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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    October 01, 2015


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    dog sniffing a toadOut There

    Dog-sniffing in the Digital Age

    Okay, we’ve all heard of drug-sniffing dogs to detect illegal drugs. But recently a labrador named “Bear” was the MVP investigator in the child pornography case against Jared Fogle, a longtime spokesperson for Subway.

    Bear was trained to find electronic components through smell, which allowed the dog to detect a thumb drive with incriminating evidence in Fogle’s home. Apparently, only three dogs in the U.S. are trained to sniff out electronics. They were trained to detect a certain chemical commonly used in flash drives, circuit boards, and other electronic components.

    Source: Discover magazine, NBC News

    By the Numbers


    – The median number of hours that responding Wisconsin attorneys spent providing free legal services to persons of limited means in 2014, according to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s most recent pro bono survey. That’s an increase of 50 percent from 2012.

    In addition, last year responding attorneys spent a median 36 hours on substantially reduced-fee cases to help persons of limited means, a 44 percent increase in the number of hours spent in 2012.

    Finally, the percentage of responding attorneys providing pro bono services rose from 59 percent in 2012 to 68 percent in 2014, a 15 percent increase.

    These numbers are signs that Wisconsin attorneys are increasing their efforts to help lower-income residents, and that’s good news!

    Jack O'Lantern customer serviceGood Ideas

    Good Customer Service: Don’t Forget the Phone

    Only 25 percent of American consumers are satisfied with the way law firms handle their phone calls, according to PH Media Group, based in London, which canvassed more than 2,200 U.S. consumers to gauge phone call satisfaction across numerous industry sectors. Across all business sectors, just 32 percent of study participants were satisfied.

    “Poor call handling is a frustrating experience for the American consumer and can be the difference between attracting new business and putting potential clients off permanently,” said Mark Williamson, sales and marketing director for PH Media Group.

    “Companies who provide a top-class call handling experience can distinguish themselves from the competition and create new positive perceptions of waiting on hold. But the research results suggest the legal profession still has a lot of work to do in this respect.”

    legal notepadTech Tip

    Lawyer Tip: Your Legal Notepad is Still Useful

    Legal notepads, typically a pad of yellow paper, probably aren’t as popular these days as digital equivalents offer new note-taking methods.  But before you abandon your legal notepads, consider one lawyer’s view:

    “When you don’t want to take on any additional work, I suggest that you carry two legal pads everywhere you go, one in each hand. That way, if someone is about to ask you to do something, they will perceive you can’t do it because, hey, you literally have your hands full. They will then hopefully go away.”

    Source: Daily Lawyer Tips, (anonymous attorney blogger)

    happy birthday cupcakesQuotable

    “‘Happy Birthday’ is finally free after 80 years.”

    – Randall Newman, attorney for the plaintiffs who challenged a copyright hold on the song, “Happy Birthday to You.”

    Last month a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that the company collecting royalties for commercial use of the song, one of the most popular songs in history, did not hold a valid copyright.

    The publishing arm of Warner Music Group has enforced the copyright since 1988, but it was originally filed 80 years ago, in 1935. Independent filmmakers who paid royalties filed the lawsuit.

    The judge ruled that the original copyright filed in 1935 did not grant a copyright to the song, only specific piano arrangements. An appeal is likely.

    Source:Los Angeles Times

    headless horsemanFrom the Archives

    Headless Horseman Appears in Court

    Since October is the month of Halloween, it makes perfect sense to document how many times the state and federal courts have invoked the “headless horseman,” a character made famous by Washington Irving in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, first published in 1820. That story, of course, is especially popular during the Halloween season.

    According to research of published opinions, the “headless horseman” pops up in four federal cases, and five state cases. Unfortunately, none of them originated in Wisconsin, and none of them involve a party claiming to be the headless horseman.

    But one federal case involves an action against the village of Sleepy Hollow in New York, and Judge Richard Cardamone, of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, could not resist the connection.

    “The case before us on this appeal has as one of the named defendants the Village of Sleepy Hollow (Village), a small municipality located on the banks of the Hudson River in Westchester County, New York,” Judge Cardamone wrote. “The very name Sleepy Hollow evokes shades of the Headless Horseman, Ichabod Crane, and Katrina Van Tassel – all fictional figures made famous by Washington Irving in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

    “According to the legend, the Headless Horseman haunts this tranquil village. Its ghost is reportedly responsible for numerous frightful encounters, including one in which the specter scared the schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, out of town. In this case we do not deal with a headless horseman, but with discord of another kind – the alleged discriminatory treatment faced by plaintiffs, two female employees of the Village.”

    Source: Fastcase, Westlaw

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