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Fall at FindLaw: Back to School Sure, but There's More

Welcome to the first in a series that we hope you will like, From the Managing Editor. That's me. It's a first for me, and for FindLaw.com.

Speaking of firsts, it's really that time of year, isn't it? Sure, people think of fresh starts on New Year's, but for me, the fresh start time of year has always been fall. Back to school, back to work, back from vacation.

So what is that fresh start here at FindLaw? Well, as always, we have some great resources to help parents cope with the maze that is back to school. We also have new content, new resources, and really, a new attitude (goes with the new fall shoes).

New at FindLaw: ERISA Explained

No, ERISA isn't the name of that girl from high school you can't remember, it's the legal unpinning for employee benefits and retirement. And FindLaw knows all about her.

If you want to educate yourself on ERISA's reporting requirements, penalties for ERISA violators, or how ERISA, a federal law, meshes with state law protections, FindLaw's Learn About the Law section is the place to go.

Here's a quick preview of some of our newest ERISA content:

Illicit drugs have been part of human civilization since the beginning, although government policies and public perceptions tend to change quite regularly. It wasn't that long ago when doctors regularly prescribed cocaine and heroin as wonder drugs for a whole host of maladies, as trumpeted by an 1884 New York Times article: "The new uses to which cocaine has been applied with success ... include hayfever, catarrh [excessive mucus buildup], and toothache."

That may seem absurd now, but are we really that much more enlightened today? U.S. laws have tried to control drugs ever since the Prohibition movement mobilized in the late 19th century, with mixed results. FindLaw's Drug Charges section not only helps non-lawyers understand these laws, but provides essential historical context as well.

Today's Insider introduces three recent FindLaw articles about the sweeping drug enforcement changes of the 1970s and how they continue to shape drug policies today. Take a look at what's new:

As summer wanes and the days become shorter, kids and parents alike may dread the opening rites of back-to-school season: the registrations, the school-supply shopping, and a forest's worth of legal forms to sign.

While we here at FindLaw.com can't help you decide whether you need college-ruled or wide-ruled notebooks, we've done all your homework on important back-to-school legal issues.

Consider us your legal "cheatsheet" for going back to school. Here are some highlights from FindLaw.com that you may find particularly helpful:

Legalese From A to Z - FindLaw

Do you speak legalese? Or better yet, can you read it? Probably not, but after a few weeks with FindLaw's new series, you may have to change your answer.

In case you missed it, FindLaw's Law and Daily Life blog just launched a new series, "Legalese From A to Z," to give our readers a free crash course on the quixotic terms that lawyers love and consumers loathe.

Here's a sneak peak of some "Legalese" features you can look forward to:

Today's parents live in a golden age of baby accessories, including video-enabled baby monitors, ergonomically designed baby carriers, and even tiny fans made especially for drying a baby's behind. Most of these items are safe, even if some of them are quite useless. Trusting your instincts as a parent is important, but sometimes a flawed design or unintended use can lead to injury or even death.

Product liability laws help minimize these risks, but sadly, consumer safety warnings and recalls typically only come on the heels of multiple injuries or deaths.

Here are five new articles at FindLaw.com discussing the potential dangers of baby and kids' products:

Hey you. Yeah, you, person who is looking for free legal information. And you, the lawyer perusing cases and codes. Guess what? You're missing out on what some of us here (the bloggers) would say is the best part of FindLaw.com: our blogs.

And we have a lot of them.

Believe it or not, we're blogging all day long, for legal consumers and lawyers alike, about the biggest issues in the industry: notable cases, hilarious slip-ups, business tips for small firms, Kanye West's community service -- you know, the important things. And if you aren't compulsively clicking on our blogs, you're really missing out.

So just how many legal blogs do we have here at FindLaw.com?

Summer vacation is trending! With the Fourth of July just around the corner, millions of Americans are set to take time off for a well-deserved mid-year break.

That's why this blog recently shared some helpful road-trip tips, along with the results of a new FindLaw.com survey on airline fees. On other blogs, we've also discussed the risks of spray-on sunscreens (the FDA has raised concerns), and how a summer DUI can have long-lasting consequences.

But leave it to our team of lawyer-writers to take a few fresh angles on summer vacation that you may not have thought about. Here's what they came up with:

More than ever, Americans are turning to the Internet to find a lawyer. And at the same time, Americans are increasingly using their smartphones to surf the Web.

That's why FindLaw's engineering team has been focused on making our popular online Lawyer Directory work even better for mobile users.

Since the launch of our latest update just a few weeks ago, connecting with an attorney via your smartphone is now faster and easier than ever.

Planning a road trip this summer? Remember to properly inflate your tires, plan an itinerary, and be prepared for the unexpected.

And just in case your trip takes a legal turn -- whether it's a speeding ticket on a wide-open desert highway or a dog bite at the beach -- FindLaw's State Laws section has you covered in roughly 100 metropolitan areas, both big and small, across the country.

Let's say you live in Columbia, Missouri, which is right smack in the middle of the country, and want to go west to San Francisco with some friends in your vintage convertible Buick. Sounds like a blast, right?