Judges Should Go On “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?”

Attorney Jim Reed of Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico in Elmira, New York sent me the following news item yesterday:

New Advertising Rules For Attorneys Found Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New rules governing lawyer advertising that took effect in New York
on Feb. 1 cannot be enforced because they violate the First Amendment right to free
speech, according to a ruling issued today by a federal court in New York. Continue reading…

Back in March, I called the people who drafted New York’s new advertising rules morons and in another post said the rules appeared to be unconstitutional. Now, how is that any idiot on the street (that would be me) can see this, but a committee of judges in New York’s appellate division who are charged with writing the ethical rules governing the state’s lawyers….can’t?

You can read the decision here.

Requiem for a grand lady

    My life is a little poorer since last week, and so is yours, although you may not realize it. That’s because a great lady named Beverly Sills is no more.
    I love opera. Practically always have. I was passionate about it even as a teenager. I also love poetry. And Shakespeare. And I speak French. I keep my regular guy credentials by quoting the Sopranos, playing golf, and watching every Red Sox game. If pressed to prove my heterosexuality I will spit and monopolize the remote control.
    My friend Susanne Koenig, with whom I shared my passion for opera back in college, sent me an email with the title that you see above and we shared our memories. She reminded me of the time I went to see Sills in a performance of La Traviata and returned with a horrible sore throat, which came from my throat muscles contracting in "sympathy" with her high notes — a not unusual occurrence for opera fans, by the way. And I recalled for Susanne’s benefit the time I ran into Sills on Fifth Avenue in New York. I stuttered, pointing at the famous diva and saying “You’re…you’re…you’re…” and, obviously pleased to be recognized, she threw me a dazzling smile.
     Oh how I loved her voice. Only Callas had a comparable effect on me — a voice tigerish in its intensity, guided by a musical intellect that bordered on genius. I started listening to Sills on "albums" played on a "record player." Now she emanates from my iPod. She retired from the stage in 1981 and went on to run practically the whole American opera world.
    Where she is now, I am sure she is teaching the angels to sing.

Piu’ a me t’appressa ascolta, amato Alfredo.
Prendi: quest’e’ l’immagine
De’ miei passati giorni;
A rammentar ti torni
Colei che si’ t’amo’.
Se una pudica vergine
Degli anni suoi nel fiore
A te donasse il core
Sposa ti sia lo vo’.
Le porgi questa effigie:
Dille che dono ell’e’
Di chi nel ciel tra gli angeli
Prega per lei, per te.


    If you practice estate planning or elder law, you should order some reprints of today’s front page article in The New York Times. (Registration may be required.)
    The article makes it clear that unless your mom and dad have a health care directive and other instruments as part of their estate plan, you may be out of luck when you try to get information about their medical condition or treatment.
    According the article, "new studies have found that some health care providers apply Hipaa
regulations overzealously, leaving family members, caretakers, public
health and law enforcement authorities stymied in their efforts to get
information." The story details horror stories ranging from the ridiculous (canceling patient birthday parties because it would disclose their age) to the frightening (a nurse threatens a man with arrest for scanning his
relative’s medical chart to prove to her that she was about to
administer a dangerous second round of sedatives).
    A good article to pass out at seminars, or mail out to your client list.