Adobe Legal Department Legal Style Guide (with hat tip to William P. Statsky)
A free, concise legal writing style guide from Adobe. Definitely worth a look. -CCE
10 Reasons You Should NOT Install Windows 10 (Yet), by Ted Brooks, Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg
I have been reading both positive and negative reviews of Windows 10. Some reviewers have suggested that Microsoft learned a lot from its mistakes made in Windows 8. I am keeping an open mind, but I admit that Mr. Brooks has asked interesting questions. -CCE
What could possibly go wrong? Just quietly ponder that on your own for a moment.
Have you ever done something like this on your own before? Although Microsoft has made it appear to be a very simple process, the potential consequences are significant. Seriously – this is the Operating System for your computer. It’s like the techie version of open-heart surgery. . . .
Plaintiff: Disney Promised to Help Me Build an X-Wing. Court: No It Didn’t, by Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar Blog
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. . . .
Writing Cheat Sheets for Your Summer at the Screen, by Ross Guberman, Legal Writing Tips for Attorneys and Judges
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. . . .
Windows Sticky Notes Isn’t Made For Backup, But These Alternatives Are, Lincoln Spector, Contributing Editor, PC World
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. . . .
Less is More When Preparing Witnesses for Deposition, by Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D., Sound Jury Blog
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. . . .
Legal Productivity: iPad App: Picture It Settled – Negotiation App for Lawyers, by Travis Francis, Legal Productivity Blog
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.’ . . .
Are Trademark Bullies Bringing Plausible Claims? by Guest Blogger Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC, Duets Blog
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. . . .
How to Create a Successful Law Firm Website: Getting Started, by The CyberAdvocate
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. . . .
Tech Tip Of The Day: Add A Two Minute Delay To Sending Emails, by James B. Levy, Legal Skills Prof Blog
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. . . .
Oy Vey! No Religious Discrimination in Jewish Nurse’s Termination, by Jason Shinn, Michigan Employment Law Advisor
A recent religious discrimination claim dismissed in favor of an employer offers a number important take-aways for both employers and employees. . . .
Five Ways to Write Like John Roberts, by Ross Guberman, Legal writing tips for attorneys and judges
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: . . . .
Alphabet Attack, by Ross Guberman, Legal Writing Tips for Attorneys and Judges
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.’ . . .
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
At The Corner of Trademarks and Confusion, by Martha Engel, DuetsBlog
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. . . .
Attorney’s Quick Guide to Paralegal Credentials, by Misty L. Sheffield, Atlanta Paralegal Services©2015
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. . . .
Global Banking Law Database
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. . . .
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
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. . . .
Attorney-Juror Contact: What to Do When Running into a Juror Outside of the Courtroom, by Jessica Baer, M.A., Litigation Insights
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. . . .
Affect Versus Effect, by Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl
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. . . .
Ohio Appeals Court Ruling Is A Victory For Punctuation, Sanity, by Sarah Larimer, The Washington Post (with hat tip to William P. Statsky)
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.
Legal Examples, PlainLanguage.gov
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
Major League Baseball, an Antitrust Exemption, and the Ninth Circuit, by Jarod Bona, The Antitrust Attorney Blog
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. . . .
Deduplication: Why Computers See Differences in Files that Look Alike to You, by Craig Ball, Ball In Your Court
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. . . .
Think Before You Hit Send (Unless You’re On Gmail and are Really Fast): eDiscovery Trends. by Doug Austin, eDiscoverydaily, powered by cloudnine™
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. . . .