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August Book of the Month: Untangling Fear in Lawyering

Untangling Fear in LawyeringUntangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy
By Heidi K. Brown

Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian


This refreshing new book from Heidi K. Brown—litigator, author, professor, and Law Library MCLE presenter on August 9th—soundly dispenses with the tired conventional wisdom surrounding how to handle fear, and instead invites lawyers to distill and untangle their fear. When a new attorney feels daunted at the prospect of facing a cantankerous judge or a 1L worries about an intimidating professor’s use of the Socratic method, the typical advice is to simply “push through” fears, or “fake it till you make it.” But in Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy, Brown challenges this approach as being at best, phenomenally unhelpful, and at worst, highly destructive to a lawyer’s on-the-job performance and mental health. Fear is not a weakness, and it is not a motivator. Rather than downplay fear, Brown acknowledges that fear in lawyering is very real and very legitimate—lawyers face stressful situations marked by emotional clients, tight deadlines, and enormous consequences for even a small mistake. In fact, the entire legal profession is a culture built around fear, and lawyers adopt these rights-of-passage as a badge of honor. Brown sees how the culture of fear leads to anxiety, depression, and burnout, and can drive excellent lawyers away from the profession. She posits that legal education and practice can be improved by radically changing how we approach fear.

Brown proposes that we try to understand fear, to tease apart the perceived threats from reality. With self-awareness, we can use specific strategies to manage fear, rather than simply attempting to squelch it with pithy sayings that only wind up amplifying it. She explores the science of fight-or-flight as well as the tangled knot of emotions—shame, rejection, unworthiness, or the false bravado that hides a scarcity mindset—so that we can start to unpack fear’s grip and develop confidence. Next, Brown delves into how other professions approach fear, citing that medical and journalism curricula actively teach students what to do when they make a mistake in their future vocation. Similarly, in the realm of professional sports, the mental and emotional training that athletes receive is instructive on how to stop the onslaught of negative, destructive thought patterns. Brown follows with a four-step program that will cultivate true strength and courage in lawyering, in which we untangle fear, mentally reboot, channel our inner athlete, and build a culture of fortitude. She includes exercises to guide us through this process of learning how to stop repressing fear, and instead, to grow in spite of it. Finally, appendices set forth checklists, teaching strategies for educators, and ideas for law firm managers, and a comprehensive bibliography lists suggested further reading on numerous related topics.

Not only is Untangling Fear essential reading for a lawyer’s own personal growth, but it is also an important assessment of the dysfunctional culture for which the entire legal profession is renowned. As the legal industry continues to study the mental health and substance abuse problems that are all too common among lawyers, Brown makes clear that understanding fear and the emotions that surround it is critical to improving the overall health and culture of the profession.


Untangling Fear in Lawyering was generously donated to the Law Library by author Heidi K. Brown during our May Book Drive. Ms. Brown will be presenting The Introverted Lawyer MCLE program on Friday, August 9th from 12–1 as part of the Library’s Lunchtime Speaker Series.

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August Book Drive

Book Drive

Each month we will seek donors to purchase a new title for the Law Library. Here is our Wish List for the month of August. Growing our collection is about so much more than a single book—it is a living demonstration of how the Library expands the public’s access to justice and provides legal practitioners with the tools they need to represent members of our local community. Please see our Donation Guide for more ways to support the Law Library.

Lawyer's Guide to Increasing RevenueThe Lawyer’s Guide to Increasing Revenue, 3rd ed.
Written by Arthur G. Greene and Peter D. Roberts
$54.95, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64105-466-9

Formulas for Calculating DamagesFormulas for Calculating Damages, 2nd ed.
Written by Mark Guralnick
$169.95, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64105-460-7

Waivers BookThe Waivers Book: Advanced Issues in Immigration Practice
2nd ed.

Written by Irene Scharf et al.
$269, Paperback, 2017
ISBN: 978-1573704090
We would welcome a partial contribution toward the purchase of this book!


Thank you to author Heidi K. Brown for generously donating her two books Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy (part of the May Book Drive) and The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered AdvocacyAnd come to our upcoming free lunchtime program on August 9th featuring the author herself!

Please take a look at our Book Drive page to see Wish List items from prior months. We are still wishing for these books!


To donate, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791. We appreciate your contribution!


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July Book Drive

Book Drive

Each month we will seek donors to purchase a new title for the Law Library. Here is our Wish List for the month of July. Growing our collection is about so much more than a single book—it is a living demonstration of how the Library expands the public’s access to justice and provides legal practitioners with the tools they need to represent members of our local community. Please see our Donation Guide for more ways to support the Law Library.

Guide for In-House Counsel_ Practical Resource to Cutting-Edge Issues

Guide for In-House Counsel: Practical Resource to Cutting-Edge Issues
Edited by Leslie A. Berkoff
$89.95, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64105-394-5

Being Heard_ Presentation Skills for Attorneys

Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys
Written by Faith Dianne Pincus
$39.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-64105-187-3

California Water

California Water, 3rd ed.
Written by Arthur L. Littleworth and Eric L. Garner
$85, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-938166-28-0

PLI Legal Guide to the Business of Marijuana_2

Legal Guide to the Business of Marijuana, 2019 ed.
Written by James T. O’Reilly
$249, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4024-3359-7


Thank you to author Heidi K. Brown for generously donating her two books Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy (part of the May Book Drive) and The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered AdvocacyAnd come to our upcoming free lunchtime program on August 9th featuring the author herself!

Please take a look at our Book Drive page to see Wish List items from prior months. We are still wishing for these books!


To donate, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791. We appreciate your contribution!


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Yosemite Reading for Summer

Yosemite

  • Carleton Watkins in Yosemite, Weston Naef
  • Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs, Weston Naef and Christine Hult-Lewis
  • Carleton Watkins: Making the West American, Tyler Green

For those of us without a reservation at the Ahwanhee (now called The Majestic Yosemite Hotel), these Carleton Watkins books are for you—a ravishing wilderness, page by page, on a scale that is truly majestic, and which, nose to our work, we can forget is only 200 miles east from downtown San Francisco. Here’s dreaming without the crowds—three books for the cool of a San Francisco July to kindle a sense of awe through magisterial pictography and the story of a pioneering artist—one of the first photographers of Yosemite in post-Civil War America.

The first book, Carleton Watkins in Yosemite, features 49 reproductions of Yosemite landscapes taken between 1861 and 1880. They are referred to as his mammoth-plate photographs because they required large, heavy glass plate negatives about 18 x 22 inches in size. These photographs were shown to President Lincoln, who was impressed enough to declare the Yosemite Valley within the public domain to protect its beauty for all.  It is also these photographs that may prompt your own recall of the very first time you arrived in Yosemite and tried to take it all in. The book itself is just the size to fit into a daypack for a day’s wandering.

The second book presents a fuller catalog. Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs is a dense and completely extraordinary gift of images and history extending far beyond Yosemite—10 pounds of reproductions and cataloging notes of Watkins’ 1,273 known mammoth-plate photographs. This is likely one of the heaviest books in the San Francisco Law Library collection, but only a feather compared to the 2,000 pounds of photography-making equipment, which included a specially-made oversized-camera, the glass plates, chemistry equipment, and a dark-room tent—all of which Watkins hauled with wagon and mule to every precipice and every spot on the valley floor for each Yosemite expedition and to many other places. Organized into 10 chapters, this catalog includes not only the complete Yosemite images, but also Watkin’s lesser-known work, such as his mining photographs, the San Francisco pictures (taken when Twin Peaks was uninhabited and the Cliff House newly built), a Pacific Coast series that includes Mendocino, Oregon, other coastal areas, and other Bay Area landscapes like San Mateo and Santa Clara, a series on the Franciscan Missions, a few portraits, and even some court-evidence photography made for boundary disputes. All of which to say, it is still hard to beat Plate 1—an image of The Grizzly Giant, a giant sequoia in Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove standing 210 feet tall, with a cluster of tiny people pictured at its base like carved wooden toys, or Plate 38 of North Dome. You will find your own favorite—or many. The plates are completely absorbing: water, stone, trees, sky, dimensions, space, and history.

Finally, Carleton Watkins: Making the West American offers a broader view. It contains not just the images, but a different perspective across the grain of art, culture, and history—what the author calls a horizontal history: “…the impact artists have outside art, such as on their world and on events that continue after their careers and lives…an artist’s impact on a nation.” It’s just the kind of book that requires a hammock—a well-written narrative, illustrated along the way, that shows how Watkins’ work embodied not only beauty, but also power and import, and become a prime influence on making the West as important as the East. This is the story of how Watkins and his art saw the West and gave it to the nation.

In 1906, the San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed a vast amount of Carleton Watkin’s negatives and archives. These books survive to collect what’s left and offer these images for fresh appreciation and delight.

All three Carleton Watkins book are available at the San Francisco Law Library.


If you are still unsure where to start, start here:

Peaks & Perils: the Life of Carleton Watkins, a four-minute animated biography of the artist and his work, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which has 25 Carleton Watkins photographs  in their collection, but none currently on view.

A podcast with the author, Tyler Green, about his work, Carleton Watkins: Making the West American is available at: https://manpodcast.com/portfolio/no-364-tyler-green-on-carleton-watkins/.

Images from the Getty Collection of Carleton Watkins photographs can be viewed on a smaller scale on their website, and downloaded, with some restrictions.


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June Book Drive

Book Drive

Each month we will seek donors to purchase a new title for the Law Library. Here is our Wish List for the month of June. Growing our collection is about so much more than a single book—it is a living demonstration of how the Library expands the public’s access to justice and provides legal practitioners with the tools they need to represent members of our local community. Please see our Donation Guide for more ways to support the Law Library.

This month we are hoping to replace two popular resources that have gone missing from our collection:

CEB Construction Contracts Defects and LitigationCalifornia Construction Contracts, Defects, and Litigation, 4th ed.
Written by James Acret et al.
$415, Loose-leaf, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-76262-599-4

California Construction Law ManualCalifornia Construction Law Manual, 2018–2019 ed.
Written by James Acret
$307, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-53922-973-5


Thank you to author Heidi K. Brown for generously donating her two books Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy (part of the May Book Drive) and The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered Advocacy.


To donate, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791. We appreciate your contribution!


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The Serial Set, Part 3: Supreme Court Nominations

Serial Set SCtOur first two Serial Set Posts discussed HeinOnline’s new database content of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, and the differences in the online offerings of Hein and Lexis. Now, for the last installment of our series, we dive into the documents themselves, since none of this would be worth the bother at all if the Serial Set didn’t offer the most vivid view of the history of the nation.

With the sting of Supreme Court nominations so recently in mind, the Year-End Report, 1st session of 97th Congress (1981) [Report of Senate Comm on the Judiciary, Nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor. Executive Report No. 97-22.], regarding the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor, reminds us that consensus was once easier to achieve. Speaking about the recommendation to the full Senate (17 aye, one present), Senator Thurmond, then Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, summarized those hearings [at p. 147]:

…The Committee recommended the approval of the first woman to be nominated to the United States Supreme Court. In providing the background and recommendation on which the Senate could fulfill its Constitutional duties, the Committee held three days of hearings and considered the views of a wide range of witnesses. On the recommendation of the Committee, the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

Twelve years later, in 1993, the nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sent to the Senate Floor with a unanimous recommendation to confirm, with a final Senate vote of  93-3. [Nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Supreme Court, Report from Senate Comm on the Judiciary, Aug 5, 1993]

Serial set 3

And in-between, in 1991, was the highly charged hearing on the nomination of Clarence Thomas as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, with testimony given by Anita Hill of a pattern of sexual harassment by the nominee. With contemporary articles pointing out the all-but-too-close parallels to the conduct of the Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the Serial Set refreshes history, and our memory, with the report of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which ultimately made no recommendation on the nominee, and with the Committee vote tied at 7 to 7. [Nomination of Clarence Thomas, Report of Comm of Judiciary, no recommendation 7-7. Sept 19, 1991]

Serial set 3a

Among the many speeches by Senators who rose to explain their vote, Senator Robert Byrd took to the floor with a singular and powerful eloquence, explaining why, in the end, he could not vote to confirm Clarence Thomas — ultimately rejecting the nomination in favor of the grace of the Court itself. [Senator Robert C. Byrd on the nomination of Clarence Thomas]

Even after the final vote, 52-48, the narrative continued, with a potent shift to the another part of the story.  A Temporary Independent Counsel was immediately appointed to investigate the leak of the confidential Anita Hill information, the disclosure of which triggered the public airing of the sexual harassment she detailed, and the hyper-charged televised hearings that followed.

Serial set 3b

The subsequent Report of the Temporary Independent Counsel summarized all the key players, and yet in the end concluded that it was unable to identify the source of the disclosures. [Independent Counsel after Clarence Thomas hearings, part 1]

This report of the Temporary Independent Counsel was accompanied by a 172-page collection of exhibits. Among other materials, it included the Anita Hill statement, photographs of Anita Hill arriving at the Senate hearings, deposition testimony from the NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, editorial cartoons, and press reports and newspaper articles on colleagues of Anita Hill supporting her veracity. [Exhibits to Report by Temporary Independent Counsel.May 1992]

The Serial Set has all this and more.

As the 116th Congress, convened on January 3, 2019, begins its work, all the records of whatever comes across Congressional sightlines will be also eventually be added and indexed and become a part of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.


Databases at the San Francisco Law Library, including HeinOnline and the Lexis are open to the public for free access at the San Francisco Law Library.

For more questions about research in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set or about the scope of other San Francisco Law Library resources, please contact the Reference Team at sfll.reference@sfgov.org   or 415:554-1772.


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May Book of the Month: Closing the Courthouse Door

51o5FtK+zsL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Closing the Courthouse Door: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable
By Erwin Chemerinsky
Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian

Esteemed constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky wrote Closing the Courthouse Door: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable after decades of mounting frustration over how Supreme Court jurisprudence has chipped away at the ability of the federal courts to perform their most important and basic task—to enforce the Constitution. He examines how the Court has limited the ability of a plaintiff to sue state and local governments for constitutional violations, expanded immunity protection for government officers, narrowed the instances where the court will find standing for injured parties, restricted access to habeas corpus, thwarted plaintiffs from suing in class actions, and increased abstention by finding more and more cases are nonjusticiable political questions. The result of the Court’s expansion of these procedural doctrines is that many citizens are left with no remedy when their constitutional rights are violated. Chemerinsky eloquently and passionately argues that the role of the Constitution is to hold the government and its officers accountable to those whose constitutional rights have been infringed upon, and if the federal courts are not able to enforce the Constitution, then it is as if those rights did not exist at all.

Most disturbing in this snowballing trend is that the procedural doctrines the Court has expanded are entirely the Court’s own creation—they are not based on the Constitution, and they are not founded on federal statutes. For example, the defense of immunity for government officers is not found in the language of section 1983, which creates a private right of action against government officials who deprive a person of a constitutional right. Not only did the Court create this defense, but it found that some tasks warrant absolute immunity, even for the most egregious violations of a constitutional right, and even when officials act in a way that clearly exceeded their authority. Chemerinsky maintains that there is no need for absolute immunity at all because all officials have qualified immunity, but even here, the Court has made it increasingly difficult for plaintiffs to recover for their injuries by continually expanding the scope and availability of the defense.

Throughout Closing the Courthouse Door, Chemerinsky cites example after heartbreaking example where a person was left with no recourse after their constitutional rights were trampled. Because of one procedural doctrine or another, the federal courts were left unable to enforce the Constitution. Chemerinsky notes that this should be a bipartisan issue, and in fact, he surmises that many conservatives should theoretically welcome the idea of holding the government accountable for its actions. He optimistically concludes each chapter with a suggested path forward, where either the Court itself or Congress could act to rectify these erroneous doctrines. In many cases, the changes he presses for would only restore the law to what it was several years ago, before more restrictive holdings were announced. Chemerinsky posits that the federal courts have been diminished as a co-equal branch of government as a result of abstaining from hearing many types of cases, and that we as a nation should want our courts to be able to ensure that constitutional wrongs can be righted.