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October 2010
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My old guest-post at the Underground about depression in lawyers

More than 5½ years ago, I submitted a guest post to Evan Schaeffer’s blog, now known as Beyond the Underground, about depression in lawyers. Judging by the comment stream, it seemed to have hit a nerve. I had another look at it today, and saw that the most recent comment was submitted 6 months ago, more than 5 years after the original post.

If you’re interested in this topic, read Lawyers With Depression. Its author, Dan Lukasik, is writing some outstanding stuff there.

Soon to come: Thoughts on jury duty

Every Monday and Wednesday of this month, I’ve been reporting to Criminal District Court here in New Orleans for jury duty. While I haven’t been picked yet, sitting in the courtroom or the jury box for voir dire has been educational. When the whole thing is over and my comments can’t be tied to any particular case, I may post something about what the lawyers did right and did wrong—from the potential jurors’ perspective. Meanwhile, I have these two observations:

First, it appears that our still relatively new D.A., Leon Cannizzaro, is pushing more cases to jury trial. The last time I had jury duty at Criminal District Court (about 4 years ago), most days I never was called from the juror lounge to a courtroom. This time, I’ve gotten into the courtroom and into the jury box all but one day. So from this admittedly narrow perspective, it seems that more cases are going to trial under this D.A. compared to his predecessor.

Second, while lawyers should not be immune from jury duty, we really should get CLE credit for it. Whatever kind of law you practice, you get a refresher in criminal law and procedure. And perhaps more importantly, you observe the lawyers’ work from the jurors’ perspective. That education is probably far more valuable than any lecture or PowerPoint presentation you sit through.

A vivid memory is not necessarily reliable.

We intuitively think that the more vivid a memory is, the more reliable it is. For instance, most of us can vividly recall September 11, 2001: how we first learned of the attacks, where we were, whom we were with, what we did afterwards. But the vividness of those memories does not make them any more reliable than our more mundane memories. Any memory, including a vivid one, is a construction of the mind, not a video recording, and is therefore subject to distortion. For details, read this post at The Invisible Gorilla.

40th anniversary of one of sports’ greatest moments

Forty years ago today, a man born with half of a right foot, nicknamed “Stumpy” by his teammates, kicked the longest field goal in NFL history. Until last February, it was the greatest moment in Saints history. Here is the kick itself:


And here is Jim Henderson’s retrospective, featuring a now 63-year-old Tom Dempsey:

Happy anniversary, Tom. And thanks.