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Author Archives: CORREY E STEPHENSON

FTC releases consumer privacy tips

With the use of facial recognition technology on the rise, the Federal Trade Commission has released a report with recommendations on how companies can protect consumers’ privacy.

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NFL seeks to dismiss concussion multi-district litigation

Hitting back in the multi-district litigation brought by current and former professional football players alleging injuries from head trauma, the National Football League has filed a motion to dismiss the suits as “labor disputes” preempted by federal law.

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HIPAA audits have begun

All entities covered under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act must get ready – audits of privacy and security compliance under the Act have officially begun.

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Tax Court: Father not entitled to tax exemptions for kids

Despite the terms of a couple’s divorce agreement granting a father the right to claim tax exemptions for his children, because the children spent more than half of the year living with their mother the father is not entitled to the deductions, the U.S. Tax Court has ruled.

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IRS issues guidance on health care

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance on a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires employers to report the cost of health coverage on employees’ W-2 forms. The requirement is informational only and does not affect an employee’s income determination or whether any particular coverage is excludable from gross income. Notice 2011-28 answers questions for ...

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The mortgage mess and Chapter 13

With the announcements that several national banks are halting home foreclosures and 50 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia have launched an investigation into falsified signatures and other paperwork improprieties, the mortgage industry can officially be declared a mess.

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Courts split on affirmative defenses

Boston - Should defendants be held to the heightened pleading standard articulated in the Twombly-Iqbal line of U.S. Supreme Court cases for plaintiffs' complaints?

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Book review: Tech guide for solos, small firms

The American Bar Association recently released “The 2010 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide: Critical Decisions Made Simple.” Authored by tech gurus Sharon D. Nelson, John W. Simek and Michael C. Maschke, the third edition of the guide urges solos and small-firm lawyers to find the best value for their money – not the fanciest, most expensive items on ...

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LegalTech 2010 offers new legal research, dictation, e-discovery tools

New York – LegalTech 2010 got off to a busy start, with lawyers and tech experts crowding exhibit halls and conference rooms to find out the latest news on e-discovery and legal technology services and products. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting new offerings: WestlawNext: Searching goes to the next level Legal research shouldn’t be interesting, fun ...

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Income limits on Roth IRAs set to end

For the first time, as of Jan. 1, 2010, individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $100,000 can convert an existing IRA or 401(k) account into a Roth IRA. Estate planning attorneys should contact their clients about this opportunity, and lawyers should consider whether to take advantage of the change for their own retirement plans. Previously, only those ...

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Web sites, bloggers face new guidelines

For the first time in almost 30 years, the Federal Trade Commission has issued guidelines governing testimonials and endorsements — and for the first time, included guidance that cover bloggers and other online social media platforms. The Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which were unanimously approved by the Commission, will take effect Dec. 1. Link: ...

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Supreme Court to rule on Bankruptcy Act

Bankruptcy attorneys are keeping a close eye on a case that could have broad ramifications for their First Amendment rights when counseling their clients. In October 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act became law. Almost immediately, bankruptcy attorneys filed legal challenges. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari to determine the constitutionality of some of the ...

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Firm blog vs. personal blog: How to choose

Marketing has never been more important for attorneys – and a blog displaying expertise in a particular practice area is a valuable tool for networking, attracting new business and finding other opportunities. But should you market yourself with a personal blog tied to your specific name and practice, or contribute to a firm blog as one of several authors? As ...

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Unbundled legal services increasingly popular

In an uncertain economy, lawyers are using unbundled legal services to expand their client base. The practice of unbundling legal services, also known as limited scope representation, falls into three general categories: consultation, such as giving advice and direction; document preparation, sometimes referred to as ghostwriting; and limited representation in court. The idea is that with a lawyer’s help, clients ...

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Surviving – and thriving – in the current economy

Boston — At a recent webinar hosted by the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section, several experts discussed “50 Financial Tips to Help You and Your Firm Survive and Thrive in a Down Economy.” Panelists provided tips for each stage of work at a law office, from starting off on the right foot to working smart, collecting bills and ...

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LegalTech offers hot tech products and services

Boston — The economy didn’t slow down the scene at LegalTech 2009 in New York, although it did seem to alter the sales pitch. Vendors and service providers pitched themselves as cost-effective and budget-friendly, or adopted an as-needed, pay-as-you go sales plan. The following are some services and products that caught our eye. Deadlines on Demand: Avoid malpractice California-based CompuLaw’s ...

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Alternative billing may be lawyers’ answer

Boston — Experts have been predicting the imminent demise of the billable hour for years. But the current economy may give many lawyers the final push towards trying some alternative billing methods. Chris Marston, the CEO of Exemplar Law Partners in Boston, operates strictly on a “value-based” billing system. “We sit down and have a conversation with clients about exactly ...

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Supreme Court hears patent tying case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in a printer toner case that has broad ramifications for both antitrust and intellectual property law. Illinois Tool Works, a producer of inkjet printheads and inks, holds several patents covering printhead technology. It conditioned the licensing of this technology on an agreement that equipment manufacturers and end-user customers use only its ink ...

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Justices appear poised to strike down sentencing guidelines

Kicking off a new term, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this month in consolidated cases that indicated that a majority could invalidate the federal sentencing guidelines. One of those cases, United States v. Booker, No. 04-104, comes from Wisconsin. The rare two-hour afternoon session came only three months after the court invalidated the state of Washington’s sentencing ...

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