Friday, February 28, 2014

North Carolina Bar Association 4ALL Statewide Service Day

Here is the information from the NCBA (www.ncba.org):

The seventh annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day is scheduled Friday, March 7. Volunteer attorneys will provide free legal information from eight call centers across the state from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the exception of the Spanish-language call center at the N.C. Bar Center which will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This day of service, which began in 2008 under the leadership of President Janet Ward Black, gives attorneys the opportunity to serve more than 10,000 North Carolinians in just 12 hours. During your three-hour shift, you will answer phone calls and provide legal information to callers. Subject matter "experts" are on hand for areas of law in which you may need guidance, and the NCBA provides malpractice insurance, training, and networking throughout the day. If you have not yet signed up, please review the specific site needs below.
 

New law firm caters to gun-toting Virginians worried about legal defense costs

New law firm caters to gun-toting Virginians worried about legal defense costs. I assume they are getting large amounts of funding from the NRA and other gun rights organizations. This begs the question: who is the client? The client is the person you are representing, not the person paying your fees. Somehow I don't think this distinction will be remembered by "the Cooch."

Is Justice Thomas not paying attention? Commentator calls silence 'downright embarrassing'

Is Justice Thomas not paying attention? Commentator calls silence 'downright embarrassing'.  Jeff Toobin is a best selling author, who writes on the Supreme Court. I agree Justice Clarence Thomas doesn't participate much at oral arguments, but I am unsure what he does when the justices meet. I don't agree with Justice Thomas on most issues, but I have met him. One on one he seems intelligent and thoughtful, which is why he is all the more frightening to me. How could a man with such a stellar education and apparent intelligence hold such divergent and crackpot ideas?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

You shouldn't smoke and carry an IV

This is what is wrong with healthcare in this country. Smokers drive up the cost of health care as do obese people.

Too many homeless veterans

It is abhorrent there are so many homeless veterans.

Friday, February 21, 2014

You will be taxed on proceeds from rattlesnake-milking exhibions in North Carolina

I'm reading a book about stupid laws entitled The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance by Kevin Underhill. The book chronicles stupid laws in the United States and abroad. In North Carolina, the law states: "A rattlesnake milking exhibition for which an admission fee is charged is subject to the gross receipts tax imposed under N.C.G.S. 105-37.1."

Fortunately, however, "Rattlesnake milking for charity is not taxed." 17 N.C. Admin. Code 04B.0312 (2000).


Homeless man caught in law firm said he had been sneaking in since October

Homeless man caught in law firm said he had been sneaking in since October. Nice. These lawyers aren't real quick on the uptake. Good for this guy. I hope he ate well and enjoyed surfing the internet at this firm's expense. Maybe they should do some pro bono to help the homeless. I hope the homeless guy walks or gets probation. It is a shame he is defined by his homelessness and not who he really is. Homelessness is dehumanizing in so many ways.

Read the texts: Messages to very wrong number help police lure alleged meth seller to her arrest

Read the texts: Messages to very wrong number help police lure alleged meth seller to her arrest. This is funny. Criminals do some stupid things. I'm surprised a drug dealer wouldn't use a drop phone. Maybe it was a drop phone, but even with a drop phone you can still be caught by the police.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lack of action on DENR lawsuit may have prompted federal intervention in coal-ash spill - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News

Lack of action on DENR lawsuit may have prompted federal intervention in coal-ash spill - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News.  This is what happens when there aren't proper environmental regulations or when the ones existing aren't enforced. You think this is bad: wait till fracking is in full swing. Fracking is strip mining. When  pollution is left in the ground or dumped in the ground or water, this is what occurs. I hope the recent waste spills in West Virginia and in North Carolina will make people hold the government and private industry accountable for hurting our environment.

Opening statements heard in trial of man accused of killing and decapitating wife - Winston-Salem Journal: Crime

Opening statements heard in trial of man accused of killing and decapitating wife - Winston-Salem Journal: Crime. If this guy was in jail or even if it appears he was in jail when the murder was committed, it is reasonable doubt. I would be interested to see if there were any plea bargain negotiations. Surely there were. Perhaps the defendant and his lawyer thought they could beat the charge. Hard to say.

DOJ says bar officials violate ADA by asking applicants too much about their mental health

DOJ says bar officials violate ADA by asking applicants too much about their mental health. It's about time. I've always thought bar exam applications were too intrusive. Mental health should be off limits. I understand lawyers have a higher rate of alcoholism, substance abuse and mental health issues, but that doesn't mean you surrender your privacy just to become a lawyer. Indeed, that would be ironic. Likewise, most state bars are quasi-governmental entities, and the right to privacy attaches or at least the argument can be plausibly be made.

Lawyer's wife also dies of injuries from mailbox package bomb

Lawyer's wife also dies of injuries from mailbox package bomb. I blogged about this the other day. At the time, the wife hadn't died. Now she has. So sad. I will be interested to see why a bomb was sent to this lawyer's house. There must be more to this story. It is odd and sad at the same time.

Bloggers find inspiration at #ReInventLaw NYC--but admit some of it was nothing new

Bloggers find inspiration at #ReInventLaw NYC--but admit some of it was nothing new. There is no substitute for lawyerlike analysis, but technology needs be harnessed as does social media (the two are not necessarily the same thing). Lawyers suck at technology and social media. They think they understand both, but most of them don't. Or they know nothing about either one and are afraid of technology and social media. Most lawyers think websites are enough. That's like saying having eyes gives you a seeing advantage over other human beings. Lawyers should try and blog, be on Twitter and be on Facebook unless their practices don't lend themselves to these mediums. Some lawyers have deeply rooted client bases and may not need social media as much. This is rare, but lawyers still need to understand technology and social media in general because you never know when you will need them even if you don't regularly use them. Nothing is guaranteed, especially in the legal profession.

ABA committee throws in the towel on new bar pass standard

ABA committee throws in the towel on new bar pass standard. I am not sure if 75% bar passage is too high nationwide. Some states have difficult bar exams where the passage rate is much less than 75% so it is difficult to apply a national standard. Law schools who have chronically low bar passage rates (50% or below) should lose accreditation however. It is a way of blunting the rise of the for profit law school.

Lawyer jailed for 5 days over comment made at restaurant lunch wins appeal of contempt case

Lawyer jailed for 5 days over comment made at restaurant lunch wins appeal of contempt case. Sounds like a dumb jury clerk to me. How could you put a jury in a busy downtown restaurant? It does happen all the time unfortunately. This lawyer shouldn't have been jailed for contempt for 5 days. Extreme doesn't cover the ruling.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Posner tells BigLaw chief, 'stop babbling,' threatens to end argument in contraception mandate case

Posner tells BigLaw chief, 'stop babbling,' threatens to end argument in contraception mandate case. I love this story. Lately I've been really impressed with Judge Posner. He is much more enlightened than he used to be. It is refreshing. Although I like Notre Dame as a school because of family ties, I can't stand some of their positions.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin thought he would be acquitted, his lawyer says

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin thought he would be acquitted, his lawyer says. I never thought he would be acquitted. I've heard crap about Nagin for years from some of my Louisiana friends. Even for Louisiana politics, New Orleans in particular, this guy is dirty. Real dirty. I can't erase the foe displays of emotion during Katrina from Nagin while he gorged himself on the public's money, a public made up largely of poor black people. It is another sad chapter in the Katrina tragedy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snowmageddon 2014 sure to create a plethora of insurance claims

The snow is falling, and it's falling a lot.  #Snowmageddon2014 as it is called in twitterspeak appears to be one of the worst storm on records. It is crippling the South, and it has already crippled the Northeast and Midwest.  I saw it firsthand in Chicago #chiberia last week.  Here is a picture:

Former district attorney gets 13 years in federal corruption case over his work as a prosecutor

Former district attorney gets 13 years in federal corruption case over his work as a prosecutor. Texas Justice. When your governor can't name three agencies in the federal government he wants to cut, this is what you get. Quality. Perhaps they should hire Sheriff Arpaio from Arizona away to clean up things deep in the heart of Texas; he's about as bad as anything you could hope to find. My advice: next time Texans talk of secession  let them do it.  Good riddance.

Woody Allen made an 'unprovoked, gratuitous' attack on my character, ex-prosecutor claims

Woody Allen made an 'unprovoked, gratuitous' attack on my character, ex-prosecutor claims. This Woody Allen thing is huge. I don't know what Woody Allen did or didn't do. Quite frankly, I don't care at this point. If there isn't evidence to back what is being said, I don't think accusations should be made. In the United States, we believe in the rule of law. That means we must have evidence to convict someone of a crime. Likewise, you must have a preponderance of evidence in a civil suit. If you don't have either of those things, there is no legal remedy. This means you can't continue to besmirch a person's reputation without proof.  Obviously if Allen did the things he's accused of, then he is a scumbag, and he should face legal consequences.  If not, he should be left alone.

Child actor parlays his connections into an entertainment law practice

Child actor parlays his connections into an entertainment law practice. Glad to see "Chunk" from Goonies is doing well. Usually stories about child actors aren't so positive, but here this former actor has done well from himself. I'm sure entertainment law would be fun.

Retired lawyer is killed by package bomb sent to his home

Retired lawyer is killed by package bomb sent to his home. This is a terrible story. It is unusual to hear of a bomb being sent to a lawyer's home especially when this lawyer was retired and hadn't tried high profile criminal cases. I'm sure it was a disgruntled client on an estate case. I've learned to never underestimate human craziness. This case illustrates that point.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Estate of James Dean sues Twitter and fan over @JamesDean account

Estate of James Dean sues Twitter and fan over @JamesDean account. This is probably trademark infringement, but the issue is whether there are any monetary damages. Monetary damages here would be difficult to calculate.

ABA President Silkenat: America's legal response to gun violence is unacceptable

ABA President Silkenat: America's legal response to gun violence is unacceptable. I'm glad the ABA President is taking this position. Congress' response to Newton and other shootings is unacceptable.  They can't do nothing, yet they did.  Nothing.  That's not an acceptable answer.  Maybe Congress will feel the weight of the ABA and do something.

Wintry weather led to arrest of woman for 1977 prison escape

Wintry weather led to arrest of woman for 1977 prison escape. Talk about bad luck. I didn't think they kept looking for people after 30 years. You almost have to try and get caught. This woman about did.  Clearly.

Lawyers rank judges running for election - Winston-Salem Journal: Local

Lawyers rank judges running for election - Winston-Salem Journal: Local. This is a worthwhile survey. Judges normally welcome this. It is a way to measure the performance of judges. Some judges don't like it, but that's to be expected. The good judges receive good evaluations. The bad judges receive bad evaluations because lawyers take these very seriously, and they don't give arbitrary evaluations. Of course there are outliers, but these evaluations are balanced out by the other evaluations.

Woman sues in effort to prove she is alive

Woman sues in effort to prove she is alive. It stinks when people think you are dead. Purported death makes it hard to live your life in the modern economy. In this instance, this woman, who supposedly died but really didn't, has to convince the credit bureaus she is still alive.  I'm not sure how death certificates are rescinded.  It probably comes up more than you would think.

24 percent of JDs who passed the bar in 2000 aren't practicing law, survey finds

24 percent of JDs who passed the bar in 2000 aren't practicing law, survey finds. There is a reason most of John Grisham's books are about escaping the practice of law. It sucks for many lawyers.  I enjoy it, but it isn't always easy. And it is better for me than for others. There are plenty of times I think about other careers such as writing, academia, politics or psychology, but these jobs have their good days and bad days. Ultimately it is about doing the most good. For me, that's being a lawyer.

Georgia Bar president critical of local lawyer's 'over the top' Super Bowl ad

Georgia Bar president critical of local lawyer's 'over the top' Super Bowl ad.  This certainly isn't an ad I would have run, but I understand what the guy is trying to do.  Unfortunately, many people in this country are abused by people in power, and sometimes the abusers are the police.  Quite frankly, I don't blame the guy for hating the police because his brother was murdered, and the police appeared to make no effort to find his killer.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Two NOSSCR Members Have Letters to the Editor Published in Chicago Tribune | NOSSCR

Two NOSSCR Members Have Letters to the Editor Published in Chicago Tribune | NOSSCR.  These are well argued editorials.  Social Security disability is unfairly maligned.  It is a tough area of the law, where around 40 % of all cases are ultimately successful.  I've handled hundreds of these cases, and I have NEVER seen a time where someone who didn't deserve disability received disability.  Judges debate lawyers vigorously on cases when it is needed, but they are fair.  There is a lot of give and take, and lawyers and judges have to be knowledgeable in Social Security disability law.  Those who say otherwise are ignorant.

Divorce lawyer who admitted bugging car gets 2 years for illegal eavesdropping, tax evasion

Divorce lawyer who admitted bugging car gets 2 years for illegal eavesdropping, tax evasion.  This is very gangster.  I'm glad this lawyer got two years for illegal eavesdropping and tax evasion.  Surveillance can be important in cases, but there are rules.  Using a wire in someone's private care isn't legal nor should it be.

Law firm report: Ex-Mayor Daley didn't influence initial failure to charge nephew in Chicago slaying

Law firm report: Ex-Mayor Daley didn't influence initial failure to charge nephew in Chicago slaying.  I'm not sure how much you can take the size differential into account here.  The victim died as a result of banging his head after falling down from a punch.  I'm not sure about all the details, but it makes sense the prosecutor would want to make sure everything was airtight before charging someone from the Daley family.  It is Chicago. 

Scalia: Korematsu was wrong, but 'you are kidding yourself' if you think it won't happen again

Scalia: Korematsu was wrong, but 'you are kidding yourself' if you think it won't happen again.  Glad to know he thinks something is wrong.  Of course he's a smart guy, but he isn't the nicest guy on the planet.  And it is easy to have his skewed perspective when you are an old white guy.  That's the safest thing on Earth.

Monday, February 3, 2014

NC attorneys criticize volume of grand jury cases - Winston-Salem Journal: State / Region

NC attorneys criticize volume of grand jury cases - Winston-Salem Journal: State / Region.  I tend to agree grand juries are rubber stamps.  The old saying goes, "a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich," and that sums it up.  It seems a waste of money to me.

UPDATE: Hostage situation in Winston-Salem hotel involves man, family member - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News

UPDATE: Hostage situation in Winston-Salem hotel involves man, family member - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News.  Sad situation.  I wonder what kind of gun the guy has and where he bought it.  These kinds of things rarely end well.  Unfortunately they guy probably has mental health issues that haven't been treated adequately.  That's what happens when the state cuts Medicaid funding.

City attorney sued by watchdog group for using private account for work-related emails

City attorney sued by watchdog group for using private account for work-related emails.  I don't believe e-mails that would otherwise be public should be shielded just because they are from a "private" account.  This would elevate form over substance.  It depends on how strictly the court wants to construe the statute and what the cases in California say about this particular issue.  Seems quite similar to the Chris Christie scandal.

Lawyer's local Super Bowl ad is described as 'completely nuts' and a masterpiece

Lawyer's local Super Bowl ad is described as 'completely nuts' and a masterpiece.  This ad is over the top, and it is great.  It is very effective.  Guy goes from being a criminal defense lawyer to a personal injury lawyer because his brother was murdered, and the police didn't do anything about it.  The ad is like a rock video, and it gets the point across.  Likewise, it has gone viral, so it's gotten a huge bump.

Attorney Michael Wells Jr. appeared on WFMY Channel 2 to discuss NCBA's Ask-A-Lawyer Day

I enjoyed my interview with Faith Abubey on WFMY Channel 2 on Saturday morning where I discussed the NCBA YLD's annual Ask-A-Lawyer Day.  Ask-A-Lawyer Day took place in multiple locations throughout the state.  Volunteer lawyers answered many questions on a variety of different legal topics.

My interview can be found at http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=314943

Seven-minute decisions must be made in this immigration court

Seven-minute decisions must be made in this immigration court.  1,500 cases per year?!  That's insane.  I thought Administrative Law Judges who decide Social Security disability cases at 500 per year had it hard.  Nothing like this guy, the caveat being the ALJ in the immigration cases don't have to read through voluminous medical records.  Of course, some immigration cases have thick files, but the information contained in the files is more procedural in nature.

Woman lost in system serves 154 days instead of 48 hours; prosecutor filed motion to get her out

Woman lost in system serves 154 days instead of 48 hours; prosecutor filed motion to get her out.  This is absurd.  Talk about a Kafkaesque bureaucracy.  I'm surprised they didn't figure out this error sooner.  Why didn't her lawyer fuss about it?  There are some clear civil rights violations here.