Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Recently in Practice Support & Services Category

Under California's new legal marijuana laws, in order for a marijuana business that rents space to be licensed, the business's landlord must provide a written acknowledgment that they know their property is being used by a commercial marijuana business.

Basically, pot shops need to get their landlord's permission to operate. But, making landlords acknowledge in writing that they know their property is being used by a marijuana business might be trickier than it sounds, especially because it could potentially result in backlash under federal law (which is actually now a concern). And, what's worse, for landlords, refusing to provide such an acknowledgement could very well be a violation of California law. Talk about a catch 22. It makes you wonder what the person who wrote the law was smoking ...

The age old quote about success being partly inspiration but mostly perspiration rings as true today as it did when Thomas Edison strung those words together.

For lawyers, and especially trial lawyers, being over-prepared can bring peace of mind. But, if you perspire too much, you could fall victim to preparation over-saturation and end up like those poor folks suffering from Search Overload Syndrome. Below, you'll find a couple tips on why you might want to avoid going overboard with your preparation.

Colorado Lawyers Can Avoid Disciplinary Issues With Online Program

Lawyers can avoid disciplinary problems by completing a new online program launched in Colorado.

Administered by the state's Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, it is the first program like it in the nation. Attorneys who use it also can earn credits for continuing legal education.

Lawyers from other jurisdictions may use the self-assessment program, with some limitations. But Illinois is already following Colorado with a similar program.

Against People-Pleasing: Why Lawyers Should Be Hardcore

Troubling the leaders of his day with questions, Socrates was the gadfly of Athens.

So said Plato, his student and chronicler of his trial. Of course, Socrates accepted a death sentence for his self-appointed role in society.

Today, lawyers are taught the Socratic method of asking questions. And sometimes, they have to be painfully hardcore about it. While lawyers often try to downplay this part of their career, maybe they should embrace it.

It's a rare condition, in this day and age, that a non-English speaking litigant in a courtroom will get an unqualified translator. 

However, when it does happen, and it does happen, the consequences can be rather pronounced. Given the semantic nature of legal analysis, a case can be completely ruined due to the mistranslation of a single word.

Given that trial attorneys have to worry about how testimony given in English is transcribed and punctuated by a court reporter, attorneys should be doubly concerned about mistranslation compounding that problem even further. Despite the federal judiciary, years ago, taking the lead by example, as well as "motivating" states to provide better in court interpreters, the lack of qualified court interpreters is still staggering.

Sometimes the law just doesn't fit a case the way that it should. And when those cases have compelling facts, it can often be worthwhile to pursue a novel litigation strategy or theory.

However, how you pursue that novel strategy or theory matters. A poorly pleaded novel theory could lead to sanctions under FRCP Rule 11, or the many state law equivalents. Generally, pursuant to (b)(2) of FRCP Rule 11, novel legal claims and contentions require more than just a good faith belief. They must be grounded in existing law and/or supported "by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law, or for establishing new law."

If you only speak one language, or you just aren't comfortable speaking that second language you learned over a decade ago, you may not think it's possible to expand your practice to cater to non-English speaking clients. However, thanks to modern technology, even a monosyllabic and monolingual lawyer can easily and effectively communicate with clients who don't even speak their own language.

Unfortunately, there may not be one single app that solves the language barrier problem. But by using a combination of translation apps and live services, you may be able to cater to an entirely new pool of clients.

Sometimes scheduling conflicts cannot be fixed. While you may be able to perform super-human feats, being in two places at the same time just isn't possible. Fortunately, help is usually just a call, or even a click or tap, away.

Contract attorneys can perform all sorts of various tasks for you. One commonly assigned task is making "special" appearances on behalf of an attorney at record in court for the less important hearings and conferences, like scheduling or arraignment.

Below, you'll find three practical tips for hiring appearance attorneys.

Academics Can't Explain 'Astonishing' Decline in Plaintiffs' Win Rate

Plaintiffs mysteriously lost twice as many federal cases in 2009 than they had 24 years earlier, according to a new study.

Two University of Connecticut law professors said the plaintiffs' win rate declined about 50 percent from 1985 to 2009. It was a trend the professors cannot explain.

"I'm an academic, I don't like to speculate," said Peter Siegelman, who co-authored the study with Alexandra Lahav.

'Participatory Defense' Helps Public Defenders

It's a hard thing, defending so many people in court that you don't even recognize your clients' faces.

But that is a given for many public defenders, like those in Santa Clara County, California, who handle scores of cases each day in the turnstiles of criminal court. For some 124 attorneys, there are about 37,000 clients a year.

That's why "participatory defense" is the new black for public defenders. It's a new name for an old school practice in criminal law.