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August Book of the Month: Litigation in Practice

Litigation in PracticeLitigation in Practice
by Curtis E. A. Karnow
Reviewed by Michael Stoler, Reference Assistant


The Honorable Curtis E.A. Karnow has been a judge on the San Francisco Superior Court since 2005, after 28 years as an assistant U.S. attorney, a clerk, and a lawyer in private practice. He has authored the Rutter Group Guide Civil Procedure Before Trial, for which all California litigators owe him a debt of gratitude, and has spoken here at the San Francisco Law Library. Litigation in Practice, published in 2017, is a compilation of articles he had previously published in law journals, with some additional material. He starts with the premise that “while judges remember what it is to practice law, most lawyers have little idea of what it is to be a judge.” So he wants to “bridge that gap,” and give guidance to attorneys from his judicial perspective.

The book is a mix of the practical and the theoretical. Having asserted in his introduction that “law is what happens in the courtroom,” he devotes his first chapter to rules for conduct before the bench. Be polite. Be prepared. Don’t waste the judge’s time or otherwise show disrespect. He discusses how to submit and argue motions, select and treat jurors, and present evidence.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The next chapter, on the use of statistics and probability, is fascinating and requires careful reading. Karnow cites examples of claims made in courts about the chances of some event occurring, and then dissects them to show why they don’t hold up mathematically. The next few chapters discuss legal epistemology, based on philosophy and logic: the one on settlement conferences refers to game theory, and one on legal analysis uses theories of categories to argue that really, any case has something in common with every other. The last chapter discusses legal education, how in this country it went from teaching practical skills to emphasizing academic, theoretical ones.

Karnow is a keen observer of the legal system. Attorneys will benefit from reading through this book. And litigators in general might find it will change their thinking about their profession and its processes, and hence, how they practice them.

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April 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 April, featuring books about collaboration tools for lawyers and witness preparation. 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.

Lawyers Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies

The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together 2nd edition
Written by Dennis M. Kennedy and Thomas L. Mighell
$89.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-64105-160-6

Lean Law Firm

The Lean Law Firm: Run Your Firm Like The World’s Most Efficient and Profitable Businesses
Written by Larry Port and Dave Maxfield
$79.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-64105-138-5

Reinventing Witness Preparation

Reinventing Witness Preparation: Unlocking the Secrets to Testimonial Success
Written by Kenneth R. Berman
$64.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-64105-050-0

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


Recent Book Drive Donations

Thank you to Shannon K. Mauer of Duane Morris LLP for generously donating Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court’s History and the Nation’s Constitutional Dialog, part of our February Book Drive.

Thank you to Robert Gates for generously donating The 2018 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide, part of our February Book Drive.

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

Thank you for your support!


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March 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 March, featuring books about electronic payment systems in the law and drafting bills for clients. 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.

Electronic Payment Systems Law and Emerging Technologies

Electronic Payment Systems: Law and Emerging Technologies
Written by Edward Allen Morse
$89.95, Paperback, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-63425-962-0

How To Draft Bills Clients Rush to Pay

How to Draft Bills Clients Rush to Pay, 3rd edition
Written by Mark A. Robertson and J. Harris Morgan
$34.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-64105-087-6

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


Recent Book Drive Donations

Thank you to Shannon K. Mauer of Duane Morris LLP for generously donating Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court’s History and the Nation’s Constitutional Dialog, part of our February Book Drive.

Thank you to Robert Gates for generously donating The 2018 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide, part of our February Book Drive.

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

Thank you for your support!


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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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Book Review: The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet

Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the InternetThe Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet
By Gregory H. Siskind and Deborah McMurray

This long-awaited new edition smartly points out that buyers of legal services expect their lawyers to be just as Internet savvy as they are, and nowhere is this more apparent than with how a law firm presents itself online. Yet many lawyers drag their feet when it comes to creating an effective website and harnessing social media to attract clients. Fortunately, this book is designed for lawyers of all levels of technical know-how, and it explains how to analyze your firm’s skills and clients to develop a focused Internet marketing plan. Chapters cover best practices for website design, the technological and contractual aspects of building a website, social media, e-mail marketing, audio and video content strategy, search engine optimization, analytics, and the ethics of online marketing. This book is brimming with detailed, expert advice on how to cultivate a thoughtful internet marketing plan—essential reading for today’s lawyer.

The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet was part of the Law Library’s May Book Drive, and was generously donated by Shannon Mauer of Duane Morris LLP.


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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.


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June Book of the Month: How to Succeed as a Trial Lawyer

San Francisco Law Library June Book of the Month - How to Succeed as a Trial Lawyer

How to Succeed as a Trial Lawyer includes everything you need to know that you didn’t learn in law school. It does not purport to be an academic treatment of the subject, but rather it provides practical pointers on everything from dealing with clients and adversaries to managing ethical dilemmas to marketing one’s practice. It is filled with practical and informational advice about litigation practice from pretrial practice to discovery, mediation and arbitration, and trials and appeals.

This useful book also includes tables of rules and a detailed index for quick references to find what you need. Each chapter concludes with a helpful checklist summarizing the major points of that chapter.

This text is a welcome addition to any litigator’s library, either to read cover to cover, or to use as a reference on a particular litigation task. It is an essentially practical, enjoyable, and useful volume.

How to Succeed as a Trial Lawyer is part of the Library’s Law Practice Management Collection.