Bar News - July 4, 2008
Too Many Rules
Before the Supremes imposed mandatory CLE, I attended quite a few seminars in areas related to my practice. That is now a rarity; I maintain a stack of CLE notices; if a day’s schedule crashes, I check if anything is scheduled locally. All you need to get in is a check. I have often neither known or cared what the CLE was about. Just give me my 12 hours. The ethics requirement is a real gasser: by that logic, require all citizens to sit in an auditorium for two hours per year being spoken to about virtue, and thus all would be virtuous.
Now TWMBO [Those Who Must Be Obeyed] are considering a mandatory pro bono requirement. A former employee wrote me that in 17 years, I never turned away anyone who came to my door. I do this because it is a religious requirement. So now I must start the clock running when someone needs help? What about those needy who do not precisely fit the pigeonholes that will be defined by the court? After all, I help people, not boards, committees or groups. Instead of being charitable, I will be hypocritical. I suggest that the Court leave this one alone.
Please do not publish my name, lest the pecksniffs at the PCC come nosing around.
Name withheld by request.
What Al Casassa Taught Me
Thanks to some encouragement from fellow law clerk Judge Sharon DeVries I started my legal career at Casassa and Ryan next to Colt News in Hampton in September of 1986. I was young and eager. What I quickly learned from Al [Casassa] and still remember today is that we were providing a service to the client. The client had to believe that they were actually getting something of value for the time we spent on the case. I was taught that it was not a good practice to simply send out a bill that listed every minute you had spent on the matter.
The interests of the client were always paramount. The result of this approach over the past 50 years has been a base of loyal clients and the respect and admiration of everyone. Al Casassa could be trusted. You did not have to memorialize your conversations with him. He would often tell a client that hiring the firm would not be a good use of the client’s resources. By doing that he ensured that the client would return in the future. He knew that being fair and honest with clients was the most important part of the practice of law. Our state and our profession have been well served by Al Casassa. Congratulations Al. [Casassa is a 50-year member this year.]
Kenneth D. Murphy