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Legal Jazz When most people are stressed out at work, they can only daydream about going home and indulging in their hobby. Ridgefield, Conn., personal injury lawyer Harvey Kulawitz has a better way. He has an electronic piano behind his desk so that he can play jazz tunes when he needs a break. “I practice keyboard while I practice law,” said Kulawitz, who called music a “common denominator” between himself and his clients. “You end up talking music with the clients. People have a passion for music,” said Kulawitz, who is 54. “Clients always think it’s really cool that their lawyer has an artistic side. They sometimes ask me to play. One guy even asked me to give him lessons.” Kulawitz started playing piano as a little kid on Long Island. He still plays for the public in a quintet, but isn’t after fame and fortune. Playing piano “helps spark creative thoughts. It’s a relief from the constant battles and tension of the law practice,” he said. “It’s healthy. Some guys go out and play tennis or golf.” He travels a much shorter distance to pursue his hobby. When the muse strikes at work, he just turns around. “It’s a way to get away, to relax and escape.” � Connecticut Law Tribune The muse failed in this fee fight A Washington law firm in a fee fight with Nassau County, N.Y., didn’t help its case by writing a poem that accused one official of being “in the sack, with a French minister.” An American Arbitration Association panel cited the poem � actually, a limerick � and other “bizarre conduct” in rejecting Zorc & Chase’s demand for $680,000 in legal fees for 2002. The panel concluded that the firm billed “extraordinarily high hours” for “very minimal legal work.” Firm principals Joseph Zorc and Judith L. Chase “made no court appearances, participated in limited agency appearances or external meetings, submitted no briefs or memoranda of law, and prepared and/or submitted very few letters” on behalf of the county, the panel said, yet sought $1.5 million in legal and other fees for its help securing grants and regulatory work. The county paid half, but when it balked at the rest the attorneys sought to “intimidate” the county with threats to sue and to publish defamatory articles in local newspapers about county officials, the arbitrators concluded. Zorc contributed the poem to the discussion, the arbitrators said. The firm insisted that its billing methods were proper. According to the county, the work performed by Zorc & Chase is now done in-house. � New York Law Journal Cookie crumbles There’ll be no blessed cookies and pies at the Chippewa County, Wis., Courthouse. The Zion United Methodist Church had to move its bake sale from the courthouse after the county’s legal team said it would violate the separation of church and state. County Administrator Bill Reynolds said he has explained the county’s decision to the church’s pastor and sent the church flowers. “I’m not anti-bake sale; unfortunately, it’s one of those calls I had to make,” Reynolds said. “I feel like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but it’s my job.” The courthouse had approved the bake sale about six months ago, Pastor Ann Scott said. The church held the sale at its building instead, but the turnout was smaller than would have been expected at the courthouse, she said. Steve Scott, a spokesman for the church, said the decision involved miscommunication. “People wield the phrase [separation of church and state] with a hammer, and it’s just not that cut and dried,” he said. � Associated Press

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