Law Practice

Important California Laws To Know – Posting Harmful Information On The Internet

Important California Laws To Know – Posting Harmful Information On The Internet

In 2010, the California legislature enacted a law to counteract certain criminal conduct on the internet. Necessitated by the growing use of technology and social media, California lawmakers have established different laws to fight internet crimes, including a statute (known as posting harmful information on the internet, California Penal Code § 653.2) prohibiting indirect harassment on the internet. This offense is typically charged as a misdemeanor. The internet presents opportunities for many people to involve themselves in different internet crimes without their knowledge. The law against indirect electronic harassment is defined under California Penal Code § 653.2 PC, which reads as...

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Attorneys, Banks, And Financial Management – The IOLTA Account

Attorneys, Banks, And Financial Management – The IOLTA Account

Because lawyers often handle their clients’ money, settlement checks, or advance payments for court costs or other expenses, they must participate in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. This is true in the State of California as well as most other jurisdictions in the United States. Any attorney who handles client funds that are too small in amount or held too briefly to earn interest for the client must use an IOLTA account for such funds. A lawyer who receives funds that belong to a client must place these funds in a trust account separate from the lawyer's personal...

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Principles Of Professional Conduct – Meritorious Claims

Principles Of Professional Conduct – Meritorious Claims

Under the model rules of professional conduct, attorneys must be advocates. The California Desert Trial Academy College of Law (CDTA) offers the best of both worlds as it promotes the philosophy of not only teaching students the substantive law, but on training, educating, and developing students to be exceptional attorney-advocates. The CDTA believes that practical experience, including apprenticeships with mentors, during law school are essential elements of success. According to a summary of the ABA Model Rule: “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for...

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What Legal Specialty Areas Does The California Bar Recognize?

What Legal Specialty Areas Does The California Bar Recognize?

While a good number of attorneys decide to engage in general practice, many also choose to enter a specific area of the law and specialize. The California State Bar certifies attorneys as specialists who have exceeded the standard licensing requirements. With the goal of increasing public protection and encouraging attorney competence, California Rule of Court 9.35, was the authoritative regulation for the creation of the State Bar Legal Specialization program. The program, the first of its kind in the United States, was intended to provide a way for attorneys to earn the designation as a certified specialist in particular areas of law. The...

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What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part Two

What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part Two

The types of experts that may be retained are as varied as the subjects that lawyers may litigate. Expert witnesses. The primary purpose of an expert witness is to provide knowledge and insight into a technical area that may not be readily known or understood by the average fact finder. The more complex that a legal matter is, the more likely one or more expert witnesses will be required to testify. Expert testimony often addresses those facts which determine liability. As a result, expert witnesses may make or break a case. Lawyers must find an expert with more than an impressive resume...

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What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part One

What Cases Use Expert Witnesses? Part One

Normally, courts prohibit witnesses from testifying based on their own opinions or analysis. Federal Rule of Evidence 602. Courts relax these rules for expert witnesses testifying about matters within their field of expertise. Expert witness rules vary by jurisdiction. In federal courts, expert witness testimony is governed by Article VII of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Expert witnesses may testify about their conclusions in a case provided that their analysis is scientifically sound. In reaching a conclusion, an expert witness may proffer an opinion on the same types of evidence that those in their profession normally rely on in their field and work, even if such evidence is...

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Advice On Trying Your First Case

Advice On Trying Your First Case

Here are some tips and advice for any new lawyer about to enter the courtroom and try his or her first case. Do some advance work and scout the courtroom Legal scholars differ as to how an attorney should act while moving around the courtroom during a trial. Some believe that an attorney should always request permission to proceed while others believe that it is acceptable to move around until a judge directs otherwise. Many judges allow attorneys to freely walk around the courtroom provided they do so with purpose. A simple solution is to observe the judge in action when he...

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Surviving Discovery Disputes

Surviving Discovery Disputes

Regardless of the area of law, at some point, every lawyer must endure the challenges caused by a dispute with an opposing lawyer over some aspect of discovery. Unfortunately, for the expedient resolution of litigation, these discovery disputes occur far too often for  most lawyers even though most would do the same if they were in the same situation as opposing counsel. Discovery disputes inherently are like a tug-of-war, ever dynamic, as lawyers push and test each other’s boundaries and patience. It is also not uncommon for clients requesting that an attorney pursue a particular inquiry and avenue of discovery with...

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The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part Two

The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part One

The licensing structures of most, if not all, state bars do not necessarily assess all the various and minimum aspects of lawyer competence. Research suggests that essay and multiple-choice exams with stressful time constraints are neither satisfactory nor effective formats for measuring competence as these tests truly simulate nothing close to the practice of law The components of lawyer competence include both hard and soft skills. The former include the substantive knowledge of the law while the latter represent analytical and interpersonal skills necessary in all walks of life. The following addresses components of minimum competence that are “softer” than “harder”...

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The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part One

The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part Two

Lawyers, especially attorney-advocates, must possess minimum competence to serve clients and the interests of the public-at-large. The following are six components of minimum competence that relate to the more technical side of the practice of law. The ability to communicate orally and in writing Attorneys must possess both the verbal and written skills to communicate with lawyers and clients equally. An attorney who cannot clearly and concisely communicate his or her legal position on behalf of a client, especially when it is viably strong, is like a fisherman with a full boat of fish but no paddle to get back to shore....

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