Vol. 80, No. 8, August 2007
The Guardian Ad Litem Handbook, 3rd Edition
By Joan N. Alschuler, Richard J. Auerbach, Rachel L.L. Caplan, Roy W. Froemming, Thomas R. Glowacki, Dianne Greenley, James R. Jansen, Marlene A. Porter & Gretchen Viney (Madison, WI: State Bar CLE Books, 2007). 700+ pgs, forms on CD-ROM. $165 members / $185 nonmembers. Order, (800) 728-7788 or www.wisbar.org.
Reviewed by Barbara J. Kirchner
This book delivers exactly what the title promises: a handbook for guardians ad litem. The book starts with an overview of guardian ad litem (GAL) work, defining the role of GALs and explaining the role's unique qualities, and goes on to provide a detailed statement of a GAL's duties in representing children and adults with mental disabilities and in representation in personal injury and probate matters.
The Guardian Ad Litem Handbook, 3rd edition, incorporates the legal developments from the 2004 supplement and prior supplements. The most significant recent legal developments pertain to the enactment of the guardian reform legislation and recodification of the state's protective placement and protective services laws. The enactment of the guardian reform legislation repealed Wis. Stat. chapter 880 and created a new chapter 54. The recodification of the state's protective placement and protective service laws changed the organization of Wis. Stat. chapter 55 and implemented greater safeguards for individuals in need of protective placement or service.
The effects of these legislative changes are discussed throughout the handbook, with the chapters pertaining to adults with mental disabilities (chapter 5), guardianships (chapter 6), and protective services and protective placements (chapter 7) addressing the changes in the greatest detail. Together these chapters explain the newly expanded role of GALs in guardianship proceedings, clarify the statutory duties of GALs, provide understanding of the initial proceedings for protective placement or protective services, and explain the GAL's role in the annual review of protective placements.
As with the prior editions, The Guardian Ad Litem Handbook, 3rd edition, also comes with the relevant forms on a compact disk (CD). The CD includes the court-mandated forms and helpful checklists and statements of rights. While the CD is loadable on only one computer per copy purchased, a networking license is available for a reasonable rate compared to the rate for purchasing multiple copies of the book.
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System Book for Family Law, Vols. 1-2
By Leonard L. Loeb, Sharon A. Drew, Gregg M. Herman, Kirsten A. Keegan Vasquez & Matthew J. Price (Madison, WI: State Bar CLE Books, 2007). 1,140+ pgs, forms on CD-ROM. $175 members / $220 nonmembers. Order, (800) 728-7788, www.wisbar.org.
Reviewed by Basil J. Buchko
Practice in Wisconsin is made vastly easier with State Bar CLE books. This is especially true with the System Book for Family Law. Since its inception by attorney Leonard Loeb of Milwaukee nearly 30 years ago, the system book has become a staple in the family lawyer's office. Because of 2005 Wis. Act 443, as well as the fact that the fifth edition of the book originally was published in 2000, a revision was necessary and thus was born the sixth edition of the book.
The sixth edition is, by and large, the fifth edition as it has been supplemented. One major difference is cosmetic: the tabs changed in color from red to yellow, which is more pleasing to the eye. Also, what is clearly the most significant change is the renumbering of all of the Wis. Stat. chapter 767 references. The authors also added language to explain certain procedures or clarify matters. For instance, the Quick Reference Guide to the Law has a better explanation of personal service requirements. Numerous added citations provide the user with further legal foundation. Some of the formatting has changed, for instance, chapter 9, "Trial," is now included in volume 1, which creates a more logical break for the volumes. Other instances of differences between the editions are very subtle, such as page layout.
The system book is exactly as it is advertised, that is, it is a forms and procedures handbook. The two volumes provide neutral statements of the law, checklists for everything from the initial interview through postjudgment matters and, of course, the forms necessary to practice family law in Wisconsin. But the forms are not the true value of the system book (however, providing them on a compact disc is very nice). The true value, to me, lies in orderly layout and step-by-step process. The system book may not offer in-depth practice tips (such as how to make use of the domestic violence provisions contained in Wis. Stat. section 767.41), but it clearly puts before you each issue you need to consider in your family law practice. It is truly an A-to-Z manual for practicing family law. There are other resources to gain in-depth practical advice, but there is no resource like the system book.
This is not a set that should be gathering dust on your bookshelf. This is a book to be used to the fullest extent, because it provides valuable reminders of all the issues attorneys need to address in a family law matter. The use of this book, as intended, has made my family law practice easier, and I believe I'm a better lawyer for it.
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The Lawyer's Guide to Balancing Life & Work: Taking the Stress Out of Success, 2d Edition
By George W. Kaufman (Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2006). 280 pgs., CD-ROM. $39.95. Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Patrick R. Burns
Do you know the names of the night cleaning staff at your office? Have you ever slept in your office? Does the thought of leaving the legal profession to become a mail carrier or golf caddy engender a calming feeling in you? Have you recently checked email on your PDA while in bed or at your child's school event? Have your hobbies become things of the past? Have you ever undertaken to write a book review for the Wisconsin Lawyer to force yourself to read for pleasure?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is "yes," pick up a copy of George Kaufman's book, The Lawyer's Guide to Balancing Life & Work. In fact, every law library, law firm, and law school should have multiple copies available and prominently displayed, much like each proudly promotes its commitment to diversity. Then, the author says, the dialogue that is needed in our profession might begin in earnest. Kaufman writes in the introduction, "This book joins a growing chorus of writers arguing that lawyers are being hurt by their own industry - and offers some remedies for a life out of balance." It does so in a surprisingly entertaining manner. Repackaging timeless concepts (purpose, intention, mindfulness) into a book aimed specifically at a profession in dire need of change, Kaufman hits the mark square in the forehead.
Recently published by the ABA's Law Practice Management Section, the second edition of this work is full of quotes and quips that even the most restrained highlighter user will be tempted to stain as an act of agreement or for future inspiration. Kaufman is a Yale-educated, recovering, confessing, born-again, big city lawyer turned life coach/author/nonprofit fundraiser who takes the reader along on his personal freedom ride away from the practice of law. It is an enjoyable and lighthearted ride, even though the subject is a very serious and important one.
Throughout the book Kaufman preaches and claims to practice things like "self-empowerment through value identification," "the language of wholeness," and listening to the "music" within. With a series of 22 simple exercises woven throughout the book (also included in the companion CD-ROM), he managed to keep this reader's attention. Pertinent quotes and interesting personal stories set the tone early as Kaufman warns lawyers against the temptation of succumbing to anything less than complete personal fulfillment through work. For example, in chapter three he writes, "[t]he more we climb the ladder of success, the more reluctant we are to admit we placed the ladder on the wrong wall."
It might be described as an easy or quick read were it not for the reflection-jarring insights into the legal profession on each new page. Depending on where the reader is on his or her own journey, Kaufman's book is likely to be reaffirming or very unsettling. Read it anyhow.
Non-Legal Careers for Lawyers, 5th Edition
By Gary A. Munneke, William D. Henslee & Ellen Wayne (Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2006). 208 pgs. Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Nathaniel V. Romano
Non-Legal Careers for Lawyers claims to be a user-friendly resource to find great opportunities for individuals seeking alternatives to the traditional practice of law. While many legal professionals may find practicing law unfulfilling, this book will do little to help them. The jobs it offers are either legal jobs in nonfirm settings (consultants or government jobs) or require substantial contacts in other fields, contacts that would likely negate the need for this book.
The book opens with a discussion of how to find a job. This section offers such gems as how to write a resumé (provide information in a manner that calls attention to your qualities); contacting potential employers (send a cover letter); and skills a legal education offers (critical thinking and problem solving).
Next, the book offers descriptions of nonlegal jobs. These fail, however, to actually give any useful information. Most consist of a paragraph or two restating clichés about various careers. Further, most are simple statements that lawyers can be consultants, advisers, or managers in corporations from various fields. There are some saccharine case studies that mostly involve a lawyer becoming unhappy, then getting a new job and becoming happy.
The resources section is simple filler. After listing job titles, it gives some print and online resources, with brief descriptions. These seem useful, but they likely can be found at a career center or with an online search.
If you are dissatisfied with your legal career, save yourself time and money and just go straight to your alma mater's career center. Better yet, visit Monster.com or read the classifieds. Unless you have never written a resumé, have no clue what your legal education was about, and have yet to encounter nonlegal professions, avoid this book.
Nathaniel V. Romano, U.W. 2005, practices law at Romano, Lutz & Foss LLC, Madison. He failed to fully appreciate his law school career services advisors before now.
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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. Reviewers may keep the book they review. Reviews are published in the order in which they are received.
Publications available for review:
- Cry Rape: The True Story of One Woman's Harrowing Quest for Justice, by Bill Lueders (Madison, WI: Terrace Books, U.W. Press, 2006). 275 pgs.
- Executive Compensation and Related_Party Disclosure: SEC Rules and Explanation, by James Hamilton (Riverwoods, IL: CCH, 2006).193 pgs.
- Judging the Lawyers: A Jury-Box View of the Case Against American Lawyers, by Ted Preston (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse Inc., 2007). 394 pgs.
- Mental Disability Law, Evidence and Testimony: A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Lawyers, Judges and Mental Disability Professionals, by John Parry & Eric Y. Drogin (Chicago, IL: ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, 2007). 467 pgs.
- Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption, by Whitfield Diffie & Susan Landau (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007). 400 pgs.