The Van Buren Boys

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commentary from the world of Georgetown Hoyas basketball.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Long Time Gone (or, Why Trial Sucks)

This post marks my triumphant return, or, at the very least, my hope for a triumphant return to the blogosphere. For those among our brethren who haven't seen or heard from me for a while, you should not feel slighted. No one has seen me in quite some time. Since about mid-April (when Diamond and IPB tried to organize a birthday happy hour for yours truly) until Wednesday of this week, I have been deeply embroiled in preparation for, and attendance at, trial.

For the last 3 weeks I lived in a hotel in Philadelphia, PA. I missed the closing on my first house; almost missed my move into the same; and undoubtedly missed a number of worthwhile life experiences that can never be duplicated. Trials are, to put it lightly, all consuming, exhausting events. For those who have only experienced this key part of American civil society through the rose colored glasses of L.A. Law, Boston Legal, Ally McBeal, or what have you, let me be the first to tell you it ain't nothing like you've seen on TV.

Trial is an exercise in taking the most simplistic, common-sense issues and turning them into days-long inquiries that take the listeners to the zenith of tedium, and subject young associates to an un-Godly amount of work. Even the most straight-forward issue can be turned into a three-ring circus. As an example I offer my own experience.

For two weeks the parties presented evidence (including a number of experts) so that the jury in our case could determine whether the time spent putting on light-weight cotton smocks, aprons, hairnets, etc. is compensable time. After all of that evidence, and four hours of deliberation, the jurors concluded that this time was not compensable because it is not "work." You're kidding, right? You're trying to tell me that the 0.5 to 1.5 seconds it takes to put on a hairnet that weighs as much as a sheet of notebook paper is not work? You don't say.

Of course, the U.S. Department of Labor disagrees with this jury. So this is not the last time that a company will have to spend hundreds of thousands of hours to convince another group of common citizens that workers should not be paid for the same activities each of them does without pay every morning when they step out of the shower.

If anything the whole process of the jury trial was an education in how difficult it is for any one to resolve any thing for a small amount of money in our modern legal system. In the rather simple case I have outlined above there were about 11 attorneys involved. My firm sent 2 partners, 1 counsel, and 2 associates. The other side had 6 attorneys representing 3 different law firms. This is not to mention the jury consultants, litigation tech specialists, paralegals, etc. that each side employed. If it takes all of that to determine whether you have to pay dear old dad for putting on his apron when he goes out to BBQ, I can hardly imagine what it will take to litigate something that is actually important.

Regardless, I hope to be in touch with you all soon. I should have a little more free time in the coming months...until the next trial rolls around.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Last of Us

Just wanted to use this forum to let y'all know that after much deliberation (& procrastination), I'll be attending law school in the fall. Come august, i'll be entering the first year evening class at Rutgers School of Law.

Not sure where the path of the law will take me, but I think individually I've spoken to each of you in the last year about how I've wanted to do this for some time. I'm keeping a very open mind about where the road takes me - whether internally at Marsh or some other direction.

God-wiling with a lot of hard work & little sleep, Mary & I will be the reverse Huxtables (not sure if I spelled that one right) in a few years.

I also wanted to say thanks to all of you for the help & guidance each of you tossed my way.

I'm aware it's going to be a tough process and will mean a few personal sacrificies, but anything worth doing usually is worth the work.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

NBA Draft (JJ Redick in Celtic Green????)

Well no one has posted a thing in about a month so I figured I'd give it a shot.

The NBA Draft is less than two weeks away and speculation has been rampant that JJ Reddick's stock is rising. While many early projections had Redick projected to be taken in the mid-to-late first round, there are now several reports indicating that the Celtics may be prepared to select him with the 7th pick.

I wonder how and if today's arrest will impact where Redick is taken.

Putting this infration aside, I think he would be a great selection for the Celtics. We know the kid can do one thing--shoot--better than anyone in college basketball and probably 90% of the pros. Barring major injury, I just don't see how he would not average somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 points/game.

Given how weak this draft is, this seems like a pretty good return for the #7 selection.

The only thing that worries me a bit is that Duke does not have a history of churning out great NBA players, but I don't think you can look to make a splash at the 7 slot anyway w/such a weak draft.

On the upside, this kid played for four years, is a known quantity, and went up against some very solid comp during this time. I don't think there's any doubt he can play.

The Celtics learned how valuable it can be to select a player with 4 years experience last year when they snagged Ryan Gomes in the second round (an absolute steal--I knew it the minute Boston selected him after the way he single-handedly tore apart Georgetown).

Any thoughts on Redick to Boston?

Danny Ainge has actually drafted pretty well and I hope this trend continues.