Vol. 78, No. 10, October
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
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.
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,
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)
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
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.
When Duty Calls: Military Leave and Veterans'
By Cynthia L. Hackerott, Kathleen Kapusta, and Ronald Miller
(Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2003). 229 pgs. $69.96. Order, (800)
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
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
Workplace Injury Litigation
Edited by Todd McFarren and Glenn J. Grossman (Tucson, AZ:
Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2004). 510 pgs. $99. Order, (800)
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
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
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.
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
- 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).
- 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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