Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


House Republicans are considering a new bill that could drastically curtail class action litigation. The proposed law, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017, was introduced earlier this month by Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the current chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would enact several major changes to the way class actions are currently litigated, including by limiting attorney's fees and narrowing the types of plaintiffs that can be grouped in a class. Needless to say, it's not winning much support from the plaintiffs bar.

5 Lessons From Failed Law Firms

They say if we don't learn from the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them.

So let's look at some of the biggest law firm fails to see what we can learn. Why did they fail? The simple answer would be: they weren't making enough money. But that's like saying the car stopped because it ran out of gas. Let's get into the specifics of why these firms failed, and what we can learn.

A woman accused of shoplifting spends a week in jail because she can't post a $2,000 bond. A man is sent to Riker's Island for three weeks because he can't afford $1,500 in bail. His alleged crime? Possessing a soda straw, which police officers said was illegal drug paraphernalia. Both have been identified as victims of the "bail trap." That's the system through which prosecutors use requests for high bail -- a few thousand for a misdemeanor here, a million for a homicide there -- to pressure defendants into taking a plea agreement.

But one judge in Texas is issuing her own protest against the tactic. When prosecutors asked Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown to set a $1 million bond, the judge changed the amount to $4 billion. Yes, billion with a B.

When it comes to housing and development, there is plenty of uncertainty right now. Will mortgage rates continue to rise? What will happen to affordable housing tax credits? What's in store now that Dr. Ben Carson could be taking his neurosurgery skills to the Department of Housing and Urban Development?

We don't have a crystal ball, but we do have one of the best ways to keep up with the latest housing and development news: Thomson Reuters' Housing and Development Reporter, a comprehensive newsletter published 24 times a year, covering the latest developments in housing and development.

The Great Supreme Court Debate: Apostrophe After 'S'?

As the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court changes, a serious question remains to be decided: Is there a possessive apostrophe after words ending in "s"?

It hardly seems worth considering except that the Court actually considered the question in a decision a decade ago. In Kansas v. Marsh, 548 U.S. 163 (2006), the justices split on whether the apostrophe should come after words ending in "s" or should another "s" be added after the apostrophe.

How to Put Your Creative Genius to Work in Your Law Practice

Everybody knows that Thomas Edison said, "Genius is one percent perspiration, ninety-nine percent inspiration." And everybody knows, or at least with a quick Google search can find out, that Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic in a dish of bacteria.

But does anybody know that James H. Solomon created a key to legal methodology, a human algorithm that can predict legal outcomes? Of course not, because I just made that up.

Here's the point: lawyers can be creative and it doesn't have to be fiction. Sometimes it comes through trial and error. Sometimes it just appears in the trenches.

In any case, creativity is a process that attorneys can learn. It's like improving your memory, but more fun. Here are some pointers from Jay Harrington with Attorney at Work:

Litigation Boutiques Continue Spinning Out of BigLaw

When a piece of an iceberg breaks off, it's doesn't mean sea levels will rise around the world. But if a polar cap starts to fracture, scientists will certainly take measurements.

Sedgwick LLP, which has lost 40 lawyers in the past two weeks, is somewhere in between. It started with two groups of partners splitting off and then another 25 attorneys breaking away.

It marks the most recent -- and maybe the biggest -- fracture at the firm, which lost more than 10 percent of its lawyers each year in recent years. With 343 attorneys in 2014, the firm now says it has 250 lawyers worldwide. Many of the departing lawyers are following an established trend for former BigLaw lawyers: starting litigation boutique firms.

A bill in the Oklahoma legislature seeks to make it more difficult for some married Oklahomans to get divorced. House Bill 1277, introduced by Representative Travis Dunlap, would get rid of incompatibility as a reason for divorce in many circumstances.

If passed, no fault divorces could be a thing of the past in Sooner State, with quick separations turned into week-long trials.

When you think of airport lawyers, if you ever think of airport lawyers, you might imagine some government attorneys with the FAA, or maybe a highly specialized land use attorney. But, given the hubbub caused by President Trump's recent travel ban, airport lawyers have taken on a whole new meaning -- and prominence. They're the attorneys who ran to the nation's airports the weekend after the president signed an executive order limiting immigration and travel from seven majority-Muslim nations. The ones who filed habeas petitions, coordinated with family members, spoke to the media.

Now, a new website created by attorneys and software developers has been launched to connect travelers impacted by the executive order directly with pro bono attorneys looking to help. Its name, of course, is AirportLawyer.org.

What's the Most Lucrative Practice Area for a New Solo Lawyer?

The most lucrative practice is not the one that makes the most dollars, grasshopper. It is rather the practice that makes the most sense.

OK, so that's not a real Chinese proverb. But David Carradine wasn't a real Kung Fu master either. The point is, legal career consultants agree that if you want to make money and be happy, choose a practice area that you like.

After all, money doesn't buy happiness, right? It just buys the things that make you happy.

Enough with the pseudo philosophy already, here are some booming practice areas for new lawyers: