Throwing Shrimp

August 30, 2015

The year was 2005. I had just started law school and already couldn’t wait for it to be over. Despite being a crack law student with a bright future, I still needed to put beer on the table every week. To make ends meet, I took a job at a local restaurant as a server. Civil procedure by day, “would you like fries with that?” at night. While at first it felt a little demeaning for a Villanova college graduate studying law to be serving food, it didn’t matter. The money was good, and I got paid every day in cold, hard cash.

The restaurant was broken into two sections – you had your “front of the house” staff, and in the back, you had your “back of the house” staff. The front of the house staff is what you would imagine – servers, hostesses, and bartenders. They were mostly middle class kids trying to make a few bucks. Some of them were in school. Most were white.

In the back of the house no one spoke a lick of English – it was all Spanish. Apparently the guys in the back were here from Mexico illegally.

As a conservative, I’d always considered myself against illegal immigration. People should come to America legally. If they come here illegally, they should have to leave. Simple enough, right?

Despite being a fancy and important law student, I quickly bonded with my fellow servers, whose upbringings were similar to mine. These kids liked to party and hang out. I found them much easier to get along with than my fellow law students, who were often pruning about their LSAT scores, college scholarships, and bragging about how they were going to easily graduate in the top 5% of the class and make law review. I was just trying to get my law degree and start a practice – not set the academic world on fire. Can we talk about punk rock instead of debating “International Shoe?” Please? Pretty please? If I heard the phrase “minimum contacts” in a casual conversation one more time I was going to punch someone.  Read the rest of this entry »

Uber is the Future of Urban Transportation – Going Carless in Philly

July 19, 2015

A few years ago, there were only three ways to get around Philadelphia without driving. You could take a cab, you could take SEPTA, or you could ride your bike. Cabs are expensive and unreliable, especially if you call one into any part of town that isn’t Center City. SEPTA is okay, but it only runs in very select areas of the city. Riding the bike is great, but seasonal and a bit dangerous. It’s also hard to fit basic items like cat litter, paper towels, and toilet paper in a backpack.

So, any resident of Philadelphia who doesn’t live in Center City basically needed a car to do even basic things like grocery shop.

What’s wrong with that?

My car is paid off, but there are still monthly bills associated with it. At a minimum, insurance, registration, and gas.

It's a zombie destroying tank. 2000 Land Rover Discovery II.

It’s a zombie destroying tank. 2000 Land Rover Discovery II.

Then there are the costs of things like paying for a garage, fender benders, and repairs.

And of course, parking tickets….

PPA boot

The PPA will find you

Owning a car in Philadelphia kind of sucks…

My old car. This is why we can't have nice things in Philly.

My old car. This is why we can’t have nice things in Philly.

Before getting my Land Rover, I used to drive a Honda Civic. When I bought it, I figured it would be a nice, affordable, practical car. But no. It was vandalized, the wheels were stolen, and someone ran into my door. Eventually I had to sell it due to all the damage. That is why now I choose to now drive a tank, which I’ve had surprisingly few problems with.

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Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich Is a Must Read

July 3, 2015

Welcome to Rushie Law

Ah, today it’s Friday. The courts are closed. I wake up leisurely in my big house around 9:30am, answer some emails, and take some phone calls. My physical office is located a block from my house in Fishtown. After a session of Crossfit, I decide to ride my bike down to the pool, and work from there instead.

Why not?

My bike

My bike

It’s been a great year. I’ve got money in the bank. Earlier this month I took a few trips to the Poconos to shoot guns in the woods.

AJR woods

Right this second I’m looking into a taking a trip to Alaska because I want to ride a dog sled.

Being self employed, single, and having a few bucks in your 30s is absolutely fucking fantastic. Anyone who tells you differently is lying.

Three years ago my life was very different. I had a job working for a corporate law firm, and I was married. Most if not all my time went into billing hours and trying to work my way up to partner. At some point around 30, I knew I wanted more out of life but wasn’t sure how to go about it.

Enter Mike Cernovich, author of Danger & Play. His philosophy on life is considered radical, and even misogynistic by some. Men can save their money, develop streams of passive income, and live a lifestyle that is generally awesome. Mike is also an advocate of functional fitness, and generally being awesome at life. There are very few people whose advice I value. Cernovich is one of them. His blog changed my life.

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Hosting “Networking Events” Brian Tannebaum Style, And Why I Don’t Bring Business Cards

May 29, 2015

“Do you know any lawyers who specialize in cat law? My food bowl has been empty for 20 minutes. The squirrels in the back yard think I have a good case.”

My friend Brian Tannebaum wrote a book called The Practice. You should read it. The Practice is the most relevant book about growing a law practice since Jay Foonberg‘s “How to Start and Grow a Law Practice.” The two books should really go hand in hand. Foonberg’s is about starting a practice, Brian’s book is about sustaining one. One of the key concepts Tannebaum stresses is the importance of relationships.

That said, I generally avoid anything called a “networking event” like the plague. Why? It’s a waste of time. You walk up to random people, have a two second conversation, and exchange cards. A few days later, I reach into my pocket, find a card, and think to myself “Who is this person again?” Then I throw it out.

They’re also not all that fun. Nothing is more annoying than the guy who approaches me and says “Hi, I’m John. I handle DUIs. If you get any DUI work in, I’d be happy to handle them for you, and pay you a referral fee! Check out my website!”

I think to myself, “I’ve never seen you in a courtroom, or any of your work. Why would I tell my friends, family, and clients to hire you? Because you asked me to, and have a cool card on heavy stock? Not gonna happen.”

I’d rather go to Crossfit. Even if I don’t get any business from it that day, at least I got a good workout.

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How Pickup Artistry Evolved Into A Masculinity Movement and Philosophy

May 23, 2015

I was a philosophy major in college. I remember the day I told my grandfather, an engineer, that I was majoring in philosophy. The next morning we were eating breakfast and he handed me the newspaper. Typical of his laconic wit, he said: “Jordan, I appreciate your decision to major in philosophy. But it seems the philosophy firms aren’t hiring at the moment…”

I still get a chuckle from our interaction. But I do not regret majoring in philosophy for a second. Philosophical treatises opened my mind and inspired me. I find my classical philosophical background to be more practical than one would imagine, and I continue to study classical philosophy and apply the principles to my everyday life as a trial attorney.

For thousands of years, wise men wrote about topics like ethics, virtue, and even the death of God. Plato taught the wisdom of Socrates through dialogues and conversations with other people. Aristotle wrote to identify natural order in the world. Marcus Aurelius wrote his Meditations as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. Plutarch wrote about the lives of Spartans. Augustine taught us how to learn. Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus made us question the point of our existence.

Ultimately, many philosophers put their thoughts into working philosophies, such as objectivism, metaphysicsutilitarianism, etc. Aristotelian ethics is a philosophy developed on how humans should live best.

Working philosophies had a profound impact on the development of society.

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The Appointment, Part 3.

December 29, 2014

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[Ed.- This is part three of an ongoing series. It won’t make a lot of sense unless you read parts one and two.]

It was 11.13am. We had 19 days to trial. Barnaby Jones sat across the conference table in my office, and he was indignant.

“Mr. Leo, it wasn’t me! I swear They got the wrong guy!”

We’d been talking about this case for the last half-hour or so, and he was still giving me the same story. Every defense lawyer has heard it a million times. “It wasn’t me!” In defense circles we call this the SODDI defense — “some other dude did it” (it even has a Wikipedia entry). Mr Jones wasn’t the first client to give me this line nor would he be the last. Naturally, I was skeptical, especially in light of the Commonwealth’s discovery I’d reviewed since ADA Shea sent it to me yesterday.

“I understand what you’re saying, Mr. Jones, but you’ve reviewed that discovery I gave you, right? We have some big problems here. First, the police sat on your block for four days. They say they were 25 feet away, using binoculars, and saw you sell drugs on four separate occasions to a confidential informant. Additionally, they say that each time the confidential informant came back to them with crack cocaine they saw you sell to him. That’s bad. You get that, right?”

“Yes, Mr. Leo, I get it.” My client nodded.

“Then, to make it worse, the police got a warrant and raided the house where they said they saw you. In that house, they found over sixty grams of crack cocaine, 50 jars of PCP, and over one hundred grams of weed. They also found a picture of you and two other guys, which they bagged as evidence. That’s worse. You get that, right? They are putting you in that house!”

“They’re wrong though! I wasn’t selling drugs that day, Mr. Leo. I was USING drugs! The guy they saw wasn’t me. And I am not the guy in that picture!”

I looked across the table at my client, in silence, for a minute. He wasn’t getting it. I took off my glasses, folded them, and placed them to my right. I signed deeply and rubbed my face with my hands in frustration. “This guy”, I thought to myself, “straight up case of denial”.

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The Appointment, Part 2.

November 25, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 10.55.39 AM

[Ed.- This is part two of an ongoing series. For part one, click here.]

It was 10.11 am, and I was in the ante-room with my client, Barnaby Jones.

Mr Jones had been my client for all of 8 minutes now, and I had trial in a month, after his previous lawyer had sat on the case for four years. I’d just given him my spiel (e.g., I’m Leo, I’ve never been a prosecutor, I’ve always fought to the defense, I don’t treat my court-appointed clients any differently than my private pay clients, etc…).

Mr Jones was receptive to all this, and smiled as I shook his hand. I closed my elevator speech by taking out my business card.

“Mr Jones, take this. You and I have to talk. Soon. My office number is on the card, but here, let me write my cell on there…”

I don’t normally give my cell phone out to clients—for good reason. I’m not much a fan of getting calls at 10.30pm on a Saturday asking “So, what’s going on with my case?” (Answer: “Call me on Monday during business hours and I will let you know”.)

But with so little time to prepare, I had to get moving as soon as possible. I mean, we were scheduled for a jury in a month, I had literally no discovery, and I had three other courtrooms to be in that morning alone. The clock was ticking, and we needed to get started.

“Mr Jones, call my office when you get back home, and let’s schedule a time for you to come in this week to discuss your case. We don’t have a lot of time”.

He looked at me and nodded: “Yes, sir. But Mr Leo, it wasn’t me!” A familiar refrain for defense counsel.

“We’ll talk soon. Call me today”, I said as I walked out the door and down the hall to my next courtroom.

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