In the Neighborhood: Off the Grid with OMCA

Oakland Museum 004

On Fridays when you are leaving the Alameda County Law Library, stop at 10th and Oak Streets to pick up dinner at one of the many food trucks from Off the Grid. There’s music, some tables and chairs, and 1/2 off admission to the Oakland Museum of California with wine and beer by the koi pond from 5-9 p.m. Street parking and parking in the museum’s underground parking lot is available. Families, young people, and walkers of all ages from the neighborhoods near Lake Merritt come over and workers stop on their way to the Lake Merritt BART station. I enjoyed the BBQ pork from Sanguchon and plan to try another food truck next Friday. Off the Grid will be next to the museum every Friday evening through July 1, perhaps longer depending on the permit situation.


Baseball and the Lawyer

La Russa
Tony La Russa

The library has many career books for lawyers available for check out like Careers in Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, Careers in Admiralty and Maritime Law, Careers in Criminal Law, and Turning Points: New Paths & Second Careers for Lawyers as well as many others.  A career path not much explored in print is baseball and law school.

With the San Francisco Giants winning the 2012 World Series after beating the Saint Louis Cardinals and then the Baltimore Orioles, it’s appropriate to concentrate on those teams. Mark Mosler, 2004 graduate of the University of Chicago, played minor league baseball for the Giants from 1997-1999. He is presently in the big leagues as a partner with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. Anthony “Tony” La Russa, who retired as manager of the 2011 World Series winning Saint Louis Cardinals, is a 1978 graduate of Florida State College of Law and passed the Florida Bar. He says, “Law school didn’t teach me how to hit the ball or how to run or how to pitch. But, because of law school, I see the game playing out in front of me on the field in a very different way. My legal training taught me to put myself in our opponents’ dugout. Law school taught me how to analyze and how to best deal with a specific situation. The best degree a baseball manager can get is a J.D. The law degree taught me how to study, how to think, and how to implement and develop a strategy.” His off season home is in the Bay area. Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), a “no-kill shelter” is located in Walnut Creek, California. That brings to mind another book in the library, Careers in Animal Law:Welfare, Protection, and Advocacy.

Peeps Shows

Peeps Shows

Peeps aren’t just those sticky, gooey things no one eats except at Easter any more. No, Peeps are now considered an artistic medium as various newspapers, libraries and even museums around the country now sponsor Peeps Diorama Contests in the spring. The St. Paul Pioneer Press claims to have started the first newspaper sponsored contest in 2004 and says they were “ripped off” by several organizations including the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland!  Other named peeps, er, perps are the American Bar Association Journal and the Racine, Wis., Art Museum. The Washington Post has taken its contest a step further with its Peeps Show videos, 2012 winner — Occupeep DC. Why there are even, as one might expect, Peeps Porn sites. This is an especially titillating one found on Flickr. There must be trillions of peep show blogs, contests and exhibits. Even the legal profession has gotten into the act.

An estimated 800 million Peeps will be manufactured for the Easter season, according to the Peeps’ parent company, the Christian Science Monitor reports. This humorous article delves further into what I am calling the Peeps Marshmallow Mystique. The CSM reports on the scientific study done at Emory University in which all manner of torture was inflicted inflicted on peeps, including soaking them in acetone, turpentine, etc. and they survived every one of them.  One of the more painful tortures is the ever popular “Peep jousting”. Let’s just say it involves a microwave oven. The author concludes that part of Peeps’ appeal is their implacability.

Back to the legal angle (the one besides the potential lawsuits by the St Paul Pioneer Press). The ABA Journal has begun its annual “creative, crafty dioramas featuring marshmallowy Peeps depicted in law-related scenes!” It’s their 4th Annual thus their “Peep Year”. Oh those Peeps do inspire hilarity! The winners will receive gift baskets valued at $25, $50 and $100 from, strangely, Peeps & Co. Since they are so durable, winners can keep them for their next year’s chosen contest.

Bob Dylan: Judicial Muse?

Lyrics by “super groups” such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan are becoming accepted in court opinions, briefs and in legal scholarship. Apparently, the California Court of Appeals cites a particular song so often that “it’s almost boilerplate”, according to a study by Alex Long, University of Tennessee law professor. The phrase he speaks of is “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” referring to the fact that you don’t always need complicated expert scientific testimony when everyone knows “which way the wind blows”.

Who leads in number of citations? Even though “you can’t always get what you want” by the Rolling Stones is certainly catchy, it’s Bob Dylan that both liberal and conservative justices cite to by a landslide. U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently quoted “the times they are a changing” in an employment law case (“City of Ontario, California v. Quon”). Justice Roberts used “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose” in the case of an issue involving standing (“Sprint Communications Co. v. APPCC Services, Inc.”).

Who knows – the California Legislature may adopt these as “Legal Maxims”.

This article largely quotes from the NPR podcast “Bob Dylan’s Words Find Place in Legal Writings”.

For more information click on these links:

Bob Dylan – muse of justice?” (LA Times)

“In some courts, Dylan rules” (LA Times)

“Chart: The Top Ten Musicians Referenced in Court” (The Atlantic Wire)

To Be Continued

Many of the patrons at the Alameda County Law Library seek information about continuances.  Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009) at page 363, column 1, defines a continuance as “The adjournment or postponement of a trial or other proceeding to a future date.”  According to California Rules of Court, rule 3.1332(c), such motions are “disfavored.”  Nonetheless, courts have the discretion to grant them.  If you are seeking a continuance in California, several secondary sources can be extremely useful for understanding the substantive and procedural law and for seeing sample language for the required filings.  Particularly useful resources include:

  • Chapter 136 of California Forms of Pleading and Practice Annotated (Matthew Bender)
  • Chapter 42 of California Civil Procedure Before Trial (CEB)
  • Chapter 21 of California law and Motion: Model Forms (Rutter)  (sample notice of motion, memorandum, declaration and proposed order only)

As with California, other jurisdictions generally frown upon continuances but will grudgingly grant them.  Occasionally the grounds for granting one are so extraordinary as to make headlines.  One recent continuance granted by a Texas court has become fairly well-known in the Bay Area.  The court granted an emergency motion for continuance to Darrell Cook, an attorney and Texas Rangers fan who wanted to attend this year’s Major League Baseball World Series in San Francisco. 

Other examples of sports-related continuances include one from December 2009, where an Alabama Court granted a continuance so that the attorneys for a defendant could watch the Alabama Crimson Tide play the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship Game.  In December of 2007, a Louisiana court granted a continuance when the Louisiana State University Tigers played the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.  Another Louisiana court granted a continuance in January of that year when the New Orleans Saints played Chicago Bears for the NFC championship.  Also in Louisiana and also involving the New Orleans Saints was a January 2010 order granting a continuance where the court took judicial notice of “Saintsmania” and recognized that that the presence of jurors, attorneys, and court personnel at the game would “enhance[] the chances of the Who Dat [sic] Nation to acquire the long sought after Holy Grail—the Vince Lombardi Trophy.”

While the South (Louisiana in particular) has led the way with regard to sports-related continuances, courts elsewhere have also granted continuances for unusual grounds.  Just last week, U.S. Judge Kimba Wood granted a continuance to a defense attorney to attend his grandchild’s bris, its circumcision, should it be born a boy.  Had it been a granddaughter, eliminating the need for the continuance, Judge Wood’s response stated that “there will be a public celebration in Court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women.”

It should be noted, however, that attendance at a child’s bris soon may not be an option for some Bay Area attorneys and therefore not grounds for continuance.  A San Francisco group calling themselves intactivists are seeking to put a measure on next November’s ballot that would make it a misdemeanor to circumcise a child in that city.

Sweet alternative careers for lawyers

University of San Francisco School of Law graduate Kate Carrara is known in the Philadelphia area as the Cupcake Lady (not to be confused with fellow USF School of Law graduate Cupcake Brown).  Carrara, the proprietress of Buttercream, earned her moniker by selling cupcakes from a converted mail truck that roams around the city, stopping at locations announced on social media sites.  Last week, the Cupcake Lady made headlines when her truck was seized by authorities for operating without proper licenses.  Happily, after paying a fine and receiving a temporary permit, she’s peddling her cupcakes once again.

This story, however, brings into focus an unusual trend that is sweeping the legal community—leaving the profession to sell cupcakes.  A partial list includes no fewer than three New York Law School graduates: Lev Ekster of CupcakeStop, Mia Bauer of Crumbs Bake Shop, and David Arrick of Butch Bakery.  All three do business in New York City, and CupcakeStop, like Buttercream, operates from a truck.  In addition, two George Washington University Law School graduates sell cupcakes in the Washington, D.C., area: Sam Whitfield of Curbside Cupcakes and Warren Brown of CakeLove.  Curbside Cupcakes is mobile.  Alex Rein of Kelvin Natural Slush Co., a Northwestern University Law School graduate, breaks the mold by selling slush beverages in New York City from a van.

Local attorneys who are looking to leave the profession, whether to sell cupcakes or not, can find helpful resources at the Alameda County Law Library.  Titles at the library include:

  • George H. Cain, Turning Points: New Paths and Second Careers for Lawyers (American Bar Association, 1994) KF 297 C34
  • George H. Cain, Turning Points: New Paths and Second Careers for Lawyers, Volume II (American Bar Association, 1994) KF 298 C34 2009

For those already operating roaming businesses (such as Oakland’s own Cupkates) who are interested in reviewing local zoning ordinances, the Law Library has the municipal codes for each of the incorporated cities in Alameda County.

And for those who just have a sweet tooth, Cupcakes Take the Cake is the “all cupcakes, all the time” blog.