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the Esquire's Casefiles

Legal education and lessons learned watching cases and people going through them

Weathering the Storm: How Families Can Plan for Natural Disasters

Planning for natural disasters is more than just stocking up on canned food and water. In a natural disaster, food and water will keep you alive, but how will you rebuild your life if your home and community are devastated? Here are some simple tips that will help you get back on your feet should disaster strike.

 Make sure you have enough insurance. Basic homeowner’s insurance typically won’t cover damage caused by natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. You might need to purchase additional insurance to cover these types of events. If you’d like an objective review of the types and amounts of insurance you have, contact us, we can help.

 Keep a thorough inventory of what you own. Having up-to-date information on your personal belongings—especially valuables—will make getting them replaced using your insurance claim easier. Pictures of your belongings stored in the cloud is one great way to handle this in advance of any natural...

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One Dark & Stormy Night

I don't do scary movies. I don't do haunted houses. I don't place myself in situations to be scared. I learned my lesson years ago.

One dark and stormy night—I'm not kidding, it really was a dark and stormy night—I found myself at my buddy's empty apartment (we lived in the same complex, and he was out of town) where I had decided, on my own and alone, to watch The Ring. Have you seen that movie? It's the one where the haunted evil devilish womanlike creature crawls out of the TV right after the phone rings. Because I don't watch scary movies, I don't even know if that movie is really considered scary. But I thought it was terrifying!

At the end of the movie, I had to go pee. I turned on every light in the apartment and left the door open. Just in case I needed to run. And then I left my friend's apartment and walked across the dark parking lot in the middle of the night, in the rain, to get to my own place. I thought I was going to be killed on the way....

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If We Go, the Kids Are Screwed

This is my family.

For some time now, my wife and I have been talking about the need to update our estate plan. We did a basic plan about ten years ago before taking a vacation to Japan without the kids. But we knew we had a plan in place, so it just wasn't a priority. Sound familiar?

Because I'm opening an estate planning practice in Washington, I thought I'd better just make sure I was all set myself. Imagine my shock and surprise when I finally pulled out my own plan and found that, if something happened to Kristina and me today, our children would be completely screwed.

I've learned an awful lot in the last ten years of legal practice. Enough to know that my plan from our Japan trip ten years ago would entirely fail today. Our youngest wasn't even around then. What would happen to her? Disaster.

The fact of the matter is that most people's plans are set up to fail. Most estate planning lawyers are simply document preparers, and very few focus on families with young...

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Why Does Law Have to Be Crazy & Extreme?

 

Hollywood certainly feeds the perception that law and lawyers are crazy and extreme and take crazy and extreme positions. Unfortunately this is partly true, but it's less a reflection of all those Type A lawyers than a symptom of our country's adversarial system.

If you find yourself facing a legal issue and someone takes a crazy or extreme position, more often than not, they're posturing, expecting to move to a more reasonable place once everyone has established a starting point for discussion.

Watch the video for more explanation.

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Should I Take That Job During Divorce?

divorce Oct 02, 2017
 

Occasionally, people ask me during a divorce case whether they should take a certain job, or quit a certain job, or accept or decline benefits when new choices come their way. They are concerned that their job-related choices will have an impact on their divorce case. Maybe they have an opportunity to get a raise, but that will make it so they don't get as much alimony, or makes it so they will have to pay more alimony. And so they ask, should I take the job?

This video presents my view and advice on the matter. In a nutshell, if you are making all of your life decisions based on how those decisions will impact your divorce case, I think you are looking at the wrong things and living out of fear.

Make decisions the way you normally would. Is the job offer advantageous? Is it work you want to do? Can you work with people that uplift you? Will it lead to more opportunity down the road? Are the benefits good for you, your children, your family? Are the hours what you want? Are they...

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What It's Like to Share a Birthday with 9/11

personal development Sep 11, 2017
 

My birthday is September 11. When people find that out, they always ask me what it's like to share my birthday with such an historic event. Here's a short answer.

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How To Wake Up Happy Every Day!

personal development Jun 01, 2017

Would you like to wake up happy every day? I have for the past two months. Click below to watch the video and learn what I did. It's sooooo easy. You can do it, too.

(And you can use this tool for so many other things . . . .)

How to Wake Up Happy Every Day!

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My Surprise Self-Awareness Hack

personal development May 17, 2017

 

I discovered a simple method to increase self-awareness, and to prepare for meaningful interactions with others. Click on the link to watch the video: A Surprise Tool for Self-Awareness

I hope it helps. If you try this out yourself, I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

 

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Never Tell This to a Police Officer During a Traffic Stop

A few weeks ago, I was successful in getting a client's DUI case dismissed. You may be thinking that I shouldn't be getting drunk drivers off. But this was no drunk driver. This was a tired mom who'd been up all night with a newborn baby. After taking her older kids to school and on the way back home, a piece of debris came blowing into the road. Tired from lack of sleep, she overreacted, lost control, and ran into a mailbox. That's not drunk driving; it's just an unfortunate accident. No alcohol was involved. No drugs. No impairment.

The police came. They asked her if she had taken anything. She volunteered that she had taken her prescriptions the night before, but nothing else. "What are your prescriptions?" the police asked. She answered, and found herself charged with a DUI because obviously, her prescription medications—which she had taken as prescribed—remained in her system.

Remember that whole "right to remain silent" thing we've been hearing about for decades?...

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Just Start

personal development Apr 21, 2017

I think it is appropriate that my first Esquire's Corner blog post shares the message to Just Start!

I'll be the first one to tell you that, even though I've spent a lot of time in front of people, I'm scared to start a blog. Given years of speaking and presenting in one of the most high-stress environments anywhere—the courtroom—why would I be scared to start a blog? It's simple. Because I don't know how to blog.

Isn't that the way it always is? I can't tell you how many experiences I've missed out on in my life because I didn't know how to do something, and therefore, I didn't start. Maybe you are the same.

A few months ago, one of my lamps stopped working. It was one of those three-way bulbs, and only one of the settings lit up. In the past, I would have thrown it away in frustration because I certainly wasn't going to pay someone to fix a lamp, and I just knew I couldn't do anything about it because "I'm not handy."

But a thought came to mind: "Maybe, just...

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