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Sometimes justice is elusive. Statutes, regulations, and precedent, will not always line up exactly with an injury, harm, dispute, or with what just feels right. However, thanks to the way the justice system works, certain catchall-type causes of action can be applied in new ways. Unfortunately, most defense attorneys aren't just going to roll over.

Among the most commonly used catchall cause of action for novel claims is a wrongful termination in violation of public policy. This common law cause of action requires that a plaintiff have a public policy upon which their wrongful termination claim is based. However, the public policy is open to interpretation and can be based off statutes, regulations, contracts, policies, or even general societal norms. Similarly, statutes like 42 U.S.C. 1983 can be used to bring new claims alleging violations of a person's constitutional rights (although Bivens claims were recently limited).

Getting the opportunity to serve as outside counsel for a government entity is highly sought after. For the firms that get the opportunity, it can equate to a big payday. As a recent AP article showed, states like Florida are just hemorrhaging money on legal battles, and losing, and paying even more.

Whether your firm focuses on representing entities or individuals, there are government outside counsel opportunities that you can pursue. For attorneys at all levels of experience, there are conflicts panels that can, in some areas, produce a relatively steady stream of individual clients that the government cannot represent. However, getting an assignment from a conflict panel pales in comparison to being selected as private outside counsel for an entity.

According to a new study published in the Wall Street Journal examining recent statistics found that individual tort lawsuits are down. By a lot. Maybe even "Winter Is Coming" -style numbers.

The hard numbers show that in 2015 less than two people per 1,000 filed tort lawsuits, whereas in 1993, that number was closer to 10 people per 1,000. The types of cases that have seen a significant decline range from medical malpractice to motor vehicle and product liability and other tort claims. In 1993, these filings made up over 15 percent of all filings, whereas in 2015, these only accounted for four percent.

Donating Recoveries? Game On!

It's bad enough that former athletes often go broke, but add to that corporate profiteering on their images after they retire -- really?

"Come on, man," as Charles Barkley would say. Don't know basketball? Then how about Chris Spielman, former pro football player? Now a television analyst, Spielman is suing Ohio State University for using former athletes' images without their permission.

He is donating any recovery to help other student athletes at a time when the federal government is cutting back on donating settlements to third parties. For litigants with causes, sometimes it's a game of strategy.

Being a lawyer can sometimes be really rewarding. Not only can you help people in their time of need, but you get to make a living doing so. 

Despite the tinge of conscience, where there's potential to recover for your clients, there's potential for real profits for your firm. The new cases that are being filed against Opioid makers on behalf of individuals, tribal nations, and even counties and whole states, are being compared to the cases filed against big tobacco.

Ethical Issues With Referral Fees

There's a joke that aspiring attorneys go to law school because they aren't good at math.

But it's no joke when it comes to calculating referral fees and fee-splitting between attorneys. Make a mistake, and it could cost you that law license.

Fortunately, there are some professional rules for that and they can save you a headache when trying to figure it out.

Expand Your Immigration Practice, Learn Deportation Defense

One man's crisis is another man's opportunity.

It's a harsh saying, but better than "one man's trash is another man's treasure" when it comes to immigration practice. At a time when America no longer raises a lamp to the wretched refuse, immigration lawyers have a greater opportunity to change lives.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has launched an initiative to combat the Trump administration's policies against immigrants. It is an opportunity for attorneys to engage and learn deportation defense.

How to Determine Your Value, and Price Accordingly

It takes a conscience -- not a calculator -- to figure out the right hourly fee to charge clients.

Years ago, I learned this lesson in a divorce case. I charged the going hourly rate for my services, although the opportunity was there to work on a contingent fee. I could have made millions, but my conscience wouldn't let me.

Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.5, which prohibits contingent fees in divorces, also had something to do with it. Perhaps that is the best place to start when calculating the right attorney fee.

Immigrants Facing Deportation Offered Free Legal Help in San Francisco

Miguel, being held in a detention center because of a criminal conviction, was stumbling through a deportation hearing.

He didn't speak English well, he didn't have a lawyer, and the prosecutor wanted him deported immediately. The judge was threatening, too, because Miguel had not completed some paperwork.

"What can I do?" said Miguel, a legal resident who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost a decade. "I don't know how to read. I don't know how to write. I couldn't fill it out."

The case is typical and repeated virtually every day throughout the United States, where nearly 40 percent of the immigrants facing deportation do not have legal assistance because they cannot afford it. They basically have no access to justice, except in a few cities that have set up special programs for them.

Is Your Personality to Blame for Lost Business?

What do you get when you cross a lawyer and a pig? Nothing, because there are some things a pig won't do.

If you didn't laugh at that one, maybe it's because you heard it before. But maybe it's because you can't take a joke. Seriously, one of the keys to being likeable is not to take yourself too seriously.

Whether you like it or not, your personality has a lot to do with business success. Here are some ways your lawyer personality may be to blame for lost business.