Don’t interfere when you are winning

Superior Court Judge J.B. Allen was a rather large man with a big personality. He had white hair, a booming voice, and a no-nonsense approach to the most mundane issue. Some say he was a bit of a bully. I tried my first serious case before Judge Allen. My client was accused of attempted murder […]

How to respond to trustafarians

My friend stayed single longer than the rest of our peer group. Not that he didn’t have options. Arguably, his delay can be attributed to the fact that my friend was more handsome. Women really liked him and settling down can be a challenge for a young man with his qualities. After college, my friend […]

Should you turn back now?

It has been a difficult week calling for difficult decisions. We started watching The Queen’s Gambit, which one review in The New Yorker called the “most satisfying show on television.” It is pretty compelling. But just as we immerse ourselves in Beth Harmon’s journey, season four of The Crown is released. It violates binge watching protocol to leave one show and […]

You just got to turn some people off

Chapel Hill is a bit of an island in our state. Commonly accepted views here may not be so commonly accepted in other parts of the state. In fact, I am pretty confident that some of the commonly accepted views in my home of over thirty-five years have not made it to New Bern, my […]

Sometimes being kind beats being right

A mentor of sorts told me the story of his relationship with his brother. They were close in age and fierce rivals while growing up. They competed at everything. They were not violent, but argued every point. Neither gave ground to the other in making their cases. It continued throughout their childhoods until my mentor […]

Maybe it just makes the story better

Richard Riggsbee was a lawyer in Durham, and a character. For many years, he practiced with Bill Cotter, who is still a character. Bill is from Boston, a Vietnam Veteran, and a graduate of Duke Law School. Richard was from Hillsborough, a graduate of Hillsborough High School, and a former assistant clerk of court. In […]

Can I keep the Booker Prize?

My friend Steve Freedman is a wonderful lawyer. For more than forty years, he worked as a public defender. Steve retired recently from working as an assistant capital defender in North Carolina. As a young lawyer, Steve was assigned a felony marijuana case. His client was a well-dressed, nice looking young man. Like most people, […]

Will we learn everything from the Tweet?

About twenty years ago, a local Sheriff’s department intercepted a large load of marijuana. Originally, the Sheriff’s deputies got great publicity for their good work: photos before bales of marijuana and reports of the street value redirected. Eventually, everyone wondered what would happen to the marijuana. Well, about 4000 pounds went missing from an Army […]

Suggested amendments to Principle 1

Several years ago, a famous, extraordinarily successful trial lawyer sent me a book called How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Over the years, I taught trial advocacy at courses the lawyer organized. He drew the students; ordinary lawyers like me helped teach them. In his letter accompanying the book, the lawyer’s […]

Maybe something remarkable will happen

In July, I wrote about the Tour de France. More accurately, I lamented the Tour’s postponement from the traditional schedule. The twenty-one stages of the Tour have run primarily in July since 1903 with the exception of several years over two world wars. I’ve watched most stages over the last two decades. The pandemic put […]