Glad to be an American lawyer & journalist

As much as I love my Italian heritage and being in Italy, two things happened in the last 24 hours which make me happy to practice law and journalism in the good ole USA.

1.  Upon affiliating with an Italian law firm to add some international flair to my practice, I learned that Italian lawyers add a whopping 21% VAT to their hourly rate, which is pretty comparable to that of New York lawyers.  Can you just see a New York lawyer charging $400/hr and then charging the client an extra $84 for tax?  There would be anarchy in the streets.  How does anything get done in that country and it is shocking Italy has not gone bankrupt before now.

2.  The story of an Italian editor who felt compelled to air his views on teen abortion under a pseudonym is now going to jail for stating as much.Alessandro Sallusti will spend the

Alessandro Sallusti/AP-Luca Bruno

next 14 months in jail because he dared to criticize the judge who allowed a 13-year-old to have an abortion.  Views on abortion aside, this journalist feared the consequences of expression so greatly that he disguised himself with a pseudonym and has now been convicted of criminal defamation.  The outcome would be greatly different here where the judge would likely be deemed a public figure and therefore the standard would have to be actual malice.

I love Italy, truly, but when will they come out of the cave they have lived in since the empire fell?  Say what you will about the “liberal media” in the US but at least you have the absolute right to state your mind and not be sent off to jail with killers and other assorted felons.  God bless the good ole USA.

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