Vol. 79, No. 4, April
Wisconsin Employment Law, 3rd ed.
By 70 authors (Madison, WI: State Bar CLE Books, 2004). 3
vols., 1,750+ pgs. $195, members; $245, others. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Brian G. Nuedling
Even before I had thoroughly looked through the three-volume
Wisconsin Employment Law, having seen enough to get some notion
of what could be found underneath the hood, I found myself cruising
through the compilation at freeway speed in search of the answer to a
question. That spontaneous test drive showed that this full-size
reference guide, V-8 engine and all, has everything within easy
From start to finish, this project represents a conceptually
difficult task, given the scope of the topic and the contributions of 70
authors that must be blended into a cohesive form and function. Now in
its third edition, the compilation that first came off the assembly line
in 1994 and was redesigned in 1998 may not have the look you remember,
but it should not leave you disappointed.
The first volume, with six of the 15 chapters, can be categorized
roughly as a human resources guide, with chapters that include hiring,
employee handbooks, wages and hours, and employee benefits. Volume II,
with chapters 7 through 12, is a compendium of workplace principles,
covering occupational safety and health, worker's compensation,
personnel management and records, termination of employment, and
unemployment insurance. The final volume provides a triple-feature from
the vineyard where potential litigation clients grow, covering wrongful
discharge, discrimination, and post-employment competition.
The 2004 version stays current with discussions on new federal
regulations governing overtime, the abolishment of the Wisconsin
Personnel Commission, and procedural changes in unemployment
The best part, however, is not necessarily the updates but rather the
standard equipment that prompts you to pick up this book in the first
place, including simple, straightforward statements of the law with
footnotes to relevant statutes and cases. As a starting gate for
research, nothing could be better.
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Justice Imperiled: The
Anti-Nazi Lawyer Max Hirschberg in Weimar Germany
By Douglas G. Morris (Ann Arbor, MI: Univ. of Michigan Press,
2005). 448 pgs. $35. Order, www.press.umich.edu.
Reviewed by Timothy McAllister
Occasionally one comes across a book about a relatively obscure topic
that surprises the reader because the author connects multiple concepts,
fills in enormous gaps, and provides wonderful insights. Douglas G.
Morris has managed to write such a book with Justice Imperiled.
The book revolves around the life of an attorney, but the author
provides a commendable array of additional information that is relevant
and well organized.
Max Hirschberg was born into a Jewish family in Germany in 1883 and
was schooled at institutions normally reserved for the privileged elite
of society. Although his upbringing stressed "bildung" - the ideal of
the educated, cultured, and moral German - Hirschberg seems to have
realized the difference between people who work their way up the
socioeconomic ladder and people who are born to privilege and who
believe better treatment is their birthright.
Hirschberg joined the military at the start of World War I and became
an officer, but he did not take advantage of his position. Following the
war and the collapse of the German monarchy, Hirschberg became a member
of the Social Democratic Party, because he believed in the new democracy
and its concept of the rule of law. Realizing that his political beliefs
had to be separate from his professional practice, he did not go into
politics himself but frequently represented clients who were on trial
because of political justice (defined as using the judicial system to
achieve political goals). In documenting several of these trials, the
author reveals Hirschberg's inner character.
Hirschberg was highly concerned with "miscarriages of justice"; the
most egregious to him was the conviction of an innocent person. He
realized that many injustices had occurred following the end of the war
when "Peoples Courts" were in operation. These courts were transitory,
but their verdicts were not subject to appeal and many of the cases had
been decided in the heat of the moment by the "winner" of regional
political movements. Hirschberg also opposed the death penalty.
Although expert testimony had been in use for many years in Germany,
Hirschberg took the concept to new levels. He ensured that his experts
truly were "experts" by looking to universities for people with the most
current knowledge on topics, rather than simply those with well-known
names. Hirschberg also became acutely aware of the flaws in witness
testimony, particularly that of children who frequently were manipulated
in what they would say in court.
As German democracy was being eroded by the rise of National
Socialism, Hirschberg again began to take more political cases after
having backed away from them. Hirschberg recognized that while the
executive and legislative branches of the Weimar Republic were elected,
the judicial branch was a throwback to the monarchy and extremely right
wing in its orientation. Parties bringing a case before the courts knew
that most judges were right-wing ideologues and thus that the course of
the trial could be predicted.
In court Hirschberg directly confronted Adolph Hitler and other
high-ranking Nazi Party members. This put Hirschberg, his family, and
his law partners in danger because the Nazis used militant tactics
against their enemies, such as assaults and assassinations. Hirschberg
was imprisoned and it was primarily his conduct during WWI and his never
having taken a Communist as a client that resulted in him being released
and allowed to continue to practice law even when the Nazis took control
of Germany following the 1933 election.
While some people frowned on Hirschberg because he continued to
practice law under the Nazi regime, he believed he was continuing
according to his "bildung." In 1934 he emigrated to Italy, another
fascist nation, and only later when Germany pressured Italy on the issue
of "the Jewish Question" did he take his family to the United
While living in the United States, Hirschberg wrote extensively about
the conviction of the innocent and the concepts that democracy is not a
static institution and that freedom and democracy cannot exist without
reason and justice. Reading about Max Hirschberg prompts one to reflect
on democracy, history, and the inherent dangers of political
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Media Relations Hand-book
for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress
By Brad Fitch (Alexandria, VA: TheCapitol.Net, 2004). 368
pgs. $45. Order, www.thecapitol.net.
Reviewed by James J. Casey Jr.
It is axiomatic to say that the media have a significant influence on
modern American society. Rapid technological changes and the need to
broadcast "now" are reflective of this impact. At the governmental
level, it is said that administrative agencies are the fourth branch of
government. Is it such a stretch to say that the media are now the fifth
branch of government? It is imperative, therefore, that all public and
private actors should be skilled at media relations in order to be
effective. In the Media Relations Handbook, author Brad Fitch
effectively presents practical ideas and tips on how to properly conduct
The book's chapters cover a variety of important issues: developing a
message and communications plan when working with the modern media;
interacting with reporters; how to properly prepare for interviews; and
internal organizational issues when dealing with the media, including
Two chapters seem especially pertinent today: Chapter 12 (Crisis
Communications in Public Affairs) and Chapter 13 (Honest Spin: The
Ethics of Public Relations). Chapter 12 introduces some very useful case
studies on crisis management (the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster,
the Tylenol pain-reliever tampering case, and the Barney Frank and Gary
Condit sex scandals). Surprisingly, September 11 does not appear in the
book, and given that this review was finished on the night of the London
terrorist attack, I can't help but think that a case study on crisis
communication in the aftermath of a terrorist attack would be useful to
the reader. The chapter on public relations ethics is obviously
important because of recent ethical lapses by media organizations and
how all organizations can learn from these high profile mistakes.
The book is a comprehensive and recommended read for anyone
interested in learning more about public relations and how people and
organizations should conduct their relationships with the media.
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A Guide to Wisconsin
Employment Discrimination Law, 3rd ed.
By Rose Ann Wasserman (Madison, WI: State Bar CLE Books,
2004). 300 pgs. $29, members; $40, others. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Nilesh P. Patel
This book is a comprehensive overview of one of the major employment
laws in Wisconsin. Wasserman is an administrative law judge with the
Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce
Development, which enforces Wisconsin employment discrimination laws
under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA).
The WFEA creates 13 protected classes that employers cannot
discriminate against with regard to hiring, promotion, compensation,
terms and conditions of employment, and discharge. The statute is far
reaching and applies to any person or entity that employs even one
individual. As a result, this guide is crucial for anyone who makes
employment decisions or is accountable for employment decisions that
violate the statute.
Wasserman's book provides Wisconsin lawyers with a ready reference on
the WFEA and the Wisconsin perspective on employment discrimination law.
The guide is divided into nine chapters. The first four chapters provide
an overview of the WFEA, discuss the prohibited bases of discrimination,
and explain the various standards for proving and defending
discrimination claims. Chapters 5 and 6 discuss enforcement procedures
under the WFEA as well as federal and local fair employment laws.
Chapters 7 and 8 discuss remedies under all three legal schemes. Lastly,
chapter 9 reviews the relationship between discrimination laws at the
local, state, and federal levels.
This guide is a very useful resource for employment law practitioners
as well as business law practitioners who counsel clients on employment
matters. Wasserman includes citations to significant cases and practice
notes and comments to explain developments in the law. This reference
tool will save the practitioner time in researching the law and in
understanding the many nuances that otherwise would require hours of
individual case analysis.
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Law Office Procedures Manual
for Solos and Small Firms, 3rd ed.
By Demetrios Dimitriou (Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice
Management Section, 2005). 124 pgs. $79.95. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Nilesh P. Patel
Many small businesses overlook the importance of a good office manual
and I wager many growing law offices fall into the same category.
Attorney Demetrios Dimitriou aims to help solo and small law offices lay
out a simple but comprehensive manual through his book Law Office
Procedures Manual for Solos and Small Firms.
According to Dimitriou, the principal purpose of the book is to
provide a resource for firm lawyers and staff, to advise them on
procedures, expectations, and protocols, and to provide additional
explanation of how a law office operates. The book is intended to be a
"cookbook," which sets forth an inventory of subjects that could be
contained in a manual. The ultimate decision as to which policies to
include in a manual and the detail of their content is left to each
individual firm. The book provides sample policies that can be modified
and are included on a CD-ROM.
The book is divided into four sections. Section 1 deals with
personnel issues and covers policies such as personal conduct, hours of
work, and compensation and benefits. Section 2 covers office structure,
with policies on building passes, office map and key distribution, and
office equipment. Section 3 covers office procedures such as office
security, workplace injury, representing clients, docket control, and
finances. Section 4 covers formats for letters, memoranda, and pleadings
and provides sample documents.
This book provides a comprehensive overview of policies that a law
office should have. The suggested policies are only intended to be
guidelines and provide a starting point for a managing practitioner who
may not have time to develop a manual from scratch; thus the policies
need to be tailored for each law office. Some of the policies are too
broad and need to be modified according to the size and type of office.
For example, the book includes an overtime policy that allows overtime
for employees, without differentiating between employees entitled to
overtime versus those who are exempt from overtime. The policy on family
and medical leave is written as if all employees are entitled to it,
even though family and medical leave policies are only mandatory for
employers with 50 or more employees and only after the employee has been
working for 12 months.
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So Sue Me! How to Protect Your Assets
from the Lawsuit Explosion
By Arnold S. Goldstein, Ph.D. (Boca Raton, FL:
Garrett Publishing, 2005). 300 pgs. $19.95. Order, (877)
Reviewed by Martin A. Blumenthal
It's refreshing to read a book on a legal subject that's
understandable without reading it twice. While the author is an attorney
admitted before the bars of Florida and Massachusetts, he has abstained
from recording his observations, opinions, and musings in an arcane and
legalistic style reminiscent of my last appellate brief.
Any lawyer who is not familiar with estate planning can get a survey
of the asset protection field and its issues by reading this book.
Divorce and collections lawyers also can use the book to refine their
interrogatories in the search for those elusive assets that they "know"
are out there somewhere. The book also contains a good discussion of
fraudulent conveyance statutes, the underlying theme of which is, it
does no good to close the barn doors once the horses have escaped.
So Sue Me! also is a sad commentary on the state of the
American court system, where the dockets are clogged with frivolous
lawsuits filed by frivolous lawyers with even more frivolous clients.
Because lawyering can be considered a western martial art of sorts,
So Sue Me! is a manual of self-defense for the potential
victims of financial and legal bullies.
Although this book is not a "how-to" manual, it is a useful addition
to the general practitioner's library for quick answers to the
inevitable client who asks you what to do about an upcoming divorce or