Fourth of July—A Time for Patriotic Reflection

It is easy to take for granted the freedoms we enjoy. It has been two hundred and forty-one years since the founding of our country, and as time passes the propensity to fully appreciate the daring accomplishment that was The Declaration of Independence diminishes. There was a time when this land was ruled by a monarchy, and the people of this land had no legitimate claim to live life according to their own individual principals or desires. It is hard to imagine such a life. The idea of self-governance and guaranteed human rights at the time was radical and controversial to say the least. Democracy at the founding of this country, was an ancient concept that had been dormant for many hundreds of years. In the 18th century democracy was a massive departure from the geo-political status quo. What the founding fathers had conceptualized and what others fought for was an unprecedented vision of freedom. I believe it is appropriate to classify those concepts of individual freedom and the military victory over Britain as nothing short of a miracle.

Over the holiday weekend I celebrated that miracle with family and friends at a cottage in the Wisconsin North woods. I swam in a clear sparkling lake and sat around a fire underneath a translucent night sky, all the while being inundated with gratitude. Grateful to live in a place where I am allowed to enjoy life’s peaceful pleasures. I often have that same feeling of gratitude when I walk into a courtroom. As an attorney, I know I can rely on the Constitution to ensure my clients receive proper due process. There are few other courtrooms outside of the United States where this is the situation. In many other countries jurisprudence is dictated by the whims of one person, and not by a system of laws created by the populous. Though our system of laws are imperfect they are at least rooted by principles of individual rights. Those principals were famously declared on this date in 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One of my favorite destinations is Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This is the building where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Constitution was ratified. The building itself is not remarkable, a rather simplistic Georgian design. The interior is modest, there is no marble, no gilded ornaments, the main materials within the hall are wood and brick. There is nothing pretentious about the structure, which I think is fitting given its purpose and historical significance. However, the modest design and furnishings by no means detract from the awe struck feeling you have when you step foot inside Independence Hall. There you are at the exact birthplace of America. In the main assembly room there is a chair where George Washington sat during the Constitutional Congress. The chair is made of wood, far from a throne, and on the back of the chair is a sun with a face that is cut in half by the horizon. While the Constitution was being signed Benjamin Franklin optimistically observed the sun on the chair was rising, but noted that it was now up to the people to make sure the “sun” continues to rise. Franklin’s metaphorical observation is a message of caution that the freedoms passed down us only have value if the people ensure their relevance.

On this Fourth of July, the attorneys and staff at Adolph Legal would like to express our gratitude to those who have sacrificed to ensure that our freedoms are still relevant. We are aware that as legal professionals, our significance is moot without the sacrifice of others. Happy Fourth of July and we hope that our clients and anybody reading this are effectively pursuing happiness as our Founding Fathers intended.

Adolph Legal Attends Gather for Good Event

On May 5, 2017, Adolph Legal joined other leaders in the community to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at the Gather for Good event on Broadway. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is an independent health care system that solely treats sick children. The mission of the event was to raise money for this incredibly worthy cause.

The event kicked off with a touching video of testimonials from families who had to face the tragedy of having their child be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. These children were treated by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and were ultimately cured. Some of the families featured in the video were present at the event. Seeing those children at the event was a profound reminder of not just how fragile life is, but how a child’s life is especially fragile. Furthermore, seeing once bedridden children running around and acting like happy kids really solidified the importance of having an organization like Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in our community.

After the video, the mood had lightened thanks to a rousing performance by Deuces Wild, a dueling piano show. Most people reading this have seen a dueling piano performance, but Deuces Wild is a uniquely talented duo that provide a sublime medley of comedy and lively renditions of popular music. Impromptu participation from the crowd may have been the highlight of the evening, but also provided me with overwhelming sense of anxiety, because getting in front of a crowd of people singing the Village People’s “YMCA,” is perhaps my worst nightmare. But lucky for me and for those at the event I was not summoned to participate in the performance.

Our office had a memorable evening, and left the event inspired by the work of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and more importantly inspired the strength of children who have faced more adversity in their short lives than I can even comprehend. If you have an opportunity to attend this event in the future or even if you have the means to support this great organization, I highly recommend it. They say it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to save a child from terminal disease. Adolph Legal is proud to have participated in the Gather for Good event and look forward to hearing more success stories of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin saving more lives.

For more information about the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, visit their website here.

Adolph Legal Now Has The Best Waiting Room of Any Law Firm, Allegedly.

Exciting things are happening at Adolph Legal! We are proud to announce that Adolph Legal now has the best waiting room of any law firm in Green Bay. It should be noted that this achievement is self-proclaimed, but still may be true nonetheless.

When a client is at Adolph Legal, not only are the client’s legal issues taken care of, the client is taken care of. We like to show we care, and one way to show we care is by providing our clients with hot, delicious LaJava coffee  (some of the best coffee in town! – check them out here). For added intrigue, Adolph Legal offers a flavor of the day and a standard dark or medium roast. The flavor of the day could be; mocha mint, bourbon pecan torte, blueberry, or my favorite—whiskey flavor. Every new day at Adolph Legal begins with the ceremonious flavor of the day selection, which is determined by the all-knowing wheel (see previous blog post).

What’s coffee’s greatest companion? Milk? Sugar? No, coffee’s most delightful companion is conversation. At Adolph Legal you don’t have to sip your gourmet coffee in solitude, please feel free to strike up a conversation with Sovann, our friendly administrative assistant. Sovann is proficient in many topics of conversation. Want to know what the weather will be like the rest of the week? Just ask Sovann. In the market for a German automobile? Ask Sovann. Want to know what the trending news stories of the day are? Well, you get the idea. And the idea is that we want you to feel comfortable and taken care of.

If human interaction isn’t your thing, that’s cool. Adolph Legal has a resident furry friend named Kolby to keep you company. Kolby is a very agreeable canine who likes to be pet or simply lovingly admired. He will undoubtedly brighten your day. Also, Adolph Legal has a stimulating collection of literature to peruse.

Here at Adolph Legal we know that you are coming to us because of a stressful event in your life. Primarily, we aim to alleviate that stress by providing comprehensive legal solutions. Adolph Legal also understands that we all feel more relaxed with a good cup of coffee and friendly conversation.

Attorney Aspenson’s Top 5 Legal Movies

Everybody likes movies, even lawyers. Lawyers especially adore movies about the law. But you don’t have to be a lawyer to love a good courtroom drama with a twisting plot and impassioned dialogue. Here are Adolph Legal’s list of the top 5 legal movies of all time. And please feel free to critique this list without reservations.

 

5) A Civil Action (1998)

This movie, starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall, is based on a true story and is about a brash attorney (Jan Schlichtmann) who represents a group of families that believe their tap water is being contaminated by surrounding industries in Woburn, Massachusetts. Schlichtmann sacrifices everything in his odyssey to provide justice for families who tragically lost loved ones due to the local industry’s negligent handling of waste. The courtroom scenes in this movie are great, and Travolta and Duvall deliver memorable performances.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuaLlyXv_Hk

 

4) To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Based on Harper Lee’s the classic novel, this movie is a poignant tale about prejudice and the courage required to overcome it. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, has been cemented as one of the best theatrical performances in the history of film. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck, and was nominated for eight, including Best Picture. Watch this movie with a box of Kleenex, because it is a tear-jerker. Favorite quote from the movie–“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOocTXKPVVU

3) A Few Good Men (1992)

You can’t handle the truth!” Perhaps the most often quoted line from a movie ever. The courtroom dialogue from this movie is stuff of legend. The final courtroom scene when Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson spar in a battle of egos makes for captivating cinema. Tom Cruise plays a JAG military attorney who has a panache for settling cases without going to trial, but then is given the task of representing two Marines being charged with murdering a fellow Marine. Was it murder in cold blood, or a case of just following orders? Watch this movie to find out, but only if you can handle the truth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_frM44bBMfA

 

2) The Verdict (1982)

Paul Newman plays a washed up, alcoholic attorney, who takes a medical malpractice suit against a Catholic Hospital. Paul Newman is brilliant as always in this movie, and his character oozes with hopelessness until he is reminded of why he became an attorney. Faced with the difficult decision of either taking a lucrative settlement or taking the case to trial, Newman’s character is embattled with a moral dilemma that leads to a personal and professional resurrection.

 

  1. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of our criminal justice system is a defendant’s right to be judged by a jury of his or her peers. In a trial, it is the jury who decides innocence or guilt, and thus attorneys and defendants are at the mercy of a group of people who may come from all walks of life, bringing with them a diverse perspective of what the truth is. Henry Fonda plays the protagonist in this film, and is the lone member of a jury who has reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt. Fonda’s character’s reluctance to find the defendant guilty stems from his ability to be objective and view facts without prejudicial distortion. He is then given the task to persuade his fellow jury members to set aside their prejudicial views to ensure that the defendant in the case is given a fair trial. This movie presents itself much like a play—all of the action in this movie takes place in a small jury room and is driven by masterfully crafted dialogue. “12 Angry Men,” was nominated for three Academy Awards, and today is highly regarded as a classic film.

 

Adolph Legal Attends Golden House’s Show of Strength Art Show

This past Friday, Adolph Legal attended The Show of Strength art show and reception at the Jet Air Hangar. The event’s purpose was to raise money for the Golden House. If you are not familiar with Golden House, it is an incredible organization that provides resources for victims of domestic abuse. 

Cheese Sculpture

The Show of Strength event is advertised as an art show, which it is, but it is much more than that. Having attended this event the past three years, I have come to the conclusion that Show of Strength is really a celebration of positive relationships. And what better way to celebrate than with good people, eating good food, all the while being inspired by artistic creations of others. At the event there was food from local eateries like; Café Madrid, T. Bacon’s BBQ, and Ski’s Meat Market to name a few. Also, the attendees were treated by a performance from ArtBeat Live, which is a traveling art performance where an artist creates a painting in less than 8 minutes. The crowd was especially impressed with the artist’s Andy Warhol-esque portrait of Vince Lombardi. At the end of the event I am not sure which felt bigger, my stomach or my heart.   

 Adolph Legal is committed to supporting local organizations that enrich our community. Though a considerable amount of money was raised at the event, it is hard to truly measure the positive impact of an event like Show of Strength has on this community.

 

And yes, that is a picture of me about take a bite out of a statuette made of cheese. 

 

Say What?!? Lawyers Should Communicate Like Normal People

Obscure Latin words, marble laden courtrooms, and seemingly elitist attorneys are the reason regular people who must rely on the legal system often feel overwhelmed and intimated. Legal documents can seem as foreign and perplexing as IKEA furniture directions. It is no wonder why the general public has such a jaded perspective about the legal system.

It is important to remember that the American system of legal jurisprudence was actually designed to make people feel more empowered, not less. Unfortunately, too many people who find themselves in a legal conflict end up feeling vulnerable because they have been deprived of their personal power over a situation. This is absolutely contrary to the intent behind our legal system.

So what can be done?

How can we make the legal system less elitist and more egalitarian?

The answer; KEEP IT SIMPLE!

The public must demand legal professionals to be more plain and straightforward with their communication. It is imperative that people understand the legal environment around them. It becomes a near impossibility for non-lawyers to understand their legal environment when everything they hear and see is saturated with legal jargon. Other than a swollen sense of superiority, there is nothing stopping lawyers from speaking and writing more plainly. Christopher Trudeau, a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, conducted a study on legal communication and the results confirm that the legal profession would be more effective and efficient if attorneys used plain language. Trudeau, Christopher R., The Public Speaks: An Empirical Study of Legal Communication (May 20, 2012). 14 Scribes J. Leg. Writing 121 (2011-2012).

In Professor Trudeau’s study, 71% who were surveyed indicated that they had received a legal document that was difficult to read. Yikes, that is a significant majority and shows that attorneys are failing to effectively communicate with their clients. One of the participants in the study wrote that, “It was all in the English language, yet I could not understand the mumbo-jumbo!! This for me feels condescending and corrupt.” I am sure non-lawyers reading this can relate to that. The study also found that 40% of clients stopped reading legal documents if they felt the language was too legalistic. This is troubling because these are documents that have information within them that can have a drastic impact on their life.

What is probably more noteworthy is that Trudeau’s study found that 88% of the participants preferred and understood documents that incorporated plain language methods. This means that clients are not impressed with legalistic communication, what they are impressed with is an attorney who can communicate with them in way that they can understand.

Knowing this, at Adolph Legal, it is our primary goal that we communicate to you in a way that you can understand so that you feel knowledgeable about your case, and as the old adage goes, “knowledge is power.” And every person has a right to feel empowered by the law.

If you are seeking an attorney that will communicate with you, and not at you, call Adolph Legal at 920-634-2212 or email us at office@adolphlegal.com.

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