Monthly Archives: December 2021


You’ve had a look at some terrific lawyers in the last podcast. Now take a listen to some of my own interesting, if not fascinating, cases.

I got a call from my friend ‘Horatio’ one morning asking if I’d be interested in the case of the respected Newton minister who apparently drowned off scenic Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts some years past, and had suddenly turned up alive, wanting to return to home, parish, and wife who, along with everybody else, thought him dead. YES, I softly said at the top of my lungs. Too much to tell here about this publicity attracting case, the handling of which they don’t teach in law school, but listen and relive the adventure with me.

The same might be said about my participation in bringing to these shores the infamous porn film, “I am Curious Yellow.” The legal twists and turns of this case were way more titillating (pardon the pun) than those shown by the so-called lovers on the silver screen in that flick, but our legal team was rewarded aplenty as Americans flocked to see it.

Tinsel Town has its own dark side as you will hear in the case I’ve dubbed ‘“Righting a Wrong,.” In that one a lawyer from north of the Mason Dixon Line (me) joined with another barrister interested in justice from beneath it, to beat Hollywood at its own game and return wherewithal and mental health to a kindly gent who exhibited movies as a sideline. That kind of a case leaves one with a good feeling!

Should you get into an accident involving bodily injury, it’s a bad idea to flee the scene. This otherwise nice guy and family man did, and the gendarmes didn’t track him down until twenty or more miles from the scene. The lady DA was intent on putting him away in a dangerous State prison for a decade or more! What to do? How to help this guy? You’ll see how I did when you listen to this tale of tactical decisions in the courtroom setting along the way to the result.

No homeowner wants to have a single family house next door expanded into a much larger two family house to take advantage of the exploding value of houses in Brookline and depreciate the value of your own house, a town conveniently surrounded on three sides by easily reached Boston, but yet retaining its distinct non-commercial environment, open spaces, and great schools. I didn’t when I was threatened with such a disaster. So I fought it, rounding up all four of my adjacent and also threatened neighbors, joining  forces with a Brookline zoning lawyer, and going to work. Do you own a house, want to buy one, or have an interest in what lawyers do in this kind of not uncommon neighborhood dispute. Then you’ll learn a thing or two listening to this case.

Can you imagine arguing yet another movie case in front of the highly respected Chief Judge of the Massachusetts Superior Court in which the judge imitated a bunny rabbit. I can’t, but it happened to me, and here I’ll tell you all about it.

People, Always People.


Do you want a look inside the otherwise opaque world of lawyers? Listen and you shall hear. Like when as a fledging lawyer I was assigned a criminal case to defend pro bono. I thought the defendant had been imprisoned too long to have received the speedy trial guaranteed by the Constitution, and took my argument to Judge Charles Wyzanski, appointed by FDR, and by then a mythical jurist, respected by all, feared by many. He bought my argument, and angrily summoned then Massachusetts United States Attorney, Elliott Richardson, who went on to world fame, to fess up. The case ended well, and Larry and  Elliott, an odd couple for sure, became longtime friends.

Several other well regarded attorneys, who may have viewed my work habits dimly, affected my development profoundly. Like Morris Michelson, a meticulous lawyer’s lawyer civil trial attorney who taught me the basics of that craft, introduced me to my lifelong passion for classical music, and to a Committee of top Boston lawyers committed to social justice and Jewish values.

My early association with wizard real estate attorney and draftsman, Melvin Newman, brought out my previously hidden talent for the facile and clear drafting of legal documents. Through Mel I met Julian Cohen, not a lawyer, but a fabulously talented real estate developer, Chief Fueling Officer in his twenties for convoys in the North Atlantic in WWII, the biggest philanthropist to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and to my good fortune, a valued friend.

Another legal eagle of my youth was Sumner Kaplan, Judge, Selectman, General in the Army, and State Representative, who was instrumental in my appointment as an Assistant AG for Civil Rights in the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Edward J. McCormack, Jr., whose uncle, John W. McCormack, was Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. My senior there was Gerald Berlin, a clarinet playing tough Southerner transplanted from Virginia, appointed by the forward looking Eddie McCormack to lead his newly formed and groundbreaking Office of Civil Rights. Gerry was passionate about fairness in our country, and included me to assist in the United Stated Supreme Court case of “Gideon vs. Wainwright,” one of the most famous cases in 20th Century jurisprudence.

The best friend of all is Paul Sugarman, who rose  from nearbthe bottom rung of the societal heap to the very top of the ladder as perhaps Boston’s top lawyer of the last half of the 20th Century, a man for all seasons, who found time to be my longtime friend in and out of bad times.

People, always People.