Minimal analysis and abbreviated thoughts about my states

Charles Kramer, The Levison Group

Many moons and suns ago, a St. Louis, Missouri lawyer with a knack for writing and a desire to express himself, Mark Levison, put together a group of like-minded lawyers who also had strong historical columnist and writer pedigrees and founded “the Levison Group.” I joined Mark as one of the original members of the Group and never looked back.

From the outset, the Group brought a unique humor and analytical perspective to the law, legal profession, and society. Our group was soon engaging readers of the two Metro St. Louis legal papers, the St. Louis Daily Record and St. Louis Countian, with periodic columns. It was only a matter of time before other periodicals came a calling. When our columns spread to other papers, our group adopted the title “Under Analysis” as our national column moniker. Like good lawyers everywhere, we figured why use one name, when two will do. The “under analysis” tile was adopted because of its inherent ambiguity and corresponding need to consult parole evidence to see what it means. It also allows us to come up with new reasons for its use when the situation requires it. At its core, it’s a multi-level title, which recognizes that our quest for humor and our human frailties often mean that when we put our profession “under analysis” we “under analyze” the material, and that we often write columns proving the need for us to undergo analysis for our own sakes, as well as others.

Over the years, other members of the Group have retired, and fresh blood has joined our ranks. Yet the Group has always maintained our core ideal — to humorously and at times analytically view the law, the legal profession and the world around us. Mark and I are original members and have stayed the course, guiding our ship of commentary through the seas of time while welcoming the insight of group members of varying genders, pedigrees, legal practices, residencies and humor. Beginning and based in the middle of our country in St. Louis, our words have appeared in papers from California to Florida, with much appreciated strong consistent support from our friends in Michigan.

This past week was another week of good news for our group. The newest Member of our Group, Patrick Berry, was formally inducted and welcomed to the crumbling edifice fifteen-year veteran co-writer Spencer Farris dubbed the Levison Towers. We also learned that, with this very column, we will be running in six more local papers in Missouri. As a result, the readers of our columns now include every important person living in Michigan and Missouri. In addition to city and county legal publications, we also appear in bar association publications, weekly publications, and are at times reprinted in publications of more general circulation. During this time, I have grown older and wiser, but thankfully never quite as old or “wise” as Mr. Levison.

Sadly, I wasn’t there for the cocktail party thrown to welcome Mr. Berry to our clan. I had found myself unable to refuse an invitation of some guy named “Mlife” to visit his “Beau Rivage” and had hopped a charter to spend a few days playing cards in Biloxi, Mississippi, leaving Mark and Spencer to tally the votes, determine the successful group applicant and stave off the post election challenges. I was in the midst of a day trip to New Orleans when my phone rang with the news of Mr. Berry’s selection. In truth, there was little doubt of the outcome from the get go. Mr. Berry is a young lawyer, a couple years out of law school. His joinder brings back to the group the perspective of the lawyer new to the profession, a view the rest of us long ago left in our rear view mirrors. He is bright, articulate, a great writer, and funny without being frivolous. In fact, the only concern I have about him joining the group comes from the fact that I overheard him asking Levison and Farris about my corner office and heard Spencer telling him to “sit tight and don’t worry. Kramer is gone soon and we’ll work it out.”

I hadn’t yet returned from my junket when my phone rang again, this time with news about the Missouri newspaper additions. So there I was, sitting in Mississippi, talking about Missouri, and thinking about our loyal fans nationwide, but especially in Michigan (we actually were invited to write a law review article for a law school there).

That’s when it hit me. Man, do I love my, or should I say “Mi,” states. Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi. From a lawyer’s point of view, visiting one is like almost never leaving home. Each of the three states has joined the educational legal fray by enacting “anti-common core” legislation which bans PARCC and SBAC assessments. The three Mi states have all abolished common law marriage. All three also have legalized Casino Gambling, but have limited it to only certain cities within their borders. Okay, so perhaps that’s not an overwhelming similarity, but as a lawyer, I have learned to string cite to make my point. My venture also gave me a thought — convert the Levison Towers into a casino, and make the whole thing a resort. Clients often think my prediction of how the jury will rule on their cases is a pure gamble, anyway, and if I can get Mississippi to lend us their winter weather and Michigan their summer, it will be unbeatable.


Charles Kramer is a member of the Levison Group, but is also a principal of the St Louis based law firm, Riezman Berger, PC. Comments, thoughts or criticisms about this column may be sent directly to the Levison Group via email to, or via a letter to the editor of this paper.
©2016 Under Analysis LLC


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