How to Erase and Clean-up a Scanned PDF in Acrobat XI, by Rick Borstein, Acrobat for Legal Professionals
Senate Staff Report Details Target’s Missed Opportunities to Stop Massive Data Breach, by Sabrina I. Pacifici, beSpacific Blog
‘Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV released a staff report titled, “A ‘Kill Chain’ Analysis of the 2013 Target Data Breach.’ The report details how Target possibly failed to take advantage of several opportunities to prevent the massive data breach in 2013 when cyber criminals stole the financial and personal information of as many as 110 million consumers. Rockefeller will formally introduce the report tomorrow when he chairs his third full Committee hearing on data security. The hearing, titled, ‘Protecting Personal Consumer Information from Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches’, explored the dangers to consumers posed by recent data breaches. The Chairman highlight[ed] legislation he recently introduced, the Data Security and Breach Notification Act, that would – for the first time – establish strong, federal consumer data security and breach notification standards.’
Show You’re Sorry, Even When You’re Not at Fault, by Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Persuasive Litigator Blog
[A]s we’ve noted before, letting jurors, judges, and opposing parties hear an apology can be effective when you are responsible, or are likely to be found responsible, for at least part of the damage at issue in the case. But what about when you’re not? Does that second kind of “sorry,” meaning “I recognize your loss, but without accepting responsibility for it” create a persuasive advantage as well?
According to some new research, yes, it does. . . .
Judge Wettick: Attorney-Client Privilege Does Not Continue For Defunct Companies, by Daniel E. Cummins, TORT TALK Blog
In his recent decision in the case of Red Vision Systems, Inc. et al. v. National Real Estate Information Services, L.P, et al., No. GD – 13 – 008572 (C.P. Allegh. Co. Feb. 26, 2014 Wettick, J.), Judge Wettick dealt with the novel issue of the application of the attorney-client privilege in the context of a request for the production of documents propounded upon a dissolved/non-operating company.
After a thorough review of the scope of the attorney-client privilege, Judge Wettick ultimately ruled that the privilege did not extend to corporations that were no longer in business. Accordingly, a former in-house counsel for several defunct companies was ordered to turn over documents in discovery related to status of the companies’ assets. . . .
The Gunning Fog Index, by Elizabeth Bezant, Writing to Inspire Blog
If you want to increase the readability of everything you write, consider using the Gunning Fog Index – more commonly known as the Fog Index. It is the copywriter’s favorite statistics measurement. The idea behind the Fog Index is to show you the education level your reader must hypothetically have to understand what the document says.
I am not asking you to “dumb it down.” But, remember that the goal in any legal writing project is to be understood, regardless of the complexity of the subject. If you are struggle with writing shorter sentence and paragraphs or simply making your writing more readable, this tool will help.
If you teach legal writing or any kind of writing course, encourage your students to use the Fog Index. It can be used by those who seek to improve their writing skills to a more sophisticated level. It can help anyone clarify their writing and write more concisely. But, most importantly, it gives you a way to determine whether what makes sense to you will make sense to anyone else.
Even though lawyers and judges have a high degree of education, when writing about complex issues, it helps to keep your document as simple and clear as possible. The goal is to keep your Fog Index from ten to fifteen. Major publications, such as the New York Times and Times Magazine, have a Fog Index of eleven to twelve. If your document is meant for a wide audience, go for a Fog Index of less than twelve. If you are writing a document that you want to be universally understood, your target is a Fog Index of less than eight. For example, the Bible’s Fog Index is six.
See also http://gunning-fog-index.com/.
For more readability tests, see http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php. -CCE
Microsoft releases Word (and Excel and PowerPoint) for iPad, by Jeff Richardson, iPhone J.D. Blog
I’m at ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago right now, and the big news on Thursday was that Microsoft released a version of Word (and Excel, and PowerPoint) for the iPad. I have been kicking the tires on this app since it was released Thursday afternoon, and I am incredibly impressed. Unlike Microsoft Office Mobile for iPhone released last year, the new Word app for the iPad has virtually every feature that lawyers want to use. Every attorney who uses an iPad will want to get this app. . . .
Electronic File Naming Conventions
Is there anything more frustrating than trying to find a document on the computer when everyone names files any old way they want? File naming conventions do not have to be difficult. A few simple, logical rules used consistently by everyone is usually sufficient. In bigger companies where electronic discovery is a way of life, strict requirements for consistent file naming conventions are a must.
I am a fan of what I call “one stop clicking.” By that, I mean that I can tell by reading the name of the saved file whether it is the document I need. I want file naming conventions that are specific enough to identify what the document is, who wrote it, the date of the document, and what it is about. Repeatedly opening and closing documents to find what I want is a waste of billable time.
If necessary, create a list of acceptable abbreviations for everyone to use – no exceptions! But, if you do, please keep it simple and logical. There is no reason to re-invent the wheel or make this more difficult.
Here is a list of file-naming conventions. Regardless of whether your firm has already created file-naming conventions, you might want to look over the different versions below. Who knows? You might find a better idea for the system you are using now. -CCE
Records Management Tip #1: Electronic File Naming Posted, by Lawrence Giffin, Records Services Archivist, For The Record Blog
Getting Organized: Great Tips for Better File Names, by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine
Standard Naming Conventions for Electronic Records, Records Management Section, The University of Edinburgh
Electronic Records Management Guidelines, Minnesota Historical Society
Judges Catch On Quick. You Don’t Need Names in Parentheses, by Mike Skotnicki,Briefly Writing Blog
[O]ne of the mistakes I see from good lawyers is that they overuse the technique of placing an abbreviation of a case name, party name, or other references to things in quotes inside parentheses. . . . .
ABA Journal, Ambrose Bierce, Bryan A. Garner, editor of the New York Evening Post, Faults, Index Expurgatorius, James Gordon Bennett Jr., Law News Now, Legal Writing, Legalese, Little Blacklist of Literary, New York Evening Post, William Cullen Bryant
Ax These Terms From Your Legal Writing, by Bryan A. Garner, Law News Now, ABA Journal
William Cullen Bryant, editor of the New York Evening Post from 1829 until 1878, created an ‘Index Expurgatorius’ for his newspaper. Certain words simply weren’t allowed in its pages.
Likewise, James Gordon Bennett Jr., owner of the New York Herald from 1867 to 1918, had his ‘Don’t List.’ For example, he wouldn’t allow his journalists to write executive session when they meant secret session.
Keeping a banned-word list is hardly unique to newspapers. The novelist Ambrose Bierce kept a ‘Little Blacklist of Literary Faults,’ published nearly a century ago. He despised committed suicide, preferring instead killed himself (or herself). He likewise disapproved of decease for die, executed for hanged (or put to death), expectorate for spit, inaugurate for begin, prior to for before and so on. He wasn’t fond of genteelisms. No real stylists are.
Legal drafters could benefit from a similar verbal blacklist—a simple list of words that do nothing but blemish the documents that contain them. Learn them and ax them. . . .
Cheat Sheet: We’re Giving Away Our Proofreading Checklist, by Clare Dodd, Bad Language Brief
Proofreading. Not the most exciting job in the world, but an absolutely necessary one.
We’ve covered before what happens when you miss a typo (that’s right, the errorists win). Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier to turn out entirely perfect copy. And if you work for a marketing agency, delivering clumsy copy to a client reflects badly on both you and your copywriters.
But you’re in luck: we at Articulate Marketing are sharing our Proofreading checklist with you to make life a little easier. . . . .
CASE – Checklist App for Scene Examination, by WillowTree Apps, Forensic Magazine
The first moments at a crime scene can be critical to saving lives and ensuring justice. It’s essential that first responding officers arrive on a pristine scene, which can quickly deteriorate and lose its value in helping investigators with every minute that follows. Time, weather and the movement of essential personnel, such as EMTs and scene investigators, can alter the scene and destroy evidence. Early documentation of evidence can make a difference in bringing justice to both the guilty and the innocent.
Now, thanks to the Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) Forensic Institute for Research and Education, known as FIRE; instead of trying to juggle notepads, cameras and video recorders, officers can immediately document crime scenes — capturing text, photographs, video, audio, GPS, dates and times — with their smartphones. Using a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, MTSU partnered with WillowTree Apps, an award-winning mobile application development company headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., to create CASE, crime scene checklist app for law enforcement agencies. . . .
A Painful Lesson in the Pitfalls of E-Filing and E-Docketing, by Scott P. Stolley and Richard B. Phillips, Jr., Texas Appellate Watch
As mandatory e-filing (and the accompanying switch to e-service, e-dockets, and e-notices) spreads across Texas, we need to adopt new standard practices to ensure that we fulfill our duties to our clients. An appeal pending in the Federal Circuit provides a cautionary tale that should not be ignored. . . .
One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Whole Bunch. When Should a Juror, Not Be a Juror? by Richard A. Cook, The Barrister’s Toolbox – A Resource for Trial Advocacy
Jury selection is often where your case is won or lost. One bad juror can spoil your whole case. That one juror could lead the other jurors to render an adverse verdict, a compromise verdict or lead to gridlock and a hung jury. In civil cases, you often have limited peremptory challenges, where you can eliminate a juror without showing actual bias or other grounds for disqualification. So what exactly is the law? When is a judge obligated to grant your motion to strike a juror for cause? . . . .
The Meaning Of “Intellectual Property,” by Dennis Crouch’s Patently-O Blog
Energy Recovery, Inc. v. Hauge (Fed. Cir. 2014) 13-1515.Opinion.3-18-2014.1– Panel: Rader, Reyna, and Wallach (author).
At the heart of this case lies the question of ‘what is intellectual property?’ Here, the answer has more than philosophical implications: a finding of contempt hinges on it.
New Anita Hill Film Recalls When Sexual Harassment Went Mainstream, by Claire Suddath, Bloomberg Businessweek
Twenty-five years ago, a University of Oklahoma Law School professor told the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee about the time her former boss put pubic hair on a Coke can. She talked about the kind of pornography he told her he watched, how he bragged about his penis size, and the 10 or so times he asked her on dates even though he was her boss. At one point, the nickname “Long Dong Silver” came up. For three days in October 1991, all anyone could talk about was Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and which one of them was lying.
There was a salacious absurdity to the Anita Hill hearings that, when we look back on them now, makes us cringe. Did we really listen to Senator Howell Heflin, Democrat from Alabama, ask a 35-year-old tenured law professor if she was “a scorned woman?” But sometimes it takes outrageous acts to force us to examine uncomfortable truths. For better or worse, Anita Hill forced America to start thinking about sexual harassment. On March 21, Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, a documentary by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock, will make us think about it again. . . .
A New Theory of Hearsay, Take 4: Further Thoughts on United States v. Boyce, by Colin Miller, Editor, EvidenceProf Blogger
It’s interesting that Jeff [Jeffrey Bellin] posted an entry about Judge Posner’s concurrence in United States v. Boyce yesterday [February 14, 2014]. My latest set of hearsay posts has come in connection with a CLE I’m conducting in which I argue, in essence, that Rule 807 should swallow much of Rules 801 through 806. So, it’s refreshing to see that such an esteemed jurist apparently holds a similar viewpoint. Here are some more thoughts on Boyce:
United States v. Boyce is a garden variety case in which a 911 call was admitted under the present sense impression to the rule against hearsay (Federal Rule of Evidence 803(1)) and/or the excited utterance exception (Federal Rule of Evidence 803(2)). They also again raise the question of why courts are not engaging in a Rule 403 balancing of such statements. . . .
Judge Posner Advocates Reforming the Hearsay Rules, by Evidence ProfBlogger, Colin Miller, Editor, EvidenceProf Blogger
As Colin explores alternate hearsay theories in his posts, it is worth highlighting a concurrence in U.S. v. Boyce, decided today in the Seventh Circuit, where Judge Richard Posner attacks the merits of both the present sense impression and excited utterance hearsay exceptions (FRE 803(1) and (2)). As Judge Posner notes, the arguments against these exceptions are not new, but his no-holds-barred critique, stating the exceptions are “not even good folk psychology,” is sure to generate interest in revisiting the hearsay thicket.
Record A Video Of The Current Tab In Chrome With Screencastify, by Waqas Ahmed, The Addictive Tips Blog
There are various screencast software, both free and paid, that allow users to record on-screen activity within a web browser. Screencast-O-Matic from Big Nerd Software, for instance, is a perfect example. The popular web-based app lets you create screencasts, add narration, and upload the output to Screencast-O-Matic or YouTube, or simply save it to your local drive for offline viewing. Recently, I stumbled upon Screencastify, a lightweight extension that offers similar functionality on Chrome, and found it worth sharing with our readers. The dead-simple tool enables recording screen activity within a Chrome tab or on the desktop. It also carries options for configuring screen resolution and frame rate.
A New Theory of Hearsay, Take 3: Rule 602 & Anonymous Hearsay Declarants, by Editor Colin Miller, Evidence ProfBlogger, EvidenceProf Blog
Federal Rule of Evidence 803(1) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for
A statement describing or explaining an event or condition, made while or immediately after the declarant perceived it.
As a Rule 803 exception, this present sense impression exception applies “regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness….” Indeed, the exception can apply even if the declarant has not been identified. But, like with a witness’s testimony at trial, a statement offered under a hearsay exception is only admissible if the declarant had personal knowledge under Federal Rule of Evidence 602. So, where does that leave us?
Will Work for … Well, Anything At This Point, by Heather Venrick, 77 Tex. B. J. 3 (2014)
The article itself is a .pdf document. This link will take you to the Table of Contents of the Texas Bar Journal. Simply browse the articles under “Features” – this article is the fifth hyperlink. Everyone knows the economy is still recovering, and it is not easy to find a job, especially for new, young lawyers. Still, I was surprised that such a qualified candidate is having difficulty, along with her classmates, finding a good job while in school and afterwards. – CCE
My name is Heather Venrick, and i am a 3l at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. I am in the top third of my class. I am on law review. I have held leadership positions in a number of organizations, including the SMU Law Board of Advocates, the Women in Law and Association for Public Interest Law student organizations, and the State Bar of Texas Law Student Division. I have participated in five national moot court teams. I have interned with a federal judge. I have clerked with four different small- to mid-sized firms. I have experience in civil and criminal, public and private, and in-house and outside counsel. I am still looking for permanent employment. And I am not the only one. So many students with similar and, perhaps, even better credentials are in the same situation, wondering the same thing: what else can I do?
Car Accident, Dick Warrington, Documentation, Evidence, Evidence Collection, Fender Bender, Forensic Evidence, Forensic Magazine, High Speed Chase, Personal Injury, Product Liability, Traffic Accidents
Evidence Collection in a Traffic Investigation, by Dick Warrington, Forensic Magazine
This post is an excerpt from Mr. Warrington’s post, Investigating the Fender Bender (http://tinyurl.com/o979zk5). I recommend it, and the links to more information on this subject that you will find at the end of the post. -CCE
Most of the time traffic accidents are fairly standard—the typical fender bender where one person runs into another. The officer on duty responds, assesses the situation, and completes the proper paperwork. But sometimes officers deal with much more serious, complex situations. Dealing with a hundred car pile-up, for example, is quite challenging, since it’s like carrying out multiple investigations simultaneously. When responding to multiple car accidents, hit and runs, fatalities, and high speed chases, officers can benefit by calling in Crime Scene Officers to assist with the investigation.
Because this type of case usually involves extensive damage to property, serious injuries, and/or fatalities, lawsuits will likely result. Questions of liability, product failure, etc. will also come up. Given these facts, it’s important to work together to conduct a thorough investigation. Since the CSO’s responsibilities include documentation, evidence identification, and evidence collection, we’ll look at each of those areas. . . .
The Seven Writing Strategies of Highly Effective Trial Judges, by Ross Guberman Blog (with hat tip to Raymond Ward, the (new) legal writer blog!)
This post hits on all of the key elements of great, not just good, legal writing. It is rarely explained better than this. Pay attention . . . . -CCE
Asked to name the world’s best opinion writers, traditionalists might rattle off Lord Denning, Learned Hand, or Oliver Wendell Holmes. Modernists often prefer Antonin Scalia or Richard Posner. And the trendy might cite new kids on the block like Lord Sumption or Elena Kagan.
Those august names all deserve heaps of praise. But the fame that these judges enjoy raises questions of its own: Can you write a “great” opinion if you’re a judge who’s not a household name, or even especially influential? And can you write a “great” opinion in a case that’s not a high-profile constitutional crisis, but just another run-of-the-mill dispute in an overflowing docket?
I say “yes” on both counts. No matter how routine a case, and no matter how little time you have, you can write a great opinion. It may not be “great” for the ages, but it can offer readers a clear, accessible, and easy-to-follow analysis of your reasoning, with even a bit of flair or personality for good measure. . . .
Legal Research, Legal Research Instruction, Lexis Advance, LexisNexis, Research Instruction & Patron Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, RIPS Law Librarian Blog, Shawn Friend, Westlaw
Thinking About Process Over Platform in Research, by Shawn Friend, RIPS Law Librarian Blog (RIPS Law Librarian is published by the Research Instruction & Patron Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.)
This semester, I’ve struggled with whether I need to show different research platforms when I teach research. In the past, I’ve shown the different options available; lately, I have a bias I need to which I must admit. For the last six months or so, I’ve had trouble showing students (and even professors) Lexis. I hate to be partisan. I hate to show Westlaw’s product without showing Lexis’ too. But lately, I find myself making excuses as to why I can’t show Lexis Advance. . . .
Managing Emotions on the Job: The Best Reaction is Usually No Reaction, by Crystal Spraggins, TLNT, The Business of HR
My Mom used to say that you can be part of the answer or part of the problem. Here is some good advice on how to part of the answer, regardless of whether you are at work or in any other group environment. -CCE
Back in the days when I made my living as an editor, I used to go to a good number of conventions.
One afternoon, while on the phone with an author (let’s call her Jane), the conversation veered to one of these upcoming meetings.
Without warning, Jane said, “I guess Pierre [my boss at the time—not his real name], will be dragging out that ratty black jacket he always wears. God that thing is awful. I wonder where he got it? He’s the worst dresser I’ve ever met.” Then she was silent.
And I was dumbstruck.
An important work lesson
I didn’t know what to say. Should I disagree and defend my boss? (“I don’t think the jacket’s that bad, Jane. Plus, it’s not nice to gossip.”)
Or should I agree with her? (“Oh boy, you hit the nail on the head with that one, Jane! And he’s French, too? I thought good taste in clothing was de rigueur.” Tee hee.)
Either way, this was an important client relationship, I liked my boss and I didn’t want to get into it.
And then it hit me: I didn’t have to say a word. . . .