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No Fan of Violence

I’m all for rivalries, but when they result in a broken jaw, it serves a reminder of how foolish they can be. A couple of Chicago Cubs fan up from the Windy City to revel in the recent sweeping of our Brewers will stand trial in Milwaukee for battering a local fan after the game on July 29. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=782081 While ...

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Wish you could find their 800 number?

Occasionally, it can be a challenge to locate a company’s toll free number. I thought I would share a couple of Web sites that might help you find that information. The first is the Internet 800 directory. This directory allows searching by company, product, or toll free phone number. Refine the search by selecting a specific state. One thing missing ...

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Do you dream of being a managing partner?

In years past it was a cliché that children dreamed of becoming President of the United States when they grew up. That’s likely still the case to some extent, but given today’s gigantic salaries in segments of Corporate America, it’s equally probable that some children dream of growing up to become CEO of a major corporation. With CEO salaries (not ...

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Court to reconsider unpublished opinion rule

On Oct. 14, 2008, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will, for the fourth time, consider a proposed rule to allow citation to an unpublished decision for persuasive authority. Several times in this column, I have commented that the current rule prohibiting such citations is wrong. “Citation of Unpublished Opinions Would Lead to Bluer Skies,” Wisconsin Law Journal, Feb. 25, 2008. A ...

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Pigskinned

It’s always been a source of great debate – should girls be allowed to compete in predominantly male sports? The answer for one local high school girl could come from a jury in federal court. On Aug. 5, Ivyanne Elborough of Evansville, Wis., her mother and her attorney, Andrea Farrell, filed a discrimination suit against the school district and football ...

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Values And Voir Dire

Most trial lawyers hope their jurors will be alert, attentive, honest, and fair. Some lawyers, though, need more: they need jurors who can be noble. Defense lawyers in death cases come first to mind, but many other lawyers can succeed only if jurors can rise above defensiveness and retribution, and somehow keep themselves open to difficult arguments. Can you help ...

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Do you use Adobe Acrobat?

I can’t imagine too many of us go a day without using Adobe Acrobat. I wanted to mention a blog that you may find useful – Acrobat for Legal Professionals. Rick Borstein, a Business Development Manager at Adobe, is the author. The blog discusses new releases, redaction, e-discovery issues, metadata, and much more. It is the simple hints and reminders ...

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National Conference of State Legislatures

The National Conference of State Legislatures is a “bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories.” Their website also provides researchers with a tremendous amount of information on state and federal issues. I recommend making a stop at this site when looking for legislative summaries, reports, 50 state surveys, etc. The ...

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Small, solo firms can seek professional help with HR duties

So, you’re starting your own solo or small firm, and you’re looking to hire staff. Will your employee(s) be classified as exempt or nonexempt for Wage and Hour regulations? If such questions leave you scratching your head – and you don’t feel like taking the time to find out the answers, nor would you feel 100 percent confident that you ...

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N.Y. firm liable for Fla. firm's failure to file claim

Just the other day I came across a case from New York, which should scare the bejesus out of every attorney practicing whether in this state or any other state. An Appellate Court in New York held that a New York law firm could be liable to a client for the failure of a Florida firm that the New York ...

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Can you hear me now?

As someone who detests cell phones – never sent a text message, never will – it was interesting to see a judge take a stand against providers. In a preliminary ruling, California Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw invalidated early termination fees charged by Sprint Nextel, which could be responsible for $18.2 million in restitution for about 2 million state cell ...

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What Can A Mock Trial Tell You?

That's the title TRIAL Magazine gave to my article in their July 2008 issue. That link is to a .pdf copy uploaded here, so you don't need to be an AAJ member to read it. (In fact that's the only way I can read it myself; I do too much defense work to be allowed in AAJ. TRIAL's generosity in ...

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What Is The Sound Of One Juror Clapping?

How do you know the trial isn't going well? When a juror applauds your opponent's closing rebuttal, that's a pretty good clue. The California Court of Appeal described the scene (DOC): During his rebuttal argument, respondent's trial counsel argued that appellant's witnesses were lying about many issues, including the reason it lost the new account. Then counsel read to the ...

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Update: Scrushy

Remember how the corruption conviction of HealthSouth's Richard Scrushy and former Alabama governor Richard Siegelman was called into question when it looked like the jurors were researching the case on line and E-mailing their findings to each other? Sure you do; I wrote about it here, a year ago tomorrow. One of the E-mails went: ….judge really helping w/jurors… still ...

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Searchme.com

So many search engines, so little time. I realize I just posted on Sputtr last week, but I couldn’t pass up sharing information on another interesting search engine. Mary Ellen Bates of Bates Information Services has a terrific review of Searchme.com. If you are a visual person, you might really enjoy this engine. Others, however, might find the navigation a ...

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Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center

Questions on fair use? Need guidance regarding the permission process? Interested in monitoring cases and legislation dealing with copyright and fair use? Well, the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources, along with their sponsors, maintain a site that can assist with your questions. The collection of resources found at the Copyright & Fair Use Center is tremendous. Links to ...

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Why attorneys inevitably mishandle crisis situations

The title of this column derives from a monthly media coaching session I conducted for a corporate law firm client. As you can imagine, the advanced billing for this session created quite a stir. We started with a scenario involving a real estate developer whose demolition contractor bull-dozed the wrong house. To make matters worse, the house was occupied by ...

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Court undresses FCC in Super Bowl suit

It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting on my buddy’s couch during Super Bowl XXXVIII, elbow deep in a bowl of homemade salsa, when he jabbed me in the ribs and said “dude, did you just see that?” The “that” in question was the now infamous “wardrobe malfunction” endured by pop star Janet Jackson during the halftime show. ...

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I just thought they liked to be called Kiwis

Last week a judge in New Zealand took a stand against parents who choose to name their children with sentences. The ink-eating moniker Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was bestowed on a New Zealand girl at birth, until Judge Rob Murfitt stepped in and made the girl, now 9, a ward of the court so her name could be ...

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Sputtr

I have often emphasized the importance of using more than one search engine when conducting research. Well, how about the ability to pick from a variety of engines from a single location? Check out Sputtr. First off, I have to say that the design is pretty cool. The page contains a search box and icons of numerous popular engines (e.g. ...

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Nursing Home Information

The Medicare website provides an interesting tool entitled “Nursing Home Compare.” The purpose is to “provide detailed information about the past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country.” The site allows the researcher to query by geographical location, proximity or by specific nursing home. A significant amount of data is available from this site. The ...

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OpenOffice.org offers frugal alternative to Word

It seems that one of the world’s most unpopular people is Bill Gates. See YouTube’s “Bill Gates Runs Like a Girl,” or the Microsoft chairman taking a pie in the face. Sure, he’s nerdy, but I don’t really get the Gates-haters, having better uses for my time and energy. Still, I do understand the notion that Bill probably doesn’t need ...

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Fed’s new mortgage rules won’t stop fraud

As the panic continues about the “subprime mortgage crisis,” pressure has been put on regulators to do something to stop mortgage fraud. The “crisis” has been blamed largely on corrupt mortgage brokers, and so last week the Federal Reserve adopted new mortgage regulations. Before discussing what the rules will and won’t do in regard to fraud prevention, it’s important to ...

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Marital property agreement concerns remain

The prospective divorce client comes to your office with a marital agreement in hand. Well, that should ensure a quick and relatively painless end to that marriage, right? Not so fast. Recently in a series of articles in this column, I examined the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Steinmann v. Steinmann, No. 2005AP1588, in which a marital agreement played a ...

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Your Client, The Jury, And You

One of my law partners was called for jury duty awhile back. He returned with a striking story, a sort of Tale Of Two Lawyers. Defense counsel, he reported, sat with his client at counsel table during voir dire. But plaintiff's counsel sat alone; his clients had to watch from the gallery. Even my experienced friend, who could list twenty ...

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Martindale Hubbell Law Digest Online

The Martindale Law Digest is an extremely useful tool for obtaining information for various jurisdictions. For years, the Digest consisted of hardbound volumes within your Martindale set. As time progressed, they moved to a CD version. Well, now it is even easier to use the Digests, because they have been incorporated into the Martindale.com site. Users are required to register, ...

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Lawyers offer clients your guarantee of commitment

No lawyer can ethically guarantee a result. To do so comes under Rule of Professional Conduct 7.1’s prohibition of false or misleading communication, which the ABA’s commentary says includes “lead[ing] a reasonable person to form an unjustified expectation” about results. However, lawyers can guarantee a certain degree of effort — which does not violate the code, because it deals with ...

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Respect

There are two juror stories in the legal blogs today, each illuminating in a different way the level of respect we give to jurors. "We listened, we thought, we argued, we went on" First is the story of the juror who asked for respect after the trial was over. He wrote to a federal judge, frustrated because the group's hard ...

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MetaGlossary

I am always looking for new websites that can help me be more efficient and effective at work. Over at Alt Search Engines, there is a review of a new online dictionary called MetaGlossary. So, I had to test it out. I put in the term “declaratory judgment.” First thing I noticed was a listing of related terms. The terms ...

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Books within a series

I am currently on vacation in Idaho, so this post is going to be about something I enjoy — reading. (Big surprise for a librarian) My husband is an avid fly fisherman and I, well, sit at the campsite and read. I can easily go through 6 or 7 books during one vacation. Often I will begin a book and ...

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