Thursday, September 4, 2014

ASL Student Organizations

Opportunities to Serve the School, the Community, and the Profession

This week, we held a bar-b-que that gave student organizations an opportunity to recruit members.  

I profiled all, or nearly all, of ASL's student organizations in a series of posts beginning in August 31, 2013 that continued through October 2013.

They are:

Pro Bono Legal Service Providers:
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA
  • VITA Tax Services (VITA
  • Great Eastern Trail Project (GET
Law Journals:
  • Appalachian Journal of Law (AJoL)
  • Appalachian Natural Resources Law Journal (ANRLJ)
Student Government:
Legal Fraternities:
  • Blackwell Inn Phi Delta Phi (PDP
  • Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International (PAD
Focus on Substantive Law:
  • ADR Society 
  • Criminal Law Society (CLS
  • Education Law Society (ELS
  • Energy and Mineral Law Society (EMLS
  • Environmental Law Society (ELS
  • Innocence Project 
  • International Law Society (ILS
  • Patent Law Association (PLA
  • Sports & Entertainment Law Society (SELS
  • Sutin Public-Interest Association (SPIA
Affinity Groups:
  • Appalachian Women in the Law (AWIL
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA
  • Christian Legal Society (CLS
  • Gay/Straight Legal Association (GSLA or Outlaw) 
  • Hamilton Society (veterans)
Political Viewpoints:
  • Democratic Law Society (DLS
  • Republican Law Society (RLS
  • Federalist Society (conservatives/libertarians) 
  • American Constitution Society (ACS
Geographic Groups:
Sports Groups:
Other Groups: 
For more information about these student organizations, take a look at the late August, September, and early October 2013 postings at The Red Velvet Lawyer  Keep in mind that some of the listed officers have changed.  

For information about funding or creating an organization, see here and here

ADR as a First Career: Stories from the Field

Tell Your Story!

This invitation comes from one of my very ambitious ADR colleagues. Please take her up on the invitation to share your stories.

Hi all,

I wanted to share with you a new video blog project I started focusing on ADR as a first career. This video blog is a place to share and read about individuals who chose to begin their professional career in the ADR field. Check it out at here.

The purpose of the blog is to explore how successful the next generation of ADR professionals has been in pursuing careers in ADR straight out of law school or graduate school. To do so, I am trying to gather ADR as first career stories by encouraging folks to upload videos about their own experiences or schedule an interview with me in which I will create a video to upload on their behalf. It is very simple to do (you can see others have already started participating), and you can even create your own video straight from the blog itself.

I’d love it if you would share your story – if you need any help with creating a video, just let me know. And please pass along this announcement to colleagues who might like to share their story or ask them to contact me directly. just shared a guest post where I went into much more detail about the video blog. You can check out that post here.

Thanks and I look forward to watching your videos!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Master Mediator Bob Creo Visits Mediation with Heart

Pioneer in Field 
Discusses Five Impasse Breaking Techniques

This week, I was very fortunate to interview nationally known mediator, Bob Creo, for one of my webinars for my online course: Mediation with Heart: Web-Based Training for Change Agents

I launched the online course in mid-May. This interview was the first one in which I used the expertise of a leader in the field to enhance the learning experience for my students.  It was such a great experience, I plan to record more webinars with leaders in the field. 

The link to the replay of the webinar is here.  Don't miss this opportunity to learn from a master. 

Creo's Background

Bob Creo is a pioneer in the field of dispute resolution having begun his career as a neutral in 1979, long before courts began to adopt court-connected ADR programs. Accordingly, he has several decades of experience as a practicing mediator, arbitrator, and special master.  

He continues to research and teach about the mediation process, how people make decisions, and the neuroscience and psychology behind human behavior.

He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Duquesne University School of Law.

He graduated from top-ranked Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri.  He graduated, Magna Cum Laude, from Brandeis University with Departmental Honors in History.  

He is listed on the leading national rosters for ADR neutrals, including the American Arbitration Association and CPR. He is also a rostered neutral for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  

Bob is a co-founder of the International Academy of Mediators, Mediators Beyond Borders, and Master Mediator Institute.
He has served as a neutral in over 2,000 cases. 

For more about Bob's practice, check out his website.

Impasse Breaking Techniques

In the webinar, Bob describes the use of the following impasse breaking techniques:

  • The Safety Deposit Box.
  • The Blind Mediator Proposal.
  • The Use of Outside Experts.
  • Multi-party Blind Trust.
  • The Pie Chart Tool.

Bob has written on these topics:

The Creo Blind Trust Method, A Technique for Resolving Multi-Defendant Cases, Vol. No. 17, No. 8 Alternatives, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (Sept. 1999).

Emerging from No Man’s Land To Establish a Bargaining Model, Vol. No. 19, No. 8 Alternatives, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (Sept. 2001).

A Pie Chart Tool to Resolve Multi-party and Issue Conflicts, Vol. No. 18, No. 5 Alternatives, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (May 2000).

Again, my thanks to Bob for sharing his expertise. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back from Vacation

Celebrating my "Silver Jubilee"

I took three weeks off this summer to travel with two friends for my "silver jubilee" celebration of my 60th birthday.   We drove across the U.S. to the redwood forests of Northern California, then caught up with two alumni in Lake Tahoe, then spent three days in Yosemite.

The trip reinforced many ideas I have.  First, we live in a land of great abundance: cropland, trees, natural beauty, wildlife, energy resources, and people.

Second, money is just a form of energy according to my business coach, Christine Kane. The happiness experts advise to buy experiences and not stuff, if you want to be happier.  So, I tried to circulate as much money as possible on this trip to buy memorable experiences: nicer hotel stays, expensive meals, excellent wine, and a boat ride on Lake Tahoe. I want to thank my friend, Carol, who could not join us, for giving me a very big check that enhanced my ability to spend during this trip.

I did buy a fabulous ring from one of the last turquoise mines in the world, which is located in Tonopah, NV (Queen of the Silver Camps), also the location of a new BLM-sponsored solar power project.

Third, you cannot put three accomplished, smart, independent, opinionated, menopausal women in the same car for three weeks and not expect some conflict.  I'm just glad we love each other enough that our friendships survived the trip!

Fourth, while the simplicity of the western landscapes -- which emphasize mountains, rock outcroppings, desert, and big skies -- are dramatically beautiful, I still prefer the green fields of the mid-west and the lush forests of the East.

Fifth, I have no regrets about the life I have lived.  If we had driven over the cliff at Yosemite (as we nearly did), I would be proud of my influence on the world and of the life I have tried to live with love and integrity.

Sixth, even at 60 years old, I still have so much to do, say, write, teach, learn, and contribute.  What will the next decade hold for me?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

50,000 Page Views for the Red Velvet Lawyer

50,000 Page Views
Friends, family, and colleagues:

Another milestone reached! 50,000 page views!

My blogging experience started in March 2013. Like everything, success relates directly to the attention and energy invested in the project.

As I blogged more frequently, built my relationship with other bloggers, got more posts shared by my FB friends, and continued to create content I hoped you would like, page views grew exponentially.

Here is a summary of my experience:

5,000 page views on August 2013.
10,000 page views on November 7, 2013.
15,000 page views on November 27, 2013.
20,000 page views on December 9, 2013.
25,000 page views on January 1, 2014. 
50,00 page views on July 17, 2014.

Obviously, I am a very long way from getting the million hits a day that top bloggers see (and I don't expect that kind of attention), but I am very grateful for this opportunity for growth, connection, voice, and influence.

Thanks for supporting The Red Velvet Lawyer.

Buying a New Car: Negotiating the Best Deal

Web Tools 
That Make 
the Negotiation Easier

After graduating from law school and joining the largest law firm in Oklahoma, I bought my first new car.  It was a Toyota Camry.  Beforehand, I thoroughly read and applied the advice found in a book on buying a new car.  

Today, the web puts you a few clicks away from very good advice on the subject.  This morning, I found this site offered by CNN Money on Tips for Buying a New Car.  It offered advice on a number of topics:

The page on setting your target price was especially helpful. It cited sources of objective criteria that equalize the negotiating power of the parties.  First, it gives you links to online sources that provide three pieces of price information:
  • The manufacturers suggested retail price (the sticker price) or MSRP.
  • The average price paid in your area for the car.
  • The factory invoice price.
The website explains:
Using websites like or Kelly Blue Book, you can find out the dealer's cost for any vehicle. You can also find out about customer or dealer rebates, subsidized lease deals, or other special breaks that can cut your cost. Best of all, you can decide exactly what you intend to pay for the car or truck before you ever go near a showroom.

The next page tells you how to use this objective criteria to get a great deal.  In the end, it recommends that you pay about 2% more than the factory invoice price.  

On the 2014 Hyundai Sante Fe Sport SUV I like, that negotiating approach would bring the factory invoice price of $25,436 up by $509 to $25,295.

That number still makes my head swim.  But recently, I calculated the cost today of that stripped down, low feature VW bug my parents owned as newlyweds.  In 1959, the VW bug cost $1,995. Adjusted for inflation, you'd pay $16,309 for that car.  Seeing that number, I truly appreciate how much more value manufacturers are now adding to cars.  For one thing, they all have gas gauges.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Buying a New Car: More About My Family's Car Buying Mindset

Reason for My Preference for Used SUVs?

Last week, as I pondered where this series was headed, I asked my Dad to describe all the cars he had owned in his life.  The three things that his description made clear was this.  First, the cars were often used. Second, they were always very utilitarian. They hauled people and things.  Third, my parents drove them into the ground before they bought something new (or newer). So, here's my Dad's narrative. Photos show model and style, but not necessarily the color of his cars. 

The Single Guy's Car

Okay, before I was married, I had a [used] 1938 Chevy that I had overhauled professionally then salvaged replacement fenders and a steering gear from the local junkyard and installed them myself.  I paid good money for a sun visor that mounted above the window on the outside.  Of course, the fenders did not match the body so I used a brush and exterior paint to paint the whole damn thing brush-streaked black.  If I was not perceived as a hick at Washington (streetcar) University, before I showed up with that car, I think I probably made the grade afterwards.  I must say, though, JoAnn had no problem with it when we were dating.
For the Young Family 
By 1955, Dad and Mom upgraded and gave JoAnn and I their [used] 1950 Ford.  Then, they did the same thing with their [used] 1951 Chevy several years later, which is what we were
driving when we decided to get a second [used] car so JoAnn would not be trapped at home with three younguns.
That would be the VW bug, which was a '59 that we bought from a Hawaiian student before she went home in '60. Roger was an infant, and we still lived in St John, [MO].   
The first new car we bought was the reddish-brown 1965 Ford station wagon, which was the same color and year of the sedan John and Louise [JoAnn's parents] were driving, while we lived at 7558 Washington [in St. Louis].   
We replaced it with the [new] blue-green Ford [LTD Country Squire] station wagon, in 1969. When it was tied up for a while in the body shop after JoAnn wrecked it, I stopped driving the bug and bought the [new] '70 Clementine VW squareback (which I really liked). 
Planning for Severe Winters While my Dad was in Grad School 
We bought the [new] International Scout in '75.  When we went to Ann Arbor, we took the Scout and the Ford station wagon.  By that time, the bug had died and we left Clementine in STL.
The Empty Nest  
Upon returning from [Ann Arbor] in '78, we bought Mrs. Fischlowitz's [our neighbor whose house faced Delmar Boulevard] Volvo station wagon, which we drove until after we moved to Brentwood in 1989.   
When the Scout transmission malfunctioned in '86, we gave it to Greg [my brother] for hauling wood on his property and bought the [new] blue Plymouth minivan.   
After doing yeoman work in the move to Brentwood, the Volvo finally looked so bad and needed so many expensive repairs, JoAnn was willing to part with it (her favorite car of all time). Then we were a one-car couple until JoAnn died, even after trading up in minivans to the [new] '95 Chrysler minivan.
 When Dottie and I were married, she had the Ford station wagon and the blue Dodge minivan, and I had the Chrysler minivan, and all three had close to 200,000 miles on them. The blue Dodge died first, then the Chrysler.  A tree fell on the Ford.   
Since then, we have had two well-used minivans, a sedan, and a pickup.  [The latest sedan is a used, low-mileage car with the paint falling off of it.]