Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce

Here I am with Jean Chatzky, the financial guru for NBC’s “Today Show.” I had the great experience of being the divorce lawyer (along with a psychiatrist and a retirement planner) on a panel discussion she moderated, sponsored by Fidelity, called “The Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce.” New appreciation for what goes into such a presentation; we put in about twelve hours of meetings and rehearsals for the fifty minute panel. Let me add that I hope none of my friends ever needs this information! Watch it here (new window).


Letter to the Editor, Mass Lawyers Weekly


The Language of Respect

Landmark civil rights cases often begin when ordinary folks (like Rosa Parks, Fred Korematsu and Mary Beth Tinker) say “no” to injustice. In courtrooms in the Deep South, white witnesses were addressed as “Mister,” “Missus,” or “Miss,” while men and women of color only merited first names. Arrested during a civil rights demonstration, Mary Hamilton, 28, told the judge: “I will not answer a question until I am addressed correctly.” She was held in contempt and jailed. After the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the trial judge’s action, the NAACP took the case to Us Supreme Court. In Hamilton v. Alabama (1964), the Supreme Court held, 6-3, that everyone who appears in a court of law is entitled to be addressed with titles of coutesy, regardless of race. (“Mr.” Justices White, Harlan and Clark didn’t think the issue was important enough to be considered by the Court.)

Paying the NCAA’s Dues

Only in basketball, where the vast majority of players are African-American, does a gifted high school graduate have to pretend to be a college student for one year, thanks to the shameful complicity of the NCAA (which reaps hundreds of millions of dollars from broadcast rights for games featuring these ‘one and done’ sensations) and the NBA Players’ Union (which protects some current members’ jobs for one more year). I wish this gifted, young (white) girl all the best, but find it unjust in a capitalist society that some athletes, although good enough to turn pro, cannot cash in without first putting in an unpaid year down on the Plantation

Read the article at the New York Times.

Private Prisons Cause More People to Be Incarcerated

“A 2011 report found that the private prison industry spent millions seeking to increase sentences and incarcerate more people in order to increase the industry’s profits. 30 of the 36 legislators who co-sponsored Arizona’s now mostly invalidated immigration law — which would have landed many more people in detention — received campaign contributions from private prison lobbyists or companies…”

Mr. Justice Thurgood Marshall

Had Thurgood Marshall “merely” conceived and orchestrated the legal challenges that brought down segregation from the NAACP offices in NYC, he would have been a giant… but he was a front line soldier, too. He rode with the Red Caps on Jim Crow trains into the Deep South, into settings instinct with violence, where the all-white justice and law enforcement systems were lousy with Klan members and poisoned by race-hatred. Ignoring death threats and insults, knowing his clients were doomed at the trial level, he meticulously and patiently built the record for appeal, until the shear weight of monstrous injustice brought the whole fetid architecture of oppression crashing down. “No wonder that across the South, in their darkest, most demoralizing hours, when falsely accused men sat in jails, when women and children stood before the ashy ruins of mob-torched homes, the spirits of black citizens would be lifted with two words whispered in defiance and hope: ‘Thurgood’s coming.’“ (Quote is from “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America” by Gilbert King.)