Reviewed by Nilesh Patel

    Workplace Injury Litigation begins by stating that "it has become a Herculean task for anyone interested in worker's compensation to keep abreast of the literature." The book attempts to make that task easier by providing a practical guide to practitioners within the field. The book is written by practitioners for practitioners and is divided into three sections: types of injuries; practice and procedure; and ethics and administration.

    The book makes no attempt to educate the inexperienced attorney by providing an introductory chapter on the basic principles of worker's compensation law. Nor is there any overview of the various worker's compensation laws. Instead, each chapter is a short discussion of a particular topic such as "Compensability of Work Related Heart Attacks," "Occupational Injuries to the Hands and Arms," and "Deposing Your Opponent's Medical Expert."

    The chapters are well-packed with information and tips on how to learn about, evaluate, or handle a particular worker's compensation issue. However, the articles are too short to give a proper background or full understanding on a topic. The articles read more like a transcript from a worker's compensation symposium, with the experts providing detailed advice without the necessary background information to enable readers to really grasp the full meaning or significance of the advice.

    Partly due to its length and partly due to its focus on discrete topics, without any attempt to tie them together, this book will not serve as a comprehensive guide to the area of worker's compensation law. While the various authors' expertise will allow readers to draw out general principles of worker's compensation law practice and transfer those principles to other topics, readers will have to sort through each chapter to discover those nuggets of information.

    Nilesh P. Patel, U.W. 2002, is an attorney with the Elder Law Center, Madison. He also is the principal of the Mahadev Law Group LLC, which focuses on employment law issues for employers.

    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

    • Annotated Model Code of Judicial Conduct, Art Garwin, editor (Chicago, IL: ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Judicial Division, 2004). 507 pgs.
    • The Attorney's Guide to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (3d ed.), 15 authors (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2005). 600+ pgs.
    • Children in the Courtroom: Challenges for Lawyers and Judges, by Sherrie Bourg Carter (Notre Dame, IN: NITA, 2005). 124 pgs.
    • David Ball on Damages - The Essential Update: A Plaintiff's Attorney's Guide for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases, by David Ball, Ph.D. (Notre Dame, IN: NITA, 2005). 400 pgs.
    • Guardianship and Protective Placement for the Elderly in Wisconsin (2d Ed.), Gretchen Viney (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2004). 200+ pgs.
    • A Guide to Wisconsin Employment Discrimination Law (3d Ed.), Rose Ann Wasserman (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2004). 300 pgs.
    • Hero Island, by Stephen B. Wiley, J.D., poems (Largo, FL: Oasis Publishers, 2005). 72 pgs.
    • The Law of Damages in Wisconsin, Vol. I-III (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2005). 1,300+ pgs.
    • Marital Property Law in Wisconsin (3d Ed.) Vols. I-III, Keith A. Christiansen, F. William Haberman, Philip J. Halley, Andrew Herbach, David L. Kinnamon, Margaret Dee McGarity, Michael R. Smith, Stephen R. White, Michael W. Wilcox (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2004). 1,800+ pgs.
    • Maritime Security Handbook: Implementing the New U.S. Initiatives and Regulations, by Jonathan K. Waldron & Andrew W. Dyer Jr., Blank Rome LLP (Pittsburgh, PA: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2005). 160 pgs.
    • Traffic Law and Practice in Wisconsin (3d Ed.) Vols. I-II (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2004). 1050+ pgs.
    • Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual, Patrick J. Devitt, Michael Tobin (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2005). 869+ pgs.
    • Wisconsin Governmental Claims and Immunities Handbook, Joseph P. Guidote Jr., Charles Hoornstra, Rudolph M. Konrad, Jennifer Sloan Lattis, Jan A Smokowicz, and John M. Vandlik (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2005). 130+ pgs.
    • Wisconsin Employment Law (3d Ed.), 70 authors (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2004). 1,750+ pgs.
    • The Wisconsin Public Records and Open Meetings Handbook (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin Government Lawyers Division and CLE Books, 2004). 310+ pgs.

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