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ABA expresses concern about Ohio plan to resume executions

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on ABA expresses concern about Ohio plan to resume executions

Death Penalty

lethal injection

The ABA is “deeply concerned” about Ohio’s plans to resume executions, according to a statement by ABA President Linda A. Klein.

Ohio has not implemented important reforms to improve the accuracy and fairness of the death penalty that were recommended in a 2007 report, according to Klein’s statement.

The ABA had worked with Ohio experts to produce the report, which found geographic and racial bias had resulted in inconsistent and unfair administration of the death penalty. The report also found inadequate protections for defendants with mental illnesses.

Ohio has not executed an inmate since January 2014, when inmate Dennis McGuire gasped for air and made guttural noises for about 10 minutes during a longer-than usual execution process, the Associated Press reports. The execution used a two-drug cocktail, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Executions are set to resume Wednesday when Ronald Phillips is scheduled to die for the 1993 rape and murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter. The state will use three drugs in the execution.

The ABA does not take a position on the death penalty as a means of punishment, but it does believe the death penalty should be implemented fairly, accurately and with due process.

Ohio has implemented a handful of death-penalty reforms in the last few years, but a majority of the recommendations in the 2007 report have not been implemented, Klein says in the statement.


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Fewer in US working remotely, but it’s a popular option at top law firms for women

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on Fewer in US working remotely, but it’s a popular option at top law firms for women

Law Firms

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Remote work is the most popular flex option among lawyers, and it’s offered by all 50 law firms on Working Mother’s list of the 50 best for women.

At 17 of the law firms, every lawyer takes advantage of the remote work option, according to a Working Mother story. Overall, 53 percent of lawyers at the best law firms do some work remotely.

That figure is considerably higher than the percentage of all U.S. workers who perform all or some of their work at home. Last year, only 22 percent of U.S. workers did at least some of their work from home, down from 24 percent in 2015, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Another flex benefit offered by all 50 law firms—reduced hours—is mostly used by female staff attorneys and of counsel.

Forty-four percent of female counsel while 23 percent of male counsel had a reduced schedule. Twenty-seven percent of female staff attorneys while 7 percent of male staff attorneys worked reduced hours. Overall, 9 percent of lawyers worked reduced hours.

The Working Mother’s list acknowledges firms that focus on retaining and promoting women. The ABA Journal partnered with Working Mother Media to promote the best firms list and will publish a companion feature in October.

The winning law firms lead the industry in supporting flexible work arrangements and offering generous paid parental leave, according to an executive summary (PDF). They also ensure that lawyers who use family friendly programs are not excluded from the partnership or leadership track.

The 2017 best law firms for women are:

• Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

• Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

• Baker McKenzie

• Blank Rome

• Chapman and Cutler

• Cooley

• Crowell & Moring

• Davis Wright Tremaine

• Dentons US

• DLA Piper

• Dorsey & Whitney

• Drinker Biddle & Reath

• Faegre Baker Daniels

• Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner

• Fisher Phillips

• Foley & Lardner

• Fox Rothschild

• Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz

• Fredrikson & Byron

• Goodwin

• Gray Plant Mooty

• Hanson Bridgett

• Hogan Lovells

• Holland & Hart

• Hunton & Williams

• Ice Miller

• Katten Muchin Rosenman

• King & Spalding

• Kirkland & Ellis

• Latham & Watkins

• Lindquist & Vennum

• Littler Mendelson

• Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

• McDermott Will & Emery

• McGuireWoods

• Morrison & Foerster

• Norton Rose Fulbright

• O’Melveny & Myers

• Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

• Perkins Coie

• Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

• Quarles & Brady

• Reed Smith

• Schiff Hardin

• Seyfarth Shaw

• Shook, Hardy & Bacon

• Sidley Austin

• WilmerHale

• Winston & Strawn


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Former ABA president and WWII veteran David Brink dies at 97

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on Former ABA president and WWII veteran David Brink dies at 97

Obituaries

David Brink

Photo of David Brink provided by Dorsey & Whitney.

Former ABA President David Brink has passed away at 97.

Brink, who during his 1981-1982 tenure championed Human Rights Trial Observer programs and extending the rule of law internationally, was a retired partner at Dorsey & Whitney. Brink died on Thursday in Minneapolis.

“David was a tremendous contributor to the firm, to the legal profession and to the community,” said Dorsey & Whitney in a statement. “He was also a warm, wonderful and thoughtful colleague who loved coming to firm events in the decades after his retirement and getting to know the next generations of Dorsey lawyers and staff. We will miss him dearly.”

Brink was a trusts and estates lawyer for Dorsey and Whitney for more than 40 years. In addition to his ABA presidency, he also served as president of the Hennepin County Bar Association in the 1960s and the Minnesota State Bar Association in the 1970s.

In the ABA, Brink was known as the father of the ABA’s Goal IV to advance the rule of law throughout the world, ABA President Linda Klein said in a statement.

“He protected the independence of the judiciary, campaigning against bills that would restrict court power in cases involving controversial social issues such as mandatory busing,” Klein added. “Brink also was an advocate for pro bono delivery of legal services and successfully halted federal efforts to eliminate or diminish the Legal Services Corporation. He was an early advocate of mandatory Continuing Legal Education for lawyers, Alternative Dispute Resolution and probate trust law reform.”

Both the firm statement and Klein highlighted Brink’s work on behalf of lawyer assistance programs and lawyers dealing with substance abuse. He helped create the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, and served on its advisory committee. He also served on the ABA Standing Committee on Substance Abuse, and contributed to an ABA report on lawyer well-being that will soon be released.

In Minnesota, he was a board member of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, which offers “free, confidential peer and professional assistance to Minnesota lawyers, judges, law students, and their immediate family members on any issue that causes stress or distress.”

“David was a dedicated LCL volunteer including two tours on LCL’s board,” said Joan Bibelhausen, the executive director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, in a press release (PDF). “He supported others in their recovery and played a significant role in encouraging organizations and individuals to support LCL. While a board member, including while in his 90s, he attentively and conscientiously carried out the fiduciary responsibilities of that office and humbly served as a mentor to others.”

Brink was the son of Carol Ryrie Brink, author of the classic children’s book Caddie Woodlawn, and Raymond Brink, a mathematics professor at the University of Minneapolis. The influence of both his professions is clear from Brink’s life outside his career as a lawyer. During WWII, Brink worked as a code breaker for the U.S. Navy, and he was a longtime poet and writing teacher. In 2016 he published a collection of his poetry, Beyond the Delta.

Brink was preceded in death by his wife, Irma Lorentz Brink. He is survived by four children and eight grandchildren.


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Federal judge refuses to bar collection of data by Trump’s voter fraud commission

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on Federal judge refuses to bar collection of data by Trump’s voter fraud commission

Privacy Law

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has refused to block the collection of voter information by President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled (PDF) on Monday that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was not a federal agency subject to requirements for a privacy impact assessment, report the New York Times, the Washington Post and Reuters.

Kollar-Kotelly also said the White House information technology office, which is collecting the voter information, was not an agency required to do a privacy assessment.

Kollar-Kotelly said her decision may need to be revisited if the powers of the commission expand beyond those of a purely advisory body.

Kollar-Kotelly ruled in a suit by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which reported on the decision in a press release.

The commission is seeking voter information that includes names, addresses, partial Social Security numbers, birth dates, voting histories and felony convictions.

Other groups have also sued to block the commission’s work. A suit by the American Civil Liberties Union contends Trump violated federal law by appointing an election commission “stacked with individuals” who endorse his unsubstantiated statements about voter fraud costing him the popular vote.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires advisory committees to have a membership that is “fairly balanced,” the ACLU suit says.

Typo in sixth paragraph corrected at 11:50 a.m.


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Law school group moves Texas meeting because of bathroom bill, immigration law

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on Law school group moves Texas meeting because of bathroom bill, immigration law

Legal Education

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The Association of American Law Schools is moving a 2018 clinical legal education meeting from Austin, Texas, to Chicago because of legislative action on immigration enforcement and school bathrooms.

The AALS explained the decision in a letter to Texas officials, Law.com (sub. req.) reports. Association president Paul Marcus wrote that the group was moving the meeting “at a substantial cost” and would not hold any future meetings in Texas unless lawmakers reconsider the policies.

The letter cited two actions by the legislature that “discriminate against individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States and against members of the LGBTQ community.”

The immigration law, which takes effect in September, authorizes local police to inquire about immigration status when an individual is detained, even if he or she isn’t charged with a crime.

The bathroom bill, if passed, would require that schools designate bathrooms based on a person’s “biological sex,” and that the bathrooms be used based on that designation.

The AALS bylaws bar “discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender (including identity and expression), sexual orientation, age, or disability.”


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ABA urges Senate not to weaken Medicaid through Affordable Care Act repeal bill

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on ABA urges Senate not to weaken Medicaid through Affordable Care Act repeal bill

ABA

ABA

The American Bar Association on Monday voiced opposition to Senate proposals to cut federal Medicaid funding through the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The ABA sent a letter (PDF) to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday, outlining its reasons for opposing changes that would “weaken the current entitlement nature of the program.”

The association specifically opposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act—with or without a replacement; conversion of federal Medicaid funding into block grants; calculating Medicare funding according to the urban consumer price index rather than the medical CPI; and per capita caps on federal funding to states.

Medicaid funding was expanded under the ACA (more commonly known as “Obamacare”). The letter says this insured 11 million Americans who were previously uninsured. By contrast, the Congressional Budget Office has said that the Senate bill the letter opposes will leave 22 million people uninsured by 2026.

The proposed funding changes would likely mean less federal money for Medicaid, the letter says. Per capita spending caps would leave the government unable to respond to changing economic conditions in any particular state, and also can’t account for projected increases in the cost of care. Changing the cost index away from CPI-Medical would make the program unable to account for rising costs. All of this is complicated by the fact that the population of older people is expected to grow, it says.

There’s no reason to think that state budgets will be able to fill the holes created by the decreased federal funding, the letter says. Thus, it’s likely that states would cut eligibility for health services and reduce payments to medical care providers. In addition, it says, there are proposals that would let states apply for a waiver allowing insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. This would also have the effect of rationing care, it notes.

This is likely to hit vulnerable people the hardest, the letter says. Roughly 40 percent of American children use Medicaid, as well as two out of three nursing home residents. Disabled people and older Americans often rely on Medicaid for home- or community-based care, an alternative to nursing homes that is cheaper and allows patients to live at home with their families, but isn’t covered by Medicare or private insurance. The letter also notes that cuts to Medicaid would likely mean cuts to the 4.4 million health care jobs Medicaid pays for—so many that a credit rating agency concluded that it would affect some states’ credit ratings.

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on advancing one or more of several health care bills, NPR reported Monday. In a separate article, NPR explains four of those bills. The New York Times says even some senators are not sure which bill they will voting on.


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Book Review: A beach read for lawyers entitled ‘Beach Lawyer’

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on Book Review: A beach read for lawyers entitled ‘Beach Lawyer’

Law in Popular Culture

Beach Lawyer Cover

Photo courtesy of Avery Duff.

You know after a breakup when your family tells you “the right one will come along?” You begrudgingly take their advice with the proverbial grain of salt because even though they’ve been out of the game for God knows how long, they’re still together and seem happy enough.

Then one day, a new person does come along. Love hits you like a ton of bricks, and you realize they were right the entire time. Likewise, I can thankfully tell you there are books still being written tbat you cannot put down.

Beach Lawyer, the tale of a California attorney’s fall from almost making partner to being a fired, reputation-ravaged man out for revenge, is just that kind of a read. If you’ve missed the likes of the classic mystery novelist John D. MacDonald and his colorful salvage consultant, Travis McGee, who lives on a boat known as the Busted Flush, then you might just find solace in reading Avery Duff’s Beach Lawyer about attorney Robert Worth.

I recently received an offer from the Kindle app on my iPhone: “Pick one of these four books to read for FREE! Courtesy of KindleFirst.” It seemed too good to be true, but I couldn’t argue with “FREE!” so I downloaded the app to select my prize. Of the four tomes, I had a natural inclination toward one in particular, but I saw another with ‘lawyer’ in the title and knew this should be it. I wasn’t disappointed.

Despite the sleeper title, Beach Lawyer begins with a staccato rhythm relentlessly rendered for several chapters and almost the entire book. It is un-put-downable, and that’s not a word. Later, I may also start a sentence with a preposition. Stay tuned.

And this is the measure by which many good works of fiction wind up with prestigious prizes. I had yet to witness it in the wild myself, but the first four chapters of Beach Lawyer read remarkably similar to winning novels I’ve seen. For the first three-quarters of the book, I was up late each night reading, debating on whether sleep was still my first priority. The only reason why I could more easily put it down before the ending is because the tension was so high, I needed the break.

If the devil is truly in the details, then he has a vacation home next door to the Beach Lawyer. A good attorney knows the specifics of the case. A better one knows which ones to ignore. What attorneys-turned-authors rarely realize is relaying too many facts really drags down an otherwise strong story. Not so with Beach Lawyer! The author, Avery Duff delivers the “deets” judiciously, from intricate character descriptions and case details to merely the use of one word (such as brand name as adjective) and lets the reader’s mind fill in the blanks.

For those of you who like a fairy-tale ending, you’ll find one midway through the book. Fortunately, for the rest of us, there are several more chapters still to go. In fact, Beach Lawyer takes some very unexpected twists and turns of an adult nature which might have the more innocuous of bookworms asking themselves: “What the heck am I reading?”

I have to admit I was one of them. Main character Robert Worth and his colleagues are initially so upstanding and likable that learning of any sinful indulgence feels like some sort of a betrayal. A few more readers on Amazon and KindleFirst were critical of the book if for only this reason, but perhaps it’s also because they didn’t like how they felt about themselves after continuing to read it as a sudden guilty pleasure.

It’s important to keep in mind that while this is Duff’s first novel, he’s a former law firm partner who is now a successful screenwriter. Once you understand this, you’ll better see why the book leads you where it does: to a place perfect for adaptation for film or television. It’s also a specifically themed and quasi-quixotic beach read, a genre which is perhaps more often salacious than your typical whodunit. In fact, because Beach Lawyer is so obviously targeting its audience as a beach read for lawyers or would-be lawyers, I spent time wondering if the title was more daft than clever. So stay the course when reading, for all is not as it seems.

Robert Worth is a veritable Boy Scout. Everything he does is above board and by the book … at least at first. In spite of being a goody-two-shoes, he’s not too much of one. Worth quickly becomes a likable character for his acute observations on life as well as his ability to befriend and appreciate almost everyone. Almost. With every brick author Duff places in Worth’s ivory tower, the reader comes ever closer to a wrecking ball dismantling nearly everything Worth strove so hard to achieve. But just like in Lincoln Logs or Jenga, picking up the pieces after Worth’s sudden destruction is half the fun.

Beach read aspects aside, the serial nature to the novel belies it as a great work of fiction except for one thing. There’s an assurance we are to get another. And if you’d like a modern day window into what it might be like as a young lawyer on track for junior partner at a prominent firm, the first half of Beach Lawyer is for you.


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Cartoon Caption: What’s your diagnosis for this patient, doctor and judge?

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on Cartoon Caption: What’s your diagnosis for this patient, doctor and judge?

Cartoon Caption Contest

What happens when a patient, a doctor and a judge all end up in the same room? Did the patient get a clean bill of health, or did he just get the bill from his lawyer? Examine this scenario and send us your strongest caption for this month’s cartoon. The winner of our August challenge will see their caption and credit printed in an upcoming issue of the ABA Journal.

Congrats to July’s winning contest contributor, Benjamin Dryden of Washington, D.C. His caption will appear in an upcoming issue of the ABA Journal.

Patient, doctor and judge in exam room.

Submit the caption you think best fits this cartoon by emailing captions[at]abajournal[dot]com with “August Caption Contest” in the subject line. Only entries received by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, will be considered.

Judge, lawyer and witness in courtroom.

“When I said I’d tell the truth ‘so help me God,’ I didn’t mean it literally!”

How the contest works: Readers are asked to consider what’s happening in the cartoon in this post and submit clever, original captions. ABA Journal staff will review entries, pick their favorites, then ask readers to vote on the best of the bunch.

How to enter: Submit the caption you think best fits the scene depicted in the cartoon by emailing captions[at]abajournal[dot]com with “August Caption Contest” in the subject line.

Deadline for entry: Contest entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13.

The prize: Bragging rights. Plus, the winning caption and credit to the caption writer will appear in an upcoming issue of the ABA Journal.

For complete rules, follow this link. To view past cartoons, check out this gallery or follow the Cartoon Caption Contest RSS feed

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2017 Cartoons of the Month



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F. Leary Davis, founding dean of two law schools, dies at age 75

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on F. Leary Davis, founding dean of two law schools, dies at age 75

Obituaries

F_Leary_Davis

F. Leary Davis/Elon University

The only person believed to be the founding dean of two law schools has died at the age of 75.

F. Leary Davis Jr. died Thursday from leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Greensboro News & Record reports.

Davis was named dean of the law school at Campbell University in 1975 and at Elon University in 2005. He retired from Elon in 2009. Both schools had reports on his death here and here.

When Davis was asked to become founding dean at Campbell, there was an undersupply of lawyers, particularly in North Carolina which was “by far last in the nation in lawyers per capita,” according to an obituary.

Prior to joining Campbell, Davis was in private practice in Zebulon and Raleigh in North Carolina. He had also served as an assistant prosecutor, according to this tribute in the Campbell Law Review.

In 2010, Davis served as acting executive director of Karamah, Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights.


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Judge offers shorter sentences for offenders who get vasectomies or contraceptive implants

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Elder Care | Comments Off on Judge offers shorter sentences for offenders who get vasectomies or contraceptive implants

Judiciary

White County

White County, Tennessee.

Dozens of inmates in White County, Tennessee, have taken advantage of a judge’s offer of a 30-day sentence credit if they undergo vasectomies or contraceptive implants.

Judge Sam Benningfield issued a standing order offering the sentence reduction in May, and since then 32 women received Nexplanon contraceptive implants and 38 men are waiting for free vasectomies performed by the Tennessee Department of Public Health, News Channel 5 reports in a story noted by the Washington Post.

Benningfield’s order also offers a two-day sentence reduction for offenders who complete an educational program about the dangers of having children while using drugs. He says he is offering the sentence reductions to stop people from passing drug addiction to their children.

“I’m trying to help these folks, you know, begin to think about taking responsibility for their life and doing right and giving them a leg up,” Benningfield told CBS News. “And when they get out of jail to perhaps rehabilitate themselves and not be burdened again with unwanted children and all that comes with that.”

The Tennessee Department of Health does offer free family planning services, but it wasn’t involved in developing the sentence reduction policy. Spokesperson Shelley Walker told the Washington Post that it doesn’t support any policy that would compel incarcerated people to seek any particular health services.

The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Hedy Weinberg, asserted in a statement that the “so-called choice” offered by the judge is unconstitutional.

“Such a choice violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity by interfering with the intimate decision of whether and when to have a child, imposing an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it,” Weinberg said.


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