August 16, 2017

Technical Difficulties: What to Do When Gadgets Fail in Court - Technologist

There's no question to it, using technological gadgets during a trial, or even just a hearing or scheduling conference, has made the lawyer's life increasingly easier. Using laptops, smartphones, tablets, digital projectors, and other devices can make a big difference, not just in saving time, but also in keeping organized and making presentations to the court. Electronics, which were once banned, are now becoming commonplace.

But what do you do if a device fails? Or worse, fails mid-presentation? Below, you'll find some tips on what to do, and what not to do.


Free Law Project--PACER OPINIONS

We Have Every Free PACER Opinion on
Free Opinion Report Dropdown

At Free Law Project, we have gathered millions of court documents over the years, but it's with distinct pride that we announce that we have now completed our biggest crawl ever. After nearly a year of work, and with support from the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, we have collected every free written order and opinion that is available in PACER. To accomplish this we used PACER's "Written Opinion Report," which provides many opinions for free.

This collection contains approximately 3.4 million orders and opinions from approximately 1.5 million federal district and bankruptcy court cases dating back to 1960. More than four hundred thousand of these documents were scanned and required OCR, amounting to nearly two million pages of text extraction that we completed for this project.

All of the documents amassed are available for search in the RECAP Archive of PACER documents and via our APIs. New opinions will be downloaded every night to keep the collection up to date.

more ..

August 15, 2017

The Domestic Terrorism Danger: Focus on Unauthorized Private Military Groups - Lawfare

By Philip Zelikow-- White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He has practiced law and served in various government positions, including as the executive director of the 9/11 Commission.

The Charlottesville tragedy came close to home for me because I teach at the University of Virginia and because it signaled the reappearance of a threat I had encountered before: the rise of well-armed private militia groups.  For those close to the action, including the law enforcement personnel on duty, hardly any aspect of the Charlottesville confrontation was more menacing than the appearance of organized, often uniformed, private bands of men in military getups, openly brandishing assault rifles and other long guns.

This is an ominous development, but it is not a new one. And it can be--and has been--countered with legal action. I took part in that work.


August 14, 2017

A New Reason to Get a Fake ID: Introducing T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+ | T-Mobile Newsroom

Starting August 9, qualified customers can get two lines of T-Mobile ONE --***-- for just $60, taxes and fees included, with Autopay. And that comes with unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data along with *** T-Mobile ONE benefits***.

With T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+, it's just $50 for the first line of T-Mobile ONE and $10 for your second line with unlimited everything after $5 per line Autopay discount. Taxes & fees included.***
And, T-Mobile ONE includes ***
  • Simple Global: unlimited text and data roaming and low flat-rate calling in 140+ countries and destinations
  • Mobile Without Borders: talk, text and surf in Mexico and Canada ***
  • Gogo Inflight: get unlimited texting all flight long and 1 free hour of smartphone Wi-Fi on all Gogo-equipped domestic flights
  • DIGITS: use your T-Mobile number on compatible phones, tablets and PCs, and use multiple numbers on one device
  • Mobile Hotspot: connect all your devices to the internet with included tethering data
  • Un-contract: only you have the power to change the price you pay
  • Carrier Freedom: T-Mobile helps cover your switching costs
  • T-Mobile Tuesdays: get thanked with free stuff every week just for being a customer

To get all this Un-carrier goodness and more, starting August 9, new customers age 55 and older can simply stop by your local T-Mobile store to sign up (we're serious about checking those IDs*). Current eligible customers can get T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+ by calling 1.800.TMOBILE, going to  https://www.t-mobile.comor visiting a local retail store.

ABA and Jones Day Launch Website to Connect Veterans to Legal Services - Robert Ambrogi's LawSites

At its annual meeting in New York Saturday, the American Bar Association announced the launch of, a website, developed in partnership with the law firm Jones Day, that matches veterans in need of pro bono legal services with attorneys willing to provide such services.

For now, the new site is only accepting registrations from attorneys, law firms and legal organizations interesting in providing services. By Veterans Day, the site will open on a pilot basis in a limited number of cities and states to accept veterans' cases. The site will become fully operational nationally in 2018, the ABA's announcement said.

Read entire article...

Law Firm Mourns Loss of Legal Assistant Killed in Charlottesville Protest |


Heather Heyer, killed Saturday while protesting against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., was an "empathetic" worker with a dry sense of humor, according to an attorney for whom she worked.

Heyer, 32, died after a man whom police identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, drove his car into a group of counter-protesters following the "Unite the Right" event. Fields faces a second degree murder charge and other charges.

Heyer had worked as a legal assistant since July 2012 at Miller Law Group, a three-attorney firm in Charlottesville focused on consumer bankruptcy, real estate and estate planning.

Read entire report...

August 10, 2017

When Email Exchanges Become Binding Contracts | New York Law Journal

Adam Leitman Bailey and John M. Desiderio

In Stonehill Capital Management v. Bank of the West , 28 NY3d 439 (2016), the New York Court of Appeals held that an agreement to sell a distressed loan, in the auction loan trading market, was enforceable without the execution of a formal written contract. While Stonehill may simply reflect the court's pragmatic acknowledgement of the trading practices that prevail in fast-paced loan trading, there has been concern expressed by some real estate attorneys that the decision may adversely impact longstanding practices in the negotiation of real estate contracts. The authors of this article do not share that concern, but we do believe that the decision does highlight points that real estate attorneys should consider when advising their clients. This article discusses when emails will be deemed a real estate contract and how to prevent or create such a binding contract.

August 9, 2017

Transgender Service Members Sue Trump Over Military Ban Tweets - CourtSide

Today five transgender members of the U.S. military sued Trump, claiming the tweets violate the due process and equal protection rights of transgender service members, and asking for an injunction against the ban. You can read the full lawsuit below.


Jane Does v Donald Trump by FindLaw on Scribd


Read entire article...

Related articles

Stephen Colbert compares Trump's military history with transgender soldiers who serve (

NYSBA | Ethics Opinions 1131 & 1132

Two new ethics opinions
Sharon Stern Gerstman
Today, our Professional Ethics Committee issued two opinions concerning whether lawyers may ethically participate in electronic marketing services. 
The first one is in response to an inquiry from a lawyer on whether he could participate in Avvo Legal Services, which would require the payment of a "marketing fee."  The opinion finds that a lawyer who pays Avvo a marketing fee is making an improper payment for a recommendation in violation of Rule 7.2(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  Having made this conclusion, the Committee did not address other bases for finding the payment improper or any ethical issues related to Avvo beyond the scope of the inquiry. It noted that "The questions we have addressed have generated vigorous debate both within and outside the legal profession." It said that "at this point we conclude that, under Avvo's current structure, lawyers may not pay Avvo's marketing fee for participating in Avvo Legal Services."  Thus, the opinion clarifies a question that has previously been unanswered in New York. The opinion is Number 1132, and can accessed
The second opinion outlines how a service like Avvo's could be in compliance with New York's Rules of Professional Conduct. It is intended to guide lawyers who wish to use these types of services in the future. The Committee, noting the variation in the structure of many web based services, says in the opinion that it "does not attempt to address every factual permutation that may exist." Rather, it explains how such a service can operate within the Rules and examines the issues that a lawyer using a service needs to consider. The opinion is Number 1131, and can be accessed at
Sharon Stern Gerstman
Sharon Stern Gerstman 
President, New York State Bar Association

August 7, 2017

Defendants Kept in the Dark About Evidence, Until It's Too Late - The New York Times



For decades, legislation to require prosecutors to turn over evidence earlier has run into stiff opposition from New York's district attorneys, who present a powerful counterargument: the safety of witnesses. More than a dozen such bills have failed in the past quarter-century.

Now, the politics show signs of shifting, and a renewed effort is underway to push the Legislature to overhaul state discovery rules, following the example of traditionally more conservative states such as North Carolina and Texas.

This year, the New York State Bar Association for the first time is throwing its weight behind a new Assembly bill requiring prosecutors to automatically turn over police reports, witness names and statements, and grand jury testimony early in a case. Their endeavor is backed by the Legal Aid Society and the Innocence Project, a nonprofit that helps exonerate people who have been wrongly convicted, although it faces a difficult road. There is no companion bill in the Senate, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has not embraced the idea.


Read entire article...

August 4, 2017

Security Summit Alert: Tax Pros Warned of New Scam to Steal Their Passwords

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating tax software providers and attempting to steal usernames and passwords.

Learn more about the latest scam...

Lawyers must take reasonable steps to protect client info in US border searches, ethics opinion says


Lawyers should take reasonable measures to avoid disclosure of client data in the event U.S. border agents search electronic devices, according to an ethics opinion by the New York City Bar. And if confidential or privileged material is disclosed, lawyers will have to notify affected clients.

The reasonable precautions that should be taken in advance will vary based on factors such as the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure, and the cost and difficulty of implementing safeguards, the July 25 opinion says. At the border, lawyers should take reasonable measures when an agent seeks to search a device with confidential information, including making an attempt to dissuade the agent, the opinion says.



Snarky, profane ACLU brief supports John Oliver against coal company CEO



The American Civil Liberties Union has a message for Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray: "You can't sue people for being mean to you, Bob."

The West Virginia ACLU filed an amicus brief in a defamation suit Murray filed against John Oliver for his June segment on the coal industry and its treatment of workers in a monologue on his HBO program, Last Week TonightVanity Fair calls the brief "hilarious," while LawNewz calls it the "snarkiest legal brief ever." Slate and the Hollywood Reporteralso have stories.



August 1, 2017

Government Lawyers Retiring en Masse

By William Vogeler, Esq--FindLaw--Greedy Associates


Nearly half of government lawyers can retire in the next two years, and the rest are already getting that sinking feeling.


Thomson Reuters, surveying 238 government attorneys, says the lawyers are worried about the exodus of baby-boomers who are retiring. One third of the federal workforce is eligible to retire this year, and about half of state and local government employees will be eligible by 2019.



July 28, 2017

New York City's Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD)--NYS Health Dept

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has released the draft New York City Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) for public comment. The FAD sets forth the requirements that New York City must follow to continue to avoid filtering its Catskill/Delaware water supply and to ensure safe drinking water for more than 9.5 million New Yorkers. 

In anticipation of the final FAD being issued this year, the draft has been released for a 45-day public comment period, ending September 5, 2017. 

To view the draft FAD and for instructions on how to comment, visit DOH's New York City's Filtration Avoidance Determination webpage

Paralegal robot reviews patent documents


TurboPatent Corp. on June 28 launched artificial-intelligence products that compare patent claims with past applications to make predictions about patent eligibility.

The patent drafting software, dubbed RoboReview, automates paralegal work, bringing more rigor to the task of researching prior art and potentially saving thousands of dollars on a filing. It's sold as a subscription product on an unlimited or per-use basis.

"Typically this review is done by humans doing multiple searches," says James Billmaier, TurboPatent's chief executive officer. "Very seasoned attorneys are amazed at things the machine finds that they miss in these very technically written documents."



New York lawyer accused of calling in bomb threat to avoid sanctions hearing


A lawyer in Syracuse, New York, is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 4 to enter a plea to allegations that she phoned in a bomb threat to avoid a hearing on an opposing lawyer's request for sanctions against her.


TSA raising aviation security baseline with stronger domestic security measures | Transportation Security Administration

As new procedures are phased in, TSA officers will begin to ask travelers to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags and place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image.


July 25, 2017

Adobe to kill off Flash by 2020 | TheHill


Adobe announced it would end support for the multimedia plug-in Flash by the end of 2020. 

"Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats," the company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. 


Mandatory Minimum Sentences Decline, Sentencing Commission Says | United States Courts

The number of federal prison inmates sentenced under mandatory minimum laws decreased by 14 percent from 2010 to 2016, although they still make up more than half of all federal inmates, according to a new report by the United States Sentencing Commission.

Read more.