“The nine-year old and counsel wish to continue to stay up late watching baseball and to attend tomorrow’s game, if it is necessary.”
– What a Washington, D.C.-area attorney wrote in his motion to delay briefing for two days so he could watch the Washington Nationals in the playoffs last month against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals, of course, defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild card round and went on to win the World Series.
The U.S. district judge granted the motion, after counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice did not object.
“Lawyers on TV fight over everything and act like it’s World War III, but my counterpart at the Department of Justice is a perfectly nice and respectful person,” attorney Jay Friedman told the Washington Post. “She sent me a note yesterday afternoon and she said, ‘Everybody here loves [the motion]. We’re showing it around the office.’”
The Brewers lost, but here’s a win for lawyer civility.
Source: Washington Post
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By the Numbers
– The annual average public law school tuition (in state), nationally, in 2018. This is 5.82 times the cost of law school in 1985, after adjusting for inflation.
In 1985, the annual average public law school tuition (in-state) was $2,006 (in 1985 dollars).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index (CPI) inflation calculator, $2,006 in 1985 had the same buying power as $4,683 did in 2018.
In 2018, the average private law school tuition, nationally, is $47,754. This is 2.73 times the cost of private law school in 1985, after adjusting for inflation.
In 1985, the average private law school tuition was $7,526 (in 1985 dollars).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI inflation calculator, $7,526 in 1985 had the same buying power as $17,570 did in 2018.
Source: Law School Transparency
Think Before You Send: Email Encryption
Have you ever sent an email to a client that was intended for a different client? Are you worried that emails containing your clients’ nonpublic personal information might be hacked? Do you think it will cost too much money or take up too much of your time to encrypt emails?
These are common issues that are raised during discussions on encryption protocols in law firms.
For less than $10 per month, sole practitioners can incorporate email encryption software into their client communications.
Services such as Identillect act as plug-ins to existing email services (Gmail, Outlook, Office 365, and so on) and allow users to encrypt emails with a few additional clicks of the mouse. Email encryption platforms typically include services that allow senders to restrict forwarding and printing of messages, recall sent messages, and set an email expiration date.
Stated differently, lawyers who use email encryption services can recall an encrypted email that was sent to the wrong client.
Encrypted emails offer an additional layer of protection when underlying email services are compromised. And, email encryption platforms can be integrated into law firm systems inexpensively.
Need more motivation? Review Wisconsin Formal Ethics Opinion EF-15-01: Ethical Obligations of Attorneys Using Cloud Computing. Pay close attention to the references of using unencrypted emails.
Source: Christopher C. Shattuck – Practice Management Advisor (Practice 411™), State Bar of Wisconsin
That’s a First! Clean Slate Law
Pennsylvania recently passed a clean slate law, reportedly the first in the nation, that will use technology to automatically seal certain criminal records from the public court website. These include “charges that were dropped or where individuals were found not guilty, as well as summary and minor misdemeanor convictions that are ten years old.” According to the Pennsylvania courts, around 30 million cases are eligible to be sealed.
Although it is not state law, Wisconsin is already doing this as a matter of online court record policy. Director of State Courts Randy Koschnick, in 2018, implemented a process for removing certain cases from the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) website after two years. These include criminal misdemeanor and felony cases in which the case was dismissed or the defendant was acquitted. The cases are still retained by the court clerk’s office for the full retention periods, but they are sealed from public view on WCCA.
The policy is intended to remove case types that have a potential to be misused through discrimination or that create hardships or burdens based on stigmatization in areas such as employment or housing.
Source: Community Legal Services of Philadelphia; WisBar InsideTrack
From the Archives
Wisconsin’s First Thanksgiving
The first official Wisconsin Thanksgiving holiday was declared in 1830 by Lewis Cass, then-governor of the territory of Michigan (which included the territory of Wisconsin before it became its own territory in 1836). Cass issued a proclamation:
“In conformity with a resolution of the Legislative council, and the usage which has prevailed in this Territory, I do hereby appoint Thursday, the 25th of November, next, a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer.
“And I recommend to the inhabitants of the Territory that, refraining from all labor, inconsistent with the duties and solemnity of the day, they repair to their respective houses of public worship and unite in suitable acknowledgements to the ‘Giver of every good gift,’ for the favor and privileges he has granted to us, as a people.”
Source: Wisconsin Historical Society
On the Radar
Arizona Eases Lawyer Regulation Restrictions
An Arizona task force is the latest to recommend fundamental changes to the regulation of legal services, following similar recommendations in Utah and California.
The Arizona Supreme Court’s Task Force on the Delivery of Legal Services released a report in October that recommends lifting a ban on nonlawyer ownership of law firms and easing restrictions on lawyer advertising.
The task force also recommended the development of a program to license nonlawyer limited license legal practitioners (LLLPs) “to provide legal advice and to advocate for clients within a limited scope of practice.”
Washington state already allows “limited license legal technicians” to operate free of lawyer supervision on certain legal matters. Utah allows “licensed paralegal practitioners” to work on certain legal matters, such as family law issues, without violating unauthorized-practice-of-law rules.
The goal of these programs is access to justice – to provide more legal assistance options for those who cannot afford lawyers.
In Wisconsin, paralegals must work under the supervision of a lawyer. Paralegals cannot operate independently.
Source: Bob Ambrogi, Lawsites