Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When I worked for Elinore Klein she would sometimes teasingly mock my efforts at legal research on those occasions when I cited a case that was ten or twenty years old. "Where'd you find this?" she'd scoff, "One Hun?". New York's legal reporters-- the books that decisions were published in-- used to be named for the editor that compiled them. Nowadays the "official" volumes have a volume number, a name which reflects the court the decisions it contains came from, and a page number, but in the 18th and 19th centuries they did it different. The volumes that predate the numbered sets are called "the nominals", which is kinda nice. Mr. Hun was the reporter, and this case, from 1888, was in volume XLVII (although it is cited as "47 Hun 429"). It wasn't available online, so I had to go to the Bar Association library, which had it on microfiche. Too bad they didn't keep the actual paper books, which are a superior information technology.

I owe a lot to Ms. Klein, including the geeky ability to laugh at outdated legal authority. How can you not love a career that expands the number of things you can joke about in such a fine, obscure way?

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