Friday, January 19, 2007

Whips and Chains?

The following question was posed on the Maryland State Bar Association's Small and Solo Practice listserv discussion group:
Hello List,

First let me start by saying I hope my question doesn't offend anyone but I wanted to hopefully find someone who could point me in the right direction. I had a potential client call today and ask me to draft a "Domination Contract." I had no idea what that was until the client explained that she has been requested to be a Dominatrix by someone else and she would like me to draft a contract outlining their "do's and don'ts" of their session or meeting I guess. I'm not sure what would really go into a "contract" of this sort.

Is this even legal? I am not sure where to start looking. I was going to try to type in interesting keywords in westlaw to see if anything popped up. If anyone can help me or point me towards a great source I would appreciate it.
Of course, the question that first occurred to me is: Is the "Dominatrix" an independent contractor or an employee? This has obvious income tax and FICA/SECA implications.

My second thought went to the Martin Mull song, some of the lyrics of which are as follows:
"Last night I took you out/And we began to hmmm...."

"Hmmm, hm-hm-hmmmm, hm-hm-hmmmm, hm-hm-hmmmm... pick up the soap... Hmm, hm-hm-hmmmm, hm-hm-hmmmm, hm-hm-hmmmm, ... mayonnaise and rope... Hmm-hmmm-hm-hm, whips and chains.... hmm-hmm-hm-hm-hm, Great Danes... hmm-hm-hm-hm-hm-hm-hmmmm-hmmmm, your wife!"
(Hat tip on the lyrics to Paul Shrug.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Original Intent on Representing the Unpopular

In 1770, a prominent Boston lawyer represented the Capt. Thomas Preston and the British soldiers after the Boston Massacre. They were immensely unpopular. This account of that lawyer's recollection of his retention for the defense was posted on October 20, 2006, on the blog, Boston 1775:
The next Morning I think it was [i.e., 6 March 1770], sitting in my Office, near the Steps of the Town house Stairs, Mr. [James] Forrest came in, who was then called the Irish Infant. I had some Acquaintance with him. With tears streaming from his Eyes, he said I am come with a very solemn Message from a very unfortunate Man, Captain Preston in Prison. He wishes for Council, and can get none.

I have waited on Mr. [Josiah] Quincy, who says he will engage if you will give him your Assistance: without it possitively he will not. Even Mr. [Robert] Auchmuty declines unless you will engage. . . .

I had no hesitation in answering that Council ought to be the very last thing that an accused Person should want [i.e., be without] in a free Country. That the Bar ought in my opinion to be independent and impartial at all Times And in every Circumstance. And that Persons whose Lives were at Stake ought to have the Council they preferred: But he must be sensible this would be as important a Cause as ever was tryed in any Court or Country of the World: and that every Lawyer must hold himself responsible not only to his Country, but to the highest and most infallible of all Trybunals for the Part he should Act.

He must therefore expect from me no Art or Address, No Sophistry or Prevarication in such a Cause; nor any thing more than Fact, Evidence and Law would justify. Captain Preston he said requested and desired no more: and that he had such an Opinion, from all he had heard from all Parties of me, that he could chearfully trust his Life with me, upon those Principles.

And said Forrest, as God almighty is my judge I believe him an innocent Man. I replied that must be ascertained by his Tryal, and if he thinks he cannot have a fair Tryal of that Issue without my Assistance, without hesitation he shall have it.

Upon this, Forrest offered me a single Guinea as a retaining fee and I readily accepted it. From first to last I never said a Word about fees, in any of those Cases, and I should have said nothing about them here, if Calumnies and Insinuations had not been propagated that I was tempted by great fees and enormous sums of Money.

Before or after the Tryal, Preston sent me ten Guineas and at the Tryal of the Soldiers afterwards Eight Guineas more, which were all the fees I ever received or were offered to me, and I should not have said any thing on the subject to my Clients if they had never offered me any Thing.

This was all the pecuniary Reward I ever had for fourteen or fifteen days labour, in the most exhausting and fatiguing Causes I ever tried: for hazarding a Popularity very general and very hardly earned: and for incurring a Clamour and popular Suspicions and prejudices, which are not yet worn out and never will be forgotten as long as History of this Period is read.

For the Experience of all my Life has proved to me, that the Memory of Malice is faithfull, and more, it continually adds to its Stock; while that of Kindness and Friendship is not only frail but treacherous. It was immediately bruited abroad that I had engaged for Preston and the Soldiers, and occasioned a great clamour which the Friends of Government delighted to hear, and slyly and secretly fomented with all their Art.
The attorney was, of course, John Adams, second president of the United States.

Compare his actions to the remarks of Charles D. Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, reported here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


This post is just to clear a problem between Blogger and Bloglines.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rollout for Maryland Courts Watcher

We officially rolled out the Maryland Courts Watcher by posting the following announcement on various Maryland State Bar Association listserves:
We are happy to announce the availability of a new free service, Maryland Courts Watcher.

Maryland Courts Watcher posts synopses of every judicial opinion available on the web. That includes the opinions of both of the Courts of Appeal, the United Stated District Court for the District of Maryland, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, the Business and Technology Courts for Maryland, and the Maryland Tax Court.

All postings include links to the full opinions. Postings are available on the web or via email, RSS, or Atom syndication.

Each posting has labels attached that will enable research into topic areas. Each case also has labels for the judge who authored the principal opinion and any judge who authored a concurring or dissenting opinion. Over time, this will allow users to develop a profile for any particular judge to get a better idea how he or she will approach a particular type of matter. Readers are also able to perform Google searches on the website.

Readers can post comments to any posting. We hope that, in time, this capability will allow the website to become a venue for serious discussion of issues raised by court opinions.

The website for Maryland Courts Watcher is:

Finally, we want and need additional editors to help out with the postings. If you want to volunteer, please send an email to mcw[symbol for "at"], using the subject line “MCW Volunteer.”

We have posted a more complete description of Maryland Courts Watcher in FAQ fashion here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bad News from Finland

The paper, To Have or Not To Have a Pet for Better Health?, in PLoS-One, reached the following conclusion:
Pet ownership was very lightly associated with poor health in the general working-aged population when using several health and disease indicators. Pet owners had a slightly higher [Body Mass Index] than the rest, which indicates that people having a pet (particularly a dog) could use some exercise.
The following solution was not suggested: