YourABA November 2011 Masthead

Your ABA December 2011

Better legal writing now: Top mistakes to avoid; tips on nurturing young talent; more
Legalese can make a simple document seem dense, tangled and, worst of all, subject to misunderstanding. Writing coach Marie Buckley recently met with YourABA to share tips on achieving sharp, clean writing that today’s judges and clients appreciate and understand.
Three essential principles for powerful writing >>

High-profile litigators on high-profile cases in media
Trying a case within the crucible of the courtroom presents enough challenges for litigators, but the impact on lawyers, clients, witnesses, judges and jurors can be profound when a case attracts a significant amount of media attention.  Some of America's leading litigators and judges shared insights on trying high-profile cases during a recent ABA webinar.
Why “no comment” is sometimes the worst thing to say >>

Dos and Don’ts for LinkedIn success
Looking for a way to connect with colleagues and potential clients? If you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, it may be time to take the plunge. Law practice management expert Dan Pinnington says the social media site now has more than 120 million users and ranks as the 13th most visited site on the planet.
Creating a vanity URL >>

State rules leave virtual law offices vulnerable to misconduct
“Lawyers practicing with a [virtual law office] must address a number of unique issues to avoid setting ‘virtual’ foot in any state in which they are not licensed to practice,” says Daniel J. Siegel, a frequent lecturer and author on legal technology, ethics and professional responsibility issues.
Standards for every virtual law office >>

Court best practices for avoiding a “mistrial by Google”
At the Annual Meeting in Toronto, Herbert B. Dixon Jr., a judge on the District of Columbia Superior Court, told several recent stories of juror misconduct related to the use of technology—incidents that are happening with increasing frequency as adoption of mobile devices such as smartphones skyrockets. To help stem these types of incidents, Dixon and other members of the Judicial Division’s National Conference of State Trial Judges developed best practices for the courts.
A clear policy is key >>

Providing benefits to same-sex spouses of employees: Legal issues, best practices
Nevada and Connecticut are the two latest states to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, adding to a total of 21 states that provide such protections. In those areas, the workplace implications are numerous, with many private employers wondering whether they could be subject to a discrimination claim for not extending benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees, when they provide for opposite-sex spouses.
ERISA pre-emption reaches many employer-provided benefits >>

A new day for the Office of Special Counsel, say panelists at ABA program
There’s no denying that the Office of Special Counsel has seen some tough times, so it’s not surprising that—some 4 ½ months into the term of new special counsel, Carolyn Lerner—many are withholding judgment as to whether real change is forthcoming. The OSC and recent developments in the Merit Systems Protection Board were among discussion sponsored by the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice’s Government Personnel Committee.
Goals of OSC related to retaliation concerns >>

Global risks report on today’s changing landscape
In its Global Risks 2011 report, the World Economic Forum found that two crises present significant global risks today:  economic disparity and global governance failures. An expert panel talked about those and other issues during a November program sponsored by the Section of International Law and the World Bank.
More on the report >>

Advice on working for Uncle Sam
Considering a job in public service? While the legal hiring market remains stagnant, there may be employment opportunities available in government, particularly on the federal level. Career counselor Carla J. DeVelder says that the federal government will need to fill 23,596 positions in the legal field by the end of FY 2012.
Where to find available jobs >>

Private lawyers doing government work should have qualified immunity, ABA urges Supreme Court
In an amicus brief filed in Filarsky v. Delia, the American Bar Association is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the public interest by ruling that outside lawyers retained by public entities to do government legal work are entitled to the same immunity from related lawsuits that government employees have.
What the ABA said >>

New jobs posted on the ABA Job Board

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, Md. - Nov. 18


Kirkland, Wash. - Nov. 18

Thompson & Slagle, LLC

Johns Creek, Ga. - Nov. 15

Garfield County

Glenwood Springs, Colo. - Nov. 8

Browse all job postings
on the ABA Job Board

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Eye on Ethics

A day in the life…

A senior partner needs an answer to some ethics questions by tomorrow:

A client with cash-flow problems has a new probate matter. Is it ethical to include a provision in the retainer agreement that authorizes the firm to withdraw from the representation if the client fails to pay his legal fees in a timely manner?

A customer of the same client paid for services with a check from a closed account. The partner wants to send the customer a letter threatening a report to law enforcement if he does not pay, but seems to recall an ethics provision that prohibits threats of criminal action to gain an advantage in a civil matter. Can he send such a letter?

What resources are available to help answer these questions?

Technology Translators

Public Wi-Fi and the cost of "free"

It's said that "free" often comes with a cost, and in the case of free public Wi-Fi, the cost may be your privacy, as such connections are vulnerable to hackers looking to swipe your confidential information. Subscription VPN and other options help ensure safer, more secure web surfing.

Recommended third-party VPNs >>


Maximize your membership: Join an ABA section, division or forum

2012 is just about a month away. If your resolutions include a promise to advance your career, look no further than the American Bar Association’s more than 30 sections, divisions and forums.

Learn more >>

Member Advantage

Holiday savings for ABA members

ABA Member Advantage helps you control your holiday bills! Save big on computers from Lenovo and HP, shipping with UPS, car rentals from Hertz and more.

Learn about holiday discounts >>

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