Unique Contract Complaint – Disney Won’t Help Me Build An X-Wing.

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Plaintiff: Disney Promised to Help Me Build an X-Wing. Court: No It Didn’t, by Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar Blog

http://www.loweringthebar.net/2015/04/flying-car.html

There are no words. This is absolutely unique. -CCE

Many remarkable legal documents land in my inbox, and I try to mention as many as I can. Of that group, only a select few are remarkable enough to make it into the Hall(s) of Fame. I don’t think any other case has yielded both a Hall of Fame pleading and a Hall of Fame court order, but this is probably such a case. . . .

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Legal Writing Tips Honey Pot.

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Writing Cheat Sheets for Your Summer at the Screen, by Ross Guberman, Legal Writing Tips for Attorneys and Judges

http://legalwritingpro.com/blog/writing-cheat-sheets-for-your-summer-at-the-screen/

There is something here for everyone – student, newbie, or seasoned professional. Writing tips for memos, grammar, punctuation, biggest partner complaints, checklist for drafting contracts, and more. Many thanks, Mr. Guberman! -CCE

As a writing trainer for many of the nation’s top law firms with about 500 summer-associate workshops under my belt, I’ve learned first-hand where summer associates go wrong and how to help them succeed.

Here are some questions that will likely come up over the summer, along with links to some free online resources. . . .

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Sad News for Windows Sticky Notes Users.

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Windows Sticky Notes Isn’t Made For Backup, But These Alternatives Are, Lincoln Spector, Contributing Editor, PC World

http://tinyurl.com/p9jtrjy

Darn, I really liked these. But if you do not intend for them to be permanent, no problem! -CCE

Windows’ Sticky Notes program may seem like a convenient tool for jotting down reminders and miscellaneous stuff, but it’s really a disaster waiting to happen.

I get questions all the time from readers who lost information stored in Windows’ Sticky Notes program. With Sticky Notes, when it’s lost, it’s lost. . . .

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Depo Prep – Is Less Really More?

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Less is More When Preparing Witnesses for Deposition, by Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D., Sound Jury Blog

http://soundjuryconsulting.com/blog/2015/07/15/less-is-more-when-preparing-witnesses-for-deposition/

There is a popular 3M study that is often used to support the argument that attorneys should utilize more graphics in trial. The study found that audience members retained as little as 10% of the information three days later if the presentation was oral only; however, when presented the same information through both oral and visual presentation, the retention rate jumped to 65%. While this study is most often used to support the argument that presentations need a visual component, its implications can be applied to other areas of litigation. . . .

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Need To Negotiate and Settle A Case? There’s An App For That.

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Legal Productivity: iPad App: Picture It Settled – Negotiation App for Lawyers, by Travis Francis, Legal Productivity Blog

http://tinyurl.com/p7qjtqt

Settlement negotiations are never fun. The back and forth and countless rounds of negotiations can cause the process to be drawn-out and downright exhausting.

To make negotiations a little easier, Don Philbin and a team of attorneys and statisticians created Picture It Settled. According to the apps website, ‘the intelligent software has learned negotiation strategy from deep data from negotiation patterns in several thousand litigated cases, ranging from fender benders to intellectual property disputes in locations from tiny counties, large cities and everything in between.’ . . .

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How To Take Out Trademark Bullies.

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Are Trademark Bullies Bringing Plausible Claims? by Guest Blogger Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC, Duets Blog

http://tinyurl.com/ndlfqfg

Intellectual property enforcement continues to make news,  and new solutions to curb abusive enforcement – i.e. trademark bullying, patent trolling, and copyright trolling – are being proposed regularly. Central to these solutions is the idea of a ‘fast-lane’ that kicks bad claims to the curb before the bullied or trolled party has incurred significant legal costs. . . .

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Some Tips For Starting Your Law Firm’s Website.

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How to Create a Successful Law Firm Website: Getting Started, by The CyberAdvocate

http://www.thecyberadvocate.com/2015/07/27/create-law-firm-website-pt1/

Creating a new website for your law firm, whether you’re opening up a new practice or updating a dated law firm, can be an immense task. I’d love to say that following this guide will allow you to put together a successful and profitable website in your spare time. It won’t. . . .

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How To Avoid The Emails We Wish We Had Never Sent.

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Tech Tip Of The Day: Add A Two Minute Delay To Sending Emails, by James B. Levy, Legal Skills Prof Blog 

http://tinyurl.com/oub7e74

This is a great tech tip from the Harvard Business Review blog that most of us should probably implement. It involves programming your email account to wait two minutes before each message is sent. It’s a great fail safe measure to prevent those emails we regret as soon as they’re sent and the typos (and omitted attachments) we don’t catch until it’s too late. . . .

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Wrongful Termination for Religious Discrimination – Spoiler Alert! The Employer Wins.

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Oy Vey! No Religious Discrimination in Jewish Nurse’s Termination, by Jason Shinn, Michigan Employment Law Advisor

http://tinyurl.com/q8ddaj8

A recent religious discrimination claim dismissed in favor of an employer offers a number important take-aways for both employers and employees. . . .

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Ever Wanted To Know How To Write Like Chief Justice John Roberts?

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Five Ways to Write Like John Roberts, by Ross Guberman, Legal writing tips for attorneys and judges

http://legalwritingpro.com/blog/five-ways-to-write-like-john-roberts/#comment-56

What I really like about this post is how it about using “show, don’t tell.” It is one of the most under-used persuasive writing tools, which I do not understand. When used correctly, you can hit it out of the park. -CCE

When Chief Justice John Roberts was a lawyer, he once wrote that determining the ‘best’ available technology for controlling air pollution is like asking people to pick the ‘best’ car: . . . .

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Judge’s Benchslap Orders Parties To Rewrite Their Acronym-Loaded Briefs.

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Alphabet Attack, by Ross Guberman, Legal Writing Tips for Attorneys and Judges

http://legalwritingpro.com/blog/alphabet-attack/

I wonder how many judges have wanted to do this? -CCE

It wouldn’t be spring in America without some federal judges publicly criticizing attorneys in a genre now known as ‘benchslap.’

The offended court this time: the D.C. Circuit. The court’s target: acronyms in briefs filed in a complex telecom dispute. The benchslap: ‘It is ordered . . . that the parties submit new briefs that eliminate uncommon acronyms used in their previously filed final briefs.’ The court even cited its own practice handbook for good measure: ‘[i]n briefs the use of acronyms other that those that are widely known should be avoided.’ . . .

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Legal Ethics and Conflicts of Interest – What Is Your Professional Duty?

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Regardless of whether you are a lawyer, judge, or paralegal, have you kept a list of every case on which you have worked? Does it include all the parties or only your client?

Christine Simmons recently posted an interesting article in the New York Law Journal in which the Court disqualified a White Plains attorney’s representation of his client. The attorney’s paralegal had, in the past, been involved with the opposing party. For this reason, the Court ruled to vacate the settlement due to tainted negotiations.

So back to my original question – when you were hired, did anyone ask you to look at the firm’s active client list to determine whether you had a conflict of interest? Shouldn’t this especially be the case if your practice is limited to only one or two specific areas of law where you often get repeat business from your clients?

Often, when a firm signs on a new client, it will run a conflict check through its database. It likely also sends an email to all the attorneys asking whether any have a conflict with this particular client. Are support staff and/or the IT Department included in this inquiry? Shouldn’t they if they will have access to the file or any communication with the client, regardless of what role they play in the preparation of the case?

Although every legal professional, lawyer and paralegal, are aware of their ethical obligation to confidentiality and conflicts of interest, how many of us have a complete list of every client and/or parties in each case we have ever worked? Should we? -CCE

Does Your Trademark Sell Your Product Or Confuse Your Customers?

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At The Corner of Trademarks and Confusion, by Martha Engel, DuetsBlog

http://www.duetsblog.com/2015/07/articles/trademarks/at-the-corner-of-trademarks-and-confusion/

Even in the age of the Internet, the geographic use of a trademark is an important consideration in determining whether your mark is likely to confuse consumers as to the source of your goods or services. . . .

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A Rose By Any Other Name . . . .

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Attorney’s Quick Guide to Paralegal Credentials, by Misty L. Sheffield, Atlanta Paralegal Services©2015

http://www.atlantaparalegalservices.com/2011/08/attorneys-quick-guide-to-paralegal-credentials/

 

Attorneys looking for a paralegal to hire full-time, part-time or on a contract basis will be faced with a variety of titles and credentials. Paralegals are not a licensed profession, but credentials are offered by the national paralegal organizations on a voluntary basis. This is a quick reference guide to the most commonly used national paralegal titles and credentials. This list does not include state-specific credentials. . . .

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International Banking Law Honey Pot.

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Global Banking Law Database

http://www.gbld.org/index.asp?mode=32

Don’t miss “Useful Links” at http://www.gbld.org/index.asp?mode=41. Find more on the website – Resources, Topics, Data, Publications, and more. CCE

The Global Banking Law Database (GBLD) is a joint project of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The GBLD consists of a collection of commercial banking, central bank, and deposit insurance laws of jurisdictions that are representative of the regions of the world as well as international financial centers. The laws are available in English in both MS Word and PDF (Adobe Acrobat) formats. . . .

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“Release To One, Release to All” – A New FOIA Policy.

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Federal Agencies Announce Limited Trial Of “Release For One, Release To All” FOIA Policy, by Adam Marshall, Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press

http://tinyurl.com/nh9m5ky

With little public fanfare, seven federal agencies have announced a controversial trial program of publishing documents responsive to most Freedom of Information Act requests online.

Under the program, known as a “Release-to-One is Release-to-All” policy, any member of the public will presumably have access to the result of almost any FOIA request. . . .

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Avoid Juror Contact And An Ethical Violation.

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Attorney-Juror Contact: What to Do When Running into a Juror Outside of the Courtroom, by Jessica Baer, M.A., Litigation Insights

http://www.litigationinsights.com/case-strategies/attorney-juror-contact-outside-courtroom/

This post makes an excellent point about avoiding contact or the appearance of tainting the jury. If you should find yourself inadvertently in the presence of juror in a courtroom hallway, bathroom, or elevator, avoid eye contact, look down, and appear deep in thought, as if you are not aware they are there. Then get out of there as quietly and quickly as possible. -CCE

Opening statements had just ended and members of the trial team were beginning to return from their lunch breaks. The attorney we were working with for this shadow jury and I got on the elevator in the parking garage and he began telling me about the upcoming witness testimony. As people (some of whom presumably could be jurors) piled into the elevator on the next floor, the attorney stopped our conversation, looked over at me and whispered, “I’ll take the stairs to get some exercise.” I knew what he meant. . . .

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The Difference Between “Affect” and “Effect.”

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Affect Versus Effect, by Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/affect-versus-effect

When to use affect and effect is one of the most common questions I get. This is an expanded show based on the original episode covering when to use affect with an a and when to use effect with an e. . . .

Yes! Ohio Court Rules Missing Punctuation Changes Interpretation Of Municipal Code.

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Ohio Appeals Court Ruling Is A Victory For Punctuation, Sanity, by Sarah Larimer, The Washington Post (with hat tip to William P. Statsky)

http://tinyurl.com/q7vzjws

Punctuation nerds, rejoice! For all of us who care deeply about really good legal writing, grammar, and punctuation, today we are vindicated! Thank you, Judge Robert A. Hendrickson, of the Twelfth District Court of Appeals in Ohio. -CCE

Look, I know you’re all busy, but let’s just take a minute today and celebrate Judge Robert A. Hendrickson and the 12th District Court of Appeals in Ohio.

These defenders of punctuation.

These champions of copy editors everywhere.

That one court that totally called out a village ordinance for its comma-related failings.

(I know!!!)

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Plain Language Honey Pot.

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Legal Examples, PlainLanguage.gov

http://www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/legal/

I have noticed that posts here on legal writing, legalese, and plain language are always popular. Here is a treat for you plain language lovers – a mixed bag of excellent plain language examples of legal writing. They include Pennsylvania’s statute requiring plain language for contracts, California’s plain language jury instructions, Martin Cutt’s classic, Lucid Law, and my personal favorites – two fantastic articles by Judge Mark P. Painter.

Once you click on this link and go to the website, you will see buttons that will take you to other plain language examples, resources, and tips. Enjoy! -CCE

Special Baseball Exemption – Supreme Court Takes Us Out To The Ball Game.

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Major League Baseball, an Antitrust Exemption, and the Ninth Circuit, by Jarod Bona, The Antitrust Attorney Blog

http://www.theantitrustattorney.com/category/classic-antitrust-cases/

Baseball is special. How do we know that? Is it the fact that it has been declared America’s Pastime? Or is it the feelings we have when we smell the freshly cut grass on a sunny spring day? Or is it the acoustics of a wood bat striking a leather-wrapped baseball? The answer is that we know that baseball is special because the US Supreme Court has told us so.

Over the course of ninety-two years, the Supreme Court has consistently affirmed and re-affirmed a special exemption from the antitrust laws for the ‘business of providing public baseball games for profit between clubs of professional baseball.’ There is a state action exemption, an insurance exemption, a labor exemption, and a  . . . baseball exemption? That’s right. A baseball exemption from the federal antitrust laws. . . .

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Deduplication – Craig Ball Takes Us Deeper Into The Belly of The E-Discovery Beast.

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Deduplication: Why Computers See Differences in Files that Look Alike to You, by Craig Ball, Ball In Your Court

http://tinyurl.com/oe5xd63

An employee of an e-discovery service provider asked me to help him explain to his boss why deduplication works well for native files but frequently fails when applied to TIFF images.  The question intrigued me because it requires we dip our toes into the shallow end of cryptographic hashing and dispel a common misconception about electronic documents. . . .

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Regret Hitting Send or Hitting It Too Quickly? Finally, A Way To “Undo Send” In Gmail.

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Think Before You Hit Send (Unless You’re On Gmail and are Really Fast): eDiscovery Trends. by Doug Austin, eDiscoverydaily, powered by cloudnine™

http://tinyurl.com/q8hmrvu

Let’s face it, people make mistakes. However, a new feature from Google may help people who make those mistakes avoid the consequences – if they’re quick to address them.

As covered on Fortune.com (Gmail now officially lets you ‘Undo Send’ those really embarrassing e-mails, by Kia Kokalitcheva), Gmail, Google’s e-mail service, has officially added its ‘Undo Send’ feature to the Web-based version of the service. . . .

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Premises Considered – Legalese Or The Way It Should Be Done?

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Wherefore Premises Considered? by Wayne Scheiss, Legal Writing Net Blog

http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/wschiess/legalwriting/2005/03/wherefore-premises-considered

 

When I worked as a legal secretary, I typed the archaic phrase “premises considered” so many times in pleadings, orders, brief, and all types of legal documents. No one ever explained what it meant, but the author was certainly upset if it was omitted. The reason for insisting that this phrase be added? It made the document sound more legal.

They were so used to seeing this phrase, although they did not know its meaning, that it simply did not look right without it. This is reason given by most followers of legalese. They cannot explain what it means – it just looks wrong without it. Is that really a sufficient reason to include it? -CCE

Is it okay to eliminate phrases like WHEREFORE PREMISES CONSIDERED and other such verbiage from the prayer in a complaint? And what is the proper substitute?

Yes, it is okay to eliminate these words. In fact, I highly recommend it. . . .

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Detailed Databases on Fatal Shootings By Law Enforcement.

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Washington Post Database Collecting Data On Citizen Killings By Police, by Sabrina I. Pacifici, BeSpacific Blog

http://www.bespacific.com/washington-post-database-collecting-data-on-citizen-killings-by-police/

Both The Washington Post and The Guardian have created databases to track numerous details of every fatal shooting by a police officer and other law enforcement in the line of duty in the United States. The Guardian’s project is called “The Counted.” Both the Post and The Counted seek the public’s input, photographs, and videos in an attempt to make their respective databases as comprehensive as possible. -CCE

 

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