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    Book Reviews for May 2008.


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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 81, No. 5, May 2008

    Book Reviews

    How to Avoid the Divorce from Hell, 2nd Edition

    By M. Sue Talia (Danville, CA: Nexus Publishing Co., 2006). 339 pgs. $17.95. Order, (925) 838-2660.

    Reviewed by Kevin J. Cords

    How to Avoid the Divorce from Hell is subtitled And Dance Together at Your Daughter's Wedding. The author's 30 years of family law experience help her provide a comprehensive overview of all aspects of a divorce that will assist someone in achieving just that goal. While the laws of each jurisdiction differ, a point the author stresses, the advice focuses on the client's actions. Where specific legal concepts arise, readers in the author's state, California, and community property states, such as Wisconsin, will find them familiar.

    The second edition of this work, originally published in 1996, mirrors the first. The update provides some new substantive material and many new resources. For family law practitioners, the issues and anecdotes related will be familiar and provide valuable insight into another lawyer's perspective in an often amusing framework. However, the book's audience clearly is the layperson, for whom the book is ably designed.

    The book covers everything from selecting a lawyer through post-divorce issues. It identifies behaviors that undermine efforts for an amicable resolution and provides useful suggestions. While the author can be blunt at times, open minded readers will not take offense. The work includes a glossary, index, and lists of resources, most of which are independent of the author's other works.

    Readers also will be able to access the book by relevant chapter. One danger with that approach is that readers may feel like they are solely responsible for, and can control, the outcome. Warnings about not giving up too much because of feelings of guilt, remorse, or a need to end the process regardless of the cost, are well delivered, although rare.

    On the whole, the book provides a balanced approach that will be useful for anyone dealing with divorce or actions affecting children, a subject on which the work is particularly good.

    Kevin J. Cords, U.W. 2002, is an attorney at Balisle & Roberson S.C., Madison, practicing primarily in family law.

    Drafting Wills, Trusts and Other Estate Planning Documents: A Style Manual

    By Kevin D. Millard (Denver, CO: Bradford Publishing Co., 2006). 166 pgs. $45. Order, www.bradfordpublishing.com.

    Reviewed by Thomas A. Heyn

    Do your clients' eyes glaze over when they read the estate planning documents you've sent for their review? They probably do if you've built your document library from various forms and sources over the years. The documents may be uneven in style and filled with dense, technical writing. Clients don't appreciate that. Kevin Millard argues attorneys can do much to improve their documents.

    Millard urges redrafting documents into standard English. A list of do's and don'ts explains how to do this. He focuses on drafting for the client, who is paying for the documents, rather than drafting for lawyers and judges, most of whom will rarely see these documents except in probate administration. He states that even probate judges will appreciate documents that have been drafted using these guidelines.

    Drafting documents that communicate clearly includes organizing them well, by providing a structure that is logical. Millard provides examples. Although I didn't agree with all his suggestions, the book made me reconsider how my documents are organized. In addition, he discusses the physical appearance of wills and trusts. Following basic rules of typography will make documents more readable, more pleasing to the eye, and more professional in appearance.

    In a chapter called "How to Use Forms Instead of Letting Them Use You," Millard discusses how to adapt forms from various sources so that they conform to the guidelines discussed earlier in the book and are made uniform with the style of the attorney's other documents. The final chapter provides annotated samples of a will, a revocable trust, and powers of attorney that have been prepared using the author's guidelines.

    Buy this book if you want to make your estate planning documents easier for your clients to read and use. Your documents are often the only tangible "product" that the client sees. Make them the best that you can.

    Thomas A. Heyn, U.W. 1998, is a sole practitioner in Cottage Grove, practicing in estate planning, elder law, real estate, and small business issues.

    Feingold: A New Democratic Party

    By Sanford D. Horwitt (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2007). 276 pgs. $26. Order, www.simonandschuster.com.

    Reviewed by Craig R. Johnson

    Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) traces his political roots to the progressive tradition in Wisconsin politics that was born with Robert M. La Follette Sr., who is described in Sanford Horwitt's biography of Feingold as "the most inspirational leader and personification of the Progressive Era." Horwitt's portrayal of Wisconsin's junior senator, however, shows that Feingold is likely to be remembered as the U.S. Senate's chief guardian of civil liberties and constitutional principles and the leader of a national progressive movement.

    One of the most interesting aspects of Horwitt's book is his exploration of the Feingold family's roots in Janesville and its links to the resurgent Democratic Party in Wisconsin in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Feingold's father, Leon, was a good friend of Thomas Fairchild. Fairchild, elected attorney general in 1948, was the first Democrat to win a statewide race since 1932. Horwitt recounts how Fairchild was recruited for the race by James E. Doyle Sr., the father of Wisconsin's current governor. Doyle later served as a federal judge, and Fairchild, who lost a 1952 U.S. Senate race to Joe McCarthy, later served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The pivotal election of 1948 also brought to the legislature Gaylord Nelson, another Wisconsin political legend who would later become one of the first major politicians to endorse Feingold in his first U.S. Senate campaign.

    Horwitt recounts Feingold's political career, focusing equally on his legislative accomplishments and his often underdog, grassroots election campaigns. An interesting part of the book focuses on Feingold's Wisconsin Senate years, particularly some of his lesser-known fights, such as his struggle to stop interstate banking legislation. This was at a time when few people predicted that Feingold would rise to become the national leader that he is, and Feingold's attention to the details of legislation in more obscure areas of public policy prove that there is plenty of substance behind his national image as a hero of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

    The book's second half deals with Feingold's career in the U.S. Senate, which is familiar ground to people who follow Wisconsin politics. His come-from-nowhere defeat of Joe Checota and Jim Moody in the Democratic primary is one of the great stories in modern Wisconsin political history, and Horwitt's recounting of it puts appropriate emphasis on how Feingold's patient, persistent campaigning in small towns across the state made the victory possible.

    Feingold's career in the Senate today shines as a bright light for progressive Democrats across the country _ the "democratic wing of the Democratic Party," as Howard Dean put it. One day he may make the run for the White House that many people expect. But, as his opposition to the USA Patriot Act and his unlikely but constitutionally sound vote in favor of a full trial of the impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton show, Feingold might best serve the nation in the U.S. Senate, where he can also serve a great purpose as a principled, articulate, and thoughtful voice in the wilderness of American politics.

    Craig Johnson is with the Office of the Public Defender, Milwaukee.

    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. Order, www.wisc.edu/wisconsinpress.

    Reviewed by Matthew D. Pulda

    This book tells the story of Patty, a legally blind woman who was raped at knifepoint in her Madison apartment early in the morning of Sept. 4, 1997. This event marked only the beginning of a seven-year ordeal that tested Patty emotionally and financially. Coerced by skeptical police officers into retracting her story, she found herself branded a liar in newspapers, charged with obstruction of justice, stymied by an unresponsive police commission, and bullied by defense lawyers in a federal lawsuit against the police officers. Even after DNA evidence identified a suspect in 2001, he was not tried and convicted until 2004.

    Bill Lueders, a Madison journalist and an early champion of Patty's cause, presents Patty's story with compassion, fairness, and clarity. His indignation frequently shows: One recurring theme is how Patty's treatment contradicts Madison's "enlightened" reputation and its "swollen sense of pride." More generally, Lueders addresses the difficulty police can have finding a middle way between unquestioning acceptance of an alleged rape victim's story and unhelpful notions of how rape victims "should" act, difficulty compounded by the apparent reluctance of the criminal justice system's representatives to admit mistakes, no matter how obvious. To do so, Lueders argues, is "not weakness but strength … an affirmation of the desire to do what's right."

    In addition to a timeline, Lueders provides a list of recurring characters. However, several descriptions are not very helpful because they do not sufficiently encapsulate individuals' roles in Patty's story. Lueders also maintains a fairly comprehensive list of primary documents on the book's Web site, www.cryrapebook.com, but that fact appears only on the very last page, where interested readers might miss it.

    These minor flaws aside, Cry Rape is a fast, compelling read for people who want to gain a better understanding of the criminal justice system, warts and all.

    Matthew D. Pulda, U.W. 2005, is a former legislative assistant in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

    MacCarthy on Cross-Examination

    By Terence F. MacCarthy (Chicago, IL: ABA, 2007). 208 pgs. $129.95. Order, www.ababooks.org.

    Reviewed by Martin A. Blumenthal

    If you've never attended a Terry MacCarthy presentation in person (which I strongly urge you to do), reading his book on cross-examination is almost as good.

    Culling his 40 years of experience as a federal defender in Chicago, MacCarthy devised an effective system of cross-examination. Other instructors in trial advocacy have adopted his system and found it to be superb. Readers also will receive an education in witness psychology, by which I mean how to steer the witness's testimony to make you, the attorney, look good.

    MacCarthy is lavish in crediting other lawyers for their contribution to, use of, and even disregard for his system. Although some lawyers, if they have the right personality, may be successful when disregarding his system, most people will be better off following it. The book includes several examples of cross-examinations using his system selected from actual trials, both civil and criminal.

    Understanding and using body language is an important part of MacCarthy's system. Eye contact, posture, and nods of the head play a supporting role in making the lawyer look good to the jury and keeping the witness in line.

    MacCarthy's continuing legal education courses are replete with his sharp sense of humor, which comes through nicely in his writing. I recommend this book even for those lawyers who do not do trial work because the book provides lessons in human behavior and in advocacy.

    Martin A. Blumenthal, Chicago-Kent 1981, is an attorney and CPA in Northfield, Ill.

    Every Relationship Matters: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform Your Business, Your Firm, and Yourself

    By Peter E. Rouse (Chicago, IL: ABA Book Publishing, 2007). 143 pgs. $39.95. Order, (800) 282-2221.

    Reviewed by Melinda Gustafson Gervasi

    A quick read at just over 125 pages, Every Relationship Matters is a useful book for any lawyer, from managing partner to first-year associate to solo practitioner, seeking to enhance his or her career. The book is filled with insightful quotes and questions designed to get readers thinking creatively. Seeking to pick up on an innovative trend in law schools, the author aspires to educate readers on life skills: "[W]hile we are taught about the law we are not taught anything about the life skills needed to manage ourselves, our relationships with colleagues and clients, and our private lives in the hugely demanding conditions of legal practice."

    The book's strengths are found in the later chapters. For example, a chapter entitled "Integrity" pushes readers to define what their legal practice is about; and having high monthly billings is not the answer the author is looking for. Instead, Rouse asks readers to define what purpose their law practice stands for, what it values. He states that when people live in accordance with their values, they will have more fulfilling careers, and in turn happier lives overall.

    Another beneficial chapter is called "Behavior," in which the author reviews everyday truths that are too often overlooked in the frenzy of practice. Rouse asks: How can you improve your acknowledgement skills? Do you use active listening when communicating with colleagues or clients? Have you ever asked a client, "What can I do for you?" As Rouse says, it is the little things in everyday practice that build stronger relationships, allowing your career to flourish.

    Unfortunately, the first portion of the book focuses more on the relationship lawyers have with themselves. Although I can see how this is probably the most important relationship a person can have, the author's insight and ideas fall a bit short. While the material in these first chapters was interesting, I kept wondering what it had to do with improving a legal career through relationships.

    Despite the lackluster start, I recommend the book to anyone starting a legal career, anyone in transition, or anyone managing a team of attorneys. Rouse ends by writing, "[I]f things are to change for the better, then we must change for the better beginning by being willing to see things differently, to direct our intentionality toward achieving better performance and profitability through bettering ourselves and our capacities as human beings." If this quote touches a chord with you, then Every Relationship Matters is an excellent place to start the process of change.

    Melinda Gustafson Gervasi, U.W. 2001, is the founder of Gustafson Law Office, Madison, and concentrates in estate planning and probate.

    Ivy Briefs: True Tales of a Neurotic Law Student

    By Martha Kimes (New York, NY: Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2007). 276 pgs. $23. Order, www.simonandschuster.com.

    Reviewed by Elizabeth Ruthmansdorfer

    This book is an enjoyable, well written, light summer read that will entertain lawyers and nonlawyers alike. It is a book to pick up at the beach and read while sipping lemonade.

    Martha Kimes describes her experiences as a law student at Columbia Law School. The book begins with her uncertainty regarding life after graduation from college and ends with her first job after law school. Kimes describes each year of law school, her summer internship, and the bar exam. She pokes fun at herself and her ignorance of the law school process, and she is honest about her self discovery and the changes within herself.

    Although Kimes attended an Ivy League school, the events she describes could occur at any law school in the country. Readers may find themselves reliving their own experiences as the author pokes fun at the stress endured during exams as a 1L, the hard work as a 2L with moot court, law review, and interviews for internships, and the boredom as a 3L in finishing basic graduation requirements. The book is peppered with descriptions of instructor- and student-types most lawyers encountered in law school, such as the sadistic professor, the gunner, and the do-gooder. The book takes an entertaining look at long hours of study, competition between students, and the changes in students' personalities.

    If you're looking for a light summer read, look no further.

    Elizabeth Ruthmansdorfer, Marquette 2003, practices with Moertl, Wilkins & Campbell S.C., Milwaukee.

    Celebrating the Courthouse, a Guide for Architects, Their Clients, and the Public

    Edited by Steven Flanders (foreword by Justice Stephen G. Breyer) (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006). 240 pgs. $60. Order, www.wwnorton.com.

    Reviewed by James W. McNeilly Jr.

    This reference book is directed at people involved with designing and building courthouses. While the first part of the book is a historical look at the American courthouse, most of the book is directed at the myriad considerations involved in the design and construction process and alternative ways to address those considerations.

    The book is organized into four parts: Placing the Courthouse in Its Community and History; Solving the Distinctive Problems of a Courthouse Project; The Courthouse, Its Public and Its Users; and The Future of the Courthouse. The book ends with an epilogue, entitled "Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Federal Architecture," that lays out the proposition that Mr. Moynihan "probably had a greater influence on federal design than any other public figure of the second half of the twentieth century." There is a note section with citations, and an index.

    The book contains interesting tidbits such as the fact that President Harry S. Truman, while a county judge and a county executive, helped design and build two courthouses, a "skyscraper in Kansas City (1934)" and "a modest-scaled neo-Georgian county courthouse in Independence (1935), his hometown." Additionally, in the foreword, Justice Stephen G. Breyer tells of his involvement with the design and construction of the Boston federal courthouse, a beautiful building located on the waterfront.

    Clearly, the book is not directed at attorneys. Yet, for lawyers interested in the history and design of courthouses, or who want an interesting law-related book for a waiting room, this book fits the bill.

    James W. McNeilly Jr., U.W. 1981, is managing director of Lakelaw Wisconsin, with offices in Kenosha and La Crosse, where he focuses on business law.

    Escape from Empire: The Developing World's Journey Through Heaven and Hell

    By Alice H. Amsden (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007). 197 pgs. $27.50. Order, mitpress.mit.edu.

    Reviewed by Laura Tollefson

    In this book, Alice H. Amsden, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lays out her theory that American policy toward developing countries during the second half of the 20th century can be separated into two ideologically different eras: the "First American Empire," representing heaven; and the "Second American Empire," representing hell. She further argues that only against the backdrop of a U.S. foreign policy marked by flexibility and what she considers to be true laissez faire government (freedom to allow developing countries to cultivate their own economies, rather than imposing free markets) will developing nations once again be allowed to grow.

    According to Amsden, the First American Empire (the Golden Age), from 1950 to 1980, was a period of incredible growth in the developing world, evidenced by the fact that this was the only time in modern history in which the income in developing nations increased at a more rapid pace than did income in developed nations. Developing nations were able to grow during the First American Empire, because America's laissez faire approach to foreign policy allowed these nations to develop markets as they saw fit. When the second empire began, America's conception of laissez faire became much more severe, and developing nations were expected to deregulate their financial markets. Amsden examines in great detail how this turn in policy led to decreased growth rates in developing nations.

    Amsden's book is intensely detailed and contains many insights into America's impact on the world's economies. She uses numerous examples from around the world to illustrate each argument. She also supports her work by including several charts and tables throughout the book. This book is worth a read for anyone interested in an exhaustive analysis of America's post-World War II foreign economic policy.

    Laura Tollefson, Marquette 2005, is a client services coordinator in the traffic department of a Madison media company.



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