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Justice Gap Widens: Low-Income Americans Face Battle for Legal Help

At the end of each day, Elinor's disabled daughter had to crawl four flights of stairs to their apartment.

It took more than an hour to get in and out of her building to attend school. She spent 30 minutes sliding down the steps just to reach the wheelchair stashed under the stairwell.

But by the grace of legal aid, Elinor was able to fight for a ground floor apartment without losing her $700 rent-control rate. That kind of help may not last, however, given the current political climate concerning legal aid.

Which States Have the Most DUI Arrests, Fatalities?

No place is safe with drunk drivers on the road, but statistics show that some places are more dangerous than others.

According to a study by, the world's best place to compare car insurance, nearly 29 million admitted to driving under the influence in the United States in 2013. Every day another 27 people die in drunk-driving crashes nationally.

The report ranked states by percentage of fatalities per 1 million people, DUI arrests, and other factors, and the results are surprising. Here are the three most dangerous states for drunk driving and related laws:

Does Marijuana Insurance Policy Cover Wrongful Death?

If marijuana insurance were available anywhere, you would think it would be in Colorado.

Colorado was one of the first states in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Since 2012, it has been a boon to business there -- including businesses like insurance that support the marijuana industry.

But it is insurance after all, and exceptions may apply. That's the question in a wrongful death case involving a man who allegedly went crazy after eating marijuana candy and then killed his wife.

Myths About Lawyers Working From Home

Maybe it's a generational thing, that some lawyers still believe certain myths about working from home.

A generation ago, perhaps "working at home" meant you were a homemaker or perhaps not working at all. It was more a euphemism for being out of work, disabled or retired.

Those ideas are so 20th Century. Yet even today, in the Internet Age, there are false assumptions about lawyers who actually do work from home.

Oregon High Court to Have Female Majority

Oregon will soon have a majority of women on its highest court.

Gov. Kate Brown has elevated Judge Rebecca Duncan to fill a vacancy that will be created when Justice David Brewer retires in June. Duncan's appointment marks the first time in the court's history that women will comprise a majority.

"No one is better suited than Becky Duncan to this historic appointment," Gov. Brown said in a statement. "Throughout her career, Becky Duncan has been a model of intellectual rigor and professionalism."

Real Judges Use Social Media

Judge Don R. Willett has more Twitter followers than any other judge, except perhaps Judge Judy. But Willett is a real judge.

In fact, some say Willett is more real because he is on Twitter. Willett is a member of the Texas Supreme Court and a short-lister for the U.S. Supreme Court, but closer to the public because he is on social media.

"Justice Willett's tweets are smart, humorous, and informative; he has quickly established a national reputation on social media as a result of his ability to strike the proper balance between accessibility and appropriate judicial decorum," said Judge Stephen Louis Dillard of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Hurdles Self-Employed Lawyers Face When Seeking a Firm Job

For you self-employed attorneys, going to work at a law firm is more than a job change. It is a life change.

Whatever your reason for having been self-employed, you have had the primary benefit of being your own boss. Law firm lawyer, not so much.

Of course, there are pluses and minuses on both sides of this employment issue. But this blog is mostly about how to deal with the minuses -- plus a few pointers and some cool music links:

Wielding a Judicial 'Wild Card'

Rolling Stone called Judge Jed S. Rakoff a "legal hero of our time," but the judge doesn't come across as a rock 'n roller.

With a resume that includes triumphs at Oxford, Harvard, Wall Street, and the United States District Court, Rakoff wears well the garlands of his labors. He spends his time now as an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, contributor to the New York Times and occasional guest jurist for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

So why does Rakoff think that judges should have a "wild card?" Did he save something from 1969, when he graduated from Harvard Law School and the Beatles cut their last album?

In a recent interview about injustices in the legal system, Rakoff said judges should have a "wild card" to dismiss cases sua sponte when they see injustice. "I think that's a great idea," he said. "Now there would be abuses, obviously."

Neither Barack Obama nor Donald Trump gets much sleep. Obama stayed up late into the night, working on speeches and reading briefing papers, before turning down for just about five hours. Our current president has him beat, sleeping just four hours every night, leaving plenty of time for early morning tweeting. And they're not alone. Plenty of highly successful people get by on just a few hours of sleep a night, from Martha Stewart to tech CEOs.

But they're not you. In fact, they may be mutants. (Really.) For most of us, a long, restful sleep is essential, and it could be the key not just to good health but to successful lawyering. Here's why.

A Win for Animal Advocates: Governor Pardons Dog From Euthanasia

Dakota is a lucky dog.

She apparently is the first dog in the United States to be granted a pardon by a sitting governor. Gov. Paul LePage of Maine spared the Husky, who had been sentenced to die for killing another dog.

Dakota had escaped from her owner, killed a small dog, and was picked up by animal control. A local district attorney brought the matter to court, and a judge ordered she be euthanized. The local Humane Society notified the governor, who stepped in.

"I have reviewed the facts of this case and I believe the dog ought to be provided a full and free pardon," LePage said in a statement.