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ScissorTales: Lawyer-client split like divorce

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 14, 2012

JEROME Ersland has fired his lawyer. The lawyers for George Zimmerman have fired their client. When does a lawyer go through a divorce even if he's never been married? When he breaks up with a client or a client breaks up with the lawyer.

Ersland is the pharmacist appealing his first-degree murder conviction for killing a man attempting to rob the Oklahoma City drug store where Ersland worked. Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of killing Trayvon Martin in Florida. Ersland says he's done with Irven Box, the man who took Ersland through the trial and months of pre-trial work. Zimmerman, charged this week with second-degree murder, has been incommunicado with his first attorneys; thus, they said they could no longer represent hm. says a client's failure to cooperate or communicate is a prime reason for attorneys to withdraw from a case, but a a Houston Chronicle blog called Legal Trade says the No 1. reason lawyers fire their clients is money: “We don't really expect work from plumbers or bakers, doctors or manicurists or just about any one else for free. What is it about lawyers that causes folks to decide they just won't pay?”

Obviously, some clients fire lawyers due to disgruntlement over the outcome of a case. “Much like a marriage,” the American Bar Association Journal reported in 2008, “the lawyer-client relationship can seem like a match made in heaven ... But sometimes there are silent resentments and disagreements bubbling beneath the surface, waiting for a break in the facade. If the proverbial toilet seat is left up once too often, things can go south surprisingly quickly.”

Fostering hope

To best serve Oklahoma's poor and disadvantaged, a partnership between the government and faith-based community is indispensable. The 8308 campaign, named for the number of children in DHS custody as of Jan. 1, is taking this approach to address the urgent need for foster families. A statewide conference on April 26 will provide information and resources for individuals who want to get involved and churches interested in establishing a foster care or adoption ministry. Journey Church in Norman is hosting the event from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Register at The conference is free; a lunch is provided. The campaign is a collaborative effort of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, 111 Project, SALLT and Sandridge Energy. If you've thought about what you can do to serve Oklahoma's children, mark your calendar for this opportunity to turn your faith into action.


If natural gas gets any cheaper, the energy industry will have to pay people to take it. The government is already paying people to buy CNG-burning vehicles, but more people need to take advantage of it. Natural gas prices have been hovering around $2 per 1,000 cubic feet. Compressed Natural Gas prices are below $2 per gallon of gasoline equivalent. The state offers a generous income tax credit for the purchase of a CNG vehicle or conversion of a gasoline engines to run on CNG, but U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said he found rather tepid support for switching to CNG among motorists he talked to at gas stations during the Easter break. Despite high gasoline prices, switching to alternative fuels has been slow to develop.

Razor thin

The apparent election of a new state representative from Tulsa is a reminder that yes, every vote really does matter. That's easy to lose sight of when a race is decided by a wide margin. But the difference in the District 71 seat couldn't have been closer. After a recount by hand Wednesday in Tulsa, Republican Katie Henke was found to have defeated Democrat Dan Arthrell by one vote — 1,415 to 1,414. Henke asked for the recount after initially losing by three votes in the April 3 special election. Provided this count stands, Henke will replace Republican Dan Sullivan, who left the House last fall for another job. Whoever gets the seat, he or she will have to immediately run for re-election because the job only lasts through the end of this legislative session.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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