Alan Gold, a federal judge for the Southern District of Florida, also practices mindfulness meditation and has become a proponent of teaching practices for stress reduction to attorneys. Gold has advocated for the creation of a task force on the mindful practice of law with the Dade County Bar Association and the local Federal Bar Association.
Gold says he regularly sees attorneys shuffle into his courtroom on the brink of a breakdown. He links erosion in the degree of civility in the profession with lawyers’ inability to cope with extreme stresses.
They may lash out in anger at a co-worker, assistant, client — or even a judge.
“If you recognize you’re in this situation, the next step is to get out of it. The quickest and simplest way is to slow down and take time to focus on your breathing. This is not something that comes naturally for lawyers. It’s counterproductive to their bottom line way of doing business,” he says.
Lewis and Tein might be breathing easier today after the case against them has suffered another setback. From the DBR:
Another deposition supports Miami law firm Lewis Tein's position in its fight to exonerate itself from accusations that it lied about its fee for representing two Miccosukee tribal members who were sued for wrongful death.
This sparked a deposition of Bert, who previously signed an affidavit that his legal fees were in essence loans. Bert is not fluent in English.
In the deposition, which took place Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, Bert appears confused about what constitutes a loan. He first denies there was a loan agreement between the tribe and Lewis Tein.
Lewis Tein, in a Dec. 7 pleading, accused the Bermudez family attorneys of trying to confuse Bert through semantics. The money extended to him and his daughter wasn't specific to Lewis Tein but for legal representation by any firm or lawyer.
"Those lawyers knew or should have know (sic) that Mr. Bert and Ms. Billie did not obtain loans specific to Lewis Tein but were ultimately responsible to pay back the tribe from their future quarterly distributions," stated the motion filed by attorney Paul Calli, a Carlton Fields partner who is representing Lewis Tein.
But in the second day of the deposition, Bert clarified his answers, saying he was just being truthful when his attorney, Jose M. Herrera of Miami, asked him if the loans were earmarked for Lewis Tein.
"When he asked me the question, when Mr. Herrera asked me the question about the loan, I said 'no' because I did not request a loan or assistance to pay the Lewis & Tein (sic) attorney fee specifically," Bert said.
Rodriguez, in the second day of deposition, also asked: "Mr. Bert, did you ever obtain any loans from the Miccosukee tribe to pay for the legal fees generated by Lewis Tein in their representation of you in the Bermudez case?"
Bert answered, "Yes."
Rodriguez then asked if Bert ever answered to the contrary. He replied: "I'm not sure. But because it went through general council approval, I didn't have a separate loan."
An interpreter translating for Bert said he assumed that because the general council approved his request, it didn't constitute a traditional loan.
Rodriguez continued to press Bert on the subject.
"He has told you three ways to Sunday, despite your best efforts, that he knew of the financial arrangement," Calli said. "And that just like Jasper Nelson, the vice chair of this tribe said, it approved these loan payments, those distributions. And you are trying to confuse him with this issue of loans."