Law Practice

Litigating In The Age Of Social Media

Litigating In The Age Of Social Media

Social media has “deprivatized” society and, as a result, people have varying opinions about the true usefulness of social media. While these opinions may correlate to certain age demographics, almost everyone to some extent finds some use for social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest.  While social media may truly be significantly useful, it presents the potential to have deleterious effects on litigants. The availability of social media’s endless sea of information, much of it unchecked and unverified, presents various challenges for litigators. Litigating in 2020 requires attorneys to review and monitor any types of social media in...

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Using Electronic Signatures In 2020 During The Pandemic

Using Electronic Signatures In 2020 During The Pandemic

In the last two decades, the federal court system has implemented online filing to modernize and streamline (reduce) costs related to time and money. While some courts within the federal system, such as bankruptcy courts, have, in most cases, permitted attorneys and litigants to execute their signatures electronically, documents with original signatures must still be filed with the court. Presently, more courts are adopting and allowing the use of electronic signatures on documents filed with the court. On March 18, 2020, Senate Bill 3533, the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 (the “SECURE Act”), was introduced...

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Principles Of Professional Conduct – Competence

Principles Of Professional Conduct – Competence

The preamble of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct describes a lawyer and member of the legal profession as “. . . a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.” One primary principle of the Model Rules is that a lawyer must be competent as a representative of clients. In 2018, the California Supreme Court issued an order that approved 69 Rules of Professional Conduct for California attorneys, rejecting only one. These new rules became effective in November of 2018 and closely follow the ABA Model Rules of Professional...

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How To Write A Client Questionnaire – Criminal Cases

How To Write A Client Questionnaire – Criminal Cases

No attorney relies on an initial in-person interview as the first means of encapsulating the relevant information related to a client. Before an attorney sits down with a client for the first time, a diligent attorney requires a client to complete some type of intake form or questionnaire. A completed new client questionnaire provides an attorney with a checklist and self-screening device designed to obtain, in a short amount of time, the information required to review a client for the ability to pay fees and the absence of any conflict of interest or other potential problematic attorney-client issues that may...

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Writing Interrogatories To Prove A PI Plaintiff’s Case

Writing Interrogatories To Prove A PI Plaintiff's Case

Many, if not most, tort cases arise out of motor vehicle accidents and are based on allegations of an individual negligently operating a motor vehicle. While mundane in the legal world, personal injury plaintiffs must prove each of the elements of negligence. Using interrogatories as a discovery tool can help attorneys develop the facts and identify the evidence necessary to prove each element. First, any plaintiff’s attorney must design interrogatories to ascertain the basic facts about the accident. Any responses by a party to interrogatories relating to any person, event, or condition that is alleged by the defendant to have contributed to the...

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About Cross-Examining Eyewitnesses

About Cross-Examining Eyewitnesses

In any trial involving some event whether an interaction, accident, or transaction, the evidence presented in the form of testimony by eyewitnesses is typically immensely persuasive. There are some simple principles for lawyers to remember when formulating a plan to cross-examine a witness. Jurors place great weight on eyewitness testimony, especially if the witness has no apparent bias and is simply a neutral, disconnected party who happened to allegedly observe the event under scrutiny. The evidence offered through eyewitness testimony is promising to a juror, assuming that the witness is credible and reliable. If a juror believes that an eyewitness has...

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How Do I Know If I Should Take The Case?

How Do I Know If I Should Take The Case?

It really is no secret that the practice of law is highly competitive. There may be times when young lawyers and sole practitioners sit at their desks and wonder when a client will walk through the door. For attorneys, it is easy to find yourself taking every case that comes your way. However, in the long run, this may make your practice inefficient and unprofitable. As a young lawyer, how do you know if you should take a case? When attorneys accept a bad case from a client, several problems typically transpire. The matter causes the attorney to expend valuable resources...

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Florida Court Conducts Jury Selection Over Zoom

Florida Court Conducts Jury Selection Over Zoom

With the pandemic continuing to rage in the late summer of 2020, courts continue to adapt all over the United States. Florida’s courts have been operating under emergency guidelines since a March 13, 2020, order suspended jury trials and implemented other actions to restrict potential virus spreading activities in Florida state courts. Some jury trials have resumed in parts of Florida using remote teleconferencing technology for all or part of the proceedings. As a way to assist in planning how to safely resume jury trials during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida, recently conducted a jury trial...

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NY Law Professors & Deans Support Diploma Privilege

NY Law Professors & Deans Support Diploma Privilege

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major dilemma for the Supreme Courts and State Bars of almost every American jurisdiction, as well, more importantly, tens of thousands of recent law school graduates. The quarantine has caused the cancellation of the traditional summer July bar exam. Although most jurisdictions have rescheduled their bar exams and made provisions to administer them online, many legal scholars, professors, lawyers, and judges have spoken out for licensing these recent graduates based on diploma privilege. Professors in New York have called for states to extend licensure based on diploma privilege. The 15 deans of law schools located...

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Location And Legal Office-Space Options: Sharing Space

Location And Legal Office-Space Options: Sharing Space

For attorneys, there are a variety of good reasons to share office space with their peers. Not only are there obvious economic benefits such as sharing rent, staff, office equipment, and other expenses, but there are valuable opportunities for client referrals, relationship-building, and mentorship. In this scenario, attorneys share just about everything - furnishings, equipment, personnel, supplies, and resource materials. Generally, in an office-sharing arrangement, the practitioner subleases with other practitioners, sharing common areas such as a lobby, kitchen, conference room, and any other shared section of the office. The responsibility of managing the space is shared, thus providing the flexibility...

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