COURTROOM FASHION POLICE

GeorgiaLeeLang009Clients often wonder what they should wear to court. I usually tell them that “business casual” is acceptable, but jackets and ties are never out of place. On more than a few occasions an in-person litigant has been so well dressed that the judge assumes he/she is a lawyer. Looking around at certain lawyers’ attire, I am not sure that is a compliment!

So, we know what to wear to court, let’s talk about what not to wear…

Judges in Kent County, Delaware have instituted a formal dress code after one woman appeared in court in her pajamas. (Didn’t Michael Jackson do the same thing during his trial? Yes, but his was designer apparel!)

The list of banned clothing in Kent County includes saggy pants, bare feet, curlers, gang clothes, exposed undergarments, skirts more than four inches above the knee, muscle shirts, tank tops, halters and bare midriffs.

“USA Today” cites other examples of court attire judged to be inappropriate:

1. A woman from Detroit who wore a rumpled sweat suit that read “Hot Stuff” on her derriere;

2. A woman from Bakersfield who came to court with rubber flip-flops;

3. A judge in Texas bans people with excessive body piercings and tatoos that are not covered;

4. A man in Ohio was threatened with jail time for wearing a t-shirt with the horror character Chucky on it and the words “Say Goodbye to the Killer”.

As Mark Twain said “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence.”

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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The World’s Richest Lawyers: Part 1

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If you think all lawyers are rich, you’d be wrong. Money Inc. reports that the average salary for lawyers in the United States is $133,000 per year. The average for Canadian lawyers is less than that. But there are a group of lawyers worldwide who have made a fortune from practicing law, not from investments or business activities, but just advising and representing clients.  The list includes a few well-known names and several who fly under the radar.

  1. ALAN DERSHOWITZ  $25 million

A graduate of Harvard Law School in 1962, Dershowitz became a faculty member at Harvard in 1964 and a full professor in 1967. While working as a professor he gained a stellar reputation as a criminal lawyer, representing celebrities such as heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, Queen of Mean and New York hotelier Leona Helmsley, OJ Simpson, Patty Hearst, televangelist Jim Bakker, and Claus Van Bulow, acquitted of murdering his wife. He has also written more than a dozen books.

2. MARK GERAGOS $25 million

Mark Geragos is a “celebrity” lawyer who has acted for Michael Jackson in his sexual molestation trial; Winona Ryder for shoplifting; California politician, Gary Condit, who was suspected of murdering his Washington, DC intern; Susan McDougal , partner of the Clinton’s involved in the Whitewater scandal; Scott Ferguson, convicted of murdering his wife Lacey; and Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to the assault of his girlfriend Rhianna. Named one of the 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California, he also holds the record for one of the top ten jury verdicts in California for a 2008 award of more than $38 million against a pharmaceutical company

3. WILLIAM LERACH $900 Million

William Lerach specialized in corporate law, specifically  private securities class action lawsuits, the largest being the $7.12 billion he obtained as the lead attorney in the action against Enron. Nicknamed the “King of Pain”, he was reputed to be one of the most feared lawyers in the US during his 30-year career. In 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, Patrick Dillon and Carl Cannon wrote a book about Lerach called “Circle of Greed: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to its Knees”. He no longer practices law after pleading guilty  in 2007 for obstruction of justice, related to a kickback scheme,  and serving a two-year prison sentence. He was disbarred in California in 2009.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Court Room Fashion Police

Clients often wonder what they should wear to court. I usually tell them that “business casual” is acceptable, but jackets and ties are never out-of-place. On more than a few occasions an in-person litigant has been so well dressed that the judge assumes he/she is a lawyer. Looking around at certain lawyers’ attire, I am not sure that is a compliment! My husband, who is a retired police officer, is often asked if he is a lawyer.

So, we know what to wear to court, let’s talk about what not to wear…

Judges in Kent County, Delaware have instituted a formal dress code after one woman appeared in court in her pajamas. (Didn’t Michael Jackson do the same thing during his trial? Yes, but his was designer apparel!).

The list of banned clothing in Kent County includes saggy pants, bare feet, curlers, gang clothes, exposed undergarments, skirts more than four inches above the knee, muscle shirts, tank tops, halters and bare midriffs.

USA Today cites other examples of court attire judged to be inappropriate:

1. A woman from Detroit who wore a rumpled sweat suit that read “Hot Stuff” on her derriere;

2. A woman from Bakersfield who came to court with rubber flip-flops;

3. A judge in Texas bans people with excessive body piercings and tattoos that are not covered;

4. A man in Ohio was threatened with jail time for wearing a t-shirt with the horror character Chucky on it and the words “Say Goodbye to the Killer”.

As Mark Twain said “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence”.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Michael Jackson’s Doctor Responsible For His Death

Houston cardiac specialist, Dr. Conrad Murray, was thrilled when he was hired as Michael Jackson’s personal physician, charged with keeping Jackson fit and healthy for a fifty night concert series Jackson would perform in London, England, concerts that were sold out as soon as they were announced.

Michael Jackson had rented a palatial home in Los Angeles which was headquarters for him and his three children as he rehearsed his new show at the Staples Centre each evening. After grueling hours of dancing and singing, he would return home. That was when Dr. Murray’s job really began. It was Murray’s task to help Michael Jackson sleep, a state that constantly eluded the pop icon.

On the last night of Michael’s life, Dr. Murray gave him multiple doses of valium and other anti-anxiety medicines, but Michael could not sleep. Michael was desperate as he knew that if he could not sleep, he could not rehearse, and the most important thing in Michael’s life was his comeback in London, only months away.

Michael told Dr. Murray that his previous physicians had treated him with propofol when sleep alluded him. Propofol is an anesthetic used in surgery, not a sleeping pill. Michael called it his “milk”, a creamy formula that was administered to Michael on an intravenous drip.

On Michael’s last night on earth, Dr. Murray acceded to Michael’s desperate plea for his milk. Michael could not fall asleep. Murray set up the propofol drip for Michael and left Michael’s bedroom. Michael died.

The events that followed were the subject of weeks of recent testimony in a Los Angeles courtroom. What is now known is that Dr. Murray cleaned up Michael’s bedroom, discarded any signs of propofol and failed to tell ambulance paramedics or emergency physicians that he had administered propofol intravenously to his patient.

Two days later he disclosed to police investigators that Michael Jackson had taken propofol before he died. He died in front of this three hysterical children, who knew their father was dead in his bedroom.

Today, a jury of his peers, found Dr. Murray of guilty of involuntary manslaugher, which is the unlawful killing of a human being, without malice aforethought. That means that while Dr. Murray did not maliciously intend to kill Michael Jackson, his unintended actions caused his death.

Dr. Murray was handcuffed and led away by sheriffs to the Los Angeles county jail. Throngs of fans outside the courthouse hooted and hollered as they celebrated Dr. Murray’s conviction for their idol’s demise.

Michael’s family, who attended each day of the trial, retained their dignity as they left the courthouse. LaToya Jackson said she believed that Michael was watching the proceedings from the heavens.

A tragic ending to a terrible story about the loss of an incredible talent.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang