Law Library

New ABA book offers ­historical look at eruptions in Ferguson and how to clear paths to change

As the nation continues to grapple with the after effects of multiple cases involving police using deadly force to kill unarmed African-American males, which has eroded the public’s assurance of police, prosecutors, judges and public defenders, a new book offers meaningful paths to help build and sustain confidence in the justice system.

The American Bar Association book “Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked A Nation,” edited by Kimberly Jade Norwood, a professor of law at Washington University Law in St. Louis, offers a historical tour of race, inequality and injustices in America, which collided in Ferguson, Mo., after the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer. It offers varying perspectives and strategies for recognizing and dealing with implicit biases that contribute to disparities in the justice system.

ABA President Paulette Brown wrote in the Foreward, “This timely book addresses the deeply rooted perception of inequality and injustices experienced in Ferguson, Missouri with a keen focus on the legal and social reverberations following the death of Michael Brown.”

The book, published in conjunction with the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, examines some of the underlying issues that have led to the recent cases of deadly force and subsequent national dialogue. They include:

• The history of racial violence against black bodies: from slavery to Ferguson

• Stereotypes, racial bias, masculinity and the implications on policing

• Lessons learned from grand jury proceedings

• For-profit policing and efforts to transform the system

• The politics of housing segregation in Greater St. Louis

• Exploration of 60 years of unequal education (Brown to Brown)

• Employment statistics and the criminalization of black lives

• Disparities in mental and physical health, employment and opportunity

• Media framing of the narratives presented to the public: black versus white

• Ferguson and the First Amendment

• Body cameras and policing in the 21st Century


ABA book offers roadmap to help lawyers work through issue of succession planning

With 65 percent of U.S. law firms’ equity partners in their late 50s or early 60s, many of them will be transitioning and exiting their practices over the next decade. A new book from the American Bar Association, “The Lawyer's Guide to Succession Planning: A Project Management Approach for Successful Law Firm Transitions and Exits,” will help lawyers in firms of all sizes better handle the process of such a challenging transition.

Written by management consultant John W. Olmstead, “The Lawyer’s Guide to Succession Planning” will help firms avoid a much-too-typical “reactionary mode” and prepare for a transition of firm leadership and client relationships. The book offers succession and transition processes, approaches and step-by-step action plans for solo practitioners, sole owners and members of larger law firms. It also discusses what to do, what not to do and how to do it, and provides case studies, sample action plans, sample succession plans and sample agreements.

“The Lawyer’s Guide to Succession Planning” comes with downloadable files that dig deep into the formidable issues of succession planning. Sample worksheets and agreements cover everything from a broad action plan to more specific topics, such as partner transition plans, merger agreements and retirement readiness assessments. These informative examples, combined with the substantive information provided in the book, will guide attorneys on the easiest and most successful path to succession planning.

The author is a certified management consultant and president of Olmstead & Associates, legal management consultants based in St. Louis. The firm, founded in 1984, serves clients across the United States and internationally, assisting with implementing change and improving operational and financial performance. Olmstead himself has more than 46 years of experience working with law and other professional service firms.