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Commentary

To see what really matters in people, develop double vision (access required)

If you had to identify some of life’s greatest gifts, other than your faith, what would they be? Two different stories, with two different people, and two very different circumstances, give us a big clue. One of the organizations in our area which deals with the aging population does so with kindness and special insight. It deals with seniors suffering through the ravages of dementia in all of its forms. But it sees past the loss of a mind that once was to what remains in the core of us all. It’s a sort of double vision which sees the character of every life.

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Appeals court had the chance to do right by a wife and children – but declined it (access required)

The North Carolina Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Mussa v. Palmer-Mussa, in which it refused to recognize an American-Islamic divorce, may have been consistent with North Carolina law, but it resulted in an unjust outcome. The dissent had a more nuanced approach protecting the financial rights of the defendant/wife arising out of a twelve-year marital relationship and at the same time affirming North Carolina’s recognition of religious marriages without a marriage license.

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Top 10 ways to increase law firm revenue (access required)

Top 10 lists have long been a journalistic staple, but their ongoing role on David Letterman’s television show has made their use almost a cliché. Even so, a concise ranking can combine the value of focus with brevity. And there is nothing on which any business, including a law firm, should be more focused than increasing revenues.

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It’s not how you start, but how you finish (access required)

His career started out poorly, to put it mildly. He studied law in upstate New York, at a law school no one I know ever heard of. He worked a few years at a small law firm in Albany, N.Y., and when that did not go particularly well, he moved to a small town in Wisconsin to practice. He practiced there for two years when his office building, containing his entire practice, burned down. He moved to California to work in a retail store with some of his brothers, but returned to Albany when that did not work out. He went back to California a couple of years after that.

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Are you the lawyer you wanted to be wanted to be?

There was a quote I read on a friend’s loft in college that asked, “Are you the man the boy wanted to be?” This always struck me as an interesting thought, although I’m not sure I grasped its full meaning as a twenty-something know-nothing. But from time to time things in my legal career cause me to pause and to reflect on this question and ask myself whether I am, in fact, the lawyer the first year law student wanted to be.

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Ten ways to guarantee your press release is toast (access required)

Press releases or news releases are a standard way for a law firm, business or nonprofit organization to announce news and events to media outlets. It’s a two-way relationship that is valuable for both sides. The group with news or information wants to get its message out. The media outlet wants to know what is happening and is always looking for good stories. A good release takes a page from a Journalism 101 textbook and, in the opening paragraph, delivers Who, What, Where and When. It helps to work in Why and How, if possible.

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Call it touch, call it tact – whatever the case, it’s your best weapon (access required)

“The Touch” is what my father called it. Dad was in the furniture business back home, and in the old days he would come to the Southern Furniture Market a number of times of year. The best salesmen possessed that easy Southern way about them. When one of them got to the crux of the issue, the real point of sale, the salesman would put his hand on my dad’s arm. The Touch, literally and figuratively, was the salesman’s signal as to which of my father’s conditions of the sale could be met, and which ones could not be met. Hard facts about what the deal required were softened by the charm of it all.

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Goodnight, Irene, see you in our dreams (access required)

Long Islanders are a hearty lot, many of us having trekked here from as far away as Brooklyn and Queens without any sign of wear. We carved suburbia from the wilderness of summer estates, built schools and way too many fire houses, then perfected the art of shopping. We’ve withstood gypsy garbage barges and Amy Fisher, the Shoreham debate and Bobby Kumar’s kidnapping. Even today, we are a people that can butter a roll, apply makeup and tailgate, all at the same time. Irene should have known better.

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