I am staring at a blank computer screen with a deadline looming. For the first time in the two years that I have authored this column, I have a crippling case of writer’s block. My rule of thumb for each column is that if I can sum up the point I am trying to make in one sentence, it’ll be a good column. At the moment, however, my thoughts refuse to cohere themselves into anything resembling a point — so, in lieu of a traditional column, I (semi-)proudly present Random Thoughts For 2013™ (with apologies to Larry King for borrowing his shtick):
•Capturing tenths is the bane of my existence.
•There is nothing duller than sitting through a Monday foreclosure calendar while waiting for a motion to be heard. Nothing. If I hear the words “statutory search fee” just one more time, there is a good chance that I’ll run screaming out of the room a la Homer Simpson when he heard about the mandatory exercise program at Springfield’s nuclear power plant. Oh, and Judge Samuel Sferrazza might be the most patient person in history; he smiled his way from the first foreclosure matter to the last. It was frighteningly impressive.
•Andrew McDonald will make an excellent Supreme Court justice. But I wonder what he will do if the Court hears a challenge to the constitutionality of Connecticut General Statutes § 1-2z?
•Actors who would make great lawyers (living only — sorry, Gregory Peck): Al Pacino (a no-brainer, although I suspect he’d get sanctioned a lot for in-court histrionics); Kevin Spacey; Tom Cruise; Denzel Washington; Gary Oldman; Paul Giamatti (he’d be the lawyer everyone loves to hate); Ron Liebman (if you’re asking yourself, “Who the h— is Ron Liebman??” watch Night Falls on Manhattan — actually, watch it anyway, it’s a great and underrated Sidney Lumet movie); Glenn Close; Angela Bassett (is she still working?? I haven’t seen her in a movie since What’s Love Got to Do With It?); Laura Linney; Edie Falco (her recurring character in the early seasons of Law & Order, defense attorney Sally Bell, was the sort of lawyer I’d hire if I ever murdered someone); and Rachel Weisz (just for the chance to see her in a well-tailored business suit).
•The first case that I argued in court — in 1997, as a law student intern at the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office — was against Hubie Santos. He was very gracious. I didn’t have a clue, but somehow still won. If there was a lesson to be learned from all of that, it still escapes me.
•I think I am the second-best-dressed male attorney at my firm (nice threads, Jay Arcata!), but … I’ll allow for the possibility that not everyone shares my opinion.
•I also have a tie-buying problem. If I park near the Macy’s Men’s Department entrance at Westfarms, there’s a 60 to 70 percent chance that I will leave the mall with one several new tie ties no matter what I actually went to the mall to purchase.
•Rest in peace, Justice Robert Callahan. Your combination of grace, patience and thoughtfulness was a model for judges to follow (and few judges will ever approach your level of skill with a softball bat).
•As a rule of thumb, my criminal clients tend to be my nicest clients. I’m not excusing what they may have done, but, in general, they are more patient, appreciative and cooperative than my other clients.
•Did I mention that I really hate capturing those d— tenths?
•For once, I agree with both Norm Pattis and Karen Lee Torre (what are the odds?): Irv Pinsky did a dumb thing in announcing that he would file a suit against the Town of Newtown, but the CTLA’s condemnation of his actions put the “chutz” in “chutzpah.”
•Of all the lawyers I know, Dan Klau would make the best stand-up comedian. Hands down. He’d be like a combination of Dennis Miller and Lewis Black, with a pinch of Tom Lehrer thrown in the mix.
•Marbury v. Madison is a work of towering genius as a political document and a statement of first principles, but, if you read it, it’s actually a shoddy opinion. It sidesteps the actual legal issues in the case and contains no citations to precedent — and it’s a reminder that John Marshall is the most important judge in the history of our country because he knew better than to write a traditional opinion at such a critical juncture in the young life of our judicial system.
Dan’s Brain, signing off. Back in two weeks with our regularly-scheduled programming.•