How to try a case, presidentially

Written on September 17, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

CNN looks at the recent Republican primary debate and, in the process, offers several good trial advocacy principles.

Todd Graham, Southern Illinois University’s director of debate, writes (excerpt):
[On the "less is more" technique]
Sometimes, you make your arguments weaker by talking about them until you’ve confused people. When debaters forgot the “less is more” concept, their arguments spin around and around so much that they lose points.
[On the echo effect]
Begin and end on the same idea. . . . “Go back to your major premise.”
[On picking your battles and not being dragged down]
My advice is always to rise above it. But — and this is important — there is a time and place to fight the good fight.

To be or not to be: a good legal writer

Written on September 1, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

Business Insider culls 6 writing tips from Bryan Garner’s interview with Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan.

Jacob Shamsian captures the tips as follows (excerpt):
1. Be a good reader — don’t skim
2. Write so normal people can understand you
3. … But don’t dumb yourself down too much
4. Have fun!
5. Explain your reasoning
6. Get feedback from people you trust

Mom, Dad, Junior: Being direct is healthy!

Written on August 26, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

Love and Logic reminds us that we should share concerns directly, rather than aligning with someone else and dragging him or her into the problem.

Dr. Charles Fay writes (excerpt):
Fortunately, mental health experts have learned a great deal about how to help families operate in healthy, happy ways. One of the most helpful discoveries involves who family members talk to when a problem arises.
• In healthy families, Mom talks to Dad when she is upset with Dad.
• In unhealthy families, Mom talks to the kids when she is upset with Dad.
• In healthy families, Dad talks to Mom when he’s upset with Mom.
• In unhealthy families, Dad talks to his friends when he is upset with Mom.
• In healthy families, Junior talks to Dad when he wants something from Dad.
• In unhealthy families, Junior talks to Mom when he wants something from Dad.
• In healthy families, Junior talks to his teacher when he doesn’t understand an assignment.
• In unhealthy families, Mom and Dad talk to Junior’s teacher when Junior doesn’t understand an assignment.

Professional Rating and Review of David C. Sarnacki

Written on August 22, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

Best Lawyers in America completed its peer-review assessment process and announced that it selected David C. Sarnacki of Grand Rapids, Michigan for its 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Sarnacki’s expertise was confirmed in the following practice areas:
• Collaborative Law: Family Law
• Family Law
• Family Law Mediation

Marriage is for Old Folks? U.S. Supreme Court says No, disagrees with Nina Simone

Written on June 26, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

From today’s United Supreme Court decision in OBERGEFELL v. HODGES Justice Kennedy offers these comments on marriage (excerpt):
. . . Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.

. . . Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together. Confucius taught that marriage lies at the foundation of government. 2 Li Chi: Book of Rites 266 (C. Chai & W. Chai eds., J. Legge transl. 1967). This wisdom was echoed centuries later and half a world away by Cicero, who wrote, “The first bond of society is marriage; next, children; and then the family.” See De Officiis 57 (W. Miller transl. 1913). There are untold references to the beauty of marriage in religious and philosophical texts spanning time, culture and faiths, as well as in art and literature in all their forms.

Rebounding from hard times: how do I bounce back from adversity

Written on May 25, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

The June 1, 2015 issue of Time Magazine has an article on The Art of Resilience (page 36), which includes a sidebar with 10 expert tips (page 42).
The top three tips for rising above difficulties, setbacks, stress, loss and suffering were (excerpt):
1. Develop a core set of beliefs that nothing can shake
2. Try to find meaning in whatever stressful or traumatic thing has happened
3. Try to maintain a positive outlook

Writing “longer, easier to understand — and grumpier” court decisions

Written on May 5, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

The New York Times notes three trends in U.S. Supreme Court opinions (length, clarity, tone) and references Brown v. Board of Education’s 4,000 words with Citizens United’s 48,000 words. The article discusses a linguistic software study scheduled for publication in the Washington University Law Review (computer scientists Daniel Rockmore and Keith Carlson, and law professor Michael A. Livermore).

Adam Liptak writes (excerpt):
Five current members of the court claimed spots in the top 10 list for grumpiness: Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony M. Kennedy, Scalia and Clarence Thomas. (Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were in the middle of the pack. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined too recently to be ranked.)

The evolving future of marriage

Written on April 19, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

In case number 14-571 , the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the case of Michigan residents April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse. Arguments are scheduled for April 28th, and a decision is expected by late June.
The briefs submitted to the Supreme Court highlight two issues:
1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage of two people of the same sex?
2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage of two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Krista Tippett interviews David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch about the gay marriage debate, the institution of marriage and one way of discussing divisive social issues.

From courtroom to the capitol: Fathers rights in custody cases

Written on April 16, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

The Wall Street Journal covers the push for legislation in about 20 states to give fathers more child custody rights in divorce cases.

How does it feel to be you?

Written on April 8, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

On Being highlighted Bill Murray’s answer at a 2014 Toronto International Film Festival press conference.

Trent Gillis reports Bill Murray’s remarks as (excerpt):
So, what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, “What’s it like to be me?” You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.

Top Grand Rapids Divorce Attorney and Mediator

Written on March 31, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

David C. Sarnacki, of The Sarnacki Law Firm PLC, has been selected to the 2015 list as a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. NADC is an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence. Its mission is to objectively recognize the attorneys who elevate the standards of the Bar and provide a benchmark for other lawyers to emulate.

Members are thoroughly vetted by a research team, selected by a blue ribbon panel of attorneys with podium status from independently neutral organizations, and approved by a judicial review board as exhibiting virtue in the practice of law. Due to the incredible selectivity of the appointment process, only the top one percent of attorneys in the United States are awarded membership in NADC. This elite class of advocates consists of the finest leaders of the legal profession from across the nation.

David C. Sarnacki concentrates his practice in the areas of family law, mediation, and collaborative divorce. He is a past chairperson of the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s Family Law Section (2003) and of the State Bar of Michigan’s Family Law (2006-2007), Litigation (2000-2001), and Law Practice Management (1995-1996) sections. A frequent commentator on trial advocacy, family law, and mediation, Mr. Sarnacki has served on the faculties of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy/Hofstra University School of Law, U.S. Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute, and Davenport University, and is a regular speaker for ICLE. He has been selected as one of “The Best Lawyers in America,” a “Michigan Super Lawyer,” and a Member of the “Nation’s Top One Percent” in the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. Mr. Sarnacki has discretely handled high-income, high-asset divorce matters, with an aggregate estate value measured in billions.

when No is better than Yes

Written on March 1, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

On Being offers 5 different ways to say “No.”

On saying No gracefully, Courtney E. Martin writes (excerpt):
1. No, for now.
2. No, but here are some awesome resources.
3. No, but have you tried our mutual friend?
4. No, I can’t do that, but I can do this.
5. Let me think about it.

Get rich quick: scouting for amazing friends

Written on January 4, 2015 by David C. Sarnacki

On Being reminds us “why it’s such an outrageous blessing to have the opportunity to choose our friends.”

Courtney E. Martin writes (excerpt):
So now that the family circus is over for another season and you’re turning your attention to the beginning of a new year, consider this for a resolution: become a fierce talent scout of amazing friends. Make your crew your finest act of curatorial courage. Just as many wise spiritual teachers have argued that our thoughts beget our actions, I would argue that our friends beget our culture. They become the force we measure ourselves against, the source of so much of our joy and courage. They are our respite, and our welcomed responsibility. And all that choosing makes for a very rich life.

You can do it too: ordinary people acting heroic

Written on December 18, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

CNN entices us with the title: “5 ways to be extraordinary.” In discussing five extraordinary people, Brandon Griggs lists these categories:
1. Show courage in a crisis
2. Exhibit grace under pressure
3. Meet evil head on
4. Miracles are within your grasp
5. Share credit for your success

In the darkest moments of our lives: Col. Jessep’s “You want answers?”

Written on December 6, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

On Being highlighted one of my favorite quotes in a post about The Questions We Ask Ourselves.

The words of Rainer Maria Rilke offer a bit of light in moments of blinding darkness:
“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart… Try to love the questions themselves… Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them — and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers.”

Sarnacki Law Firm awarded “Best Law Firms” status

Written on November 3, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

The Sarnacki Law Firm has received a Tier 1 ranking in the 2015 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.”

The true cost of Facebook: your marriage?

Written on October 10, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Ozy highlights a Boston University study suggesting Facebook is “a positive, significant predictor of divorce rate and spousal troubles.” Apparently, Henry David Thoreau* was right about true cost: “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

Anne Miller writes (excerpt):
While previous studies suggested that Facebook and its ilk make it easier for people to cheat on their spouses, the authors of the new study suggest that men and women troubled by their marriage may turn to social media for emotional support (as opposed to just looking for a little somethin’ on the side).

*Never married. And never on Facebook.

Who has the power to change your life?

Written on September 15, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

CNN celebrated Positive Thinking Day (September 13th) by offering “five expert tips to help you think yourself well.” The point is to take responsibility for your happiness and to do something.

Sara Cheshire included these tips (excerpt):
Be aware of your automatic reactions
Catch and reframe your thoughts
Don’t believe everything your mind tells you
Let go of fear
Find your mood changers

Top tips for conscientious conscious capital uncoupling

Written on September 8, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

The Wall Street Journal focuses divorcing couples on financial planning for “getting unmarried.”

Veronica Dagher offers and discusses these tips (excerpt):
1. Know What You Own and Make Copies. . . .
2. Save and Budget. . . .
3. Watch and Establish Credit. . . .
4. Watch the Timing. . . .
5. Consider Selling the Family Home. . . .
6. Look into Alternatives. . . .

Who do professionals recommend as one of the best divorce lawyers and divorce lawyers in Grand Rapids?

Written on August 18, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Best Lawyers in America announced that once again, David Sarnacki was selected by judges and lawyers as one of The Best Lawyers in America. He was honored in three practice areas relating to divorce litigation and divorce mediation:
1. Collaborative Law: Family Law.
2. Family Law.
3. Family Law Mediation.