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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 81, No. 6, June 2008

    Book Reviews

    Mental Disability Law, Evidence and Testimony

    By John Parry and Eric Y. Drogin (Chicago, IL: ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, 2007). 467 pgs. $95. Order, www.ababooks.org.

    Reviewed by Kathleen A. Pakes

    As the authors emphasize, this volume is a comprehensive reference manual. The text provides a basic overview of 1) the mental health provider system and common mental health diagnoses, 2) criminal and civil proceedings in which a party's mental health is an issue in the litigation, and 3) the use of mental health evidence in civil and criminal legal proceedings.

    Mental health providers who do not routinely perform forensic work, or who are new to the field, may find this text helpful. The volume gives a general framework of the standards applied in civil proceedings such as commitments, guardianships, and probate matters; in criminal proceedings such as those dealing with responsibility and competency; and in "dangerousness" (sexually violent; danger to self or others) commitments. The authors break down - into easily understood language - the basic concepts of expert testimony, privilege, and hearsay.

    For the attorney unfamiliar with mental health terminology, the volume succinctly answers fundamental questions such as the following: What is the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist? What is the DSM IV? What does it mean to have a delusional, bipolar, dissociative, or other disorder? As a general legal reference the manual cites U.S. Supreme Court decisions related to mental health issues, but it does not provide a synopsis of Wisconsin law. It is not intended to be a source for jurisdiction-specific legal issues, theory, or trial strategy.

    However, as a comprehensive survey of the interplay between mental health diagnoses, treatment, and legal issues, this text would be an effective component of a law school curriculum or medical education geared toward mental health or forensics.

    Kathleen A. Pakes, Louisville (Brandeis) School of Law 1995, is serving her fourth term as Rusk County District Attorney.

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    Executive Compensation and Related Party Disclosure: SEC Rules and Explanation

    By James Hamilton (Riverwoods, IL; CCH, 2006). 193 pgs. $39. Order, (800) 248-3248.

    Reviewed by Frederick B. Wade

    On Aug. 11, 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new rules for disclosing executive compensation and related-party transactions, which constitute the first major overhaul of the rules since 1992. This book provides attorneys with an accurate and authoritative overview of the new requirements.

    Part I presents rule summaries and explains the major policy decisions that the SEC made in adopting them. It also provides a modicum of historical perspective with respect to those decisions, summarizes comments that the SEC received on several controversial issues, and notes the decisions that the SEC made after considering such comments.

    Part II sets forth the text of the rules. There also is a table of relocated items and a topical index to help attorneys locate particular rules.

    The author states that the new rules are intended "to provide clear and intelligible disclosure that can be understood by the lay reader without the benefit of specialized expertise." To this end, the rules prescribe a new summary compensation table as the format for public companies to disclose the total annual compensation of their principal executive officer, principal financial officer, and three other highest paid executive officers.

    The intent is to combine the disclosure of all elements of compensation in a manner that provides a single "bottom-line number" that will be "comparable from company to company." To facilitate this goal, the summary compensation table contains columns for disclosing the annual dollar value of each element of an executive's compensation, including all equity-based awards of stock and stock options measured as of their grant date fair value.

    The new rules also require public companies to provide investors with a new compensation discussion and analysis, as a narrative supplement to the summary compensation table. The SEC hopes that this narrative will allow investors to see compensation policies through the eyes of those making the compensation decisions.

    The compensation discussion and analysis requires public companies to disclose the material elements of their compensation policies and to explain the most important factors that they considered in determining what executives should be paid. In this context, companies are admonished that the narrative should inform investors "in plain English" how they decided to award particular levels and forms of compensation, without boilerplate, jargon, or presentations that are overly complex or legalistic in nature.

    Additional rule changes provide investors with more complete disclosure of related person transactions. There also are new requirements for disclosure with respect to company policies and procedures for the review, approval, or ratification of relationships with related persons.

    It appears that the book will be most useful as an introduction for attorneys. It is not for the general reader and is not likely to be useful for people who are already familiar with the rules, except as a handy guide to locating applicable requirements as new issues arise.

    Frederick B. Wade, U.W. 1972, served as an SEC staff member from 1973 to 1984, including three years as chief counsel of the Division of Enforcement and as a member of the federal Senior Executive Service. He maintains a law practice in Madison, with an emphasis on corporate governance issues.

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    Qualified Plans: Forms, Notices, and Supplementary Materials

    By Pamela D. Perdue (Philadelphia, PA: ALI-ABA, 2007). 308 pgs. w/CD-ROM. $129. Order, www.ali-aba.org.

    Reviewed by Joe Voiland & Carolyn McAllister

    It is not often that one is asked to review a book that does not contain any true narrative, but this is such a write-up. This is not the Wisconsin Lawyer's first-ever review of the most distinguished American picture book for children (for which the Caldecott Medal is given annually by the American Library Association), for here we cover a somewhat less colorful topic: ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.

    Qualified Plans: Forms, Notices, and Supplementary Materials, by Pamela D. Perdue, is not missing anything. It is a compilation, published by the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association, of defined contribution and defined benefit pension plan forms for use by attorneys and benefit plan administrators.

    The substantive aspects of the forms are right-on and serve as helpful starting points for attorneys and administrators in crafting documents of their own. Perdue includes documents regarding plan enrollment, loans, and safe harbors, and adds several documents regarding distributions. She helpfully includes all these forms on CD-ROM.

    Of most use to attorneys is a lengthy section covering in-service distribution, complete with sample (or model) pleadings to address the problematic issues presented by a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). For attorneys who discover a plan defect requiring correction, the book concludes with a series of charts outlining EGTRRA remedial amendment cycles and summarizing the IRS's employee plans compliance resolution system.

    Finally, the forms do assume substantive knowledge in the employee benefits arena and should not be used by people unwilling to tailor them to the situation at hand. The Pension Protection Act of 2006, for example, envisions additional Department of Labor guidance on default investments and on model participant benefit statements that will be important to anyone using this book.

    Joe Voiland, Marquette 2002, and Carolyn McAllister, U.W. 2004, are attorneys at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Milwaukee.

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    Beyond the Big Firm: Profiles of Lawyers Who Want Something More

    By Alan B. Morrison and Diane T. Chin (Riverwoods, IL: Aspen Publishers, 2007). 300 pgs. $28.95. Order, (800) 950-5259.

    Reviewed by Carrie Ziegler

    At first glance, Beyond the Big Firm seems best suited for law school students considering their career options after graduation. However, this book actually is an inspiring book appropriate for lawyers in any stage of their careers.

    The book is organized into profiles of lawyers in a variety of practice areas and geographical locations, each written by one of Morrison's students. The profiles are lengthy, including information on where the lawyer grew up, different nonlegal jobs that he or she held, and the path he or she took to law school. The students then describe what each attorney does on a day-to-day basis in his or her profession.

    Each student's writing style is different, so some profiles are easier and more interesting to read than others. The profiles are varied, covering areas from public interest jobs to government positions to private practice. I could easily relate to some profiles, while others, such as the profiles of civil rights litigators, provided an insight into an entirely different world.

    Beyond the Big Firm is especially appropriate for young lawyers because the profiles chronicle each lawyer's career history. Most of the lawyers profiled did not obtain their fulfilling positions immediately after law school graduation. The book does a great job of detailing how lawyers came to be in their current positions, including advice from mentors that resonated with them.

    It was interesting to read about what a typical day is like for an assistant district attorney, an immigration lawyer, and even a human rights litigator. I would recommend this book to any lawyer who wants to better understand the jobs of our colleagues or to read about important work that other attorneys are doing around the country.

    Carrie Ziegler, Marquette 2006, is an associate at Schott, Bublitz & Engel s.c., Brookfield, focusing on family law and civil litigation.

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    Making Aid Work

    By Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007). 170 pgs. $14.95. Order, (800) 405-1619.

    Reviewed by R. Timothy Muth

    Foreign aid comes in many shapes and sizes, from direct grants to technical assistance, from loans to capacity building programs. Which programs work best, and how can their effectiveness be measured?

    In Making Aid Work, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, professor of economics at MIT, argues that neither governments nor nongovernmental aid organizations have done a good job of evaluating what types of programs work and why. Because of "lazy thinking" of aid officials, Banerjee asserts, waste and inefficiency exist in aid programs, leaving some people to conclude wrongly that foreign aid simply is a waste of time and resources. Banerjee proposes that foreign aid strategies should be the subject of controlled randomized trials to obtain good data about program effectiveness.

    Making Aid Work is structured as an academic debate. The book opens with an essay by Banerjee in which he makes his case for randomized trials. The book then includes 11 additional essays from a variety of academic, government, and aid experts critiquing Banerjee's proposal. Finally, a rebuttal essay by Banerjee addresses points raised by the other contributors. The book's structure provides the opportunity to view the issues of foreign aid effectiveness from a variety of angles and understandings.

    In the end, the book's contributors largely agree with Banerjee that not enough is known about which foreign aid strategies work and which do not. Whether randomized trials of aid strategies is the only way to obtain such information is debatable, as this collection of essays illustrates. What is not debatable is that getting foreign aid right is crucial if the rich countries of the world are going to be successful in helping eliminate chronic, severe poverty in the rest of the world.

    R. Timothy Muth, Harvard 1986, is a shareholder in Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Milwaukee. He is also the author of a blog that frequently discusses issues of poverty and development in Latin America.

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    Wants, Wishes, and Wills: A Medical and Legal Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family in Sickness and in Health

    By Wynne A. Whitman and Shawn D. Gilsson (Indianapolis, IN: Financial Times Press, 2007). 302 pgs. $24.99. Order, www.ftpress.com.

    Reviewed by Douglas Iverson

    No one plans on getting ill or injured. Most people hate the thought of estate planning. Most people do not want to talk about their inevitable decline and death. I am sure many lawyers can relate a story or two of a client coming into the lawyer's office just before a big trip to have a will prepared. Wants, Wishes, and Wills was written to "give you tools you need to confront disease and dying." Its sections and chapters help readers examine their medical and legal situations so that they can "live smart by planning. You die smart by having planned." Reading this book is the first step in doing that.

    Aimed at the general public, this book, because of its subject matter, is not going to be a big seller. That is a shame because I think this book has some very useful information. For instance, in the first chapter, the authors discuss choosing a physician. They suggest looking not just at the names on the list your insurer gives you but also at training and character traits. In addition, ask your friends and family for the names of physicians they like. The authors believe that if you feel comfortable with your physician, then you will be better able to communicate with your physician and be able to control your health.

    Also, in this section, the authors state that you should put together your own personal health network. That entails creating a comprehensive list of every organization and person, from physician to pharmacist, with whom you have contact in a personal health setting. Include not just names, phone numbers, and addresses, but also your physician's partners' names and your medical, family, and social histories. The authors suggest you give this list to your health care providers so that they are able to contact one another if there is an emergency.

    Other sections of this book discuss capacity from a medical standpoint, pointing out that stating you never want to be on a ventilator is a very broad statement. What if you would be on a ventilator only for a short time? Would that make a difference? The last few sections deal with the philosophy of estate planning. They discuss not only such topics as charitable giving and trusts but also letters of instruction. A glossary of medical and legal terms is included.

    If you have a client, friend, or family member who you just can't cajole into engaging in even basic estate planning, pass this book along to the person and suggest he or she read a few chapters. The questions posed in this book are simple, yet thought provoking. Hopefully, this book will prompt these people to change their minds and call your office tomorrow.

    Douglas Iverson, Tulsa 1998, practices law in Ripon.

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