Five Chiefs by John Paul Stevens

February 27, 2014

John Paul Stevens served as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court from December 1975 until June 2010, about 34 and one-half years. During his tenure—the third longest in Supreme Court history[1]—he served with Chief Justices Warren Burger, William Rehnquist and the current Chief, John Roberts.

Five Chiefs is a delightful, 250-ish page memoir of the first 91.5 years of John Paul Stevens’ life. (He’s alive and fast approaching his 94th birthday.) The five Chiefs include, in addition to the three I already mentioned, Fred Vinson (in place when Justice Stevens clerked for Justice Wiley Rutledge) and Earl Warren, before whom he appeared in his only oral argument before the Court. (Non-attorney readers:  an appearance

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Signing Matters!

February 26, 2014

Signing matters! With attorneys, signature lines often reflect the signor’s capacity, i.e., whether the signor signs as an individual maker or as an authorized signor for a business entity, and whether the signor is guaranteeing the debt of another. In form settings—you are leasing a copier, or buying web or Yellow Pages advertising—much gets murkier. And in the guarantee setting, both borrowers and lenders often pay too little attention to the rules. (We’re talking about extending credit here, so lender/borrower terms are used more broadly, and are not terms limited to situations involved traditional loans.)

Here’s on primer on signing:

Form Contracts.  If the contract involves a business matter, and your business operates through a limited liability company

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The Wednesday Curator – 2/26/14

February 25, 2014

So my friend Gary Stuart, great attorney and author, gave me a working over about the curator thing. Said I’m a curator. Not going to argue. Look for The Wednesday Curator for the foreseeable future. On Wednesdays.

Here’s what I’ve read this week that has stuck with me:

The Case for Blunders, a review of Brilliant Blunders:  From Darwin to Einstein—Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio. The review by Freeman Dyson, really smart scientist (and very charming writer), appears in the March 6 issue of The New York Review of Books. (I love reading reviews of books about science; I almost think I understand the stuff!)


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Make a Will Month

February 24, 2014

Saturday March 1 marks the beginning of Make a Will Month. I can find no information on the origins of this event, but I believe it’s a creation of the nonprofit sector, having as dual purposes encouraging people to make sure their affairs are in order and leaving some money for those in need.

Whatever its origins, Make a Will Month provides an excellent opportunity to focus on the task that, for far too many of us, always seems to be at the bottom of the “to do” list. For some the delay factor is perceived immortality. For others it is mortality and the fears that attend the certain outcome we all face. And for others the issue becomes “who

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Guardians and Conservators/The Basics, in 663 Words

February 23, 2014

In Arizona guardians look after the person, while conservators take care of their assets. (Labels vary from state to state.) Guardians may be appointed for minors or incapacitated adults. Minors need guardians when their parents have died, or when parental rights have been severed. Incapacitated adults need guardians when they lack capacity, often because of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Courts appoint conservators for minors, who cannot have money (allowance and a savings account do not count) and for adults who need help with their financial affairs. For children, the most common events that trigger the appointment of a conservator are the receipt of money from an accident settlement and the death of a parent whose will has no

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February 22, 2014

Almost three years ago, Ms. J–yes, the same Ms. J who serves as my “food foil”–and I took a summer vacation. An unfinished essay about spaces grew out of the trip. Here it is, completed.

Lots of confined spaces. An apartment, just like all of the others in the 10-stack, next to other vertical rows with similar floor plans on either side. A hotel room, tight and small and, as it happens, in the most romantic hotel in America (the Spindrift Inn, in Monterey, CA), according to the 2011 TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Hotel Awards. (That’s what you sometimes get when you get your hotel through Priceline, when you are parked on a side street in Santa Barbara, CA

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Inequality – Part 1

February 22, 2014

Inequality has become the new buzzword.[1] I have plenty to say about this issue. We live in a society that, less and less, aggregates at the mean, which is fancy talk for “the very rich are outdistancing us, as we all run in place.” Expect several posts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, one of the problems with the inequality discussion involves a lack of information, Herewith, some information:

We hear plenty about the middle class, protecting the middle class, building the middle class, the evaporating middle class, etc. So who belongs in the middle class?

Income and wealth get very much blurred in our discourse. But for the lucky few with inherited wealth, wealth is a function

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Momofuku Bo Ssam

February 20, 2014

Ms. J does not love meat. She eats chicken and turkey, likes well-done salmon, and passes on most everything else. Or so I used to think!

A few years ago I fell into the momofuku ambit. Momofuku means lucky peach, and it’s also a restaurant group, started and led by David Chang. (Learn more at momofuku.) I have not dined at any of its 12 locations in New York City, Toronto, and Sydney. I have, however, made two of the highly touted momofuku dishes at home.

We’ll skip Crack Pie for now. It’s a variation on Chess pie, a southern favorite; alas, it’s more complicated, sweeter, and one very fine pie.

Right now, we’re focusing on momofuku bo ssam

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The Home Buying Process

February 20, 2014

Real estate transactions are process-driven creatures. For many people, however, the process can be a mystery, where steps occur and the deal flows along without any meaningful appreciation for what’s happening. Herewith, a primer:

So you’ve found a home you want to buy in Arizona. Let’s assume you’re working with a real estate agent. You want to pay $450,000, and you’re a cash buyer, i.e., you don’t need financing.

Step one involves a written offer. Your agent can and will help you prepare the offer. Usually, your offer will be on a contract form (provided by the agent), and may be called a Deposit Receipt and Agreement, or a Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract. Read this document, for

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I’m Not A Curator!

February 18, 2014

A curator is a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection. In modern times the term also describes someone who collects material for others to read, view, buy, etc. As the Mark Rubin Writes schedule develops and I gain an appreciation for the balance between the arid world of legal concepts and the pleasures attendant to restaurant reviews and other finer things, I thought Wednesday would be my day to play curator, finding great pieces from here and there for your mid-week pleasure. Alas, the New York Times busted my a*s, big-time, with this totally uncivil piece, On the Tip of Creative Tongues, about the pomposity attendant to “curating.” (Click and read. It’s actually pretty funny!)


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