Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Number 57 at my polling place at 12:07 PM

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Deadspin c'est mort. I have often mentioned that I became a lawyer because I happened upon Inherit the Wind at an early age. What I probably haven't related is that it was a close call between law and journalism. Lucky me, I get to do the latter sometime, but I think about how it might have gone from time to time. It's funny to say that I dodged a bullet by going into this glamor profession, but more and more that appears to be the case. In the story I tell myself I graduate college and start working as a stringer for the declining number of town papers on Long Island, covering town council meetings, local sports, and anything else that someone thought might help fill the news hole. Maybe, after a few years of that I would catch on at Newsday, maybe I'd get some freelance work from the Village Voice or something. There was a brief moment when there were a few publications that I might have done some work for, all of which I miss to this day. The internet changed all of that- classified ads and advertising in general were what supported reporting. To some extent that's still true. The necessary infrastructure for a newspaper or a magazine includes printing costs, but also includes distribution, and pushing "Send" is a good deal less expensive than paying a bunch of kids in tweed caps to stand on corners shouting, "Extra!".

The funny thing is, there is still demand for content. Deadspin provided terrific content. I will track down the places where its writers go, and I will continue to read their work- what I will miss is having it all in one place, just as I miss the Village Voice, and Seven Days, and WigWag, and a lot of others I can't think of just now in my mourning.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

An interesting aspect of the impeachment process is that although it superficially somewhat resembles American criminal procedure on its face it isn't really like that at all. It is, as we are frequently reminded, a political process, and one of the things that this means is that many of the procedural norms that we more or less take for granted in an ordinary criminal trial are not in place. at all. Some are: the 5th Amendment is, for example, but the right to a fair and impartial jury is not. Instead the Senate sits in judgment, which leads me to this observation: how is it that so many Senators are already opining about the case which the House is presently investigating? Hell, ol' Mitch McConnell has pretty much said that the Senate will not vote for removal. Maybe I am leaning too much on my own experience as a trial lawyer, but in my world potential jurors take an oath to decide cases on the facts and the law as the judge charges it, and a juror who announces that they have formed an opinion on the matter is politely asked to leave.

Friday, October 04, 2019

I have added Pibgorn to Outside Counsel's roster of funnies. I'm sure I've encountered this strip before, but right now it is hitting me just right.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

50 movies about 50 cities. Pretty good list. Most people in Buffalo would say our most representative movie would be The Natural, but they are wrong: it is actually Hide in Plain Sight.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Dahlia Lithwick: "Much of the maelstrom around Donald Trump’s electoral victory stemmed from the shock of recognition that many purportedly democratic institutions have come to serve anti-democratic purposes: Fears swirled over the Electoral College, gerrymandered districts, and hacked elections." 
I gotta say that this has been apparent for a good long time, or at least since 2000, but the conversation has shifted. We seem to recognize, for example, that it isn't merely a fluke when the Electoral College serves up a President who fell short of an electoral majority, and some people are noticing that the Senate is a dysfunctional anachronism which has been a greater impediment to democracy than we've been willing to admit. Part of this is, I think, attributable to the fact that our governmental institutions went through a period of liberal reform that more or less coincided with the time we children of the post WWII generation have been alive, but perhaps a bigger part has just been denial.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

To A Conversation with the Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg last night at Kleinhans, an event that has had the city buzzing all summer. It was a long day for the judge: she taught a class at the law school, and received an honorary degree, and did a bunch of other stuff before sitting down on stage with the dean of the law school and several local bar association presidents for a Q&A. She is not even a week post-radiation treatments, but seemed strong. Hilariously she came on stage with a big canvas bag, which she kept at her feet for  the evening. I can't say I was crazy about the format, which seemed somewhat contrived. There were movie clips interspersed, and the questions were obviously submitted in advance, for example. On the other hand, nobody would want to overtax her, and she was as delightful and charismatic as you'd expect. What was most notable to me was the electric excitement in the room, especially among the women. There was spontaneous applause throughout the presentation, and Justice Ginsburg seemed really, genuinely pleased to be there.

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