President's Message

Tee Up, Uncork and Enjoy a Good Read

These fun-to-read ABA books provide legal insight into aspects of our culture

Posted Dec 1, 2008 11:20 PM CDT
By H. Thomas Wells Jr.

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Tommy Wells
Photo by Dee More

As we look forward to the holidays, my wife Jan and I wish you and yours a happy and healthy season. Given the time of year, I thought it would be fun to step back from our everyday concerns and call your attention to some relatively light yet still substantive fare from our profession.

In recent months, I’ve enjoyed and shared with my friends and colleagues a pair of entertaining law-related books from ABA Publishing. They involve two favorite interests of many lawyers: golf and wine. Even those who partake in neither can surely appreciate a more uni­versal message—that our proud profession and the rule of law play important roles in every aspect of our culture.

The books are The Little Green Book of Golf Law: The Real Rules of the Game of Golf by John H. Minan and The Little Red Book of Wine Law: A Case of Legal Issues by Carole Robertson. Fans of law, golf and wine alike will enjoy these well-written and entertaining works.

The green book is divided into 19 chapters, one for each hole in a full round of golf, plus the traditional “19th hole.” The red book has 12 chapters, one for each bottle in a case of wine.

Each green book chapter reviews an actual case involving golf. The chapters explore a variety of legal issues—for example, Tiger Woods’ rights of publicity, a product lia­bility case for a defective golf club, and contract disputes involving hole-in-one contests and golf cart rentals. Other chapters involve Internal Rev­enue Service litigation over a taxpayer’s deductions for golf expenses, the United States Golf Association handicap index formula as a property interest, an environmental case about the use of reclaimed water on golf courses, and the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the PGA Tour.

Though my golf game is decent, I did sit up in my chair while reading a chapter about a personal in­jury claim resulting from a wayward shot. Another reminder of the law’s place on the golf course is the story of an enraged golfer in Hawaii who violently took out his frustrations on a bird of an endangered species. Authorities prosecuted the golfer using laws prohibiting cruelty to animals and protecting indigenous wildlife.

LAW ON THE VINE

Each chapter in the red book examines a topic involving the law of wine production and sale. Topics include fam­ily/partnership issues (including a Gallo family feud), relationships with distributorships, labor issues and trademark disputes. There’s also a chapter about a World Trade Organization ruling involving the use of place names on the labels of wines that don’t orig­inate from the same area, such as Chablis and Bordeaux.

The law touches us all, in nearly every aspect of our lives. As a reminder of this, I give the Little Green Book to my golf hosts as thank-you gifts, and I plan to do the same for others with the just-released Little Red Book. The books are available on ababooks.org, where ABA members and bulk purchasers get a discount.

Wherever our inter­ests outside the law office or courtroom may lie, let us all be thankful—at this time of year and always—for all the gifts we give and receive as members of our communities and our families.

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