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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Archive for the ‘Lawyers’ Category

Clean Desk or Messy Desk

Monday, July 13th, 2015

I was in another lawyer’s office the other day. There was not a single file nor paper in sight. Her desk was gleamingly naked save for a cup with pencils in it. The pencils were point up and freshly sharpened to exactly the same height. On the sidebar (yes, she had a sidebar), there were bottles of water on a tray with a glass pitcher full of crystal ice cubes. The coffee cups had the firm logo imprinted on them. I had the feeling if I looked closely enough, the ice cubes would too.

A clean desk indicates its owner has an organized mind and a disciplined approach to cases. After all, the practice of law is an obsessive compulsive type of job. You must pay careful attention to detail, deadlines and words.

There is another lawyer I know well who, despite his best efforts, has a rather messy office. It is filled with memorabilia, pictures, knick knacks and bric-a-bracs. There are papers and files all over his desk. These spill onto the floor which he uses as a filing system.

He reminds me of the clerk in the W.C. Fields movie who gets fired because of his rolltop desk over-stuffed with papers. But they have to hire him back when they can’t find an important contract. He sticks the point of his pencil into the stack of papers at the exactly the right place and pulls out the contract.

This lawyer with the messy desk is so good that he is in much demand. His file clerk cannot keep up with the files of clients clamoring for his time. His messy desk is the sign of a creative mind. He is unconventional and thinks outside the box. His creative solutions benefit his many clients.

Come visit my office sometime.  Here, let me just move that stack of papers.

It’s Splitsville for Celebrity Couple

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Marriage is on the rocks for Marge and Homer Simpson.

The celebrity cartoon couple will legally separate in the upcoming season when Homer leaves Marge and the kids for his pharmacist.

No word on whom Homer and Marge will hire for lawyers, but we’ve got room for just one more good case.

Would You Want to Date a Lawyer?

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Lawyers came in dead last in popularity in a recent survey by Special Counsel.

They asked people which of the professions would you most want to date?

The results:

  • Doctor (30%)
  • Teacher  (27%)
  • Firefighter (12%)
  • Police Officer (10%)
  • Lawyer (8%)

The survey sample was 1,007 people.

Small Courtesies

Friday, November 28th, 2014

I worked for a powerful lawyer once.  He was well educated and well connected.  He moved in White House circles.  He was very wealthy.

He was an old time lawyer – the kind they don’t’ make anymore.  He would bang out his pleadings on a typewriter and give them to his secretary to put on the word processor.  He was a fearsome litigator and would take an appeal as high and as long as the client was willing.  He won some big cases and was written up in the newspapers.

Despite all this, he was unfailingly polite to everyone.  He always said good morning to the doorman at his office building.  When the mailperson delivered the mail, he would always greet him with the postman’s creed, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night”.

One day we were at a deposition in a case that was being hard fought.  Opposing counsel was a well-groomed whiz kid from biglaw.  He had a silver collar pin, a pinstriped shirt and an expensive suit.

My lawyer introduced himself and put out his hand to shake hands with the young lawyer from biglaw.  His hand hung there in the air.  The whiz-kid would not shake hands.

Rude behavior may pass for aggressive lawyering these days.  But to my mind, there was more grace and power in the small courteous gesture of an offer to shake hands with opposing counsel.

How to Request a Hearing

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

If you think it’s easy being a lawyer, listen to this.  We have to be aware of a multitude of laws, cases, rules and regulations.  And they keep changing.

If you want a hearing on a motion or response to a motion, Md. Rule 2-311(f) requires  you to request it in the motion or response under the heading “Request for Hearing”.   The court can decide whether or not to hold a hearing, but it cannot dispose of a claim or defense without a hearing if one was requested.

However, in 2011, the Rules Committee added another sentence to the rule.  The new sentence says, “The title of the motion or response shall state that a hearing is requested.”  So now you have to put the request for a hearing in the body of the motion or response under the proper heading, and in the title as well – or you might not get your hearing!

Persephone

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Lawyers are usually pretty good story tellers.  My mother gave me a big book about myths to read when I was growing up and I’ve given a big book of myths to my kids.  There are a lot of good stories in mythology.

Last night, I was watching Shark Tank, one of my favorite tv shows.  Kevin O’Leary used a story about the mythical goddess, Persephone, to make a point.

She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, the harvest goddess.  She was garthering flowers when she was abducted by Pluto and taken to Hades.  Persephone became queen of  the underworld and the goddess who brings us Spring and vegetation.

Only O’Leary pronounced her name as “PERS-a-phone”.  Which does not sound nearly as good as the correct pronunciation, “Per-SEPH-a-nee”.

Send in the Divorce Lawyers

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Greta Van Susteren has an idea for breaking the political deadlock in Congress.  On Gretawire she writes that every day of the year divorce lawyers sit down with warring spouses (who HATE each other) and manage to hammer out agreements.

She says it is not that hard to get people to work out solutions. All it takes is effort and perseverance.  She says divorce lawyers can do it so why can’t politicians.

Van Suteren’s message to Congress?  “Get to work!  Sit down and talk…figure it out!”  Maybe we should send some divorce lawyers to help Congress figure it out.

The Morning of Trial

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The morning of the divorce trial, lawyer Fred Holmes, woke up at 5:00 am without an alarm clock.

He stumbled downstairs to feed the cat and the fish.

He put away the dishes from the dishwasher, fixed himself a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, and added some fresh blueberries and skim milk.  He made a fresh cup of coffee with the Netpresso machine and poured in some Amaretto flavored cream.

He flicked on the tv to watch the morning news while he ate his breakfast.  The international situation was desperate as usual.

Then he did 15 minutes of P90X Plyometrics and 100 pushups in sets of 25 with a few minutes rest between each set.

After a shower and shave, he picked out a white shirt, red power tie, and his best grey suit.

He drove to the office.  He polished his shoes to a high black gloss.  He threw his pen, phone, yellow legal pad and files into his litigation bag.  Then he drove to the courthouse.

The judge asked, “Is Counsel ready for trial?”

Fred said, “Ready, Your Honor.”

Deadlines

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

“The international situation–desperate, as usual.” – Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

I saw on the news that NATO representatives are talking about giving Putin a deadline to withdraw from Crimea or they will impose sanctions. Commentators say Putin doesn’t like to be pushed around and will likely ignore the deadline.

It reminded me of those clients who want me to give their spouse a deadline for responding to a settlement offer in divorce negotiations. One you are in litigation, the court issues a Scheduling Order which contains various deadlines. But a deadline imposed by one lawyer or the other is an amateur way to negotiate.

What do you do if the deadline is ignored? Unlike NATO, I have no sanctions to impose. Lawyer deadlines are unenforceable. You have damaged your credibility. Your opponent doesn’t want to be pushed around. It is easier to settle with someone you like than someone you don’t like. I prefer to ask when I might expect a response rather than giving a deadline I have no way of enforcing.

Quick, Watson, the Game Is Afoot!

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

My son is too cool to be in the chess club at middle school. He thinks it is too nerdy. What can I say? I was a nerd.  I joined the chess club when I was in middle school. Only it was called junior high back then.

I played a lot of chess in my youth. I thought I was pretty good. That is until I met Marc. I met Marc in the army. He was a chess master. While waiting for the Viet Nam war to wind down, we had a lot of time on our hands. So Marc taught me chess.

I already knew how the pieces moved and how to checkmate. I thought that was all there was to know about chess. Marc opened my eyes.

I learned about power, time and space. I learned that each piece had a value and some pieces changed value depending on what stage of the game you were in. I learned that there was an open, middle and end game. I learned tactics with names like pin, fork and x-ray attack. There was a whole new level of complexity to the game I had played for years unaware.

I think this is true in practicing law as well, and divorce law in particular. When I started practicing, I knew the law (how the pieces moved) and how to win a trial (checkmate). But over the years, I have learned that my cases and clients have many more levels of complexity than I had first supposed.

 
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