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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    February 01, 2016


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    Online Fantasy Sports: Skill or Chance?

    fantasy sports logoYou may have watched Super Bowl 50. But did you try to win money by entering a line-up through an online fantasy sports site? Your financial success is tied to the statistical success of the players you choose. Does that seem like illegal gambling to you? Or is there skill in selecting the players?

    Illinois and New York have attempted to ban online fantasy sports businesses such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings from operating in their states. Wisconsin has been silent on the issue, until now.

    Reportedly, a Republican lawmaker wants to pass a bill to make online fantasy sports betting expressly legal by designating the activity as a game of skill, not chance.

    Federal law bans online gambling transactions, but there’s an exemption for fantasy sports. States can decide whether to allow it or not.

    Source: Racine Journal Times

    By the Numbers


    – The number of jobs that were added in the U.S. legal market in 2015,
    according to Bloomberg BNA.

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that 2015 started with 1,118,000 people employed in the legal industry, and ended with 1,128,000.WL

    On the Radar

    A New Profession – LPPs in Utah

    Licensed paralegal practitioners (LPPs) in Utah will help clients fill out legal forms, prepare settlements, and represent them in mediated negotiations now that the Utah Supreme Court has approved the creation of the new legal profession.

    Mesa Arch, UtahJustice Deno Himonas, who chaired a task force on LPPs, said allowing LPPs to operate will help more people who cannot afford an attorney.

    “Lawyers have been incredibly generous with their time,” Himonas told The Salt Lake Tribune, referring to lawyers who do pro bono work. “At the end of the day, though, we need to come up with an economically viable model that will help improve access for those individuals in our civil justice system.”

    The Utah State Bar will oversee LPP licensing and disciplinary concerns.

    In 2014, Washington became the first state to license what “limited license legal technicians,” and other states are considering a similar path.


    “We need to acknowledge we are human beings before we are lawyers. If we don’t, we are going to continue to lose good people from the profession.”

    feet with high heel and sneaker– Terry McCabe, an Australian lawyer who helped reduce his law firm’s staff turnover rate, from 40 percent to below 8 percent, by addressing the working environment and work-life balance issues.

    McCabe was commenting for an article about a study, which found that lawyers had the lowest psychological and psychosomatic health and wellbeing among the 800 white-collar professionals surveyed.

    Source: Financial Review

    From the Archives

    The ‘Lawscars’? 22 Law-related Oscar-nominated Films

    As Hollywood readies for the 88th Academy Awards, we look at some of the law-related films that earned Oscar awards or nominations in the past 70 years.

    Earning Oscars:

    • “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

    •  “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961)

    •  “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962)

    •  “A Man for All Seasons” (1966)

    •  “The Paper Chase” (1974)

    •  “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979)

    •  “Reversal of Fortune” (1990)

    •  “My Cousin Vinny” (1992)

    •  “Philadelphia” (1993)

    •  “Erin Brockovich” (2000)

    •  “Chicago” (2002)

    •  “Michael Clayton” (2007)

    •  “Lincoln” (2012)

    Earning Nominations:

    •  “12 Angry Men” (1957)

    •  “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957)

    •  “Anatomy of a Murder” (1959)

    •  “And Justice for All” (1979)

    •  “The Verdict” (1982)

    •  “A Few Good Men” (1993)

    •  “In the Name of the Father” (1993)

    •  “Amistad” (1997)

    •  “A Civil Action” (1998)

    Have you seen them all? Did we miss any? What is your favorite law-related movie? Email us.

    Out There

    A Not-so-romantic Tax Story

    heart with pins in itIf you are struggling to find good topics of conversation on your Valentine’s Day date, try this
    not-so-romantic story involving tax and a monogamy agreement.

    In 2010, a 71 year-old-man paid his 53-year-old girlfriend $400,000 under an agreement that required both parties “to be faithful to each other and refrain from engaging in intimate or other romantic relations with any other individual.” The fellow, Lewis Burns, bestowed cash and other gifts on his girlfriend that year too, including a Corvette.

    But the girlfriend didn’t live up to her end of the agreement. Mr. Burns responded as any jealous boyfriend would. He sued her and filed a Form 1099 with the IRS, stating he paid her income of nearly $750,000. The girlfriend did not report the “income” to the IRS.

    In the 2013 state court civil suit, a jury found that the girlfriend fraudulently induced Burns to pay the $400,000 to her under the monogamy agreement, and she had to repay him. But she was allowed to keep other cash and the Corvette as gifts.

    Last month, a U.S. Tax Court judge ruled the girlfriend must pay tax on the $400,000 because she did not repay it “within the year of receipt.” In addition, the judge said the civil court ruling did not bar the IRS from litigating the issue of whether the car and other cash were actually “gifts.”

    Source: Bloomberg BNA, Forbes

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