Dan Lawton

Lawton is a trial and appellate lawyer. He practices in the federal and state courts, mostly in San Diego.

Guest Commentary

As a boy growing up in California during the Vietnam War, I became fascinated with the stoic courage of U.S. POWs who endured torture in Southeast Asia.

Whatever your area of practice, you have at least one thing in common with me: You know what it is to endure an office move. Our recent move was a sort of minuet — a precise and delicate dance, only one involving thousands of pounds of furniture and equipment, and some cursing.

Editor's note: This is the second in a two-part series concerning the San Diego "Strippergate" case.

Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series concerning "Strippergate," the San Diego City Council public corruption case. Part two will run Wednesday.

For most of its history, law has been a tool used by powerful people to serve their ends and keep ordinary people down.

Andy Griffith died this week at age 86. He had a pretty good run at it -- stand-up comedy, some memorable films, and two hit television shows which live on, seemingly in perpetuity, in syndication.

This commencement address is a work of fiction.

A great trial lawyer I admire, Steve Swinton, told me about the "bartender test." The test measures the common sense of a lawyer's argument in a given case. The test requires you to explain your case to a disinterested bartender in five minutes or less. If the bartender understands and accepts it, your case has common sense and even justice. If the bartender says, "That's bullshit," then your argument lacks common sense and justice.

"No regrets." Is there any term more ubiquitous in the self-obsessed musings of the powerful about to retire from the field?

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