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Sheldon Silver Trial Update: Jury Deliberates Federal Corruption Case

It has been a difficult several weeks for former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, once one of the most powerful men in New York.

Closing arguments concluded in Silver's multi-week corruption trial that saw its beginnings with the Speaker's arrest in January amidst allegations that he traded favors to benefit two real estate developers and a Columbia University researcher. Latest news is that at least one juror has requested to be excused from the case.

You follow a judge on Twitter. (There's plenty of them to be found.) He tweets about life on the bench. You tweet about cats and the occasional courtroom victory. The judge even retweets you on occasion.

If this tweeting takes place while you have a case pending before said judge, have you both engaged in ex parte communication or created the appearance of bias? At least one Ninth Circuit appellant thinks so.

Judge Tries to Bribe the FBI With Beer

A North Carolina Superior Court Judge was charged with several crimes after he bribed a member of the FBI with beer. The purpose of the bribe was to secure the text message of his family.

It's probably safe to say that the judge is pretty new to this bribery thing.

California lawyer James Mazi Parsa might be the most complained-about lawyer ever. The Orange County attorney is currently facing over 1,100 pending bar complaints, many stemming from his alleged abandonment of clients.

Let's take Parsa's potential disbarment as a learning moment. When it's time to call things off with a client, there's an ethical way to pull the plug or there's, well, potential disbarment. Here's the difference.

Preventing Workplace Harassment: It Takes Many

Last week a panel of experts outlined a multi-pronged attack on what is the latest of a changing national attitude regarding workplace harassment before the EEOC's Select Task Force. It was the second such public meeting of the STF which was announced back in March of 2015.

The EEOC co-chair Chai R. Feldblum expressed the general consensus of the meeting that prophylaxis is better than treatment.

If you make a mistake in court filings, you can always ask for leave to correct it. It's embarrassing, sure, but it's common enough. What you shouldn't do, of course, is use the court's leave to correct as a way to sneak in 37 pages of new arguments. You especially shouldn't pretend that those pages are just a table of contents and expect that no one will notice.

But that's exactly what happened to one Indiana lawyer, who submitted appellate briefs that were, in the court's opinion, "an abject failure." The court's response? Call her out, of course, in a scathing benchslap that thanks the attorney's opponents for putting up with her and that considers requiring her to take a CLE on appellate practice before submitting any more briefs.

You just finished a new client's estate plan and were blown away by how much wealth she's amassed from her dog washing on demand app startup -- and she's looking for investors in her next project. Or maybe a prospective client comes to you for help incorporating a new business. He's got a great business plan, a lot of experience, but not enough cash to cover legal fees.

Should you invest in that Uber for pet grooming? Can you help out your incorporation client by exchanging legal services for an ownership stake?

5 Steps to Take Before Selling Your Solo Practice

If you've had a good run with your solo law practice and you've decided the time has come to leave, you have a number of choices.

One: Close out your files, don't take on new clients, and hang a sign that declares "Out of Business." Two: You could sell your business to another competent attorney who will carry on the practice.

Tips for Hiring a Private Investigator for Your Law Firm

Private investigators should be part of any practicing attorney's arsenal. Back before the Internet was the mainstay of every self-proclaimed desk detective out there, there were only limited ways to snoop into other people's business. You could either do it yourself, or you had to hire a private investigator.

Private investigators serve as your personal spies. Before a case is litigated, its almost a given that the parties will try to hash out a deal first. A good PI will flush out hidden assets, find witnesses, photograph accident scenes, and trace names. Information is the key to winning any battle. Perhaps this is why an entire chapter of the Art of War is dedicated to spies.

Whether you're hanging your own shingle straight out of law school or branching off on your own after years of practice, you'll want to make malpractice prevention a central part of your business plan. After all, legal ethics aren't something you want to pick up through trial and error and if you're starting your own practice, it can be easy to miss some of the malpractice safeguards larger firms have built in.

Thankfully, with a little planning, you can avoid some of the most common malpractice pitfalls facing new attorneys and solo practices.