Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 5

YOUR VOICE

CELEBRATING

JAKE STEIN'S LIFE
O
n June 19 at 5 p.m., the D.C. legal community
will come together to commemorate the
extraordinary life and career of Jacob A. Stein,
former president of the D.C. Bar, in a Celebration of Life
at the Ceremonial Courtroom of the E. Barrett Prettyman
United States Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue NW.
A reception will follow in the courthouse atrium.

Tracy Schorn

To RSVP, email events@zuckerman.com or call
202-478-8498. Seating is not guaranteed at this event.

M

any years ago I asked Jake Stein to represent
me in a dispute I was having with an ornery
client. I knew the wisdom of the adage that
a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.
I also knew Jake's old-style lawyerly skills were just right
for keeping a personal squabble from escalating into
an expensive and stressful public clash.
Jake did just that and the matter was resolved quickly and wisely. When our
work was done, I went to Jake's eccentric law office, thanked him, and asked
what his bill was so I could pay him and close the case.
We hadn't discussed his fee. He asked for no retainer. When I pressed him
for his bill, Jake took out a yellow legal pad and wrote down three different
numbers and instructed me to choose. They were very reasonable figures,
and I took his yellow sheet (offered in lieu of a formal bill) and went to my
office. Jake said nothing.
I thought about what to do that was the right thing between two friendly
lawyers in such a situation. It was clear to me that Jake had to decide what
his bill would be, not me. All three of his numbers were very modest. So,
I wrote out three checks, one for each number he wrote, and sent all three
to Jake with the poem at right:

(ODE) OWED TO JAKE STEIN
Six hundred, seven hundred, seven hundred fifty-
Whether to be generous, or to be thrifty,
Whether to be forthright, or to be shifty.
One bill is high, and one is low,
And one is in the middle.
This is not a lawyer's bill,
It is a challenging riddle.
For if I choose high, I am generous but dumb,
Who given a choice pays more?
And if I choose low, I'm prudent but cheap-
Unsure if I've settled my score.
Yet to choose the middle seems like a barter,
Not what good men do to be fair.
So I turn the tables on you, and reverse the choice, saying:
"Wise counsel, allot me my share."
For our friendship comes first, now that business is through.
Re: your bill, I say this:
"Choose one, tear up two!"
Ronald Goldfarb
Washington, D.C.

Jake Stein demonstrating his juggling skills in his office
in 2017.
ABOVE:

(This letter first appeared in the June 2016 issue of Washington Lawyer.)

*

JUNE 2019

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER

5


https://www.dcbar.org/

Washington Lawyer - June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Meet Susan M. Hoffman: 48th President of the D.c. Bar
Regulation Counsel: Ensuring the Highest Ethical Standards
Disciplinary Counsel: Acting on Misconduct Charges
Life After Disciplinary Action
Bar Business: Budget Report
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Rule Updates: Rule 49 on Pro Bono Attorneys
Disciplinary Summaries
Special Coverage: 2019 Judicial & Bar Conference
Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Meet Susan M. Hoffman: 48th President of the D.c. Bar
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Regulation Counsel: Ensuring the Highest Ethical Standards
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 18
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Disciplinary Counsel: Acting on Misconduct Charges
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Life After Disciplinary Action
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-4
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-5
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-6
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Bar Business: Budget Report
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Rule Updates: Rule 49 on Pro Bono Attorneys
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Special Coverage: 2019 Judicial & Bar Conference
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover4
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