Verdict: It’s a Keeper
Good Cop, Bad Daughter: Memoirs of an Unlikely Police Officer
By Karen Lynch (Larkspur, CA: Nothing But The Truth LLC, 2014). 276 pgs. $22.43. Order, www.amazon.com.
Reviewed by Farheen Ansari
Good Cop, Bad Daughter is the memoir of Karen Lynch, one of the first women to join the San Francisco Police Department. Lynch takes the reader back to the atmosphere of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when new laws forced a change in the men-only police force. But this was not the only uphill battle Lynch discusses; she also takes the reader through her unconventional childhood growing up with a mother suffering from mental illness.
Lynch used her troubled childhood as motivation to apply for a job she knew would be tough in many respects. She used her past life experiences and lessons to get through the police academy, a process both physically and mentally challenging because many of the men in the department were resistant to women joining the force. Her past experiences also proved helpful after the academy (she was the only woman out of the three in her class to graduate), to deal with the mental and physical obstacles that came with daily police work. Lynch maintained a relationship with her mother throughout the process, despite her mother’s disapproval and disgust with her daughter becoming a “capitalist pig.”
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Lynch is an example of strength and resilience – not succumbing to self-pity and not using her past as an excuse not to set and reach goals. She details her childhood in an objective manner, while using humor to describe situations that otherwise could only be written as horrific. The reader is intrigued, entertained, and educated going through Lynch’s life, from traveling across the country in a train with her runaway mother to abruptly leaving her new life in California – not once but twice – to live in Europe per her mother’s dream. Despite Lynch’s positive tone, the reader still feels the pain and sadness both she and her mother went through as they dealt with her mother’s mental illness.
But this real-life story comes with a great supporting cast, from Lynch’s mother’s ex-boyfriend, who became Lynch’s only real parent, to the lively characters of the friends she made through the police department. The second-biggest message to take from this memoir is that finding and surrounding oneself with the good people the world has to offer makes it easier to deal with the people who aren’t good. The biggest message to take from this book is that you can overcome your past by finding lessons in your bad experiences and using those lessons throughout your life moving forward; that is, past difficulties do not need to define you or hold you back from putting in the work to reach your goals.
Farheen Ansari, Marquette 2009, practiced privately in Wisconsin for six years before moving to Houston, Texas, in 2015.
Verdict: Not for Me, Maybe for You
The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected
By Yossi Sheffi (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015). 488 pgs. $29.95. Order, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Jacques Condon
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake hit Japan – the largest ever in the country’s 1,500 years of recorded history. More than 19,000 people lost their lives. Another 50,000 were injured, and 400,000 were left homeless. The violent ground motion, the tsunami that followed, and fires started by the quake damaged or destroyed some 1.2 million homes and led to a near nuclear meltdown.
But while television coverage focused on the devastation, a second, invisible wave of destruction was taking hold – the disruption of key commodities sourced and supplied by Japanese industry. The earthquake affected companies around the world that depend on semiconductors, electronics, specialty chemicals, and other manufactured goods; think everything from computers, cell phones, and cars to shipping lanes supplying key ingredients for lipstick. From a pure supply-chain perspective, the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan was the single largest and broadest natural disaster in recent times.
So how do companies handle the unexpected, managing supply-chain risk? That is the subject of Yossi Sheffi’s book, The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected. Based on interviews with company executives, industry analysts, and tier-commodity suppliers, Resilience is a set of case studies, discussing the issues, responses, and outcomes. Some companies were prepared. Others made mistakes. Resilience provides a perspective not found on the nightly news. The case studies – from force majeure to man-made financial crises – are fascinating, well researched, and well written. The author’s discussion of real-life events, including the Japanese earthquake, are powerful statements on the global economy.
As a case-study book, however, Resilience lacks a conclusion. This is not a how-to book. This is not a definitive, best-practice guide. Instead, through examples, Resilience addresses supply-chain discussion points, without critical analysis. As a consequence, Resilience has its limits, sacrificing clearly defined supply-side discussion for the case hooks (such as the Japanese earthquake) that make for a better read.
Overall, the main point of Resilience is clear: resilience is an apt title for how others managed the unexpected. For the target, manufacturing-sector audience, the case studies are engaging, likely to spur discussion, and a recommended read. For everyone else, Resilience leaves the reader wanting more.
Jacques C. Condon, Marquette 1999, is managing member and owner of the Condon Law Firm LLC, Thiensville, practicing in business law, commercial litigation, and problem solving.
Verdict: It’s a Keeper
Flexible Trusts and Estates for Uncertain Times
By Jerold I. Horn, Updated 5th Edition (Chicago, IL: ABA Publishing, 2015). 896 pgs. $229.95. Order, www.shopaba.org.
Reviewed by Thomas Heyn
Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus, said, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” Today it seems that the world is changing faster than ever – the way we invest and save money, the kinds of things we acquire over a lifetime, the makeup of families, health challenges, and the ever-changing tax laws.
This book helps estate planning lawyers to draft trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and other documents to address the changing situations and resulting uncertainties their clients face.
Many estate planning attorneys already build some flexibility into their documents using “if … then” language and alternative provisions. We try to anticipate situations that could reasonably arise and build options around them. They may work well with most of our clients.
I assume Horn’s clients are not “typical,” so he offers more alternatives for more flexibility. His documents are designed for, among others, people of higher than average wealth, those with unusual family situations, and those with atypical assets that are especially tax sensitive.
Some of the tools he uses to develop flexibility are familiar: trustee discretion, including powers of appointment; exemptions; division of trusts by formula; disclaimers; and alternative ways to distribute to one or more ultimate beneficiaries.
The book gives special attention to techniques that maximize tax savings, which avert unexpected tax issues generally and give some protection against tax issues that might arise when a trust ultimately distributes. Horn has an interesting discussion on drafting for taxes that are “in effect” at the time of death, and even how to address later tax law changes that might be retroactive. There are also good discussions of avoidance of or intentional use of grantor-trusts and planning in view of the prudent-investor rule and modern portfolio theory.
The book includes 167 forms together with 19 complete documents (wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney, and several other useful documents). Unfortunately, there is no CD with electronic versions of the forms and documents and apparently none is available.
Not surprising, Wisconsin marital property law is not addressed, so there are no joint trust examples. All the trusts are designed for a single grantor. Wisconsin lawyers must supplement Horn’s material to prepare joint trusts and trusts that deal with Wisconsin marital property.
In sum, the 500 pages of discussion of issues and sample forms, together with the 300 pages of complete documents, provide a wonderful resource. The book shows novice estate planners the broad range of complex issues that can arise and offers helpful commentary and suggests good solutions. For the experienced estate planner, Horn provides excellent advice on how to build flexibility into documents that must address complex issues.
Thomas Heyn, U.W. 1998, is an estate planning attorney in Cottage Grove.
Verdict: It’s a Keeper
Comebacks for Lawyer Jokes: The Restatement of Retorts
By Malcolm Kushner (Sacramento, CA: The Museum of Humor.com Press, 2015). 192 pgs. $9.95. Order, www.amazon.com.
Reviewed by Natalia Walter
When I selected this book, I was hoping for a good laugh. Unfortunately, I found the funnier parts to be the original nasty-lawyer jokes, not the “Comebacks to Lawyer Jokes”: clever preemptive strikes that are supposed to humanize lawyers. I don’t think this book does what it purports to do: train attorneys to defend themselves against and with humor. Also unfortunately, the book made very clear how low an opinion the general public holds of lawyers, to the extent that humor about killing or injuring attorneys is the most popular topic on Internet joke sites. Nonetheless, it does contain some good laughs, and a good lesson in humility.
The author is an attorney and a humorist who trains lawyers how to use humor, partly with the hope of making themselves more likable. The introduction is an interesting brief history of lawyer jokes (“First let’s kill all the lawyers”).
The book is divided into three sections. Only Part 1 (“Defense Without Being Defensive”) is truly comebacks, “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” (remember Mad Magazine, anyone?), preemptive strikes when someone starts to tell a lawyer joke like “What do you call 5,000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?” After reading this section, we are supposed to be prepared to interject a well-practiced response to make lawyers look good: “The Bar Association of Atlantis,” before the joke teller answers with the standard punch line: “A good beginning.” Although I learned some new jokes, few of the comebacks were very funny, especially the ones that required legal knowledge to understand. Thus, I found the original punch lines funnier than the “nice lawyer” retorts.
Part 2 (“Offense”) relates jokes about other professions, putting doctors and CPAs in as bad a light as lawyers. The author instructs us to use these jokes when the jokester won’t stop telling nasty-lawyer jokes. Although I admit to laughing, it is hard to see how this type of joke could help a lawyer’s reputation for niceness unless the other jokester thinks that insulting other professions is funny, too.
Part 3 is supposed to be jokes that put lawyers in a noble light. But a more appropriate title might be “Let’s Make Fun of Public Interest Lawyer Pathetic Salaries,” not particularly funny to me, perhaps because despite a salary on the public-interest wage scale, I still am subjected to the lawyer-liar-ambulance chaser jokes.
All in all, this book is amusing, but I would definitely not recommend that it be placed in a client waiting room. Why not keep a copy in the back office, though, for a chuckle from time to time, as well as for a reminder that a little humility can go a long way, given what most nonlawyers appear to think of us.
Natalia C. Walter, U.W. 1994, has a practice focusing on representation of noncitizen clients, mainly child migrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking. She also develops CLE trainings on cross-cultural communication and “Legal English” for lawyers from around the world.