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5 hours ago, Otis said:

Firmwide head of my practice group just flew in this week and asked me to take over as head of our group in my office.  Same guy has held the position for 15 years.  Crazy.  I’ll be head of the largest practice group in our office, and the largest of all the practice groups in my area in any of our offices.

Feels like a nice accomplishment, but at the same time a little terrifying.  It’s a big role and a good deal of responsibility, and I know other of my local partners wanted the position (and felt they should have gotten it — there’s only one partner in our group younger than I am, so I sort of leapfrogged a few folks).  So, it comes with challenges. 

TLDR hey look at me. 

Do you now have the authority to hire me as the office prank monkey?  

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I don't know if there's a real pinnacle to this profession. Some times it really seems like there isn't one. But I do now know that when you're standing there waiting and hoping for two words instead

Made partner today. 

Big news for The_Son - just found out he got the Rubenstein Scholarship from Chicago! Full tuition + a $20,000 per year stipend. Last week he was fortunate enough to be offered a full-tuition scholars

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12 hours ago, The Indestructible said:

Fellow lawyers, what strategies do you think might be effective to protect the confidentiality of your communications with your clients now that the attorney client privilege is dead?  TIA

Igpay Atinlay

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Are any of you a lawyer in California?

 

Long story short, my fiance's counsel is uncomfortable with me not seeking independent counsel, so I thought I'd see if any of you practiced in that area and would be willing to PM me a fee structure (for a prenup).

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On 4/12/2018 at 8:10 PM, Instinctive said:

Are any of you a lawyer in California?

 

Long story short, my fiance's counsel is uncomfortable with me not seeking independent counsel, so I thought I'd see if any of you practiced in that area and would be willing to PM me a fee structure (for a prenup).

Have you found somebody? I am not barred there but could refer you to a couple of CA licensed family law practitioners. 

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Popped in to vent as I'm at the pinnacle of my stress in my time practicing. I have my first, first degree murder trial on Monday. Client is in custody and has been awaiting her day in court.  We have a real chance of winning.  I basically have every minute of every day leading up to trial planned out/budgeted for prep and some family time on Saturday. Confirmed with the court that the jury has been noticed and the proper number has confirmed. 

As I'm buried in prep this morning I get the call that my grandfather, who has been in hospice (I had a nice goodbye FaceTime session with him and my little girls a few days ago), has passed.  Mass is Saturday and burial is Monday. In a state halfway across the country. As I'm reeling my investigator arrives for our scheduled prep session and it becomes abundantly clear he has spent the last week falling through irrelevant rabbit holes and instead of coming prepared with our anticipated evidence/exhibits on factual issues x, y, and z he arrives with some of the stuff on x and then a plethora of irrelevant material on subsets a, b, and c that tangentially shoot off from x.  So, that's easily another half day's work I gotta make up and budget for. My wife and kids went to stay with her family for the week so I can have all the time I need to prep. 

I have no idea how I can possibly get to this funeral. 

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On 3/5/2018 at 7:54 AM, mr. furley said:

when a defendant walks in to court, serving as his own lawyer... are you happy because victory is all but assured? or distressed because this is going to be a fiasco that could go on forever?

how often does it work out that the defendant, serving as his/her own lawyer, has a grasp on reality?

I encounter this situation quite a bit in my family law practice (since there is no right to appointed counsel for family law in my jurisdiction). I'm generally "happy" or whatever you want to call it because I'm obviously going to be far more prepared and don't have to worry about nuanced procedural objections or smart evidentiary objections that could prevent me from getting in evidence I may not be able to get in with a competent opposing counsel. And, as can be expected, the majority of unrepresented opposing parties do themselves no favor -- although there have been a few that have done a decent job at carrying themselves professionally and reasonably and at least address some of the on point statutory factors applicable to, say, parenting time issues.  

However, in family law, there often isn't a clear-cut "winner" (or, even when I "win" a case my client still thinks would should have gotten even more relief) as there are often multiple issues before the court and, in a court of equity like the family law court, we get a lot of what I'll call "compromise verdicts" from a judge.  In other words, I can do a really good job and the opposing party can look like a Jerry Springer guest and that does not necessarily mean I'll get my client everything he or she wants. 

I'll briefly touch on your "defendant" comment because I will say that anybody representing himself in a criminal case, especially a serious felony, will almost always go down in flames.  I've been appointed as advisory counsel on two cases where both defendants were facing triple digits in terms of years in prison if they lost.  I would question their grasps of reality.  One guy in particular, to quote the prosecutor, "snatched defeat from the jaws of victory" by eliciting the necessary evidence on his cross-examination of the victim to satisfy the elements of the crimes alleged. 

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I've been feeling kinda 'meh' about my job lately. Anybody need a mediocre patent attorney? Otis? I'd be willing to shift gears to other fields. Maybe estate planning - can't be that hard, right? Just download a template and fill it in?  Or a criminal defense attorney?  I've watched lots of Law & Order. 

But seriously, anybody shifted from one area of law to another? I'm starting to think about other options and am wondering if anybody will even look at me after spending a few years in a pretty specific type of practice.  Anybody ever made the move from private practice to an in-house position? 

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4 minutes ago, FBG26 said:

I've been feeling kinda 'meh' about my job lately. Anybody need a mediocre patent attorney? Otis? I'd be willing to shift gears to other fields. Maybe estate planning - can't be that hard, right? Just download a template and fill it in?  Or a criminal defense attorney?  I've watched lots of Law & Order. 

But seriously, anybody shifted from one area of law to another? I'm starting to think about other options and am wondering if anybody will even look at me after spending a few years in a pretty specific type of practice.  Anybody ever made the move from private practice to an in-house position? 

I've been considering moving into elder law for a few years, what with the boomers getting old and going to nursing homes, and the significant lack of qualified caregivers available to deal with their numbers.   Every time my partner and I get serious about making the switch, we get flooded with work, but our laws are getting less plaintiff-friendly and it may be time to make a move soon.   

So no advice.  Sorry.

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One more witness then closing arguments on my first degree murder trial tomorrow.  Good chance of having a verdict by the end of the day. 

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7 hours ago, the rover said:

Hope you kill it.

The victim’s name is “Kenny.”  I have no idea how opposing counsel is going to resist saying in his close, “you killed Kenny; you bastard!”

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On 4/20/2018 at 3:44 PM, FBG26 said:

I've been feeling kinda 'meh' about my job lately. Anybody need a mediocre patent attorney? Otis? I'd be willing to shift gears to other fields. Maybe estate planning - can't be that hard, right? Just download a template and fill it in?  Or a criminal defense attorney?  I've watched lots of Law & Order. 

But seriously, anybody shifted from one area of law to another? I'm starting to think about other options and am wondering if anybody will even look at me after spending a few years in a pretty specific type of practice.  Anybody ever made the move from private practice to an in-house position? 

Dude. Generally not in favor of moving out of a highly specialized and more in-demand niche into a mainstream, lower paying, less specialized, "now you'll compete with all lawyers" space.  I assume you've got a tech background.  Why not exploit that?

 

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Going on 3 hours. Too exhausted and nervous to do other work.  I so want to crack some Vueve Cliquot and listen to "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta" tonight...

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24 minutes ago, Bucky86 said:

What was the weapon of choice in this murder?

If by murder you mean self-inflicted death it was a .38 special. 

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I don't know if there's a real pinnacle to this profession. Some times it really seems like there isn't one. But I do now know that when you're standing there waiting and hoping for two words instead of one, after you've put in hundreds of hours for a client you really don't think did it, in a case with the most serious charge that our criminal justice system has, there's not a whole lot seemingly more important things we can do.  And then when you hear those two words and tell your client she's going home, I can't imagine too many other jobs offering such a sense of pride and relief.  

 

Breaking out the champagne. 

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2 minutes ago, Zow said:

I don't know if there's a real pinnacle to this profession. Some times it really seems like there isn't one. But I do now know that when you're standing there waiting and hoping for two words instead of one, after you've put in hundreds of hours for a client you really don't think did it, in a case with the most serious charge that our criminal justice system has, there's not a whole lot seemingly more important things we can do.  And then when you hear those two words and tell your client she's going home, I can't imagine too many other jobs offering such a sense of pride and relief.  

 

Breaking out the champagne. 

Damn, huge congrats.  You're my hero today.

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2 hours ago, Poke_4_Life said:

Congrats @Zow.

I'm a firm believer in our legal system and due process. Thanks for playing a key role in the process to judicate the most serious crime in our legal system. 

Enjoy the champagne. 

Don and Moët tonight. 

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23 minutes ago, krista4 said:

No longer my hero. ;) 

Haha fair. But I’m very proud to be a lawyer right now. I argued my face off for an indigent person charged with the most serious crime who probably didn’t do it. 

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8 hours ago, Zow said:

I don't know if there's a real pinnacle to this profession. Some times it really seems like there isn't one. But I do now know that when you're standing there waiting and hoping for two words instead of one, after you've put in hundreds of hours for a client you really don't think did it, in a case with the most serious charge that our criminal justice system has, there's not a whole lot seemingly more important things we can do.  And then when you hear those two words and tell your client she's going home, I can't imagine too many other jobs offering such a sense of pride and relief.  

 

Breaking out the champagne. 

Nice. 

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1 hour ago, the rover said:

Don Julio?  Seems like an odd pairing with champagne.

Don, Dom... one of those. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi FBGLawyerguys,

Some thoughts/advice on the following situation.

--Wife is looking at new employment with a very large company
--They have verbally agreed on terms and part of those terms are specific about how much she is required to work.  Specifically at a reduced FTE and a certain number of days off each month
--In particular, if something were to happen to her existing partner (illness, leaves, etc.), her workload could change dramatically so the agreement is mostly as a form of protection from that.  It also allows her to work elsewhere during those days off and they are aware of this.  That time needs to be protected.
--They are interested in hiring her and she would like to work there.  Compensation and everything else is agreed upon.
--As they are a large company, my wife has been advised that they don't ever change their standard contract.  They have provided her a Letter of Understanding with the agreed upon terms that are different (protected time off, stated reduced FTE, protection from increased work load in case of changes out of her control)
--Our attorney advised us pretty clearly that, in our jurisdiction, a Letter of Understanding is not enforceable.  He submitted a redline contract that had an Exhibit added that included the agreed upon parts that were in the Letter of Understanding.
--She just heard back from the company that they want to make this work and will put the agreed upon terms into an Addendum but cannot go along with the Exhibit version as submitted.

So, right now we are waiting to get the new version with the addendum and then we will submit to our attorney to review.  I'm posting here to just get a little understanding as well as a little peace of mind until we hear from them and can submit to our attorney which may be several days. 

1)  Is an addendum typically binding or enforceable? 

2)  Why would they choose to go with an addendum but not agree to adding an exhibit?  Is there a distinction between the two?  Is there something to be wary of as a result such as with the difference between a Letter of Understanding and the Exhibit additions that our attorney added (one not enforceable while the other is)? I know that this may vary depending on jurisdiction, but just in general.

3)  Any other basic thoughts on the above, things to look out for or questions to ask our attorney?

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On 4/27/2018 at 9:07 PM, Zow said:

I don't know if there's a real pinnacle to this profession. Some times it really seems like there isn't one. But I do now know that when you're standing there waiting and hoping for two words instead of one, after you've put in hundreds of hours for a client you really don't think did it, in a case with the most serious charge that our criminal justice system has, there's not a whole lot seemingly more important things we can do.  And then when you hear those two words and tell your client she's going home, I can't imagine too many other jobs offering such a sense of pride and relief.  

 

Breaking out the champagne. 

Just read this.  Congratulations!

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19 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Hi FBGLawyerguys,

Some thoughts/advice on the following situation.

--Wife is looking at new employment with a very large company
--They have verbally agreed on terms and part of those terms are specific about how much she is required to work.  Specifically at a reduced FTE and a certain number of days off each month
--In particular, if something were to happen to her existing partner (illness, leaves, etc.), her workload could change dramatically so the agreement is mostly as a form of protection from that.  It also allows her to work elsewhere during those days off and they are aware of this.  That time needs to be protected.
--They are interested in hiring her and she would like to work there.  Compensation and everything else is agreed upon.
--As they are a large company, my wife has been advised that they don't ever change their standard contract.  They have provided her a Letter of Understanding with the agreed upon terms that are different (protected time off, stated reduced FTE, protection from increased work load in case of changes out of her control)
--Our attorney advised us pretty clearly that, in our jurisdiction, a Letter of Understanding is not enforceable.  He submitted a redline contract that had an Exhibit added that included the agreed upon parts that were in the Letter of Understanding.
--She just heard back from the company that they want to make this work and will put the agreed upon terms into an Addendum but cannot go along with the Exhibit version as submitted.

So, right now we are waiting to get the new version with the addendum and then we will submit to our attorney to review.  I'm posting here to just get a little understanding as well as a little peace of mind until we hear from them and can submit to our attorney which may be several days. 

1)  Is an addendum typically binding or enforceable? 

2)  Why would they choose to go with an addendum but not agree to adding an exhibit?  Is there a distinction between the two?  Is there something to be wary of as a result such as with the difference between a Letter of Understanding and the Exhibit additions that our attorney added (one not enforceable while the other is)? I know that this may vary depending on jurisdiction, but just in general.

3)  Any other basic thoughts on the above, things to look out for or questions to ask our attorney?

Midday bump.

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19 hours ago, gianmarco said:

 

1)  Is an addendum typically binding or enforceable? 

yes

2)  Why would they choose to go with an addendum but not agree to adding an exhibit?  Is there a distinction between the two?  Is there something to be wary of as a result such as with the difference between a Letter of Understanding and the Exhibit additions that our attorney added (one not enforceable while the other is)? I know that this may vary depending on jurisdiction, but just in general.

It's probably just a style preference, but generally an addendum changes something in the main document, whereas an exhibit just provides detail that does not change the main document.  So using an exhibit probably requires editing the main document to refer to the exhibit, using an addendum requires no such edit.

3)  Any other basic thoughts on the above, things to look out for or questions to ask our attorney?

Just be sure that the document and addendum reflect the agreement, and you are not relying on any other emails or conversations or whatever.

I'm not licensed in your state so this isn't legal advice

 

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20 hours ago, gianmarco said:

1)  Is an addendum typically binding or enforceable? 

2)  Why would they choose to go with an addendum but not agree to adding an exhibit?  Is there a distinction between the two?  Is there something to be wary of as a result such as with the difference between a Letter of Understanding and the Exhibit additions that our attorney added (one not enforceable while the other is)? I know that this may vary depending on jurisdiction, but just in general.

3)  Any other basic thoughts on the above, things to look out for or questions to ask our attorney?

An addendum to a contract is enforceable, as it is part of the contract.  The Letter of Understanding is most likely not enforceable, because the employment contract almost certainly has an "integration" clause (or "merger" clause)which confirms that your entire agreement is contained in the contract itself and no side agreements (such as the LoU) or promises are enforceable.  There is no legal difference I'm aware of between an addendum or an exhibit, but a LoU is completely different under these circumstances.  Whatever they call it, you need to make sure it is indeed part of the agreement.  Ideally, the contract will reference something like "including all exhibits, addenda, attachments" or some such language specifically incorporating the exhibit/addendum. The addendum should be physically attached to the employment agreement and will be signed/dated the same as the contract.  If so, you are in pretty good shape in terms of enforceability. The concern I have is the comment that they never change or revise their employment agreement.  If that is true (it isn't), then they are breaking that rule by including an enforceable exhibit/addendum.  I'd be wary.  Congrats to you and your wife on the move and good luck with this. /notlegaladvice

 

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Question for personal injury guys -

Auto passenger dies 10 days after the accident; was unconscious in the hospital the entire time.  Approx. $1mil in medical bills during the 10 days between accident and death. No dispute on liability and lots of insurance available.  How likely is it there will be a pain/suffering component to the claim?  Will they find a doctor or other expert who can testify to P&S under these facts? Records indicate he was completely non-responsive the entire time.

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44 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Question for personal injury guys -

Auto passenger dies 10 days after the accident; was unconscious in the hospital the entire time.  Approx. $1mil in medical bills during the 10 days between accident and death. No dispute on liability and lots of insurance available.  How likely is it there will be a pain/suffering component to the claim?  Will they find a doctor or other expert who can testify to P&S under these facts? Records indicate he was completely non-responsive the entire time.

Was he treated with pain medication while unconscious?

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On ‎4‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 8:07 PM, Zow said:

I don't know if there's a real pinnacle to this profession. Some times it really seems like there isn't one. But I do now know that when you're standing there waiting and hoping for two words instead of one, after you've put in hundreds of hours for a client you really don't think did it, in a case with the most serious charge that our criminal justice system has, there's not a whole lot seemingly more important things we can do.  And then when you hear those two words and tell your client she's going home, I can't imagine too many other jobs offering such a sense of pride and relief.  

 

Breaking out the champagne. 

Congratulations.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a PSA:

Last December, I had a partner retire at age 91 after 65 years of practicing law.  He passed away yesterday, less than 6 months later. His wife had died a few years ago, after a long bout with Alzheimer's so he had nothing to "retire to", after literally practicing law since before I was born (and I'm at the stage where I'm seriously looking at retirement).  This comes less than 2 years after another of my partners died of an aortic aneurysm in his 70's.  I currently have 3 partners who are older than me, still plugging away, and I have to wonder how they don't have some better way to spend the last part of their lives.   I know I certainly do, and plan on retiring while my wife and I can still enjoy the time.  I don't know if I'm "less dedicated" or "more sensible"; all I know is life should be about more than days at an office.

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12 minutes ago, apalmer said:

Just a PSA:

Last December, I had a partner retire at age 91 after 65 years of practicing law.  He passed away yesterday, less than 6 months later. His wife had died a few years ago, after a long bout with Alzheimer's so he had nothing to "retire to", after literally practicing law since before I was born (and I'm at the stage where I'm seriously looking at retirement).  This comes less than 2 years after another of my partners died of an aortic aneurysm in his 70's.  I currently have 3 partners who are older than me, still plugging away, and I have to wonder how they don't have some better way to spend the last part of their lives.   I know I certainly do, and plan on retiring while my wife and I can still enjoy the time.  I don't know if I'm "less dedicated" or "more sensible"; all I know is life should be about more than days at an office.

I worked for 2 brothers whose father was also a lawyer. He practiced for over 50 years. In his later years he moved into our office. He'd fall asleep at his desk just about every afternoon.  Some people tie their identity to their work. I'm not one of those guys. I'm looking to "retire" early. My wife's pension will fully vest in 11 years. I'll be able to get early social security a year later. I have a few clients who I'll keep doing work for. And I might agree to take on a case for someone else every now and then after that. But no way am I going to go to the office or court every day.

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12 minutes ago, Christo said:

I worked for 2 brothers whose father was also a lawyer. He practiced for over 50 years. In his later years he moved into our office. He'd fall asleep at his desk just about every afternoon.  Some people tie their identity to their work. I'm not one of those guys. I'm looking to "retire" early. My wife's pension will fully vest in 11 years. I'll be able to get early social security a year later. I have a few clients who I'll keep doing work for. And I might agree to take on a case for someone else every now and then after that. But no way am I going to go to the office or court every day.

Amazingly, even on the day he retired, the 91-year-old was as sharp as a tack.  He had "scaled back" to only working 10:30 to 5:00 every day, mostly because he had two bad knees (both had been replaced, but were still a problem), so he walked with 2 canes ("wheelchair" was considered a dirty word) and it took him forever to get showered and dressed.  It also took him nearly 20 minutes to walk the 50 yards from the parking garage to our office entrance.  In his earlier days, he had been quite an athlete: went to The Ohio State University on a football scholarship (as a tight end), was a force in pickup basketball and volleyball games at the "Y" well into his 50's and loved whitewater rafting. I long suspected that once he hit 75 or 80 he developed "Bear Bryant/Joe Paterno Syndrome"--with his wife in a nursing home and his body not able to do the things he loved, he had nothing but work to live for and knew that he would not last long after he retired. Like you, I've promised myself that will not be me.

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Question for you all ( @Otis?) In MLB, when the hitters come to the plate, they all have walk up music. Do the teams/the league/players have to pay royalties for the use? Is there a certain period of time (say, 10 seconds) that you can use a song before it becomes a copyright violation?

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52 minutes ago, Tecumseh said:

Question for you all ( @Otis?) In MLB, when the hitters come to the plate, they all have walk up music. Do the teams/the league/players have to pay royalties for the use? Is there a certain period of time (say, 10 seconds) that you can use a song before it becomes a copyright violation?

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe if the ballpark pays the ASCAP fees they can play any music they want.

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On 6/7/2018 at 8:22 AM, apalmer said:

Amazingly, even on the day he retired, the 91-year-old was as sharp as a tack.  He had "scaled back" to only working 10:30 to 5:00 every day, mostly because he had two bad knees (both had been replaced, but were still a problem), so he walked with 2 canes ("wheelchair" was considered a dirty word) and it took him forever to get showered and dressed.  It also took him nearly 20 minutes to walk the 50 yards from the parking garage to our office entrance.  In his earlier days, he had been quite an athlete: went to The Ohio State University on a football scholarship (as a tight end), was a force in pickup basketball and volleyball games at the "Y" well into his 50's and loved whitewater rafting. I long suspected that once he hit 75 or 80 he developed "Bear Bryant/Joe Paterno Syndrome"--with his wife in a nursing home and his body not able to do the things he loved, he had nothing but work to live for and knew that he would not last long after he retired. Like you, I've promised myself that will not be me.

He sounds like an amazing lawyer, but I’m even more so impressed that he apparently kept up with the changing technology. I’m assuming he adapted to email, online case management, and online research just fine?

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15 hours ago, Zow said:

He sounds like an amazing lawyer, but I’m even more so impressed that he apparently kept up with the changing technology. I’m assuming he adapted to email, online case management, and online research just fine?

Uh, no.  His email went to his secretary's inbox.  Case management really wasn't an issue since all he did was real estate, estate work and zoning/subdivision law for local municipalities.  His knees pretty much kept him out of court for the last 10 years or so, meaning any court cases got handed off to me.  His research was still via books,  with me (usually) doing any online updating.  

 

The funny thing is that our two firms merged back in 2001, and one of the reasons was that his then partners were looking for someone whose expertise overlapped with his so that "when he retires in a year or two, we'll have you to take over his work".

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6 minutes ago, apalmer said:

Uh, no.  His email went to his secretary's inbox.  Case management really wasn't an issue since all he did was real estate, estate work and zoning/subdivision law for local municipalities.  His knees pretty much kept him out of court for the last 10 years or so, meaning any court cases got handed off to me.  His research was still via books,  with me (usually) doing any online updating.  

 

The funny thing is that our two firms merged back in 2001, and one of the reasons was that his then partners were looking for someone whose expertise overlapped with his so that "when he retires in a year or two, we'll have you to take over his work".

Ah. 

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Crazy judgment collection story:

Won a judgment in federal court against a vexatious lawyer representing himself pro se: $1 million in damages and $500,000 in attorneys fees. He was disbarred during the litigation, by the way. Had him declared a vexatious litigant by the court after a bunch of shenanigans: he actually sued me personally in the state court where we were litigating (a state far from where I live). Having someone declared a vexatious litigant and imposing filing restrictions, etc., on them is rare in federal court. A few months after the judgment he dies (details are too crazy to go into) and now I am dealing with his estate to collect. Of course, the estate conveniently left my client and the judgment out of the list of creditors. Sometimes it isnt enough just to win.    

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On 6/9/2018 at 1:25 PM, nightmare said:
On 6/9/2018 at 0:34 PM, Tecumseh said:

Question for you all ( @Otis?) In MLB, when the hitters come to the plate, they all have walk up music. Do the teams/the league/players have to pay royalties for the use? Is there a certain period of time (say, 10 seconds) that you can use a song before it becomes a copyright violation?

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe if the ballpark pays the ASCAP fees they can play any music they want.

Also not a lawyer, but, this is my understanding as well. Also applies to bars that play music, and as we hear every four years, political rallies and conventions (some artist gets pissed that whatever candidate is using their song as their theme song, but as long as the candidate pays the ASCAP fee for the venue, and the artist's song is covered by the ASCAP agreement, they don't get a say in who can play it and in what context. The artist gets the royalties and can go pound sand otherwise).

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