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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    April 12, 2021

    Briefly

    Interesting facts, trends, tips, bits and bytes in the news.


    Did You Know?
    Going Once, Going Twice … Non-Fungible Token Sold

    non-fungible token

    Last month, Fond du Lac native and digital artist Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple and now lives in South Carolina, sold a collection of his digital artwork for $69.3 million through Christie’s Auction House.

    The collection was sold as a non-fungible token (NFT), described as “unique files that live on a blockchain and are able to verify ownership of a work of digital art.”

    According to The Verge, “buyers typically get limited rights to display the digital artwork they represent, but in many ways, they’re just buying bragging rights and an asset they may be able to resell later.”

    Sales of NFTs have exploded in recent months.

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes recently sold his own collection of digital art as an NFT (featuring his likeness) for $3.7 million on Makersplace, a platform for artists to sell digital works through the blockchain.

    As of this writing, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey was auctioning his first-ever Tweet, from 2006. The highest bid was at $2.5 million on a platform called Valuables, a marketplace to buy and sell Tweets as NFTs.

    A Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) animation known as Nyan Cat (go ahead, Google it) also recently sold as an NFT. It sold for $600,000.

    Musicians also are making hay, with NFTs that incorporate their original songs (musician Grimes recently sold an NFT for $389,000).

    “Although IP rights are few and far between for NFTs, IP law may have to respond to the consequences of this NFT craze,” wrote William Holmes at Legal Cheek.

    Sources: The Verge; Yahoo Sports; CNN Business

    Got a Nugget to Share?

    Send your ideas for interesting facts, trends, tips, or other bits and bytes to wislawmag@wisbar.org, or comment below.

    Tech Tip
    Save Time: Automate Scheduling of Client Meetings

    alarm clock

    Instead of spending time chasing clients via phone, text message, or email to schedule meetings, consider using software to automate the process.

    You can either: 1) integrate your schedule into a client-facing web portal that allows clients to select an appointment when you are free; or 2) set aside blocks of time on your calendar for client meetings. Clients can see only when you are free for appointments.

    Calendly is a popular cloud option that offers free and paid subscriptions. If you do not want to integrate your existing calendar (for example, Google, Microsoft, or iCloud) into additional cloud software, you have the option of only providing times that you are available for client meetings.

    Calendar integration provides real-time updates on your availability. When you or clients schedule meetings, your calendar automatically updates.

    Setting aside time for meetings without using calendar integration runs the risk of scheduling conflicts. If you prefer calendar integration but you do not want to integrate new cloud software, check your existing Microsoft 365 subscription to see if it includes Bookings. Bookings is another web-based option, comparable to Calendly, for scheduling and managing appointments.

    Automated scheduling will free up your time to work on billable matters.

    Source: Christopher C. Shattuck, practice management advisor, Practice 411™, State Bar of Wisconsin

    By the Numbers
    11,643

    – The number of bankruptcy filings in Wisconsin’s federal bankruptcy courts in 2020, almost 5,000 fewer than in 2019.

    U.S. bankruptcy filings in 2020 hit a 35-year low thanks to government-funded COVID-19 relief packages to help businesses and consumers, according to Reuters.

    “The low level of bankruptcies has been one of the more perplexing dynamics of a pandemic era that has seen millions of jobs destroyed, record numbers of people collecting unemployment insurance, and small businesses forced to close to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” the article notes.

    “Government unemployment insurance, business loans and other programs ended up replacing much of that lost income, pushing savings to record levels and keeping households and businesses afloat – at least for now.”

    Source: U.S. Courts; Reuters

    On the Radar
    State Bar Elections: Remember to Vote by April 23

    Anu Chudasama and Elizabeth Reeths

    Anu Chudasama (left) and Elizabeth Reeths run for State Bar treasurer in this spring’s elections.

    State Bar members will elect a president-elect, a treasurer, a Judicial Council representative, and Board of Governors’ representatives this month. The president-elect serves a one-year term before becoming president. The treasurer holds the position for two years, while the Judicial Council representative serves a three-year term.

    All State Bar elections (including for divisions and sections) are held via an electronic ballot. Ballots are emailed by April 9, and the election closes at noon Central Time on April 23, 2021. Those elected take office July 1, 2021.

    Visit wisbar.org/elections to learn about the candidates.

    AMC Swearing-In Ceremony. Current president-elect Cheryl Daniels will be sworn in as the 66th State Bar of Wisconsin president at the virtual 2021 Annual Meeting & Conference (AMC), June 9-11. You do not need to register for the AMC in order to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

    Check out the schedule, special events, and featured speakers at amc.wisbar.org.

    Quotable
    “Colleagues will always help you. We’re not competing for billable hours.”

    – Hon. Dewey Martin, court commissioner for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

    A former prosecutor and Milwaukee corporation counsel, Martin was talking about the benefits of a legal career in government during a recent panel discussion on Careers in Government, organized by the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers (WAAL).

    Panelist Nadya Perez-Reyes, an attorney with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, said, “You have the ability to impact people’s lives, and you get a front-row seat to what justice actually looks like.”

    Panelists also discussed the challenges of government legal work, and offered insights, thoughts, and anecdotes on being a person of color in the courtroom as a prosecutor or public defender.

    The full panel discussion is available at WAAL’s Facebook page.

    On the Radar
    $9 per Month Gets You Law on Call

    post it notes

    For a $9 monthly subscription fee, subscribers “get instant access to lawyers” from Law on Call LLC, a nonlawyer-owned entity authorized to practice law in Utah under a two-year pilot project approved by the Utah Supreme Court.

    In 2019, the Utah Supreme Court approved plans for a “regulatory sandbox” intended to “optimize the regulatory structure for legal services so as to foster innovation and other market forces and to increase access to and affordability of legal services.”

    The pilot project allows concepts and structures that may not necessarily comply with restrictions on lawyer advertising, fee sharing, and ownership of and investment in law firms by nonlawyers.

    Northwest Registered Agent LLC formed Law on Call LLC as a subsidiary and recently launched “Utah Law on Call,” which will be available this spring, with more states to come.

    The subscription provides direct access to employee-lawyers and paraprofessionals through 15-minute calls. If additional legal work is required, the lawyers are available at discounted hourly rates, determined by a lawyer’s experience level.

    Sources: Utah Supreme Court; ABA Journal; Law on Call




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