Monthly Archives: August 2015

Into the Southern Highlands in Search of the Ur Dip of the Levant

Floyd-Community-MarketMidLaw was at the Floyd, Virginia Community Market last Saturday morning, the SustainFloyd Farmer’s Market, getting eggplants.

A trio was playing. Mountain music. Everyone was dressed in different styles: tie-dyes, T-shirts. MidLaw was the only one who was not different.

Eggplants mean baba ganoush, hummus-sister. Baba ganoush is identical to the revered bean dip, but made with eggplants instead of chickpeas.

MidLaw believes that hummus and baba ganoush have a common ancestor, the Ur Dip of the Levant.

The MidLaw Test Kitchen has found the “best recipe for baba ganoush in the world.” Says so right on the recipe.

The MidLaw Way is to roll your own. Sometimes, to put a boiled potato in it.



Virginia is for eggplants. The quest for the Ur Dip continues.

Cahiers de Hoummos: the cauliflower hummus conundrum

humA recent note in MidLaw’s Cahiers de Hoummos (prompted by North Carolina business law authority, blogger and hummus connoisseur Mack Sperling) mused that cauliflower hummus might mark a step forward in hummus thinking. Well, we’ve taken that concept to the MidLaw Test Kitchen. The results may surprise you.

Roasted cauliflower? With garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. And hummus.

A great concept, we thought. So, we followed those recipes that instruct you to mash up a bunch of cauliflower with a bunch of chickpeas and tahini. Well, we found that the cauliflower and the chickpeas combined to create a lower common denominator. Rather than leveraging separate strengths, each diminished the other.

But wait! The Test Kitchen devised a means of capitalizing on the separate and ultimately complementary strengths of both cauliflower and chickpeas.

First we thought: make the mash sharper. So, we added salt. Then we added lemon juice. And, we tried Sriracha. But each of them always led away from the center. Beneath the surface there was still an insipid mash. Then, we hit upon a disruptive solution.

The MidLaw Cauliflower Hummus Recipe:roasted cauliflower

First, prepare MidLaw Straight Ahead Hummus. Roll your own.

Next, separate cauliflower into florets, coat with oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt, and roast.

Then – and this is the key – set the roasted cauliflower to one side and set the hummus to the other side. Do not mash them up together. Keep them separate.

Serve with pita, chips, crackers or raw vegetables as you prefer; or serve the cauliflower and hummus tout seule.

Roasted cauliflower, oiled and salted: superb. MidLaw Straight Ahead Hummus: extraordinary. Respect each for what it is. Resist the processor mentality.

Respecting each one for its strengths, not diluting. That is the MidLaw Way.

Law firms, law schools lumber — Elon Law, not so much


3:AM MAGAZINE Whatever it is, we’re against it

Criticism happens quick.

Criticism in tweets and blogs and articles comes really quickly. (“The legal profession is doomed.“) Changes in law firms and law schools, not like that.

Law firms and law schools are changing right now, albeit perhaps in lumbering ways.

Yet, even though “it’s surprising how long things take, [it’s] shocking how fast they happen.”

That’s the feeling I had when I read this article about Elon Law School’s success with its new approach to legal education. Elon Law has made some big changes. They appear to be working. Where did that come from?

We’re not like every other law school,” law school Dean Luke Bierman said in an interview last week. “We want a different kind of law student — a pioneer, someone with a pioneering spirit who can come into a new program and succeed.

The legal profession was pronounced “doomed” a short while back. Now, maybe not. There is something new at Elon Law.

21st Century law practice: multi-jurisdictional and cross-border practice

Simply put, there is no way to hold back multi-jurisdictional and cross-border law practice, and that is reshaping traditional structures and the economics of law practice. cross-border

When there are many small local markets, there can be a ‘best’ provider in each, and these local heroes frequently can all earn a good income. If these markets merge into a single global market, top performers have an opportunity to win more customers, while the next-best performers face harsher competition from all directions. Brynjolfsson & McAfee, The Second Machine Age

Geographical boundaries, even political and jurisdictional ones, have less and less grip on law practice every day. This is thanks to:

a)      the digitization of more and more information, goods, and services,

b)      the vast improvements in telecommunications and, to a lesser extent, transportation, and

c)      the increased importance of networks and standards.

(Brynjolfsson & McAfee, again, but not them alone.)

These are not changes that can be held back for long by local rules, especially as business has crossed borders in a fever, and because federal and uniform laws have cleared away field after field of what once were domains of state law.

Law firms – no, legal services organizations – of the future will be shaped by these changes forevermore. They already have been.

The only real question is how to take advantage of these changes? The opportunities available to small and mid-size firms are unique to them – different from those open to large firms, and not the same for all small and mid-size firms. This requires knowing who you are and identifying your opportunities. And, focus. Not following, not copying.

Tarboro & Greensboro lawyers at center of the story of Jim Crow & voting rights from start & now

fryeSome time back MidLaw pointed out the centrality of the voting rights laws to the careers of legendary Tarboro lawyer George Henry White and legendary Greensboro lawyer, Henry Frye.

Last week, the New York Times Magazine published a major article, “A Dream Undone, Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act” in which it reported that the story goes on.

The Times put Brooks Pierce’s Henry Frye  right at the center of its report for his role in rolling back the Jim Crow system fifty years ago. But two years ago, North Carolina rewrote its voting laws again and now the North Carolina voter ID law is referred to as one of the “most restrictive voting rights laws since the Jim Crow era.”

gwh-photoAnd, it falls to MidLaw to recall that Tarboro lawyer George Henry White was at the center of the story when Jim Crow laws began in 1900. When North Carolina enacted its Literacy Test effectively eliminating African Americans from the voting rolls, George White decided not to run for re-election to Congress from Tarboro and the Second District. That marked the beginning of the Jim Crow era. White’s decision was reported in a Times article at the time, and the Times printed his famous farewell speech in Congress on page one.

White’s biographer says that the closing lines of White’s speech “were among the most widely remembered and widely quoted lines from any speech by a black American for the next half century.”

This, Mr. Chairman, is perhaps the negroes’ temporary farewell to the American Congress; but let me say, Phoenix-like he will rise up some day and come again. These parting words are in behalf of an outraged, heart-broken, bruised, and bleeding, but God-fearing people, industrious, loyal people – rising people, full of potential force.

book ghwRaleigh’s News & Observer also marked White’s departure from Congress and hailed the new era, quoting a North Carolina legislator to a much different effect:

Geo. H. White, the insolent negro, who has so long represented the proud people of North Carolina in the Congress of the United States, has retired from office forever. We have a white man’s government in every part of the old State, and from this hour no negro will again disgrace the old State in the council chambers of the nation. For these mercies, thank God.

Benjamin R. Justesen, George Henry White, An Even Chance in the Race of Life (LSU Press 2001).

Tarboro’s George White was central to the story in 1900. Fifty years later, Henry Frye was central to dismantling them. Now, after another fifty years, the fight goes on.

The Times wrapped up its article last week by quoting Frye on where we are today:

It’s not quite what it was a long time ago. It’s more sophisticated now.


Impulse tomato-buying breaks out at Greensboro Farmers Market

I was at the Greensboro Farmers MarketGreensboro Farmers Curb Market this morning. There was impulse tomato-buying going on. Not pretty. The place is open on Wednesdays for goodness sake.

Then at Nazareth Bread Company. The Turkish flatbread was still warm.

Turkish flatbread and N.C. tomatoes: secret mates. Goat cheese? Basil? Olive oil? Nice. MidLaw Diet.