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March 2011 Archives

March 1, 2011

NYLJ: State Bar Blasts Proposal to Cap Medical Malpractice Awards

New York Law Journal

March 01, 2011

ALBANY - The New York State Bar Association and its president yesterday blasted a recommendation by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Medicaid reform task force to cap medical malpractice awards for non-economic losses at $250,000.

Such caps are "anathema with respect to equal protection/access to justice," the state bar's Committee on the Tort System said in a memo in opposition to the Medicaid Redesign Team's recommendation. The memo was endorsed by the bar's executive committee.

Stephen P. Younger, the president of the state bar, said that the organization would write to Mr. Cuomo and all 212 state legislators urging them to oppose the cap proposal. Mr. Younger said he and other association officials will also ask state bar members to write letters to their legislators opposing the cap.

Read entire article at NYLJ.

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TRO issued in Wisconsin Capitol standoff

Ex Parte temporary restraining order. Resp. shall open the Wisconsin Capitol to members of the public during business hours and at times when governmental matters, such as hearings, listening sessions and court arguments are being conducted. This ex parte restraing order is in effect until the assigned trial court is able to schedule a hearing on the matter. If resp. wishes to have a hearing with respect to this order one will be scheduled as soon as possible before this court, the duty judge, if the assigned trial court is unable to hear the matter promptly. Pet. shall immediately serve a copy of this order on resp.
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March 2, 2011

Evernote 4 for iPhone and iPod Touch

Meet the New Evernote for iPhone

Discover Evernote 4 for iPhone and iPod Touch:

  • Create and find notes faster than ever
  • Scroll notes by images and attachments
  • Browse by notebooks and tags
  • Record up to 90 minutes of audio

Read about all of the updates on our blog. Share the post on Facebook andTwitter.

Watch their Intro to Evernote 4 video on YouTube.

Get the new Evernote for iPhone from the App Store.

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FindLaw: Roberts Opinion upholds Westboro Vile Free Speech


Snyder v. Phelps, No. 09-751 

In a dispute involving the acerbic picketing of a military funeral on public land, Supreme Court holds that the First Amendment shields protesters from tort liability. Read more...

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Apple Launches iPad 2

iPad 2.jpeg

Apple today introduced iPad 2, featuring an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad while maintaining the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen and up to 10 hours of battery life. iPad 2 also features Apple's new dual-core A5 processor for blazing-fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras -- a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video. iPad 2 is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T's and Verizon's 3G networks, and introduces the innovative iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of colors. iPad 2 will be available on March 11 in the US through the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers.


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March 6, 2011

NYTIMES: MERS? It May Have Swallowed Your Loan

Borrowing Under a Securitization Structure

Image via Wikipedia

"...Judges, lawmakers, lawyers and housing experts are raising piercing questions about MERS, which stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, whose private mortgage registry has all but replaced the nation's public land ownership records. Most questions boil down to this:

How can MERS claim title to those mortgages, and foreclose on homeowners, when it has not invested a dollar in a single loan?

And, more fundamentally: Given the evidence that many banks have cut corners and made colossal foreclosure mistakes, does anyone know who owns what or owes what to whom anymore?"

Read entire NYTIMES Article here. [Requires free registration]

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March 7, 2011

Administrative Judicial Institute Program Announcement: Implicit Bias in Judicial Decision Making: Striving for Fairness from the Bench, March 23, 2011, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Dear Colleagues,


The Administrative Judicial Institute is pleased to invite you and your fellow administrative law judges to attend a program entitled " Implicit Bias in Judicial Decision Making: Striving for Fairness from the Bench"," on Wednesday evening, March 23, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The program will be presented by Columbia Professor Dana Carney and New York University Law School Professor Sarah Burns and will focus on helping judges understand how unintended biases develop and can impact judicial decision making, and how they might be avoided or addressed. 


The program will be held at the Institute's 14th Floor Lecture Room at 40 Rector Street and will provide 2 CLE credits in ethics.  A description of the program is posted on the Institute's website.  Please share this announcement with your fellow judges and tribunal attorneys. 


To register, go to the Upcoming Programs link on the Institute website:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/oath/html/aji/programs.shtml .  The registration link will be active after 4 p.m. today. 


Hope to see you there,

Ray Kramer


Raymond E. Kramer

Administrative Law Judge

Administrative Judicial institute at the

Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings

40 Rector Street, 6th Floor

New York, New York 10006


Phone: 212-442-4928; - 4929

Fax: 212-442-8910   

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March 8, 2011

JURIST: Obama orders resumption of Guantanamo military trials

 March 7, 2011
Jaclyn Belczyk at 4:55 PM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] on Monday issued an executive order [text; fact sheet] allowing military commissions for Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives] detainees to resume. New charges in the military commission system have been suspended since shortly after Obama took office in 2009. Monday's order also establishes a procedure for establishing a review process for detainees who have not been charged, convicted or designated for transfer....

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] condemned the order [press release], calling it, "window dressing for the reality that today's executive order institutionalizes indefinite detention, which is unlawful, unwise and un-American."

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March 9, 2011

ReadWriteWeb: Gmail Gets Smart Labels to Help Filter Messages and Fight Email Overload

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Google has just announced a new feature in Gmail aimed at helping us address the pain of the email inbox. It's a follow-up to some of the recent changes that Google has made to help tackle email overload, most notably with the addition of the Priority Inbox.

The new feature, only available in Labs at the moment, is called Smart Labs and it adds filters to your incoming email based on their type - Bulk, Notification, or Forum.

Read entire article on RWW:

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Empire Justice Center: The Mortgage Meltdown II

New York's continuing foreclosure crisis and the need to help homeowners avoid the loss of their homes

Prepared by Barbara van Kerkhove, Ph.D. March 9, 2011

The report, which includes maps of several upstate regions, shows that in September, 2010 in all but one of New York's 62 counties, more loans are at imminent risk of foreclosure than are currently in foreclosure. The report calls for $15 million for the continuation of the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program.

To download a copy of the report , click on the report thumbnail included in this email or visit our website to view the report and press release.

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March 10, 2011

GMAIL: Click to call phone numbers

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Image via CrunchBase

Posted by Robin Schriebman, Software Engineer

With the ability to call phones built right into Gmail, you no longer have to get out your phone and retype a number anytime someone send you one in an email or chat message. Starting today, you'll see that phone numbers appear as links, like this:

Just click the number, and Gmail's dialpad will pop up, already populated with the number you're trying to call.

Click "Call" and voilà! Of course, if you don't already have the voice and video plugin installed, you'll be prompted to do that first. 

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March 12, 2011

IRS: Calendar Connector Tool

Calendar Connector Tool

Install the IRS Calendar Connector and access Important Tax Dates for Small Businesses right from your desktop, even when you're offline. As new events are added, they will be automatically updated via the desktop tool.

This customizable tool allows you to specify what types of events you wish to view (general, employer, excise, or all) and how you want them displayed (by day, week or month).

The IRS Calendar Connector requires Adobe® AIR®. Follow these steps to install it on your computer:

Step 1
First, click on the "Get ADOBE® AIR®" button.
Click to install Adobe AIR
Step 2
When the AIR® installation is complete, click this button to install the IRS Calendar Connector.
Click to install the IRS Calendar Connector, version 1.0.0F
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MacWorld.com: How to migrate from your old iPad to a new model

Posted on Mar 11, 2011 1:03 pm by Lex FriedmanMacworld.com

Your iPad 2 is so close, you can almost hear the click of your new Smart Cover snapping into place. But if you already own the original iPad, you should take time now to prepare your migration from that device to the iPad 2. With advanced planning, you'll be ready to start playing with your new tablet practically from the moment you open up the box.

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March 13, 2011

Prof. Salkin: NY Appellate Court (3rd Dept A.D.) Finds Improvements to Property Following Flood Were Substantial, Triggering Compliance with Local Flood Plain Law « LAW OF THE LAND

FEMA seal (old)

Image via Wikipedia

NY Appellate Court (3rd Dept A.D.) finds Improvements to Property Following Flood Were Substantial, Triggering Compliance with Local Flood Plain Law.  In reviewing the National Flood Insurance Program regulations which define "substantial improvement," the Court noted that it is considered substantial if the repairs would equal or exceed 50% of the pre-flood market value of the home. To determine whether the defendants made a substantial improvement, the Town used the current tax assessment to calculate the market value of the structure. The defendants argued that the Town had to use an independent professional appraisal, but the court said this was not true as the regulation was silent as to how value was to be determined. The Court noted that FEMA's written guidelines allow for both approaches, but that the defendants did not submit any alternate property appraisal to the Town or to the Court for consideration.  

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March 14, 2011

AltTransport: Google Maps Adds Electric Car Charging Station Locations - AltTransport: Your Guide to Smarter Ways of Getting Around

If your electric car is running out of juice and you're not sure where to charge it -- ask Google. The search-engine giant has added a new feature to its Maps applications that allows drivers to put in their zip code or city and find the closest public-accesible charging station.

March 15, 2011

10 Must-Have Free Downloads | PCWorld - PCWorld

PC World logo

Image via Wikipedia

10 Must-Have Free Downloads 

Some software is so good that you just have to download it. Unfortunately, often you have to pay for it after you try it out. But every once in a while, a must-have program is totally free. Such indispensable, no-cost tools are the hardest programs to find--but PC World found the best ones for you.

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March 16, 2011

New connection bar in Gmail for iPhone

Posted: 16 Mar 2011 11:28 AM PDT

Posted by Kenneth Kwan, Software Engineer

Using Gmail in Safari on your iPhone gives you access to fast search, conversation view, stars, labels, and more. But it's sometimes frustrating not knowing whether your email has been sent or whether your phone has a functioning internet connection at all. To address this, we recently introduced the "connection bar." The connection bar appears at the bottom of the screen when needed to give you the info you want-- and then gets out of the way.

The connection bar appears when the app launches and is checking for new mail:

It also appears when your phone is offline, back online and sending, and then again when it finishes sending all messages:

You can see this improvement by visiting gmail.com from your iPhone or iPod Touch's browser (iOS4 only). Don't see the new changes yet? Try clearing your cache and refreshing the page. And if you like using Gmail in mobile Safari, get to it faster by tapping the "+" at the bottom of the screen and then "Add to Home Screen."

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March 17, 2011

Frenzy - The Dropbox powered social network

File based Frenzy uses Dropbox to store your feed items and keep everything in sync. You don't need another account and there's no other server involved. Simple and minimal Frenzy is designed to get out of your way and let you get right back to work. Use the key combo to share what you're looking at, type your message and then Frenzy will immediately return focus back to the application you were using. Works offline Because Frenzy uses Dropbox, your feed items sync whenever you're next online. No more connection problems or fail whales. Completely private Frenzy is designed from the ground up to be for just you and a bunch of your close friends. All the Frenzy data is kept inside your Dropbox folders.

[Editor's note:  this would make a very slick extranet for lawyers who would like to offer such a service to their clients]

For a limited time, download a free beta

Frenzy 0.5

Requires OS X 10.5+ Intel

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March 19, 2011

SmartBrief: Microsoft releases accessibility improvements, resources

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Microsoft is aiming to make some of its programs more accessible for those with disabilities, releasing new features on Thursday for its Word and PowerPoint programs. The company also launched Microsoft Accessibility Tools & Training, a collection of online resources and training tools to help developers increase the accessibility of sites and programs for those with disabilities. T.H.E. Journal (3/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

March 20, 2011

Prof. Salkin: NY Appellate Court Holds Discontinued Nonconforming Use Extinguished and New Zoning Regulations Apply to Property « LAW OF THE LAND

Plaintiff owns property in the Town and commenced an action for a declaratory judgment that the property is exempt from certain land use and building code regulations on the grounds that it was a pre-existing nonconforming use. In applying the Town Code which provides that nonconforming nonresidential uses "[s]hall not be reestablished if such use has been discontinued for one (1) year or more," the Court found that the Town established that the property had been used for a nonconforming nonresidential use, and that such use had been discontinued for more than one year.  The plaintiff failed to raise any triable issue of fact and therefore the appellate court agreed with the court below that the land use regulations and building codes apply to the property in question.  

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March 22, 2011

JURIST - Paper Chase: Wisconsin AG asks court to block order halting union bargaining law

Jennie Ryan at 2:58 PM ET [JURIST

Photo source or description
[JURIST] Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen (R) [official website] asked the state's Court of Appeals [official website] on Monday to block [motion, PDF] an order issued last week temporarily halting a legislative measure designed to curb the collective bargaining power of unions. Van Hollen's office filed the motion seeking temporary relief from a Dane County Circuit Court [official website] order [text; JURIST report] enjoining Wisconsin Secretary of State Douglas La Follette [official website] from publishing theBudget Repair Bill [SB 11 text, PDF], thus giving it the effect of law. He also asked for leave to appeal the order and for relief consisting of an order to stay the circuit court's ruling. Van Hollen argues that the Dane County Circuit Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case because the four named defendants, who are all state legislators, enjoy legislative immunity during the regular legislative term. ...
The next hearing in the case is scheduled to begin March 29.

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Gmail - Switch to Gmail

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Image via CrunchBase

Considering switching?  Gmail makes email easy and efficient. With Gmail, you'll get lots of storage space, less spam, fast search and lots more. But how? Switching to Gmail is actually really easy. After you sign up, you'll see the option to transfer over messages and contacts from your old account. That way, you can pick up right where you left off. 

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U.S. Court News: PACER Continues to Grow



March 21, 2011

The federal judiciary's Public Access to Court Electronics Records service attracted more than 50,000 new accounts in the first four months of fiscal year 2010.

There are now nearly 1.2 million PACER accounts in existence. The service allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.

The PACER Case Locator is a national index for the federal courts. Users may conduct nationwide searches to determine whether or not a party is involved in federal litigation.

The federal judiciary's current fiscal year began October 1, 2010. There were 13,221 new PACER accounts created in October; 12,485 in November; 11,518 in December; and 13,908 in January 2011.

Visit www.pacer.gov for more information


In March 2010, the Judicial Conference of the United States approved reducing the costs for many users of the PACER system. The Electronic Public Access fee schedule has been adjusted so PACER usage of less than $10 in a quarterly billing cycle is waived, in effect quadrupling the amount of data available without charge. Previously, usage under $10 in a calendar year was waived. 

All users of PACER will receive a quarterly invoice or statement indicating the amount of quarterly charges and amount waived (if under $10). Users registered for paperless statements will receive an emailed notice of billing. The email contains the account balance, payment due date and a link to view the invoice or statement.

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March 23, 2011

NYLJ: Judge Squawks at Town's Bid To Penalize Chicken Owners

Justice Court of Town of Hyde Park, Dutchess County
Criminal Practice 
People v. Mahoney, 10-11-0062 

In the instant case, requiring the People to allege and prove that defendants' animals were not household pets would not unfairly apportion the burden of proof. Quite simply, the People would be required to affirmatively allege and prove beyond a reasonable doubt the negative fact that the animals in question were not household pets. .

The court finds several additional deficiencies in the accusatory instrument. The information does not factually allege the property in question is possessed, occupied, or owned by the defendants, and does not even allege the chickens and other animals belonged to the defendants. It does not state how many chickens were observed, or provide any identifying facts as to what "other animals typically associated with farming and animal husbandry" means in the context of constituting the offense.

Based upon the foregoing facial insufficiencies, defendants' motion to dismiss on grounds the information is jurisdictionally defective is granted and the information is dismissed.

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Slaw is a Canadian co-operative weblog about any and all things legal.

They began in 2005 with a focus on legal information and research, but now consider any aspect of law their meat and drink. Their audience is primarily lawyers, law librarians, and others working in or studying law. Their aim is to share knowledge, offer advice and instruction, and occasionally provoke.

They operate with a core of regular contributors and a penumbra of occasional contributors, as well as a significant roster of regular columnists. They have published literally thousands of entries and have received many more thousands of comments from their readers, who are not only Canadians but can also be found in dozens of countries around the globe. They have been honoured with quite a few awards: the 2008 and 2009 Blawgie for Best Overall Law-Related Blog, the 2009 Clawbie for Best Canadian Law Blog, and the Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2009 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing, to mention a few.

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March 24, 2011

Spring Cleaning - Gadgets You Can Get Rid Of - NYTimes.com

Gadgets You Should Get Rid Of (or Not) (full text)

The common rap against technology is that it leads to an accumulation of devices. But the nature of technology is changing. Fewer products are doing more tasks -- all accomplished by countless lines of massless software code.

And so we no longer need to accumulate products. If anything, we can cut down. The question is, Which can be replaced and which are fine, or even preferable, to keep? It is plain as day that paper maps and Rolodexes have given way to their digital counterparts. But what else can you get rid of? Here is a list of common consumer technologies and products and a somewhat opinionated judgment on whether to keep or pitch it.

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NYLJ: New Circuit Disciplinary Rule Targets Uncooperative Attorneys

Attorneys charged before a Second Circuit grievance committee who fail to respond to or comply with show cause orders can be deemed to have waived objections on appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled.

In In re Paul E. Warburgh, 07-9056-am, a per curiam opinion issued Tuesday, Judges Jose A. Cabranes, Robert D. Sack and Richard C. Wesley, who make up the circuit's grievance panel, said the committee was well within its rights to take summary action once Mr. Warburgh had repeatedly refused to respond to the show cause order.

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iPhone J.D.

iPhone J.D.  is a site for lawyers using iPhones published by Jeff Richardson, an attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jeff does a great job of reviewing products related to lawyer's use of the iPhone.  Here are some recent reviews:
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    March 25, 2011

    NYSBA Pro Bono: Free Criminal Law CLE Program

    Friday, June 17, 2011 
    Staying Ahead of the Curve: What Every Criminal Defense Lawyer Needs to Know

    Free Criminal Law CLE Program for Public Defenders, Conflict Defenders and Assigned Counsel
    7 MCLE Credits (6.0 Professional Practice and or Skills; 1.0 Ethics)

    Click here for the Program Agenda and On-Line Registration

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    March 28, 2011

    PLI Live Seminars - Scared and Alone: Representing Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Proceedings (FREE Audio-only)

    Scared and Alone: Representing Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Proceedings (FREE Audio-only) Webcast Mar. 30, 2011 1:00 PM Eastern 

    March 30, 2011, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (E.D.T.)

     Each year, thousands of children travel alone to the United States.  Some are the victims of abuse or persecution, others of human trafficking or forced prostitution.  Some are placed into the custody of the U.S. government, others enter undetected.  All of them are in need of legal assistance to navigate the immigration proceedings. Please join Diana Castañeda, National Legal Services Director at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), and Noël L. Young, an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and KIND pro bono attorney, for a free One-Hour Briefing on Representing Unaccompanied Minors and learn how you, too, can help. 

    Topics to be addressed include: 
    Definition of Unaccompanied Alien Children 
    Forms of immigration relief available for UACs 
    Practice tips for representing children, including ethical considerations 

    Attorneys of all backgrounds, expertise, and experience are welcome. Click here for more information.

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    March 29, 2011

    NYLJ: 'Hundreds' of Layoffs Loom as Judiciary Prepares to Slash Another $70 Million

    Read entire report in NYLJ.

    Cortland County Supreme Court Justice Philip R. Rumsey, the president of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, said the courts are being ill-used by the governor and the Legislature.

    "The other two branches are requiring the courts to establish 'worthy programs,' such as the mandatory settlement conferences in foreclosure cases," Justice Rumsey said. "But then they are not providing the resources to do what they have required."

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    March 30, 2011

    NYLJ: OCA Contacts Unions On Feasibility of Furloughs

    Court administrators said yesterday they are contacting union leaders to see whether furloughs are worth exploring as a way of making up part of $170 million in cuts being imposed on the Judiciary. "Furloughs are a possibility but they have to be negotiated," Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said.

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    March 31, 2011

    Battle of the Smartphones: iPhone v. Android | Legal Talk Network

    Battle of the Smartphones: iPhone v. Android

    Battle of the Smartphones: iPhone v. Android

    There is an ongoing  debate in the legal community about whether the iPhone or the Android is best for attorneys and their practices.  Attorneys and co-hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams welcomeAttorney Richard M. Georges, blogger for FutureLawyer and Attorney Jeff Richardson, from Adams and Reese LLP and blogger for iPhone J.D., to take the gloves off on Lawyer2Lawyer about the pros and cons of each, look at the best applications for attorneys and security issues surrounding smartphones.

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    About March 2011

    This page contains all entries posted to General Practice Section in March 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

    February 2011 is the previous archive.

    April 2011 is the next archive.

    Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.