Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Big City Law Firm Health Benefits? Everyone Talks About National Health Reform, but How about the Benefits of Urban Living, like Walking? WalkScore Provides a Walkability Score For Your Address

Walkscore.com has become a very popular Internet address to determine the walkability of neighborhoods in the United States and -- apparently -- around the world.

We tried our German address and it worked, and then plugged in one of our previous US addresses during the time that we we were an associate at the international law firm of Paul Weiss et al., headquartered in New York City -- an address on New York's Upper East Side -- which obtained a rare score of 100 as a Walker's Paradise, which we can confirm - everything there is within walking distance, except things like golf courses:


Take a look at Walkscore at the link below and plug in your address ....

Get Your Walk Score - A Walkability Score For Any Address

 A good walkscore means that many amenities are within walking distance, one of the advantages of urban living, also called "the urban advantage - or - the urban revolution" in other contexts. In the walking context, people in walkable neighborhoods actually do weigh less than citizens who live in sprawling suburbia and who drive everywhere they go. Urban living is simply more efficient economically - and if it forces you to walk - is for that reason healthier than suburbia.

We live in Europe where walking is a way of life, as opposed to the United States where people often drive their car wherever they go, even if it is very close to their residence. This is both unnecessarily expensive, environmentally undesirable and generally unfortunate, as walking can provide many health benefits.

California Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman, the Former Head of eBay, Looks Like a Winner : Women Run Family Finances in the USA so Why Not Sacramento?

At the New York Times, the Reuters headline blares Meg Whitman Leads California Governor's Race: Poll.

What does it take to become governor of California? This is a case of (our) quick first impression....

Money helps ... as billionaire Meg Whitman, former head of eBay, reportedly donated another $20 million to her Gubernatorial campaign:
"... her ubiquitous radio and TV ad campaign led to her spending $27.2 million in the first 11 weeks of the year — an average of $358,439 a day." [emphasis added]
But in this case the money also appears to be combined with a great deal of competence. If you can run eBay can you run a financially defunct California? Possibly. Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle writes at Real Clear Politics, Meg Whitman Can Run a Company, But Can She Govern?

Here is what the Wikipedia bio says about candidate Whitman:
"Whitman was born on Long Island, New York, the daughter of Hendricks Hallett Whitman and Margaret (Goodhue) Whitman. Whitman attended a public high school, Cold Spring Harbor High School in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. She had wanted to be a doctor so she studied physics and mathematics at Princeton University. However, after spending a summer selling advertisements in a magazine, she switched to studying economics, earning a BA with honors. She then obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1979. Whitman is married to Griffith Harsh IV, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University Medical Center....

Whitman has committed to only three major areas in her campaign: job creation, reduced state government spending, and reform of the state's K-12 educational system. She has explained that she believes it is best to start only a few things and finish them, instead of starting a lot of things and not finish them.

Whitman has pledged not to raise taxes.... She also proposes lowering business taxes and making California a more business-friendly environment, stating that California is losing jobs not to other countries but to neighboring states with lower tax rates....

For water issues, Whitman has opposed a federal judge ruling and supports turning on water for thousands of Central Valley farmers. She said if elected, on her first day she would suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, to study potential economic implications. At the state GOP Convention in March, Whitman described California Republican Governor Schwarzenegger's climate change bill as a "job-killer." [emphasis added]
I am a political centrist who plays no favorites as far as the political parties are concerned, but this looks like a good option for the State of California, where it is time to "clean house".

Men can be good heads of government when economies are expanding and when money is plenty but to get a financially disordered house in order, a woman's prudence often beats the men hands down -- just look at your own household, where, for the most part, if you are typical, "Women exercise buying power over both personal and family finances."

As written at Ervin & Smith Advertising and Public Relations:
"[W]omen ... take care of 75% of family finances, control or influence 53% of family investment decisions, and handle 89% of checking accounts in the U.S."
California, save your State. Put a lady in charge. She will get you back into line. That's life.

The Future of Law Firms in the Present World

What the New Law Firm Looks Like
by Ronda Muir at Robin Rolfe Resources

Longer Vacations are not About Taxes but about Unions and Government Policies: Paul Krugman at the New York Times writes about European Leisure

Paul Krugman at the New York Times writes about European Leisure. The fact is that average "vacation time" in Europe is much longer than in the United States, also in terms of paid vacations, and it does not seem to negatively impact productivity. In fact, the increased leisure time helps to develop leisure-related products and service industries, raising general quality standards in recreation and accomodations that are probably unique to Europe.

Krugman refers to the Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2068 on Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why so Different?* by Alberto F. Alesina, Edward L. Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote which writes in its Abstract:
"Americans average 25.1 working hours per person in working age per week, but the Germans average 18.6 hours. The average American works 46.2 weeks per year, while the French average 40 weeks per year. Why do western Europeans work so much less than Americans? Recent work argues that these differences result from higher European tax rates, but the vast empirical labor supply literature suggests that tax rates can explain only a small amount of the differences in hours between the U.S. and Europe. Another popular view is that these differences are explained by long-standing European "culture", but Europeans worked more than Americans as late as the 1960s. In this paper, we argue that European labor market regulations, advocated by unions in declining European industries who argued "work less, work all" explain the bulk of the difference between the U.S. and Europe. These policies do not seem to have increased employment, but they may have had a more society-wide influence on leisure patterns because of a social multiplier where the returns to leisure increase as more people are taking longer vacations.
*Alesina, Alberto F., Glaeser, Edward L. and Sacerdote, Bruce, Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why so Different? (April 2005). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2068. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=706982 or doi:10.2139/ssrn.706982

Law School Education Works : In the Setting of Legal Clinics, it may be TOO GOOD

Are people versed in the law and armed with knowledge comparable to an attorney a force to be reckoned with, even if they are only law students in a clinical program at a law school? You bet they are.

That is the name of the game. Money, power, etc.

Ian Urbina at the New York Times writes that School Law Clinics Face a Backlash:
"Law school students nationwide are facing growing attacks in the courts and legislatures as legal clinics at the schools increasingly take on powerful interests that few other nonprofit groups have the resources to challenge."
Let's be frank. Law school education works, especially in a clinical setting - in fact, as it turns out, it is too good, not only instructing bright young people how the legal system works but also inculcating in them the capacity for critical thinking, a commodity too often lacking in the rest of the humanities [disciplines such as archaeology etc. come to mind here] and often also lacking in many organizations and institutions.

It is no wonder then, as Urbina writes, that:
"Law clinics at other universities — from New Jersey to Michigan to Louisiana — are facing ... challenges. And legal experts say the attacks jeopardize the work of the clinics, which not only train students with hands-on courtroom experience at more than 200 law schools but also have taken on more cases against companies and government agencies in recent years.

“We’re seeing a very strong pushback from deep-pocket interests, and that pushback is creating a chilling effect on many clinics,” said Robert R. Kuehn, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, citing a recent survey he conducted that found that more than a third of faculty members at legal clinics expressed fears about university or state reaction to their casework and that a sixth said they had turned down unpopular clients because of these concerns."
Rather than cutting the funds for legal clinics, we should be supporting them with even more money and putting those law students on the tails of the people who are greedily plundering our society solely for their own benefit and at the cost of the common weal. It would seem that "the law" is there in very large part in order to achieve exactly that objective. If law clinics are able to do it, more power to them.

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