On the Radar
Incubator Programs: The New Training Ground for Lawyers?
Recently, the Vermont Bar Association partnered with Vermont Law School to start the “Lawyer Incubator Pilot Project,” which will help launch new lawyers’ careers in solo or small firm practice while they provide legal assistance to underserved populations in Vermont for 18 months.
During this time, mentors will support lawyers, who will receive practical skills and business training opportunities while providing pro bono and reduced-fee representation. The program addresses the decline in entry-level hiring by law firms, the historic training ground for new lawyers.
Recently, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Committee on the Challenges Facing New Lawyers recommended that the State Bar explore similar “legal incubator” programs that might assist new lawyers in Wisconsin.
The State Bar of Wisconsin also recently launched a “Business School for Lawyers” initiative to help lawyers who want to start solo and small firms.
By the Numbers
The percentage of lawyers that do not have adequate security to protect confidential client data, according to the results of a recent LexisNexis survey, “File Sharing in the Legal Industry.”
You’ve seen it. The little disclaimer at the end of emails that says something like, “this email and any documents attached to it are confidential.” But industry experts say this disclaimer really doesn’t do much without encryption.
The survey found that 77 percent of lawyers use these statements of confidentiality but only 22 percent encrypt emails.
In “Digital Detectives,” a podcast on the Legal Network, lawyer and legal technology expert Bob Ambrogi commented on the survey’s findings.
He says most lawyers understand their ethical responsibility to protect client data, but the survey suggests most don’t take the proper steps to do so.
“I think there’s a perception that encryption is a difficult process.” Ambrogi said. “It used to be. But it isn’t that way anymore.”
For tips how to do it, read “101: Encryption Made Simple” in the December 2013 Wisconsin Lawyer.
Q & A
The Daughter Effect: Is it Real?
A recent study by professors at Harvard and the University of Rochester suggests that judges with at least one daughter affects how they decide cases. Specifically, the study found that judges, in gender-related cases, are 7 percent more likely to rule in a feminist direction if they have at least one daughter and 16 percent more likely to rule in a feminist direction if they have at least one daughter and no sons.
“Indeed, across cases involving gender issues, judges who parent daughters as opposed to sons are more likely to reach liberal decisions – possibly because having daughters causes judges to learn about women’s issues,” the authors state in an article published by the Midwest Political Science Association.
Watch Out for Flying Weenies
Headed to a baseball game this summer? Watch out for flying hotdogs. But if you do get injured by one, you may have a legitimate claim, at least according to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Recently, that court ruled that John Coomer’s negligence claims against the Kansas City Royals can proceed. Coomer was hit in the face by a hot dog during the Hot Dog Launch event, a staple at Royals’ games. Apparently, the hot dog caused Coomer to suffer a detached retina.
A jury had decided in favor of the Royals, but the Missouri high court recently vacated that decision. The court found that assuming the risk associated with flying hot dogs at a baseball game is different than assuming the risk of being hit by an errant bat or baseball.
Source: Courthouse News Service
Out-of-Office Reply in Outlook: Don’t Attract Spammers or Crooks
Summer is an opportune time for lawyers to get some needed R&R. But be careful about the contents of your out-of-office email reply. According to the Lawyerist, such replies – which may suggest you are out of town during a specified time – can attract the opportunistic eyes of spammers and scammers.
“You may think this is fairly innocuous information. But in the hands of someone intent on exploiting the unsuspecting, this is just enough information to pull off a scam,” writes Deborah Savadra. For spammers, an auto reply indicates that the email address is real.
So what should you do? If you cannot forego the auto reply, the “Outside My Organization” tab has an option to send auto replies, but only to people in your email contact list.
Or you could set the “Rules” to forward certain messages, such as ones from particular people or clients, to someone else in your office. This way, there is no auto reply, but messages from persons you deem important will get the attention they need while you are away.
Tell us your solution. Email org wislawmag wisbar wisbar wislawmag org, subject line “tech tip.”
From the Archives
Freedom Summer: 1964
Fifty years ago this summer, about 1,000 volunteers – mostly white college students – descended on Mississippi in an effort to increase the number of registered African-American voters, who were historically excluded from voting through intimidation, violence, and discriminatory registration procedures.
The coordinated voter registration drive was spearheaded by civil rights organizations and became known as Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project. At the time, Mississippi had the lowest percentage of eligible black voters who were actually registered to vote.
For more than two months, mostly white volunteers and black residents endured the violence of racist groups resistant to such efforts. Three Freedom Summer workers (two white, one black) were murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Others were beaten or arrested. Black homes, churches, and businesses were torched. These events drew a national spotlight on the deep-seated racism and violence of Mississippi and the South, and proved to be a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement.
For another perspective on Freedom Summer, see civil rights lawyer Lester Pines’ “Final Thought” column at page 80.