Posted on December 4, 2013 by Laura Calloway
If you’re looking for a great Christmas gift for that lawyer in your life or, even more importantly, looking for things you can drop hints about to help your significant other more fully experience the joy of giving – to you! – then you need to check out Reid Trautz‘s ninth annual Reid My Blog Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers.
As he does every year, Reid has come up with interesting, innovative or just crazy gifts that will delight any lawyer. Be sure to check it out before you finish your shopping this year. You’ll also find interesting practice management, ethics and technology information for lawyers there, as well.
Filed under: Blogs, Technology | Tagged: gifts, innovative gift ideas, lawyer gifts, legal gifts, shopping list | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 3, 2013 by Laura Calloway
Wouldn’t it be great if the circuit courts had an express lane that would let you check out quickly if your case didn’t involve a large sum and more witnesses than the cast of characters in Downton Abbey? That seems to be what the Supreme Court has in mind with the proposed Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure for Expedited Actions. The rules, as currently proposed, would limit recovery to $50,000, written discovery to not more than 50 requests (inclusive of all interrogatories, requests for production and requests for admissions), depositions to the parties and one unrelated witness each, and discovery time to 120 days from the filing of the defendant’s answer to the complaint. The proposed rules also provide for a standard expedited scheduling and discovery order in all covered cases. Committee Comments are also available for review.
The court is seeking written comments, which should be submitted no later than February 7th and should be addressed to Julia Jordan Weller, Clerk – Alabama Supreme Court, 300 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104.
Filed under: Announcements | Tagged: Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure for Expedited Actions, rocket docket | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 28, 2013 by Laura Calloway
Although the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down, many Alabamians, whether in the regular military or the Alabama National Guard and Reserve, continue on active military duty around the world. As such, they and their spouses/partners and dependents can avail themselves of the protections of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), so every practicing lawyer should be aware of its provisions. For example, you may not know that SCRA also applies to members of the Coast Guard and officers in the Public Health Service and NOAA when deployed in support of the armed forces.
Fortunately, there are some great resources online to help you get up to speed on this important protection for active duty service members if you are not already familiar with its terms. The U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School has created a comprehensive overview of the law and its possible applications and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel offers links to helpful SCRA resources. The Department of Defense maintains a database that will allow you to determine whether a party is in the military at its official Servicemembers Civil Relief Act website.
Hat tip to In Brief, a publication of the Oregon State Bar’s Professional Liability Fund, for pointing the way to these helpful resources.
Filed under: Malpractice & Risk Management | Tagged: Alabama National Guard, American Bar Association’s Standing Committee, military duty, SCRA, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act website | Comments Off
Posted on October 22, 2013 by Laura Calloway
I’ve long been a proponent of using checklists for everything. They are a great way to break a major undertaking down into easily digestible component parts and make sure that you don’t miss anything.
Dan Pinnington at PracticePRO shared this checklist for commercial transactions today, and I’m passing it along. You’ll find other useful practice management aids there, too.
Filed under: Malpractice & Risk Management, Tips & Tricks | Tagged: checklists, legal malpractice, legal risk management, practice management forms | Comments Off
Posted on October 18, 2013 by Laura Calloway
If you regularly practice family law you probably already know that on October 4th the Alabama Supreme Court overturned Ex parte Bayliss, 550 So.2d 986 (1989) which had held that § 30-3-1 of the Code of Alabama, 1975, authorized a trial court in a divorce proceeding to order a non-custodial parent to pay college expenses for children past the age of majority.
Chief Justice Moore wrote the main opinion, with which Justices Parker and Wise concurred, and also an additional opinion to further support the court’s reversal of Bayliss and to further expound on his writing in Ex parte Tabor, 840 So.2d 115, 123-30 (Ala. 2002) (Moore, C.J., concurring in part and dissenting in part), discussing the separation-of-powers doctrine and the fundamental rights of parents. Justices Stewart and Bolin concurred specially and Justices Murdock and Shaw wrote separate dissenting opinions. Justice Bryan recused himself because he was a member of the Court of Civil Appeals when the case was decided. The opinions make interesting reading, and any practitioner who handles divorces should be aware of this case. The case is styled Ex parte Christopher 112038 and can be found in Casemaker. You may need to be logged in for the links above to work.
Filed under: Announcements, Legal Research | Tagged: Ex parte Bayliss | Comments Off
Posted on October 16, 2013 by Laura Calloway
Several Alabama lawyers have contacted the Alabama Law Foundation regarding an email phishing scam. The lawyers all received email messages from an individual calling himself Chris Cisneros of National Bankruptcy Services, LLC and stating that each had send out a check, drawn on his or her IOLTA account, which couldn’t be paid due to insufficient funds. The messages contained an attachment which, ostensibly, detailed more information about the insufficient check but which, when opened, likely downloaded malware onto the recipient’s computer.
By now most lawyers should be aware of this type of scam, however, when you’re busy and you think something may be amiss with your IOLTA trust account it’s easy to click on a link or attachment before thinking. And that’s exactly what the scammers are hoping for.
If you’d like more information about scams targeting lawyers, and particularly their trust accounts, check out the AvoidAClaim blog hosted by LawPRO. This blog serves as a clearinghouse for scams aimed at attorneys and will allow you to quickly determine whether a potential new client or other person contacting you by email is really a scammer. And if you receive this or a similar message, be sure to delete it without opening any attachments or links contained in it. If you think you may have already fallen prey to a scam targeting lawyers, please make a confidential report of it to the Office of General Counsel at (334) 269-1515 to help protect your fellow lawyers.
Filed under: Announcements, Ethics & Professionalism, Finance, Malpractice & Risk Management, Tips & Tricks, Trust Accounting | Tagged: IOLTA account, lawyers' trust accounts, phishing, phishing scams, scams | Comments Off