September 30, 2003

Fray Day 2003

Fray Day is coming!

Friday 3 October 2003, 8pm
Common Grounds: 3211 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, VA

What is Fray Day, you ask? It is:

An annual celebration of true storytelling that takes place in cities all over the globe on the same weekend. Each event includes a true storytelling performance and an open mic.

I will be one of the featured performers for the DC event, and there are several folks, who actually have talent, lined up as well, so swing by Common Grounds and maybe even tell a story of your own!

(Side note: Common Grounds features free wireless, so you might even blog it.)

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Frivolous Pleadings

Although I have half-seriously considered drafting an employment application in the form of discovery requests, this Request for a First Interview is just slightly too cute for its own good.

If anyone ever came into my office, claiming that they were "utterly unconcerned with having any sort of personal life outside of the office" I would consider that candidate absolutely disqualified, for multiple reasons.

First, about 80% of my client base, with revenues commensurate, comes directly or indirectly from activities which are part of my "personal life."

Second, someone who has so little perspective on life is guaranteed to be a bad lawyer. There's no balance, no roots in reality. Without those, you can't function at work for very long. I know one attorney who literally ended up institutionalized as a result of the same kind of attitude.

This guy is awfully clever, but doesn't have much yet in the way of judgment or life experience.

Upon consideration of Plaintiff's Request, it is hereby DENIED.

Link from Tom.

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September 27, 2003

Quote of the Day

From my friend Greg:

"A little overkill goes a long way."

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September 25, 2003

Don't Call Me, I'll Call You.

Wednesday, a federal judge blocked the new FTC Do Not Call List from going into effect next week.

The judge decided that the FTC didn't have the power to put such a list into place, but the FCC did. Since the Do Not Call List is an FTC effort, the judge shut it down.

From a strict legal standpoint, the judge is probably correct - Congress gave power to both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to regualte telemarketing, but only gave the FCC the power to create a "national database" like the current one, but did not give that power to the FTC.

Whatever. Congress is taking the opportunity to step in front of the parade - the registry currently contains 50.6 million telephone numbers - and expressly give the FTC the power to enforce the rule. The House has voted 412 - 8 in favor of the plan and the Senate may follow suit.

Telemarketers promised to continue fighting the plan - but I just can't figure out why. The harder they fight this, the harder they make it for themselves. The reason we got to this point in the first place is because the telemarketing industry has abused what rights they have, and incensed the public and the government into action.

If only they had created - and honored - such a list themselves, there would be no public outrage, no Congressional outrage, and no penalties. After all, one of the key points in sales is finding prospects who are likely to buy from you. A corollary to that is that you shouldn't waste your time with prospects who are not likely to buy from you.

Those fifty million numbers fall into which category? Exactly. This is the second-best market research that telemarketers could have done, and the government had to force them into it. Althought he libertarian in me cringes at the expansion of the regulatory state, the fault here clearly lies with the folks who are now regulated. And unltimately, those who abide by the rules will probably find that their sales covnersion rates - and therefore their profitability - rise. Those that fial to abide by the rules, and keep calling folks who don't want to buy anything from telemarketers - will find their slimmer profits disappearing into fines and legal fees. (Although, like any government regulation, this promoted industry consolidation, since smaller players are less likely to be able to bear the costs of regulatory compliance.)

I'm on the list.

Posted by wasylik at 05:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Best Comeback Ever

If you took my silence to mean I was busy, you would have been right.

Busy kicking ass.

I took on a new case in April, representing some out of state defendants getting sued here in Virginia. I took over from a Very Large Firm in Virginia that decided it just couldn't handle the case, and when I got the file, I discovered that the Very Large Firm had been busy screwing the case up - waiving crucial defenses, blowing deadlines, even failing to notify the clients about a critical hearing so that no one appeared.

It felt like a suicide run, but I believed my clients were wrongly accused and so I dug in.

Five months, two continuances, three major hearings, numerous phone calls, and too many attorney-hours later, the Plaintiff ran up the white flag. Total surrender.

There were a lot of factors that played into it, but the main one was finding the weak spot and latching onto it like a bulldog. The net result is that opposing counsel is reeling from an unexpected defeat, and those clients are probably mine for life. (They now preface lawyer jokes with "Except for Mike...")

I feel great about the job I've done, and I learned a powerful lesson about the Large Firm mentality. If you're a Fortune 500 company, you'll get great service from a Very Large Firm. If not, you'll fall through their cracks. Go with someone who will commit to your cause.

My clients did, and boy, are they glad.

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