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Commentary

How To Work With Jargon

Jury consultants don’t get many questions that have easy answers, but here’s one, and lawyers ask it all the time. How do you handle difficult vocabulary – industry, technical, or legal jargon – with the jury? Remarkably often, the lawyer phrases the question as though there were only two possible answers, something like this: “Should I bore them by explaining ...

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Neighborhood Data Center

The Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee maintains a collection of maps and data they call the Neighborhood Data Center. Take a look around. The website describes the resources as “data, maps, reports, and analyzes to allow organizations to better plan and develop programs that address the problems of Milwaukee neighborhoods.” Available at the site is a 2005 publication entitled “Challenges and ...

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Recovery.gov is up and running

Recovery.gov, the government website established to track the stimulus bill money, is up and running. One of the first things you notice about the site is the timeline. The entries start in February of 2009 and, currently, continue through July 15, 2009. The entry for that day is “Recipients of Federal funding to begin reporting on their use of funds.” ...

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Watch for bailout fraud on the horizon

If you thought that the $50 billion Ponzi scheme allegedly perpetrated by Bernard Madoff is big, get ready. The amount of fraud that is sure to arise out of all the federal government bailout activities will dwarf that by many multiples. How do I know? The sheer magnitude of the bailout activity, coupled with the almost non-existent oversight of the ...

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Consider options before selling your practic

Since the financial crisis first hit, more lawyers than ever want to know how to sell their practice, how to value it (a requirement before selling) and then how to transition into life beyond the law. Yes, not everyone is in panic mode, but for some the panic is there. This, in fact, may be a good time to sell. ...

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Employer is dying to resolve green Mohawk

Your client is the owner of an up and coming national retail establishment. She just finished interviewing the “perfect candidate” for a position at the customer service desk. Joe has the requisite experience; he is personable, well put together, and she is confident that he will represent her store’s brand well. Ever so confident in her ability to read people, ...

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Federal Pattern Jury Instructions and Others

Ask BILL!, a compilation of great resources gathered by the 7th Circuit library, offers links to several Pattern Jury Instructions. Categories include Federal Pattern Jury Instructions, District Court Pattern Jury Instructions, and Patent Jury Instructions. Users of the site will find a variety of materials. A small sampling includes the 2008 Model Civil Jury Instructions for the 3rd Circuit, 10th ...

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Firm encourages ‘green computing’ to save money

Not everyone has embraced the green movement, nor do they accept global warming as fact. But, whether you drive a Prius or a Hummer, you should give “green computing” a try — because beyond its benefits for the environment, it can also save you money. Green computing seeks to use a computer at peak efficiency and in an environmentally-friendly manner. ...

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Ringing Hollow

We’ve all been there. You are in your car heading home during rush hour and your cell phone rings. What do you do? If you answer it, at minimum you may endure a dirty look from a fellow motorist. Chatting and driving is generally frowned upon and someone who gets caught combining the two in Waupaca County is supposed get ...

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Cash and Burn

It was quite a week for everyone invested in the new Marquette University Law School.Fundraising for the project crept closer to its $85 million goal with the announcement that the Northwestern Mutual Foundation (NMF) pledged $1 million on Feb. 6. But four days later, anyone associated with the construction likely held their collective breaths after a fire broke out on ...

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Count 'Em

Sometimes it's the most basic things that matter. In college I was a lifeguard at a Girl Scout camp, and it turned out the most important skill wasn't saving swimmers; it was counting them. If you started with eleven red caps, you needed eleven red caps at all points during the swimming period, and most importantly, eleven red caps when ...

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Mayors’ Wish Lists for Stimulus Money

General information regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 can be found on Thomas. However, some researchers are interested in specific applications of the funds. Many mayors have created wish lists regarding the spending of stimulus monies. The United States Conference of Mayors has a nice website summarizing city lists. The Mainstreet Economic Recovery page provides access to ...

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Become an exceptional legal source to the media

As you page through local newspapers, surf Internet news sites and flip through broadcast media channels, you frequently see repeat appearances by various legal eagles. hatever the topic, typically a legal perspective adds to the story. This is great news for attorneys with the wherewithal to build relationships with reporters and editors as a way to promote their practice. Becoming ...

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More Harmless Than Harmless? The Mother Who Was Locked Out Of Voir Dire

Robert Gibbons was tried in what apparently was a very small courtroom in Goshen, New York, for the rape of his 15-year-old daughter. He had told the police, “it was mutual, I didn’t rape her.” That’s a conviction that many people – including, it seems, a series of appellate and postconviction judges — would naturally want very much to stand. ...

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If We Strike All The Facebook Jurors, Who's Left?

It’s one thing to understand that jurors might be on Facebook. The next step is to decide what to do when you find out they are. “Sitting in hell” If you’re on Facebook yourself, you know that Facebook starts your “status update” for you. Mine starts “Anne Reed is . . . ” and then I’m supposed to finish the ...

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Capitol Words

The Sunlight Foundation has an interesting site entitled “Capitol Words.” Per their website, Capitol Words “visualizes the most frequently used words in the Congressional Record, giving you an at-a-glance view of which issues lawmakers address.” The site provides users with graphs, tag clouds, and maps outlining the most popular words spoken by Federal lawmakers. Researchers can enter a word into ...

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Keep printer cartridge costs in the black

A few years ago, my (then) three-year-old daughter printed what looked like an entire ream of paper with her full-color Dora the Explorer computer game pictures. I went ballistic. Now in second grade, my daughter still remembers that fateful day, and whenever she now wants to print something from the Club Penguin or Webkinz sites, she asks if it’s OK. ...

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The January Jury Expert Is On Line

The ASTC’s Jury Expert on-line magazine has been so well received that announcing a new issue is now the easiest post I ever have to write. This is all straight from the table of contents, and I don’t need to add anything to make it clear how relevant each article is: On the Obstacles to Jury Diversity, by Samuel R. ...

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Deliberations’ 2009 Guide To Jury Blogs And Feeds

I just found a jury blog I didn’t know about. It’s called Things That Make You Go Hmmm . . . , from the jury consulting firm Jury Impact. They’ve been up for just under a year, with 36 anonymous posts in that time. Like most blogs, it’s mostly links to and comments on news stories (Dennis Quaid and the ...

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Military Legal Research

The Library of Congress maintains a resource for military legal research. The site is part of the “Federal Research Division.” On this website, a researcher will find a variety of items including court martial manuals, Army regulations, Geneva Convention materials, war crime trial materials, and issues of both the “Army Lawyer” and “Military Law Review” periodicals. Another place to visit ...

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American Gallery Of Juror Art Welcomes John Borstel

Deliberations’ American Gallery of Juror Art went a little viral last week, after it turned up in Boing Boing (“a directory of wonderful things”). Several bloggers picked it up from there, including Robert Ambrogi in Legal Blog Watch, and it popped up periodically on Twitter all week. Deliberations is pleased to bring a small bit of attention to these varied ...

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Excuse me?

Judges who recuse themselves from cases often seem to take the stance of better safe than sorry. That’s fine, and I certainly would not want a judge being even subconsciously subjective if I were on trial for murder, or in court to contest a speeding ticket. But the rationale for when a judge steps away from a case also seems ...

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Lexis Web

Lexis Web is the new legal search engine offered by LexisNexis. The product is in beta and currently free. According to the user guide (PDF), the “Lexis Web product includes important, legal-oriented Web content selected and validated by the LexisNexis editorial staff. You can trust that all content has met LexisNexis criteria for being authoritative and accurate.” The goal is ...

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Fraud and the economy: Correlation or coincidence?

Executives, consultants, and business analysts are currently asking themselves a critical question: Does a major economic downturn increase a company’s chance of being hit by employee fraud? The answer to that question isn’t immediately clear. Fraud experts are often quick to theorize that difficult economic conditions naturally create a higher instance of workplace fraud. The problem with this theory, however, ...

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Open-source software offers plenty for nothing

Nada. Zilch. Nothing. That’s what the software discussed in this column will cost you. It’s all available as free downloads off the Web. I’ve spent entire columns on Open Office.org, Skype and various Google applications germane to lawyers and other professionals. Also, about a year ago, I wrote a feature article about Milwaukee attorney Robert Teuber’s use of Audacity open-source ...

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2008 provides dearth of family law decisions

Wisconsin’s appellate family law cases from 2008 can be characterized best by … their severe paucity. Speculation on the reasons will follow. Bur first, the cases. Steinmann v. Steinmann, 2008 WI 43 The main issue involved a “Limited Marital Property Classification Agreement,” classifying various assets and income. The wife argued the circuit court should have applied tracing rather than transmutation ...

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Don’t forget Clipping Files

When a historical perspective is needed, often times a trip to the library is necessary. Many libraries offer “clipping files” which is a file of older news stories pertaining to a particular topic. Libraries also provide access to older newspapers on microfiche/microfilm or searchable databases. The librarians at public and academic libraries can offer you many suggestions when doing this ...

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Animal Law

Michigan State University’s Animal & Legal Historical Center is an excellent resource for animal law resources. The site is very comprehensive, offering the researcher: State laws Key cases Pleadings and Briefs Various publications Historical materials World laws The site also has a cool “map page.” The researcher chooses the topic of interest, and then utilizes a map to select the ...

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Red flags apparent in alleged Ponzi scheme

Recent news of the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by investment advisor Bernard L. Madoff has done nothing to ease the fears of investors who have been annihilated by the stock market over the last couple of months. How does an investment opportunity go from being a legitimate investment vehicle to a pyramid scheme? In this case, it is ...

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