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Blogging for Suicide Prevention:Ode to a Friend

Four days ago I answered my phone and was greeted by the sound of weeping. The call was to notify me a friend and attorney colleague had died by suicide, and I was being contacted because she'd left a note for me to take over her cases. I've never lost anyone to suicide. Death isn't a stranger, taking both my parents in 2010 within four months of each other, and many others over the years. Yet, the news of my friend's final act shoved me into shock. There were two…

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and THE BLAME GAME

Recently, the media was in an uproar over the case of Ray Rice, the NFL Football player who knocked his wife, Janay, out with a punch to the head in an elevator. He's been suspended. http://deadspin.com/heres-video-of-ray-rice-knocking-out-his-fiancee-in-an-1631864196 The front page of CNN.com has Janay making a statement that "To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is a horrific. (sic)" Will the media now begin the "victim blame game?" Go back and read the first…

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Prosecutors and Sex Crimes: What Year Are We In?

The #MeToo movement is beginning to change the way people understand crimes against women. Still, rape cases seem difficult to prosecute. But are they, or is it a systemic failure? The other day I was reading the Huffington Post and came across an article titled "Prosecutors Rarely Bring Charges in College Rape Cases." It detailed how an LA County prosecutor informed a victim that he wasn't going to proceed with her case because jurors "have no experience in any kind of sex crimes occurring in their life" and would have…

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IMPROVING YOUR LIKABILITY FACTOR

One of the most powerful talents you can have is to be naturally likable. But how? Can this be learned? Absolutely. In the past week, I've had two people tell me that I have a rare quality: likability.  One of these people proclaimed it loudly to others, delighting me, of course. Some people are instantly likable. They have an easy manner, a ready smile and their energy is attractive to others. It's been shown that people who have this characteristic go far in life, from politicians to employees.  The good…

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5 Quick Tips to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking

Have you ever wanted to be better at public speaking? It's possible! Jerry Seinfeld said   “According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Fear of public speaking trumps death! If you're one of many who feel like this, how do you change it? 1. Start small. If you consider it, you're engaged…

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DEATH BY POWERPOINT

As a speaker, Toastmaster and public speaking/trial skills coach, I get to see lots of presentations. What's the one thing that makes me want to put my head in my hands? POWERPOINT This product should come with a warning label: IF MISUSED WILL PUT AUDIENCES TO SLEEP OR MAKE THEM WANT TO DO VIOLENCE. Think back to when you were (or maybe still are) trapped in a classroom at the mercy of a teacher who drones on while pointing to the board and reading things verbatim that he/she has written…

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Adventures In Restraining Order Land

Recently I decided to go to court to watch civil harassment restraining order hearings before a judge I hadn't appeared before. I have a case in front of him soon and wanted to see if his judicial temperament was  reasoned jurist or screaming maniacal behemoth.A civil harassment order is something you obtain when someone harasses, threatens, stalks, assaults or engages in similar unacceptable behavior. It enables you to call the police and have them arrested if they come near you again. The court issues a temporary order then, after the…

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The Tale of a Bad Case

This week I had a friend ask me to write about my worst legal experience. I immediately said NO. There have been a lot of gut-wrenching, nightmare making, soul searching cases that I choose not to relive. The more I thought about this, I did recall one I don't mind sharing. I had been a prosecutor for about three years and was assigned to do misdemeanor trials. Today, prosecutors are assigned their cases ahead of time and have a chance to review them. Then, in the days of "Wild West"…

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A Fish Story

 I grew up in the Imperial Valley, California. A wide bowl of desert dotted with fields of crops fed by an extensive irrigation system of canals. In elementary school, we had a "Dippy Duck: Don't Swim In Canals" program because the water looked placid on top but had strong undercurrents.When I was around six years old, my father decided to introduce me to fishing. We headed out to a canal, driving along a dusty road next to a field in his beat up white truck. When we got out, I…

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Beta Traps and Crocodile Brains

Are you job interviewing in this down economy? Pitching a book idea?  Picking a jury? Trying to convince a loved one they really need to go to that football game with you? Raising venture capital?Life's about sales, no matter if it's business or personal relationships. I recently read a book by Oren Klaff called Pitch Anything! Klaff chased down every useable theory in the field of Neuroeconomics and formulated an answer to both how he could better forge a connection with the people he was pitching to, which led to multi-million dollar…

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