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Are Your Legal Forms Gender Biased?

Lawyers reuse letters, pleadings, and legal docs all the time. A quick copy and paste, coupled with a find and replace ... It's part of practicing. Sometimes, we even borrow language we like from other lawyers and cases.

But more often than any practitioner would like to admit, copy and paste errors, usually in the form of omissions, occur. You know exactly the error being described here. When you forget to paste over the last client's name that was used on a form, or forget to change a pronoun.

And on the subject of pronoun confusion, depending on how you set up your forms, your boilerplate could be expressing gender bias without you ever even realizing it.

Local news out of San Antonio, Texas, is reporting that the first lawsuit to allege cyberbullying under David's Law, the state's anti-cyberbullying law for school kids, has been filed.

Fortunately, the case does not involve a teen suicide, as in the namesake's case. Rather, the bullied student was voted "most likely to shoot up the school" on social media by other kids in the school, and from there, things went from bad to much worse, before his dad decided to pull him out and file this lawsuit.

Bully Law and the Strategy Game for Lawyers

Bully law is like bully ball.

You know that old-school, hard-hat approach in basketball? Use your strength, back your opponent up, and BAM!

What you didn't know is that there's more strategy than muscle involved. You can't play bully law if you don't know how to play the game.

It's not uncommon for lawyers to need a bit of legal advice from time to time, and, unless we're lucky, when we turn to our colleagues we get a bit of short but painfully true advice, usually in five words or less.

And when you're on the other side of that call for some legal advice from a fellow practitioner, you might wish you knew more of those quick, simple, this-is-all-I'm-going-to-say-about-that, canned language you can use. Lucky for you, below, you'll find a shortlist of some of our favorites that you can simply preface with, "This is all I'm going to say about this."

In the litigation over President Trump's alleged violations of the emoluments clause of the United States Constitution, a recently filed Amici Curiae brief by two scholars of law and linguistics goes into painstaking detail over what the word means.

The brief utilizes a scientific method of studying the meaning of language known as corpus linguistics. Basically, this method takes the actual usage of a word, in context, to understand what the word means. And in the case against Trump arising out of the emoluments clause, one of the president's primary arguments hinges upon the very meaning of the word.

The Real Value of Legal Writing

Like beauty in the eye of the beholder, the value of legal writing depends on perspective.

In Los Angeles, for example, an attorney may bill $500 an hour to draft a document that a Dallas lawyer would do for $250 an hour. It's not really about quality; it's more about who's paying the bill.

The irony is that lawyers, as a whole, don't write that well. They just bill that way.

Have you read about the Canadian law firm that accidentally disbursed $2.5 million in client funds to hackers? It's not a joke. It happened, and now the firm is caught in a nuanced legal battle over coverage with their insurer.

In our increasingly technological world, clients may often want you to use tech for their convenience. However, when it comes to disbursing funds, doing so electronically should be done very, very, very carefully, and only after some form of multi-factor authentication. Social engineering hacks are more sophisticated than they have ever been before, and, as the above example shows, the hackers are learning how to exploit lawyers by impersonating clients.

Below, you can get a few tips on how to avoid disbursing funds to a scammer rather than your actual client.

Lawyers: This Is How You YouTube!

While the pivot to video may not have been all that it was chalked up to be, there's no doubt that some law firms got it right.

Whether or not law firms are getting more business as a result of viral YouTube success is another question entirely, but it's hard to deny the brilliance of legal marketing that's "laugh with" funny, rather than "laugh at" funny. Below, you can see for yourself what we're talking about, and maybe pick up a few pointers as you see one lawyer and law firm that got it right with their amazing series that we hope is just beginning.

Whether you're managing a solo practice or have a few or more lawyers below you, sometimes you just need to get some help. After all, what you don't know can certainly end up hurting you.

And even though half the time the advice you find online might not be custom cut to fit for your particular law practice, often enough, it can get you thinking about what you need to do to better manage your own practice. To that end, below you'll find seven of our best tips for managing your practice.

When you're about to file a new case in a jurisdiction you've never filed before in, you might want to take a brief moment to review the local rules to make sure you crossed the right T's and dotted the important I's and made sure you were actually licensed in that jurisdiction.

As misfortune would have, two attorneys in a putative class action against Trustmark National Bank have become the subject of a motion to disqualify them as counsel because they are not licensed in the state the matter was filed in, and, purportedly, have not been admitted to practice in that federal court.