Five Reasons Why Experience Matters

Lease As I round the end of my first decade of practice, I recently had occasion to reminisce about my very first trial in March 2008. Remembering the stress and anxiety is fun in retrospect, although when you’re new to trials, the experience is somewhat petrifying. Thinking back to my early days as a trial attorney makes me come to appreciate the importance of the skills you learn over time that come only with experience. Here are five reasons why it’s important to have an experienced trial attorney on your team when you are fighting to get the result you want, whether you’re prosecuting or defending a case. (1) More forceful negotiating. Though they would never admit it, most attorneys want to avoid trial if at all possible. It is time consuming, tiring, and requires a lot of focus. You’ll look like an idiot if you’re not familiar with the facts of the case and the rules of evidence. While most attorneys want to avoid trial, this motivator becomes much stronger for the inexperienced practitioner, whose negotiations will inevitably be impacted. I usually want to avoid trial too, if only because it’s expensive for my clients. But I always visualize how a trial is likely to go very early on in the case. If you are “trial ready”, even just mentally, you can’t help but advocate more forcefully for your client. (2) Maintaining clearer focus on the big picture. A big part of what I do is winnowing down information. 30 minutes of testimony are better than three hours. – Read More “Five Reasons Why Experience Matters”

Utah v Streiff: A Historic Dissent

Although Crumiller P.C. doesn’t focus on issues of race specifically, I am a firm believer in the necessity of fighting racism in achieving equality for all. While we focus on issues of family rights – pregnancy discrimination, maternity and paternity leave – which are not specifically racial issues, we find that, as in all areas, people of color suffer disproportionately from harsh treatment and negative stereotypes, along with the many structural barriers to equality. I believe white people have a special responsibility to speak up about these issues. To that end, and in honor of her 62nd birthday on Saturday, I step back for a minute this week to examine Sonia Sotomayor’s historic dissent in Utah v. Streiff, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), a case which serves as an important microcosm for the ways in which racial injustice is viewed and addressed in our society. In this case, a police officer stopped someone walking down the street, who had been seen emerging from a house in which drug activity was suspected. The stop itself was without reasonable suspicion, and importantly, the State conceded that. The officer then ran a search and found an outstanding arrest warrant. With the warrant as justification, the officer searched the man, and found drugs. the Court faced the issue whether evidence obtained by police at an illegal stop could be used against the defendant if, after the stop, an outstanding arrest warrant was discovered. Generally, such evidence is inadmissible under the age-old “exclusionary rule” which provides that “fruit of the poisonous tree” – evidence obtained illegally – cannot be used against a person. – Read More “Utah v Streiff: A Historic Dissent”

Pregnancy Rights Primer

Pregnant woman 2 Pregnancy rights are integral to the American economy and the American family. Better late than never, society is finally coming to recognize it. Women are smart, capable, and dedicated workers, and guess what – many of us have kids! New York City has one of the best pregnancy discrimination laws in the country. The New York City Human Rights Commission, which enforces them, issued some new guidelines last month. And this week, for the White House United State of Women Summit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a new fact sheet. This post is intended as a very basic primer on your rights under NYC and federal laws. The first step in enforcing your rights is knowing what they are. New York City NYC requires employers to reasonably accommodate pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, without the need to prove “disability”. Related conditions includes things like pumping breast milk, abortion, and fertility treatment. Discrimination against pregnant workers is strictly prohibited. Note that discrimination isn’t always black and white. If an employer takes action against you, even in part because of your pregnancy, come talk to us – you may have a claim. This can mean anything from hostile remarks (including jokes) that make you uncomfortable, to demotion or firing. Any “lesser treatment” counts. If you need a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy, the employer must participate in a “cooperative dialogue” to help find a workable solution that doesn’t pose an undue hardship. We can help you navigate this process. After giving birth, you are entitled to take reasonable leave. – Read More “Pregnancy Rights Primer”