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Lawyers: Don't Tell Bad Judges They're Bad

Words to the wise: don't tell bad judges they're bad.

It's like bringing a knife to a gunfight. It's not going to end well, even if you do get in a few digs.

Attorney John Carter learned that lesson the hard way. Like his client said: "You know it's a bad day when your lawyer goes to jail."

Attorneys are often expected to put in long hours at the office. Just because the courts or businesses close at 5, that doesn't mean you have to (or can) stop working. Associates know all too well that after 5 is when the phones go to voicemail automatically, and you can actually get work done.

However, there's a fine line between working long hours and being a workaholic. Though neither is really good for your health, a new Harvard Business Review study suggests that the workaholic mindset is worse for your health than working long hours. Surprisingly absent from their report is any mention of the revolutionary finding that the sky is blue.

Succession Planning and Heading to Retirement for Solo Lawyers

Did you ever have that moment when a teacher or a speaker pointed in your direction, and you turned around only to see no one behind you?

That's what it's like when you are a solo practitioner at the end of your career and you don't have a succession plan. It looks like there's no one to take over and it's all on you.

Of course, solo practitioners are the champions of doing things their way. Here a few more ways for solos to head towards retirement without dropping off the deep end of a career.

Shocking! Judges Can't Electrocute People for Not Answering Questions

'Shocking' barely describes the treatment of Terry Lee Morris.

When he refused to answer questions at his criminal trial, Judge George Gallagher ordered deputies to jolt the man with 50,000 volts of electricity. They administered the punishment through a shock belt, which is supposed to be used for security purposes.

Morris was convicted of soliciting sex from a minor and sentenced to 60 years in prison, but a federal appeals court reversed and remanded for a new trial. In a classic understatement, the appeals panel said it had "grave doubts" about whether the man was treated fairly.

It's hard to deny that President Trump is having a big impact on the government. However, an unforeseen one is the jamming up of the court system due to the executive branch's failure to follow the rules for changing the rules.

The Administrative Procedure Act, passed in the 1940s, requires that federal agencies provide opportunity for public comment and a notice period, as well as reasonable justifications, prior to making changes to, adding or deleting regulations. Recently, the APA has been used to successfully challenge deregulation in immigration, housing and environmental changes sought by the executive branch.

Judge Won't Dismiss Case Against County Law Director

Anderson County, Tennessee, is comprised mostly of four small cities and a dozen coal-mining communities. One, Heiskell, is little more than a post office.

But the county government boasts that it has evolved into "a world-leading technological powerhouse." That's the mayor talking, of course.

The thing is, as sometimes happens in small towns, politicians can overstate the case. That's what happened in a legal battle between two county directors, and it's not over.

Tips for Lawyers: How to Eliminate Office Distractions

Did you ever notice how a teenagers can focus on video games so intently, an earthquake couldn't shake their attention?

Or how about those basketball players who make free throws while 20,000 fans scream and wag those monster fingers at them? It's called focus, and you need some of that in your law practice.

So let's talk about eliminating distractions at work. We're going to take a couple of pages from the video game and basketball playbooks.

Jurors Will Be Anonymous in El Chapo Trial

Who could blame a juror for wanting out of the El Chapo trial?

After all, according to reports, the Mexican drug lord has hired hitmen to kill potential witnesses and informants in the past. But not jurors, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has promised in a motion before his upcoming federal trial. That would be uncivilized.

In any case, the judge will have a handful trying to put together a jury -- and then protecting them.

How to Ask for Part-Time Work at Your Law Firm

It's not too late, but you probably should have asked about part-time work at your law firm a while ago.

That's because most firms today have part-time policies, and it's one of those things you can know even before you start a job. So if you are just starting to think about it, relax because there are plenty of law firms that even encourage part-timers.

But when it comes down to it, asking for part-time is about asking at the right time. Timing, of course, is everything.

In this day and age, it is virtually inexcusable to not have a coffeemaker in your office, even if you have a virtual office. And due to the wide variety of ways to brew coffee, what kind of coffeemaker you choose, and how you serve your coffee, might say more than you anticipate about your law practice.

In the grand scheme of things, law firms really shouldn't try to cut costs when it comes to coffee. Especially if you have staff or associates, providing high quality coffee is one of the perks where you get the most bang for your buck. Also, though you might not think that a client would care if your coffee is good or bad, great coffee can definitely help present an image of being a premier law firm. Below, you can read about what your coffeemaker signals to the world about your law practice.