July 23, 2017

Review: SimpliSafe Alarm System -- Katie Floyd

Katie Floyd:

I've written about my move to a new home and the technology I'm using. With the move came a search for a new alarm system. I looked at "smart alarm" solutions, but ultimately, I installed a system from SimpliSafe. It's not fancy, and it's certainly not tech-forward. But it was friendly on the budget and after a few initial hiccups seems to work as advertised.


July 21, 2017

Don't Take the Bait, Step 2: Be Alert to Account Takeover Tactics

Account takeovers by cybercriminals are on the rise and increasingly practitioners are the targets. Heed the advice of the IRS, state tax agencies and industry partners: Don't Take the Bait.

For more information, visit Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself.

2017 ABA Annual Meeting--CLE in the City Series

Dear General Practice Section member:


The 2017 American Bar Association Annual Meeting is headed to New York, August 10 - 15.  The ABA is working with the NYSBA General Practice Section, along with other Local/Affinity Bar Associations and New York Law Firms, on the new CLE in the City Series, in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting. 


This innovative set of programs offers:


·         12 specialty tracks to fit your legal interest

·         4.5 CLE credits with over 30+ sessions

·         Affordable tickets without a meeting registration fee - $25/session

·         Programs presented at leading law firms or special venues in midtown Manhattan


We are excited to share with you the CLE in the City brochure.  Registration is now open!

Register today to secure your place at the CLE in the City Series.  You can purchase individual program tickets for $25 without registering for the ABA Annual Meeting by entering the promo code LAP during the registration process.  You must reside within the Tri-State area to take advantage of this great offer. You do not have to be an ABA member to take advantage of these unique CLE programs. Click here to register.


Included with your $25 CLE in the City ticket:

Bonus CLE 

Thursday, August 10 | 4 - 5:30 p.m. | Bright Insight: Key Business Drivers and Trends Affecting Real Estate Decision-Making (CLE Accreditation Requested) | New York Hilton Midtown



Thursday, August 10 | 5:30 - 7 p.m. | Trial of Two Pizzas (New York v. Chicago) and Reception | ABA EXPO | New York Hilton Midtown


If you would like to attend other exciting events being offered at the ABA Annual Meeting, please visit the website www.ambar.org/annual.  General ABA Annual Meeting registration is open with registration fees starting as low as $95.00.   


We look forward to seeing you in August.

July 17, 2017

As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away - The New York Times

Some of the problems playing out now in the $108 billion private student loan market are reminiscent of those that arose from the subprime mortgage crisis a decade ago, when billions of dollars in subprime mortgage loans were ruled uncollectable by courts because of missing or fake documentation. And like those troubled mortgages, private student loans -- which come with higher interest rates and fewer consumer protections than federal loans -- are often targeted at the most vulnerable borrowers, like those attending for-profit schools.


New information on your iPhone being searched by Customs at the border - iPhone J.D.

Jeff Richardson,


To try to get more concrete information on the current state of affairs, Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon who has a reputation of being a privacy advocate, recently sent a letter to Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with questions on the current policies.  I encourage you to read the full response as posted by the Washington Post, as well as the article by Brian Fung of the Post, but here are four parts of the response that jumped out a me.


July 16, 2017

A New Kind of Instant Messaging

Whether it's corporations or governments, digital surveillance today is widespread. Tox is easy-to-use software that connects you with friends and family without anyone else listening in. While other big-name services require you to pay for features, Tox is completely free and comes without advertising -- forever.

Everything you do with Tox is encrypted using open-source libraries. The only people who can see your conversations are the people you're talking with.

Life hack: how to best arrange your iPhone apps, one icon at a time | Technology | The Guardian

In the 10 years since the iPhone launched, I've never really settled on a way to arrange my home screen that I actually like. Folders seem clunky but no folders leaves me with too many things multiple swipes away. Organising by what I use most leaves me with the rarely but rapidly needed apps buried, while organising by speed of access leaves me tapping through multiple times a day.

And then there's aesthetics. Some apps simply don't deserve to be on my first home screen no matter how much I use them. Mostly games. Game designers can't make an attractive icon for the life of them, it seems.

I was trapped on the horns of dilemma. So for the past couple of years, I've abdicated all responsibility for the decision making, and instead instituted A System: every time I tap on an app to open it, I move it one square closer to the front.

Read more....

July 15, 2017

Phishing-Malware - YouTube

YouTube: Phishing-Malware

Find out how to protect your clients from emails that claim they are from the IRS by watching this YouTube video.

July 13, 2017

Sheldon Silver's 2015 Corruption Conviction Is Overturned - NYTimes.com

A federal appeals court on Thursday overturned the 2015 corruption conviction of Sheldon Silver, the once-powerful New York State Assembly speaker who obtained nearly $4 million in illicit payments in return for taking official actions that benefited others, according to evidence presented at his trial.

In vacating Mr. Silver's conviction, the appellate court cited a United States Supreme Court ruling last year involving Bob McDonnell, a former Republican governor of Virginia, that narrowed the definition of the kind of official conduct that can serve as the basis of a corruption prosecution.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan concluded, in light of the Supreme Court's narrower definition, that the jury instructions given by the judge in Mr. Silver's trial were erroneous and that a properly instructed jury might not have convicted him.


Full text of Decision-click link below:


July 8, 2017

Attorney Registration: Secure Pass ID Cards - N.Y. State Courts

The highlights of the changes in the Attorney Secure Pass program (instituted in 2015) are:

- Attorneys may opt to renew their Secure Pass ID cards by logging on to www.nycourts.gov

- Login will require Attorney Online Services user name & password (same as Attorney Registration and NYSCEF)

- A Secure Pass will now remain valid for 5 years

- The cost of an Attorney Secure Pass will increase from $25 to $50

- Online renewals will use current photo on file

- Online renewals will require only a single courthouse visit to pick -up the new ID Card and verify identity

- Note: Attorneys applying for their first Secure Pass ID Card MUST continue to use the paper form and submit in person and pick -up in person (new paper forms reflecting the new $50.00 cost are available at trial-level courthouses).

July 6, 2017

United States Files Civil Action To Forfeit Thousands Of Ancient Iraqi Artifacts Imported By Hobby Lobby | USAO-EDNY | Department of Justice

Earlier today, the United States filed a civil complaint to forfeit thousands of cuneiform tablets and clay bullae. As alleged in the complaint, these ancient clay artifacts originated in the area of modern-day Iraq and were smuggled into the United States through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, contrary to federal law. Packages containing the artifacts were shipped to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. ("Hobby Lobby"), a nationwide arts-and-crafts retailer based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and two of Hobby Lobby's corporate affiliates. The shipping labels on these packages falsely described cuneiform tablets as tile "samples."

The government also filed a stipulation of settlement with Hobby Lobby, in which Hobby Lobby consented to the forfeiture of the artifacts in the complaint, approximately 144 cylinder seals and an additional sum of $3 million, resolving the civil action. Hobby Lobby further agreed to adopt internal policies and procedures governing its importation and purchase of cultural property, provide appropriate training to its personnel, hire qualified outside customs counsel and customs brokers, and submit quarterly reports to the government on any cultural property acquisitions for the next eighteen months.

The complaint and stipulation of settlement were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York.




'Smishing' scams target your text messages. Here's how to avoid them



Similar to a "phishing" scam -- where computer users receive an authentic-looking email that appears to be from their bank, Internet Service Provider (ISP), favorite store, or other organization - "smishing" messages are sent to you via SMS (text message) on your mobile phone.

What does the sender want? To defraud you



July 3, 2017

Joshua Stein PLLC---Model Opinion of Counsel

Joshua Stein

Joshua Stein

In "Model Opinion of Counsel," published in the N.Y. Real Property Law Journal, Joshua Stein offers a template for a variety of common opinions of counsel for commercial loan closings. Click here: 


July 2, 2017

Settlement Will Reform Solitary Confinement of Children at Syracuse Jail | New York Civil Liberties Union

The New York Civil Liberties Union and Legal Services of Central New York announced a settlement with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office today that ends the routine practice of 23-hour-a-day isolation of juveniles at the Justice Center jail in Syracuse. The settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed by the NYCLU and LSCNY last year.

Children aged 16 and 17, many of whom have mental illnesses, had been kept in solitary confinement for months at a time. Many children exhibited symptoms of suicidal thinking, and jail officials deliberately ignored warnings about children's vulnerabilities, returning juveniles to solitary even after being placed on suicide watch for brief periods. Solitary confinement can cause psychosis, trauma, depression and self-harm.


June 30, 2017

Getting Married? - YouTube--IRS

  YouTube: Getting Married

Find out how marriage affects your clients' federal taxes by watching this YouTube video

Watch this and other videos on the IRS YouTube Channel  

General Practice Section--Dear Section Members


Reply to GroupReply to Sender
Joel E. Abramson, Esq.
Jun 29, 2017 4:15 PM
Joel E. Abramson, Esq.

Dear Section Members:

As the new Section Chair, I want to reach out to the members.

First, I thank the outgoing Chair, John Owens Jr., for his dedication and hard work in leading the Section during the past year. I look forward to calling upon John for his insight and advice during the forthcoming year.

NYSBA has been a wonderful force for societal good. Nevertheless, my view is that greater attention should be paid to the needs of our members in their practice of law. With that in mind, I hope to make my year as Section Chair the "Year of the Lawyer."

With your agreement and support, we can work together as advocates for lawyers. Areas that concern me due to inadequate protection of lawyers' rights are: attorney discipline; professional liability; and court system treatment of lawyers. There are surely other concerns which you may have.

Please get back to me with your thoughts.

You may contact me at any of the following:

Email:  JEA.Law@gmail.com

Address:  271 Madison Ave., 22nd Floor
                New York, New York 10016

Fax:  (212) 213-3495

I wish a happy July 4th Holiday and wonderful summer to all.


Joel E. Abramson
Chair, General Practice Section

Joel Abramson Esq.
Joel E. Abramson PC
New York NY

Cyberthreats are now worse than you think. A warning to all law firms! - Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog


The danger of ransomware as a threat to your law practice has increased exponentially the past few weeks. You've heard about viruses and malware for years and, for those who have never had a data loss, it is easy to become complacent.

Recent events demonstrate how weaponized ransomware has created such a dangerous threat that responsible and cautious lawyers must act to protect both their business operations and their clients.


Read more...including precautions you can take...

June 27, 2017

NYSBA | June 26, 2017: New York Victims of Medical Malpractice Would Be Harmed By Proposed Federal Bill, Says New York State Bar Association

Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs

H.R. 1215, misnamed the "Protecting Access to Care Act," for example, would mandate a $250,000 federal cap on nonmonetary medical malpractice awards, such as for pain and suffering.  These caps discriminate against women who do not work outside the home, the elderly and children. The act also imposes new federal deadlines for filing a medical malpractice claim.

The New York State Bar Association's Memorandum in Opposition to H. R. 1215 is available at: http://www.nysba.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=73713.


June 26, 2017

Fake law firm website uses real lawyers' pictures to fleece consumers, bar lawsuit says


The Houston Bar Association has filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down a fake law firm website that is using the pictures of real lawyers in an apparent scam targeting elderly people.

The fake law firm is called Walsh & Padilla, and it purports to offer estate planning services, the Houston Chronicle reports.

In reality, the website appears to be operated from South Africa, and it uses photos of lawyers taken from real law firm websites, the suit says.


Eric Conn says he escaped the U.S. with a fake passport and help from overseas | Lexington Herald Leader

Fugitive lawyer Eric C. Conn fled the country using a fake passport and help from someone overseas who has given him a job to support himself while on the lam, Conn told the Herald-Leader in an email exchange over the weekend.

Conn, once one of the top disability attorneys in the nation, flew to a country that doesn't have an agreement to extradite people wanted for crimes in the United States, he told the newspaper.


Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article158171354.html#storylink=cpy