The second Thing I Didn’t Know is probably the most important Thing I learned (I know, friends are the most important thing, but I’m on straight law school knowledge now). That Thing is How Grades Work. It’s different here, believe you me. Read more
Welcome back to Sidebar, the NYLS student blog where you’ll get to read all about what it’s really like to be a student at New York Law School. I’m Michelle, and I’ll be posting here roughly twice a week. You can learn more about me to the right, so I’ll jump right into my inaugural post!
After much brainstorming while running in circles around Hudson River Park and some additional consulting of the close friends I call my “Brain Trust,” I’ve decided to have a theme (I love having themes for everything) for my first five posts; the theme is “Five Things I Didn’t Know about Law School until I Got Here.” Today’s Thing is:
You Can, Will, and Should Make Close Friends in Law School.
Read NYLS Professor Nadine Strossen’s reactions to the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act at http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2012/06/winning-the-battle-but-losing-the-war-for-expansive-federal-government-power.php.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself lying in a hospital bed discussing the need for surgery. The only time I’ve had surgery before was when I was infant. Now, at 25 years old, I was going through a procedure to alleviate the excruciating pain I was experiencing. As a newly admitted attorney, I began panicking about the fact that I didn’t have all my documents in order. But there was one document I knew I needed to fill out before going into surgery: a health care proxy form.
A health care proxy form is an important legal document that allows you to indicate who can make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to. In addition, you can indicate your decision on tissue and organ donation. I knew I needed to fill out the document when I entered the emergency room, but I was truly impressed when the physician assistant asked if I had a health care proxy.
Fortunately my procedure was a success, and I’m back on my feet! I’m glad I went through the process of appointing a health care proxy. I hope you never find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to appoint one in an emergency, but in case you want a health care proxy down the road, you should consider filing the form out as a preemptive act.
Has anyone else filled one out? If so, what motivated you to do so?
The NYS Health Care Proxy Form is available at: http://www.health.ny.gov/forms/doh-1430.pdf.
Professor Robert Blecker, the nationally known retributivist advocate of the death penalty, was featured on ABC Nightline on June 20th, 2012. To view the video and online report, visit http://abcnews.go.com/US/convicted-killers-live-life-leisure-professor/story?id=16426138.
On June 19, Professor James Grimmelmann presented testimony at the hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet. Read his testimony at http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/Hearings%202012/Grimmelmann%2006192012.pdf. Professor Grimmelmann is an expert in intellectual property law who studies how the law governing the creation and use of computer software affects individual freedom and the distribution of wealth and power in society.
New York Law School Professor Beth Simone Noveck is one of the presenters at TEDGlobal 2012: Radical Openness, held this week in Edinburgh, Scotland. She joins more than 70 speakers who will explore the theme of openness of all kinds, in politics, science, art, and private life. Professor Noveck served in the White House as United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer (2009–2011) and leader of the White House Open Government Initiative. Her scholarship, activism, and teaching address how digital networks impact institutions and how we can use such technologies to strengthen democratic culture. To find out more about the TEDGlobal conference, visit http://conferences.ted.com/TEDGlobal2012/.
NYLS alumni Gerald A. “Jerry” Marks ’69 and Justin M. Klein ’03 are principals at Marks & Klein, LLP, a small firm in Red Bank, New Jersey, specializing in franchise, business, and estate law. Some of the franchises they have litigated against or represented include: Quizno’s, Snap-on Tools, McDonald’s, Subway, 7-Eleven, Cold Stone Creamery, Friendly’s, Pizza Hut, Weichert Realtors, and Dunkin’ Donuts. The firm, which consists of eight lawyers, has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments and class-action settlements. It has a second office in Manhattan and a third in Chicago.
Despite their 30-year age difference, Marks and Klein have a harmonious partnership that has greatly benefited the firm’s business. They share a strong drive to work hard and succeed with an emphasis on teamwork.
Marks is the firm’s senior partner. He has distinguished himself as a specialist in franchise matters, starting with a single case about 20 years ago where he represented a franchisee of Snap-on Tools with a grievance against the franchisor. Eventually, other franchisees across the country were knocking on his door asking him to take on their cases. In 2006, the firm completed a three-and-a-half-year class-action suit against the franchise that resulted in a $125 million settlement. Marks currently teaches an undergraduate course in franchising at Monmouth University in Long Branch, New Jersey. He was also an adjunct professor at NYLS in the early 1970s. He is extremely satisfied with his career path and is a huge proponent of New York Law School. He says NYLS taught him how to acquire things for himself rather than wait for someone to hand them to him.
How Klein and Marks originally came to work together is hard to determine (they remember it differently), but ultimately, they made an alumni connection, and both are very happy with the end result. When they met, Marks was essentially working solo and needed help with a large case. The two talked for several months, and Klein came to realize that working with Marks would be an incredibly valuable opportunity. So when Marks made him an offer, Klein left the NYC firm where he was working, took a big pay cut, and moved to New Jersey.
For the last five years, Klein has been recognized by Franchise Times, a leading industry publication, as a “legal eagle,” one of the top franchise lawyers in the country. Marks and Klein have accrued over $330 million in settlements relating to various franchise matters. Klein was the lead counsel in a class-action suit against Quizno’s Corporation, which was settled for $206 million, and in an action against Snap-on Tools, which they settled for $125 million. He lectures frequently on franchise matters for various groups including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Training Institute.
For all you lawyers and lawyers-to-be, I am sure you’ve seen quite a few legal movies that have sparked your interest in the law or confirmed why you want to be a lawyer. So it got me thinking, what are the top legal movies that everyone should see? I know I haven’t seen them all. But the ones I have seen have truly moved and motivated me to learn more about whatever area of law was being presented on the silver screen.
In 2008, ABA Journal published a list of “The 25 Greatest Legal Movies,” which you can access below. For me, I have loved the following movies and I wanted to share!
As you can see, I have seen quite a few, but there are so many more movies I need to watch to say I am truly a legal movie buff. Now you tell me what your favorite legal movies are. We can compare and contrast!
Check out the ABA Journal list at: http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_25_greatest_legal_movies/.
The title of this film alone should intrigue you to find out more! That’s how I felt when Professor Blecker showed a portion of Robert Blecker Wants Me Dead in my Criminal Law class when I was a 1L. The film documents the unlikely friendship between Professor Blecker, a well-known death penalty advocate, and death row inmate Daryl Holton. I recently watched it again at a Summer Series Movie Night for admitted students, and all the emotions I had back then came rushing back. I’m sure the admitted students felt a wide range of emotions as well—the group was riveted and engaged Professor Blecker in discussion for well over an hour! I don’t want to reveal too much (you should really watch it yourself) but I’d like to share my thoughts about the film.
First, I have to say that Professor Robert Blecker is a brilliant, controversial, and passionate professor. Whether or not you agree with everything he has to say, the film helps you appreciate the brilliance and methodology behind his distinctive beliefs.
Now let me share what I thought of the movie. It’s hard to describe. Was I sad? Was I enraged? It reveals the story involving Professor Blecker and Daryl Holton. In 1997, Mr. Holton shot and killed his four children in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Because of his actions, he was sentenced to death. Professor Blecker met Mr. Holton during a research trip in 2005 when he visited Riverbend Maximum Security Prison.
What was most interesting to me was the friendship that develops between the two men. For more than a year and a half, they spoke over the phone and by mail—one man condemned to die conversing with a man who fully supports the death penalty. How could this be? If you believe in the death penalty, could you really become friends with someone who you inherently believe should die for the acts they committed? Is the death penalty an appropriate punishment in all circumstances for which it is a possible sentence?
In the movie, Professor Blecker discusses how some people view punishing a member of society with harm or death as similar to committing that same harm or death to someone you care about or love. He firmly believes that our society is morally obliged to execute those “worst of the worst” criminals who deserve it. Questions and concerns are raised from the first minute of the film to the very end, especially when Mr. Holton was eventually executed in 2007. I urge you to watch the movie and tell me your thoughts and views. I’m interested in what each of you has to say about this controversial topic!
Professor Blecker’s bio: www.nyls.edu/faculty/faculty_profiles/robert_blecker
More about the film: www.robertbleckerwantsmedead.com
Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug5crloEWck
Watch the film: http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Blecker-Wants-Me-Dead/dp/B003YCUGGE