Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


You know, you'd think that lawyers would have learned by now: Don't ask a question unless you're sure of the answer. Then again, a silly answer might be just what you were hoping for.

Robin Thicke, the vanguard of our proud nation's rich cultural traditions, preemptively sued the estate of Marvin Gaye to ward off claims that Thicke plagiarized elements of Gaye's 1977 "Got to Give It Up" in Thicke's hit song "Blurred Lines."

The Hollywood Reporter reported Monday on what Thicke had to say about the alleged infringement at a deposition. Here are a few lessons for lawyers:

As a lawyer, should you ever represent family members?

"Hey, listen, you're a lawyer, right? See, I have this issue with my landlord ..." Or it's an issue with a boss. Or a co-worker. Or a neighbor. Or the police, for crying out loud.

It's bad enough when these questions come from complete strangers at cocktail parties, but at least you can walk away because you'll never see those people again. It's a different story when the innocuous request for just a little help comes from a family member. Before you start representing Aunt Sally, take these considerations to heart:

I was going to blog about procrastination for National Fight Procrastination Day on September 6, but I just didn't feel like it. But at least I'm getting to it now!

All of us in the law community suffer from procrastination, some more than others. Appellate attorneys may have it worst of all: Their deadlines are a month down the road, so why start now? You've got plenty of time! And then suddenly you don't. So in honor of National Fight Procrastination Day -- which already happened - here are some tips for getting your work done sooner, rather than later:

Time to select the jury. A hundred people from around town file into the courtroom, upset that they have to be there at all, even more upset that they had to wait so long, and all of them claiming to have a prepaid vacation.

And just your luck: There's a lawyer in the pool. Do you really want a lawyer on your jury? Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Yesterday, we looked at five things that you might want to buy on a cheap microjob website, like Fiverr. Examples included a logo, business cards, voiceover talent for your website content, and maybe, just maybe, an animated video that explains basic legal concepts, such as the consequences of a first DUI.

The reason why we recommended those is simple: The investment cost is so small, that even if you don't like what is produced, and if the seller can't or won't fix it, you can always drop another $5 and get a second take from someone else. Worst case scenario: You lose a latte.

But there are some services on these sites that you really should not purchase. These include:

You're just starting out, and there's so much to do: logo design, business cards, a website, website content, social media ... and clients. You'll of course need clients. But to get the clients, you have to do a bit of preparation, a bit of marketing, and a bit of branding. And for those of you who are cash-strapped, there is a solution: microjob websites.

Now, you're not going to get a Monet for $5 to $10, but sites like Fiverr, and its less popular competitors Gigbucks and Fourerr, are all sites where you can get "microjobs" done for a nominal fee.

What are some things you could have handled for $5? Here are a few ideas to consider:

Fall is here, and it's time to start preparing for winter. (Or, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, fall is here, it's always been here, and it's time to start preparing for more fall.) As you look around the office, what do you see? Client files. Boxes of them, piled up in a closet somewhere, some from clients that you haven't seen for years. What do you do with these (hopefully not moldy) old boxes? Can you scan the file? Can you destroy the file? Do you have to contact the client first?

Every state is different, of course, and every state that has adopted the ABA Model Rules is in the same pickle; the ABA Rules don't say anything about how long you have to keep the file, only that you have to keep it "to avoid foreseeable prejudice" and provide it to the client on demand.

Below, we offer two examples of state rules; of course, your state's mileage may vary.

Deputy City Attorney Christopher Richard Garcia, 57, was charged with possession, distribution, and other child pornography-related charges on Thursday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Though he allegedly transmitted some of the material last April, and though his home was raided in November, he is still receiving a paycheck and is licensed to practice law. Plus, the California bar's website still states that he has no history of disciplinary actions.

That may change soon, but should it have changed sooner?

Holler: Much Ado About Discovery

With the Labor Day holiday behind us, it's been a happening week for discovery, both electronic and regular, fraudulent and non-fraudulent.

Here are some of the discovery-related stories that caught our eye in the legal blogosphere last week:

Everyone needs a notary public at some point in their lives. Notaries serve the important function of making sure people who sign documents are really who they claim to be. And it just so happens that many legal documents also need to be notarized. So you could be a one-stop shop, right?

Well, there are good and bad reasons to become a notary, so you may want to take the following thoughts into account. (Note: much of this information comes from California, but its notary laws aren't terribly different from other states'.)