Why Having ADD Makes Me a Great Attorney


Originality.  Creativity.  Charisma.  Energy.  Liveliness.  An unusual sense of humor.  Areas of intellectual brilliance.  Spunk. About 90% of the compliments I receive mention these qualities.  And it’s no coincidence that these are the traits common to those with ADD. ADD (aka ADHD – the terms are interchangeable) is highly misunderstood.  Some people might ask, why on earth would I want an attorney who is unable to focus, unable to remember anything, hyper-fidgety, and always distracted?  Truly, you wouldn’t want that.  But that’s not really what ADD is. In fact, ADD is a collection of traits that makes me an excellent attorney.  Here’s the real truth about those of us gifted with ADD. We think super fast. The main difference between the ADD brain and the regular brain is speed.  People often come into my office with a large pile of papers and are astonished at the speed with which I immediately identify and hone in on the key facts and the important issues.  For us, our brains work at a rapid fire pace; ADD is sometimes described as like having a race car brain. Fast thinking is the ultimate trial attorney skill.  I can’t tell you how important it is, when your mind is racing for an objection, when you’re analyzing a direct examination and figuring out which questions to ask on cross, when a judge asks you a question and you have to come up with reasoning on the fly that is logical and legally sound, not to be the one who-

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How to Negotiate With Your Jerk Boss: A Litigator’s Guide From the Trenches (Part I)


Every woman who strives for success, to attain the best for herself and her family if she has one, must negotiate at some point in her life. Negotiation is scary and unpleasant for many, because it involves confrontation, and many people haven’t developed the skills yet to handle confrontation without stress. Negotiation with your boss is even worse: (A) you’re in the position of lesser power, and (B) you may feel like your ego is on the line. Negotiating with your boss is hard for everyone, but especially for women. Women who correctly assess their own worth, and make demands accordingly, are harshly evaluated. It’s not our place; we should be nicer (quieter); we should demand less; we’re less important, less valuable, less deserving. You know that is false, and so do I. But we also live in the real world and so, as savvy negotiators, we’re going to deftly incorporate navigating this bullshit to all the other stuff we have to do to achieve success. More money, more leave time, better benefits, more flexibility: it is there for you if you’ve done the preparation and you have the fortitude to demand it. To get the results you want, you need to engage your heart, your brain, your muscles, AND your steel ovaries. Ready? STEP ONE: DECIDE WHY. Step one is the “heart” step. Whether you want more money, time off, or something else, don’t start with figuring out the details. Figure out why this is important to you. Do-

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Five Reasons Why Experience Matters


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-

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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-

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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-

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