Vol. 84, No. 5, May 2011
Criminal Tax, Money Laundering, and Bank Secrecy Act Litigation
By Peter D. Hardy (Arlington, VA: BNA Books, 2010). 1669 pgs. $410. Order, www.bnabooks.com.
Reviewed by Christopher L. Kuehn
In the current climate in which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is transitioning from targeting small taxpayers to more complex litigation, this is a very valuable treatise. The author has been a prosecutor and a defense attorney, and he takes a balanced approach that makes the book both a meaningful learning tool and reference manual and a credible source to cite to any court.
The author describes how the IRS has changed its theories of prosecution over the last few years as well as how it has used the Bank Secrecy Act to escalate prosecution of currency-reporting offenses. If you have clients who deal with international banking or trade, this section, in and of itself, is worth the book’s cost, to help keep the clients from accidently running astray of the law.
Equally valuable is the section on money laundering, which one traditionally thinks of as a product of organized crime and drug deals. The author describes other ways in which clients might run afoul of money-laundering statutes, even when there was no malicious intent. The author also discusses offshore accounts, corporate prosecutions and a variety of dispositional options, tax-shelter prosecutions, and the federal sentencing guidelines. The sections on “what is suspicious” will help business-transaction attorneys advise clients about how to avoid raising red flags in their business dealings.
In most criminal law treatises that I have read, little attention is devoted to sentencing. In contrast, the sentencing chapter is the largest one in this book. Criminal defense lawyers tend to do far more sentencing hearings than trials. The author discusses almost all conceivable angles from which one can tactically approach a sentencing hearing for a client. This chapter deals not only with criminal sentencing but also with the imposition of civil forfeitures.
I commend the author for the book’s scholarly, yet easy-to-read, style, with sufficient citation to authorities and discussion of theories and tactics for litigation. This is a tool any litigator who handles these types of matters should have in his or her library.
Solo Contendere: How to Go Directly from Law School Into the Practice of Law Without Getting a Job
By Marc Garfinkle (Maplewood, NJ: Full Court Press, 3d ed. 2010). 162 pgs. $59.95. Order, www.solocontendere.com.
Reviewed by Farheen M. Ansari
I read this book one year after “directly going into the practice of law without getting a job” and can definitely understand and appreciate every piece of advice given by attorney Marc Garfinkle. I myself relied on Solo by Choice by Carolyn Elefant (Garfinkle acknowledges this book as another great resource) and How to Start and Build a Law Practice by Jay G. Foonberg. However, Solo Contendere is a great complement to other solo-practice guides because it is a relatively small book and is written to be a quick read and therefore is less overwhelming. There are many things to learn and do when starting your own practice, and so any guide that is concise and to the point should be read first.
The book is neatly organized into chapters that start chronologically with the choice to go solo (for example, Chapter 2: “How Are You Going To Do This?”). Within each chapter, important pointers are highlighted in boxes. I especially enjoyed the book’s “They Don’t Teach You THIS in Law School” boxes, which contain very frank, sometimes funny, tips that will definitely come in handy in practice. Topics include creating filing systems, getting insurance, networking, dealing with difficult clients, and how to behave in a courtroom. But new attorneys should not use this as their only resource: they should also go to solo-practice continuing legal education courses, talk to practicing sole practitioners, and read other books on the topic. (The State Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference, held in October, is a good source for seminars and networking.)
What I liked most about Solo Contendere is Garfinkle’s positive attitude and the confidence he conveys. Before learning how to do this in chapter 2, the reader is first told “you can afford to go solo” in chapter 1. There are more pep talks than in other solo practice guides I have read, probably because this book is specifically tailored to attorneys who have not practiced before at all. It is so important to have confidence when starting out, even if you have to fake it at times. The book’s “yes, you can” theme is especially timely for law students who have graduated recently. For many lawyers, going solo was not something to which they aspired but became a necessity when they could not find jobs. Because it is disappointing to graduate with all these hopes (and debt) and to not land a job with a guaranteed paycheck, every new solo attorney will need reminders, as in this book, that they can do this. Even for attorneys who wanted to start out solo, it is good to read about common gripes and problems encountered when practicing alone. And if this career path does not work out, keep in mind the last chapter’s title: “Worst-Case Scenario: Parlay Your Solo Practice into a Real Job.”
Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property
By Galle Krikorian & Amy Kapczynski (Cambridge, MA: Zone Books, The MIT Press, 2010). 646 pgs. $24.95. Order, www.mitpress.mit.edu.
Reviewed by Barbara Fritschel
There is a tension between the concept that knowledge wants to be free and the fact that intellectual property laws provide monopolies to the creators of certain knowledge products. This tension is exacerbated by technology’s effect on knowledge creation. For several decades, this tension has played out globally as developing nations, which cannot afford the monopolistic prices set according to Western standards, try to access knowledge goods to benefit their people. In the West, there are tensions over the copyrighting of software, which results in international standards being set by default by propriety products. Issues range from the compulsory licensing of “essential drugs,” to whether countries will even permit patents for medicines, to access to software and education materials, to genetically modified plants and seed products.
The access to knowledge movement (A2K) is a loose coalition of individuals, governments, and nongovernmental organizations that challenge the understanding of the current intellectual property regime. A2K sees access to knowledge as a basic human right or a public good that should not be controlled by monopolistic intellectual property practices. Not all groups participate in all areas of the movement nor do they all believe in the same tactics or justifications.
Given the breadth and diversity of the A2K movement, it is a challenging task to represent it well in a book. This book meets that challenge through a collection of essays and interviews with more than 35 contributors from around the globe, including attorneys, professors, development workers, activists, policy advisors, and scientists. The book is balanced in its representation of the movement. Disagreements are noted, whether they are over the philosophical and moral basis of the movement (public domain/good or human rights) or the tactics used by the movement (treaty negotiation to piracy).
The book is divided into four parts: introduction, emergence of the politics of A2K, the conceptual terrain of A2K, and strategies and tactics. It ends with several best- and worst-case scenarios. The section on tactics is especially worth reading. It shows how coalitions form on an issue and then reframe the issue (for example, changing the debate over medicine patents to one of essential public health) to find a sympathetic forum. The book would be better if it included a glossary of terms and acronyms for people not familiar with A2K. One glaring omission was the lack of a contribution from Lawrence Lessig, the often-cited founding board member of Creative Commons.
This book is not for everyone nor is it a light read. However, if you are interested in political movements, human rights, or intellectual property, it will be worth reading.