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"Cease and desist" has a commanding and alarming ring to it, one that makes recipients of cease-and-desist letters quake in their figurative boots.

But there's really nothing magical or legally damning about a cease-and-desist letter. Often they are just a cheap way for one party's lawyers to shock or bully another party into "ceasing" or "desisting" without actually filing suit.

Don't be fooled by angry words in legalese. Here's how to decipher a cease-and-desist letter:

Lawyers can seem "all that" during a consultation, but potential clients may want to do a little extra research before pulling the trigger on hiring them.

Just a quick trip over to the lawyer's website or state bar profile can reveal information that he or she may not have disclosed. In addition, ranking-and-review websites like Yelp provide oodles of sensitive information on attorneys from past clients.

So if you're curious, use these five quick ways to research whether your lawyer is legit:

Wondering whether or not you should you sue your relative?

Everybody fights with their family from time to time. But what if a family dispute gets to the point where you're considering taking legal action and filing a lawsuit against a family member? There are several ways in which lawsuit involving family members may differ from those involving strangers or even those with professional or social relationships.

Here are five things to consider before suing your relative:

You may think an email message is the "smoking gun" in your case, and you'd like to use it as evidence. But legally, it isn't always as easy as bringing a printed-out copy of an important email to court.

The rules of evidence may require that the email be authenticated and to be introduced in a way that doesn't violate the general prohibition on hearsay evidence.

With these concerns in mind, here are a few tips on how to use email as evidence:

The U.S. Supreme Court is on summer break for the moment, but its next term begins in October with a handful of very interesting cases.

Beginning October 6, the nation's highest court will hear appeals involving issues of criminal law, prisoner's rights, labor law, class-action claims, and patent law.

Here's a preview of the Supreme Court's first 10 cases of the October 2014 Term:

Knowing how to respond to a lawsuit can be incredibly valuable in warding off future legal issues. Failing to file a proper response can have serious consequences for your case.

So whether it's knowing when you're actually being sued or knowing when your response is due, the ability to respond properly to a lawsuit is key.

Here are the basics for how to respond to a lawsuit:

When can lawsuits be consolidated? Cases that are similar enough in fact or in the legal issues presented can often be grouped together and heard at the same time. That's what's happening with more than 80 lawsuits alleging economic injury from GM's ignition-switch recall.

Both criminal and civil cases can be consolidated, although courts have to consider the potential risks and benefits to each party before granting or denying a motion to consolidate.

Here are some of the more common times when a lawsuit can be consolidated:

Depending on where you live, your lawsuit may not officially begin until you can show proof of service. And as your case proceeds, you'll likely need to show proof of service for other legal documents as well.

Now you may not be quite sure exactly what proof of service entails. But one thing is certain: messing up a proof of service will prevent you from proceeding with your lawsuit in a timely fashion; it may even come back to haunt you later.

Let's try to keep things simple with this general overview of how to show proof of service:

Even if you don't wake up with a tiger in your bathroom, a bachelor party hangover can easily include lingering legal problems if you're not careful.

Whether it's a wild night on the town with your bros or a laid-back gathering in your backyard, here are our top five legal tips for making sure that you don't bring extra baggage into your marriage courtesy of a botched bachelor party:

    Having to fight a restraining order is no walk in the park, but with the right legal preparation, it doesn't have to be a nightmare.

    It can also be infuriating. But you can fight a restraining order without having to lose your cool. Follow these simple legal steps for how to fight a restraining order.