Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Social Security seminar today

I will be giving it with Chrystal Kay from Legal Aid.

Where: Downtown Health 

When: 5-6:30.

Sad this even needs to be posted

Why would a customer carry a gun into a bank?  It is inherently risky and shouldn't be allowed. 

NBA owner Donald Sterling suspended for life, and experts say his legal options are limited

NBA owner Donald Sterling suspended for life, and experts say his legal options are limited.  This is a fascinating story.  I'm wondering when Rush Limbaugh will run to this guy's defense (I'm only partially kidding).  It is likely the Clippers, which are reportedly worth over $700 million, will be purchased for a song.  Sterling purchased the Clippers in 1981 for $14 million.  Quite an investment.

Donald Sterling, race and free speech

In case you were living in a cave, the NBA banned LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.  Less significantly for Sterling the league imposed a $2.5 million fine on him.  He won't have any trouble paying this fine.  Regardless of what Sterling said, didn't say, thought or said in the past this shows race is a major problem in the United States.

There is a larger segment of the population than we realize that hates and that is prejudice.  This segment attacks the President because he is black.  It hates successful black athletes, and it decries the ills of government programs, which it incorrectly assumes are primarily consumed by people of color (white people consume more government benefits in number and proportionally).

You may claim Sterling has nothing to do with racism towards the President and other people of color.  I disagree.  Sterling is a symptom.  He is a symptom of a greater, more underlying, more pernicious form of racism.  We certainly see it with the death penalty which disproportionately executes black people and in attitudes towards black people in general.

We do have freedom of speech in this country.  It isn't absolute, but it does give you the opportunity to say some really stupid things.  Donald Sterling is living proof of that.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Is the truck parked behind me legally parked?

This isn't a loading zone.

Freedom of speech creates verbal irony

I saw this guy's bumper sticker today.  He's whining about people whining.  Freedom of speech makes this kind of verbal irony possible.  

Lawyer wins reinstatement after suspension for taking upskirt photos

Lawyer wins reinstatement after suspension for taking upskirt photos.  Sounds like this guy has mental issues to me.  I do have to applaud his lawyer from seemingly plausible arguments (until the last part): he lost his job; he lost his house; he lost his girlfriend, AND he was trying to stay connected to the swinging lifestyle.  The last part is the kicker.  Quite humorous in fact.

Want to unsend that email? Two Harvard law students offer a way to do it

Want to unsend that email? Two Harvard law students offer a way to do it.  It has been said, "you cannot unring a bell," and that statement appears to be challenged here.  Once someone reads the e-mail, then it has been seen.  Seen but unsent I suppose, a subtle, yet significant distinction.  What happens when the e-mail hits the recipient's inbox.  I assume the e-mail must be unsent in the time prior to it arriving in the inbox.  It does raise interesting legal issues with respect to electronic data.  For example, at what point is an e-mail discoverable?  If it is unsent, is it discoverable because it was sent at one point?  It depends on the facts.

LegalZoom business model OK'd by South Carolina Supreme Court

LegalZoom business model OK'd by South Carolina Supreme Court.  This is ironic given that South Carolina is the most protectionist state in the country when it comes to practicing law.  Consequently, it is surprising that South Carolina's Supreme Court would okay www.LegalZoom.com to operate in South Carolina given the surrounding states' position on the site's activities and whether these activities constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Branding and storytelling help lawyers find and keep clients

Branding and storytelling help lawyers find and keep clients.  "Make sure you brand everything you do" is an interesting quote.  I'm sure Don Draper would agree.  Creating a brand is hard, very hard.  How do you take the entirety of yourself and your image and boil it down to a narrow, cognizable thing?  It is something I work towards on a regular basis.  It all boils down to who you want to be and how you want to be perceived.  Once you figure those two things out, it isn't too hard.  Figuring those two things out is very difficult though.

Lawyernomics attendees learn about SEO, effective Web marketing

Lawyernomics attendees learn about SEO, effective Web marketing.  Blogging is helpful in marketing your practice.  Quality content is important as websites may link to your blog when you provide useful information.  Blogs are much more conversational than conventional legal writing.  You Tube videos are also helpful in that they humanize the lawyer, provide useful information and improve SEO (search engine optimization).

Friday, April 25, 2014

How Scalia and Ginsburg would amend the Constitution

How Scalia and Ginsburg would amend the Constitution.   I agree with both of them.  Who would have thought I would agree with Scalia?  "Even a broken clock is right twice a day," as the saying goes.  I disagreed with Ginsburg child porn cap case from earlier this week.  The "world is turned upside down." Man...I'm throwing out the clichés today.  Clichés make for bad writing, so I apologize for my inarticulate, late-week drivel.

Lawyer gets 10 years in double-billing case

Lawyer gets 10 years in double-billing case.  $600,000 is a lot to be made for indigent work over a three year span.  The forgery of fee petitions is the worst part.  Forging a judge's signature? It doesn't get more stupid.  10 years is a lot of time though, especially considering people who shoot people to death don't often get this time. 

Partners in study gave legal memo a lower rating when told author wasn't white

Partners in study gave legal memo a lower rating when told author wasn't white.  This is staggering.  The same memo scored .9 points lower on a 5 point scale  when written by a black man.  Crazy.  Absolutely crazy.  It is not a good sign for these firms, and it demonstrates a built in racial bias.  Makes you wonder if a brief written by a woman would be scored differently than a man or a lawyer from an Ivy League school versus a non-Ivy law school.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Store with 'Wake the ---- Up' coffee can't fire worker for explicit chat without warning, says judge

Store with 'Wake the ---- Up' coffee can't fire worker for explicit chat without warning, says judge.  Kind of hard to fire someone for using explicit words to a customer when your products bear explicit words.  Likewise, when you as CEO are called for comment, using the f-word doesn't exactly strengthen your argument.  Maybe this is a "Christian" business.  Businesses that misuse religion for monetary gain tend to be the worst offenders.

Jury awards nearly $3M to family over fracking pollution

Jury awards nearly $3M to family over fracking pollution.  It is about time Texas does something right.  Fracking is a barbaric process, and it is horrible for the environment.  The Duke Energy coal ash spill is nothing compared to the dangers of fracking; the Duke Energy spill was horrible too--worst in US history.  I hope there are more lawsuits like this.

Child porn possessors must pay victims restitution, but liability is limited, SCOTUS rules

Child porn possessors must pay victims restitution, but liability is limited, SCOTUS rules.  I think you have to construe Congressional intent in favor of the victim.  Child porn is perhaps the most pernicious illegal activity in our country.  I do not agree with the majority that liability should be limited.  $3.4 million should have been the award.  I see no reason for a limit on the liability of the uncle who took pictures and exploited his young niece.  Damages can never be proportional to the harm; therefore, damages must be very liberally granted and punitive in nature, otherwise the law cannot begin to hope to exact the wrong.  Obviously collection is an issue, but the more the damages, the greater the message. 

I enjoyed speaking at the Gateway YWCA about Social Security disability

The attendees asked great questions as we delved into the complex world of Social Security disability.  I will speak in conjunction with Legal Aid on the same topic next week at the Downtown Health Plaza on Wednrsday, April 30th, at 5 pm until 6 pm.

I'm going to speak at the YWCA about Social Security disability today at 12:30

The YWCA was nice enough to ask me to speak about Social Security disability.  Hopefully I will get a good crowd.  It is a great facility, and I am happy that area of town has been revitalized.

Lawyers can probe jurors on social media but can't connect with them there, ABA ethics opinion says

Lawyers can probe jurors on social media but can't connect with them there, ABA ethics opinion says.  I'm not sure why they need an ethical opinion on this.  It seems pretty obvious friending a juror would be improper conduct.  I suppose a lot of lawyers don't understand social media.  In fact, I know of plenty who don't.  It is really pathetic, yet it is amusing too.  I should compile the incorrect statements made by lawyers.  I could call it, "Dumb Things Lawyers Say About Technology." 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Traces of marijuana in bloodstream not enough for DUI conviction, Arizona Supreme Court rules

Traces of marijuana in bloodstream not enough for DUI conviction, Arizona Supreme Court rules.  Interesting case.  I wonder if this will be used by anti-legalization advocates.  I suppose these kinds of arguments have been made and will continue to be made.  I can see why the Arizona Supreme Court made this ruling as there were clearly proof problems.

Why should I hire a Social Security disability lawyer instead of a non-attorney claims representative?

It is important for Social Security disability claimants to have representation, legal representation.  Certainly non-attorney claims representatives are allowed to represent disability claimants in their cases.  Claimants do so, however, at their own peril.

Let me give you an example of non-attorney incompetence:

I will call the claimant Bill.  Bill used to work as a CNA, but he can't because he is unable to lift more than 20 lbs. continuously.  He only has a 12th grade education, and he is over the age of 60 so he does not have the residual functioning capacity to do sedentary work.

It comes up at hearing that Bill worked for a company that did parties to sell certain kinds of goods.  Claims representative failed to question Bill about the job duties and whether he could perform the job.  Judge issued am "Unfavorable" decision because he concluded Bill could do his job with the party company.

The representative should have asked how long Bill could stand.  He should have asked if he could do the work eight hours a day five days a week.  Then he should have asked how much weight Bill would have had to lift at the job.  If these questions had been asked and answered, Bill likely would have prevailed at the hearing.  Any attorney would have asked these questions.

Claims representative also left out that Bill's mother died in a car wreck in front of Bill when he was 7.  Certainly this would bolster PTSD and  depression claims.

The long and short of this was the claims representative was incompetent and clearly not a lawyer.  A lawyer would have won this case.

Failed Justin Bieber deportation attempt elicits brilliant White House response

There are a few hundred thousand idiots who have nothing better to do than to sign a petition asking the President to deport Justin Bieber.  Obviously the President can't comment on pending Homeland Security issues, a legal reality lost on the dull witted petitioners.

In a brilliant move, President Obama used the feeding frenzy to stress the need for comprehensive immigration reform that 1) secures our borders, 2) streamlines the process and 3) provides a path to citizenship.  This is what these petitioners should focus on.  Critics rarely have solitons, especially when they are in the #tealiban. 

Why does it take so long to get Social Security disability?

There are a number of reasons.  There are hundreds of thousands of claims.  Since 2010 Congress has continued to defend the Social Security Administration's (SSA) local offices, and this results in claims processing delays.  Sequestration has exacerbated this trend by cutting funds for local office funding more.  Lastly, the government shutdown in 2013 has caused more delays.

Congress has systematically cut funding for local offices since about 2010.  This has increased the processing time for an average claim that goes to hearing from 18 months to more than 24 months.  This is a concerted effort by conservatives in Congress to discourage disability filings and to "wait out" claimants so that they give up or die.

Sequestration further delayed cases by cutting local offices budgets further.  There is hostility to disability cases in Washington in spite of the cases being a small portion of government programs.  Likewise, many of these claims are returning money people already paid into the system. Contrary to the mindless rhetoric of intellectually bankrupt Congress people, disability is not a handout, yet tax breaks to billionaires are.  Logical consistency is not important to the illogical.

The government shutdown in 2013 delayed cases already waiting on decisions; it delayed hearings; it delayed denials; it delayed payments; it delayed everything.

There are other reasons, but these are the main reasons. 

Insurer sues Chicago and surrounding towns over 'geysers of sewer water' in policyholders' homes

Insurer sues Chicago and surrounding towns over 'geysers of sewer water' in policyholders' homes.  Wow!!  An insurance company accusing an entity of being dishonest.  That's the "pot calling the kettle black."  Having dealt with insurance companies, I am not quite sure what they do that's all that useful when it comes to property and casualty insurance as they are often so stringent on their claims.  They love to play the 'whipped dog' when they essentially print money by not having to pay out much, if anything, on claims.  The average insured recoups 1/10 of the value of his case if he doesn't have a lawyer.  Think about that.

Should I hire a lawyer before filing for Social Security disability?

Reasonable minds can disagree over this.  If a claimant prevails at the initial level, then, by definition, he did not need an attorney.  The question arises, if the claimant lost at the initial level, might he have prevailed if he had a lawyer?  The answer to this question is somewhat elusive as it is difficult to say unless you know the facts of the case and what the screener wanted to see.  Not all screeners are created equal.

Some lawyers provide lengthy medical summaries and arguments as to why a claimant should win along with the initial application.  If these documents are read, then the information is helpful--possibly.  Cases that prevail at the initial level are usually those that win on their face.  They don't need to be explained.  They are essentially self-evident.

Most claimants should try and file on their own the first time and see what happens.  It is very likely they will be turned down.  I do think, however, it does not hurt to talk to a lawyer before filing.  Many of my clients talked to me before filing, but they did not retain me until after the initial denial.  Quite frankly, the best news I can get is when I told a claimant to file, and the claimant gets disability without my help or my contingency fee.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

HODGES v. MOORE, No. COA10-69., July 20, 2010 - NC Court of Appeals | FindLaw

HODGES v. MOORE, No. COA10-69., July 20, 2010 - NC Court of Appeals | FindLaw.  This is a case I wrote the winning Appellee's brief for from back in 2010.  Interesting issue.  Issue was whether the judge has to make detailed findings of fact in granting a motion for summary judgment.  I argued no as summary judgment is proper when there is no genuine issue of material fact.  Kind of hard to do that when there are detailed factual issues in an order.

People looking for a lawyer are turning to the Internet first, survey finds

People looking for a lawyer are turning to the Internet first, survey finds.  This isn't surprising.  Most people shop for things on the Internet.  It make sense they would do the same thing for lawyers.  Law firms tend to be behind the curve on these kinds of things as they aren't as adept at social media, which is a major source of internet referrals because it gets you out there and differentiates you in a positive way.  Law firms that fail to adopt technology will wither on the vine.

SCOTUS upholds Michigan's affirmative-action ban for college admissions

SCOTUS upholds Michigan's affirmative-action ban for college admissions.  This is a disappointment, but it isn't surprising given this conservative activist court; Justice Breyer does surprise me, however.  SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Why not affirmative action too?  They did away with money limits on financial contributions to political candidates.  They think corporations are people in the constitutional sense.  What's next?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Actual Innocence is a cautionary tale

Actual Innocence is a startling book.  Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld and Jim Dwyer wrote it, all of whom are superb lawyers.  They are particularly adept at getting innocent people out of prison.

The book chronicles stories of prosecutorial misconduct, junk science, incompetent medical experts and racially biased juries.  Likewise, the book discusses the impact on the innocent men who rotted in prison for years for crimes they didn't commit.

Sadly North Carolina has sent many innocent people to prison, and some innocent people have been executed, yet lawyers and the public remain largely silent.  This is sad.

Where is the public outcry for the innocent?  When Darryl Hunt was exonerated racist people scoffed at the settlement he received.  The money was a pittance he received for being deprived of his freedom.

Lawyer is tossed out of court for wearing shorts after knee surgery

Lawyer is tossed out of court for wearing shorts after knee surgery.  This judge sounds like a bit of a hard ass, but maybe that is just me.  Talk about a lack of flexibility.  I wonder if the judge ever practiced law.  A judge who practiced law wouldn't act like this.  I assure you.

Vote for your favorite 2014 Peeps in Law diorama

Vote for your favorite 2014 Peeps in Law diorama.  I loved the video one.  It was quite funny, and it shows how creative lawyers can be.  It is really quite remarkable.  Lawyers often waste their talents as many of them are quite creative.  The law can stifle creativity.  Luckily it didn't do it here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Teen criminally convicted for recording his classmates bullying him in school

Teen criminally convicted for recording his classmates bullying him in school.  This kid is a hero.  I can't believe he was convicted for recording bullies.  Dickens was right, "The law is an ass."  I understand the US Attorneys charging him here as this was a technical violation, but it appears (at least based on this short story) this was unfair.

'Mom does what I say or mom gets the fist,' testifies paralyzed son at her attempted-murder trial

'Mom does what I say or mom gets the fist,' testifies paralyzed son at her attempted-murder trial.  God Florida is a cesspool, other than Miami that is.  I'm not sure if the mother was justified in her actions, but her son's testimony certainly helps her.  A technical point: when a crime is committed against a person, it is deemed committed against the state.  It is an affront to the state.  That's why the prosecution represents the "people," although the "peoples'" needs are not often served.  It is the ultimate legal fiction.

Law grad is sentenced to life for murder of girlfriend whose pleas were recorded on cell phone

Law grad is sentenced to life for murder of girlfriend whose pleas were recorded on cell phone.  This is a sad story.  Clearly this guy was a depraved individual.  Obviously this has nothing to do with the University of Florida--he just happened to go to school there.  It does make you wonder about the mental health of law students and lawyers.  Mental health issues are everywhere, and they aren't well addressed.  The Fort Hood slayings tell us this as do other shootings.

Man in YouTube video of US Supreme Court protest gets time served, is banned for a year

Man in YouTube video of US Supreme Court protest gets time served, is banned for a year.  I understand they guy's sentiment, but he could have chosen a different way to express his feelings.  However, he may not have gotten as much attention with any other method.  So perhaps he was willing to serve the time to get his viewpoint out there and to become an internet sensation.  Ah...the price of "fame" (or '15 minutes of fame' as Andy Warhol said).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don't procrastinate! Missing April 15 tax deadline can be costly, but the IRS offers alternatives

Don't procrastinate! Missing April 15 tax deadline can be costly, but the IRS offers alternatives.  There aren't a lot of good alternatives when you fail to pay your taxes.  And there shouldn't be.  People should pay their taxes.  Yes it can be onerous.  It certainly isn't fun shelling out a lot of money at the end of the year, but people failing to pay their fair share is what makes our taxes so high.  Likewise, without taxes we wouldn't have roads, schools, health care, money, national defense or any other thing the government provides.  You want to go back to the middle ages?  Not having taxes is the way to do it.

Posner tosses copyright suit by 'Banana Lady,' notes her 'incessant filing of frivolous lawsuits'

Posner tosses copyright suit by 'Banana Lady,' notes her 'incessant filing of frivolous lawsuits'.  $55,000 in costs!  I know federal cases are expensive, but that is unreal.  I'm wondering what this woman filed.  Clearly she filed a number of pleadings and motions.  The article says she filed 6 lawsuits.  She needs to get a real job.  She was pro se.  Thank God she didn't have a lawyer doing this. 

Rare 'Perry Mason' moment in court wins dismissal for defendant, desk duty for 5 police officers

Rare 'Perry Mason' moment in court wins dismissal for defendant, desk duty for 5 police officers.  That pesky 4th Amendment.  The cumbersome exclusionary rule and the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine really get in the way, don't they?  Some people would have you believe these constitutional principles are an impediment to justice.  Quite the contrary as they are the tools of justice.  Without safeguards we would live in a police state, and who wants that?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Man ordered to display 'I am a bully' sign is jeered during his punishment

Man ordered to display 'I am a bully' sign is jeered during his punishment. I like the judge who sentenced this guy.  It is astounding that this guy would pick on disabled children.  What a scumbag.  I'm glad he was harassed, and I hope he gets more of it.  He deserves a lifetime of torment in my opinion.  Perhaps he can visit Dante's Inferno.  Sadly I'm sure literary references would be lost on this devolved homo sapien.

Judge reprimanded for comment about proliferation of women lawyers; was he misunderstood?

Judge reprimanded for comment about proliferation of women lawyers; was he misunderstood?  This guy should join the Federalist Society.  He thinks like they do.  Perhaps he can join them for a quail hunt at the local lodge after smoking a Cuban cigar at the country club.  Fossils like this guy are way too prevalent in modern society.

Individual freedom is far more important than economic freedom

Although it is hard to tell given the Supreme Court's decision that the more money you have the more your voice counts, individual freedom is supposed to be more important than economic freedom.  At least I thought the Court resolved that issue over a hundred years ago when we entered the post Lochner v. New York era.  Sadly there are those here among us who want to roll back the law to 1905.  I'm not kidding--they really do.  So why should you care?  Because individual liberty suffers.  Individual freedom, the most sacred form of freedom, is eroded.

Which side should the law err on: economic freedom or individual freedom?  Any sensible, mildly ethical person would say individual freedom, but this isn't what is happening.

I recently read the book Actual Innocence by Barry Scheck among others.  It chronicled several stories of men put on death row or life in prison for crimes they clearly didn't commit.  What's more is the incompetence of the DAs and police was appalling.  Likewise, the apathy of the system towards these appalling situations is disturbing.

Barry Scheck points out we study airplane crashes, earthquakes, stock market crashes and climate change, yet NOTHING is done to study how to prevent innocent people from going to prison or being put to death.

Things need to change, but the current Court doesn't appear inclined to make such a change.  They are too concerned with money speaking, and they are content to eviscerate civil rights legislation and ignore the concept of innocence.  After all Scalia and his other Federalist Society ilk believe actual innocence isn't a federally cognizable claim. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Should you self-promote in your blog posts? | Finding a lawyer via Google vs. social media

Should you self-promote in your blog posts? | Finding a lawyer via Google vs. social media.  You need to tell people when you are good at something.  Self-promotion is part of being a lawyers.  Obviously you have to follow the ethics rules when doing so.

Men should be careful about what they wear to work.  John Hamm attire probably isn't appropriate.

Just my thoughts on this smorgasbord of legal topics.

Ex-wife gets less in divorce of BigLaw partner because her badmouthing hurt rainmaking, judge says

Ex-wife gets less in divorce of BigLaw partner because her badmouthing hurt rainmaking, judge says.  Smart argument by the divorce lawyer and a dumb move by the ex-wife.  Above the Law (www.abovethelaw.com) is a great publication.  I've been featured on it, BUT in a positive way.  Most people are featured in a negative way.  Most tech savvy lawyers read it.  If you don't you, you should.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Michael Wells April 30 Social Security disability seminar

 
 
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILTY BASICS:
What Everyone Needs to Know
 
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY
 
Date:          Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Location:   Downtown Health Plaza,

              1200 N Martin Luther King Jr Dr,
              Winston-Salem, NC 27101
  
   
 
Presenters: Michael Wells Jr., Esq., Wells Jenkins Lucas Jenkins, PLLC and Chrystal Kay, Esq., Legal Aid of North Carolina
 
Come and hear about:
·       Application process
·       SSI v. SSDI
·       Medical issues
·       Hearings
·       Any question you want to ask
 
Questions: contact Michael Wells at 714-5773 or at  michaelw@wellsjenkins.com

 
 

Happy 271st Birthday Mr. Jefferson #TJBDay


I helped the NCBA delegation lobby Congress for ABA Day

ABA Day has lasted several days.  The NCBA's delegation met with most of the Congress people and both Senators Hagan and Burr.  Our issues were 1) voting for President Obama's $420 million budget item for Legal Services Corp and 2) not taxing accounts receivable or work in progress reports under an accrual system for law firms and other service jobs.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm enjoying ABA Day in DC

I've been able to meet with Kay Hagan and Renee Elmers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NCBA Young Lawyers Division Chair Elect, Michael Wells, on Capitol Hill

I'm ready to lobby Congress.  We need to support legal services for the indigent. I'm encouraged Congress has funded Legal Services Corporation more than last year.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Suspended lawyer faces criminal charges, is accused of setting girlfriend on fire

Suspended lawyer faces criminal charges, is accused of setting girlfriend on fire.  This is like a Lifetime movie.  Setting someone on fire is crazy.  This isn't the TV show Vikings, but it is in Minnesota.  Bad joke, I know.  Fictional Jon Sanford Twin City sleuth Lucas Davenport would have a field day with this.  Usually the prey isn't set on fire in the Sanford's "prey" series.

US has $1 trillion in student debt; indebted lawyer laments his Chevy lifestyle

US has $1 trillion in student debt; indebted lawyer laments his Chevy lifestyle.  This is the next big bubble to burst.  It will be awful too.  There is NO financial reason to be a lawyer anymore if you have student debt.  You can't make the money back.  Law school tuition needs to go down; jobs need to be more prevalent and higher paying; or both need to occur.  It is a mess. 

Judge jails in-house lawyer who complained in email about being selected for jury service

Judge jails in-house lawyer who complained in email about being selected for jury service.  I don't blame this lawyer for feeling this way.  Her actions, however, were not appropriate because 1) she engaged in ex parte communications with a judge, and 2) she said she would punish the plaintiff.  Both of these actions/statements are antithetical to the belief in the jury system, which is a belief lawyers are supposed to hold dear.



I do agree many trials are a waste of time, but trials are necessary.  They are reserved for times when cases cannot be resolved.  They are inconvenient, but so is justice sometimes.  We still want justice though, although justice doesn't always happen in trials.

Man who filmed mock trial for RJ Reynolds faces extortion case over claimed threat to release clips

Man who filmed mock trial for RJ Reynolds faces extortion case over claimed threat to release clips.  I can't believe this guy would be so stupid.  Also, why would he threaten a tobacco company?  How did he think he could win doing that?  Not very smart at all.

Waiting, death and Social Security disability

Waiting to receive Social Security disability benefits too often ends in the claimant's death prior to receiving benefits.  Sadly this may be how the system was designed under the brutal calculus imposed by ruthless bean counters intent to save money yet kill people.  Either you give up or you die.  This weeds out many cases.  Some may say this is a cynical view, and maybe it is.  I doubt it though because I've seen too many people die while waiting for Social Security disability benefits, and what kills them?  It isn't (although I have no way of definitively proving it) physical health issues.  I believe it is suicide.  Hope dies, and then they take their lives.

What kind of absurd system allows people to be so beaten down and maligned that they take their own lives?  Sadly Social Security disability and VA disability are two deeply flawed systems.  The problem isn't these too organizations.  It is Congress and its members, many of whom defund these organizations under Grover Norquist's misguided and cruel "starve the beast" mentality.  Of course they are feeding a different beast. 

As Cassius said to Brutus in Julius Caesar, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."  Of course Congress has control, unlike Brutus, who was driven by arcane notions or Roman honor (arguably Brutus had free will too, but that's another issue). They are not tools implacably manipulated by the fates.  They could stop this, but they don't.  And this is a true "American tragedy."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Estate dispute caused by 'E-Z Legal Form' is a 'cautionary tale,' says justice

Estate dispute caused by 'E-Z Legal Form' is a 'cautionary tale,' says justice.  Non-lawyers shouldn't try and be lawyers.  That's the lesson here.  I'm sure Legal Zoom (www.legalzoom.com) thinks it is providing a good service, but using their forms or other online legal forms is an exercise fraught with peril.

Posthumous pardon denied for man executed for arson deaths; lawyers had cited new evidence

Posthumous pardon denied for man executed for arson deaths; lawyers had cited new evidence.  This is absurd.  The evidence in this case was deeply flawed.  This guy should have never been tried let alone convicted and executed.  It is especially troubling the parole board didn't grant him a pardon posthumously in spite of the ample evidence that HE DIDN'T DO IT. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Social Security disability seminar on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 5-6:30 at Downtown Health Plaza


SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILTY BASICS:

What Everyone Needs to Know

 
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY

 
Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 5-6:30

Location: Downtown Health Plaza,

1200 N Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

 
Presenters: Michael Wells Jr., Esq., Wells Jenkins Lucas Jenkins, PLLC and

Chrystal Kay, Esq., Legal Aid of North Carolina

 
Come and hear about:

·      Application process

·      SSI v. SSDI

·      Medical issues

·      Hearings

·      Any question you want to ask
Questions: contact Michael Wells at 714-5773 or michaelw@wellsjenkins.com

Fort Hood slayings demonstrate PTSD is not adequately treated, and there are serious problems with the military's treatment of its soliders

Ivan Lopez's shooting rampage is the second at Fort Hood, Texas in the past five years.  Lopez was an Iraqi war veteran who suffered from what appeared to be PTSD.  He was taking medication.  The army knew he was a problem, yet three people are dead.  16 are injured.

How did this happen?

First, we treat our military personnel horribly because we started a pointless war in Iraq in 2003.  We sent soldiers back again and again.  May came back broken.

Second, VA disability benefits take forever to obtain, and they are often paltry sums.  Likewise, the treatment provided is less than stellar.

Third, mentally ill people shouldn't have access to guns.  I don't care if the guy was on a military base.  These events were foreseeable as they've happened before and will continue to happen.  The military DID NOT take away his access to guns.

Fourth, the military needs to consider whom they enlist.  They can't take everyone who applies so to speak.  Clearly they have some people who are suffering from mental health issues to begin with, issues which become more acute through their service.

What's the solution: less war, more VA disability benefits and less access to guns.  If you argue more guns are the answer, you are an idiot and clearly don't grasp the complexity of this problem nor are you sensitive to mental health issues.

Zac Efron to play Yale law grad in new movie based on John Grisham's 'The Associate'

Zac Efron to play Yale law grad in new movie based on John Grisham's 'The Associate'.  This book was quite good.  Can't say I agree with the casting of the main character as Zac Efron is more fit for Nicholas Sparks movies, which are pretty darn vapid in terms of intellectual content.  Perhaps he has moved up in the world.  By virtue of doing this movie I guess he has.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DuPont heir got probation for child rape; judge said he wouldn't fare well in prison

DuPont heir got probation for child rape; judge said he wouldn't fare well in prison.  No one is supposed to fare well in prison.  That's the point.  This is an absurd ruling by a judge who clearly doesn't care about justice or equity.  I want the DuPont guy to go to prison and "not fare well" because he deserves it.  When you rape a child, you should get the same--in prison.  This guy is scum.

Supreme Court strikes down aggregate campaign contribution limits

Supreme Court strikes down aggregate campaign contribution limits.  I guess Buckley v. Valeo is no more.  Big money rules in the United States, and corporations are "people" to SCOTUS.  Such a ringing endorsement for our great country's future.  This is a sad day, but it isn't surprising.  Not in the least.  The era of Citizens United is dark, much in the same way the Empire was dark in the Star Wars movies.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Websites without social media are worthless

Websites need to be revamped periodically.  Updating your website is no substitute for social media.  The two need to work together, especially if you are a lawyer.  Social media has helped me to reach a mass audience, get TV interviews, publish articles and bring in clients.  A website alone wouldn't do this nor would Avvo listings.

Watergate's lasting legacy is to legal ethics reform, says John Dean

Watergate's lasting legacy is to legal ethics reform, says John Dean.  I disagree the lessons of Watergate are "unlearned" as NSA surveillance is far different then burglary.  Surveillance has some use in protecting national security interests.  A botched break-in by incompetent crooks (one of whom still has a  show on FOX News--G. Gordon Liddy) in order to win an election is quite different.

Judge axes first law firm filing over missing Malaysia Air flight

Judge axes first law firm filing over missing Malaysia Air flight.  Kind of hard to maintain a premature lawsuit that requires you must not be able to locate the defendant in order to file the lawsuit when the lawsuit names a defendant.  Apparently this firm is notorious for these kinds of lawsuits.  Sounds like it got them in trouble here.  Obviously, they are headlined on the ABA's website.