Vol. 81, No. 7, July
Motorcycle Accident Reconstruction and Litigation,
By Kenneth S. Obenski, Paul F. Hill, Eric S. Shapiro & Jack C.
(Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2007). 621 pgs.
Order, (800) 209-7109.
Reviewed by John A. Kornak
There are many decent textbooks on accident reconstruction. But very
specifically with reconstructing motorcycle crashes. Because there are
unique aspects of
motorcycle accident litigation that are not covered in the standard
textbooks, this book is a tremendous addition to a personal injury
litigator's library. This
text is well-written, easily understandable (for the most part), and
well thought out.
By reading this text, I learned that the fatality rate for
motorcycle riders per
number of accidents is more than seven times higher than for passenger
car occupants and
11 times higher than for truck occupants. A possible explanation for
is that motorcycle drivers and passengers are less protected than
drivers and passengers
of cars and trucks. According to this book, however, it is the failure
motorists to see the motorcycles that accounts for most motorcycle
crashes. This is one in a
long series of tidbits of information that makes this book a good text
to have in your
I also learned that motorcycles react differently in accidents
than do other
vehicles. This fact seems self-evident, but the authors go into great
detail about this issue.
In fact, this book covers practically every conceivable circumstance
under which a
motorcycle crash can occur. This is a good thing, especially if you are
prosecuting or defending a claim involving a motorcycle crash for the
first time, and you know
next to nothing about how motorcycles work and are operated.
If you are looking for a text that delves deeply into the
of accident reconstruction, however, you likely will be disappointed.
assume the reader is already familiar with accident reconstruction and
the commonly used
mathematical formulas in that line of work. Even though the authors make
assumption, readers do not have to be mathematically adept to understand
the concepts contained
in this book. After all, isn't that what experts are for?
For a rather short book it is chock full of (mostly)
For anyone litigating motorcycle accident cases, this is a well-done,
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The Lawyer's Guide to Modern Payment Methods: ACH,
Credit, Debit, and More
By Frederick H. Miller (Chicago, IL: ABA General Practice, Solo &
Firm Division, 2007). 199 pgs. $59.95. Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Kevin J. Cords
The detail given in the title of this book tells readers all they
need to know. This
book is specifically geared to lawyers involved in commercial
transactions. It also could
be useful to nonlawyers working in commercial lending departments,
purchasing departments, and financial institutions generally. Although
the book leads the
reader through the nature and underlying processes of each payment
method, its primary
purpose is setting out the applicable legal standards.
The various methods are tied together by a fact situation
reminiscent of law
school, which should be no surprise given the author's long career at
School of Law. His qualifications in the field are numerous, including
serving as president
of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and as
chair of the
permanent editorial board for the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). This
reflected throughout the book in extensive UCC cites, examination of and
conflicting case law, observations of potentially inconsistent overlaps
in competing legal
standards, and discussion of the convergence of once very different
Each chapter focuses on a particular type of payment method,
citations to model acts, federal statutory and regulatory law, state
statutes, operating rules
of associations such as the National Automated Clearing House
Association, and state
and federal case law. Although secondary sources are well researched and
the primary sources should be sought out. This book allows one to do
that will little
trouble, with ample citations and a list of additional research
resources at the end of
each chapter. The chapters also include endnotes that provide additional
discourse on specific areas of interest.
Chapter topics include letters of credit (and documentary
(wire) transfers, credit and charge cards, checks (which comprises
roughly a third of the
book), and a catch-all chapter on other payment methods, including
stored value and PayPal.
The last chapter, which primarily discusses newer methods, suffers from
a lack of
references to applicable law. The author acknowledges this and offers
potentially applicable laws when no clear applicability exists. While
the legal citations
throughout the book appear up-to-date, some of the statistics used in
the last chapter come
from 2003, which raises some concern when discussing developments in
Included with the book is a CD-ROM, which contains forms in both
files and PDFs. The forms also are found throughout the book, with
as would be expected from a legal work. Also included are checklists for
attorneys should include or address. There is a detailed index, which
includes the cases cited
in the book, and an appendix. The appendix is short but does contain
illustrating the various payment methods discussed in the book. These
invaluable to the book's overriding purpose of providing readers a
convenient starting point
for their research.
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The Lawyer's Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet,
By Carole A. Levitt and Mark E. Rosch (Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice
Management Section, 2006). 850 pgs. $99.95.
Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Nick Zales
The Internet has become as integral to the practice of law as the
problem is separating the wheat of Internet content from the chaff. You
might think reading
a book about the Internet is counterintuitive to the goal of getting
more from the
net, because you could be surfing it instead. Therein lies the problem:
We spend so much
time doing things online the same way that we lose track of the wealth
of factual and
legal information that is not always just a search away.
This book continues to set the standard for online research for
paralegals. There is not, however, a great deal of new substance in the
despite the ever-changing nature of the Internet. All the book's Web
page screen shots have
been updated and verified, and the book has been expanded to include a
chapter on blogs
and podcasts. The book's 20 chapters deal with everything from the
basics of Web browsing
and searching to in-depth descriptions of Web sites in specific areas
such as finding
people, accessing public records from government resources,
and backgrounding companies, and finding medical and scientific
information. Using a
combination of narratives and screen shot pictures of the Web pages
being reviewed, this
book gets you to the best Web sites quickly and authoritatively.
Each book contains a CD-ROM with checklists for building net
hyperlinks to every link in the book. The disk alone is worth the price
of the book. New with
the third edition is a postcard for a free bi-monthly email-based
updating service that
will keep your copy current and provide new legal links.
I highly recommend this book for lawyers who do most of their
own online research.
You do not have to read every chapter to get at what you want, which is
the best and
most reliable information. From acronyms to zip codes, this very
easy-to-read book sets
forth the best Web sites on the topic, tells you the pros and cons of
each site and whether
or not it is free, and allows you to decide which links you choose to
pursue, all at
a glance. The Lawyer's Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet
will help you to conduct more efficient and productive searches and
may, by leading you to some unexpected Web
pages, take your research in a whole new direction.
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Literature and the Law
By Thomas Morawetz (Frederick, MD: Aspen Publishers, 2007). 588 pgs.
Reviewed by Laura Tollefson
Literature and the Law is a textbook for a "literature and the
law" course, which
the author considers a necessary component to all legal educations.
Morawetz, "the essential job that law and literature courses
play is to refocus legal education
on the inescapable truth that law is about individuals _ their needs,
vulnerabilities, and unique characters."
The book contains seven chapters, each covering broad topics.
Within each chapter,
the author addresses several subtopics and provides excerpts from
suggestions for further reading. All subtopics are followed by several
designed to inspire thought and group discussion. Chapter one,
"Fiction's Window on Law and
Lawyers," thoroughly examines lawyers as they play their role, both
in society and in
the legal profession. Chapter two, "The Meanings of Law,"
looks at the role of law itself
in society. Chapter three, "Freedom and Crime," discusses the
law's role in limiting
individual freedoms. Chapter four, "Criminal Minds,"
investigates the offender's state
of mind and how society and those within the law view the offender's
motives and life
experiences in relationship to the act. Chapter five, "Trial and
the purpose, method, and severity of society's punishments. Chapter six,
Meaning," deals with the task of drawing significance and lessons
about the law from
literature. Chapter seven, "The Law of Literature," takes an
approach contrary to the rest of
the book and "looks at literature from the standpoint of the
law," rather than looking at
law through literature.
Morawetz includes excerpts from a diverse body of literature,
commonly read materials, like To Kill a
Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, to the less frequently
taught The Paradise of Bachelors, by Herman Melville. This book
will encourage thoughtful
discussion in classrooms and beyond.
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Life is Short, Art is Long: Maximizing Estate
Planning Strategies for
Collectors of Art, Antiques, and Collectibles
By Michael Mendelsohn & Paige Stover Hagu (New York, NY: Wealth
Management Press, 2006). 424 pgs. $24.95. Order, www.invest- store.com/wealthmanagement/.
Reviewed by Melinda Gustafson Gervasi
What is art? It has been said that art itself is hard to define, and
that it is
more process than end product. Regardless of the term's ambiguity, if
includes estate planning, it would be worth your while to read
Life is Short, Art is Long. As an art succession planning
practitioner, Michael Mendelsohn provides readers with a
glimpse into the art world and supplies a thorough list of legal
strategies to minimize taxes
and preserve art.
The book's strongest feature is that it educates attorneys on
the importance of
asking clients questions about possible art, antiques, or collectibles
owned and their
potential value. During the initial client meeting the value of a home,
account, lake property, business, stocks, and the like are routinely
However, the client's hobby of collecting 19th-century pottery or
carvings from South America
may go unmentioned. After reading this book, an attorney will know to
ask every client
probing questions about collections and pieces owned.
Life is Short, Art is Long discusses the art world at
length and is written more
for aspiring collectors than estate planning attorneys. Despite the
sluggish start, the
second half of the book provides abundant information for attorneys.
include the ramifications of heirs removing art from a home before
probate, the benefits
of donating pieces to a museum, the importance of appraisal, and the
of unknowingly selling pieces for less than their value.
Whether your practice includes only the occasional will or you
focus on estate
planning, Life is Short, Art is Long is a wonderful way to
supplement your knowledge
about the ever growing practice of amassing art, antiques, or
collectibles. The format is
easy to read, with news blurbs interspersed throughout the text.
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