June 2017 Archives

Getting Married? - YouTube--IRS

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  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

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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


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...

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.



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.


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

Security Summit Warns of New Phishing Email Targeting Tax Pros

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The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to beware of phishing emails purporting to be from a tax software education provider and seeking extensive amounts of sensitive preparer data.

The email's origin is unknown but likely issued by cybercriminals who could be operating from the U.S. or abroad. The email is unusual for the amount of sensitive preparer data that it seeks. This preparer information will enable the thieves to steal client data and file fraudulent tax returns. 

The IRS reminds all tax professionals that legitimate businesses and organizations never ask for usernames, passwords or sensitive data via email. Nor should a preparer ever provide such sensitive information via email if asked. 

All tax professionals should be aware that their e-Services credentials, the Electronic Filing Information Number (EFIN), the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and their Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number are extremely valuable to identity thieves.Anyone handling taxpayer information has a legal obligation to protect that data.

Because the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, acting in partnership as the Security Summit, are making inroads on individual tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals increasingly target tax professionals. Thieves are looking for real client data so they can better impersonate the taxpayer when filing fraudulent returns for refunds. 

The fake email uses the name of a real U.S.-based preparer education firm. Here's the text as it appears in phishing emails being sent to tax professionals: In our database, there is a failure, we need your information about your account.

In addition, we need a photo of the driver's license, send all the data to the letter. Please do it as soon as possible, this will help us to revive the account.

*Company Name *

*EServices Username *

*EServices Password *

*EServices Pin *

*CAF number*

*Answers to a secret question*

*EIN Number *

*Business Name 

*Owner/Principal Name *

*Owner/Principal DOB *

*Owner/Principal SSN * 

*Prior Years AGI 

Mother's Maiden Name

If you received or fell victim to the scam email, forward a copy to phishing@irs.gov. If you disclosed any credential information, contact the e-Services Help Desk to reset your password. If you disclosed information and taxpayer data was stolen, contact your local stakeholder liaison.


With the proliferation of services to store files online (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.) has come a proliferation of client software for interacting with those services. Cyberduck is a file manager that supports the most popular file storage services. It also supports common protocols like FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV. In addition, Cyberduck can make use of an external editor to provide editing of remote files (e.g., to edit a static website). Users of Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) will find integrated support for the extended features of S3 like file versioning, bucket lifecycles, access control lists, and multi-part uploads. Cyberduck's integrated support for Cryptomator encryption can encrypt files before uploading them to cloud storage for additional security. Users of multiple services may appreciate Cyberduck's bookmarking feature. Cyberduck is available for macOS and Windows. [CRH]

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.edu

The federal judiciary is considering blocking public online access to criminal court records on PACER to prevent inmates from learning information about confidential informants.

The idea is one of several under consideration as the U.S. Judicial Conference considers the impact of disclosure, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

A recent survey (PDF) of federal judges, prosecutors, defenders and probation offices by the Federal Judicial Center found that nearly 700 witnesses and informants perceived as snitches had been threatened, wounded or killed over a three year period.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of Manhattan told the U.S. Judicial Conference's criminal rules committee in April that PACER is part of the problem, according to the Wall Street Journal account. Though federal inmates don't have PACER access, they often get information from others.

"Anonymous remote public access to PACER is a source of much of the information that gets into prisons about who is cooperating," Kaplan said.


New Phone Scam Involves Bogus Certified Letters

Beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), in which fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country.


The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details.

In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim is also warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.

"This is a new twist to an old scam," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call."


Legal History Blog

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A team of legal scholars from a range of backgrounds author the Legal History Blog, a resource that will be of interest to historians, lawyers, law librarians, and anyone else interested in how U.S. law has been interpreted over the years. Updated almost daily, this blog offers scholars and general readers a way to stay abreast of the field of legal history. Entries include updates about new journal articles, books, and conferences of interest. One notable highlight of this blog is the Sunday Book Review Roundup, which provides an overview of new book reviews from The New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostThe LA Review of Books, and other periodicals. Visitors can browse previously published entries by subject labels, including Business History, Congressional Law, Originalism and the Founding Period, and Voting Rights, to name just a few. [MMB]

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.edu

New York State Bar Association-House of Delegates Meeting

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Watch the NYSBA House of Delegates in action on Saturday, June 17th beginning at 8:30 a.m. by clicking http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=nysbar and choosing the June meeting. 

, New York Law Journal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday afternoon announced that he would nominate Justice Paul Feinman to the State Court of Appeals seat left vacant by the death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam.

In an interview on NY1, the Democratic governor called Feinman "an extraordinary human being and will be a great addition on that court."

If confirmed by the State Senate, Feinman would become the first openly gay judge to serve on the state's highest court.


Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez denied key parts of the San Antonio Zoo's motion for summary judgement, holding that the Animal Legal Defense Fund had provided sufficient facts demonstrating the zoo may be violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by holding an endangered elephant, Lucky, in conditions that injure her both physically and psychologically. The zoo must now defend its treatment of Lucky in a full trial, currently scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2017.

The ruling, released Friday, June 9, also strongly rejected the zoo's legal argument that its purported compliance with the Animal Welfare Act shields it from liability under the ESA. This is a significant legal ruling that has broad application to any endangered species in captivity, including Lolita the orca, whose captivity at the Miami Seaquarium in a shockingly tiny tank has been the subject of litigation for years.


NYSBA | Service Animals Guide

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People with disabilities may rely on dogs and other service animals to assist them at their homes and workplaces, schools, retail stores, restaurants, theaters and when traveling. However, there has been confusion both for those who use service animals and those who must accommodate them. The New York City Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association have released this guide jointly to help clarify the legal rights and obligations involving the use of service animals in the state. The associations encourage the downloading, copying and distribution of the Guide throughout the state.



The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to widen the reach of a federal law targeting abusive debt-collection tactics such as harassment and threats, ruling it does not cover companies that buy debt, sometimes for pennies on the dollar, and then collect it.

The justices, in a 9-0 ruling, upheld a lower court's dismissal of a proposed consumer class action lawsuit against Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc over allegations it violated a law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.



Full Opinion: 

817 F. 3d 131, affirmed.



[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday refused to block [docket] a finding that a Texas county's bail system discriminates against the poor. Officials of Harris County petitioned the court on Tuesday [AP report] for an emergency order to block the ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] which called for the release of inmates who were incarcerated for not being able to afford bail. District Judge Lee Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas [official website] ruled in April that inmates who signed affidavits swearing to their financial situations could be released from the county jail as the bail system was in violation of equal protection rights and due process safeguards against incarceration without proper procedure or affording those held the opportunity to be heard. The country jail began releasing inmates late Tuesday and will continue to do so. The county will continue its appeal of the ruling.



A Connecticut law makes it the first state to provide animals with court-appointed advocates to represent them in abuse and cruelty cases, similar to laws that provide for victim's or children's advocates.

Seven lawyers and a law professor in the state are approved as volunteer advocates, the AP reports. Judges have discretion on whether to appoint an advocate; defense attorneys and prosecutors may request them.


Animal law is a rapidly growing field. The article, citing the Animal Legal Defense Fund, notes "nine law schools had courses in animal law in 2000; by 2015, that number was 151."

Read more..

LexisNexis acquires case analytics firm Ravel Law

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LexisNexis Legal & Professional has acquired legal research and litigation analytics firm Ravel Law, and will integrate Ravel's data visualization and profiling technology into LexisNexis services.

"Ravel Law will accelerate our vision of the data-driven lawyer of the future," says Jeff Pfeifer, vice president of LexisNexis product management, in an interview after Thursday's announcement. "By leveraging these platforms, an attorney can get insights about a variety of problems, from judicial tendencies to arguments that are effective in a judge's chambers."


Cyber Attacks-Is It Really Not If You Will Be Attacked, But When?

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By Jim Calloway--Oklahoma Bar Association

Recently, there were news reports of a Providence, Rhode Island, law firm that was held hostage by ransomware blackmailers for 90 days. Just imagine 90 days without access to any file on the law firm's network or any of the individual workstations. The blackmailers were demanding $25,000 in ransom paid in bitcoin to restore access. The news reports were about the law firm's litigation against its insurer for not paying a claim for $700,000 in lost billing as the firm's 10 lawyers were left unproductive and inefficient. I have no doubt the firm also sustained a significant amount of damage to relationships with many of its clients.


Link To Malware Found Hidden In Instagram Comments | Ubergizmo

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According to a report from Slovak IT security company ESET Security, it seems that hackers have managed to hide Russian malware within Instagram comments. The malware itself isn't in the comments since it's just text, but what it does is that it provides a link that instructs the malware on how to get in touch with its controllers.


Lawyer Hourly Rate Calculator--Lawyerist.com

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By Sam Glover

Figuring out what to charge is hard when you are just starting out. It is made harder by bar associations, which are wary of allowing any discussion of fees on their discussion lists.1 But whether or not you are going to charge hourly rates, you need to know what your time is worth.


Travel Mode is a new feature we're making available to everyone with a 1Password membership. It protects your 1Password data from unwarranted searches when you travel. When you turn on Travel Mode, every vault will be removed from your devices except for the ones marked "safe for travel." All it takes is a single click to travel with confidence.

Lawyer Gets 2 Years In Jail For Killing Dog | Above the Law

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The judge said it "showed almost incomprehensible violence and malice."

New York lawyer Anthony Pastor was convicted of brutally beating and killing his girlfriend's dog, Snoopy.

June, July and August 2017

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is pleased to announce the launch of our free Animal Law Summer School in 2017! All are welcome to join us for three 60-minute webinars provided by leading authorities on cutting-edge topics in animal law: Ag-Gag, puppy mills and captive wildlife.

The Animal Law Summer School is a new opportunity to hone your skills and gain both practical and substantive knowledge about important issues currently facing animals in the legal system. Participants will learn from the experts and enjoy an interactive Q&A session. Don't miss the chance to get an in-depth look into what it means to advocate for animals through the legal system.

Animal Law Summer School is suitable for anyone interested in animal law, current and future law students, attorneys, legal professionals and animal advocates.

Recorded sessions will be posted after the live events.

Each session is free and must be registered for individually.

The Miami Herald reports that a child abuse suspect was jailed for six months for contempt of court after failing to reveal the correct passcode to his iPhone. Christopher Wheeler was arrested on suspicion of hitting and scratching his young daughter, with police believing that photos on the iPhone would help prove their case.

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