Friday, January 30, 2009

What About Brief In The Rapping Style

The (new) legal writer picked up on this brilliant brief. Put Some Rapping In Your Brief / And From The Judgment Get Relief, is the title of this post.

Take a look at this six page clever reply appealing the attorney-fee. Feeling inspired? Share your comments.

A pro-se litigant appealing an attorney-fee award submitted a reply brief “utilizing rap/rhyme in the argument topics to better emphasize strong concept points.” It worked. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the appellate court reversed the attorney-fee award.

President Obama and His Use of Social Media

In interesting report titled The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit, compiled by a team at Edelman, provides an in-depth analysis of how Barack Obama campaign used social media to their advantage.

Barack Obama won the presidency in a landslide victory (by a margin of nearly 200 electoral votes and 8.5 million popular votes) by converting everyday people into engaged and empowered volunteers, donors and advocates through social networks, e-mail advocacy, text messaging and online video. The campaign’s proclivity to online advocacy is a major reason for his victory. Since the election, the social media programs adopted by Obama’s transition team have foreshadowed significant changes in how Obama, as president, will communicate with - and more importantly - through the mass of supporters who were collected, cultivated and channeled during the campaign. Obama wants to be the first president to govern with BlackBerry in hand; he will certainly be the first with a legion of 13 million advocates at his fingertips.

Take a look and read the full report here. Some of the tips might come in handy. And, of course, share your thoughts and comments.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Department of Labor Web Archive

Via BeSpecific, the Department of Labor (DOL) created a web archive,

Starting on January 5, 2009, DOL archived all DOL agency Web sites as they existed at that time. Please remember that this is archived material and that any guidance contained within the pages may have been superceded. The content available is no longer being updated and as a result you may encounter hyperlinks which no longer function. You should also bear in mind that this content may contain text and references which are no longer applicable as a result of changes in law, regulation and/or administration. To view the archive of a specific site, please use the links below.
Also notice The CyberCemetery.

The CyberCemetery is an archive of government websites that have ceased operation (usually websites of defunct government agencies and commissions that have issued a final report). This collection features a variety of topics indicative of the broad nature of government information. In particular, this collection features websites that cover topics supporting the university’s curriculum and particular program strengths.

Law Students Networking With Lawyers

Law is Cool has a post Law Students Can Network With Lawyers, discussing Facebook, Jurafide, LawLink, and one of the latest Lawyrs, which is a platform intended to be specifically for lawyers and law students.

The ability to dialogue and network with legal professionals from 128 countries (although mostly American and British) is fascinating. They obviously have groups like other social networks, often comprised of alumni or interests, and a legal news page. There’s also a page for law firms. Lawyrs has a publications page.

Read the full review of this new platform called Lawyrs, including pros and cons, right here. Do you have any preferred social/professional networking tools that you'd like to recommend? Do you have any experience with any of the tools mentioned above? Feel free to share.

E-mail Scam That Targetted Lawyers

Via Legal Blog Watch, lawyers be aware - don't fall for scams of being hired by companies that don't exist or scams involving checks that are counterfeited. Read the full story. First post titled The Great Lawyer E-mail Scam was posted by Legal Blog Watch back in September 2008. A follow up story E-mail Scam Still Snaring Lawyers was just posted now in January 2009.

If you think lawyers are too savvy to fall prey to an e-mail scam, think again. One lawyer who fell victim to it estimates that the scam has bilked lawyers out of more than $1 million. That lawyer is now being sued by Wachovia Bank for the $190,000 he wired from his escrow account to a Korean bank on behalf of what he believed was a company in Taiwan.

Now, another lawyer has fallen prey to the scam. Houston lawyer Richard T. Howell Jr. tells Texas Lawyer that his firm was bilked out of $182,500 by a client who contacted and hired him through e-mail. Howell was contacted by e-mail by what he believed to be a Japanese company, Techno Design Industry, seeking to collect some $3.6 million in accounts from U.S. customers. The company signed a retainer agreement by which he would receive a third of any amounts he collected. Before he could file lawsuits against any of the customers, Techno notified him that one customer wanted to make a partial payment. He received what appeared to be an official Citibank check from the supposed customer in the amount of $367,500. After confirming through Citibank that it had paid the check, he disbursed $182,500 to Techno. Needless to say, the check was counterfeit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trial Tips From Prof. Jim McElhaney

Via Res Ipsa Blog, Prof. Jim McElhaney shares his trial tips in a post titled Trial Tips: Outline the Answers, Not the Questions. Prof. McElhaney recently published an article in ABA Journal offering trial tips for young litigators:

Instead of writing out the questions you want to ask a witness, write down the general answers you are looking for. This will keep you from reading your questions, allowing you to frame more natural sounding questions during your examination of the witness.

Read the complete article here, and feel free to share with us the tips you found the most interesting and/or helpful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Uniform Bar Exam On The Horizon?

Via Career Center at, a post titled Uniform Bar Exam Inches Closer To Reality, discusses the efforts of number of states to unify the bar exam. As reported, so far a total of 19 states positioned to implement the uniform bar exam (UBE). To unify the bar exam is believed to standardize attorney licensing state-to-state.

Although many states historically have held onto their testing autonomy by developing some of their own exam questions and by using their own pass scores, legal professionals say that a single exam -- such as those utilized for physicians, architects and accountants -- is an increasing likelihood for lawyers.

As posted, the UBE would consist of three components: the MBE, the Multistate Performance Test, and the Multistate Essay Examination. The test score would include performance on these components but not the state law portion.

Individual states would continue to perform their own grading. The test is expected to ensure same level of competency for lawyers across the board. It should also provide financial relief by not having to create own questions for the test. And as for New Yorkers, Diane Bosse, chairwoman of the New York State Board of Law Examiners, said " A uniform test is something that New York would consider."

Any thoughts, comments, ideas, ... ?

Worker's Compensation Malpractice

Via Legal Blog Watch and The Madison Record, by Ann Knef, a post titled Jury Awards Monetary Damages in Legal Malpractice Trial, is a story of a worker who has been injured on a job. The worker's attorney handled his worker's compensation case improperly causing his client not to receive any compensation for injuries sustained in the accident. As reported, after an hour of deliberation, the Madison County jury decided to award the worker close to $338,000 in a legal malpractice trial against the attorney. Read the full story here. This story is nice for couple of reasons:
  • A good tale to learn from - represent with due diligence, know what you are doing, and keep your clients informed;
  • Justice does exist in the world of law - good to know.
Any thoughts, comments, or experiences to share? - Feel free to do so because we look forward to reading them!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Publication of Presidential Documents

Beginning January 20, 2009, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents was replaced by the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents, a web-only publication.

This final rule establishes a new official updated daily online-only publication entitled the ‘‘Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents.’’ The paper edition of the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents will no longer be issued. The annual edition of the Public Papers of the President will be based on the text of the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents. The price for subscription to the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents has also been removed from the regulations, as this publication will no longer exist and the online Daily Compilation is available free of charge on the Internet. This rule also revises the regulatory text to make it more readable and consistent with plain language principles. 74 Fed. Reg. 3950 (Jan. 21, 2009)

NYC New Website and Information Center Powered By Google Maps

Via BeSpecific, Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, announced the launch of a new dynamic website powered by Google Maps together with a new Information Center to help tourists and residents of New York City to better explore the city.

In partnership with Google, we are launching a new website and Information Center to help make it easier for both visitors and residents to explore all the energy, excitement and diversity of New York City's five boroughs. is the official resource on the web for all there is to see, do and experience in the City. This dynamic site uses Google Maps to help you plan your New York experience and find hotels, restaurants and entertainment, in addition to exclusive citywide savings and promotions. With you can use Google Maps to get directions to attractions throughout the City, and even send the info to your phone with Google Maps for mobile.

Resume Writing Tips For Law Students

Law is Cool scores once again; this time with a clever black and white video sharing some tips and hints on how to write (or not) an unforgettable resume to impress your potential employer. Get the dream job! Take a moment and enjoy this post; it might be worth the 3:57 of your time. Feel free to share your comments or ideas you'd like to see on this blog!

Obama's First Day On The Job!

Via Legal Blog Watch, President B. Obama did not waste any precious minutes on his first day on the job; executive orders and policy pronouncements keep flying out of his office. Check out the first few right here. Now, that is a work ethic; perhaps something to think about? Any Comments?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alternative Source Citing

How about this one!? Post Modern Language Association (PMLA) has a funny section covering possible alternative sources of citing. In case your Bluebook was not completely up to date, check out the new ruling on alternative source citing including sources like Rest-Stop Restroom Graffiti, Magic 8-Balls, Tattoos, or Alien Mind Transmissions.

Top 30 Blogs On Writing

The Delaware Employment Law Blog has a post listing the top 30 blogs on writing, ranging from funny blogs to dictionaries. Check it out! Just to mention few:

Obama White House website

With the new administration came a new White House website. The Obama administration website includes, among other things, video from the inauguration, President Obama's inaugural address and his first proclamation calling for a national day of renewal and reconciliation, a blog, and the agenda of the Obama-Biden administration.

Authenticated Bills on GPO Access

Authenticated bills from the House and Senate are available on the GPO Access site for the 110th and 111th Congresses. These PDF files have been digitally signed and certified to assure users that the online documents are official and authentic.

GPO offers other authenticated digital documents, including the 2009 official budget and public and private laws (beginning with the 110th Congress). Read more about the GPO authentication initiative here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Limited Definition of 'Violent Felony'

As posted on SCOTUS Blog titled Court limits 'violent felony' definition, the Supreme Court ruled on January 13, 2009 that the crime of failure to report to jail or prison to serve a sentence is not the same as an escape, and is not a 'violent felony' that can lead to a longer prison term under federal law. In Chambers v. United States, No. 06-11206, 2009 U.S. Dist. Westlaw 63882 (Jan. 13, 2009) Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court, and Justice Alito with whom Justice Thomas joined, concurred in the judgment. More information can be found on the SCOTUS WIKI.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Canadian / U.S. Law Outline Wiki

As posted on Law is Cool, a new Wikipedia-type site for law outlines has been created by law students at Queen's University. Law students across Canada and the USA can post to the wiki, which works just like Wikipedia; anybody can post and anybody can edit. What do you think? This could be a great opportunity for students to collaborate and share ideas. Anybody here at Pace would like to become a part of it? Check out the post and let us know what you think!

New Haven Discrimination Case

Suits & Sentences strikes again with an excellent post, this time it's a hot discrimination case from New Haven. The Supreme Court is about to hear what might be the biggest discrimination case of its Term. Take a moment and read this piece that one of the blog readers commented on as "an affirmative action at its best."

Seventy seven New Haven firefighters tested for promotion to lieutenant in late 2003. Forty three white firefighters, 19 African-Americans and 15 Hispanics took the written and oral exams. None of the African-American or Hispanic scored well enough to win promotion. There were eight vacancies for lieutenant, but the top 10 exam scores were all white. The top Hispanic candidate ranked 27th and the top African-American Candidate ranked 14th. So, New haven opted not to promote any of the candidates. The city said it feared an employment discrimination lawsuit.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that ruled in favor of New Haven is available here. Any thoughts or comments?

Who Owns the 'Fruits' of Prisoner's Labor?

Suits & Sentences Blog has an excellent post discussing the question, which is not a question anymore, of who owns the fruits of prisoner's labor. Well, a recent Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit says that by virtue a prisoner's work belongs to Uncle Sam. More so, a federal prisoner is "in service" of the United States. The story is about Robert James Walton who is a very talented federal prisoner.

James Walton, the Vietnam veteran, convicted bank robber and well-trained desktop publishing expert designed a 2001 desk-blotter calendar, as well as several other calendars, while imprisoned at Leavenworth. Federal Prison Industries then distributed millions of copies of the calendars to Government Services Administration warehouses.

Now serving out his 210-month sentence in Colorado, Walton sued on the ground that the government had stolen his intellectual property. The government retorted that he didn't own the copyright. He got a lawyer, and obtained the copyright. Nonetheless, last January, the Court of Federal Claims ruled against him. Copyright infringement suits can't succeed if the work was prepared "in the employment or service" of the federal government.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Less You Sound Like a Lawyer, The Better Off You'll Be

ABA Journal Blog has an excellent article titled Persuasive Direct by Jim McElhaney. Jim McElhaney is the Baker and Hostetler Distinguished Scholar in Trial Practice at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland and the Joseph C. Hutcheson Distinguished Lecturer in Trial Advocacy at South Texas College of Law in Houston. He is a senior editor and columnist for Litigation, the journal of the ABA Section of Litigation. Take a minute and read this piece to learn how no to talk as a lawyer. Leave your comments!

CLE Opportunities

The (new) legal writer has a post titled CLE Opportunities. If you’re looking for some good legal-writing CLE, then check it out!

Metadata - What Is It and What Are My Ethical Duties?

An interesting piece by Jim Calloway published on January 5, 2009 and available here, at presents the insight on the need to understand at least the basics of metadata.

The legal ethics implications of metadata “mining” are no longer just of interest to the lawyers processing electronic discovery or the ethics mavens. The ethical implications of one lawyer examining the metadata in a file received from another lawyer have generated a lot of discussion. This article will cover the legal ethics opinions issued so far and give you tips on how to avoid exposing confidential information unintentionally via metadata.

Take a minute and read about what metadata is, author's conclusion regarding the ethical implications, ethics opinions on metadata, and some of the suggested ways to guard against metadata disasters. And, of course, feel free to share your experiences!

The Art of Cross-Examination

Peter Small has a useful post on titled The Art of Cross-Examination, "it's a powerful tool that can lead to surprises, but only when used with suitable finesse." As also mentioned on Law Is Cool, Peter interviewed several lawyers for useful cross-examination tips that even you might find interesting. And just to stick with our latest 10-tip-list, a U.S. Law Professor Irving Younger shares the following list of 10 tips regarding cross-examination:
  1. Be brief.
  2. Use short questions, plain words.
  3. Always ask leading questions.
  4. Don’t ask a question to which you do not know the answer.
  5. Listen to the witness’s answers.
  6. Don’t quarrel with the witness.
  7. Don’t allow the witness to repeat his or her direct testimony.
  8. Don’t permit the witness to explain his or her answers.
  9. Don’t ask the “one question too many.”
  10. Save the ultimate point of your cross for summation.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Things You Won't Learn in Law School?

Law is Cool is out with yet another list of 10 tips. Omar Ha-Redeye shares his perspective on learning in law school and points to a post on public defender blog titled: 10 things I didn't learn in law school. Omar shares his professor's advice to learn "through osmosis" and shares the ten things law school didn't teach him. Check it out yourself at either of the links. Here are just few to mention:
  • That you will forever be haunted by names of cases, but not remember a damn thing about the case itself. Who here can tell me about Helicopters or International Shoe or Pennoyer or Dudley and Stephens? (Okay, that last one is really cool - it’s about cannibalism). Wasn’t there a Vana White case?
  • How to pick a jury.
  • There is no box. Law school professors keep telling you to think outside the box. What they don’t tell you is that 'there is no box'.
  • That law review leads to document review. If you want to do real work, take a clinic or something.
And there are more. Would you like to add to the list? Feel free to share your experiences.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Inauguration Information

If you were lucky enough to score tickets to the inauguration of Barack Obama, or just want to know about the preparations required, the Senate Rules Committee has a website with all the information you need.

For events not occurring at the Capitol Building, check out the Presidential Inaugural Committee website. The PIC is responsible for planning the inaugural parade and official inaugural balls.

You have until tonight, Jan. 8, at midnight to enter a contest to win tickets to the swearing-in and one of the inaugural balls. You just have to write a short essay on what Barack Obama's inauguration means to you.

And for those of us who will be on campus that day, the inauguration will be broadcast live from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM on a large screen TV in the Tudor Room. Televisions in the cafeteria and Preston Student Lounge will be set to channels showing the events of the day. The Student Bar Association will be supplying refreshments in the Tudor Room during the broadcast.

Apple Registers Patent Application Pointing to iPhone

As posted on Legal Blog Watch, iPhone users who want to check their e-mail, surf the web, send a tweet, or just text, while standing outside in the cold weather, might be interested in a new Apple patent application, published January 1, 2009, which reveals "an idea for winter gloves with special iPhone-responsive fingertips for the thumb, index and middle fingers." This High Tactility Glove System is a system used to operate electronic device.

The glove system may include an inner liner and an outer shell. The liner may be formed from any suitable material, including a material that is thin, electrically conductive, has low thermal conductivity, and/or has an "anti-sticky" finish. The outer shell may include at least one aperture through which the inner liner may extend to operate the input mechanism of an electronic device (e.g., on at least one finger tip).

Fired on Facebook ... Another Role?

Facebook is no longer only the social network where people go to meet others, share pictures, or connect with old friends. Following an older post about Australian court that allowed lawyers to serve a couple with a lawsuit papers via Facebook, here is yet another role that Facebook has easily fulfilled; the Calgary Herald reports that a Canadian spa used Facebook to fire an employee, esthetician Crystal Bell. Additional discussion is posted on Legal Blog Watch.

2009 Statistical Abstract of the United States

The U.S. Census Bureau releases the 2009 Statistical Abstract of the United States. It is the standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It also is designed to serve as a guide to other statistical publications and sources. Appendix I of this volume contains the Guide to Sources of Statistics, the Guide to State Statistical Abstracts, and the Guide to Foreign Statistical Abstracts. Tables reflect national data, and also data for regions, individual states, and smaller number of metropolitan areas and cities. Appendix II, Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: Concepts, Components, and Population, presents explanatory text, and complete current listing and population data for metropolitan areas defined as of December 2006.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Court Papers Served By Facebook

On the Legal Blog Watch, an interesting post titled Court Papers Served by Facebook by Carolyn Elefan about serving court papers via one of the biggest social networks Facebook.

Imagine opening your inbox on a social networking site and finding an invitation -- not to connect to an acquaintance -- but to show up in court. That may be the direction that social networking is headed, at least in the aftermath of a case out of Australia, where a judge granted lawyers permission to serve defendants with a default judgment via Facebook.

Do social networks take on yet another role? What are your thoughts on it?

Know Your Courtroom

TechnoLawyerBlog features a post by Gerry Oginski titled YouLaw: Show and Tell in the Courtroom. Check it out and see for yourself if you know your way around the courtroom. This post features a short video by Jeff Roberts, a trial attorney in Newport Beach, CA and, which is then discussed by Gerry and accompanied by, once again, a list of practice tips. Good Luck in your courtroom!