By Ed Horowitz, Editor
According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, a Frenchman, Alphonse Karr, is the 1849 source of the observation:
"The more things change, the more they remain the same."
Well, this may have been true in Monsieur Karr's time, but we senior lawyers might disagree in our time. Indeed, I wonder if Karr would have been so absolute in his observation if he had been a lawyer. During the 25-50+ years since we began practicing, we've seen "changes" that will never leave things the "same." Changes in the practice of law and in the law itself.
For example, the technology has evolved from manual typewriters and carbon paper to computerized word-processing; from communication by telephones plugged into a wall to pocket sized I-phones that allow us to speak almost instantly with almost anyone in the world and to see them as we're doing it; and from doing research in libraries filled with books to having access to even larger "libraries" through our computers (and even through our I-phones). The technology will never be the same.
And, from a profession that consisted significantly of sole practitioners, small firms and large firms with perhaps dozens of members, to one that increasingly includes nationwide, even international, firms with hundreds and even thousands of members. I doubt that the "old times" will return in this regard, either.
And, regardless of the size of the firm in which we practice and even if some of us still have a sole practice, I doubt that very many of us practice over as broad a range of legal areas as we did when we first began. Ours has become a profession of specialists. Like it or not, even if we are still interested in parts of the legal spectrum that once were matters that came across our desks, for most of us our day-to-day work is now much more narrowly constrained. And, regardless of Monsieur Kerr's evident belief, this change will not return to the "same."
But, although Monsieur Kerr would never have imagined it, our Senior Lawyers Section allows us to maintain some things as the same, such as maintaining our interest in areas of the law that are no longer parts of our practices. For example, the Section presents several programs during the year, such as those described in "Coming Events" below, that present notable speakers on timely and interesting topics – an easy and entertaining way to "keep up" on these subjects (and to earn MCLE credit, too). And, we provide means to maintain professional friendships and collegiality which is so often difficult to do in the more hectic pace of our current practices, for example by attending programs such as the recent Trailblazers event (see "Recent Event" below). Or by nonlegal means such as our popular Evening at the Magic Castle (look for it again in the Fall), or by playing golf together (see "Attention Senior Duffers" below).
So, Monsieur Kerr, you were at least partly right – some things can remain the same, if we take advantage of the opportunities to make it so.
Finally, even though times have changed, we can always enjoy remembering how they used to be, and in the process test whether our memories are still "the same" (see "Senior Lawyers' Memory Exam below).
The Supreme Court and the Constitution: Medical Coverage, Access to Justice and More
Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Miller, two of California's premier legal minds, will discuss historic issues presently before the U.S. Supreme Court, including "Obamacare," federalism issues involved in Arizona's attempts to enforce federal immigration law, and access to justice cases such as whether a state may forbid arbitration agreement provisions that preclude class actions. The audience will be permitted to raise other issues. 3.25 hours of MCLE credit will be provided. For further information and to register online, click here. (Limited space will be available for registration at the event).
Frozen in Time: The McMartin Trial and its Implications for the Use of Children's Testimony in Criminal and Noncriminal Trials
This program will feature participants from the McMartin child molestation trial, who will discuss their experiences, perspectives and lessons learned about the use of children's testimony at the trial. Additional legal and psychological expert panelists will discuss the use of children's testimony in family law matters and other types of trials, including the implications on such testimony from the McMartin trial. Watch for further information, including registration instructions, in forthcoming LACBA notices.
By Jill Switzer, Past Chair
On February 3, 2012, more than 100 family members, friends and colleagues gathered as the Senior Lawyers Section gave its Trailblazers awards to attorneys Y.C. Hong (posthumously) and Nowland Hong (Y.C. Hong's son), and to Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Three.
Li Wei Yang, an archivist from the Huntington Library where the Hong family papers reside, spoke about the life and career contributions of Y.C. Hong, the first Chinese-American to be admitted to the California Bar. Judge Ronald Lew spoke of Y.C. Hong's efforts that enabled Judge Lew's family to come to the United States and of the help Hong provided to many others similarly situated.
Several distinguished speakers, Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney Phil Lam, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, former Los Angeles County Counsel Lloyd Pellman and Los Angeles Deputy County Counsel Rosa Linda Cruz paid tribute to Nowland Hong's many legal and civic contributions during his lengthy career. In accepting his award from Judge Lew, Nowland Hong spoke eloquently and humbly on his father's and his own behalf, thanking the Section for their honors.
On video, Justices Walter Croskey, Patti Kitching and Richard Aldrich saluted their colleague, Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, who is beginning her 50th year on the bench. Acting as emcee for the presentation to Justice Klein, Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of the Second District's Division Six, praised his colleague and then introduced several distinguished speakers who lauded Justice Klein's trailblazing career. These speakers were Patricia Phillips, the first woman president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, retired Court of Appeal Justice Sheila Prell Sonenshine, and Orange County Superior Court Judge Marjorie Laird Carter, who spoke of Justice Klein's involvement in establishing the National Association of Women Judges. Justice Klein accepted her award from Judge Lee Smalley Edmon with eloquence and some humor about the countless achievements of her career.
The Section thanks Roger Grace, Esq., and Patricia Phillips, Esq., for their hard work in putting the program together. In all, it was an evening of memories, camaraderie, and recognition of the honorees' career accomplishments and dedication to the concept of equal justice under the law.
Attention Senior Duffers
The Senior Lawyers Section is looking into organizing monthly golf games for our senior golfers. If you are interested in participating and/or have any suggestions, contact Executive Committee member Bob Berliner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Lawyers Memory Exam
Without peeking at the list of correct answers below, write the letter of each of your answers to these memory questions. You may then check the correct answers and your score below.
1. In the 1940's, where were automobile headlight dimmer switches located?
a. On the floor shift knob.
b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch.
c. Next to the horn.
2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was it used?
a. To capture lady bugs.
b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing.
c. As a large salt shaker.
3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters?
a. Cows got cold and wouldn't produce milk.
b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dogsled.
c. Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors and milk would freeze.
4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?
5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available during WW II?
b. Leg painting.
c. Wearing slacks.
6. What postwar car was designed so you couldn't tell whether it was coming or going?
b. Nash Metro.
7. Which was a popular candy?
a. Strips of dried peanut butter.
b. Chocolate licorice bars.
c. Wax coca cola-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.
8. "I'll be down to get you in a ________, Honey."
9. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy's pony?
a. Old Blue.
10. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show?
a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring.
b. Princess Sacajawea.
c. Princess Moonshadow.
11. "Praise the Lord, and pass the _________."
a. Mashed potatoes.
12. Who left his heart in San Francisco?
a. Tony Bennett.
b. Willy Mays.
c. George Gershwin.
(In case you've forgotten, the answers and scoring are below).
Recent Cases of Interest
In Bates v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital (Mar. 12. 2012) 2012 Daily Journal D.A.P. 3225, plaintiff sued defendant hospital and others under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Welf. & Insts. Code sec. 15600, et seq.). The act contains a one-way attorney fees provision in favor of prevailing plaintiffs only. Defendant hospital made a settlement offer under Code of Civil Procedure sec. 998, which plaintiff rejected. During trial, plaintiff dismissed the hospital from the suit. The court then awarded the hospital its costs and expert witness fees under section 998. Plaintiff appealed, contending that in light of the one-way attorney fees provision, section 998 should be interpreted as not applying to claims such as plaintiffs. The Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Div. 4, rejected plaintiff's argument and affirmed. The appellate court relied on cases that distinguish between attorney fees and costs, ruling that section 998 applies unless another statute expressly states otherwise. Since the Elder Abuse Act does not expressly displace the section 998 process, the award of costs was proper. The court also held that defendant's expert witness fees incurred prior to its 998 offer and expert fees paid to an expert who never testified were properly awarded. The lesson of Bates thus is that plaintiffs suing under the Elder Abuse Act do not risk paying the defendant's attorney fees, but should take the defendant's costs and expert witness fees into account when responding to a section 998 settlement offer.
Health Tips for Seniors
Alas, the list of tasty foods and drinks that are not good for our health continues to grow. The following items, mentioned in various recent news articles, are on the no-no list, even though they may seem harmless or even healthy: energy drinks (must be the caffeine); fruit juices, except tomato juice and unsweetened blackcurrent juice (who drinks this anyway); honey (contains little nutrition); muesli (about as much nutrition as a biscuit or cookie); any breakfast cereal with more than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams of cereal); yogurt (if it contains more than 10 mg of sugar per container); diet colas (read the list of chemical ingredients); canned soups, even if "lo-cal" (contain large amounts of salt); plain popcorn (very little nutritional value and not very tasty without adding butter); red meat in virtually any amount if eaten regularly.
"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like and do what you'd rather not." – Mark Twain
A young boy asked his elderly grandfather how had lived so long. In reply, the grandfather advised his grandson that if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gunpowder on his oatmeal every morning. The grandson did this religiously to the age of 103 when he died, leaving 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, and a 15-foot hole where the crematorium used to be.
A police officer stopped an elderly man who was driving erratically around 1 a.m. The officer asked the man where he is going at that time of night. The man replied, "I'm on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the unhealthy effects it has on the human body." The office then asked, "Really? Who is going to give such a lecture at this time of night." The man replied, "My wife."
Answers to the Memory Exam
1. (b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch.
2. (b) To sprinkle on clothes before ironing. (Steam irons came later).
3. (c) Cold weather caused the milk to freeze and expand, popping the bottle cap.
4. (a) Blackjack gum.
5. (b) Special makeup was applied, followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.
6. (a) 1946 Studebaker.
7. (c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water.
8. (b) Taxi. "Better be ready by half past eight."
9. (c) Macaroni.
10. (a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring.
11. (c) Ammunition.
12. (a) Tony Bennett.
1-12 correct: You are older than dirt but your memory is intact.
9-10 correct: Not quite dirt.
0-8 correct: You have to return your Senior Lawyer's Dino the Dinosaur pin.
You can keep up with our section's doings between issues of the Dinosaur Digest by clicking here to visit our page on the LACBA website or to our Facebook page. To do that, click here and log in if you need to and you'll go right to the Senior Lawyers Facebook page. And be sure to "like" us if you haven't already.
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