Belgium National Day

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“Happy Birthday Belgium. You are not getting older, just better. A year ago today, you swore in a new King. It was also my last official act as the U.S. Ambassador as I completed my service the next day. But we return often and we celebrate your birthday with joy, second only to our own July 4th.  Many more.”

Below is a press statement by Secretary of State John Kerry congratulating Belgium on their National Day:

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Belgium on your National Day and King Philippe on the first anniversary of his reign on July 21.

During my visit to Brussels last December, I had the opportunity to walk through the Grand Place and reflect on our two countries’ shared history. Our bond was made strong by the Commission for Relief in Belgium during the Great War and Allied efforts to defeat fascism in World War II. And it continues to grow today with our current work to promote security, prosperity, and human rights around the globe.

We commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge this year as well. We remember the thousands of U.S. troops who, along with the support of so many brave Belgians, showed remarkable grit and determination in liberating Europe from tyranny.

Seven decades later, their service and sacrifice continues to inspire us as we carry on their work. And as the capital of Europe and host to NATO, Belgium is at the heart of efforts to build a 21st century Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.

Even though Belgium beat our beloved U.S. team during the World Cup, our countries remain great friends and inseparable allies. Each time I visit your country, I am astounded by your hospitality and grateful for our partnership.

On behalf of the American people, I send best wishes for a joyous 184th National Day.

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Howard Gutman Memorial Day Address 2012

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Recruiting Lawyers to Lead by Gary L. Sasso

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Recruiting Lawyers to Lead

By Gary L. Sasso

President & CEO, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, PA

In professional services firms, leaders must have credibility with their partners.  This means they are typically drawn from their ranks.  That’s okay, but how can we recruit the right lawyers to lead?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Leaders emerge over time.  They are the ones who care the most about the success of the firm, not their own position or power.  They are the ones who raise their hand over and over, saying “Have we thought about this?” “How about that?” “I’ll be glad to help with this.”
  • They need and get on-on-the-job training by handling multiple leadership roles over many years, typically decades, shouldering increasing responsibility along the way.
  • They rarely ask for a title or need one.
  • They love practicing law, and they are highly successful at it.  (Yes, life is full of paradoxes.)
  • They genuinely like and care about everyone in the law firm – all attorneys and staff – without regard to position or rank.
  • When we are talking about the managing partner role in particular, we have to be talking about a partner sufficiently senior (typically in their early 50s) and secure so that he or she is prepared substantially to hand off his or her practice without an exit strategy, except as may be necessary to retain or grow critical client relationships for the benefit of the firm.
  • The managing partner simply cannot compete with any other partner in the firm on any level – for clients, work, or credit.  And if the managing partner can’t provide greater economic value to the firm as its leader than as a revenue producer, then the firm should choose a different leader.

If you may be interested in leadership, how will you know when you are ready?  Others will tell you when it’s the last thing on your mind.

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Social Media and the Law by Kenneth P. Nolan

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Social Media and the Law

I’ve never taken a selfie, I don’t tweet, and I really don’t know much about yik yak or Pinterest. But with a few searches, I can learn a whole lot about you—where you live, work, attended school, how much you paid for your home, and what’s your favorite movie. Most likely, I can watch a video of you slurring the words to “Livin’ on a Prayer” at some karaoke bar, and can easily track how much you donated to worthless politicians. And if I was really tech savvy, I’d probably know how you like your coffee, and whether it was really a flat tire that caused you to be late three weeks ago.

Nothing is secret anymore. I’m sure I’m filmed by hundreds of cameras each day as I walk the streets and drive the avenues of Brooklyn. They’re on buildings, in stores, on lamp posts, street lights. Heck, one home down the street must have a half dozen covering every window and door.  Jay Z can’t even get slapped around in an elevator without everyone knowing. If you wish to remain anonymous, toss your iPhone into the Gowanus Canal and stop sending texts or emails. You realize, don’t you, that the internet is forever. Whatever is emailed, posted can always be retrieved and will be used if you’re ever involved in a lawsuit.

Used to be when you represented a plaintiff in personal injury or wrongful death litigation, defense counsel would request authorizations for educational, employment, medical records. Mostly bland, emotionless facts. Now they want to read your Facebook page, your Twitter account, and view every photo or video posted on Instagram. These reveal your thoughts, personality and philosophies—what you like, who you voted for, who you hang with, where you vacationed. No longer will discovery simply show that on April 2nd, your right arm and shoulder were x-rayed. Now the defense may be able to determine if you were in pain, and whether your injury prevented you from normal activities as you claimed in your deposition.

For example: If someone posts a pic of you smiling at a party and you comment: “Had a great time, thanks.” Be forewarned that this will be a topic at your deposition.

“Previously, Mr. Nolan, you testified that your injury has made you depressed, that you really can’t enjoy yourself, enjoy life like you once did. Is that correct?

I show you this photo taken from your Facebook page….You look happy, don’t you?…Is that a wine glass in your hand?…This was a birthday party?…You had fun, didn’t you?….wrote that you had a great time, didn’t you?…And this was on June 11th, less than six months after your accident?…You didn’t write that you were depressed, did you?…that you were in pain, did you?…that you were unable to enjoy yourself, did you?…Now I show you another photo from your Facebook page…

Every posting has potential to influence the lawsuit. If you rant about Obamacare, or the NBA and Donald Sterling, this information may be used. And if by chance you go overboard and post a photo or statement that could be interpreted as racist, homophobic, etc., an ingenious attorney will certainly exploit this transgression.

So once retained, sit down with your client and examine what exists on social media. Bring a young lawyer or one of your teenagers to show you the latest sites, trends. Be thorough. Read every tweet, watch every video, no matter how old. Be prepared–for your adversary will, undoubtedly, obtain this material. The internet has not only changed how we live and communicate, but how we litigate.

Kenneth P. Nolan, Counsel to Speiser, Krause, Nolan & Granito, is the author of A Streetwise Guide to Litigation (American Bar Association 2013).

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Howard Gutman on Reyers Laat

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I was recently a guest on a leading Belgian television talk show, Reyers Laat. I think it was a good appearance (in English) as I received several congratulatory texts and emails the next morning, including from senior officials. It let me cover many topics, including the “spying” issue, and I was particularly glad finally to get to publicly discuss the nonsense at the end of the Ambassadorship. With people now (in hindsight) having fully realized for many reasons that it had no substance, including that State never had any problem and that I served my full term for two more months and represented the U.S. even at the invocation of the King, there seems now to be a pushback of support for the difficult time I received at the time from the press. Reyes Laat ends by calling me Ambassador for Life. I think you will enjoy the clip:

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The Transition from Lawyer to Judge by Jeffrey Cole

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Judges are often asked to explain the differences between judging and practicing law. After all, aren’t you dealing with the same legal problems only from the other side of the bench. While that’s partly true, there’s far more involved than mere positioning. Having done both, I can attest to the fact that the differences between judging and practicing are dramatic.

Becoming a judge frees one up from what Justice Holmes called “the greedy watch for clients.” No longer are you on the hunt at every moment for the next client. Social affairs are no longer a hunting ground but an opportunity for a genuine human interaction. And then there is the matter of being freed from thankless (and often tedious) demands of law firm administration, law firm meetings, petty office politics, and having to keep track of your time for billing on an almost minute-by-minute basis. (For some time after I became a judge, I found myself unconsciously calculating how many hours I spent in preparing an opinion, only to realize that it didn’t matter).

Then, there is the matter of clients. Depending on their personalities, lawyers who become judges have different reactions to the end of client involvement. Gregarious lawyers who thrive on client relationships will inevitably feel a great loss. For them, one of the joys of practicing law is their relationships with their clients. Regardless of one’s feelings about the matter, of necessity, the frequent contact that a lawyer may have had with former clients ends. Being a judge is a pretty solitary undertaking. Judges have intermittent contact with law clerks and staff, but in the main, it’s an isolating job; and there isn’t time for the socialization that occupies a good part of the time of practicing lawyers.

For others, not having clients is a blessing. No longer do they have to advance a position in which they do not believe and which they might even find repellant. The animating force in their professional lives ceases to be the narrow and parochial interests of some other person.

And finally, one of the significant differences between judging and practicing is the question of money. Judges’ salaries simply don’t begin to compare to those of successful lawyers. And basically there are no raises of any significance. Consequently, there are many qualified lawyers who would not give up practicing because of economic considerations. But values are incommensurable, and for those who have left lucrative practices for the bench, the decision almost universally has proven to be the right one.

The difference in salary – though large – pales into insignificance when compared with the joys of the job and the opportunities for intellectual satisfaction. Once you become a judge, you have the extraordinary luxury – and in the broader scheme of life that is exactly what it is – of being able to make professional decisions based not on extrinsic considerations but on doing what you believe is right under the law. Few, if any, “jobs,” other than judging, offer comparable opportunities for intellectual satisfaction and autonomy.

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Time-Lapse Video Makes Yosemite Look Like Another Planet

Photo/videographers Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill hiked for more than 200 miles, carrying upward of 70 pounds each of camera equipment, through the rugged and otherworldly landscape of Yosemite National Park. Over the course of a combined 45 days, the pair set up and captured time-lapse video of the stars, of frozen waterfalls and craggy mountains, of ancient stones and deep chasms.

More> Co.Design


Designer Sam Beckett’s “iPhone Air” concept imagines what the next iPhone will look like. Learn more about his design here.

(via fastcompany)