«   »

Letter from Ronald Sokol to Daniel Meador, Sunday, March 20, 1994

SOKOL LAW OFFICES
FRENCH AND AMERICAN LAWYERS
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE

Professor Daniel J. Meador
James Monroe Professor of Law
University of Virginia
School of Law
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
U.S.A.

20 March 1994

Dear Dan,

I received a few weeks ago the long-awaited piece on Lamar
which I immediately read straight through. After a 30 year
wait I wasn’t about to procrastinate! Last week I received
from the publisher your latest on Appellate Courts which I
plan to take with me next week to London and read during the
Spring holidays. I am taking the earlier American Courts with
me as well and may read through it again. I also have a
letter in front of me from you dated December 11, 1992. It is
hard for me to conceive that I did not write you at all in
1993 as you are very often in my thoughts.

I have been involved in some fascinating cases this past year
which have caused me to think of you even more than usual. As
you know, the French law changed, and I have become a fullfledged
French lawyer now with plenary rights. Although I
have been involved in French litigation regularly over the
past 20 years I never did, much to my frustration, the actual
oral argument. When the law changed and this became a
possibility, I decided to garner up my courage and force
myself to do the oral argument as well. I have now argued
cases in the Court of Appeals, twice before the Criminal
Court of Appeals, the Refugee Commission in Paris, the trial
courts, the Social Security Court, etc.

I have been particularly busy in a major insurance fraud case
involving litigation both in the USD Court in Chicago, the
7th Circuit, the French Commercial Court, and the French
criminal courts. I have been involved in the French
litigation on the side of the insurance company.

Prof. Daniel J. Meador
20 March 1994
Page 1

[telephone symbol] 42 92 08 20 Fax 42 92 14 51

MAILING ADDRESS
AVENUE DE LA ROSTOLANE
B. P. 3 . 13540 PUYRICARD FRANCE

[end of page 1]

LAW OFFICES OF RONALD P. SOKOL
AVOCATS AMÉRICAINS – CONSEILS JURIDIQUES

There are interesting procedural issues discussed in the 7th
Circuit opinion rendered by Judge Posner on November 9, 1993.
The immediate issue concerned a preliminary injunction.
Unfortunately, I do not have the cite, but you may want to
take a look at the unusual case. [Allendale et al. v. Zenith
Data Systems et al.]. The trial in the case is scheduled for
this September. We got the preliminary injunction. If the
other side [Group Bull, the state-owned French computer
company] had had any sense they would have tried for
certiorari, but they did not. I suspect that the French
concluded that they would not be able to get a fair hearing
in the U.S. Supreme Court on the analogy that the French
courts were not giving the American side a fair hearing.

I have also been called as an expert witness in a case in Los
Angeles involving the validity of a French antenuptial
contract. I have already been deposed in Paris and normally
will testify at trial this June. I have been called as an
expert on French notarial practice in the South of France in
the mid 1970’s.

The third case of great interest this year was an extradition
case in San Francisco. The French sought extradition of an
English national convicted in absentia in France of drug
trafficking. I was retained by counsel in California to help
on the French side. Unfortunately, the French government
suffered from the same Reno Harp Complex that the
Commonwealth of Virginia used to suffer from. The result was
that the federal district judge quite properly denied
extradition, and the Englishman was let free.

As you can see, despite my last letter, we are still in
France, although on March 1st of this year I completed the
purchase of a flat in St. John’s Wood in London. Thus, we now
have a base there. I was also just elected to the Savile
Club, an English men’s club. I have read through the rules,
and they would not pass muster in the U.S.

While we do not plan to move to London, we shall certainly be
spending more time there. Incidentally, Lyn Mostyn is a
member of this club and was one of the members who backed my
candidature. Lyn has retired to the country in Sussex. I had
lunch with him at the Savile Club about a year ago.

Prof. Daniel J. Meador
20 March 1994
Page 2.

MAILING ADDRESS
: B. P. 3 . 13540 PUYRICARD FRANCE
ADRESSE POSTALE
MEMBRES D’UNE ASSOCIATION AGRÉÉE • LE RÈGLEMENT DES HONORAIRES PAR CHÈQUE EST ACCEPTÉ

[end of page 2]

LAW OFFICES OF RONALD P. SOKOL
AVOCATS AMÉRICAINS – CONSEILS JURIDIQUES

It was the first time I had seen him in over 20 years. He has
diabetes and was so thin that I did not recognize him. It was
good to seem him again, but some of his spark seemed to have
been extinguished.

I think your Hardy Dillard project is a fantastic idea.
Certainly Hardy was a major influence on my development, and
I would love to be able to get more of him. I don’t think I
have learned much about the practice of law other than what I
learned from you, Hardy, Charles Horsky, Lyn Mostyn, and
Justice Black. I do not include people I never met such as
Holmes, Brandeis, Jefferson, Lincoln, Darrow, Davis, Nizer,
and E.B. Williams. What I have learned in France has probably
made me a worse lawyer rather than a better one, just as
French roads have made me a worse driver.

I had hopes of my eldest son, André who is now almost 22,
going into the law. He clearly has the right kind of mind for
it. And he may still do so, but he has just accepted an
excellent offer with S.G. Warburg, the English investment
bank and starts this September. He may run down to Gabon for
the summer to be a State Department intern to our ambassador
there whose wife is a client.

My second son who is named after you is in his second year at
Winchester College. He will be 16 this summer. He is a tall,
handsome outgoing boy, an excellent athlete and with musical
talent. He is doing well in school, but it is too early to
know where he will end up.

My third son, George, born on George Washington’s birthday,
must have been standing next to Saint Peter when the gifts
were being distributed because he got them all. He is in his
first year at Winchester College where he has the top music
scholarship. His principal instrument is the piano, but he is
also learning the clarinet. He could end up doing anything,
but he is so gifted musically that there is a genuine
possibility that he will end up as a concert pianist, an
eventuality which leaves me with fear and trembling because
of the precariousness of the profession. It is still too
early to know, but in the interim I am learning a lot about
music and enjoying it.

Prof. Daniel J. Meador
20 March 1994
Page 3.

MAILING ADDRESS
: B. P. 3 . 13540 PUYRICARD FRANCE
ADRESSE POSTALE
MEMBRES D’UNE ASSOCIATION AGRÉÉE • LE RÈGLEMENT DES HONORAIRES PAR CHÈQUE EST ACCEPTÉ

[end of page 3]

LAW OFFICES OF RONALD P. SOKOL
AVOCATS AMÉRICAINS – CONSEILS JURIDIQUES

The last boy, Charles, named after Charles Darwin, is just 12
and still in preparatory school. He is very gregarious and
verbally oriented, so he could end up in the law. I would
like to have at least one end up in the profession, although
I am not pushing any of them.

France is going through a very difficult period, and the
leadership which, over the past 25 years has, on the whole,
been quite good, is now the worst that I have seen it.

In another three days I shall have succeeded in attaining the
age of 55. It comes as something of a shock. I do not feel
55, but I recall my father at about 85 telling me that he did
not feel that he was 85. It seems to be part of the human
condition never quite to catch up to one’s own chronological
age. There is a significant lag time as one assimilates one’s
new age, but by then of course one is older.

I enjoyed the Lamar piece and understand now, as I did 30
years ago, why the man intrigues you. I noticed, though, that
during the 30 year interval someone actually did a biography
of him. Is it worth reading? Has your Memphis agent found a
publisher for your novel?

Since September all of our boys have been away at boarding
school, and Junko and I thus find ourselves back where we
were 22 years ago. Thus far, the transition has not been as
difficult as I had anticipated. I had been preparing myself
for it mentally for almost two years. I am giving serious
thought to doing some more writing, but have not yet decided
on what to do. It is easy to write short pieces for legal
journals. I have a half-dozen subjects that I could easily
write up and publish as short articles, but I am debating
with myself as to whether to try something more difficult. I
have had an unusual career, but condensing some of the
cross-cultural insights on paper would not be easy.

I hope that you and Jan are in the best of health and that
perhaps before the end of 1994 we shall be able to sit down
to a meal together.

As ever [handwritten],

[handwritten signature]

Prof. Daniel J. Meador
20 March 1994
Page 4.

MAILING ADDRESS
: B. P. 3 . 13540 PUYRICARD FRANCE
ADRESSE POSTALE
MEMBRES D’UNE ASSOCIATION AGRÉÉE • LE RÈGLEMENT DES HONORAIRES PAR CHÈQUE EST ACCEPTÉ

«   »