Vol. 78, No. 3, March
Law: An Essential Guide for Attorneys, Teachers, Administrators, Parents
By Ralph M. & Lois Gerstein (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers &
Judges Publishing Co., 2004). 790 pgs. $110. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Jennifer Lee Edmondson
This book provides a good general overview of education law for
elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Lawyers and
nonlawyers will find this book very easy to use. But because the book
excludes some important areas of education law, it cannot be considered
a truly "essential" guide.
Its best sections are those devoted to the law governing education
for students with learning disabilities. Read the 230-plus pages on
special education, and you will learn all about IDEA, IEPs, FARE, LRE,
ADD, and ADHD pretty darn ASAP! The authors probably are most
knowledgeable in this part of education law because their son is "a
former special education student who has made a successful transition to
However, Education Law is lacking in a number of areas. For
example, it does not adequately address the laws regarding gifted
students, who are on the other end of the educational needs continuum.
Sparse discussions of gifted education law are scattered throughout the
book. A single chapter devoted to the laws on gifted education should
have been included, even if only individual state laws govern this
The book is silent regarding common everyday situations faced by
teachers, administrators, parents, and students (four of the five types
of people included in the title). Such issues as administering
medication/medical treatment to students, disclosure of communicable
diseases, and even the duty of school staff to report suspected abuse
are not discussed.
If the authors had included discussions about the laws of gifted
education and the laws governing common everyday situations faced in
schools, then this book would have been a truly "essential guide" to
Drafter's Guide to Wisconsin Condominium
By Jesse S. Ishikawa & Brian W. Mullins (Madison, WI:
State Bar CLE Books, 2004). CD of forms. 325 pgs. $50. Order,
Reviewed by Mark N. Mathias
The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. The elephant in
this instance is the documentation requirements of the Wisconsin
Condominium Ownership Act, and the Drafter's Guide to Wisconsin
Condominium Documents makes these requirements readily digestible.
This book is easy to read, easy to comprehend, and easy to use as a
substantive reference source (and includes forms on a CD-ROM, which are
In the first two chapters attorneys Ishikawa and Mullins establish
some baseline information and issues for the reader to consider before
devoting their attention to the key operative condominiumuments.
Chapters 3 through 7 are devoted to the statutorily required con
docdominium documents, and the final chapter pulls the book together by
explaining the disclosures required by a seller of a condo unit, whether
that seller is the declarant (that is, condo developer) or a unit owner.
The latter portion of the book includes appendices of the documents
themselves. The content is current and includes the applicable revisions
to the Wisconsin Condominium Ownership Act by 2003 Wisconsin Act 283,
which became effective Nov. 1, 2004.
Each chapter that specifically focuses on one particular document
starts with a general explanation and then in an outline fashion moves
through the document, explaining in increasing detail the purposes
behind the various provisions and referencing the statutory bases for
them. Along the way, sample language and the occasional practice tip or
note are provided. The authors also point out instances where they
believe the statutory language of the Wisconsin Condominium Ownership
Act is confusing or ambiguous and offer drafting ideas to avoid
The book's vantage point is from the perspective of the drafter of
the condominium documents, which means the condo developer's attorney.
However, this book can be a valuable resource to attorneys who may have
occasion to represent condo buyers (and even condo sellers).
Understanding the various provisions of the disclosed documents will
better equip buyers' attorneys to counsel their clients regarding the
ownership interest being considered. Moreover, understanding why certain
provisions were drafted as they were can help attorneys fully educate
clients as to the potential legal and financial risks associated with
ownership in a particular condo development.
The authors state that the book's objective is to "save Wisconsin
lawyers a lot of time and headaches as they work their way through the
sometimes arcane and often confounding field of condominium law."
Ishikawa and Mullins have achieved this goal. I recommend this book as a
primer to attorneys (and law students) who want or need to become
familiar with the basics of condominium documentation.
Marketplace Masters: How
Professional Service Firms Compete to Win
By Suzanne C. Lowe (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group,
2004). 252 pgs. $39.95. Order, (800) 225-5800.
Reviewed by Suzanne C. Lowe
You can't be in private practice these days without being flooded
with messages about marketing. Articles drop like fall leaves from
professional journals telling us how we need to network better, use the
Internet better, develop a real Web page better. Everything "better,
better, and better," with an occasional "how to," all feeding on the
insecurity most lawyers feel about marketing their practices. Whatever
we see in those articles probably doesn't resemble what we, ourselves,
do to market. So we worry. About marketing (and keeping our practices
going). All the time.
That nagging worry is what would compel a lawyer to pick up Suzanne
Lowe's Marketplace Masters: How Professional Service Firms Compete
to Win. For most practitioners, scratching that itch would be a
The book's title suggests sure and concrete ways to market
professional services. It really doesn't give any. In fact, the book is
more of an academic marketing study based on a survey of service
businesses in a variety of areas, including, but just including, the
legal profession. Recognizing that there is a generally mature market
for professional services, Lowe looks to determine, based on her survey,
what techniques these firms developed to come up with successful
marketing plans in their respective fields.
Lowe asserts there are three effective "building blocks of a
market-driven infrastructure." These are: 1) looking out, 2) digging
deeper, and 3) embedding innovation. That's about as exciting and
specific as it gets.
Lowe does cite specific case studies, including one large,
Southwestern law firm's use of a Web site to conduct a more thorough
review of its marketing practices. But the book is thin on the kind of
practical advice and ideas that practitioners, particularly those in
smaller practices, would find useful.
The Shadow of
By Milton Hirsch (Chicago, IL: ABA, 2004) (novel).
205 pgs. $14. Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Doug Baker
The Shadow of Justice
In another jurisdiction, long ago and far away, I had the privilege
of clerking for a federal district court judge. During a break in a
particularly tedious trial to the bench, I mentioned to the judge, in
chambers, that there were 96 lights in the ceiling of his courtroom. I
made that observation with some hesitation, half expecting to be
admonished about letting my attention wander from the testimony and the
matter at hand. "No," replied my judge, "there are 98. You forgot those
two in the back corner, above the door."
This half-forgotten colloquy came to mind when I came across the
following lines in Milton Hirsh's short novel The Shadow of
Justice: "There isn't a judge in the courthouse who couldn't tell
you the number of tiles in his courtroom ceiling, from side to side,
from front to back, and diagonally." With those words Hirsch showed his
credentials as someone with real understanding of the nuances of the
legal system. That understanding permeates his book, a clever,
compelling, and basically well-written little legal mystery, in the
tradition of Scott Turow.
Hirsch, an experienced criminal defense attorney and legal writer,
has taken on the persona of a Miami circuit judge who finds himself
entangled in a criminal conspiracy involving one of his oldest legal
friends. Hirsch's obvious familiarity with courtroom and legal routine
shines throughout the book. He does a masterful job of describing the
interaction between lawyers and judges (albeit with a bit of forgivable
poetic license) and explaining various courtroom procedures, from voir
dire through closing argument, all within the context of the story and
all without being boring or pedantic. The central story is well done,
subtle and carefully constructed, drawing the reader in, ultimately
leaving him or her with the feeling that the clues were all there and
the answer should have been obvious from the first page. That is the
hallmark of a good story.
That is not to say that the book is without flaws. In many places it
has an artificially structured feel to it, as though Hirsch were forcing
his premise into the mold of a how-to book on "how to write a novel." He
is at his best when he is talking of, and explaining, things he knows,
like the law and characters he has encountered; and he is at his worst
when he reaches too far into the realm of what he apparently imagines to
be the art of literature. One doesn't have to read far before coming
across such verbal clunkers as "His face puckered as if he had
french-kissed a lemon" or "The place gave the impression of a doll's
house, owned and operated by down-and-out dolls," lines that, try as
they might, can never amount to more than a parody of the hard-boiled
detective genre, and a poor parody at that. Most bit players, and all
too often the primary ones, are more cliché than character, and at
least one interrogation scene is really a restatement of an urban legend
involving a copy machine impersonating a lie detector, a scene that has
been bouncing around for years.
Learned Along the Pathways to Success
By Phyllis Horn Epstein (Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice
Management Section, 2004). 376 pgs. $49.95. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Inna Pullin
In Women-at-Law: Lessons Learned Along the Pathways to
Success, Phyllis Horn Epstein chronicles the historic and modern
experiences of women lawyers and provides advice on dealing with likely
challenges women face when navigating the legal world. On balance,
Epstein does a good job.
The book coveInna Pullin range of issues, discussing such
disparate topics as finding mentors and proper court attire. As I read,
I found myself remembering conversations I had with my female peers
about the same subjects. Most refreshing is that Epstein does not bemoan
her decision to become a lawyer, and, rightfully, reminds her readers
that practicing law is a privilege and honor, regardless of your
My main criticism is that Epstein relies mostly on anecdotal evidence
and her own experiences. Not bad in itself, but it forms the basis for
her general advice to women attorneys. Moreover, Epstein seems to
manipulate her anecdotes to validate the decision she made to work in a
small firm. For example, the women quoted who worked in large law firms,
whether married or single, seem to have undesirable lifestyles, forcing
them to sacrifice children and social lives for their careers. My own
experiences and anecdotal observations provide several counter examples.
Anecdotes aside, however, Epstein reminds her readers that there are
women, like men, who can make any type of law practice work for them.
The key is that women must recognize that they have choices.
For women who are thinking of entering the legal world, the book
outlines potential career paths and presents realistic challenges woman
face. For women already in the profession, it presents workable options
and strategies for practicing law. Overall, Epstein has written a
valuable and useful book.
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, email@example.com.
Publications and videos available for review
- Americans with Disabilities Act, Title 42, Chapter 126,
Commentaries and Statutes, by Elizabeth G. Russell (Notre Dame, IN:
NITA, 2004). 72 pgs.
- Annotated Model Code of Judicial Conduct,
Art Garwin, editor (Chicago, IL: ABA Center for Professional
Responsibility Judicial Division, 2004). 507 pgs.
- The Arbitrator's Handbook, by John W.
Cooley (Notre Dame, IN: National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2005. 494
- Brown at 50: The Unfinished Legacy,
Deborah L. Rhode & Charles J. Ogletree Jr., eds. (Chicago, IL: ABA
Division for Public Education, 2004). 212 pgs.
- Co-Parenting Guidelines: What Every Parent Needs to Know
Before Getting Divorced, by Nadine Pierre-Louis, LMFT,
CAP, CAPP (Boomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2004). 86 pgs.
- Corporate Finance and the Securities Laws, 3d.
ed., by Charles J. Johnson Jr. & Joseph McLaughlin
(New York, NY: Aspen Publishers, 2004). 1,091 pgs.
- Creating Winning Trial Strategies and
Graphics, by G. Christopher Ritter (Chicago, IL: Tort
Trial & Insurance Practice Section, 2004). 435 pgs.
- The Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American
Justice, by Bill Kurtis (New York, NY: PublicAffairs,
2004). 192 pgs.
- Democracy and New Media, edited by Henry
Jenkins & David Thorburn (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004). 440
- Does God Belong in Public Schools? by Kent
Greenawalt (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2005). 296 pgs.
- Innovation and Incentives, by Suzanne
Scotchmer (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2005). 357 pgs.
- Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of
Rights, by Alan Dershowitz (Boulder, CO: Perseus Books
Group, 2004). 250 pgs.
- Terrorism, Freedom, and Security: Winning Without
War, by Philip B. Heymann (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press,
2004). 227 pgs.
- When Duty Calls: Military Leave and Veterans'
Rights, by Cynthia L. Hackerott, Kathleen Kapusta &
Ronald Miller (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2003). 229 pgs.
- Wisconsin Insurance Law, 5th Edition, by
Arnold P. Anderson (Madison, WI: State Bar CLE Books, 2004). Two vols.,
- Workplace Injury Litigation, edited by
Todd McFarren & Glen J. Grossman (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges
Publishing Co., 2004). 510 pgs.