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  • Wisconsin Lawyer
    March 31, 2008

    Book Reviews

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 77, No. 3, March 2004

    Book Reviews

    Book: The Winning ArgumentReversible Errors

    by Scott Turow (New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002). $10.50, at

    Reviewed by David F. Loeffler

    Scott Turow is a lawyer's novelist. We read his novels not only because he tells a well-crafted, compelling story about law that is professionally informed, but also because through his characters he movingly evokes the feelings that underlie all lawyering. These emotions are the stuff of the lawyer's life. That is what novelists are supposed to do, and Turow does it well.

    Reversible Errors involves the efforts of a corporate litigator to rescue a convicted triple murderer from death row. However, the novel is not a polemic against state-sanctioned execution. Turow's focus is on the inner lives of protagonists caught up in the litigation over whether Squirrel Gandolph, convicted of killing three people in a diner and sodomizing the female victim, should now, a decade later, receive a new trial.

    Who are these people? Arthur Raven is Squirrel's pro-bono attorney, a late-30s bachelor and successful corporate litigator who has never been able to form a relationship based on erotic love. He gets a last chance with Gillian Sullivan, a state court judge, who presided over Squirrel's first trial, and has since been imprisoned for bribery (to feed a cocaine habit) and disbarred. She now sells cosmetics at a department store, unmistakably Marshall Field's in Chicago's Loop. Muriel Wynn, the assistant D.A., prosecuted Squirrel and is now running for election as "state's attorney." She is married to a prominent rainmaker in a mega-firm. Muriel's lover, past and present, is the very tough, street-smart detective, Larry Starczek, who obtained Squirrel's "confession." Erno Erdai is a refugee of the Soviet suppression of Hungary's uprising in the late 1950s. He rises to chief of security for the airline that employed the female murder victim, and proclaims his guilt for the murders, for reasons of his own. And, of course, there is Squirrel, a lifetime loser and small-time street criminal, whose 10 years on death row have diminished whatever meager emotional life he might ever have had.

    The plot is not the soap opera that it might appear at first blush: It is Turow's power as a novelist to engage our emotions as we reflect on what all this means in the hearts and souls of his characters, who are always striving for a love just out of reach.

    I won't tell you how this all comes out, except to say that the ambiguity and indeterminacy of the final outcomes in Turow's previous novels are present in Reversible Errors. As always, the story is set in "Kindle County, Center City, DuSable," which we immediately recognize as Chicago and Cook County, Turow's home town and where he now practices law at the Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal firm.

    The novel tells us much about the interconnection between lawyering and living, and opens the door to the "shock of recognition" of our lives in the lives of Turow's characters.

    David Loeffler, U.W. 1963, is an apostate law professor who previously taught at Wayne State and Florida State law schools and is now a corporate litigator affiliated with Krukowski & Costello S.C., Milwaukee.

    ALI-ABA's Practice Checklist Manual for Drafting Leases IV: Checklists, Forms, and Drafting Advice

    Edited by Mark T. Carroll (Philadelphia, PA: ALI-ABA, 2003). 223 pgs. CD-ROM. $89. Order, (800) 253-6397.

    Reviewed by Anne Blood

    For attorneys who practice in real estate and deal with commercial leases, this book is a definite must-have. Beginning with how to measure rentable space in commercial leases, and ending with lease issues from both the landlord and tenant perspective, this text addresses commercial lease issues in a straightforward, understandable manner. There is a discussion of summary remedy provisions in leases, lease guaranties, wireless telecommunications site agreements, and CERCLA amendment issues. Also included are lender perspectives, including what constitutes a financeable lease and how to counsel a letter of credit arranger on tenant insolvency.

    Each chapter begins with a checklist for the particular topic, and then goes into the background on that issue. Where forms are applicable, they also are included. The entire text, with forms, is also on CD-ROM, which is included with the text. The forms are particularly useful, and include a basic contract that should be in every attorney's collection. All of the clauses that are discussed are included in sample form.

    The last three chapters of the text are perhaps the most illustrative. There is a chapter entitled "Landlord's Checklist of Silent Lease Issues" that is countered by a chapter called "Tenant's Checklist of Silent Lease Issues." To illustrate perhaps how confused many tenants (and landlords) are by the whole lease process, the "Top 100 Changes a Tenant Would Like to See in a Landlord's Standard Lease" shows in very concise form how, very simply, we can make this process more understandable and less intimidating to our clients.

    In short, this "quick read" will help any real estate professional to become more proficient at drafting and interpreting commercial leases.

    Anne Blood, Thomas M. Cooley 1990, is the managing attorney, Wisconsin Operations, for Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund Inc. She also speaks on real estate and title insurance issues statewide.

    Forensic Aspects of Driver Perception and Response, Second Edition

    By Paul L. Olson & Eugene Farmer (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2003). 372 pgs. Order,

    Reviewed by John A. Kornak

    Paul Olson is considered to be the leading expert in the field of driver perception and response. This text is the second edition of a best-selling reference that Olson first published in 1996. As with the first edition, this book's subject matter is simple: what could or should a driver see under a given set of circumstances, and given those circumstances, how long does it (or should it) take the driver to respond? Any attorney practicing litigation in which "human factors" such as these are involved needs this text.

    This book is cogent, easily understandable, and accessible. It also contains source material for further study. It is divided into 15 chapters with topics ranging from "conspicuity" ("those characteristics of an object or condition that determine the likelihood that it will come to the attention of an observer who does not expect it to be there"), to "expectancy" ("a predisposition of people to believe that things will happen or be arranged in a certain way") to "driver perception-response time." The second edition expands and adds new source material to many chapters, and includes two new topics not discussed in the first edition. Chapter five, "Driver Eye Movements and Visual Attention," and chapter eight, "The Driver's Field of View," were not included in the first edition.

    The topics covered in this book are helpful to attorneys handling cases in which driver perception and response are at issue. This book is particularly helpful in Wisconsin when dealing with issues involving obstructed vision (Wis JI-Civil 1310), obstructed vision: nighttime (Wis JI-Civil 1315), and camouflage (Wis JI-Civil 1320). The authors mix technical information with real-life examples to make this book equally accessible to those who are technically oriented and those who are not.

    Many times, attorneys make quick assumptions in accident cases based upon "common sense," for example, "How could my client have missed this obvious danger?" We sometimes fail to consider subtle, but important, factors in deciding how to attack a particular set of facts. As a primary source of information on ways to look at cases in a new light, and as a great source of knowledge on these issues, this book is highly recommended.

    John A Kornak, Valparaiso 1986, is in private practice in McHenry, Ill., at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Popovich P.C. Licensed to practice in Illinois and Wisconsin, he worked eight years as a criminal prosecutor. He currently limits his practice to catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice.

    Fame & Fortune: How Successful Companies Build Winning Reputations

    By Charles J. Fombrun & Cees B.M. Van Riel (New York, NY: Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2003). 264 pgs. $25.95. Order,

    Reviewed by Sarah M. Hatch

    This book examines the means by which companies develop strong reputations, including those that enable them to survive catastrophes and enjoy success once again. Using simple language, authors Charles J. Fombrun and Cees B.M. Van Riel explore this topic through statistics and case studies, such as discussions about Johnson & Johnson, Ben & Jerry's, and FedEx. Van Riel is professor of corporate communications, Rotterdam School of Management of Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands). Fombrun is professor emeritus of management at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and the executive director of the Reputation Institute, which developed (in conjunction with Harris Interactive) the "Reputation Quotient," a standard indicator of consumer perceptions of corporate reputations that the authors use for much of the data within this book.

    The authors propose that having a "winning" reputation is key to nurturing overall corporate health. The benefits of a strong reputation flow to diverse areas within a company; the authors discuss branding, human resources, and investor relations, among others. Branding pertains to customers' associations with a company's product and is a subset of corporate reputation, because while a strong reputation may increase the strength of a brand, the authors state that the reverse is not true (for example, Nike's brand is strong but unable to strengthen its weaker reputation, which suffers due to child labor allegations). Reputation also is valuable within human resources; a strong reputation helps attract top applicants and retain employees and encourages employees to embrace corporate culture. Finally, a winning reputation reassures investors about a company's prospects and builds their confidence regarding the vision and abilities of the company's leaders.

    Fame & Fortune ends with a lengthy examination of FedEx's reputation development, an example the authors use to emphasize three "lessons": companies should audit their reputations like other assets; reinventing reputation may require deep-seated corporate changes, because reputation draws upon corporate culture; and companies must cultivate their reputations constantly. Fombrun and Van Riel conclude by reminding readers that a strong reputation is a powerful intangible asset that can affect a company's bottom line.

    Sarah M. Hatch, University of Illinois College of Law 1999, is an associate at the Milwaukee office of Quarles & Brady LLP. She focuses her practice on intellectual property matters, including trademark licensing and sports and event marketing.

    Achieving Environmental Excellence: Integrating P2 and EMS to Increase Profits

    By Avrom Bendavid-Val & Dr. Nicholas P. Cheremisinoff (Rockville, MD: ABS Consulting, 2003). 286 pgs. $79. Order, (301) 921-2323.

    Reviewed by K. William Davidson

    Beginning with a detailed overview of EMS, ISO 14001, P2, and the direct and indirect costs associated with pollution, waste, and environmental compliance, the introductory chapters of Achieving Environmental Excellence clearly lay out the issues, the parlance, what is at stake, and what may be gained in implementing an integrated Pollution Prevention (P2) and Environmental Management System (EMS). Targeted at high-level management, the authors describe how an integrated EMS/P2 program may increase a facility's efficiency and product quality, reduce costs associated with waste and environmental compliance, create an "environmental performance improvement loop," and provide a framework for ISO 14001 certification.

    Beyond the introductory material is a step-by-step approach, from assessing immediate opportunities to exploit, to implementing and maintaining a self-sustaining, profit enhancing EMS/P2 program. The authors suggest areas of focus in which full EMS implementation may not be feasible and illustrate the application of processes through examples. The approach stresses the cost/benefit advantages of reducing waste and process inefficiency, and reducing future environmental liabilities.

    While addressing the organizational framework of an integrated EMS/P2, the authors also provide specific examples of the system in practice through case studies. The book illustrates a flexible management structure, applicable to nearly any facility, to increase profits while eliminating ongoing expenses of environmental compliance through traditional "end-of-pipe" P2 techniques. It is well to note, however, that Achieving Environmental Excellence is not a technical how-to manual. The full scope of benefits would be realized only through sincere top-management buy-in, and extensive technical expertise in process engineering.

    This compact text provides a compelling argument for the integrated EMS/P2 approach and an outline for its implementation. The extensive flowcharts, outlines, and references to additional sources make it a valuable resource for those involved in pollution prevention, environmental management systems, or ISO 14001 compliance.

    K. William Davidson, a property claim law specialist, is involved in property claim issues with American Family Insurance Co. He is studying law part-time at Marquette University Law School.

    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,

    Publications and videos available for review

    • Are You There Alone? The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates, by Suzanne O'Malley (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2004). 281 pgs.
    • Basic PowerPoint Exhibits, by Deanne C. Siemer & Frank D. Rothschild (Notre Dame, IN: National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2003). 178 pgs.
    • Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century, edited by Thomas W. Malone, Robert Laubacher, Michael S. Scott Morton (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003). 443 pgs.
    • LawyerLife: Finding a Life and a Higher Calling in the Practice of Law, by Carl Horn III (Chicago, IL: ABA, 2003). 167 pgs.
    • Taking and Defending Depositions, by Stuart M. Israel (Philadelphia, PA: ALI-ABA, 2004).344 pgs.
    • Uneasy Alchemy: Citizens & Experts in Louisiana's Chemical Corridor Disputes, by Barbara L. Allen (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004). 224 pgs.

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