Monthly Archives: May 2008

Advice to Attorneys Representing Themselves

I was talking to a judicial magistrate in Iowa today (magistrates are part-time judges who hear routine traffic/criminal matters, small claims cases, etc) and he told me something interesting.

Attorneys who represent themselves on traffic tickets and such tend to be very arrogant at trial and act like they’re better than the witnesses, the police officer, and the system itself. They also rarely keep things simple.

Maybe this says something about the type of attorneys who choose to try and get out of traffic tickets, or maybe it says something bigger about attorneys in general.

I think the big advice to take from this is to do as you always should and A) be respectful and nice, and B) keep things simple.

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Who says contract drafting has to be boring?

This is a little off topic, but it’s my blog. You can’t stop me.

The Smoking Gun has uncovered the latest backstage rider for the band Foo Fighters, and it’s really funny. Honest. Some of the highlights:

  • Under suggestions for type of meat backstage, “Bacon. It’s God’s currency.”
  • Under fresh foods for the hospitality room, “whole, firm, borderline chubby avacados.”
  • “SOLO RED OR BLUE PLASTIC DRINKING CUPS ETC. IF SOLO CUPS ARE NOT AVAILABLE PLEASE FIND A STORE THAT SELLS 16 OZ PLASTIC DRINKING CUPS AND THEN OFFER THE SHOPKEEPER SOME CURRENCY IN EXCHANGE FOR SAID CUPS. ONCE AGAIN, you have from the TIME of our booking to find this stuff. No snippy ass, tiny tim, two drops of dew in a cup sized cup, please.

Naturally, I wouldn’t recommend this sort of drafting for your billion dollar type corporate merger, but it’s a little reminder that a contract doesn’t have to be the stodgy “party of the first part” type crud.

(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury and workers comp attorney in the Quad City area, and rarely drafts contracts… therefore he will probably never take his own advice).

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Fantastic Article on How to Pick a Law School

I’ve seen many articles in my time about how to pick a law school, but this one is the best.

From the article:

3. Determine if students play intramural sports. Drinking games count. Some law schools have such an intense vibe that no one will take the time to play in any leagues. Or, worse, the team gets signed up for but everyone becomes too busy to actually play. This is a glaring sign that you’ve chosen the wrong school.

4. Go sit in the law school library for a half-hour. Pretend to read a newspaper and check to see how often the students smile or laugh when interacting with each other. If no one ever smiles or laughs it’s a horrible sign.

Seriously, although this is a funny piece in all (especially the midget lover part) it’s full of actual, good advice that you won’t read anywhere else.

Tip of the hat to Above the Law.

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Illinois Workers Comp – is a per diem part of the Average Weekly Wage?

A new case came out today in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, dealing with calculation of an injured worker’s Average Weekly Wage (AWW) for workers compensation cases: United Airlines, Inc. v. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

The issue was whether a flight attendant’s $230 per diem (don’t worry, she was flying to Japan… she’s not the reason your flight to Vegas was so expensive) counted toward her AWW. The case noted that reimbursement for travel expenses generally isn’t part of the AWW calculation. Makes sense, right? It’s reimbursement, not wages. However, if the respondent can show that the claimant didn’t actually use the whole per diem for expenses, then only the part she did use can be considered for AWW purposes.

The lesson here is that bringing a sack lunch from home doesn’t just save money, it makes money! Or something like that.

(Howard Zimmerle is an attorney in the Quad Cities, and regularly eats lunch from Subway at his desk)

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Filed under Illinois Case Law