Still Not A Lawyer, Part 2 – Let’s Talk About The Oath

Welcome back to another bright and sunny day here on Lawyers & Liquor, where the coffee is as black as my twisted heart and the stress is as overbearing as your mother asking when you’re going to settle down and find a nice boy or girl to share the joy of your life with. I’m the matzo-loving litigator, the Boozy Barrister, and today we’re going to continue our discussion of all the things that have to happen after you pass the bar exam. That’s right, we have another day of celebrating the professional celibacy, or, if you’re caught up in the character and fitness portion of this whole mess, legal cuckolding that is the newly admitted baby lawyer. Be you the recent admission with the ink still drying on your license or the gritty old attorney slowly aging into irrelevance, we here at Lawyers & Liquor believe that you, too, deserve to be roundly lambasted and lectured about the poor life decisions you, personally, have made to lead you to this point.

You may recall that last time we discussed the simple fact that even with the board of bar examiners saying you are minimally competent to practice law on the basis of a few essay questions and filling in the right bubbles here and there, that doesn’t make you an attorney until you’re actually admittedto the practice of law. And, as we talked then, the admission to the practice of law is more than a mere formality, because it involved shit like the Character and Fitness examiners digging deep into your sordid little past of keg stands, requiring you to supplement anything their darkened little souls require. It’s a form of legal confession, except you don’t just think the person hearing your confession may be jerking off, you know they probably are, and there’s no penance for the past in the majority of cases. But whilst you wait for the cabal of legalistic proctologists of the profession to finish snapping on their rubber gloves and just getting elbow deep all up in your shit, there’s something else you can start considering on the assumption that everything will turn out okay, and that’s when are you going to take your oath and become a lawyer.

Because lawyers? We not only fucking swear, we are sworn as well.

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Quack Quack Honk Designs Presents Free Speech Friday: John Adams Hated Bad Press.

Welcome to the second in an installment series here on Lawyers & Liquor where I, the bloviating blowhard that is the Boozy Barrister, become your cut rate Ms. Frizzle as we go on a magical journey of learning together about the First Amendment and, more specifically, the freedom of speech that it guarantees.  This month we have a new sponsor hanging around here, the lovable and talented Quack Quack Honk Designs!  A lovely artist from the cold regions of the world…like…those places north of Ohio, QQH is a wonderful artist who appears at art fairs all over the place selling their work, and right now if you jump into the fray at their website you can even use them to design your holiday cards!  HOP TO IT, because Art is a form of speech, and my speech says you should buy shit from them!

As I told you last time, myself and Constitutional Law had a love/hate relationship in law school, in no small part because it was a two hour class very fucking early in the morning and I wasn’t ready for any of that deep thought at that point.  As a result, while I certainly understand and know con law, I never really got into the in-depth study of it.  There’s just not a lot of call for constitutional arguments in the course of keeping a person’s home or defending a DUI, and to the extent there are you pick up that part of it on basic principles and practice, not by the in-depth study of the issuance of letters of marque and shit like that.

Now, as I may have said in the past, the principles of the freedom of speech were basically considered so non-controversial that, in debating the meaning of them, Congress essentially went “that’s really verbose for something we all know what it means, so we’re just gonna pare that shit right there down a bit.”  Fuck, as I pointed out last time there was pretty much no discussion about this shit on the floor of the Congress at all at the time it was passed other than someone taking out the red marker and pulling the old Hemingway “say more with less” approach to cutting out what they determined were superfluous words.  However, as we now know, the founding fuckers were being a little optimistic in their estimation of mankind’s intelligence in taking this tack, as what happened thereafter was a hodgepodge of judicial determinations as to what the limits and benefits of free speech actually were under the Bill of Rights, leading to the modern interpretation of the short amendment (shorter, in fact, than this post to this point) and its guarantee of basic liberty for the people that live under its rule.  And, with the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791, it wasn’t even a full decade before the first major challenge to free speech came to national prominence.

You know, because President John Adams really fucking hated criticism.  Enough that he made it a jailable offense.

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Free Speech Friday: The First Amendment – One Sentence, 10,000 annotations

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

U.S. Const. Amend. I

Welcome to the first of a new monthly series here on Lawyers & Liquor, which we’re calling “Free Speech Friday.”  I’m your host, the Boozy Barrister.  Over the next however long it takes us, we’re gonna take one Friday a month to discuss legal issues of free speech and constitutional law here, both areas that I, as a shitty shit lawyer in Shitadelphia, Shitsylvania am not overly familiar with.  So, this will be a learning experience for both of us, as Boozy pursues edification and then, like the loving momma bird that I am, promptly turns to vomit up the knowledge into your eagerly cheeping mouths.

Yes, I know, that’s probably someone’s fetish.  Put it back in your pants, Pete.  We got law to talk about.

More specifically, we have one specific law to talk about, being the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.  You can see the whole fucking text of the thing above, one sentence that lasts 45 words and has caused more goddamn trouble to the courts than anything else.  One sentence that has been used to guarantee the rights of everyone from activists marching for racial equality to assholes picketing funerals.  45 words that have been interpreted to allow folks to spout 14 words in city center when they seek to do so.  Often contentious, and always loud, the First Amendment is, as author and Huffington Post journalist Naomi Wolf said, “designed to allow for disruption of business as usual. It is not a quiet and subdued amendment or right.”

In other words, it is the right to be fucking loud and, in general, do so without fear of restriction from the government.  But how, exactly, did we come about gaining that right, written into the very foundational documents of our nation’s history?  And why?

That’s what we’re talking about today on Free Speech Friday:  the birth of the First Amendment and the why of why we have it.  So sit back, grab some popcorn, and let’s get going with an impromptu legal history lesson.

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Pride Month Special: “One True Pervert In the Courtroom” – The Trial of Dale Jennings

Here at Lawyers & Liquor we tend to dedicate the third Friday of every month to the discussion of a fetish.  But June has five Fridays, and, as a quick glance at my calendar just informed me, we’re about halfway through this month.  So I thought it may be neat, given that this is a month bedecked in the rainbow vomit and glitter-cannon parades that is Pride, to talk about something more on point with that shit:  Let’s talk about the history of the LGBTQ+ treatment at law in the United States.

That’s right, Boozy’s sticking on the way-too-tight tank top and trimming his beard to make this website the legal version of Growlr for one day only as we dive into the historical treatment of the LGBTQ+ community within the United States.  So smear on your best body paint, cuddle up with the spouse you previously couldn’t marry, and call that one homophobic Aunt that everyone has just to tell them to fuck right off as we talk about Dale Jennings, and how the LAPD totally George Michael’d the fuck out of him…and in doing so helped kick off the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement as we know it today.

…Fucking talk about some shit backfiring, eh?

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“Fees Fi Fo Fum”: The English Rule and The American Rule, Part 1

Good morning and welcome back to Monday here on Lawyers & Liquor, where I try to recoup all the goodwill I burned through in recovering from an injury and being a general roustabout in anything not case related by redirecting you all away from my flagrant ignoring of my responsibilities on this site and back towards the questions of law, fact, and fun that tend to pop up profanely here.  Isn’t that just one hell of a run-on sentence? Anyhow, I’m your hobbling host the Boozy Barrister, here to pour seething hot rage and recommendations into your eyeholes as we keep trucking on through the dark night of litigation finance.

You may remember that last week, before I disappeared into the netherworld of lazy lawyers in their off time, I spoke about the threats that are coming to bear on the Legal Services Corporation, the federal agency that provides grants to legal aid non-profits and assists them in letting the indigent have their day in court.  The whole reason we have to have organizations like this is because, frankly, if someone hires me to bring a lawsuit or defend one I expect to get fucking paid as a result. Now, some of you out there are saying “Boozy, I thought lawyers only get paid if you win!” To that I say: Do I sound like the type of guy who takes cases on contingency? I like eating my meals. The only gambling I ever do is at the pai gow table, surrounded  by hard-smoking and hard-drinking Chinese businessmen screaming things in Mandarin and Cantonese (neither or which I speak).  I’m not gambling in the office.

I mean, I would if I could, but it’s been hell on wheels trying to get the partners to recognize the need for a pai gow table in the conference room.

No, in most cases us American Attorneys get paid win, lose, or draw.  You may go home with empty pockets and a judgment against you, but I go home with my check or I don’t sally forth into the legal battlefield with you in the first fucking place. And that, for many people out there, is the problem.  But…what if I told you there was another way?  And there may be one, too, if we dig back through the past and examine the alternative method of paying for a lawsuit…which is what we’re doing this week.

But first, let me explain the two historical methods of paying for a lawsuit: The English Rule and the American Rule.

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