Publications

Articles From Hon. Ron Spears

Shining Moonlight on Witness Testimony

By Ron Spears
August
2018
Column
Page 46
The most intriguing part of Lincoln's famous almanac trial was his interest in science.

When Lincoln Learned What Not to Say

By Ron Spears
May
2018
Column
Page 46
In the 1840s, Lincoln learned the hard way that bullying and belittling words can produce embarrassing, even dangerous, consequences.

Lincoln and Stanton: Incivility Meets Humility

By Ron Spears
February
2018
Column
Page 44
Frontier-lawyer Lincoln responded to humiliating disrespect from co-counsel Edwin Stanton by working hard to improve - and by later making Stanton his Secretary of War.

Lincoln’s ‘Matson Problem’

By Ron Spears and Roger Billings
May
2017
Column
Page 46
Lincoln's decision to represent a slaveholder against slaves seeking their freedom is controversial to this day.

A New Look at Lawyer Lincoln

By Ron Spears
February
2017
Column
Page 44
A new ISBA effort will generate articles and CLE about Lincoln's legal career and the lesson it can teach us.

Black Robe to Gold Watch

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2016
Column
Page 46
What do aging citizens – and judges – mean for the justice system?

Judging Forensic Science

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2015
Column
Page 48
Lawyers and judges have been slow to acknowledge the limitations of forensic science.

Are Courts Headed for a Market Failure?

By Ron Spears
August
2015
Column
Page 52
Dissatisfied litigants and other unhappy "consumers" of justice are increasingly choosing private options.

‘Investing’ in Litigation

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2015
Column
Page 46
The rapid growth of litigation funding raises a host of issues.

Flawed Facts and Fact-Finders

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2015
Column
Page 44
More judges are being asked to allow expert testimony about eyewitness ID and confessions.

Are We Ready for ‘Practice Ready’?

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2014
Column
Page 550
Should law schools do more to prepare grads for practice?

Juries in the Age of Voir Google

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2014
Column
Page 402
Lawyers are using Internet to research prospective jurors.

Unstructuring Structured Settlements

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2014
Column
Page 248
Some companies and plaintiffs want to revert structured settlements to lump sums, and judges have the final say.

Judicial Independence: Two Westerns and a Promise

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2014
Column
Page 98
Sometimes judges have to make a lonely stand against the majority.

An Adversary System without Advocates

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2013
Column
Page 592
Our courts are ill-designed to meet the needs of pro se litigants. The supreme court is responding.

Happiness Tips from Seligman and Ziglar

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2013
Column
Page 432
You can be both happy and healthily pessimistic.

Dinosaurs and Jury Trials: Adaptation or Extinction?

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2013
Column
Page 264
Trial by jury remains a key underpinning of our justice system.

Lincoln on the Wall

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2013
Column
Page 104
Lincoln was an exemplary but not perfect lawyer - which makes his example all the more inspiring.

Court Approval of Minors’ Settlements

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2012
Column
Page 613
Should judicial approval be required for even small damage awards for minors?

The Real Prisoner’s Dilemma

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2012
Column
Page 442
Defendants have a Constitutional right to effective counsel during plea bargains.

A Bricoleur’s Response to Murphy’s Law

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2012
Column
Page 270
"Bricolage" is the art of creating a solution using whatever is available. It's an art litigators would do well to cultivate.

Lawyers, Doctors and Matryoshka Dolls

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2012
Column
Page 106
Fee contests over physician testimony reflect the tension between lawyers and doctors.

Contagion and the Courts

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2011
Column
Page 588
Health care providers aren't the only ones who have to respond to public health emergencies.

A Visit to the Academy

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2011
Column
Page 420
Dispatches from a four-day seminar on the impact of poverty and wealth on justice.

What Price Justice? The County Board Wants to Know

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2011
Column
Page 260
How much process is due a criminal defendant? It's a dollars-and-cents question.

Character on Trial

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2011
Column
Page 102
Judge Justice and his colleagues express their misgivings about character evidence.

Humpty Dumpty Child

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2010
Column
Page 588
Healing broken children is hard but essential work.

Foreseeing the “Four C’s” (Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions)

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2010
Column
Page 432
The collateral consequences of conviction are often the gravest.

Recipe or Disaster? Checklists Can Help

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2010
Column
Page 268
Checklists can help us reduce avoidable errors.

Looking for “facts” in all the Wrong Places

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2010
Column
Page 102
Social networking sites are great - unless jurors are using them in ways that threaten a fair trial.

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