See for Yourself: The New Robert Mueller Action Figure

See for Yourself: The New Robert Mueller Action Figure

By Angela Morris (law.com, Jan. 15, 2019)

In the past, when a Brooklyn-based toy company created action figures of popular politicians—for example, Bernie Sanders or Ruth Bader Ginsburg—it found the real-life person and gave a gift of one of the dolls.

But FCTRY will likely skip the step this week when it releases a new action figure of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, who is leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Mueller is notoriously hard to reach. I think I would be intimidated,” said the company’s CEO, Jason Feinberg, who noted that the Mueller action figure will feature a “fixed gaze, because he knows you know he knows,” a right hand that’s open, “ready for the smoking gun,” pockets to “hold his strong moral compass,” and “impermeable shoes in case of tweetstorms.”

Survivor mentality: Law firms are seeking out professionals to hold active shooter drills

Survivor mentality: Law firms are seeking out professionals to hold active shooter drills

By Angela Morris (ABA Journal, December 2018)

Last year, a Houston lawyer went to Las Vegas to attend a country music festival but came home a survivor of a tragic type of mass violence that has become all too common in modern America.

When a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at the Route 91 Harvest festival, killing 58 concertgoers and wounding 546, this attorney survived using the survival mindset she had learned when her law firm hosted an active shooter defense course at the office.

“I’ve had four people come forward and tell me the training I’ve provided saved their lives when an active shooter showed up,” says Stephen Daniel, the Houston Police Department instructor and senior community liaison who trained the survivor at her law firm. Daniel says she and her firm wished to remain anonymous because the shooting was so traumatic.

In a country where mass shootings happen with increasing frequency, it’s becoming more common for law firms to bring active shooter defense instructors on-site to teach their lawyers and staff about how to survive a shooting situation. Daniel says he’s taught attorneys at 30 Houston-area law firms about the “run, hide, fight” method of surviving an active shooter. Daniel was one of the active shooter instructors to present sessions at successive annual conferences of the Association of Legal Administrators, where some law firm administrators first got the idea to bring the active shooter training to their firms.

With the rise of cryptocurrency, estate lawyers caution that it shouldn’t be treated like any other asset

With the rise of cryptocurrency, estate lawyers caution that it shouldn’t be treated like any other asset

by Angela Morris (ABA Journal, November 2018) As the cryptocurrency craze spreads, the mainstream public is investing in bitcoin and other digital currencies. With dollar signs in their eyes, they might not think about what happens to their cryptocurrency when they die. Cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin or Ethereum’s ether, could vanish into thin air unless estate-planning lawyers spur their crypto-loving clients to make inheritance plans. But there are traps for estate-planning attorneys to watch for in order to ensure that heirs will have access to a client’s cryptocurrency after death, while making sure the client won’t be giving up the keys to the castle prematurely. “This is a whole new area for estate-planning lawyers,” says Pamela Morgan, an attorney and author who founded Empowered Law and trains lawyers about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. “It’s an opportunity to grow your client base­—to attract new people who never thought about this before.” Read this story at ABAJournal.com.
Two-year J.D. programs for foreign students are spiking

Two-year J.D. programs for foreign students are spiking

The number of law schools offering a two-year J.D. program for international lawyers has grown steadily over the past eight years, and observers expect the trend to continue. “I just think people are seeing there’s a market for it. They see there’s demand. From our perspective, the other impetus behind this is it really adds to a richer experience in the classroom,” said Amanda Wolfe, director of global programs at The University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson. “We put a premium on an international experience here.” Wolfe said Arizona Law had the nation’s first two-year J.D. for international lawyers, and each year since its launch in 2010, she’s noticed other schools launching their own programs. Both Wolfe and Andrew Horsfall, assistant dean of international programs at Syracuse University College of Law in New York, which launched its two-year J.D. for foreign attorneys in 2015, said they expect more such offerings. This article first published in The International Jurist on Oct. 16, 2018. Download a PDF.
Brace Yourselves, PACER-Like Systems Are Coming This Winter

Brace Yourselves, PACER-Like Systems Are Coming This Winter

By the end of the year, the Lone Star State will have a PACER-like court records system.

The Texas Supreme Court took the next step in expanding re:SearchTX, which grants access to state court records electronically filed anywhere in Texas, so that lawyers can download documents in any case—and so can the general public—at a cost of 10 cents per page up to a $6 maximum per document.

The system has operated since February 2017 with limited access for judges, court clerks and attorneys of record to access documents in their own cases. This new order opens access further to attorneys—they’ll be able to access any case, not just their own—and other registered users who provide personal information like their name, address, phone number and more.

Published on Texas Lawyer on Oct. 4, 2018.
https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2018/10/04/brace-yourselves-pacer-like-systems-are-coming-this-winter/

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Federal Judge: Prosecutor ‘Absurd’ for Using Deportation As Reason for Denying Bond in Criminal Case

Federal Judge: Prosecutor ‘Absurd’ for Using Deportation As Reason for Denying Bond in Criminal Case

A federal judge has called a U.S. prosecutor’s argument absurd and a problem of the government’s own making in a recent ruling that highlights the clash between criminal court processes and the nation’s increasingly controversial immigration policies.

Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin was frustrated by the prosecutor’s reasoning about why Austin should keep a defendant in jail rather than release him on pretrial bond for a felony charge of unlawful reentry. Unlawful re-entry cases have grown increasingly common under the Trump administration as it charges immigrants at the border en masse with the crime, and as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweeps up undocumented immigrants in raids on employers.

https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2018/09/19/federal-judge-prosecutor-absurd-for-using-deportation-as-reason-for-denying-bond-in-criminal-case/

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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.

Link.

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