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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    September 10, 2008

    Book Reviews

    The Family Limited Partnership Deskbook: Forming and Funding FLPs and Other Closely Held Business Entities, 2nd Edition, Books on Trial: Red Scare in the Heartland, The Law Firm Associate's Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills

    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 81, No. 9, September 2008

    Book Reviews

    The Family Limited Partnership Deskbook: Forming and Funding FLPs and Other Closely Held Business Entities, 2nd Edition

    By David T. Lewis & Andrea C. Chomakos (Chicago, IL: ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, 2007). 328 pgs. w/CD-ROM. $169.95. Order,

    Reviewed by Joshua J. Roever

    This is a fantastic one-stop resource for estate planning and tax attorneys looking for answers, examples, and forms concerning a majority of questions about family limited partnerships (FLPs). The authors crisply explain complex tax issues and business entity issues, making this work accessible and understandable to attorneys seeking to use this sophisticated estate planning technique. This very user-friendly work will be well used on almost any desk. However, this resource is not appropriate for a person with no background in tax (especially partnership tax) or estate planning for two reasons: 1) The specificity and high degree of sophistication of FLPs preclude applicability to many attorneys, even some who practice estate planning; and 2) the necessity for background knowledge of tax law, including a fundamental knowledge of partnership tax, will impair the utility of this book for many attorneys.

    The authors base their examples around two hypothetical couples and stick with them throughout the book. This is helpful to explain the changes in clients' lives as they occur. The examples also are fundamental to understanding the often complex and counterintuitive tax and capital allocations in the partnership tax area. The authors show how to calculate goal-oriented solutions throughout the life of a partnership to demonstrate how benefits (particularly asset valuation benefits) vary in different scenarios. In addition to the examples, the authors have included a huge array of forms and checklists that make this book extremely usable and provide the raw materials to help get you up and running in this area. The authors lay out exactly what documents need to be created, whether filings are owed, and when and in what order documents must flow throughout the various iterations of planning with an FLP.

    The authors also do not ignore the critical importance of state laws governing formation and operation of the business entity, which many estate planning-focused works ignore when dealing with FLPs.

    The book is organized in an intuitive manner. The crucial issue of whether using an FLP is a viable estate-planning tool is addressed first, before the other topics of treatment of the assets and their tax profiles, formation, and operation are considered. This prevents needless leafing back and forth in the book for the information you need to consider before the client even walks in the door.

    I recommend this book for an attorney who focuses on estate planning and has a solid understanding of partnership tax. Be aware that the authors do not artificially simplify the complex tax issues; therefore, without a basic knowledge of the tax issues, some readers may be lost. For readers with this background, however, this book is a complete resource worthy of the "deskbook" claim.

    Joshua J. Roever, Marquette 2006, practices in construction, real estate, environmental, employment, and probate litigation.

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    Books on Trial: Red Scare in the Heartland

    By Shirley A. Wiegand & Wayne A. Wiegand (Norman, OK: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2007). 286 pgs. $24.95. Order, (800) 627-7377.

    Reviewed by Douglas E. Baker

    "America's safety in this world crisis demands a thorough cleaning out of the destructive forces in our midst. If we persist in winking the legal eye at something we know in our hearts to be destructive and un-American, we shall later pay the penalty, perhaps much to our sorrow."

    Although that might sound like a news bite from today's Fox News, the statement is actually from a Dec. 7, 1940, editorial in the weekly periodical America. The editorial was directed at the controversy surrounding a police raid, some four months earlier, on the Progressive Book Store in Oklahoma City, and at the issue of whether, or to what extent, the government may penalize individuals on the basis of intellectual acts alone.

    That raid (and related ones on private residences) netted several men and women charged with violating Oklahoma's criminal syndicalism law and is the subject of Books on Trial, by Shirley Wiegand, Law Professor Emeritus at Marquette University, and her husband, Wayne Wiegand, Professor of Library and Information Studies and of American Studies at Florida State University.

    The people arrested were specifically accused of criminal acts for being members of the Communist Party and for allegedly endangering the public weal by recruiting more members and advocating revolution. Although the raids were premised on an undercover agent's purchase of 13 pamphlets and two copies of the Daily Worker, officials carted away thousands of books and pamphlets. Besides the Communist Party materials, the haul also included 15 copies of the U.S. Constitution, Carl Sandburg's biography of Abraham Lincoln, The Grapes of Wrath, War and Peace, The Collected Works of Jack London, and numerous other books available at nearly any public library.

    The sheer bulk of materials seized made the trials problematic and made it possible for some observers to infer politically-inspired collaboration - tacit if not explicit - between the prosecution and the district court in a series of highly-publicized jury trials (all defendants were tried before the same judge by the same prosecutors). For example, the authors point out that in one trial the court admitted into evidence 99 books, composed of 10,491 pages, with no showing of relevance and without the judge having read any of them. Similarly, the mountains of evidence and fast convictions strongly suggest the jury could not have seriously reviewed much, if any, of the evidence. Ultimately four defendants - Bob and Ina Wood, Alan Shaw, and Eli Jaffe - were tried and convicted. All four convictions were reversed by the state appellate court a few years later.

    Any lawyer will quickly see the weakness of the cases, and it soon becomes clear that reversal of the convictions was all but inevitable. In fact the book does such a good job of pointing out those weaknesses that it becomes difficult to take the underlying message seriously. When defendants are convicted by patently thin evidence on ludicrous charges, it is tempting to dismiss the entire episode as a one-time farce in times gone by. But the authors point out that each defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $5,000, that each spent considerable time in jail before making bail and after being convicted, and that each paid a considerable cost in terms of his or her career and personal life. Neither can one dismiss the amount of money (government and private) and time spent resolving the cases, arguably resulting in nothing more than a return to the status quo.

    This book is well-researched, indexed, thickly-footnoted, and clearly written. The authors do an excellent job of describing the political context of the era and of drawing comparisons, sometimes indirectly, sometimes directly, with contemporary America. If the book has a drawback, it might lie in the sheer quantity of material provided. So much detail sometimes makes the book very densely written. Readers interested in every nuance of the case will appreciate the comprehensiveness, but anyone expecting a broad overview or a quick read might find the detail tedious.

    In the epilogue, the authors suggest parallels to enforcement of the antiterrorism laws of the 21st century (many enacted, ironically, after the 1995 federal courthouse bombing in Oklahoma City). In the 18th century Thomas Jefferson asked whether "we [are] to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be read, and what books we may buy?" Books on Trial shows that this issue was still alive in the 1930s. Many will argue it is alive today.

    Douglas E. Baker, Creighton 1989, is a legal editor for State Bar CLE Books, Madison.

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    The Law Firm Associate's Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills

    By Catherine Alman MacDonagh & Beth Marie Cuzzone (Chicago, IL: ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2007). 144 pgs. $49.99. Trainer's Manual, 64 pgs. $59.95. Order, (800) 285-2221.

    Reviewed by Sarah J. Kons

    The goal of this book (or books when the Trainer's Manual is included) is to help lawyers with the generally disliked and time-consuming task of networking. Unfortunately, the book fails to make the task either more enjoyable or more efficient. The readers who would likely get the most from this book are unemployed graduates during that time between commencement and their first job, the ones with an abundance of time and no real understanding of what it is like to practice law. The book offers many theories on what will help with networking (such as "always carry your business cards"), but it fails to tell readers anything other than what they should already know through experience.

    The book makes a decent attempt at making networking more organized by providing charts and questions (also on the CD-ROM provided with the book), and these tools likely would intrigue the type of people who alphabetize their DVD collections. For the rest of us average, hard-working attorneys, this book suggests methods that provide more work without much benefit.

    Sarah J. Kons, Marquette 2006, is an associate at Petit & Dommershausen S.C., Menasha, focusing in criminal and family law.

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