A Review: Jaeger-Fine’s Legal Professional Persona Self-help

sandy1“Those who succeed are not those with the greatest academic prowess— instead those who thrive in the practice possess certain qualities that lead them to success.”

As a third-year law student who does not currently sit in the top 10% of her class, this resonated with me as the opening line to the book and subsequently I was hooked. Tell me more about how I am still going to be a success, Toni. As a self-help novel on teaching the foundation of building a professional persona ,and its requirement in this day and age of the legal field Ms. Jaeger-Fine is concise and gets straight to the point. Divided into three parts: (1) legal professional persona fundamentals (2) self-management: professionalism from the inside and (3) relationships; her novel is easy to read and before you realize it, you’re an hour in and about done with the entire novel.

Due to modern times and the ever changed post-recession legal market, there is far more mobility between lawyers in the market, and access to equity partnership is more elusive than ever before. Clients are more price-sensitive and with increased transparency and information sharing it gives clients more effective tools to evaluate counsel. What in turn does this mean? Modern law practices demand a strong professional persona more than ever before.

sandy2

Your professional persona is an outgrowth of your personal persona. Jaeger-Fine’s building blocks of developing a professional persona are (1) Competence (2) Habits (3) multiple forms of intelligence and (4) Leadership; the most defining principle. What I found the most enlightening is building, forming,

and perfecting your professional persona does not start and end with mastering the four above components. Jaeger points to maintaining a positive mindset. Having enthusiasm and passion for our work and possessing the resilience necessary to overcome adversity. Committing to excellence; being resourceful in the workplace, reliable, prepared, adaptable and flexible. In addition; developing a strong character, as in treating others with respect, acting with integrity, humbleness, and authenticity.

The importance of well-being and sustainability is touched on as Jaeger emphasizes “healthy and happy lawyers do their best work”.  Learning how to manage the inevitable stress as an attorney, cultivating meaningful relationships, and engaging in mindfulness is just a sample of what was discussed. In terms of working in a firm, civility, networking, discretion, embracing teamwork, and mentors or sponsors are discussed as being of the utmost importance.

Whoever said there is no such thing as bad publicity must not have been an attorney. For all the young millennial lawyers or those who are tech savvy, you’ll love this. In this modern world and with taking all the tools referenced above in cultivating a well-rounded professional persona Jaeger points out the necessity of an e-persona as well. Using the Internet to promote your brand, dressing the part, and being proactive in disseminating your brand. Because your public professional persona is important as it drives how you are perceived.

Developing a strong legal professional persona is not easy and clearly, after reading this book it’s not a simple to-do list you can cross off. It takes self-reflection, betterment, and time. And as Jaeger-Fine points out herself a one-time read may not be sufficient. So I encourage you as the author did me to refer back to the book, once you get your hands on it, regularly at different stages of your career from law student to partner this book is a must read and should be in your personal study library today.

~by Sandy Dominique, Charleston School of Law Research Fellow

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Voting Rights

vot_0001The resource that I have today is a publication on the Election Protests under South Carolina Law. This resource is broken up by sections, that go in detail on statutory provisions, voter registration processes, election procedures, and protest procedures (how to file, when to file, how to appeal). The last section of this resource goes into the substantive laws that help with various issues that come up, such as a miscount of votes, votes casted within the wrong precinct, violations of ballot secrecy, etc. This resource is very helpful to understand the nitty gritty of the election process.

Voting is our Constitutional right as American Citizens. When it is time for one to use our constitutional right to vote, it is very beneficial to know, and understand what steps one must take if any conflicts arise from that right.

To be able to use this resource effectively, the Table of Contents are a great place to start. The sections are broken down by various time frames within the election process:

  • Section 1 – Election Procedures (1) before the election, (2) day of the Election (3) after the election.
  • Section 2 – Protest Procedures – Procedural Rules – Cir. Court Rules – Evidence – Standards of Review.
  • Section 3 – Substantive Law – Case Law – Absentee Ballots – Residences – Felons.
  • Section 4 – Legal Practice – Should a protest be filed? How to deal with the election officials, and media?

Throughout this resource, there are footnotes that show the S.C. Code Annotations, S.C. Constitutional provisions, and previous cases that you can look at as additional resources, for further information on the matter. At the end of this resource, there is an Appendix A, with summaries of important cases that explains the question of the case, the ruling, and the rules that came out of the case. Appendix B lists important statutes, and S.C. Constitutional Provisions, which can be very beneficial, if it comes down to a time when a protest will need to be filed within a court of law. The index at the end of this book is also of great benefit to stay organized, and to be able to quickly look back to a specific area of interest.

Overall, this is a very detailed, organized, and in-depth look at the voting, and election process. This resource can be very beneficial for someone interested in running for political office, an attorney who represents a political figure, and even the common layman who is just curious about how their constitutional rights come into play.

The Election Protests under South Carolina Law can be found, and purchased online for $65, from The South Carolina Bar – CLE website. The South Carolina Bar – CLE – Provides various resources for Law Professors, Students, Practicing Attorneys, as well as for the common laymen. Resources range anywhere from publications, to on demand educational videos, as well as a listed schedule of various live seminars you can attend, all within the state of South Carolina.

~by Leah Masterson

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An Oldie but a Goodie

abby_0001“I have witnessed law school graduates commit ‘faux pas’ of gargantuan proportion.”– Judge Ralph King Anderson, Jr. Florence, S.C. 1997

Faux pas – noun. An embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation. Synonymous for mistake.

As soon-to-be graduates, and therefore soon to be attorneys, we do not want to commit “faux pas” when we begin our professional careers. Although it is not realistic for law students to emerge from law school as experts in the legal process, it is important we enter the legal field with the essential knowledge of what it takes to actually try a case. This WILL be expected of

  1. Many of us will secure, or already have secured, a post-graduation position in an area of law that will require us to go to trial, Workers Compensation hearings, mediations, or arbitrations. It is inevitable.

So You’re Going to Try Your First Case (4th Edition) by E. Warren Moise is an incredibly useful resource for current law students or recent graduates who need to prepare for a position that will have them in the courtroom. This book will have new attorneys feeling confident in their ability to try a case as well as in their preparation for said case being more than adequate.

This book is an easy, enjoyable read. At 276 pages, Moise condenses the most essential information regarding going to federal or state trials, mediations, or arbitrations in a way the reader will feel as if they are having a personal conversation with him. It is easy to understand what he is explaining, and his sense of humor keeps readers refreshed and interested in the material.

Moise hits on many topics that come into play in the litigation process, such as basics about the South Carolina judicial system, written and unwritten myths and rules about the courtroom, case strategy, primary evidence rules, trial rosters, steps in a jury trial, pretrial preparation, opening statements and closing arguments, direct and cross-examinations of witnesses, hearsay made easy (who doesn’t need this?), typical trial motions, how to try a mediation or arbitration, universal forms and checklists you can use to better yourself as an attorney, and much more. He even shares with readers his own secrets to be as successful as he has been. After picking up this book, readers will feel as though they have taken a much needed class on the trial process.

If you have reservations about trusting this resource, don’t. Moise has over 25 years of experience as an attorney in South Carolina, during which he was named one of the best lawyers in America and one of the best lawyers of Charleston. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and the Charleston School of law in Evidence and Trial Advocacy. Along with this book, he has authored six others. He also has had nine legal journal publications and five regularly published newspaper and magazine columns. He is a certified mediator and arbitrator, and he has taught countless legal seminars. Moise is one of the most knowledgeable out there, especially when it comes to the state of South Carolina. He is now a practicing member at Grimball & Cabaniss, LLC in Charleston. Obviously, you are in good hands with this book in your hands!

If you are interested in checking out this essential and convenient resource, you can find it in our very own library on shelf 41B.

Written by Abby Doshier.
Class of 2020

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A Civil Procedure Guide That Every South Carolina Lawyer Should Have

rules_0001While perusing the shelves of the Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library, I came across one of the most useful resources I’ve ever seen. I am referring to South Carolina Rules of Court: Key Rules, Volume IA – State (2018 edition).  Published by Thomson Reuters, this resource can easily be purchased by the general public. In fact, I found it on Amazon for $200.  While the price may be fairly steep, its value far exceeds the cost.

This resource is part of a multi-volume series. There are editions published for each state as well as federal rules. This particular edition will be helpful to any attorney in civil practice in the state court. Imagine having an important case dismissed because you failed to file a document, missed a deadline, or inadvertently skipped a step in the service requirements.

A quick glance at this book while preparing your case could prevent such issues from arising. It provides you with a comprehensive guide to civil procedure in South Carolina. The beauty of this resource is how it is organized. Sure, someone can easily find South Carolina’s rules of civil procedure online, but how long would that take? You would have to click through several pages then search for a certain rule. With this book, you can find your information quickly and easily.

Your first step in using this resource is to look at the Table of Contents. The table is organized by the following categories: Pleadings; Motions, Oppositions and Replies; Requests, Notices and Applications, Appendix – Related Court Documents; Table of Laws and Rules; and Table of Cases. If you were about to file a complaint, you would first look at the table under the Pleadings section. This would guide you to the area concerning Complaints.

The first thing you will find is a checklist that will tell you all the required documents and any supplemental documents you may need. There is even a checklist for matters to be considered by the Defendant. After looking at the checklist, you can read the specific rules and explanations of the rules. Finally, you could then look at the Appendix to find an actual sample of a complaint. By following these steps, you have quickly determined which documents are required, understand the rules for filing those documents, and have seen what the end result should look like. This process may be repeated for motions, replies, requests, notices, etc.

As you can see, the ease of use and speed with which you can gather information is what makes this book so valuable. While the price may be a bit high, it is well worth the expense. A solo practitioner new to the law and with little money may feel like this book is too expensive, but if they consider that it could save them a lot or time and prevent trouble, they may realize it is a great investment. Additionally, they could also use the book for free in the library!

 

~by Brad Riley

 

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South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle (Book Review)

A traffic collision occurs every 3.7 minutes, injuring a person every 8.5 minutes in South Carolina.[1]  Whether you intend to practice as a plaintiff or defense attorney, criminal or civil—automobile accidents have a high likelihood of affecting your profession and/or personal life. This easy to use handbook, South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle (“SCCLMV”), provides a wealth of knowledge at an affordable price.

traffic

What is it?

Intended for the legal and law enforcement community, the SCCLMV compiles Crimes and Offenses, Criminal Procedures, Motor Vehicles, South Carolina Children’s Code and selected related laws of the South Carolina Code and is roughly 1,500 pages (including highlights of the 2017 South Carolina Legislative Session and South Carolina Legal Guidelines).  Beginning with Crimes and Offenses, Criminal Procedure and Law Enforcement (S.C. Code §16-55)[2] before transitioning to Motor Vehicles, Highways, Education, Alcohol and Children’s Code (S.C. Code §56-63)[3], the SCCLMV covers a broad spectrum of information.

 How can it help me?  

As third year law student clerking at a downtown firm with a full print library, I have discovered that the senior partners often harp on the importance of initiating legal research in the books as opposed to online.  It was not until my first research assignment when I found myself frantically typing search terms into Westlaw, LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law and quickly ending down a dead-end rabbit hole – that I even considered beginning legal research with statutes, secondary sources and handbooks.

Statutes are a primary source of law and a great way to begin research projects[4].  In addition, secondary sources and handbooks save researchers time, providing an overview of legal issues and pointing to relevant primary authorities[5].  The SCCLMV  provides short and effective explanations, headers, edge index, table of contents and an index which offers a roadmap to produce quick navigability to an applicable statute.

Need an example?

Picture it, on the way to mediation, a senior partner asked for a copy of the South Carolina statute that states a driver’s duty upon entering an intersection on a green light.  Desperately dumping search term after search term into Google and Westlaw,  I finally found the statute – thirty minutes after another person found it.  Ohhhh, fail!  Despite unsuccessfully completing the task at hand, I also wasted time and resources. The SCCLMV handbook allows a researcher to find the statutes they need quickly and efficiently.

Given that same task today (now three years later), I would first consult the South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle Handbook and flip to the Traffic Regulations section of the Index.  Skimming through, I came across traffic regulations, §56-5-10 to §56-5-6565 and I have now narrowed down my search.  Continuing to the next page I noticed Right of Way – Approaching or entering intersection, 56-5-2310 and I have located the South Carolina statute concerning approaching intersections.

To complete my statutory research,  I turned the page and located Traffic-control signals, §56-5-970 (A) Green Indication.  So, in mere minutes (and, in a quick and efficient manner), I have located the necessary statutes using the South Carolina Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle Handbook.  Far easier and faster than recklessly typing random words into Google, Westlaw, LexisNexis or Bloomberg Law and hoping to find something.

Where to find it & how much does it cost?

This resources is published annually by Blue360 Media and Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. in print and electronic formats.  Ebooks charges $42.00 (for an online version) whereas a print version will set you back $49.00.  The 2017-2018 edition is available via Blue360media.com[6] and eCampus.com.  Blue360 Media estimates Sunday, March 31st, 2019 for the 2018-2019 edition.

Bottomline, the SCCLMV  is, in this author’s humble opinion, an affordable and easy-to-use guide and is an essential resource for law students and new lawyers to have on their bookshelf or briefcase.

For additional research tips concerning automobile accidents please see Bret N. Christensen’s January 24, 2019 Blog Post “Nice and Steady” (https://lawlibrarybarrister.wordpress.com/).

[1]2016 SCDPS Traffic Collision Fact Book. https://scdps-test.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/ohsjp/fact%20book/2016%20Fact%20Book.pdf.

[2] https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/statmast.php.

[3] https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/statmast.php.

[4] Charleston School of Law, Advanced Legal Research. Professor Deborah Turkewitz PowerPoint Lectures 5 & 7.

[5] When And How to Use Secondary Sources and Persuasive Authority to Research and Write Legal Documents. The Writing Center at GULC. 2004.

[6] https://www.blue360media.com/categories/criminal-traffic-laws/south-carolina-criminal-law-motor-vehicle-handbook-2.html.

 

~by Michael Monastra

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And Then There Were Four

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court made a huge ruling on February 20, 2019 that likely went unnoticed by most. However, if you are currently taking Constitutional Law II or preparing for the bar examination this summer, listen up.

The provisions contained in the Bill of Rights are applicable only to the Federal government and not to State governments Barron v. City of Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243, 244 (1833). However, as the years have gone by the Supreme Court has incorporated the majority of the first eight amendments and made them applicable to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Not including the unincorporated 9th and 10th Amendments, only five other provisions have remained unincorporated; the 3rd Amendment regarding quartering of soldiers, the 5th Amendment right to a Grand Jury, the 7th Amendment right to a jury trial in a civil case where the amount in controversy is above $20.00, and up until this recent ruling, the 8th Amendment’s clause regarding excessive fines (the provisions against cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail have been incorporated, this does not however guarantee a right to bail).

It’s been nearly a decade since the Supreme Court last incorporated one of these enumerated rights. See McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ill., 561 U.S. 742 (2010) (holding, the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms applicable to the states through the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment).  Before McDonald, it has been nearly forty years. This Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Ginsberg, now clearly holds that excessive fines are incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and are applicable against the states. 7 Justices joined the majority opinion, while Justice Thomas concurred only in the judgment, making an argument he has made many times before when substantive Due Process was at issue, that it is his belief these rights should be incorporated through the Privileges and Immunities clause of the 14th Amendment and not the Due Process clause. Justice Gorsuch also filed a concurring opinion with a similar rationale to that of Justice Thomas.

So, what does all this mean? Well for law enforcement the implications could be monumental. The case involved civil forfeiture of a $42,000.00 Land Rover following an arrest for possession with intent to distribute heroin. In her opinion, which you can read here Timbs v. Indiana, No. 17-1091, 2019 WL 691578 (U.S. Feb. 20, 2019), Justice Ginsberg found the fact that the car’s value was 4 times the amount of the fine imposed for the actual crime itself was excessive. The opinion however does not express a bright line rule for what is considered excessive. In many ways the Supreme Court seemed to be recycling the old adage of Justice Stewart used when deciding if a piece of pornography was obscene, “I know it when I see it” Jacobellis v. State of Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964). Assuming the proceeds from these civil forfeitures are quite important to the budgets of police departments, it becomes easy to see why this decision could have wide reaching implications.

Law students should take an important point away as to why this is significant. While there is a plethora of fantastic study material and aids in your law library that can be crucial in understanding any given subject, they are not perfect. The law constantly evolves and changes. Many times, as in this instance, the evolution happens before a new edition of your favorite study guide can be amended to include the most recent judicial determinations. So, while these guides are essential to any study plan, they are not always accurate. Listen to your professor and monitor changes in the law. The fact that the study guide you used says one thing will not change the fact that the answer you put, may now, simply be wrong.

~by Matt B. King

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When in Doubt, Start with the Basics

abcAs a Research Fellow at the Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library, I frequently assist students, alumni, professors, staff, and attorneys with research topics.  Each task is unique, requiring a variety of problem-solving skills and techniques.  Some topics are new to me, others are jurisdiction specific involving common law, requiring in depth analysis into case-based reasoning.  Thankfully, the resources available in the law library reflect the heterogeneity of the legal profession.  With so many options, where should one begin their research?  Some people start with the stacks of books on the shelves; others start with electronic resource.  When in doubt, start with the basics.

Electronic secondary resources are basic and often necessary to begin research.  A few weeks ago, one research topic involved a quote from a former United States Supreme Court Justice.  As a former Justice of the Supreme Court, one may expect a quote from such a prominent judicial figure to be well known and widely referenced.  Further, one may reasonably expect that a simple Google of the quote shall reveal the source document.  However, this was not a quote from a judicial opinion and I didn’t have the full quote, only a paraphrase of the quote.  Herein lies the need for a variety of problem-solving skills and technique.  From reviewing the paraphrase, I was able to determine the essence of the sought-after language.  From there, I began my research using a secondary resource (Google).

Using Google as a legal research tool is not unlike using legal databases.  It requires patience, determination, and an efficient use of Boolean search strings.  Without exact quoted language, how could I use what I did know to assist with the search?  What did I know, if anything?  As this quote is from a former Supreme Court Justice, I knew the author of the quote.  Every Boolean search string contained the author of the quote in quotation marks, combined with keyword search terms.  Regarding the quoted language, my understanding of the essence of the quote evolved as I began searching.  After several attempts, I modified and narrowed my keyword search term based on my search results to further limit my search results.  With patience, determination, and an efficient use of Boolean search strings on Google, I finally found promising results.

To know the specific Justice is to know more than a name.  One fact relevant to finding quotes of Supreme Court Justices is understanding their ideology.  By knowing the specific Justice, I also knew or was able to determine the ideology of that Justice.  This is important because quotes from Justices are likely to be referenced by organizations who share that same ideology.  Reputable organizations, especially those in which the Justice is a current or former member, are regarded as trustworthy.  It should not come as a surprise that my search led me to the webpage of an organization conforming to the former Justice’s ideology, further establishing the reliability of the search result.

Finally, I’ve found the source document containing the quoted language.  Because I was only provided a paraphrase of the quote, I relied heavily on the essence of that paraphrase to find the corresponding quote.  Needless to say, the importance of reading comprehension is paramount when undertaking such a task.

When in doubt, start with the basics.  Electronic secondary resources are a great place to begin research.  The search itself involves the use of additional skills and those skills can be developed over time.  Because each task is unique, requiring a variety of problem-solving skills and techniques, use what you already know to obtain the best results.

 

~Amen Myers

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