Friday, December 30, 2016

"Bones of last year" #amwriting

This year will soon be like
the bones of last year.
Vibrant in our minds
but finite.
Fixed.
Dead.
And irreparable.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"In the weeds" #micropoetry

They grow when you don't see them.
Until all you can see is them.
They are perversely green
because there is nothing vital about them.
Choking the life out of you.
But you planted their seeds.
 

"Bait and Switch" #micropoetry

You stayed in your hole too long.
You came out when the fall winds blew.
Because a madman beckoned you.
And then you made a bad choice.
All your choices are bad.
But you don't know it yet.
You will soon.

Friday, December 23, 2016

#HappyFestivus and the #airingofthegrievances (if you are offended, lighten up)

Festivus is a glorious holiday because it is so honest and real. It is a fictional holiday, but haven't we made it real? And aren't all holidays fictional because all history is not fully true? And holidays are usually based on historical events. So Festivus is as real as any other holiday.

My favorite part of Festivus is the "airing of the grievances." There are quite a few this year, but I am going to be general:

1) Our institutions at the local level failed us;
2) Our presidential election failed us, and may have led to the end of our republic;
3) There are more racist bigots out there than I thought; and
4) Human beings are largely a reprehensible lot.

All of this being said, there are still many good people in the world. The deplorable ones just stand out more than they used to.

Happy Festivus.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

#Festivus is tomorrow--so, Happy Festivus (there is no #waronchristmas)

Christmas is alive and well, but we can only hope it will one day be supplanted by Festivus, which is a more necessary holiday. The "Airing of the Grievances" part is essential. It is cathartic.

Dudes who are like this is my main grievance:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Can #MerrickGarland still be approved prior to #DonaldTrump and the new Senate taking office?

Yes he can. On January 3, 2017, there will be 66 Senators prior to the new Senators being sworn in. The Democrats will have the majority for a few minutes. Vice President Biden can appoint Senator Dick Durbin the Senate Majority Leader, and then the Democrats can suspend the rules. If 38 Democrats vote for Garland, then that will be a majority vote. Garland will be confirmed.

I hope they do this. It s perfectly legal, and it is a necessary response given that the Senate didn't do its job in holding a vote.

For more reading, check out way to confirm Merrick Garland

Friday, December 2, 2016

Some police need to quit arresting the #mentallyill for no reason #SocialSecurityDisability #lawyerslife

Too many of my clients are arrested for being mentally ill and being in areas where yuppies frequent. If you've ever been on 4th Street in Winston-Salem, you know that it is where professional people go to eat, watch movies, and have fun in the revitalized downtown. The unspoken rule, as best I can tell, is for the police to keep homeless people away. Many of the homeless are mentally ill. They are existing, and that's all they are doing. But the police don't like that. They think it is bad for business, so they "clear out the undesirables (that's how they view them)". Many police are understanding, and they don't arrest without a valid reason. There aren't enough understanding police, though, and people get arrested for being mentally ill. Unfortunately, this will only get worse in January.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A day in the life of a #lawyer

I thought I would take an Excel class to brush up. So this instructor has tried to sell classes the whole time; it is shameless and wastes time. He's making huge assumptions about levels of education by stating we didn't receive proper instruction in technology. Speak for yourself. Categorical statements tend to be invalid. Likewise, I don't fall into the technology as a panacea trap. Reading and writing are still the most essential skills because they teach you to think. I've not identified myself as a lawyer nor have I attacked him verbally. I'm exercising great restraint.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#micropoetry "One Week After"

Seven days ago
yet very present still.
It will be more true
with the passage of time.
Like a black cloud that grows
until all we see is black
on January 20, 2017.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#Vote on #ElectionDay

Whatever you political affiliation, please vote. It is important to be part of this process because it is one of the things that makes us American. Make your voice heard through your vote. It counts. People may argue otherwise, but it counts. It counts a lot.

This is always a happy day because it is about celebrating our rights and the peaceful transition of power, something that is a relatively new concept in world history.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Can you #copyright a tree? #lawyers

I'm not sure I agree. Statues or other works of art may be owned, but are they properly copyrighted? Arguably they are given copyright protection because they are in a "fixed form," but it can get more complicated. It isn't clear.

Regarding pictures of nature in the park, can you copyright a tree? That would be hard.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#SupremeCourt needs 9 justices

We have 8 Supreme Court justices on the current Court. This is unacceptable regardless of your politics. Promises to only have 8 justices if a candidate from a particular party is elected is an unacceptable notion. SCOTUS is meant to have 9 justices. Failure to allow a vote on the 9th justice for an indefinite period of time is unacceptable. It is irresponsible, and those Senators obstructing this process are not fit to be Senators. They are not doing their jobs.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Many #SocialSecurityDisability hearings this month #lawyerslife

I like being in court. Social Security Disability hearings are enjoyable to me. I know that may make me boring, but my clients have waited years to have their "day in court" so it is nice to see them get to tell their side. it is exciting to me. Nothing is more compelling than hearing from a claimant. It humanizes the case, and it can drive home strong medical evidence. It can also make up for weak medical evidence.

Smart lawyers let the story come through the claimant, NOT the lawyer. It isn't about the lawyer. It is about the claimant.

I've done my best to make it about the claimant. If I do that, then I've done my job well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability ODAR judge website isn't a panacea

Here's the link: http://www.disabilityjudges.com/about. Take it for what you will. It isn't the Oracle of Delphi, though.

This is a useful site in that it gives you the statistics for an ODAR judge; I do not know if they are reliable statistics, however. In other words, it tells you how they have decided cases in the past, at least statistically. The problem here is: past rulings aren't necessarily indicative of a future decision in your case. I suppose it does give you a barometer, but you don't know the fact patterns, the evidence, or the testimony. These are all very important factors as is the ability of the lawyer. You don't know any of this from these statistics. Tread lightly.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mondays should be productive #lawyerslife

Mondays are 1/5 or more of your work life depending upon how much you work. They can be the most productive day. Mondays and Fridays tend to be my most productive days because I want to either get going on stuff or wrap stuff up. So both motivate me in different ways.

I manage hundreds of Social Security Disability cases and dozens of PI/WC cases. In other words, I have to be thinking months and years ahead. There are always issues of medical records, liens, and a myriad of deadlines.

Those who hate Mondays are at a disadvantage. I don't love them, but I view them as a chance to start the week off on a good note.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Avoid toxic lawyers #lawyerslife

We've all seen them, the nasty ones. They are critical of everything, always in a foul mood, and they suck the life out of law firms. For whatever reason, they are mean to clients. And they blame the clients for the lawyer's shortcomings as a lawyer and as a person. I make it my practice to avoid this kind of lawyer, and it is wise for you to do the same, constant reader.

Stay away from toxic lawyers. Let them be toxic and wallow in their own filth. Life is too short to spend much time around them.

Note: avoid toxic staff people too, but that's another topic for another day.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability cases are life changing #lawyerslife

Today I received a wonderful phone message from a client who has followed me across a few law firms. And I've kept track of him all over North Carolina. We have followed each other, I suppose. It is one of the cases I've wanted to win badly because this person is the embodiment of everything Social Security Disability is supposed to stand for. Note: I want to win all my cases, but some touch my heart in ways I never forget. They cut through the rational machinery of my lawyer's mind and appeal to me on a deep and unspoken level.

My client told me the benefits he has received have been "life changing" and he has something he's never had before, a chance. He is able to see his grandchildren, be near his family, and enjoy life. This kind of thing reminds me why I became a lawyer, and it is life affirming to hear this. It makes me proud to be a lawyer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

More #SocialSecurityDisabilit hearings, and it's all about the narrative

Hearings are about the narrative. You aim to put together a plausible story, the difficulty being encapsulating years of suffering into less than an hour. It needs to hit hard, but not being overbearing or canned. It can't come across as empty. So many words are empty and don't tell us anything. We need to be told specifics to be persuaded. Judges need to hear specifics. There are magic words, and my job is to uncover them during the course of the claimant's testimony. But it is my job. It isn't the claimant's job. It is always the lawyer's job.

Monday, October 10, 2016

#WorldMentalHealthDay is an important day for #SocialSecurityDisability #lawyers and others as well

I see too many people with mental health issues. Many of my clients do not receive adequate mental health medical care, and that has only gotten worse in North Carolina. Our governor and legislature helped deny North Carolina Medicaid for 500,000 people. That's drastically cut services for people who have mental health issues. In many instances, this has led to people taking their own lives.

We need to do more. We need to understand more.

Read all you can about mental health issues. Be an advocate. It isn't too late for some.

#ChristopherColumbus was a savage, and we shouldn't celebrate #ColumbusDay

Christopher Columbus was a savage. He was a genocidal maniac, and a slaver. These are his worst two character traits--there are so many more. There is nothing redeeming about him in the least. We shouldn't celebrate Columbus Day, and we should cut out any reference to him. He is the anti-thesis of what we want in America. He was absolute scum.

No more Columbus Day!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

#DanishParliament #Coppenhagen

I saw this on the way to into Coppenhagen today.


 

Stupid people are voting for #DonaldTrump

I wish I could say they are just stupid, but they are mean, sadistic assholes. We don't need them in our country; not now, not ever. Empowered idiots are dangerous because they don't have the good sense to be constrained. These people need to be stopped even after Trump is defeated because they aren't going down easily.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

#SwedishParliament in #Stockholm

The architecture is impressive and the city sprawling, but I found the parliament building most impressive.


 


Friday, September 30, 2016

#ConfessionsofaVampirehunter from #Stockholm

Vampires are older in Northern Europe. They are closer ethnically to Eastern European vampires. They dwell in darkness more both literally and figuratively. Today I saw this and wondered if evil can be captured in stone.

William Magnum, vampire hunter 


 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

#micropoetry "Out of Touch"

If you won't talk to them as people,
you can't take their money.
Because it is dishonest.
But people lie all the time.
Especially for money.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#KeithScott was murdered by the police #BlackLivesMatter

Mr. Scott was reading and waiting for his son at the bus stop. A police officer shot him to death for it-- and for being black. Now Charlotte won't release the body cam video. I wonder why that is? They are also trying to say the cop is black. Even if true, that doesn't make this any less bad.

Understandably black people protested, and there was some violence. But the protesters didn't kill anyone. I don't blame them for being angry. This must stop. Police must stop murdering people for being black and for existing.

Friday, September 9, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability hearing times appear to be speeding up #lawyerslife

Tennessee is picking up some of the bulk of Greensboro hearings or so it appears in my practice. My hearings are ticking up each month, and that's great for my clients. They've waited too long. I worry about them. I don't know how anyone survives waiting years. It is unfortunate, but it is preventable. Congress, however, chooses not to help people by speeding up the process. They cut funding for the Social Security Administration offices, and that slows down the process. They make less money available to pay for judges and courthouses. This is all very deliberate.

Congress wants less assistance for people in need, but they want more prisons. They want to criminalize mental illness and homelessness. I see it everyday.

Things need to change.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

#Greensboro contributes to #globalwarming

Is this necessary? Destructive and unimaginative. Typical developers.



 
 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability Substantial Gainful Activity for 2016 is $1,130 for non-blind individuals

This is the amount an individual on Social Security Disability Income can earn in 2016 per month and still receive DIB benefits. The amount is adjusted slightly upward each year. Oh how generous the federal government is (sarcasm intended).

Here's the link https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

5 Legal Mistakes Made on Social Media #ebook #Kindle #99cents

5 Legal Mistakes Made on Social Media by [Wells Jr., Michael]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KU86HL2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_awdo_x_9GfVxbJ9EFCW0

#NorthCarolinaStateTrooper kills unarmed and deaf #DanielHarris for using sign language in #King #NorthCarolina

This is despicable. A State Trooper killed him for using sign language earlier this week. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-n-police-kill-unarmed-deaf-mute-man-sign-language-article-1.2760714.

This isn't surprising unfortunately. 752 people have been killed by police so far this year. This remains unacceptable.

Why do we have these worthless cops? There are so many good ones, but why can't we fire all the bad ones?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Police catch criminals through #socialmedia #lawyerslife

·         Police look to Facebook first.
·         Social media can be used in court—and often is.
Criminal defendants love to talk about their exploits, and social media is the perfect place for it. It is obvious why this wouldn’t be a good idea as it provides evidence that can be used against you, and it is used against criminal defendants all the time.
Police always look at Facebook
And why wouldn’t they? I look people up on Facebook all the time. NEVER say things on Facebook you don’t want repeated. This rule is most true and impactful when criminal activity is involved. It would be fruitless to discuss the nature of criminal activity and what should and should not be illegal. If you are going to break the law, don’t talk about it on Facebook. The police will catch you.
Social media can be used against you in court (and in life)
Social media is a treasure trove in both civil and criminal law. People say things that are revealing and harmful. Criminal defendants brag about crimes, and prosecutors use that information. Civil plaintiffs and defendants make statements that hurt their cases, and opposing attorneys find and use that information.
Cheating spouses are caught on social media.
Kids skipping school are caught.
Employees skipping work are caught.
The list goes on and on.

Conclusion:
What you say on social media will get you caught (if it hasn’t already). Again, don’t say things that will be detrimental to you later. It doesn’t take a law degree to know some things are better left unsaid.



Friday, August 19, 2016

#TMI on #SocialMedia is a bad thing #lawyerslife #legal

·         Giving TMI may make you susceptible to identity theft and blackmail.
·         Don’t post pictures of your children or say where you live.
·         Don’t say when you are out of town.
·         The less people know, the better off you are.

People are stupid. The Internet is the greatest medium for idiocy in human history. I remain baffled as to why people say what they say and how they say it. We’ve all read incomprehensible drunk posts and posts from people who write so poorly they seem drunk.
I would love to post some of the things I see on Facebook, but I would be breaking my own rules. I also don’t want to read Facebooks disclosure statement as it is very long and boring. I don’t want to incur the wrath of Facebook, which owns the content people post.
One of my favorite things to ask my wife is, “Did you see what her or she posted?” Both of us aren’t really shocked anymore.
It is better not to post pictures or information about yourself or your children because people can use this information against you. The less people know the better.
Identity Theft
Regarding identity theft, we’ve all seen the “Nigerian scam” that usually comes in the form of an e-mail. People still fall for this. When you post detailed information online, it makes you more visible to scammers, scammers who know enough about you to sound more credible. Scams are called “confidence games” for a reason. The so-called “con” is that you believe what you are told.
Detailed information on social media supplied by you gives scammers the information they need to steal your identity. Likewise, it lets potential thieves know who you are, what you have, and when it is best to steal from you. Now, I’m speaking in general terms here, but why make it easier for people to steal from you or put yourself in danger unnecessarily?
The world is dangerous enough as it is. As a lawyer, I try and get my clients to minimize their chances of incurring legal liability. I believe this is a good way live too.

Don’t post about your family, especially children
Liability is one thing, but safety is a more important thing. There are a lot of sickos in the world, and the Internet makes it easier for these depraved individuals to find victims. It is the dark side of the Internet. The flipside of that is we can learn who sex offenders and other criminals are and where they live.
People love to post pictures of their children and detailed information about their children. I get the desire to tell people about your kids, but think about your kids’ safety. If you haven’t looked at your state’s sex offender registry, you should because there are a lot of them out there. They live closer than you think. When you put pictures on social media that give locations, then it tells these individuals where you are and who your kids are.
I’m not being alarmist in the least. Children and teenagers are molested far more than people realize, and that’s why parents should do ALL they can to protect their kids. So resist the urge to post your kids’ pictures online.
Conclusion:

TMI is easily preventable. Giving too much information may make you more susceptible to identity theft, break-ins, and, most important, make your children vulnerable to predators. 

Refrain from saying things on #socialmedia you don't want repeated #lawyerslife #socialmediaandthelaw #lawandsocialmedia

·         When bad judgment goes viral, watch out.
·         Online activity may hurt your current job and future employment prospects.
·         Youthful indiscretions live on in perpetuity online.
Be careful about what you say and when you say it.  There are numerous examples of employers seeing Facebook posts where people have said they never work at their job; then the employer fires the employee.
Bad judgment goes viral and employment (or unemployment)
People need to be careful about what they say online. Your words can hurt you professionally, and they can reflect negatively on your employer. There are tons of stories out there where people made racial or ethnic slurs online, and then they lost their job. I remember the woman who made a racial slur on Twitter right before taking off on an international flight. She cut off her phone. When she landed, her tweet had gone viral; someone alerted her employer; the employer fired her; and the employer issued a statement. The kicker is no one will hire this woman now because everyone knows what she said, and it shows how bad her judgment is. No one wants an employee with bad judgment because it can subject an employer to legal liability.
Perpetual youthful (and adult) indiscretions
Bad judgment online doesn’t necessarily always equate with legal liability. Sometimes it just plain makes you look bad. We all look bad sometimes, but we don’t want that to live on online forever and ever.
Be careful about what you say and when you say it. There are numerous examples of employers seeing Facebook posts where people have said they never “work” at their job; then the employer fires the employee. Also, who can forget the “Alabama Tea-bagger”You Tube video or the video of David Hasselhoff shirtless and muttering to himself while eating a massive cheeseburger?
Conclusion:

It is simple: don’t be stupid, but, if you are going to be stupid, please don’t put it online. Your parents will thank you. Your employer will thank you. Current and future spouses will thank you. Your future and current children will thank you. If you do put your stupid acts online, we will all laugh at you and be glad it isn’t us. That’s mean, but it is true. 
Conclusion:
It is simple: don’t be stupid, but, if you are going to be stupid, please don’t put it online. Your parents will thank you. Your employer will thank you. Current and future spouses will thank you. Your future and current children will thank you. If you do put your stupid acts online, we will all laugh at you and be glad it isn’t us. That’s mean, but it is true. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Get permission before using pictures, articles, videos, and other online content #lawyers #copyright #socialmedia

  • ·         Pictures, articles, videos, and other online content may be protected (essentially “owned”) by someone else.
  • ·          Assume copyright laws apply unless told otherwise—even then assume they still apply.


Intellectual property is a vast area in the law, and it can encompass many forms. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to create copyright laws to protect ideas that are in a fixed form. This can get very complicated and trigger nuanced areas of the law, but copyright laws usually apply to forms of written expression, recordings, drawings, paintings, and other forms of expression that is recorded in some form.
Copyrighted material
The example I see most often is when people pull images off of Google. Usually the image says, “This image may be subject to copyright law.” People disregard these warnings; they use the image; and then they receive a demand letter from a lawyer telling them to pay $2,000.00. If you used the image without permission, it is likely you are liable. The amount of damages may be in dispute, but who wants to fight that battle? Better yet, who wants to pay a lawyer to fight it for you?
You can see how the same rules apply to written and recorded material.
While I do not purport to be an expert in the nuances of copyright law, I have one simple rule: I don’t use what is someone else’s material without permission.
A related issue is plagiarism. This is using someone’s material and passing it off as your own. It may or may not be copyright infringement. For example, if I were to use a speech in a political convention that was given by someone else without quoting the person or in any way attributing it to them, then that would be plagiarism. Whether it is copyright infringement depends on the situation.
Conclusion:

Be careful when you use content created by others. If you don’t have permission, the best rule of thumb is to not use it.

#RyanLochte and #RyanLochteGate embarrassed the United States, but their alleged offenses were minor

But they ticked off Brazil because they allegedly lied about being robbed. In reality, it appears they were detained by police for vandalizing a bathroom. Now I'm sure they were being kids, celebrating after doing well at the Olympics, but they went too far. And, understandably so, Brazilians felt degenerated,. I get that. I can see how they perceive "gringos" think they can do whatever they want in Brazil. It seems like that happened here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The things you say may have legal consequences #defamation #cyberbullying #lawyers



·         Defamation of character (libel and slander).
·         You can be sued for what you say.
·         Words cannot be taken back.
·         Cyber-bullying factor (Criminal liability, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress)

Defamation
Freedom of speech is perhaps the most sacred of all rights under the United States Constitution, but with that freedom comes responsibility. The First Amendment is not absolute. What you say can have legal consequences. Without getting into state specific definitions, defamation is taking some action to damage a person’s reputation. Defamation is usually broken down into general categories: libel and slander.
o   Libel
Libel is written defamation, and slander is spoken defamation. In general, if you say or write something that is untrue, and it causes financially quantifiable harm, you may be liable for money damages. It follows you need to be careful what you say about people on Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media.
Let’s assume I am a thriller writer. I have a rival named Luigi Vampa. Luigi’s books always sell better than mine. I make up a story that Luigi plagiarizes his novels. I post it all over Twitter and Facebook.  As a result, Luigi loses a book deal where he would have received a million dollar advance and royalties of a million dollars. Am I liable for this? More than likely, yes, and I could have to pay Luigi a few million dollars because I committed libel i.e. written defamation.
o   Slander
Now assume I am a motivational speaker. My rival, Tom Thumb, is better. He gets larger
audiences, and his stories are more compelling. I hate Tom. I envy Tom, and I want to hurt him. So I start saying Tom fathered numerous illegitimate children, none of whom he pays for. He uses the millions he makes from speaking and writing just for himself.
Tom loses all credibility, and his speaker’s bureau cancels his tour. He loses two million dollars.
Am I liable to Tom Thumb? Yes, assuming it can be shown that my spoken words directly caused Tom’s economic harm. That’s slander.
o   The Tie-In
It should be obvious by now how your words on social media may subject you to legal
Liability for defamation of character. While you may not be liable for millions of dollars, it costs money to defend a lawsuit, and do you really want to be known as someone who defames another person?
I’m amazed at the things people say on social media. We’ve all said things we shouldn’t, but some people go insane on social media. They spew the most vile venom. This kind of thing is not allowed under the law if it is untrue and if it causes financial damage. Even if there are no legal consequences, the damage to your own reputation that comes from spewing nasty comments should be considered before ever writing anything on social media or a blog.


Cyberbullying

“Cyberbullying” involves the use of the Internet, though mobile technology or other

computer devices, to harass, humiliate or cause harm to another person. This can take many forms.
For example, assume a high school student takes an unflattering picture of another student, posts it online, and then the picture goes viral. The student who had his or her picture taken does not approve of the photo, nor does student give consent for the photo to be posted. People say humiliating things and begin to repost the picture, and student eventually commits suicide as a result.
Sadly there are many instances of this sort of thing, and there have been many suicides in the last few years due to this kind of harassment. That’s why many states are enacting so-called “cyber-bullying” laws, which impose criminal penalties when certain elements are met.
In addition to criminal penalties, there are also civil penalties too. Depending upon the state’s laws, it could be viewed as intentional infliction of emotional distress or negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress usually involves activity that is “extreme and outrageous.” This intentional behavior results in extreme emotional distress to the afflicted individual. It is usually emotional in nature, but there can be physical manifestations.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress is when there is behavior that is likely to cause extreme emotional distress to the afflicted individual.
Requirements vary from state to state, but it is never a good idea to engage in this kind of behavior. It is cruel, and it can subject you to civil and possibly criminal liability.

Conclusion
Words matter. They can carry legal consequences, so be careful what you say. If you are
are not careful with what you say, you may face civil and possibly criminal liability. Contrary to what many people say, you aren’t free to say what you want.



#SocialSecurityDisability clients deserve to be treated like anyone else #lawyerslife

Lawyers can be an arrogant lot, and that's unfortunate. There is no reason to ever be arrogant, but lawyers are all the time. Between their degrees and their country clubs lawyers can be real jerks. They say things the wrong way even though they are supposed to be supremely skilled with language.

I'm amazed how some lawyers don't treat their Social Security Disability clients with respect. I see it all the time. I have no tolerance for that sort of thing. You should treat clients with respect because that may be you someday.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Try and avoid unpleasant people, and your career will thrive #lawyerslife

We all have to deal with unpleasant people. That's life, but sometimes law firms can become warrens. It happens when you have people who work there for years and aren't accountable. As a result, they overestimate their own worth, and they cost the firm money. That's because they are generally lazy and sick all the time. Why is this? Because they are unhappy mentally and physically.

Surround yourself with positive people who work hard and who have goals. Stay away from negative shrews (and nasty crows if male), who play gotcha (whether they be lawyers, paralegals or other support staff. Fortunately I deal with none of these issues now.

#ImmigrationLaw misconceptions #lawyerslife

Immigration cases are complicated, and there are multiple ways to misstep.  If there are specific legal questions, it is important to contact an immigration attorney.  In order to illustrate the point, here are some common misconceptions:

  • ·         Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) no longer exists, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken over INS’ functions.  DHS also coordinates with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Labor and other governmental agencies to oversee immigration;
  • ·         Lawful permanent resident status and citizenship cannot be achieved simply by marrying a U.S. Citizen.  There are other criteria.;
  • ·         Illegal entry into the United States will likely jeopardize a later immigration case; Certain criminal plea agreements such as no contest or deferred prosecution may be deemed a guilty plea by DHS and therefore have a dire impact on a person’s immigration status.


   This is by no means an exclusive list, but it demonstrates the necessity of talking to an attorney prior to making a decision that may adversely affect you or the person who needs assistance.  For additional information, see the DHS website www.dhs.gov.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

#InkSketch and #lawyerslife

In the legal profession, to be successful one needs to go after it like a wild horse.

Monday, August 8, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability cases tend to be sad #lawyerslife

No one wants to file a Social Security Disability claim, but things happen. Many of them are beyond a claimant's control. These occurrences, genetic dispositions or both render a person unable to work. It happens, and it happens a lot. I have multiple cases a week that come in where people cannot work full time. That's the standard: can you work eight hours a day, five days a week? If you can't you are disabled. That's the law.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Speech outline for my 2014-2015 year as #NCBA #YLD Chair

Do we make a difference as lawyers?
o   Relevancy.  Big business says our skill set is not unique.  Can be easily outsourced to non-lawyers more cheaply and efficiently
o   Legislatures throughout the country are slashing funding for the courts.  The federal government is slashing funding for the courts.
o   Legal aid programs are being cut or eliminated.
o   Lawyers are more relevant than ever.  They make a difference.

I.                  “Seeking liberty and justice” needs to do directly.
·        The cacophonous din of prejudice and ignorance tells us this is a platitude.  But if we listen we hear the whispers of justice all around us.
·        It is heard when we go to court for some.  When we write a letter. When we take a phone call at 6 PM on a Tuesday and give advice at no charge to someone when they desperately need help.  Or when we care about someone who has never been cared for in their lives.
·        The disadvantaged.  Those who were shoved to the back of the line from the money they were born and have been held back be it through lack of education, lack of parents or any other kind of opportunity.
·        Can one person make a difference?  Rosa Parks played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.  Freedom Riders together and collectively.  “Tank man” at Tiananmen Square in China in 1989.
·        Many good projects that have helped a lot of people: Wills for Heroes, Project Grace, Legal Link and Legal Feeding Frenzy.
·        If we don’t, no one will.  Legal Aid is being slashed.  The legislature isn’t helping things.  It is up to us.
·        We need to do something about it.  In the words of that immortal philosopher, Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

What can I do as chair?
II.               Innocence Project
·        Not everyone begins in a good place.  Many are, to use a Jeffrey Archer title, “a prisoner of birth.”  If you are in this room, chances are you started your life well.  You were born into a good family.  You went to the right schools.  Your succeeded before you were ever born.
·        Not everyone has it so easy.
·        Too many people are wrongfully in prison and wrongfully on death row.  “The thing is, you don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime.  That’s contradictory.  If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect.”  Edwin Meese, AG, 1986.  Actual Innocence.
·        Our state and every other state have tortured histories.  Daryl Hunt. Ronald Cotton.  Forgiving and gracious.
·        What part can we play?
·        My initiative is to work with the Innocence Project.  We can do research, screen cases or whatever else needs to be done.  We can play a role.
·        Why are we doing this?  We are giving hope to people, and possibly our efforts will make a difference years down the road.
·        Count of Monte Cristo “Has count not just told us that all human wisdom was contained in these two words—‘wait’ and ‘hope’?”  Edmund Dantes wrongfully imprisoned.
·         

III.           More inclusion (“navigating the tides of change”
·        Embrace out differences in order to appreciate our common humanity.
·        We need more diversity.
·        Not all minorities are the same.  Different needs.  LGBT, African American, Hispanic/Latino and Asian American issues.
·        Too often groups have had to wait for justice, to wait for equality.  We need to lead the way.
·        Lawyers should lead the way.  We should not be behind or sit with the status quo.

IV.           Conclusion
·        “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”  Thomas Jefferson.
·        We need to hear the whispers of justice and liberty and to do our part to make them more than whispers.
·        Everyone matters.  Everyone has value, and it is our job, as lawyers, to protect people and do what is right.

·        If we don’t know one will. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

#DonaldTrump campaign may face copyright lawsuit for use of #GeorgeHarrison song, #HereComestheSun

Trump's campaign didn't get permission from the Harrison estate, which owns the rights to "Here Comes the Sun," prior to using it at the RNC. This could cost the campaign hundreds of thousands of not millions. Copyrighted material is under the exclusive control of the owner. Not obtaining permission and failing to pay is tantamount to stealing.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

#CharlesKinsey should get millions from #NorthMiamiPolice

And he should. This was completely unwarranted. He was protecting an autistic man. He was shot for being black. No justification. This kind of violence must stop!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability claimants endure unfair stereotypes

They are called lazy. Moochers. Cheats. All of these characterizations are as inaccurate as they are unfair. I've never had a client get Social Security Disability who didn't deserve it. People who get disability work hard for the most part and have something physical, mental, or both that is beyond their control. Believe me. I've seen it.

Don't believe people who don't understand Social Security Disability or who hate Social Security in general. They likely have an agenda that is at odds with helping people.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Law firms that evolve will live; those that won't will die #lawyerslife

Law firms are some of the strangest organizations you will ever encounter. And many of them don't really work anymore if they ever did. They have large, inefficient staffs, waste time, money and don't get work done. In other words, they don't provide value to the client.

Clients question this structure as they should. The business world certainly is calling the law firm into question, and it has been for some time.

But it really comes down to the lawyers and whether or not they are willing to adapt to the modern marketplace. I've seen many lawyers who are afraid of progress or they embrace technology and quick fixes as if there are shortcuts to success.

One thing that hasn't changed is lawyers must work hard and be attentive to their clients. Lawyers who do this (as opposed to catering to the firm and its culture) will thrive and not "die" like the others inevitably will.

Court #doodle #lawyerslife



 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability cases are about not talking too much #lawyerslife

Good lawyers know when to talk and when to be quiet. Being quiet is the toughest part because lawyers want to fill the room with their eloquence, which is often anything but. And talking too much can take away from what you are trying to say. It can hurt your case.

It is important to know when you've said enough. I had a hearing today where I said just enough. Then I didn't say anything else. The expert concluded my client couldn't do his past work, and he had no transferable skills (she said yes to the judge's question about transferrable skills--always a wise sign). The expert concluded no jobs were available. Both of these things mean--barring a dramatic shift in opinion--this client won his hearing. No need to say anything else when you've already won.

I didn't talk too much, and I said much more by doing so.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability cases are about story telling #lawyerslife

Whenever I meet with a Social Security Disability client I begin fashioning the story from that first meeting. The story often changes, but disability cases are about storytelling. The story answers the explicit (and implicit) question: why are you disabled? 

I try and let the client's story come out. My job is to make it more clear so it will be obvious he or she is disabled. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Smaller, more efficient staff leads to lower law firm overhead #lawfirmmanagement #lawyerslife

Law firms are dinosaurs, and they have been for a long time. They are filled with large, unnecessary staffs, and this leads to the tail wagging the dog. Long time staff can wield far more influence than they should if they are there only because they've been there for a long time. Staff cannot be like dead plants left at the office for too long. Sadly many are.

Smart firms are going smaller more efficient. This reduces the overhead to more manageable levels. Law firm overhead should NEVER be over fifty percent. Thirty-five percent or lower is ideal, and it is difficult to achieve this number with a large, bloated staff.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

#4thofJuly should be more than just a party

Many people use the 4th of July as just another long weekend. It is a party to them, but it is more than that. It it the day the Declaration of Independence was signed and our "Independence Day" where we broke form the oppressive rule of Great Britain. But it is more than that. It symbolizes where we've been, where we are and where we are going. I hope Americans will think about the direction they want their country to go in because it needs to be the right one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

If you are a lawyer, keep writing #lawyerslife #amwriting

Lawyers have a lot to say, much of it useful. We often forget how helpful  what we know is to people. The law is supposed to practical, and lawyers are supposed to provide solutions. Lawyers often fear the blank page and the implications of opining on a topic in print. That's too bad. I write everyday, and I provide information, much of it helpful I believe. But I keep talking whether it be on a blog, social media, TV or the radio. People listen, and it does make a difference.

Monday, June 27, 2016

#SCOTUS reaffirms a woman's right to choose in landmark ruling

The Supreme Court reaffirmed a woman's right to choose by striking down a Texas law that imposed harsh abortion restrictions. It is a major ruling, and it represents a shift towards further expansion of pro choice by allowing for greater access to abortion. Great news. Finally progressive forces have won out over regressive policies from the right.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Law firms are getting smaller #lawpracticemanagement #lawyerslife

Law firms are changing, and that's great. For too long firms have been bloated dinosaurs, and you know what happened to dinosaurs. I don't understand why firms insist on having large staffs. That's stupid, but most of the firms who have large staffs and too many lawyers are not exercising much business judgment. This assumes they ever had business judgement.

Even large firms are streamlining their staffs because it is smart. Get a few good people to work for you, and work hard.

Monday, June 20, 2016

#Disney should expect a huge lawsuit based on #negligence and #attracrtivenuissance for #alligator killing of young child.

Disney had no warning in the lagoon where the little boy was drowned by the alligator. It appears Disney routinely pulls alligators out of that body of water. I am shocked there were no warning signs. Alligators are seen quite a bit down in Florida.

A body of water naturally attracts a child, and it is therefore an "attractive nuisance" because a child is lured into a dangerous place. Water is dangerous in and of it self, but it is downright fatal to anyone when you throw in an alligator.

Expect Disney to get the pants sued off of it or to settle quietly and confidentially prior to suit. Even after a lawsuit they may settle quietly and confidentially. Or they may get slapped with a huge verdict.

#PoliceBrutality breaks man's neck

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2016/06/20/video-shows-cop-slamming-mans-head-to-pavement-breaking-his-neck/