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Letter from Ronald Sokol to Daniel Meador, Thursday, January 24, 2013

Professor Daniel. J. Meador
James Monroe Professor of Law Emeritus
University of Virginia School of Law
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903-1738
24 January 2013                                                                 2006 – 2013 [handwritten]

Dear Dan,

What a pleasure to hear from you and especially to get such good news!
My warmest congratulations on your marriage. I look forward to meeting
Alice and seeing you again here in France. My apologies not only for my
late reply to your December 10th letter, but I have a prior letter from you
dated 11 February 2011 which I have not yet answered.

I read with a special interest your book on your tenure at Alabama Law
School and the challenges you faced. I remember well when you left
Virginia for that post and as my law school roommate, Wray Eckl, is an
Alabaman I have maintained an interest in the state. You also succeeded
in your portrait comments in educating me about Woodrow Wilson. I did
not realize how little I knew about him.

Although I enter before long into my 74th year I seem to be blessed with a
good genetic heritage. I continue to practice law full time, to litigate in
the French courts, and in my leisure time to play competitive table tennis
in the winter against opponents often a half century younger and tennis
in the summer although no longer in competition.

Junko is well, and we get to London often to see our four children, four
grandchildren, and I usually find time to see a few London-based clients.
Now that our son Daniel is at the bar he invites me to dine at the Inner
Temple and Lincoln’s Inn and helps educate me to the intricacies of the
English bar. Although the barristers practice in chambers which may have
70 or more “members” with a “Head of Chambers”, each barrister is self-
employed. The Chambers seems to be nothing more than a kind of office-
sharing arrangement with the clerks managing both the office and the
solicitors who are the source of the clients. The clerks then take a
percentage of the fees which are used to run the office and to pay

Tel: (33)(0)4-42-92-08-20
14, rue Principale
13540 Puyricard
Fax : (33)(0 )4-42-92-14-51

Association d’avocats – Law Partnership

Another peculiarity is what they call the “taxicab rule”. The barrister
cannot refuse a client. He is like a taxicab driver. He must accept the

The profession is in an historical transition in that solicitors now have the
right to appear in court, and a barrister can now see a client directly
without going through a solicitor if he has practiced for two years and
taken a course. This is called, I think, the “right of access”. I am still
working my way through the terminology, but with Daniel at the bar I
should eventually end up more or less understanding the system.

I unfortunately published little in 2012, only one article which appeared in
the International Herald Tribune and New York Times. I seemed to have
difficulty getting inspired enough to write. The fact that it was an election
year may have had something to do with it. I have made a New Year’s
Resolution to try to publish four articles this year.

As you probably know, I tend to go on reading binges. A couple of years
ago I read through all of Dickens. In 2012 I read through 12 volumes of
Joseph Conrad plus a couple of biographies. I still have a volume and a
half to go. He is a great writer. I had an idea a few weeks ago that one
should really exchange with friends and family the best book one has
read in the past year. Looking back over 2012 I can single out two books
that I felt were important:

The Checklist: How to get things right by Atul Gawande (Profile Books,
2009), 203 pages and Katherine Graham: Personal History by Katherine
Graham (Phoenix, 1998), 677 pages.

I think the most important book I have read in the past two years,
perhaps in the past several years, was Postwar: A History of Europe Since
1945 by Tony Judt, William Heinemann (London, 2005), 831 pages. If you
have not read it, I cannot recommend it too strongly. A final book that I
find very important, although on a subject of particular interest to me,
was Consciousness: Creeping up on the hard problem by Jeffrey Gray,
Oxford University Press (2004), 323 pages. This latter book is not easy
going; it took me about a year to get through it.

Again, I cannot tell you how much pleasure it gives me to keep up with
your activities and publications. Please send me anything you write or at
least references where I might find it. One thing you need to do is to
write Hardy Dillard’s entry for Wikipedia. You are best equipped to do
that, and if you don’t do it soon, it may not get done. So that should be
your resolution for 2013. You can put off doing the LQC Lamar book until
a later date.
Warmest regards,

[handwritten signature]
Tél: (33)(0)4-42-92-08-20 Fax : (33)(0 )4-42-92-14-51
14, rue Principale
13540 Puyricard

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