Vol. 75, No. 8, August
Changing Jobs: A Handbook for Lawyers in the
Edited by Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier (Chicago, IL: The
American Bar Association, 1999). 349 pgs. $49.95. Order, (800)
Reviewed by Laura Suess
Geared specifically toward lawyers in career transition, Changing
Jobs: A Handbook for Lawyers in the New Millennium is a useful
collection of chapters by contributing authors who address every
conceivable way for a lawyer to obtain employment. Unlike other
employment search guides, this book is useful because it specifically
addresses situations unique to lawyers engaged in a job search, whether
they are looking for their first job or leaving a law firm to go solo or
work in a variety of public or private career forums.
In one chapter, the author observes that no matter where we work or
what we do, we must constantly upgrade and diversify our skills and
knowledge due to inevitable changes in the economy and technology. The
process to effectively achieve career satisfaction, another author
states, calls for no less than a review of one's life and a willingness
to engage in a systematic but personal quest for what one wants out of
life going forward. Changing Jobs is an effective tool to do
just that. The book includes, for example, a discussion on the art of
reinventing one's current job to achieve career satisfaction; strategies
of self-evaluation to determine whether one's discontent is the result
of one's job or one's whole career; transferring legal skills to
alternative careers, and the probable obstacles one might face and
overcome; use of the Internet and networking; careers in the federal
government and public interest; and tips for interviewing, negotiating a
salary, and writing effective resumés and cover letters, complete
It is nearly impossible to think of anything the authors missed. This
collection of essays is so cohesive and complete that every aspect of a
job search by one trained in the law, from the obvious to the obscure,
is very likely addressed in this book.
Changing Jobs includes useful Web site addresses for bar
associations nationwide, a comprehensive list of the terms of
reciprocity for practice in every state bar, thorough discussions about
obtaining employment with the federal government, and for in-house,
telecommuting, and solo practice jobs. A chapter specifically addresses
career searches by minorities.
In sum, Changing Jobs is a must for any lawyer contemplating
a career change because of the useful and timely insights that each
author provides in this comprehensive guide.
Assessment of Earning Capacity
By Michael Shahnasarian (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges
Publishing Co. Inc., 2001). 215 pgs. $49. Order, (800)
Reviewed by David B. Kuehner
As the author notes, allegations about earning capacity often are
central to claims for damages arising in civil litigation. The book
describes how to establish an individual's earning capacity, how to
determine if that capacity has been compromised, and how to analyze the
impact of events in dispute.
Chapter 1 discusses "vocational experts." Chapter 2 discusses various
methods of inquiry. The author describes what records are necessary and
how to conduct an initial records review; exam-ines the role of clinical
interviews, research tools, collateral sources, and vocational
rehabilitation reports; and includes sample affidavit and client intake
Chapter 3 explains what earning capacity is, how it should be
computed, and what loss of earning capacity can mean. It describes the
Earning Capacity Assessment Form, admonishes the use of nonsystematic
processes and subjective criteria, and presents numerous case
Chapters 4 through 7 focus on specific cases involving acquired
disabilities, the ADA, labor law cases, and family law cases. Chapter 8
discusses testimony. Chapter 9 provides a case study. The book includes
The book is well written, but it doesn't break any new ground. The
analysis is clear and the presentation concise. Practitioners might
consider adopting the author's analytical framework. Those who practice
in this area could use the book to create their own analytical outline
or checklist for dealing with earning capacity issues.
Tax Guide for Journalists
By Mark Luscombe (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2001). 68 pgs.
Free. Order, www.cch.com/press/request_guides.asp.
Reviewed by Scott B. Franklin
Tax Guide For Journalists is a quick reference for
reporters, freelance writers, and photographers on the various tax
issues that might affect them as either an employee or an independent
contractor. Most of the information, though, is more useful to freelance
journalists; employees of a media company with an accounting department
will have less risk of running afoul of the tax rules. The guide also is
a source for common tax information that might be needed for a story.
The current edition of the publication has been updated to reflect 2002
tax law changes.
The 68-page booklet is quick and easy to read. It starts with the
rules related to the two types of employment status: independent
contractor and employee. After next covering different classes of income
(such as compensation or scholarships, and so on) and whether it is
taxable, the guide briefly discusses estimated tax payments and payroll
The author also reviews the deductibility of business expenses and
spends considerable time on car expenses and the home office deduction,
two items that almost certainly affect freelance journalists. Other
expense categories covered include meals and entertainment, travel, and
Particularly noteworthy is the section on record keeping
requirements. The best way to win an audit is documentation, and the
author does a good job discussing this. The publication also provides a
detailed discussion of retirement plans and health insurance options.
The text concludes with general tax planning issues and thoughts on how
to choose a tax preparer and handling an audit. A glossary of common tax
terms completes the booklet.
While a skilled tax practitioner will find this book not detailed
enough and not distinct from other professional tax titles, it is
perfect for the journalist just starting out in the industry and in need
of beginner's guidance. Every client who is a journalist should have a
copy of this booklet, and it can be ordered free through the CCH Web
A Practical Guide to Commercial Real Estate
Transactions: From Contract to Closing
By Gregory M. Stein, Morton P. Fisher Jr. & Gail M. Stern
(Chicago, IL: ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, 2001).
391 pgs., with disk. $139.95. Order, (800) 285-2221.
Reviewed by Martin J. Gregorcich
The plot is predictable - the title says it all. But there is great
character development while the hero and heroine courageously negotiate
one challenge after another, until they fulfill the quest for a
successful closing. This book transports the reader to a frightening,
yet exciting time and place: Fresh out of law school, handed a file, and
told to negotiate a contract and carry it through to closing. You
remember general concepts from property law class, but they didn't
prepare you for this! Where to start?
The ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section has come to
the rescue. Based on the exploits of three practitioners with teaching
credentials, this book bridges the gap between school and practice, and
helps you navigate through your first commercial real estate deals,
mindful of the differing concerns of counsel for the buyer, seller,
lender, and title insurer.
It has four main sections: 1) the sale contract, with emphasis on
representations, conditions precedent to closing, and the allocation of
various risks among the parties; 2) due diligence, including title and
survey matters, lease review and estoppel, physical condition of
property, and remedies for problems discovered; 3) the loan documents;
and 4) preparing for closing, running a closing, and post-closing
Who needs this book? Not lawyers who already have handled a few
transactions, unless they want to shorten tremendously the learning
curve when training new hires. With this book, a neophyte can be
expected to know as much as the teacher, except for the common sense
that comes from experience. It is written at a level that can be
understood by almost anyone motivated to learn and is perfect as a
textbook for paralegals or nonlawyer employees of a mortgage lender or
any corporate real estate department. Do not be surprised if you see it
distributed as a promotional item by title or professional liability
insurers for new attorneys to identify and resolve title problems and
avoid malpractice mistakes.
The authors gleaned the best forms from their own practice and
incorporated them into the text, appendices, and disk. Even the table of
contents functions as a useful checklist of issues. This amazingly
concise field manual will be your trusty map and compass as you venture
into new territory.
Triumph Over Terror
By Shawn T. Shallow (Victoria, B.C., Canada: Trafford
Publishing, 2001). 122 pgs. $12.95. Order, (888) 254-4444.
Reviewed by Kathryn M. Bullon
America lost more than lives on Sept. 11. It lost the innocent belief
that people were safe within its borders and the confidence that its
intelligence agencies can keep the homeland safe from foreign
terrorists. Triumph Over Terror was published swiftly in the
aftermath of the fall of the World Trade Center. The author, a Wisconsin
native with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Marquette
University, apparently intends to reassure a shocked nation that it will
defeat terrorism and will persevere, despite the stunning loss of
civilian life, an unfathomable breach of national security, and the
exceedingly uncomfortable realization that no one and no place,
including America, is beyond terrorists' reach. Unfortunately, the
reader is left with the feeling that the rush to publication superseded
the usual need for logical consistency, objectivity, documented facts,
and even minimal copy editing that are essential if the author is to
credibly build a case for the eventual triumph of America.
Triumph Over Terror is a series of "snapshots" purporting to
chronicle the history of terrorism against America and, in each case,
America's triumph over the activities that were intended to destroy its
spirit or economic viability. Beginning with Black Beard and continuing
through Desert Storm (with a very brief nod to 9/11 and Osama bin
Laden), the author describes pirate raids, British reactions to colonial
uprisings, airline hijackings, the Tehran hostage crisis, and similar
incidents, labeling all such incidents "terrorist" attacks on America.
Each snapshot ends with an enthusiastic description of how America
overcame the terrorists. The author's use of the term "snapshot" is apt:
each incident is described in brief. Like a snapshot, Triumph Over
Terror lacks depth and as a result risks its credibility.
The author describes Black Beard as a terrorist, attacking the
American colonies for economic gain. He later defines terrorism as an
act of terror to further a religious or political goal. How, then, the
reader asks, does Black Beard qualify as a terrorist? The British
deployment of the ship the Gaspee to raid American colonial
vessels and populations in response to the colonists' acts of revolt is
"terrorism," but John Paul Jones' raids against British vessels,
financed in part by the French, are not. The author cites alleged U.S.
intelligence covert operations in response to the bombing of Marine
barracks in Lebanon and say it's "reassuring to know that they're being
implemented on behalf of the terrorist's victims," after conceding that
the truth of whether such covert operations took place may never be
known. The author either doesn't recognize the many inconsistencies in
Triumph or is simply unconcerned with them.
There is a similar lack of concern for any outside factual
documentation. The aforementioned description of the alleged covert
operations is only one example of the numerous unsubstantiated "facts"
described in each snapshot. The author lists a brief "Bibliography and
Recommended Reading" at the end of the book, but there is not a single
citation to any outside source in Triumph. This is especially
troubling given the complexity of the evolution of modern terrorist
organizations, anti-terrorist intelligence gathering, and America's
various responses to terrorist attacks - all of which the author
describes in a factual context, leaving the reader to assume the
accuracy of his statements.
A minor but extremely annoying issue for the reader of
Triumph is the lack of careful editing and proofreading of the
book, which is replete with typographical errors, misspelled words,
incorrect and inconsistent spellings of proper names, and grammatical
Shallow closes with a brief discussion of the five "weapons" in
America's "arsenal" against terrorism: the law; economic power; military
strength; the no-concession policy; and America's foundation in
democracy. In his attempt to bolster the American spirit, he ignores the
obvious - America had all of these so-called weapons in place on 9/11,
and the Trade Centers still came down. There is little comfort in
knowing that these weapons did nothing to prevent the worst act of
terrorism against America in its history. Triumph Over Terror
would have had a better chance of providing an emotional shot in the arm
had the author taken more time to develop his thesis, document his
facts, and posit how America might improve upon the "weapons in its
arsenal" to ensure that there is never another 9/11.
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, org klester wisbar wisbar klester org.
Publications and videos available for review
- All They'll Need to Know: A Comprehensive Account of My Financial
Records and Personal Requests, by Joyce Pierce (Houston, TX: Emerson
Publications, 2002). 32 pgs.
- Alternatives to Litigation: Mediation, Arbitration, and the Art of
Dispute Resolution, second ed., by Abraham P. Ordover & Andrea
Doneff (Notre Dame, IN: National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2002).
- Disability Resource Library: A Comprehensive Collection of
Disability Laws, Guidelines, Settlements, Reports, and More (New
Smyrna Beach, FL: DND Press, 2002). 4000+ pgs. On CD-ROM.
- Doctored Evidence [novel], by Atty. Michael Biehl
(Bridgehampton, NY: Bridge Works Publishing Co., 2002). 273
- Litigants Without Lawyers: Courts and Lawyers Meeting the Challenges
of Self-Representation, by Patricia A. Garcia (Chicago, IL: ABA
Coalition for Justice., 2002). 32 pgs.
- Making Partner: A Guide for Law Firm Associates, second edition,
by John R. Sapp (Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice Management Section,
2002). 81 pgs.
- Rest Assured: The Sabbatical Solution for Lawyers, by Lori Simon
Gordon (Chicago, IL: ABA Career Resource Center, 2002). 140
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: Law and Explanation, by James
Hamilton & Ted Trautmann (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2002). 235
- Who Knows What's Right Anymore?, by Earle F. Zeigler
(Victoria, B.C., Canada: Trafford Publishing., 2002). 274 pgs.