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FindLaw's Top Ten Legal Issues for 2011

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on December 22, 2010 11:48 AM

Each year, FindLaw.com, the web's most popular legal information website, releases its list of the top legal issues for the coming year. This year, FindLaw's in-house legal team has reviewed the issues that consumers of legal information have asked about, read about and learned more about, all year long. Based on our knowledge and on the most-searched terms from everyday legal consumers, we have put together this year's FindLaw Top Ten List of Hot Legal Topics for 2011. Here, in descending order, are the FindLaw Top Ten:

10. Immigration: In 2010, the passage of Arizona's SB 1070 turned up the volume on the immigration debate. With President Obama still pressing for the passage of the Dream Act, a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court on in-state tuition for illegal aliens and SB 1070 itself still in the courts, immigration will continue to be an issue for debate far into 2011.

9. Facebook/Online Privacy: Constant lawsuits regarding privacy and involving the internet's most popular site, Facebook, punctuated 2010. With issues regarding cyberbullying, privacy settings and the emergence of concerns over online tracking, Facebook and other drivers of the intersection of cyber-law and privacy will continue to be an issue for the year to come, and beyond.

8. Mortgages/Foreclosures: The housing market is still in the dumps, say experts. Many state Attorneys General have cases still in court against mortgage service providers for robo-signing and other shoddy paper-work practices. 2011 will be another year in which consumers watch the American Dream take it on the chin.

7. Divorce/Child Custody: The economy and new technology are affecting every part of American life, including divorce. Concerns over modifying support agreements after job loss and innovations like virtual visitation (also spurred by family moves due to unemployment) are changing the way courts look at support and visitation issues.

6. TSA Security Concerns: There was an uproar in 2010 over the new enhanced security procedures at airports across the country. Far from fading away with the settlement of the pilots' suit against the TSA over the full body scans, FindLaw predicts more suits and more debate in the year to come.

5. Gay Rights: Same Sex Marriage and Don't Ask, Don't Tell: The courts will hand down new decisions on California's ban on same sex marriage in 2011, and don't ask don't tell has finally seen a resolution to be implemented in 2011.

4. Bullying/Cyberbullying: In 2010, we all learned the terrible cost our kids pay when they are bullied. Hopefully, 2011 will be the year more lawmakers, parents and kids themselves learn lessons from Tyler Clementi and Asher Brown (among many, many others) and make both physical and online bullying a thing of the past.

3. Healthcare: Healthcare reform is not an issue of the past. With a Republican House threatening repeal, questions over changes in health benefits by employers in response to the law and one ruling for and one against the Reform Act in the courts, healthcare will be on the minds and in the budgets of consumers for yet another year.

2. Taxes: Even with the Bush-era tax cuts compromise set in Congress, there will still be more changes in the tax law to come in 2011. Small business and individuals alike will be watching to see what happens to the estate tax, Social Security taxes and changes in business taxation in 2011.

1. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Just because the election is over doesn't mean most Americans won't be thinking about jobs and the economy throughout 2011. The job market effects so many other legal issues that we predict it will be big again in 2011. From foreclosures to healthcare, support agreements to immigration, the ripple effects of the job recovery will continue. And continue. And with luck, might just end in 2011.

A Happy New Year from the team at FindLaw.

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