Michael Sean Quinn, Ph.D, J.D., Etc.

Quinn & Quinn
2630 Exposition Blvd  #115

Austin, Texas 78703

(o) 512-296-2594

(c) 512-656-0503


An Idiot Lawyer

There was once a man named of Goldman,  
Lawyer Goldman was himself not so golden, 
He smuggled rich vino for fees. He sold it to  
Cops, alas, 
So he’s now far, far  from his cash, 
And there’s a bar out of which 
He’ll be kicked, no matter how 
good was his hooch.


I give up. I’m a worse poet, I think, than Goldman was a crook. And that’s a strident criticism of  my literary talents. 

Poor Goldman.  He wanted to be a good and popular lawyer, so he also set out to be a smuggler. Apparently he had no promise as either one.  Poor Goldman:  He was an idiot.
For one thing, he couldn’t seem  follow the “rules of the road for chattel sneakery.” It is now and has been for several centuries well established in the grand tradition of international trade central to American business history. One of the components of this grand tradition was booze of all sorts, where wine is counted as just that.
(Recent authors have taken up writing book after book about their own lives as trug traders, i.e., contemporary smugglers. Lawyers are not writing book after book regarding noble lawyers, noble lawyering,  ignoble lawyers, happy lawyers, unhappy lawyers, lawyers satisfactions, lawyer anxiety, BIGFIRM riches, and hell at the BIGFIRM, lawyers who are lost, lawyers who have lost, lawyers who have never lost, unhappy law firms, though none about happy law firms. Really, all alike?  If Goldman leaves the Bar, and if he is unsuited to being a smuggler, as he appears not to be, perhaps he should write a book, The Lawyer as Idiot: A Memoir.
(National advertising distinguishes between wine and spirits.  This distinction does not exist, except is alcohol percentages,  and anyone who tried to use that distinction really has drunk little or no wine and has virtually no sense of the spiritual, spirituality, not to mention spiritsology. There is a similar pseudo distinction, apparently, between wine and hooch and between vino and booze. These distinctions are not something any experience would respect; in fact he would treat them with the disdain they deserve. A real alcoholics would never agree that he must stay away from Jack Daniels but is free to drink Gallo. This distinction must be forgotten, except as an accounting method to keep tract of price.)

In any case, when he was  trundled off to the county jail by the local constabulary, Goldman has a stock of $200,00 worth of bottles of wine for sale arranged carefully on floor to ceiling shelves in his basement. Not even in a separate storehouse, mind you–one where phony names and cash payments for space are both available.
One of the rules of smuggling is that you don’t sell what you’ve smuggled a little bit here and a little bit there. You sell in quantity, like a wholesaler.  Another rule is that you don’t sell it to people you don’t know.  This means you don’t sell it to people who just want couple of bottles.  You leave this to the street dealers. Urban slums, however, are poor, and so not a viable market.  The neighborhood kind cannot be retailers, since the do not have a market and won’t be able to develop one.  Golden knows absolutely nothing about the traditional organizations of the smuggling trades.(Hint: Take a look at the drug trade.  Insofar as mj is concerned, it can be done state-to-state quite easily, like bootlegging. Then again, see the article in the Review Section of the NYT on Sunday June 15, 2014.)
You especially don’t sell small-quantities of really good stuff repeated to purchasers who turn out to be cops. This is especially unwise if you ask them whether they are cops before you sell to them.  For the sake of the honor of distinguished smuggling do it another way.  Hiring streets kids is probably not the right way to go; they don’t have and probably cannot develop the customer base.  There is little consumption of port and brandy in urban slums, and it would be too hard to develop the market.  You also don’t sell wholesale in areas there is a legally approved monopoly that monitors itself extensively. You sell outside the area and let someone, who does not know you, run it in. 
Restaurants and country clubs would obviously be a good market.  They need good stuff and less than market prices for a variety of reasons, some of which are quite obvious.  Here’s another revolutionary idea. Appear to give it away.  This would work with large law firms.  They would actually give it away as Christmas presents to clients and those they would like to become clients.  This works very well, when the smuggler-wholesaler, focuses on BigLaw firms.  Their corporate clients may want several bottle per client, each holiday.  Goldman would have found gold in them, thar law firms.
There is a far more lucrative market, but it has a higher risk.  This is convention and annual celebrations held by various groups.  The highest risk, of course is police persons balls, festivals of firemen, annual meetings of prosecuting attorneys.  If one has a sense of irony, however, this is a tempting market.  Some of the risk is generated by the necessity of bribery.  Then again, it is worth remembering that these sorts of payments are themselves part of the ancient of all kinds of smuggling.  At the same time, be sure and have someone else do it for you.  One wonders if event planners could do this; there might be a lot of money in doing this; and most of the risk would be theirs.  No doubt many of them are clever enough to get away with it, for a while.
Smugglers need to leave retail sales to others or create the appearance of “others,” company divisions where one part of the company knows little about the rest of it. The drug trade typifies this in many ways, although it uses threats of violence to control they peddlers, something that would not be necessary in vino smuggling–a long, indeed ancient, practice.
Of course, all cops who are reading this blog should assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about and am just toying around with an implausible fantasy, having just read Peter Andreas’  2013 book, SMUGGLER NATION: HOW ILLICIT TRADE MADE AMERICA or a novel by Sarah Masters Buckey, or someone like her with a similar audience.

Originally posted on 06/17/2014 @ 9:15 pm

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc. (530)

One of Texas's leading insurance scholars, Michael Sean Quinn is a past chair of the Insurance Section of the State Bar of Texas and has a broad legal practice.

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