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    Book Reviews

    Richard BinderJohn KornakScott FranklinMichael BrennanDavid Kuehner

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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 76, No. 5, May 2003

    Book Reviews

    Book: Human Factors in Traffic Safety Human Factors in Traffic Safety

    By Robert E. Dewar & Paul L. Olson (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2002). 719 pgs. $110. Order, (800) 209-7109.

    Reviewed by John A. Kornak

    The hallmark of a great general reference book for the busy practitioner is ease of use combined with practical application and sufficient technical information to assist in finding and cross-examining experts. For attorneys who practice in an area of the law that uses human factors experts, this book is an invaluable addition to the library.

    The field of human factors is described as "a scientific discipline concerned with the interaction of people and devices of various kinds." In this book, the focus is limited to the interaction of people and motor vehicles. The editors bring together all of the major human factors topics of concern to driving and traffic safety to show how the science of human factors contributes to traffic safety and how it is helpful to investigating motor vehicle collisions.

    This book has four distinct parts. Each part applies the science of human factors to traffic safety from a different perspective: the driver, the vehicle, the roadway environment, and accident causation and remediation. Each chapter within the four parts is written by experts in their respective fields. All of the chapters were reviewed by the editors, and most were also reviewed by outside experts.

    The book also suggests source material for further study. Such disparate topics as driver perception-response time, alcohol and drugs, roadway design, and visibility under roadway lighting are addressed.

    Despite the occasional instance of hypertechnicality, this book is a tremendous aid for busy practitioners. It provides enough information on disparate topics while maintaining a comfortable approachability to a field of science that often is difficult to understand. As a primary source for information on human factors and its interaction with traffic safety, I highly recommend this book.

    John A. Kornak, Valparaiso 1986, practices in the Law Offices of Thomas J. Popovich PC, McHenry, Ill.

    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. $9.95. Order, (832) 724-4889.

    Reviewed by Scott B. Franklin

    "What do you own?" If not the first question, this is probably one of the many initial questions an attorney will ask his or her client before undertaking an estate or tax planning project, an elder care/Title XIX planning engagement, divorce litigation, or prenuptial negotiations. Or, when attempting to inventory a decedent's assets after death, a personal representative might find records to be lacking and incomplete.

    All They'll Need to Know: A Comprehensive Account of My Financial Records and Personal Requests is marketed as a resource handbook to help assemble the various types of financial and other personal information everyone should have readily available and organized. Although the publisher's promotional guides might lead one to believe that this product is reading material, it is in fact a 32-page booklet of fill-in-the-blank forms designed to accumulate a personal database. (The author suggests using pencils to make it easier to update the data over time.) The goal is to have the forms ready to assist with pre-death planning issues or post-death administration without the stress of gathering records during an emotional time.

    Some forms have two blanks, one for each spouse. These include questionnaires collecting vital statistics such as names; addresses; dates of birth; family members; dates of marriages or divorces; educational, work and military histories; and so on. Many testamentary documents now provide for the disposition of personal items through a separately drafted letter the individual will write as he or she thinks of things. The booklet provides pages for listing who gets what item to facilitate this process. It also includes pages on which burial instructions could be detailed, again with the intent of making this information easily accessible at a time of grief.

    Other pages are designed to itemize financial holdings. Depending on the individual, these forms may not contain enough room to list all bank accounts, stock or mutual fund holdings, retirement plan accounts, real estate holdings, automobiles, and other assets. Space also is included to list credit cards and liabilities owed to others as well as life, medical, health, and disability insurance policies.

    This booklet could be very useful to attorneys who provide planning services and might replace other forms of questionnaires they distribute to clients. Family members also will find the information they need to assume control for an ill or incapacitated parent. However, before ordering a large quantity, attorneys should make sure that the booklet covers all the issues they normally would address. More information is available at the publisher's Web site, www.emersonpublications.com.

    Scott B. Franklin, Marquette 1995, is a CPA and tax manager with the Milwaukee accounting firm of Kohler and Franklin, C.P.A.s.

    First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life

    By Kenneth W. Starr (New York, NY: Warner Books Inc., 2002).
    320 pgs. $26.95.

    Reviewed by Michael B. Brennan

    This book describes the legal tools used by the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the law and decide cases. It also explains the beliefs that may have moved individual justices over the years to vote as they did in certain decisions. Starr, a former federal appellate judge, U.S. Solicitor General, and independent counsel, describes the Supreme Court's origins and current justices and the Court's recent opinions in cases involving individual rights and the powers and structures of American government. Through these accounts he examines the role of the Supreme Court in American life.

    For Starr the Supreme Court is moved by foundational ideas. Equality, for example, motivates many decisions, but as a unifying principle has different results in affirmative action and congressional redistricting cases. Neutrality is at the core of the First Amendment establishment clause, while protecting individual conscience animates decisions on school prayer and flag burning. "Judicial restraint" - finding specific answers to legal questions in the text, structure, or history of the law, or not ruling at all - is the opposite of "judicial statecraft" - balancing competing interests as a guise to the Court making a policy judgment. Starr sees the necessity of stability in the Court's decisions through application of the principle of stare decisis.

    As Starr portrays how legal decisions reveal these ideas, we see the significance of legal craftsmanship. Of supreme importance to Starr is sharp and painstaking legal analysis. He finds the current Court to be a more lawyerly tribunal than were past Courts. It is made up of careful appellate judges "self-consciously struggling for greater rigor and persuasiveness in its doctrine." To not do so is to abdicate a solemn judicial obligation to be principled in coming to judgment. The law's text, structure, constitutional history, and precedent are the "tools in the judicial workshop." Starr contrasts the looseness of some decisions of the Burger Court with more careful analysis in some Rehnquist Court opinions. Today's Supreme Court is "a court of lawyers in which history is treated with genuine respect."

    First Among Equals is written for an audience beyond just lawyers. Its clear writing is easily accessible and is sprinkled with personal anecdotes, such as which five of the nine current justices Starr finds most influential and why. The chapter on the Court and the executive branch, given Starr's role as independent counsel, is ripe for deeper treatment. But he follows this with a strong chapter on the politics and law of Bush v. Gore.

    In the end Starr highlights the continuity among the Warren Court and its successors under Chief Justices Burger and Rehnquist. In each era the Court has asserted judicial power over similar subjects. Starr finds a dedication to moderation and stability, such as when the current Court declined to overrule controversial cases of the 1960s and 1970s. Still, it has not abandoned a central role in governing, for example, in Bush v. Gore. The Court remains engaged in many areas of our national life.

    Michael B. Brennan, Northwestern 1989, is the judge for Branch 15 of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

    Legally Speaking: 40 Powerful Presentation Principles Lawyers Need to Know

    By David J. Dempsey (Atlanta, GA: Miranda Publishing LLC, 2002). Order, www.mirandapublishing.com.

    Reviewed by Richard L. Binder

    When was the last time you took stock of your public speaking ability? A better question might be whether you have ever even thought about it. Attorney Dempsey starts with the premise that while almost everything an attorney does involves some form of persuasion, most attorneys are dreadful speakers. He uses himself as a prime example, describing the mortification he felt upon hearing a juror refer to him as "Jell-O Boy" after he delivered his first opening statement. While his "Jell-O Boy" gambit seems manufactured, it is certainly true that many attorneys lose sight of the value of technique when speaking in both public and private. They just don't have good "bedside manners." Since public speaking is a learned skill, Dempsey offers his formula for success, drawing on his background as a lawyer, a toastmaster, and an adjunct professor of public speaking at Oglethorpe University in Georgia.

    The book is structured around 40 principles ranging from the patently obvious ("Stand Tall" and "Act Confident") to the more subtle ("Capitalize on Potent Pauses" and "Take Command of 'Q and A'"). Each principle is supported by subpoints, variously described as secrets, practice pointers, guides, techniques, keys, and so on. Dempsey has done his homework, as the book contains more than 225 quotes (not always well anchored to the text, but always interesting) and numerous Web sites to help obtain additional information. It also has a good list of recommended readings and suggested sources.

    Perhaps the best insight Dempsey provides is that a good speaker always remembers that success lies more with the audience than with the presenter. Most listeners are tuned into frequency WIIMF (What's In It For Me), and the speaker must earn their attention through form and substance. His best advice to the trial lawyer is his observation that the attention of jurors is a fickle and fleeting gift. It's easily lost.

    Legally Speaking is a good review of a topic most lawyers ignore, but it is not a good cover-to-cover read. Rather, it's a reference book for use when you feel that your speaking technique is letting you down, and you're looking for help.

    Richard L. Binder, U.W. 1973, is a partner at Rohde Dales LLP, Sheboygan. For the past 10 years he has been the reporter for GP News, the State Bar's General Practice Section newsletter.

    Wisdom, Tips, and Musings on Marketing and Public Relations

    By Jane E. Hosmanek Kaiser (Franklin, WI: Communicator for Hire Inc., 2002). 48 pgs. $20. Order, (414) 423-9127.

    Reviewed by David B. Kuehner

    This is a small book with a lot to say. Covering three topic areas; marketing, public relations, and media relations, it strikes a delicate balance. Not comprehensive enough for use as a "how-to" manual, its broad brush approach encourages discussion. For example, the author advises against operating without a marketing plan, creating a plan without initial market research, and ignoring a plan once it has been created. Obvious, right? But how many of us do just that? We purchase biographies on Martindale-Hubble, create expensive Web sites, and advertise to the extent we can afford in the local yellow pages. But do we ever really evaluate our return on these investments? Do we even know how?

    Atty. Kaiser's musings are varied. Topics include building a strong client base, prioritizing time, and evaluating all those pesky invitations to attend this or that event. She includes a checklist for organizing and conducting a seminar. The marketing section ends with a discussion on Web sites and the necessity of a client-oriented staff.

    Kaiser's discussion on philanthropy is interesting. Why do so many firms give a little bit to every "good" cause? Is it guilt? Ignorance? Fear? Just plain lack of thought? According to Kaiser, fewer and larger donations give the greatest payback. Gifts of less than 5 percent of the total fundraising goal render little lasting benefit. Do you act pursuant to a charit-
    able giving policy or just fly by the seat of your pants?

    Other topics include focusing public relations efforts, creating disaster plans, honing employee communications, working with the media, and adjusting communication to a particular audience.

    Marketing and public relations cannot be adequately covered in 48 pages. Kaiser's work is succinct but thoughtful. Too often, we continue to do what we have always done simply because that is the way we have always done things. If your "slice of the pie" is shrinking or if you are hungry for more, I recommend this little book. Readers are challenged to reexamine their circumstances and consider alternate strategies. It is a quick read and worth your time.

    David B. Kuehner, SIU-Carbondale 1993, is a partner in the firm Libera & Kuehner, Winona, Minn. The firm's practice emphases are probate and real estate.

    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

    • Attorney and Law Firm Guide to the Business of Law: Planning and Operating for Survival and Growth, 2nd ed., by Edward Poll (Chicago, IL: ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section, 2002). 642 pgs., with diskette of forms.
    • International Franchising in Industrialized Markets: North America, the Pacific Rim, and Other Countries, edited by Dianne H.B. Welsh & Ilan Alon (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2002). 368 pgs.
    • State Public Construction Law Source Book, by Michael K. Love & Douglas L. Patin (Riverwoods, IL: CCH Inc., 2002). 1,616 pgs.
    • The Right to the Assistance of Counsel: A Reference Guide to the U.S. Constitution, by James J. Tomkovicz (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group Inc., 2002). 258 pg