Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good Lawyers Settle

Jay Shepard writes about the importance to litigation of motions practice and settlement negotiations: Small Lawyers, Big Lawyers: Real Lawyers Settle Cases, Above the Law, Aug. 31, 2011.

I once was at a CLE seminar where one of the deans of our local employment bar said that if you ever have the opportunity to try a case, you should leap at it — they’re a lot of fun.

Fun? Yes, actually they are. But I’m pretty sure that my fun was not one of the guiding factors in my clients’ decision to hire me.

The truth of the matter is that your job as a civil litigator is not to win at all costs. Instead, it is to make your client’s problem go away. And making your client’s problem go away often involves settlement. The deal is to get a good deal.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Batson for GLBT Challenge?

A ninth circuit appeal, argued Thursday, raises the issue of whether the peremptory challenge of a lesbian should receive Batson-type scrutiny. Potential jurors shouldn't be dismissed for being gay, court told, L.A. Times, Aug. 5, 2011.

Daniel Osazuwa, an inmate serving time for bank fraud, was convicted of assaulting a guard. His defense was that he was only trying to embrace the other man—a common way to greet someone in his home country of Nigeria;mdash;and that the guard reacted badly because the inmate is gay.

The prosecution says that its reason for challenging the juror "because she told the court she had close Nigerian friends when the panel was asked if anyone had positive or negative attitudes toward that nationality." Id. To me this stated reason seems at least as shaky as if the challenge were based on sexual orientation. Should an immigrant should be deprived of a juror who has friends of his nationality?

See also  How a Fight over Jury Selection Could Advance Gay Rights, Time, Aug. 8, 2011.