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  • WisBar News
    April 14, 2016

    Sneak Peek: Changes to Real Estate Laws, Free-speech Protections, 100 Innovations in Law, and More

    Changes to real estate laws preempt municipal ordinances, concerns about the enforceability of arbitration provisions in nursing-home admission contracts, and limits on teachers’ First Amendment rights: The April issue of Wisconsin Lawyer magazine takes an in-depth look at these and other issues.

    April 2016 Wisconsin Lawyer magazineApril 14, 2016 – The potential for redundant regulations can add to the money and time cost of real estate transactions. In this month’s cover article, “State Law Preempts Municipal Property Inspection Ordinances,” authors John Finerty Jr. and Nancy Leary Haggerty explain how recent enactments to state law significantly change residential and commercial real estate transactions, including prohibiting local governments from imposing or enforcing time-of-sale requirements on the sale of real estate. Because the old requirements remain on the books, and on the mandated offer to purchase form, confusion over these transactions may arise.

    In another real-estate related article, “101: How to Foreclose against Abandoned Properties,” authors Andrew Oettinger and Christopher Flowers provide tips to help clients through the process of buying and selling zombie properties.

    Dispute-resolution Provisions in Nursing-home Contracts

    At some point, you or a loved one will face admission to a nursing home. In “Nursing-home Admission Contracts: Enforcing Arbitration Provisions,” the authors suggest arbitration provisions in nursing-home agreements present many special concerns because of the vulnerability of most individuals needing nursing-home placement. They identify characteristics of the typical nursing-home-admission process that weigh in favor of not treating these agreements the same as contracts in which all parties have equal bargaining power.

    Teachers’ First Amendment Rights

    In “Speaking Up: The First Amendment and Wisconsin’s Public Educators,” Amy Casey explores limitations on teachers’ free speech rights. First Amendment free-speech protections accompany teachers into the classroom, but both in and outside school, teachers’ publicly expressed views often draw sharp scrutiny and sometimes official response.

    Innovation, Technology, and Ethics

    When changes are necessary to better serve their clients, improve access to justice, or simply make their work easier, author Jason Krause says lawyers can be pretty progressive. In “100 Innovations in Law,” Krause presents 100 technological, intellectual, and practical innovations that have fundamentally changed the way law is practiced.

    Want more technology? In “Technology: So, You Want to … Get the Best Mobile Email App,” practice management advisor Tison Rhine says Microsoft’s mobile version of outlook is probably the best email app for most lawyers, and it’s free.

    And where technology and ethics intersect, Dean Dietrich advises on which client text messages to save and how to save them in “Ethics: Handling Clients’ Text Messages.”

    Controlling Your Marketing Message, Dependents and Your Taxes, Using Your Member Benefits

    Marketing: Roadways might be ready for self-propelled cars, but Larry Bodine says effective legal marketing still requires a human operator at the wheel. So, “Avoid the Ditch: Take Control of Your Marketing.”

    Solutions: Have you claimed every tax exemption that you’re entitled to claim? In “The Dependency Exemption Tax Deduction: What You Think You Know But Don’t,” Jay Miller explains that for purposes of tax returns, not all dependents are children nor are all children dependents. The devil – and pitfalls – are in the definitions.

    Final Thought: In “I’m Not Afraid of Barry Alvarez,” former sports journalist and current legal writer Joe Forward explains how he learned to overcome fear when facing new situations or circumstances, and says that is one of the best life skills you’ll ever develop.

    Your State Bar: In “Membership Has Privileges,” executive director George Brown highlights some of the features that come with your State Bar membership. This issue includes an overview of your member benefits; be sure to check it out.

    Stay up-to-date on what your colleagues are up to in the Members Only and Lawyer Discipline columns.

    Check out the full April Wisconsin Lawyer.

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