Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


The Perils of Copying and Pasting Without Attribution

Copy and paste.

It's such a common practice, it's practically one word. Lawyers do it all the time, too.

But you can't copy other people's words without attribution. It's not just about copyright and plagiarism; it's about embarrassment.

You know that saying about how employees and corporate officers should email as if what they write will one day be read in a deposition? Well, there's a close corollary: In a deposition, speak like what you say will be made public eventually.

This may prove true for some officials deposed in the NHL CTE/concussion class action that is playing out in the Minnesota federal court. That case has been making headlines due to some damning video from some key depositions being made public. One such deposition makes it clear, math isn't one of the strong suits for former Toronto Maple Leafs' GM Lou Lamoriello.

3 Lessons From the Dentons Sexual Harassment Scandal

The way things went down at Dentons, #MeToo may soon be a term in Black's Law Dictionary.

A business specialist has sued the law firm, alleging a supervisor sexually harassed her. The plaintiff says a managing director propositioned her with vulgar language, touched her legs and buttocks, and pursued her after hours.

In the #MeToo era, it's unfortunate that BigLaw is part of the sexual harassment problem. America has been calling out the legal system, and the rules should be clear by now.

Did you always want to be a little bit more like Mike? Were you disappointed when you discovered it took more than some really sweet shoes?

If you're a lawyer who consumes any sort of news media, you might actually want to be more like Michael Avenatti. You know, that 47-year-old lawyer who considers himself a "dragon slayer" and happens to be representing Stormy Daniels.

Lawyers Needed to Do the Right Thing: Immigration

It's hard to find a lawyer who is a hero for everybody.

That's because for every hero, there is an enemy -- and in the law it is often the same person. It's the nature of the adversary system; even the devil has an advocate.

It may be wishful thinking, but the legal profession needs a hero. It's not easy in America, even when everybody is supposedly on the same side. But it's important to consider: when should you stand up for what you feel is right, even if it goes against your professional interests? And can drawing a line with your convictions actually be beneficial for your career long-term? Many legal professional are asking these questions today in the context of immigration.

Rhode Island's superior court is giving the state a tiny little reprieve before potentially letting it get some really bad news.

You see, the state's senior legal counsel for the Health and Human Services department missed the deadline for appealing, as well as requesting a stay pending appeal, in a case it just lost. However, after he recently resigned, the department still appealed and asked for the stay anyway (after all, there's over $20 million on the line here). And while the appeal is still pending before the state's supreme court, the stay was granted by the lower court in order to maintain the status quo until the appeal is resolved.

Sessions Can't Get Joint to Roll on Pot Enforcement

If nothing else, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is persistent.

Even after President Trump started calling him "Mr. Magoo" a year ago, Sessions soldiered on. By the time all the other Trump attorneys quit, Sessions may be the last lawyer standing.

But now he's banging his head against another wall: prosecuting marijuana crimes. He has vowed to lead the charge on the pot industry, but nobody seems to be following him.

Judge Fakes Reviews, Plus More Reasons Not to Lie on Resumes

Everybody knows you shouldn't fake your resume, so why do lawyers do it?

Is it because it's too late to give them a bad name? (Take it easy, I'm just a messenger.)

Seriously, what are these people thinking? And what about this judge!

There's an old saying amongst reasonably prudent attorneys with a staff (and no rhythm): Dance like no one is watching, supervise nonlawyers like they're all actively trying to get you disbarred.

It's an unfortunate truth for many lawyers out there that their staff are not licensed lawyers and are not ultimately liable to the client or court (or your malpractice carrier) for their mistakes, negligence, or telling you that the hearing was at the wrong courthouse. Sure, you can have your staff member fill out a declaration for the court basically falling on their own hourly sword, but in the end, you have to explain that you failed because your staff failed and it's your fault.

If you advise businesses, or run your own brick and mortar practice, you know, the signage on the door, and even in the parking lot, matters. And not just legally, from the customer's perspective, if your door says "push" but needs to be pulled, customers are likely to leave confused by why the door seems to be locked but the lights are on.

You might not be so fortunate as to get the opportunity to charge a Tennessee hardware store owner your hourly rate to explain that his "no gays allowed" sign is a really, really, really bad business decision (even if state law doesn't forbid sexual orientation discrimination). But, it's actually rather common to find signage errors at businesses, and not just because sometimes words have two meanings. And sometimes there can be some real liability.