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February Book of the Month: Beyond Smart

Beyond SmartBeyond Smart: Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence
By Ronda Muir
Reviewed by Aaron Parsons, Reference Librarian

In Beyond Smart, attorney Rhonda Muir shows why emotional intelligence (EI) is an essential attribute for attorneys to develop for their practices and their lives. Companies like Google and Johnson & Johnson use emotional intelligence to improve employee performance, health, happiness, and profitability. Top business schools teach EI.

Ms. Muir explains what EI is—our ability to understand and regulate our emotions and those of others. She addresses law’s skeptical view of emotions and EI, and then makes the business case for developing emotional skills: EI makes attorneys smarter, healthier, happier, and more profitable. It can also help them become better negotiators and litigators. For example, EI can improve litigation effectiveness by helping attorneys recognize and work with the “gut” feeling that is a combination of many other skills and competencies. It also helps attorneys recognize when an emotional bias may be clouding their views on legal matters.

Chapters 5–7 help attorneys assess their current emotional intelligence, and provide guidance and resources to raise their emotional intelligence that include mindfulness practice, working on perception, empathy, and regulating emotions. One guide to improving mindfulness and emotional intelligence cited by Ms. Muir was developed from a training program at Google. A result was the book and workshops based on it: Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace), by Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, and available at the San Francisco Public Library.

Beyond Smart is one of several new additions to the San Francisco Law Library’s Law Practice Management Collection.

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January Book of the Month: My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My Own WordsMy Own Words
By Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Reviewed by Ruth Geos, Reference Librarian

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now 84, has been on the US Supreme Court—as of 2017—for 24 years. Deferring her own biography until after her court years are complete, her new book My Own Words (with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams) sketches out her life in vital strokes, first as a student already aware of inequities in the world, then as an advocate, professor, mother and wife, federal appellate court judge, and since 1993, Supreme Court justice. Far from dry and dusty, this collection of her writings, speeches, and other talks are laced with humor and personal perspective. They create a fascinating sidelong view of the life and mind of a sitting Supreme Court justice and the Court itself—with an added sideline into opera.

In a compelling preface, Justice Ginsburg writes that the Supreme Court’s main trust is to repair fractures in federal law and to step in when other courts have disagreed on what the relevant federal law requires. As the book closes, she makes clear her own intentions, and says that she will continue on the Court as long as she can do the job full steam.

Some of the charms of this collection include glimpses into the personal development of who we think we know as Justice RBG. At Cornell as an undergraduate, she had Vladimir Nabokov as her professor of European literature, and learned about the creative power of words well-chosen. Voted unanimously out of the kitchen by her family in favor of her husband’s culinary skills, her work ethic of long and extended hours continues. She also details how the Supreme Court actually works, day to day and session to session, giving an outline of the “workways” of how the justices share the workload, the collegiality among the members of the Court even in the face of doctrinal differences, and the distinct value of dissents.

My Own Words is highly recommended reading that happens to be both enjoyable and informative. It is a view into one of our most scintillating members of the Supreme Court—a woman of substance and style, with an enduring dedication to equal dignity under the law.

As a bonus, take a look at the interview with Justice Ginsburg earlier this year at the Aspen Institute, where she answers questions about her life, the court, and her special views of how the court makes a difference to all of our lives. http://www.scotusblog.com/media/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-discusses-book-words/

The Law Library thanks Shannon K. Mauer of Duane Mauer LLP for generously donating this title. To learn how you can donate, please see our Donation Guide.


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December Book of the Month: Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz

Woman Lawyer

Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz
By Barbara Babcock
Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian

This engaging biography examines the life of Clara Foltz, who in 1878 was the first woman to be admitted to the California Bar. After she was abandoned by her husband and left with five young children to care for, she quickly surmised that the traditional “women’s work” of sewing, taking in boarders, and teaching would not provide sufficient income for her family. So she set out to be a lawyer. But first, she needed to remove the obstacle posed by the California Code of Civil Procedure—it stated that only a “white male citizen” could apply for the bar. Ms. Foltz and her allies worked tirelessly to see the enactment of the Woman Lawyer’s Act in 1878, which was among the first American statutes to allow women to practice law, and likely the first that resulted from the legislative process, as opposed to a court order.

The legacy of Ms. Foltz doesn’t end there. In 1879, she successfully argued in the California Supreme Court for the right to continue her education at the new Hastings College of the Law. She was a passionate and persuasive orator for the women’s suffrage movement, and while suffrage did not pass at the California Constitutional Convention of 1879, the women’s lobby managed to secure the addition of a clause guaranteeing equal employment opportunity for women—the first of its kind in any American constitution. And she pioneered the concept of the public defender’s office to ensure procedural fairness—a concept that is now commonplace, but was revolutionary at the time.

Woman Lawyer is a fascinating exploration of not only Clara Foltz’s life and legal thinking, but also of the roiling social and political climate that marked the turn of the century. A story of noble ideals and the hard work it takes to achieve them, this book is a must read!

The Law Library thanks Shannon K. Mauer of Duane Mauer LLP for generously donating this title. To learn how you can donate, please see our Donation Guide.


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November Book of the Month: Managing Environmental Risk

Managing Enviro Risk

Managing Environmental Risk: Real Estate and Business Transactions, 2016-2017
By Jennifer L. Machlin and Tomme R. Young
Reviewed by Courtney Nguyen

Recent events have shown that environmental risks should not be ignored when entering into a real estate or business transaction. To help attorneys and other real estate professionals identify and address environmental liability risks, the library has Managing Environmental Risk: Real Estate and Business Transactions by environmental law specialists Jennifer L. Machlin and Tomme R. Young. Intended for both specialists and nonspecialists, this wide-ranging softbound book concisely explains environmental liability risks and also serves as a more practical problem-solving tool for attorneys. Machlin and Young offer a summary of the most important features of all the major federal statutes related to environmental regulation (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, etc.), which often serve as models for state statutes. The authors also discuss general federal standards which highlight the most common types of environmental liabilities that could be triggered by certain transactions.

In addition to discussing statutory and common law sources of liability, Managing Environmental Risk also takes into consideration the concerns of the various parties involved, making this book accessible to more than just attorneys. Alongside reference materials, practitioners will also find checklists and drafting suggestions for transactional planning, as well as sample provisions for drafting documents. This title is also available in its entirety through our Westlaw database. Find this and many more environmental law titles at the Library today!

The library would like to thank the author, Jennifer Machlin, for generously donating this title. To learn how you can donate, please see our Donation Guide.

 


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October Book of the Month: American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton

American Justice on TrialAmerican Justice on Trial: People v. Newton
By Lise Pearlman

Retired Judge Lise Pearlman’s American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton is the definitive book on the polarizing murder trial of Black Panther Party co-founder Huey Newton. One could not invent a better or more exciting film script than the cast of characters in this book—the attorneys, the jurors, Newton himself—all set amid the social movements of the 1960s.

Judge Pearlman revisits this riveting 1968 trial and the political upheavals of the time in light of the widely-publicized police shooting s of 2016. The book examines Newton’s murder trial in detail, delving into the Panthers’ roots, the trial, and its aftermath, including a behind-the-scenes look at jury deliberations, copies of the original courtroom drawings from the Bancroft Library collections, and extensive newspaper photos. Judge Pearlman’s thoughtful epilogue explores where Alameda County is today regarding policing issues, and how this reflects the Panther Party’s legacy, the lasting impact of the Newton trial, the struggles of civil rights advocates, and profound changes in recruiting and hiring practices in the Oakland Police Department. A phenomenal not-to-be-missed read!

The Library would like to thank the author for donating this title, as well as The Sky’s the Limit: People v. Newton.


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September Book of the Month: Landlord-Tenant Solutions in California

Landlord TenantLandlord-Tenant Solutions in California

By Steven Adair MacDonald

Local real estate attorney Steven Adair MacDonald shares his perspective and expertise in Landlord-Tenant Solutions in California. This self-help legal handbook walks you through the most common problems landlords or rental property managers can face, from finding tenants to litigation. Throughout, MacDonald advocates a compassionate approach to treating tenants, stressing respect and understanding in order to minimize or prevent costly legal disputes from arising. Each short, easy-to-read chapter deals with a specific problem, from rent control to wrongful evictions, so the book can be read as a whole or à la carte. In addition to a glossary and index, there are also appendices with information on where to obtain standard rental forms, sources of insurance, and standard legal notices, and even a poem by a recent Nobel Laureate! Stop by the Library and take a look at this handy guide today.

The Library would like to thank the author for donating this title.


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August Book of the Month: Building Rainmakers

August BoM

The ABA’s Book Division anointed this exceptional book as the “most comprehensive and most collaborative ‘How-To’ book on business development techniques for lawyers ever published.” Building Rainmakers gathers insights and wisdom from over 50 established business development professionals in short articles with an easy-to-read, conversational tone. But this book truly stands apart for its convenient organization. Each topic is presented alphabetically in the A to Z Business Development Guide, so simply scan the Index of Topic Titles and jump directly to those that you would like to read. This book also includes a chapter on how to avoid marketing disasters, as well as almost 30 exhibits that cover topics such as approaching potential clients, creating ideal target client lists, templates for business development plans, the sales process, and marketing and self-promotion.

This title is part of our Law Practice Management Collection, a wonderful resource for attorneys running a law practice.