CaseManager iPad App – Fast, Inexpensive, And Highly Recommended.

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CaseManager — Manage Your Legal Practice On Your iPhone or iPad, by Jeff Richardson, iPhone J.D.

 http://www.iphonejd.com/iphone_jd/2014/09/sponsor-casemanager.html

iPads are very popular, but not all attorneys use them to their full potential. This app sounds great. I would like to hear more from those who use it. -CCE

[C]aseManager was created by New York civil rights attorney John Upton as a fast and inexpensive solution for sole practitioners and attorneys with small firms who want to use mobile devices to manage their law practice. The app debuted in 2011, and I discussed the app in August of 2012 and January of 2014. However, the app recently received a major update to version 6.0, when the interface was revised to match the aesthetic of iOS 7 and the upcoming iOS 8. CaseManager is a beautifully designed and useful app for keeping track of all of the key information in your cases:  events, tasks, contacts, time and expenses, plus the facts, notes and documents unique to each case. 

The basic organization of the app is the same as before, but now in version 6, when you launch the app the first thing you see is the calendar entries for today, so you know immediately what is ahead of you. . . .

[Emphasis added.]

 

Insurers Using Generic Drugs To Shift Costs To Sick?

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A New Way Insurers are Shifting Costs to the Sick, by Charles Ornstein, ProPublica (This story was co-published with The New York Times’ The Upshot.)

http://tinyurl.com/kaaelvg

By charging higher prices for generic drugs that treat certain illness, health insurers may be violating the spirit of the Affordable Care Act, which bans discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.

Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.

Insurers have long tried to steer their members away from more expensive brand name drugs, labeling them as ‘non-preferred’ and charging higher co-payments. But according to an editorial published Wednesday in the American Journal of Managed Care, several prominent health plans have taken it a step further, applying that same concept even to generic drugs.

The Affordable Care Act bans insurance companies from discriminating against patients with health problems, but that hasn’t stopped them from seeking new and creative ways to shift costs to consumers. In the process, the plans effectively may be rendering a variety of ailments ‘non-preferred,’ according to the editorial.

‘It is sometimes argued that patients should have ‘skin in the game’ to motivate them to become more prudent consumers,’ the editorial says. ‘One must ask, however, what sort of consumer behavior is encouraged when all generic medicines for particular diseases are ‘non-preferred’ and subject to higher co-pays.’ . . .

Adverse Witness Direct and Cross-Examination Tips.

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Flip the Order of Your Adverse Witness Preparation, by Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Persuasive Litigator Blog

 http://tinyurl.com/mhz8fes

Excellent related articles at the end of Dr. Broda-Bahm’s post. -CCE

 Let’s say that in trial, your witness will be called adverse and will go through the other side’s cross-examination before getting a chance at your direct.[1]  But in your preparation sessions, you should still take them through your direct examination first. That’s what I call the ‘flipped’ order, and in this post, I aim to make the case for this as the better approach. . . .

Judge Posner Writes A Form Collections Letter.

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Judge Posner’s Collections Letter Template, by Megan E. Boyd, Lady (Legal) Lawyer Blog

http://ladylegalwriter.blogspot.com/2014/05/technical-difficulties.html

Courts don’t often help lawyers out by providing templates, but Judge Posner’s opinion in Bartlett v. Heibl, 128 F.3d 497 (7th Cir. 1997) offers a form letter for those seeking to collect certain consumer debts. . . .

Wait! Don’t Click On That Link!

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Three Warning Signs That Email Is Malicious, by Ian Paul, PC World

http://tinyurl.com/lsjgxv7

Email spam filtering is far better than it used to be. There was a time when nearly every scam email would land in your inbox. Thankfully that’s not the case anymore—especially if you’re a Gmail user.

But no system is perfect. Every now and then a scam message will manage to slip into your inbox. But how do you know when you’re looking at a scam or not?

Here are three basic tip-offs you can look for to figure out whether you’re looking at an email with dishonest intentions. They’re hardly an exhaustive list, but more often than not one of these tips will save you from getting suckered. . . .

Must Read Top Paralegal Blogs in 2014.

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14 Blogs Paralegal Students Need to Read, by Jess Mansour Scherman, Ramussen College

(*Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Dec. 10, 2010. It has since been updated to reflect information relevant to 2014.)

 http://tinyurl.com/lbg5mtz

My sincere thanks to Ms. Scherman for including this blog in her list. -CCE

 You’ve likely discovered by now that there’s a lot that goes into keeping up with the pulse of a thriving career. From researching different paralegal programs to discovering leads for potential jobs—not to mention a host of obligations outside of your career like caring for your children and getting the bills paid on time—your slate probably feels pretty full right about now.

So how can you be sure to uncover the rest of that coveted industry info that you haven’t yet tapped into? Don’t worry—there are plenty of industry pros who have created an array of paralegal blogs with people like you in mind!

It can be difficult, though, to find what you’re looking for with thousands of paralegal blogs at your fingertips. To save you the trouble, we narrowed it down to a must-read list. So sit back and let some industry professionals teach you everything from résumé tips to how to locate that perfect paralegal job.

Let us introduce you to the 14 paralegal blogs you can’t miss in 2014….

When Your Witness Goes Rogue.

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Why Didn’t My Witness Do What I Told Him To Do During Witness Preparation?, by Robert Gerchen, Senior Consultant, Litigation Insights

http://tinyurl.com/kvh62we

Boy, have I been there. After spending hours to convince a Vice President of Human Relations that, no, his idea of “explaining” to the case to the jury was a bad idea, of course, that is exactly what he did. It was liking a nightmare in slow motion. –CCE

It’s a universal experience. Nearly every attorney who has ever sat down for witness preparation before a deposition, or before trial, to provide clear instructions and guidelines about what to say/not say, or what to do/not do, has at some point found himself asking:

“Why didn’t s/he listen to me?!” . . . .

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Bad Stipulations To E-Discovery – Just Don’t.

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Don’t Stipulate to Not Follow the Form of Production Rules, by Joshua Gilliland, Esq., Bow Tie Law Blog

 http://tinyurl.com/kxr9gt5

Here is my advice: NEVER agree to a stipulation to produce native files when “it is more practical to do so” and agree to productions in PAPER, PDF’s, or TIFFs. Melian Labs v. Triology LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124343 (N.D. Cal.Sept. 4, 2014).

That is what happened in Melian Labs v. Triology LLC. It reads like a personal Sum of All Fears for anyone who has spent years working with ESI, because the Court denied motions to compel email and spreadsheets in native files with metadata, because of the parties’ Rule 26(f) stipulation. . . .

Valuable Life Lessons in 12 Speeches.

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12 Greatest Speeches That Will Teach You The Most Valuable Life Lessons, by Jospeh Hindy, @Lifehack

http://tinyurl.com/nfpdb6d

The most valuable thing an experience person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes. People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format. These days people use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest speeches. . . .

Cool Evernote Tips, Tricks, and Q&A.

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The Evernote Q&A, Tips & Tricks Thread, by Sam Glover, Editor, The Lawyerist Lab Blog

http://tinyurl.com/jwrchn8

This thread is for questions and answers about Evernote, and for sharing your favorite tips and tricks.

You can also browse posts about Evernote on Lawyerist, and here is the old Evernote thread in the Lab.

Legal Edge From JD Supra – App Of The Week.

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App of the Week: Legal Edge- Stay Up-To-Date on Legal Developments, by Lisa Pansini, Legal Productivity Blog

This app is free – at least for now. -CCE

http://tinyurl.com/k9smzoh

In the business of law, it’s extremely important to stay on top of the latest legal developments. With Legal Edge from JD Supra, you can do just that.

Legal Edge allows you to stay up to date with the latest legal news via updates, alerts, and case filings from the nation’s legal professionals. With this app, you’ll receive a daily stream of articles, briefs, and newsletters on all areas of law. It also includes court filings from notable and newsworthy cases.

Through Legal Edge, you can browse information by industry, profession or topic of interest. You can also contact lawyers or firms directly through your iPhone with any comments or questions you may have about certain documents (this feature is only available for documents posted by JD Supra premium account holders).

The app was recently updated to include informative videos and a save/view functionality which allows you to view documents offline. All that is required is an app that supports PDF viewing on your devices (such as iBooks).

You can rest easy knowing that the content on Legal Edge is provided by Amlaw 100 law firms, attorneys, and other legal organizations and professionals.

Currently, Legal Edge is free and is only available for iOS devices. You can download it today from the Apple App Store.

Federal Judge Decides BP Blew It.

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Ruling On The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Blowout, by Sabrina I. Pacifici, BeSpacific Blog

http://tinyurl.com/kh76r3q

BP has already said that it will immediately appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Among the errors BP asserts by Judge Barbier, it disagrees with the number of billions of gallons of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon rig. BP is trying to stop the bleeding. Every gallon of oil that spewed into the Gulf has a price tag for damages.

BP maintains a website with its version of the facts and its commitment to safety. Its argument was not sufficient to sway Judge Barbier.  Halliburton and Transocean were not hit as hard as some would have liked, but they were found to bear some of the responsibility for the disaster as well.

It will be interesting to see whether this ruling affects environmental cases, off-shore drilling, and oil and gas ventures in general in the future. -CCE

 New York Times: ‘A federal judge ruled on Thursday that BP was grossly negligent in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout that killed 11 workers, spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and soiled hundreds of miles of beaches. ‘BP’s conduct was reckless,’ United States District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier wrote in his sternly worded decision. Judge Barbier also ruled that Transocean, the owner of the rig, and Halliburton, the service company that cemented the well, were negligent in the accident. But the judge put most of the blame on BP, opening the way to fines of up to $18 billion under the Clean Water Act. In a 153-page, densely technical decision, Judge Barbier described how BP repeatedly ignored mounting warning signs that the well was unstable, making decisions that he says were ‘primarily driven by a desire to save time and money, rather than ensuring that the well was secure.’

Show, Don’t Tell, When You Use The Right Word.

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Legal Writing: Word Choice, by Jason Steed, Legal Solutions Blog

http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/practice-of-law/legal-writing-word-choice/

Every good lawyer knows that persuasion begins with framing the issue, and framing the issue begins with effective word choice. But many lawyers don’t realize, or occasionally forget, just how effective good word choice can be—or worse, they misunderstand what it means to make effective word choices. They think, for example, that labeling an act as “extremely egregious” will help the court to understand just how terrible the act was. But every good writer knows that good writing means showing, not telling—and adverbs and adjectives are all about telling.

In other words, adverbs and adjectives are not a sign of good persuasive writing. If you find yourself using adverbs or adjectives to get your point across, then you’re probably making bad word choices. Why? Because adverbs modify verbs, and adjectives modify nouns—and if your verbs and nouns need modifying, then they probably aren’t the best verbs and nouns you could be using.

So how effective can simple nouns and verbs be? . . . .

 

Avoidable E-Discovery Mistake – A Good Lesson on Proportionality.

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Nebraska, Where Proportionality is Alive and Well in Discovery, by Joshua Gilliand, Esq., Bow Tie Law’s Blog

http://tinyurl.com/qgymkto

One lesson from United States v. Univ. of Neb. at Kearney, is that maybe you should take depositions of key parties and use interrogatories to find out relevant information to your case before asking for over 40,000 records that contain the personal information of unrelated third-parties to a lawsuit. . . .

Apple iCloud’s Two-Step Verification – Why It Didn’t Stop Hackers.

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Apple Says It Is “Actively Investigating” Celeb Photo Hack, by Arik Hesseldahl,

http://tinyurl.com/les3wqe

Apple said Monday it was ‘actively investigating’ the violation of several of its iCloud accounts, in which revealing photos and videos of prominent Hollywood actresses were taken and posted all over the Web.

*     *     *

Security experts said the hacking and theft of revealing pictures from the Apple iCloud accounts of a few celebrities might have been prevented if those affected had enabled two-factor authentication on their accounts.

Apple hasn’t yet said anything definitive about how the attacks were carried out, but security researchers at the security firm FireEye, examined the evidence that has emerged so far, and said it appears to have been a fairly straightforward attack. That said, it is also one that could have been thwarted had some additional steps to secure the targeted accounts been taken.

That additional step is known as two-factor authentication. Apple calls it ‘two-step verification,’ although it doesn’t work very hard to tell people about it, said Darien Kindlund, director of threat research at FireEye.

‘In general Apple has been a little late to the game in offering this kind of protection, and doesn’t advertise it,’ he said. ‘You have to dig through the support articles to find it.’

When enabled, two-factor authentication requires users to enter a numerical code that is sent to their phone or another device, in addition to using their regular password. Since the number constantly changes, it makes it much more difficult for attackers to gain access the account, even if they know the password.

Assuming the compromised accounts were running without the two-step option turned on, it would then have been relatively easy for the attacker to gain access to the accounts.

As The Next Web reported earlier today the attack may be linked to software on GitHub called iBrute that is capable of carrying out automated brute-force attacks against iCloud accounts. In this scenario, an attacker simply guesses a password again and again until they succeed. While tedious and time-consuming for a person, it’s a simple and infinitely faster process for a computer.

The as-yet unknown attacker had one other thing going for him: Apple allows an unlimited number of password guesses. Normally, systems limit the number of times someone can try to log in to a system with an incorrect password before the account is locked down entirely. Apple has since fixed that aspect of the vulnerability.

‘The attackers never should have been allowed to make an unlimited number of guesses,’ Kindlund said. . . . [Emphasis added.]

What Happens When No Written Notice Is Given To Offer An Exhibit?

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Did You Notice That?: 2nd Circuit Excuses Lack of Written Notice Under Rule 902(11), by Evidence ProfBlogger, Editor: Colin Miller, EvidenceProf Blog

http://tinyurl.com/o98a788

The original or a copy of a domestic record that meets the requirements of Rule 803(6)(A)-(C), as shown by a certification of the custodian or another qualified person that complies with a federal statute or a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court. Before the trial or hearing, the proponent must give an adverse party reasonable written notice of the intent to offer the record — and must make the record and certification available for inspection — so that the party has a fair opportunity to challenge them.

So, what happens if a party does not give reasonable written notice of its intent to offer a business record into evidence but there is evidence that the opposing party had actual notice of this intent? That was the question addressed by the Second Circuit in its recent opinion in United States v. Komasa, 2014 WL 4233396 (2nd Cir. 2014). . . .

“Comes Now” — The Most Common Legalese Words Ever?

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Comes Now?, by Michael M. Simpson, The Grammar Snob Blog

http://grammar-ttlms.blogspot.com/2007/07/comes-now.html

“Comes Now” is probably one of the most common legalese phrases, and often used in pleadings, motions, briefs — almost any legal document except contracts. (If Comes Now shows up often in contracts, please don’t tell me. Let me keep some of my happy place illusions.) If you have a legalese phrase used more frequently than “Comes Now,” please share!

As I have said before, there is no statute, case law, regulation, constitution, or any other legal requirement to use legalese. I’ve looked. If you disagree, please point me to that legal authority. I have been looking for it a long time. I’ve been told by a lawyer that they use it because it just sounds “more legal.” Judge for yourself. -CCE

As always, because I have a real job I don’t get to post to my blog as much as I like. I’ve been editing a post on dangling modifiers, since there are only 52,138 other internet pages explaining why dangling modifiers are bad, but I haven’t finished mine, which will be the pinnacle of dangling modifier criticism, I suppose. (Again, for those of you who haven’t the foggiest idea what a dangling modifier is, surely there’s a NASCAR race stored in your Tivo ready to watch.) Instead, I’ve got a blog for my fellow attorneys, many of whom file pleadings in court containing the phrase ‘Comes now.’ As in:

‘Comes now Plaintiff, John Doe, and complains of Defendant, David Evildoer, and pray the Court grant him judgment, and for cause of action would show the following.’

A question. You’re sitting on your favorite barstool at the local watering hole, taking the edge off a rough day in the salt mine with your favorite poison (for me, a tall draft of Harp or Warsteiner, or on a Friday, a shot of Maker’s Mark with a sidecar of ice) and your best friend walks in to join you. Do you exclaim ‘Comes now Drew, and sits next to mine self to drink beer’? Okay, if you answered this question ‘yes,’ an exciting career in writing boring pleadings awaits you. If you answered ‘no,’ then I understand why you hate legalese. . . .

 

Jim Calloway’s Recent Technology News and Developments.

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Recent Technology News and Developments for 2014, by Jim Calloway, Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog (Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal , August 9, 2014 — Vol. 85, No. 20.)

http://bit.ly/1peMMYY

I can always depend on Jim to recommend the best practices to keep a law office moving smoothly, as well as a preview of new technology. Although Jim’s home base is the Oklahoma Bar Association, he is in national demand. If you like what you see, I recommend checking out his articles at the ABA web site. Better yet, especially for Oklahoma solo and small firms, the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Annual Conference is a fabulous event due to Jim’s leadership and connections. You will meet technology experts from all over the country.

Jim has moved his blog to a new address: www.lawpracticetipsblog.com. The old one still works, but I do not know how long it will work. -CCE

There’s been quite a lot of technology-related news over the last several months. Some of it is directly related to the legal profession. Much of it is at least indirectly related to the legal profession. There have also been some interesting court rulings related to technology. Rather than featuring just a few items, I decided to do a roundup of many of these items with a few comments. . . .

Judge Posner Ends Copyright Protection for Sherlock Holmes.

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Judge Posner Solves Sherlock Holmes Copyright Case, by Sabrina I. Pacifici, BeSpacific Blog

http://tinyurl.com/qgtgmbz

Rita Yoon, McDermott Will & Emery: ‘The original character of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, along with his sidekick, Dr. John H. Watson, are no longer subject to copyright protection.  In an opinion by Judge Richard A. Posner, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that copyright protection in these century-old literary characters cannot be extended simply by changing their features in later stories.  When the original story expires, the characters covered by the expired copyright are ‘fair game’ for follow-on authors.  Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd., Case No. 14-1128 (7th Cir., Jun. 16, 2014) (Posner, J.).’

 

Listen To The Jurors.

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Listen to Jurors, Especially to Juror #13 From Pamela Smart Trial. by Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, The Persuasive Litigator

http://tinyurl.com/k9sh7pw

There is a new documentary in current rotation on HBO and it’s one that trial lawyers and other legal junkies will want to watch. Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart provides a detailed look at the 1991 trial of the New Hampshire school employee who was tried and convicted for accessory to murder in a case that later become the inspiration for the movie To Die For starring Nicole Kidman. According to prosecutors, Smart seduced one of the students and then recruited him to murder her husband. What separates Captivated from other sensationalized post-trial documentaries is that it takes a very informed and critical look at the media’s influence on trials, and also includes a very unique running commentary from one of the jurors, number 13, who provides her own reactions to the case as it unfolded: real-time comments that she spoke into her own tape recorder after every trial day. The result ends up providing a remarkable view into the continuous reactions of a sitting juror. As O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark remarked in a review in Forbes, ‘The insights provided by this articulate, intelligent juror are the most fascinating, and at the same time unsettling, part of the story.’

Fascinating, because what you’re hearing is a conscientious and thoughtful juror attempting to work through the testimony as it is presented. Unsettling, because it is clear that the media along with the force of a popular presumption of guilt also played a role in this case. Commenting on a ‘media circus’ that made her and the other jurors ‘feel like a bug in a glass jar,’ she nonetheless tries to reach a verdict free from that pressure. Whether she and the other jurors succeeded is one of the central questions posed by the documentary, and viewers are able to draw their own conclusions. As I watched it the other night, a few thoughts occurred to me that carry relevance not only for that jury trial, but for most or all jury trials.

Survey Says! iPhone Top Choice Among Attorneys.

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2014 ABA Tech Survey Shows More Attorneys Using iPhones, But iPad Use Holds Steady, by Jeff Richardson, iPhone J.D. Blog

http://tinyurl.com/pxmhlf6

Every year, the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center conducts a survey to gauge the use of legal technology by attorneys in the United States.  My thoughts on the prior reports are located here:  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.  No survey is perfect, but the ABA tries hard to ensure that its survey has statistical significance, and every year this is one of the best sources of information on how attorneys use technology.  Yesterday, the ABA released Volume VI of the report titled Mobile Lawyers.  This year’s report once again shows that a large number of attorneys are using iPhones and iPads.

Six out of ten attorneys now use an iPhone

In both 2014 and 2013, the survey revealed that 91% of attorneys use a smartphone.  (In 2012 the number was 89% and in 2011 the number was 88%.)  For the past four years, there has been a slight correlation between law firm size and smartphone use.  In 2014, for example, 86% of solo attorneys reported using a smartphone, 89% in firms of 2 to 9 attorneys, 95% in firms of 10 to 49 attorneys, and for firms with 100 or more attorneys, 96% use a smartphone.  As a whole, though, it is fair to say that the survey consistently shows around nine out of every ten attorneys use a smartphone. . . .

Third Circuit Holds Evidence Rule 609 Excludes Admissibility of Prior Criminal Convictions.

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A Rare Federal Opinion that Gets, Really Gets, Rule 609, by Jeff Bellin, EvidenceProf Blog

http://tinyurl.com/lkrrmlw

Federal Rule of Evidence 609 governs the admissibility of criminal convictions to impeach witness credibility.  In a 2008 article, I criticized how the federal courts apply this rule, arguing that because of a widely adopted, often misapplied, and partially incoherent multi-factor framework, courts were letting too many defendants’ convictions be used as impeachment.  As I argued, if courts simply jettisoned the framework and did what the rule commanded – weigh probative value against prejudicial effect – exclusion would become the norm as intended.  Apart from getting the law right, this would have an additional benefit of generating more defendant testimony.  (Defendants generally decline to testify once a judge rules that their record comes in if they do.)  I don’t know how anyone can get behind a system where the person the jury most wants to hear from and who wants to tell his story sits silently at counsel table to keep the jury from hearing about his criminal record.

My arguments made little headway over the years and defendants’ convictions continue to be routinely admitted, but recently the Third Circuit cited my piece (along with criticism of others) in what may be one of the first signs of judicial dissatisfaction with the multi-factored balancing test.  The court also used/endorsed language rarely seen in published opinions that, in my view, gets the tone of Rule 609 right.

Commentators have observed that structuring the balancing in this manner creates a ‘predisposition toward exclusion.’ Wright & Gold, Federal Practice and Procedure § 6132, at 216.  ‘An exception is made only where the prosecution shows that the evidence makes a tangible contribution to the evaluation of credibility and that the usual high risk of unfair prejudice is not present.’ Id.  § 6132, at 217.

U.S. v. Caldwell, — F.3d — (3d Cir. 2014)

Expect to see this language in lots of defense filings going forward and join with me in hoping that the courts are finally awakening to the unmitigated disaster that is the multi-factored Rule 609 balancing test.

Craig Ball On An Essential Lawyer Skill – The Custodial Hold.

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Custodial Hold: Trust But Verify, by Craig Ball, Ball In Your Court Blog

http://ballinyourcourt.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/custodial-hold-trust-but-verify/

Please click on the link to the Pension Committee opinion (you’ll see it in Craig Ball’s article). You’re getting two for one here. Besides, when it’s Craig Ball, you know it’s going to be good. -CCE

Long before the Pension Committee opinion, my dear friend and revered colleague, Browning Marean, presciently observed that the ability to frame and implement a legal hold would prove an essential lawyer skill.  Browning understood, as many lawyers are only now coming to appreciate, that ‘legal hold’ is more than just a communique.  It’s a multi-pronged, organic process that must be tailored to the needs of the case like a fine suit of clothes.  For all the sensible emphasis on use of a repeatable process, the most successful and cost-effective legal holds demonstrate a bespoke character from the practiced hand of an awake, aware and able attorney.

Unfortunately, that deliberate, evolving character is one of the two things that people hate most about legal holds (the other being the cost).  They want legal hold to be a checklist, a form letter, a tool–all of which have value, but none of which suffice, individually or collectively, to forestall the need for a capable person who understands the ESI environment and is accountable for getting the legal hold right.  It’s a balancing act; one maximizing the retention of relevant, material, non-duplicative information while minimizing the cost, complexity and business disruption attendant to meeting one’s legal responsibilities.  Achieving balance means you can’t choose one or the other, you need both. . . .

Refresh App Gives You Insight About Business Contacts Or Potential Clients.

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App of the Week: Refresh L- Insight on People You Meet, by Lisa Pansini, Legal Productivity Blog

http://tinyurl.com/lyuutah

Have you ever had a meeting with a client or acquaintance who you know nothing about? If you want to make a favorable impression, use Refresh, the app that crawls through publicly available information to give you a snapshot of your contacts.

Featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Fast Company, Tech Crunch and more, Refresh searches the web and social networks to deliver insights about the people you connect with. It delivers information including mutual interests, shared passions, and important moments. It’s an incredible tool when it comes to business and social networking. . . .

Fifth Circuit Reiterates ERISA Standard of Review.

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ERISA Standard Of Review, by Raymond Ward, Louisiana Civil Appeals

http://tinyurl.com/mqhn2mq

In case anyone needed a reminder about the district court’s standard of review in an ERISA case, the U.S. Fifth Circuit recently drove the message home, with some harsh words for the district judge:

It apparently bears repeating here that district courts hearing complaints from disappointed ERISA plan members or their beneficiaries for the administrative denial of benefits are not sitting, as they usually are, as courts of first impression. Rather, they are serving in an appellate role. And, their latitude in that capacity is very narrowly restricted by ERISA and its regulations, as interpreted by the courts of appeals and the Supreme Court, including the oft-repeated admonition to affirm the determination of the plan administrator unless it is “arbitrary” or is not supported by at least “substantial evidence”—even if that determination is not supported by a preponderance. We had thought that by now this was understood and accepted by all district judges of this circuit. But, as this case demonstrates that we were wrong, at least as to one of them, we try yet again to drive that message home.

McCorkle v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No. 13-30745, slip op. at 6–7 (5th Cir. July 3, 2014) (footnotes omitted, emphasis by the court). The opinion goes on to articulate the abuse-of-discretion standard of review applicable in ERISA cases. For anyone who practices in this area, it’s a must-read.

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