Move Over Moms, Male Lawyers Are Using Flextime Too

Say the word “flextime” and most people think of reduced hours for working mothers. But a small, yet growing number of male lawyers are using lighter job schedules to strike the right work-life balance.

More law firms in recent years have incorporated flextime policies—especially reduced-hour schedules—to help with attorney retention. And women, more than men, have used the policies to balance their jobs with raising kids.

But more widespread adoption by male attorneys of the benefit is expected to lift all boats—helping women lawyers juggle demands and attracting millennial attorneys less interested in working a constant grind.

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PDF: Move Over Moms, Male Lawyers Are Using Flextime Too _ Law.com

 

Lawyers Getting Paid in Bitcoin (Mostly) Like It

Although it might go against a lawyer’s natural propensities toward risk aversion, some practitioners have started accepting payments in digital currencies amid the bitcoin boom.

“I’ve known for a long time that my opportunity to expand in certain areas has been affected by not taking it,” said Carol Van Cleef, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who for 10 years has represented cryptocurrency clients with regulatory compliance.

As far back as 2013, a handful of big law firms that represented the earliest cryptocurrency entrepreneurs started accepting bitcoin payments. Today, big and small firms alike, as well as solo practitioners, have followed their lead and have accepted cryptocurrency’s risks in order to meet clients’ needs and get paid.

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How the Justice System Severely Failed One of its Own

Part of the horror of what happened to Suzanne Wooten is the realization that if the justice system failed so miserably for her, it could happen to anyone.

Wooten lived a nightmare: Winning an election by a landslide to unseat an incumbent judge, only to be allegedly targeted by political rivals, wrongfully convicted of nine felonies, cast down from her district court bench and stripped of her license to practice law.

Finally after six years living the bad dream, Wooten this year found complete redemption in May when a court acquitted her of all charges, declared her actually innocent, and she got back her law license in June.

Some things, Wooten will never get back. She used to believe if she paid her taxes, followed the speed limit, refused to drink and drive, or followed election campaign laws, she would be safe and wouldn’t get in legal trouble.

“The biggest horror is taking away from me and my family the sense of security we have,” Wooten said. “When something like this happens to you, my sense of being safe even just walking down the street—it’s gone, it’s destroyed.”

Wrongful conviction stories always loom large in the public consciousness because of the deep-seated need to believe that the justice system will get it right—convict the guilty, exonerate the innocent. When things go terribly wrong, people struggle to find some reason, so that they won’t have to believe that a wrongful conviction could happen to them, too.

How did the system fail Suzanne Wooten?

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PDF: How the Justice System Severely Failed One of its Own _ Texas Lawyer

Call Her the Constable of Cryptocurrency

Once upon a time there was a hero who took down the corrupt French Maid, who had manipulated and stolen from the Dread Pirate Roberts on The Silk Road.

It sounds like the plot line of a swashbuckler movie, but actually, it’s part of the tale of Kathryn Haun’s rise as a federal prosecutor who helped lay the groundwork for the government to capture cryptocurrency criminals.

Right now, the value of just one bitcoin is hovering around $5,000, leading to rampant media coverage, pushing digital currency lexicon into the mainstream. But wide adoption depends much on the safety and security of the new technology, which is often compared to the Wild West.

Haun, first as a federal prosecutor and now as a bespoke legal consultant for emerging technology companies, has contributed much to beefing up security in the industry. In the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, she was the first digital currency coordinator. She handled cases that taught prosecutors to work through challenges in convicting cryptocurrency criminals, and sent loud-and-clear messages to digital currency companies to increase financial safeguards.

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PDF: Call Her the Constable of Cryptocurrency

 

Don’t Know What Blockchain Is? You Should. This Law Prof Can Help.

Bitcoin. Ethereum. Blockchain. It sounds like a foreign language, clouded in mystery.

But with billions of dollars flowing through cryptocurrency systems, and governments and major companies looking to blockchain technology to reform a wide variety of critical record-keeping systems, law students and lawyers need to get up to speed.

Even with great change brewing, only a smattering of law professors have published research in the area, and even fewer have launched formal classes for law students.

Angela Walch is one of the first law professors who have latched on to the importance of digital currencies and blockchain technology. Starting research in 2012, Walch, who is a professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, has made a mark in the cryptocurrency community with research that suggested—despite the decentralized promise of blockchain technology—that actual identifiable people govern the systems, and furthermore, they should owe users a fiduciary duty. Walch’s law school course she started in 2013  was pioneering in teaching students about bitcoin and the blockchain.

This story published on law.com on August 7, 2017.

PDF: Don t Know What Blockchain Is You Should This Law Prof Can Help _ Texas Lawyer

Houston Law Grads Discuss Juggling Classes While Raising Families

Houston law graduates Ieshia Champs and Shartory Brown have inspired many people with their stories surviving childhood homelessness and teenage pregnancy and then succeeding in law school while raising multiple kids.

Texas Lawyer spoke with Brown and emailed Champs for advice for other law students about juggling a strict schedule, coping with overwhelming demands, and tapping into their inner strength and resiliency. Here are their answers, edited for clarity and brevity.

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PDF: houston-law-grads-discuss-juggling-classes-while-raising-families

Why You Should Take a Vacation From Your Phone. And Why You Probably Won’t.

On a three-week family vacation to Greece and Croatia, Andrew Giacomini left his phone in his room to disconnect from his litigation practice.

Although Giacomini, the managing partner at Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco, checked emails, his colleagues probably didn’t know—because Giacomini never responded. He billed zero hours during his 21-day trip and focused on recharging.

“I have the philosophy: Balanced lawyers give balanced advice,” Giacomini said. “You’re not going to be offering the best advice to your clients with burned-out lawyers.”

Giacomini’s strategy is part of wider recognition within the legal profession that true downtime for lawyers is crucial. With mental health problems and addiction percentages higher among lawyers compared with other professions, some firms are acknowledging that lawyers truly need to detach from the office to recharge.

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PDF: why-you-should-take-a-vacation-from-your-phone-and-why-you-probably-wont

The Stories Behind Two Houston-Area Law Graduates Whose Social Posts Went Viral and Inspired a Country

Two Houston law graduates who defied tough odds to succeed in law school have inspired people across the country.

Other law students can learn about resilience and the power of priorities through the stories of May graduates Ieshia Champs of Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and Shartory Brown of South Texas College of Law Houston.

Both Brown and Champs were homeless at times during their childhoods and became teenage mothers. Tragedies and heartache could have derailed their lives—yet they persevered through college and law school, all while raising multiple children. The two women share so much in common that they became good friends while interning together at the Harris County Attorney’s Office in the spring of 2018.

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PDF: stories-of-two-houston-area-law-graduates-went-viral-and-inspired-a-country

BigLaw firms are working together to influence how blockchain technology will operate in the future

The cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry is already crowded with firms eager to nab high-tech startups as clients or help legacy clients navigate a brave new world.

But some BigLaw firms have gone further. Over the past 2½ years, several of the largest firms in the world have joined legal working groups aimed at bringing crypto and blockchain attorneys together to share information, learn from one another, and help craft best practices.

Link.

PDF: biglaw_cryptocurrency_blockchain_smart_contracts

Lawsuit accuses sheriffs of underfeeding inmates, pocketing meal money

When Alabama inmates asked what’s for dinner, the sad answer was often a plate with spoiled meat or food contaminated with rodent droppings.

Meanwhile, the state’s sheriffs charged with their upkeep were reportedly pocketing inmate food funds—spending the money on things such as beach homes, personal investments, electronics and home lawn services.

These allegations are the basis of a lawsuit filed by the Southern Center for Human Rights and Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice against 49 Alabama sheriffs after the SCHR received hundreds of letters and calls from inmates about problems with food at county jails across the state.

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PDF: alabama_underfeeding_inmates_meal_money

This One MtGox Creditor Might Recover $61 Million Dollars – or Some Other Amount of Dollars or Possibly No Dollars

“You can open the champagne now.”

Joyful celebration lit up online groups for creditors of the bankrupt MtGox exchange on June 22, when a Japanese court decided to move the company into “civil rehabilitation,” a new legal process that promises to deliver a windfall of bitcoin for creditors.

It’s spectacular news for the 24,750 approved MtGox creditors, because based on today’s bitcoin value they will end up with more money that they actually had at the time MtGox went into bankruptcy. The original bankruptcy proceeding, by law, would have paid creditors just $483 per bitcoin—the value when MtGox went bankrupt in 2014. Under civil rehabilitation, they will receive bitcoins, which are now trading at around $6,000 each, plus their share of whatever cash remains in the MtGox estate. While they missed out on the peak price of almost $19,000 last December, this is still more moolah than they ever dreamed back in 2014.

Link on Popula.com

PDF: this-one-mtgox-creditor-might-recover-61-million-dollars

Preparation Tips to Ensure Business Continuity in the Event of a Disaster

In the midst of a hurricane season capable of producing half a dozen or so hurricanes, having a disaster recovery plan is tantamount for firms operating on the East Coast and gulf—whether you’re a solo lawyer or a big law firm.

As Houston still recovers from Hurricane Harvey, several panels at the State Bar of Texas annual meeting in Houston tackled the steps that lawyers and firms need to take to prepare and recover from disasters, of any variety.

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PDF: preparation-tips-to-ensure-business-continuity-in-the-event-of-a-disaster