April 2022 Newsletter
Congratulations to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for (soon) becoming the first black female on the United States Supreme Court and Justice Patricia Guerrero for becoming the first Latina on the California Supreme Court. Both women are imminently qualified jurists who will improve and diversify their respective Supreme Courts. But this month’s legal update reminds us that even the best intentioned federal judges can and do sometimes violate ethical rules.
I appreciate the positive comments I have received for suasponte. Your comments inspire me. Thank you.
I hope you enjoy the April 2022 edition. Happy Easter and Passover everyone!
Federal Judges Found to Have Decided Cases When They Had Financial Conflicts of Interest
An investigation by the Wall Street Journal found that 131 federal judges presided over 950 cases between 2010 and 2019, involving companies in which they or a family member owned stock. These figures do not include 2020 and 2021 for which court data is not yet available.
As a result of the WSJ findings, as of March 17, 2022, court clerks have notified parties in 836 lawsuits that the judges should have disqualified themselves and that those cases could be reassigned or reopened.
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OneNote is Excellent for Case Management
I use OneNote as a project management and note taking application. It integrates seamlessly with Outlook and is easy to organize and use. I create a notebook for each of my litigation matters and share them with team members. I create sections or tabs labeled: Emails, Documents, Notes, Contacts and TimeLine. I may create other sections depending on the matter (e.g., experts, to dos, summary judgment, depositions, and trial.)
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Outlook Calendar Tips
Color Coding Depositions and Hearings: Depositions and court hearings are important. To make these events stand out from the other items on my calendar, I color code them. You can do this by clicking View Settings, Conditional Formatting, selecting a color, and creating a condition (e.g., search for the word “hearing”).
Date Selector: I often receive multiple dates to choose for a meeting, hearing or event. To view the individual dates side by side on your screen, select the day view, click on the first date, and then click control and the mouse key on the other dates, and magically just those days will appear on your screen side by side.
Reply with a Meeting: If you receive an email inviting you to a meeting, you can simply click on the meeting button in the Outlook ribbon. It will open a calendar event with all the details of the original email and send a meeting invite to the sender.
Time Zones: I frequently have calls and meetings with people in the Eastern time zone. To make scheduling these events easier, I have my calendar set up to display the Pacific and Eastern time zones. To do this, right click on the calendar edge and select add additional time zone.
I hope one or more of these tips is useful.
#WORTH YOUR TIME
Head Strong by Dave Asprey
Our brains are our most important organs. And as attorneys our cognitive abilities are critical assets and drivers to our success. Dave Asprey, in his book Head Strong, tells us how we can increase our cognitive abilities and energy.
Asprey is an entrepreneur and the creator of Bulletproof Coffee. Asprey, who was overweight and suffered from lack of mental clarity (e.g., unable to recall important information) in his early adult life, has spent more than a decade working with doctors and scientists to discover methods for improving our brian performance.
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#WHAT I'M LISTENING TO NOW
I am listening to everything Foo Fighters after the loss of Taylor Hawkins. His passing is a reminder that drug addiction and mental health issues can afflict all of us. Taylor, the drummer of Foo Fighters, has acknowledged his insecurity associated with having to play the drums for David Grohl – the best drummer of the 1990s. It’s difficult to imagine that, as talented as Taylor was as a drummer and singer, at one time even he had imposter syndrome.
Those who knew Taylor have all expressed their sadness for his loss and that he was a kind and loving soul to everyone. The last time I saw the Foo Fighters play was at BottleRock in September 2021. I will never forget Taylor playing the drums effortlessly while smiling and laughing with his infectious smile.
Rest In Peace, Taylor.