By Ed Horowitz, Editor
Among the programs our Senior Lawyers Section will be sponsoring in the coming months is one involving legal and health issues faced by families with parents who have adult children. (See "Coming Events," below.) The program should obviously be attended by lawyers whose practices include elder law matters. It should also be attended by senior lawyers who are in active practice of any sort and who are concerned about elder law issues they may face personally if they intend to continue practicing for several more years or even indefinitely.
I'm sure we all think about such issues from time to time, but a recent personal experience made me realize there are other seemingly routine problems that can escalate into impediments to practicing into our senior years.
It began when I received a notice from the DMV that my driver's license was scheduled to expire and that I would have to appear personally to take a written test and an eye test in order to renew it. "No problem," I thought to myself, "It's true I've been near-sighted since about the fifth grade and have developed some other problems over the years, but nothing had changed since five years ago when I passed the eye test almost routinely and had my license renewed with a single visit to the DMV."
Nonetheless, being a lawyer trained in the art of preparing for all contingencies, I had my eye doctor check my eyes and he assured me I would pass the eye test.
Thus assured, I visited the local DMV office to make an appointment for the renewal procedures. And, I snuck a peek at one of the eye charts. I could read the letters on the chart.
Thus further assured that all would go well, I made my second visit to the DMV for my appointment. I wound up at Window L, one of numerous windows at the long, Kafka-esque counter behind which sit the functionaries who give applicants their eye tests. I was greeted by a smiling young woman, whom I will refer to as "Ms. Smiling Bureaucrat."
I was able to read the eye chart with both eyes and with one eye, but not with the other eye. Ms. Smiling Bureaucrat was no longer smiling. (Hereafter, she will be referred to simply as "Ms. Bureaucrat."). Ms. Bureaucrat told me to wait while she went into a back room. On her return, Ms. Bureaucrat sternly instructed me to go to the lines where I would be photographed and given the written examination. Then, I was to return to her Window L, for further instructions.
My photograph came out well. "But," I thought to myself, "would I ever see it on a new driver's license." I then took and aced the written test. (Tip: on my first visit, I had obtained and studied the DMV's rules-of-the-road booklet.)
Hoping that my score on the written test would cause Ms. Bureaucrat to smile again, I returned to Window L. I was wrong. Ms. Bureaucrat handed me a two-page form to take to my eye doctor for him to fill out. Then, I was to return with the form to the DMV. I obeyed. I took the form to my eye doctor who filled it out, explaining in detail why my vision met the DMV's requirements.
Feeling assured again, I made my third visit the DMV, where I was sent to – curse my luck – Window L. I handed the form to Ms. Bureaucrat. She examined it. She looked up my record on her computer. She rose from her chair. She told me to wait. She disappeared into the same back room. My pulse was racing. I was sweating profusely. My assurance was fading.
On her return, Ms. Bureaucrat told me I would have to take a driving test before I could have my license renewed. "Not to worry," I silently assured myself, "I'm confident I can pass a driving test." Ms. Bureaucrat then made an appointment for me for the driving test, at which time, as she instructed, I was to go directly to Window A to take the test. "Thank the Lord," I thought, "No more Window L, no more Ms. Bureaucrat!"
Feeling fully reassured, I appeared for the fourth time at the DMV, for my driving test. As ordered by Ms. Bureaucrat, I proceeded directly to Window A. My heart stopped. My mouth went dry. Ms. Bureaucrat was now seated at Window A! "[Expletive deleted]," I said to myself, "she's going to give me the driving test and now I'm [expletive deleted]!"
Thankfully, I was wrong. Ms. Bureaucrat assigned a suitably serious, but pleasant man to give me the test. When it was over, he told me I had passed and he gave me a form that said my license would be renewed! Hallelujah!
On my way out, I passed Window A and gave Ms. Bureaucrat the good news. She smiled and said she had heard. Then, I noticed on the form I had been given that I would receive a notice in two years to return to the DMV for a new eye test. Oops, did Ms. Bureaucrat smile because she was happy that I had passed or because she had entered on my record that in two years I should be sent to her window for the new eye test? I'll find out in two years. Meanwhile, I'll be thinking about what I'll have to do to continue my practice, if I don't pass that test.
Morals of the story: (1) we senior lawyers must anticipate and adjust to more impediments than we might otherwise expect as we continue to practice our profession; (2) avoid Window L.
A full house enjoyed our third annual Trailblazers of the Bar event, held on January 31, 2013 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. The honorees were California Supreme Court Justice Joyce Kennard and attorney Patricia Phillips.
After a reception featuring tasty food and drink, and an opportunity to mix with those present, emcee Arthur Gilbert (Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Six) entertained everyone with his well-known wit, and by drawing our honorees into a photo-illustrated discussion of their inspiring yet differing paths as trailblazers: Justice Kennard, from childhood years in a World War II Japanese internment camp to California's highest court; and Pat Phillips, from having and raising five children while she attended law school, took the bar exam and began her legal career, to becoming the first female President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and a highly respected member of the Family Law bar. The evening continued with Court of Appeal, Sixth District Justice Martin Jenkins and attorney Rita Gunasekaran, who spoke about Justice Kennard, and attorney Seth Hufstedler and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Samantha Jessner, who spoke about Ms. Phillips. The evening concluded with dessert and a further opportunity to mix with the honorees and the other attendees.
Mark your calendars for the following Senior Lawyers Section events, and look for formal announcements and registration information:
• March 20, 2013: Riots in Los Angeles – Lessons Learned and Progress Made.
Our annual Frozen in Time program, entitled "Riots in Los Angeles – Lessons Learned and Progress Made," will be held at LACBA's headquarters and will include a social hour and refreshments, followed by the program, for which attendees will receive 3.25 hours of CLE credit.
Twenty years after the 1992 riots and almost 50 years after the 1965 Watts riots, a distinguished panel of local officials and other leaders will review the impact of those events on the evolving relations between the LAPD and the African American community, and the lessons we have learned that continue to affect our entire community. The panelists will be Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Fisher, who was counsel to the Christopher Commission that examined the structure and operations of the Los Angeles Police Department; current LAPD Chief Charlie Beck; Civil rights attorney Connie Rice; and respected journalist Bill Boyarsky. The moderator will be Anthony De Los Reyes, of Pocrass & De Los Reyes, a member of our Section's Executive Committee, and a former member of the Los Angeles Police Commission.
Section members are encouraged to submit questions to the panel in advance of the program, by email to Mr. Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org."
• May 7, 2013: Common Problems Faced by Couples with Grown Children.
Along with our co-sponsor Elder Law Section, we will present a program devoted to common problems faced by couples with grown children, including: the evolving new relationships among many such families; the financial relationships between parents and their adult children, including adult special needs children; Medicare and Medical issues; alternatives for paying for long term care; elder abuse issues; and advance care directives.
The program will be held at LACBA headquarters and will provide CLE credit to attendees.
• June 4, 2013: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Miller return to discuss Another Amazing Year in the Supreme Court: Affirmative Action! Class Actions! Proposition 8! the Defense of Marriage Act! Gene Patenting! And More!
We will reprise our well-received 2012 program that featured Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Miller, who will present a stimulating discussion of this term's key cases from the U. S. Supreme Court. The program will be moderated by Senior Lawyers Executive Committee member Judge Lawrence Crispo (ret.)
The program will be held at LACBA's headquarters and will provide CLE credit to attendees.
Our Executive Committee at Work
In addition to planning the CLE and other events noted above, the Executive Committee has been busy with several other projects. Here are some examples:
• The Justice Paul Boland Tribute at the Children's Court in Monterey Park:
Last year, at the Children's Court in Monterey Park, a ceremony was held to honor the late Court of Appeal Justice Paul Boland, who conceived and formulated plans for the Children's Court, designed to minimize intimidation for children attending Dependency Court hearings. Justice Boland closely supervised the design of the Shelter Care facility at the Court, where children in Foster Care stay until it is time for their hearing in one of the courtrooms.
After it was decided that the Children's Court was an appropriate place to memorialize Justice Boland's accomplishments, Senior Lawyers Executive Committee members Patricia Phillips and L. Ernestine Fields spearheaded the years' long effort to create the Tribute. Their work began in November 2009. During the three years until completion in 2012, they worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Tribute, to meet legal requirements for allocation of those funds, and then to work with many others to design and prepare it. Others who worked on the project included Justice Boland's widow, U.S. District Court Judge Margaret Morrow, Judge Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court; Jody Florman, the artist who painted the magnificent portrait of Justice Boland that hangs in the Tribute; and interior designer, B.J.Peterson. ASID, who coordinated the creative work involved in installing the Tribute.
If you are in or near the Children's Court (201 Centre Plaza Drive, Monterey Park 91754), be sure to stop by and view this Tribute.
• Participation in local efforts to assist the Los Angeles Superior Court and statewide courts concerning the fiscal crisis facing our judicial system.
• Assisting LACBA's upcoming mentoring event for new and recent admittees by providing volunteers to act as mentors. (See Volunteering Opportunities, below.)
• Updating and publishing the Senior Lawyers Survival Guide.
• Long-term work on preparing and publishing a sequel to LACBA's 1959 book, Lawyers of Los Angeles. (If you are interested in assisting with this project, please contact Executive Committee member Nowland Hong at email@example.com, or Caroline Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
We urge our members, who are able to do so, to volunteer to participate in LACBA's many pro bono projects. For a full list of LACBA's projects, check LACBA's website, www.lacba.org.
Here are some examples, with upcoming program or training dates:
• Domestic Violence Program: March 6, 2013.
Help victims of intimate abuse! Help the Los Angeles Superior Court! Volunteers are needed to assist victims of domestic violence prepare their Petitions for TROs. LACBA's premier Domestic Violence Clinic, located in Room 245 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, provided legal services to more than 10,000 persons in 2012. With the upcoming courtroom closures, the courthouse will be busier than ever. You can provide valuable legal assistance to a vulnerable population. You can also lighten the burden of heavy calendars for our judicial officers. SIGN UP NOW FOR THE MARCH 6, 2013 TRAINING SEMINAR, at www.lacba.org/DVSeminar.
• Mentoring new admittees and new members who register at LACBA's April 4, 2013 event.
The Senior Lawyers Section will be sponsoring a Mentor Program in connection with LACBA's New Admittee/New Members event on the evening of April 4, 2013. New admittees and new LACBA members may register for a mentor at Practice Area Section tables at the event. Mentors will be assigned by email during the following week. You may volunteer to act as a mentor by sending your contact information, including a brief bio, to email@example.com. You should also describe the mentor experience you are willing to offer, e.g., a meeting, shadow for a day in court, or just lunch. You will be responsible for spending two hours time with your mentee, but you may spend as much more time as you and your mentee may agree on.
• Training and Advocacy for L.A.'s Needy: April 17, 2013.
This program is presented by LACBA's Corporate Law Departments Section and is co-sponsored by the Senior Lawyers Section and the Public Counsel Law Center. It involves a 2.5 hour training program on April 17, provided by Public Counsel attorneys and a commitment to spend 4.5 hours on one day to provide advocacy for needy clients at offices of the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services (DPSS. Volunteers will be covered by Public Counsel's malpractice insurance.
Without volunteer advocates, many living in poverty would not receive benefits and services to which they are legally entitled. By volunteering, you can make a tangible difference in the lives of some of the neediest people in Los Angeles County and help to prevent chronic homelessness. For more information, go to LACBA's website, www.lacba.org, and click on "Calendar" for the April 17 date.
Health Quiz for Seniors
Here's a four-question quiz to test your knowledge about maintaining a healthy heart and avoiding other health problems. (Answers are at the end of this issue.)
1. Which of the following can increase your risk of heart disease?
(a) Using antiperspirants and/or deodorants;
(b) Persistent anemia;
(c) Eating very spicy foods;
(d) B & C;
(e) All of the above.
2. Is canned tuna heart healthy?
(a) Yes, despite the levels of mercury it contains, it is still heart healthy;
(b) No, canned tuna is for my cat;
(c) Yes, all fish are low in fat, high in protein and healthy for your heart;
(d) A & C;
(e) None of the above.
3. Why do doctors warn us to limit our sodium intake?
(a) Sodium can increase your blood pressure, as well as raise your risk for heart disease and stroke;
(b) Unseasoned food is healthy food;
(c) Too much sodium can damage bones and potentially lead to osteoporosis;
(d) Some researchers believe that too much sodium may be a cause of Chohn's disease;
(e) A & C.
4. How can practicing yoga twice a week help reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke?
(a) Yoga promotes relaxation, which helps you manage stress, a risk factor for heart disease;
(b) It can't; although yoga raises a heart rate during a session, it is not high enough to be heart healthy;
(c) Yoga seems to help lower a protein associated with heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis;
(d) Yoga seems to promote overall longevity;
(e) A & C.
Bill and his wife Blanche would go to the county fair every year, and every year Bill would say to Blanche he would like take the helicopter ride, and every year Blanche would respond, "The fifty-dollar price is too expensive. Fifty dollars is fifty dollars." When Bill had just turned 75, he said he really wanted to take the ride because he might not get another chance. Blanche again said no because "Fifty dollars is fifty dollars." The pilot overhead them and offered to take them on the ride for free, but only if they did not say a word during the flight. Otherwise, he would charge them the fifty-dollar price. Blanche and Bill agreed and up they went.
Thinking it would be easy to get them to speak up during the flight, the pilot performed all sorts of fancy maneuvers, over and over again, but he heard nary a word. When they landed, the pilot turned to Bill and said, "I tried everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed."
Bill replied, "Well, to tell you the truth, I almost said something when Blanche fell out, but as she always said, 'Fifty dollars is fifty dollars.'"
An elderly man calls his neighbor and asks, "Can you please come over and help me with this new jigsaw puzzle. I can't figure out how to get it started." The neighbor replies, "What's it supposed to look like when it's finished." The man responds, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."
The neighbor comes over and sees that the man has the puzzle spread out all over a table. The neighbor studies the situation for a moment and then turns to the man and says, in his most polite voice, "First of all, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster. Instead, I'm going to help you put all these Corn Flakes back in the box."
And you know you're a very senior lawyer when a client confesses she's having an affair and you respond, "Oh, who's catering it?"
(Senior Humor items for future issues are welcome. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Answers to the Health Quiz
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.
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