Verdict: It’s a Keeper
The Outsourcer: The Story of India’s IT Revolution
By Dinesh C. Sharma (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015). 274 pgs. $29.95. Order, https://mitpress.mit.edu.
Reviewed by Jeremy Jewett
Even if you aren’t filing an H-1B petition today or off-shoring the document review for your big case tomorrow, you might be soon. The Indian information technology sector affects law and business in the United States more every year.
I had a front row seat to that synergy for two years, adjudicating visas at a new consulate in Hyderabad, built with the goal of facilitating greater connections between the people and economies of the world’s two largest democracies. More than 30,000 quick conversations with software engineers and their parents gave a peek into one of the most remarkable economic success stories of a generation. While much has been written about recent developments, the fuller history of computing in India is less widely examined.
The Outsourcer fills that gap “in the understanding of the evolution of computing and IT industry,” an adequate outline of the complications of Indian political history that have affected the sector. Technology quickly became a governmental priority after independence in 1947. Postcolonial politics, state-led economic planning, and the changing crosshairs of the Cold War all combined to help, and at other times hinder, the slow but steady development of a computer industry.
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The book scores as an outline of federal initiatives, but misses when it doesn’t explore comparative issues at the local and state levels. Perhaps the most novel angle is the comparison between the controversial two-time prime minister Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv, who succeeded his mother after her assassination in 1984. While the younger technocrat often gets credit for the software boom, Sharma details several key measures, including a system of software technology parks with satellite-based data links, that actually were initiated by his mother’s administration. Rajiv Gandhi may have been an effective face for a new electronic era, but his mother deserves more recognition than she usually receives for laying the foundation for prolonged growth.
Local audiences will be proud of the prominent role that the University of Wisconsin played in booting up India’s computer sector. A visiting professor, for example, built India’s first analog computer in Bangalore in the 1950s. And a decade later, an Indian student returned from Madison and wrote the subcontinent’s first textbooks on computing. In fact, the only university to be mentioned more than our flagship school is MIT, a reasonable honor for the institute that published the book.
Aside from state pride, the human narratives woven throughout the book showcase the great value of educational diplomacy in general. The American economy enjoys tremendous benefits from a world-class higher education system that welcomes the best and brightest foreign students. Whether they settle afterwards in Silicon Valley or return home to build the same from scratch, everyone wins from the increased human and digital connections between our countries.
Jeremy Jewett, U.W. 2009, is a U.S. Foreign Service officer, currently posted to Abu Dhabi. His first diplomatic assignment was a consular tour in Hyderabad, India, from 2011 to 2012.
VERDICT: It’s a Keeper
Compliance Management: A How-to Guide for Executives, Lawyers, and Other Compliance Professionals
By Nitish Singh & Thomas J. Bussen (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2015). 262 pgs. $37. Order, www.amazon.com.
Reviewed by Santana T. Flanigan
Compliance Management: A How-to-Guide for Executives, Lawyers, and Other Compliance Professional lays a solid foundation for individuals looking to develop, revise, or execute their company’s compliance program. The authors, Nitish Singh and Thomas J. Bussen, organize the book into three overarching sections that are further divided into chapters. The first section, Importance and Foundations of Compliance Management, gives a brief history of corporate compliance and summarizes some of the major scandals that shaped current legal trends. Next, this section pivots to a healthy discussion on how organizational culture and ethics shape the development of companies’ compliance programs.
The second section, Critical Success Factors for Compliance Management, addresses issues related to implementing a compliance program. In this section, the book discusses practical concerns of a compliance program. The authors discuss why it is important for a company’s governing board and upper management to support (and fund) an independent compliance department, advertise the compliance program, and cultivate an employee culture that uses and seeks guidance from the compliance department. This section also provides helpful tips on how to conduct a thorough compliance investigation from beginning to end.
The third section, Mitigating Risk: A Brief on Compliance with Various Laws, provides an overview of federal laws that affect compliance professionals. It further summarizes legal issues that generally cause compliance concerns, such as money laundering, health care concerns and privacy, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Environmental Protection Act and amnesty provisions, and antitrust issues.
This book is ideal for lawyers new to the world of compliance. The text is straightforward and includes many citations to statutes and court cases that shape current trends in the compliance practice area. Additionally, the authors include quotations and tips from the nation’s top experts on compliance. Lastly, the book includes summaries of real-world compliance nightmares that caused substantial corporate and individual liability.
My only criticism is the book did not include a model compliance program or a checklist of essential components of an effective compliance program. I believe these two things are essential tools for a book geared toward lawyers. In conclusion, this book is worth keeping.
Santana T. Flanigan, Georgia 2006, is general counsel for Rockdale County Public Schools, Conyers, Ga., where he advises the board of education and school district on a wide variety of legal issues, including contract drafting, employment concerns, land acquisition, and student issues.
VERDICT: Not for Me, Maybe for You
Dream Chasers: Immigration and the American Backlash
By John Tirman (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015). 216 pgs. $27.95. Order, https://mitpress.mit.edu.
Reviewed by Andrew Franklin
Author John Tirman’s other books include The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars, and 100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World. Given his previous titles, the perspective he brings to his latest, Dream Chasers: Immigration and the American Backlash, should be no surprise. This book is unlikely to make its way onto Donald Trump’s bookshelf any time soon, because it is predominantly an indictment of American attitudes and policy toward immigrants.
The author’s primary concern seems to be the achievement of amnesty for undocumented immigrants living in the United States through passage of the Dream Act, although his primary preoccupation seems to be taking the reader down the path of American racism, fearmongering, and failed immigration policies.
Along this path, the author stops to call out conservative commentators Laura Ingraham and Anne Coulter for stoking racial fears in the media. He notes many examples of the right’s rhetoric against immigrants – the English language is under assault; Islamic terrorists are learning how to “act Hispanic” and are crossing the Mexican border into the United States.
Had Trump entered the presidential race just a few months earlier, his own comments undoubtedly, and rightfully, would have appeared in this book. The spectacle of Trump’s audacity and ego, memorialized in his speech attacking Mexicans as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists, might have added some life to this rather dry read.
The book also would be more interesting if it thoroughly analyzed racism, beyond the rather shallow implication that “white privilege” is to blame. Although I agree with the premise that racism stokes fear, and fear paves the way for the adoption of discriminatory policy, the challenges of race relations transcend privilege, real or imagined. As much as I’d love to blame the Donald for all the nation’s immigration woes, it’s just not so.
Some bright spots appear in the book, and the author does spend time identifying and criticizing America’s “raid mentality”: the manner in which the government and citizens respond to immigration, including rounding up and detaining men, women, and children.
The book poses no solutions. Attitudes, actions, and the consequences of failed policies are unfurled exhaustively. Tirman identifies potential solutions but largely blames Republicans for failures and stalls in reform. In leaning on racism and distrust as the primary motivation for anti-immigrant animus, the author avoids a more thorough analysis of the challenges immigration brings. Concluding that hate is the problem doesn’t bring anyone closer to a solution. Also, hate is not the only problem. Very real economic and social challenges exist.
Thus, the book is both incomplete and unsatisfying. The book discusses solutions in the last chapter, with the message “attitudes are changing.” The first evidence of this turning tide is an essay by Anthony Bourdain in which the television host argues about the restaurant industry’s reliance on Mexican workers to do jobs others won’t do. Attitudes are changing across social and entertainment media. The “welcome” movement is growing from city to city.
Elsewhere in the book the author describes the improving relations between whites and blacks over time. Is “love” the answer to “hate”? Perhaps, but I don’t know that we have the luxury of allowing “love” to conquer “hate” over time. We need solutions. And I think that’s something that all three of us can agree on – Tirman, Trump, and I.
Andrew L. Franklin, U.W. 1997, operates Franklin Law Office LLC, Glendale.
Verdict: It’s a Keeper
A Cup of Coffee with 10 of the Top DUI Attorneys in the United States
By Hunter Biederman et al. (Ramseur, NC: Rutherford Publishing House, 2015). 260 pgs. $24.95. Order, www.amazon.com.
Reviewed by Sasa Johnen
“Get an attorney – now.” After reading A Cup of Coffee with 10 of the Top DUI Attorneys in the United States, individuals charged with driving while impaired will undoubtedly follow attorney Tracey Wood’s advice to hire counsel. The book informs readers what to do if they are ever stopped by law enforcement officers and ultimately charged with driving under the influence (DUI) (operating while intoxicated or OWI in Wisconsin). All 10 chapters, each written by a different OWI defense attorney from a different state, make a strong case for why retaining a lawyer for this complex charge is crucial.
All the lawyer-authors of this book agree that the best way to avoid the trouble of OWI charges is to simply not drink and drive. If, nevertheless, a person is stopped by law enforcement officers after having consumed alcohol, the authors advise respectfully declining to answer questions about alcohol consumption and not submitting to field sobriety tests. Sobriety tests can be administered incorrectly and the machines used to test breath and blood can be wrong. Therefore, even in a case appearing to have no defense, skilled lawyers can develop successful strategies unknown to laypersons.
Tracey Wood, a Wisconsin lawyer, begins her chapter by highlighting the benefits of retaining legal counsel for these cases, describing how to select a good attorney, and warning about the pitfalls of remaining unrepresented. The following chapters discuss potential penalties and consequences of OWI convictions, whether to go to trial or to accept a plea bargain, the ins and outs of standardized field-sobriety tests, and some of the problems with blood and breath testing.
California lawyer Joseph Weimortz makes a passionate argument about how the system of prosecuting impaired drivers is increasingly eroding individuals’ Constitutional rights. He states he is proud to do his part to ensure that the government does not get away with walking over his clients’ rights. The book also provides some humor, as lawyer Matthew Golden warns readers that scooting around on a motorized cooler at a tailgate party while drinking could result in OWI charges in North Carolina, where this type of cooler could be characterized as a motor vehicle.
There is some redundancy and overlapping of information among chapters, and some readers might not be particularly interested to learn the penalties in other states. However, this quick-to-read book makes a compelling argument that anyone could be arrested and charged for OWI and about the importance of hiring an experienced attorney to navigate the complex law and science behind these charges.
Sasa Johnen, U.W. 2013, practices traffic and criminal defense at Johnen Law Offices, Madison.
Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust
By Terrence Hake & Wayne Klatt (Chicago, IL: Ankerwycke, 2015). 279 pgs. $24.95. Order, www.shopABA.org.
Reviewed by Tom Kelly
Terry Hake graduated from Loyola of Chicago Law School in 1977 and went to work as an assistant state’s attorney prosecuting felony preliminary hearings in Cook County Criminal Court at 26th and California, later immortalized in Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent. Hake had been turned down by the FBI and this was his back-up position in his plan to fight crime.
When a judge dismissed a particularly vicious rape case, Hake was outraged and consulted a senior prosecutor, who explained how the corrupt system worked. Basically, the judge received a bribe from the defense lawyer and the judge found no probable cause. Parties who did not pay had their cases bound over for trial regardless of the evidence.
Once the lawyers understood the system, they were faced with the choice of going along or starving because most defendants were well aware of how things worked and would not hire a lawyer who could not guarantee a good result.
Hake worked for three and one-half years as an FBI mole; he wore a wire and was instrumental in obtaining federal wiretaps of some judges. As a result of Hake’s efforts, along with those of another attorney-mole and a visiting judge from southern Illinois, dozens of judges and lawyers were convicted of federal crimes and 132 lawyers were disciplined for ethics violations in one year.
Hake paid a heavy price for this work. He made the hard choices to betray his best friend in the state’s attorney’s office, another lawyer who was the husband of an honest prosecutor, and the former cop-corrupt lawyer who befriended him and was the source of much of the evidence leading to the overall success of Hake’s mission in cleaning up the Cook County court system. He suffered from depression and became a pariah in the legal community.
Hake’s story illustrates the dangers to society when judges are appointed solely because of their connections to the dominant political party. The system was so corrupt that the honest judges and lawyers were afraid to put their careers on the line by exposing it. Hake served as an FBI agent for many years but at age 63 he returned to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, where he hopes to prosecute a case with his daughter one day. His is a great story, and I recommend it to anyone practicing law.
Tom Kelly, Loyola-Chicago 1970, operates Tom Kelly Law Office LLC, Spring Green.
VERDICT: Not for Me, Maybe for You
The Tortoise Shell Game
By V Frank Asaro* (Betty Youngs Books, 2015). 372 pgs. $25.95. Order, www.amazon.com.
Reviewed by Sarah O’Brien
Perhaps my expectations were too high. Cracking the cover on this book about the litigation resulting from the suspicious sinking of a huge fishing boat, I hoped for a cross between A Perfect Storm and the best John Grisham book. But very little of the book takes place at sea, and the matter-of-fact descriptions in the passages that do never offer a whiff of salty air.
The protagonist is a lawyer who represents the owner of a tuna-fishing business that is deeply in debt. The fisherman hopes that the launching of his new ship, the Sea Diva, will help turn his fortunes around. Instead, the fate of the ship engulfs not only the ship owner, but also his lawyer, in a wave of suspicion and accusations.
One of the villains of the story is the banker to whom the fisherman is in debt, and who may or may not have been involved in the sinking of the grand ship. Like many of the characters, the banker is drawn like a caricature, with little nuance in his decisions and activities. In the same way, most of the women in the book are one-dimensional: the beautiful but unmotivated girlfriend good only for sex on the beach; the vapid, selfish socialite with flaxen hair and a tiara; the true-blue girlfriend who inexplicably decides to disrobe while engaged in a solitary ride on an exercise bike; and the story’s sole female judge, who is described not in terms of her legal acumen but as being “in her early forties, attractive and pleasant.”
The author practiced admiralty law and clearly knows his way around a courtroom. Just as clearly, he has no experience in criminal law and his descriptions of criminal trials and post-conviction proceedings gave me that same painful feeling I imagine emergency room doctors get while watching “Gray’s Anatomy.” The author previously published a nonfiction work on his theory that the synthesis of cooperation and competition (“co-opetition”) is the recipe for personal and global justice. Perhaps he decided mixing that philosophy into a thriller would make his theory more palatable. Unfortunately, the infusion of this philosophy throughout the book only makes it more difficult to read. With so many choices available in the genre of legal fiction, I recommend leaving this one on the shelf.
*Author Asaro does not put a period after his first initial.
Sarah O’Brien, U.W. 1974, was in general practice in Madison until 1992. From 1992-2012, she was a Dane County judge and is now happily retired with plenty of time for reading.