Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Comments are now… open!

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I’ve opened up “comments” to posts to see if there is any interest in discussion.  This applies to posts from today forward… if you have a comment about a prior post, feel free to add it below.

How?  Click on “comments” below or, if you are the first, it will say “no comments” and you can start the discussion.

Note, you do not register.  It can be anonymous.  Fire away.

Foursquare as Promotional Tool for Law Business

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Foursquare may, indeed, be the next Twitter internet-phenom, with users creeping into seven figures and the number of check-ins getting over 20 million, well, ridiculous  (we broke ground on Foursquare in this February 2010 post).  Still a doubter?  Well, expect more articles and coverage about Foursquare, like this New York Times article.  Tech-heads, meanwhile, exclaim that its going to change the world.  So its good to keep an eye on it for use in legal cases, marketing or even a little fun.

While Yelp appears to have greater business functionality, Yelp has the edge on the “fun” aspect although the community-feel isn’t as solid as Yelp (we’re viewing the perky Gowalla as a third alternative, dwindling into a falling third place).

Foursquare is maneuvering and should be watched as a viable dominate force in this location-based trend.  Business Insider put together this piece on “How to Use Foursquare to Boost Retail Sales.”  Admittedly, the article and app is still directed at retail and consumer business but services, like law firms, are clearly around the corner.  To wit, check out BI’s thirteen step recommendations as to how business owners can use Foursquare.

Websites which integrate Foursquare are popping up.  Checkout 4SquareOffers.com, which allows you to see what businesses are offering deals for Foursquare users based upon your location.  Bing Maps is reportedly going to start sprinkling its maps with 4SQ commentary.

Are you a Foursquare fan?  Check out “Christopher H” in West Palm Beach and do a friend request.  If you are curious how to unlock the remaining badges, look no further than…. here.

The Case of the Yellow Hat: Judge Can Use Google to Take Judicial Notice

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

It is difficult to determine if there is some precedent in the Second District’s U.S. v. Anthony Bari case relative to whether a judge can take judicial notice of a fact by Googling the issue. But, at least according to the federal court, we should “expect to see more judges doing just that.”

The defendant had been on supervised release after serving time for bank robbery when, alas, he allegedly robbed another bank. At the hearing on the revocation of supervised release, the court heard evidence tending to prove that the defendant robbed the second bank. The most damning evidence was that the bank’s surveillance video showed the robber wearing a yellow rain hat which looked a lot like the one which the defendant had at home. The judge noted that there are lots of different types of rain hats and it was “too much of a coincidence” that the defendant had the same type. To underscore that point, the judge acknowledged that he had Googled yellow rain hats and confirmed that “there are lots of different rain hats.”

The defendant’s release was revoked and he appealed, claiming that the court violated Federal Rule of Evidence 605, namely that the judge cannot “testify” about a fact. The government responded that the court was merely taking judicial notice of a commonly known fact under Rule of Evidence 201.

There is an interesting footnote as to whether a strict interpretation of FRE 605 might devour judicial notice under FRE 201, but without taking evidence rules to extremes, the court concluded that the judge’s use of Google to establish that “there are lots of different rain hats” was proper. Indeed, the court approved Google-confirming because, “as broadband speeds increase and Internet search engines improve, the cost of confirming one’s intuition decreases” (an odd statement, since even a Yahoo search in 1995 on dial-up would likely give you more or less the same results – connectivity and search engine optimization are really not the driving forces here). In short, at least in these types of hearings, judges may perform Google searches to confirm matters of common knowledge.

Dentist-Lawyer Orly Taitz Sanctioned By 11th Circuit

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Following our prior October 2009 post about the dentist/attorney from California who was is the champion of the “birther” movement seeking to challenge President Obama’s national origin, the Eleventh Circuit entered this terse opinion confirming the $20,000 sanction.  Case is Connie Rhodes and Dr. Orly Taitz v. Barack Hussein Obama et al.

A nod to our friends at the Florida Legal Blog and their post with various links if you need them.

Florida Trend Magazine Legal Elite 2010

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Please take a moment and vote for Christopher Hopkins (Butzel Long, Palm Beach) to be a member of Florida Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite.”   The link is here.

I would appreciate the support.

Florida Lawyers Not Allowed to Accept Sex as Payment for Legal Services

Friday, June 19th, 2009

The Supreme Court of Florida took the time to write a 2-column, four page opinion disbarring a Florida lawyer for various criminal and ethical offenses.  At least one of the grounds was worthy of attention… as was the penalty imposed by Alabama’s Supreme Court.

In The Florida Bar v. James Harvey Tipler, the defendant-lawyer admitted that he represented an 18-year old female in an aggravated assault case.  The total charge was $2,300 and the lawyer drafted a fee agreement which allowed a “credit of $200 for each time she engaged in sex [with the lawyer]” and “$400 credit if she arranged for other females to have sex with him.”

Alabama slapped him with a 15-month suspension for the indescretion.  When he failed to advise Florida of the suspension, the recommendation was an 18-month Florida Bar suspension with probation and mandatory rehabilitation (arguably Florida took the “failure to report” to be more serious than sex with your client).  He was also charged with racketeering and prostitution (and plead guilty to the latter).

Miami Herald Reports “News” of Florida Law Firm Lay Offs

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The downturn in the legal sector — like everywhere else — is certainly not news however a recent story in the Miami Herald also caught the attention of the ABA Journal.

On Monday, the Herald ran an article, Lawyers Forced to Adapt to Economic Climate, discussing how firms such as Holland & Knight, Akerman Senterfitt, Hunton & Williams, Adorno & Yoss, Becker & Poliakoff and others have handled the downturn — including layoffs, temporary salary cuts and even hiring contract lawyers at $30 per hour (“a growing practice in the industry…”).  Probably not the best “advertising” of the quality of your legal services to have that quote in the newspaper.

The ABA Journal picked up the thread in Times So Tough, Lawyer Had to Layoff His Own Wife…

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