6 Strange Hangover Cures

Last time we looked, lawyers like to drink on New Year’s Eve, and sometimes to excess—often depending on whether billable hour goals have been met for the year. Or not. For that unpleasant morning after, there are thousands of remedies to choose from, including six of the strangest.

5 Lemon Armpits. Apparently, revelers in Puerto Rico swear by this remedy: rub a sliced lemon into your armpits before you go out for a night of heavy drinking. Though there’s no science to this, it allegedly prevents dehydration. I’m no scientist, but the fact that I don’t see marathon runners lathering up in lemon slices makes me skeptical. In fact, I’m tagging this one as an urban legend. But feel free to try it.

4 The Highland Fling. For the Scot in you, heat up a pint of buttermilk and stir in a tablespoon of cornflour. Season with salt and pepper. Drink. In the morning, not as part of your New Year’s celebration.

3 Dried Bull Penis. This is a remedy from the manly folks in Sicily. Just chew on dried bull penis and your hangover abates. But, one problem for people stateside is finding dried bull penis. I Googled “Dried Bull Penis Whole Foods” and came up with plenty of listings for bull pizzle and bully sticks, none of which are apparently too healthy, even for dogs. So, no hair of the dog on this one.

2 Hangover Heaven. You have to be in Vegas for this one, but the 45-foot rolling hangover treatment clinic from Hangover Heaven can come get you and hook you up to “a small, pediatric IV.” You then have your choice of up to two liters of hydration, plus medicine for nausea, headache, or heartburn. And, if you want, you can get 30 minutes worth of oxygen as part of its “Rapture” package.

1 Prairie Oysters Rabbit Shit Tea. Take one whole raw egg, mix with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and hot sauce, then gulp it down without breaking the yolk. If you don’t puke it up, it may do the trick, though we have our doubts. If that doesn’t work, try making tea out of rabbit shit, provided you feel well enough to go outside to collect some—Western US cowboys swore by this tea.

Our recommendation? Drink plenty of water and, in the morning, plan for a tried and true greasy morning breakfast, poutine if you speak Canadian.

Yo, Lay People: Beware of Lawyers Bearing Books

I’ve been poking around trying to find out exactly where old law books go to die. In my research, I happened to come across a resource list from a county law library in Oregon. Turns out, if you’re a lawyer considering donating old law books, make sure you are aware of the unsophisticated and unknown lay person:

washington-oregon-law-library-used-books

Geez, I considered donating one of my used F.2nd’s to my cousin for his decorative needs, but then again he could misuse it and start mouthing off about barratry. I’ve since rethought my approach. Thanks, librarians, we love you (seriously, we do).
Source: How to Dispose of Used Law Books (Washington County, Oregon, Law Library)

Standard Legal Clauses, Rewritten with Exclamation Points

While we predict the exclamation point will fall out of favor in the general public in the coming year, that doesn’t mean lawyers should ignore it for legal clauses, pleadings, and correspondence. Go ahead, spice things up, give your writing the extra oomph it deserves. Use an exclamation point in the next year. Here are some examples to give you inspiration.

  • I have received your letter dated December 22, 2013!
  • Plaintiff is a citizen of the United States and resides in the County of Westchester, State of New York, which is in this judicial district!
  • Each term and provision of this agreement shall be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law!
  • The geographic scope of this Agreement shall be Planet Earth! Provided, however, if a court determines such a geographic scope is unenforceable, it shall be the United States! Provided, however, if a court determines such a geographic scope is unenforceable, it shall be the City of Des Moines!
  • ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED!!
  • Plaintiff incorporates and restates each of the above paragraphs as if fully set forth herein!
  • Enclosed and served upon you please find defendant’s Answer!
  • Being authorized to prosecute the offenses charged, I approve this Complaint!
  • This matter came before the Honorable David R. Cruxton on March 3, 2013, upon defendant’s Motion to Compel!
  • WHEREFORE, this Plaintiff claims TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($2,500,000.00) in damages!
  • Respectfully submitted!

What If My Dog Attacks a Drone?

resident-futurist-smallI get a lot of questions about drones, from lawyers, readers, and my kids. Most people want to know where they can buy one. But a lot of questions relate to drones and the law. As a practical futurist, I typically ignore theoretical questions, such as Federal Aviation Administration regulation of drones or drone immigration policy. But here are answers to some of the more common practical questions I’m receiving.

Q What happens if a drone slips and falls on my property? Could I be liable?
Well, yes and no. First, you should know that most drones fly, though in the near future “drone” will come to mean any robotic unmanned semi-intelligent chunk of metal and plastic, including your alarm clock. Hell, remote controlled helicopters from Toys “R” Us are drones, at least for now. But I digress. As an aerial vehicle, the likelihood of a drone slipping and falling on your property is fairly small. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about what you have lying about your curtilage. Shovels sticking up, trip wire, sharpened sticks, trap guns, that kind of thing. Be careful what you install as protection against drone deliveries or incursions. You may end up buying yourself a personal injury lawsuit or, worse, on the short end of the stick of a drone’s programmed anger.

Q If my dog attacks a drone while making a delivery or conducting its business, what are the legal issues I should worry about?
You should worry about your dog. As you are probably aware, all commercial drones come with a weaponized payload courtesy of the second amendment. If a drone detects a “hostile” it deals with it quickly, sometimes through chemical agents like ricin or, if local law allows, semi-automatic firepower. So, to be honest, your dog will be worse for the wear. That said, if your dog happened to be successful in attacking a drone, you may be liable for the damage. Check your homeowner’s policy for “damage to drone” coverage. If it’s not there, consider adding it to the policy through riders available from State Farm and American Family Insurance. Also, review your local “dangerous dog” ordinance to see if an attack on a drone would categorize your dog as “dangerous.” Most drones, when attacked, are programmed to report animal-related incidents directly to authorities, including zoos, local animal control agencies, and other drones. You don’t want to be blacklisted from the coming drone benefits because of an allegedly dangerous dog.

Q How do I keep drones off of my property? Will a “no drone” or “no solicitation” sign work?
It depends, but probably not. While technically this is a state by state question, even governed by local ordinance, well-financed drone interests will likely prevail and any so-called “no drone zones” will be a quaint reaction to the inevitable singularity, sort of like building a post-apocalyptic shelter and filling it with cans of pork and beans. If you fear drones or want to shoot one down if it comes on your property, you should probably move to Texas, a rural part of Colorado or Wyoming, or to Greenland. Even that, however, may not work. Just saying.

Q If a drone operates a driverless Google car, is it driverless?
Wow. That’s pretty deep. I’m going to pass on this purely philosophical question for now and wait until a drone carjacks a driverless Google car. That will put the issue into a more focused and practical perspective.

Q Will I be able to operate a drone while I’m drunk?
If you mean physically, yes. Drunks can drive or “operate” drones. In case you hadn’t already realized it, you can pretty much do anything drunk. Or at least try. But is it legal? It all depends on your jurisdiction. Currently, though, most drones are not considered motor vehicles and therefore are not regulated by various state motor vehicle laws. I think the FAA, however, may be involved. In any event, consult a DUI attorney for more guidance. They will be happy to oblige.

Q I keep seeing the phrase “unmanned drones.” Does that mean there are manned drones?
Great question, though I guess it’s not technically a legal question. Yes, there are “manned” drones, just not the type that you would expect. Scientists at the University of California in Santa Clara have successfully bred a “genius” group of mice to operate drones for limited periods of time, up to twenty or thirty minutes. Unfortunately, the mice became so adept at flying the drones that they liberated other mice and are thought to have since formed hundreds of secretive “mouse cells” across the Southwest United States, with the sole purpose of liberating lab mice from research institutions. It’s too early to tell if it will be successful, though I imagine with drones at their disposal, it will be a difficult next few years, if not decades.

I Want a Child But I’m Worried About My Job

Q I’m in my second year as a large firm associate. My husband and I want to have a baby but I’m worried about how much it will affect my work, status, and promotion within the firm. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be something talked about among other associates and partners, though I’ve only just recently tried to keep my ears open for clues about the firm’s general attitude. One female associate said it’s a “partner killer” while a male associate said, in somewhat vague terms, that I could have it all—part-time work, stay on partner track, lots of sympathy from everyone.

Basically, I’m wondering if there is a good time to get pregnant and have a baby while working in a big firm. I am 28 and want to have a baby before I’m in my early thirties. My husband is not a lawyer. Any thoughts?

A Sure. Get started. Trust your gut and do it. But, some serious caveats about me and my advice.

I’m not what you should consider in any way an expert on birthing a baby while holding down a big firm job. During my days in BigLaw, most if not all of my male lawyer colleagues resented women who went on maternity leave. Just being honest here. We were, for the most part, young, brash, and entitled, and believed it was possible to become partner so long as you worked long hours, did solid work, took small vacations, and didn’t complain. Kids were not in our sphere, and successful male senior partners took the attitude that any brood that you managed was to be enjoyed on “free weekends.” Kids were to be unseen, except for the obligatory family photos in the office.

That was my reality. Now let’s see if I can provide my inexperienced take on yours, though I’ve supplemented my knowledge by asking around, consulting with working law firm moms, and doing a bit of reading.

First, for what it’s worth, here’s what a study among academics found for having a child while also trying to get tenure:

Our most important finding is that family formation negatively affects women’s—but not men’s—academic careers. For men, having children can be a slight career advantage and, for women, it is often a career killer. Women who do advance through the faculty ranks do so at a high personal price: They are far less likely to be married with children than are their male colleagues.

Substitute academic careers for big firm careers and faculty ranks to the firm and I have a hunch it’s the same. A hunch, mind you, but why would a law practice geared toward partnership be much different than an academic track geared toward tenure?

The fact that babyhood “doesn’t seem to be something talked about” isn’t exactly a great sign for your future, but then again I’m not aware of many—if any—large law firms in which baby talk is a regaled topic among its lawyers. At least not openly. From my days in BigLaw, the typical talk related to what our wives (or, more accurately, the partners’ wives) were doing at home with the kids.

Times, I hope, have changed.

Getting pregnant and having the baby isn’t really a big issue in a lot of law firms these days. After all, most everyone will be happy for you, at least initially happy and supportive. It’s what happens when and how you return that counts. How accommodating will the firm be? Is there on-site daycare? Can you breastfeed or pump without feeling like you have to hide? What’s the attitude of taking time off when you need it? How realistic is the firm in your leaving by 5:30 everyday, or earlier? Can you advance if you are 40 or 50 percent time? These are considerations and things to look at in your firm before you make a final decision. But the ultimate findings to consider, at least from my asking around, are these:

  • There is no perfect or preferred time to have a child in BigLaw.
  • Having a child will generally—though not always–negatively affect a women’s career. Just being honest;
  • Raising a child and working full time in a law firm is crazy hard, but doable, especially if you have the financial wherewithal and a supportive flexible partner/spouse to boot);
  • Your happiness is what counts. Trite but true, and that should be your focus. Regrets later will make you crazy, if not undeniably sad.
  • Trust your gut. Remember, your law firm isn’t in line to provide you with company and comfort when you get old.
  • Be emotionally prepared—you and your husband.

In the end, it’s what you want to do, not so much what everyone else thinks you should do. If you and your husband want to have a kid before you are in your mid-thirties and considered “geriatric,” then have one soon. Get started. Good luck.

Dad, What’s the Penalty for Driving 400 MPH?

Logo for Legal Crap My Kids Ask MeThis is one of many hypothetical questions I get from Max. He’s excellent at embellishing facts to make them a bit ridiculous, if not impossible. But that’s what makes them fun to think about and answer. Assuming you could drive a car 400mph down a city street, what are the possible penalties for driving it in a 30mph speed zone?

First, it is possible to drive a car more than 400mph. Or 470mph, to be exact. While absolute land-speed records (which involve jet-powered cars) are slightly north of 700mph, Don Vesco holds the “wheel-driven land speed record” of 470.444mph. Vesco set the record in 2001 while cruising along Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats in his Vesco Turbinator.

So, assuming that I hop into one of these Vesco Turbinators for a quick jaunt down Lyndale Avenue in South Minneapolis, what’s the penalty for my 400mph commute? In other words, for the roughly six mile journey downtown to the Target Center, what’s the penalty I could pay for getting there in a Turbinator in less than 60 seconds?

Here’s what I came up with, at least under Minnesota law. And, as we almost always do, let’s assume I get caught, at least this time.

  • License Revocation. Going 400mph is a bit more than Minnesota’s “extreme speed” of 100mph, the speed limit over which a driver’s license is automatically revoked.
  • Reckless or Careless Driving. I’d wager that going 400mph down Lyndale Avenue, a semi-residential street, is driving a “vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willful or a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” otherwise known as reckless driving, a misdemeanor so long as you also don’t get into an accident. Heedless driving that endangers people (but does not involve wanton or willful disregard of that danger) is careless driving, also a misdemeanor. I’m not sure I have a strong defense against either, at least if I’m going 400mph past the Walker Art Center and the Basilica of St. Mary.
  • Racing. “Racing” is reckless driving but involves a person who “willfully compares or contests relative speeds” while driving, no matter the posted speed (and it also includes boats). I guess it could be a defense to racing if you were actually commuting to work in your Vesco Turbinator—that is, not “contesting” the Dodge Caravan you passed a few milliseconds back. Or not trying to best the wheel-driven land speed record of 470mph. Doubtful.

Those are the crimes. Max, though, asked about the penalty for driving down the road at 400mph—370mph over the Minneapolis city speed limit. If caught and convicted of speeding, it would mean a fine of at least $212, plus whatever surcharges the court tacks on these days, plus more if I happened to pass through a designated work or school zone. And if convicted of reckless driving, it could mean up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. Finally, for “extreme speed”—speed in excess of 100mph in Minnesota—I’d get my license revoked for at least six months. Worth it to go 400mph down a city street. Probably in the mind of a 13-year-old.

As an aside, the closest anyone has come to such extreme speeding was a Minnesota motorcyclist allegedly clocked at 205mph on a rural road with a posted speed limit of 65mph. Though folks doubted that his Honda RC51 motorcycle could go that fast, the cyclist ultimately pled guilty to speeding and for failing to possess a valid motorcycle license. He avoided a careless driving conviction, paid a fine, and did 200 hours of community service.

Lawyers’ Use of Drones: Past, Present, & Future

1879: E.S. Drone, A Treatise on the Law of Property in Intellectual Productions in Great Britain and the United States

1958: The Levys discovered water in their cellar and called in a plumber named Van Drone

1965: People of the State of New York v. Milton Drone

1971: Under these circumstances, the wife should be encouraged to continue to be self-supporting rather than becoming an alimony drone.

1973: Oh, God. It’s Kingsfield. He’s droning on and on about contracts again.

1980: WHEREAS, Arthur Drone conveyed the strip of land in question to Dale and Charlene Garvey

1994: I don’t know. Give it to the drones in compliance. That’ll keep them busy.

1999: Geez, it’s just sometimes I feel like a drone. Like I just come to work, push around some papers, bill, and go home. Did I really go to law school for this?

2004: Predator drone. Huh. Sounds kinda cool. Can you get one on Amazon?

2007: Don’t drone me, bro. Seriously.

2009: I don’t care, just get more temps. It’s doc review, not rocket science. Drone work, if you ask me.

2010: Drone? What kind of drone are you talking about?

2011: I’m trying to get my head around this concept of drones.

2012: Interesting. And how exactly does one get “put in fear of being drone attacked.”

2013: We gotta get one of these drones.

2014: Robert, look into whether it’s legal to own a drone. Draft up a memo to the file.

2015: MEMO RE: Flight pattern and use of drones in a law-practice and marketing context, under FAA specifications

2016: Oh, how cute. A drone just served us with a summary judgment motion.

2017: That? Oh, it’s a lobby drone. It’s still a work in progress. Did you read our disclaimer?

2018: Who the hell used the Westlaw drone? For Chrissake, people, he charges by the nanosecond.

2019: Umm, the drones from Skadden McKenzie are here. What should I tell them?

2020: Which drone is here to testify on behalf of the corporation?

2021: I don’t know. Give it to one of the drones in compliance. They’ll have an answer within a . . . oh, hi, umm, you must be one of the drones in compliance.

2022: Mr. and Ms. Canfield, the Case Traurig Family Law Drone is now ready to represent you. Please look into its portal.

2023: I am not a drone, per se. But, yes, our discussions and the reading of your mind and data is confidential, privileged if I may say.

2024: Third Annual Proceedings of the Global Sentient Life Bar Association

2025: Yes, about calling us drones. We are not.

2026: The Sentient Drone Rights Act of 2026

2027: Drone vs. People

Food Pyramid for Lawyers

Another Basic Food Pyramid for Lawyers

Another Motion Unlikely to be Granted

Motion Not to Dignify with an Answer
Page 2 Motion Not to Dignify with an Answer

I Need a White Elephant Gift for a Partner

himalayan-suit-largeQ I have to get a partner a gift for our law firm’s white elephant party. He’s a senior partner with, I’m told, not the greatest sense of humor. Should I just get a bottle of decent wine and leave it at that?

A Let me get to the chase. I can’t help you. When I was practicing in BigLaw, I loathed the traditional white elephant gift party, which the firm did a few times over the years. A few of us loathed it so much that, by agreement, we made up our own tradition, with our own very explicit rules. Granted, this was around 2004-2005 and we were these terribly self-entitled young associates who regularly received large bonuses at the end of the year (I believe one year it approached $90,000). Basically, we were young, self-obsessed assholes with money to burn on frivolous things. Like white elephant gifts.

Our rules of the white elephant were these:

1. You must spend at least $3,000;
2. The recipient must do whatever is required by the gift;

That’s it. Our initial group included four guys and two female associates, so it was a good mix, with some pretty remarkable results. From what I remember, the best gifts were these, though I cannot take credit for any of them:

1 An all-expense paid five-day trip to Barrow, Alaska, booked for mid-February. This included everything. The plane ride, four nights at the Top of the World Hotel (which has since burned down), prepaid meals at Pepe’s Mexican restaurant in Barrow, and a specialized wardrobe, the highlight of which was a NorthFace Men’s Himalayan Suit, rated down to negative 40 or so. Basically, a bright walking sleeping bag. The recipient was required to wear it in the airport, on the plane, and while touring Barrow. From what I recall, the tour also included the Barrow courthouse.

2 Participation in the 2005 Promise Keepers main event in Fayetteville, Arkansas, called “The Awakening—An Unpredictable Adventure.” This included taking Greyhound to Fayetteville, a rental car, a three-night stay at a local Super 8, volunteer duties at the conference, and participating in the final meeting at Razorback stadium with 70,000+ plus other hardcore Promise Keepers. Luckily, because PK is a Christian ministry exclusively for men, this one went to one of the guys in our group. For what it’s worth, he was allowed to fly back to New York, not take a return trip on Greyhound. I can’t say he came back a changed man.

3 A 1993 Geo Metro, including six months of parking privileges in the law firm’s parking garage. The recipient was required to drive to work at least once a week and, in July, take a three day road trip with a hired driver to Wheeling, West Virginia, where they stayed at a bed and breakfast. The driver was Reefer Mike, a great guy, actually, who worked in the firm’s mailroom. He was pretty game for the trip, as he had relatives in West Virginia, but he was also supposed to stay in the BB with the recipient. I can’t remember if we required Reefer Mike to stay in the same room, but he ended up doing so.

So, I can’t help you. Try looking around eBay or Etsy and buying something there. Maybe a Dictaphone or a box of Twinkies. If you really are all out of ideas, sure, a crappy bottle of red wine would be the safe, boring, and appropriately big firm thing to do.

PS: Since when are people assigned a particular person for a white elephant gift? It’s supposed to be a random “all-in” gifting party. Aren’t you talking about Secret Santa?

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