Finding Legal Services Online


The legal industry is going through a lot of change right now with the new technology that is available. Across the country, more people than ever before are starting to see the value in using new technology in order to drive innovation and growth within their respective industry. The legal industry is moving online in a lot of areas. Not only is this good for customers, but it is a way for companies to grow their business as well. Over time, investing in online growth is one of the best things that the legal profession can do. Here are some of the biggest advantages for companies that offer services online.

More Flexibility

One of the biggest advantages in offering online legal services is the flexibility that it provides. There are a lot of people who use legal services online because it is much more convenient than going to visit a lawyer in person. Not only that, but some people are embarrassed about the legal issues that they have and are more comfortable working online with someone.

As a business in this field, you need to work on a way to add more flexibility for your clients. This will allow your company to grow sales and serve more customers within the community.

Better Service

When it comes to offering services online, legal companies are getting better service comments from customers across the board. The young people today want to do business online in any way that they can. With that being said, legal services are a little different than streaming your favorite television show.

Legal companies need to spend an appropriate amount of time scaling up their legal services that they offer online. Over time, they will be able to see all of the different changes that are available to make in order to drive sales and profits in this area.

Future Trends

Overall, the legal industry is changing rapidly for a number of reasons. Not only do customers want more options, but they also want to work on their legal issues on their own time. A lot of legal teams are starting to offer services online in response to this demand from customers. This is a growth area of the industry, and it is vital that current legal teams start to adjust with the market in order to stay relevant and grow.

Similarities and Differences Between Big Tobacco and Big Pharma’s Opioid Crisis


Opioid painkillers help many people afflicted with chronic pain live near-normal lives. Without opioids, many chronic pain sufferers may not be able to work, care for others, or even perform household chores like washing dishes or sweeping floors. Although prescription opioids have been available in the United States for over one hundred years, opioids have recently made a big splash in the world of litigation. Despite them just now getting deserved attention, poppy plants — the precursors to opioid painkillers and heroin alike — have been used by humans for centuries.

Drugs have been a staple of human history for many years, and are likely to continue being a part of most people’s lives. Coffee, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, hard drugs, and prescription medications all fit the bill for the aforementioned drugs. In recent United States history, various drugs have caught flak for various reasons.

Alcohol was prohibited about a century ago, then made legal and regulated due to the crime and danger associated with bootleg alcohol. Tobacco makers were sued in the 1990s for pushing unarguably deadly tobacco products to consumers without appropriately representing their risks.

An industry-wide penalty was placed on the United States’ largest tobacco manufacturers in 1998, being forced to pay $250 billion throughout future years. Experts believe class-action lawsuits against opioid painkiller manufacturers, developers, and marketers may appear very soon. Although the tobacco market of the 1990s was much larger than the prescription opioid market of today in the United States, possibilities for suing are very real.

Some attorneys have pointed out glaring differences in the two addiction-forming scenarios. Tobacco companies sold their products directly to consumers, with any United States citizen over the age of 18 with valid identification being able to purchase, and use, tobacco. Prescription opioids, on the other hand, require healthcare professionals to prescribe them. Even opioids have been redirected from prescription holders into the hands of street drug users, effectively finding their ways into mouths, noses, and veins of millions of Americans, pharmaceutical companies are not directly to blame.

With the opioid crisis birthing countless detrimental outcomes by the day, turning many prescription opioid users into heroin addicts, litigation is certain to become actuality in the next few years. The outcome of lawsuits, however, is clearly up for debate.

Only coming years will determine the fate of opioid-producing pharmaceutical giants.

Legal Issues affecting the State of Texas

Donald Trump is making headlines again after appointing dozens of people to fill vacant positions in the federal government. Most of the positions are legal ones especially the appointees of circuit courts. He has also appointed ambassadors from Singapore to Alabama. However, he has singled out Texas as none of the vacant legal positions have been filled in the State. In the State of Texas alone, there are vacant positions such as two slots for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11 district judgeships as well as four district attorney seats. By this date eight years ago when Barrack Obama was the president, most of these legal vacant positions had already been filled. In fact, statistics show that Donald Trump has done half of the work that Obama had completed by this time. As for appointing the U.S. attorneys, this is usually a slow process. While Trump made his first appointment on 12th June, Barack Obama made his nominations on 15th May. As for George. W. Bush, he made these appointments on 1st August.

Like earlier mentioned, the number of vacant positions in Texas are noticeable. In fact, the state of Texas is known for having the largest numbers of U.S. attorney districts in the United States. A recent report detailed that the Southern District of Texas is one of the busiest districts in the United States. For instance, in a case of 52 judicial emergencies, nine of them were filed in the state of Texas alone. However, there is a vacancy in this state that has been unoccupied since the year 2011. Legal experts feel that the president should do something to fill these vacancies as they are slowing the process down. Also, some experts feel that given the size of Texas and its legal problems, this is a serious issue. It’s also important to remember that most of Trump supporters are from this state.

This has made critics say that Trump is not interested in implementing the things that he promised during the campaign. Instead, he is seen to use them as a way to gain political relevance. It’s important to note that all U.S. attorneys happen to be political appointees with the presidential input. They have to pass through a vetting process that is usually carried out by the U.S. Senate. There are legal issues in Texas such as drug trafficking, immigration as well as border security. This explains the importance of these appointments.

Related: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/may/9/aclu-issues-texas-travel-alert-anti-sanctuary-law/

The Supreme Court Reinstates the Travel Ban


President Donald Trump promised the Americans that they would work together to make America great again. True to his words, he tried to implement some promises but he was set back by some court rulings. However, the president and his followers have something to smile about as the Supreme Court on Monday decided to overturn the rulings of the other courts. The president had imposed a travelling ban that affected nationals from six Muslim countries. Donald Trump defended his actions as aligning to national security but his opponents went to court terming this as discriminatory. The executive order had been issued on 6th March this year.

The order was reinstated on the last day of the current term as the judges are going for the summer vacation. However, they revealed that they would look into the issue thoroughly once they are back in August. This will be seen as a test for the presidential powers especially if the ban will be thrown out. Following the Supreme Court ruling, Donald Trump said that this is a win for the national security. He also emphasized that the ruling by the Supreme Court would also help the ban become effective than before. Trump continued to explain that it’s his responsibility as the president of the United States to keep away people who want to harm the nation. He also emphasized his love for people who have good intentions for the nation and its citizens. He also mentioned that the country was interested in hard working people.

These orders affect people from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Syria meaning that they cannot be allowed into the country. The ban also implements a 120 days ban on refugees entering the United States. This ban was issued after an attack on major cities across the globe such as Berlin, Brussels, London and Paris where citizens of these nations were linked to these attacks. However, the court was challenged the federal courts. The courts ruled that the ban violated federal immigration laws. Federal courts also ruled that the ban was discriminating the Muslim people.

The Supreme Court on its part upheld the ban stating that any person from these six countries seeking to enter the United States should have a direct relative. If they don’t match these requirements, they will be prevented from entering the nation. The ban had been challenged by the Hawaii Attorney General. His name is Douglas Chin and has left his position since then.

Studies Find Law Firms May be Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

A cyber security startup called LogicForce recently released a report on the vulnerability of law firms to cyberattack. The results are pretty unsettling. In the wake of the devastating cyberattack on DLA Piper, a multinational law firm, law firms from around the country want to know how vulnerable their systems are to cyberattacks and ransomware.

The report released by LogicForce found that law firms are especially vulnerable to all kinds of cyberattacks. Disturbingly, the study found that corporate and government-affiliated law firms are also at risk. There may be billions of dollars at stake in the sense that ransomware could imperil huge swaths of a corporate client’s assets.

Some of the attacks may have already taken place. The LogicForce study showed that two-fifths of law firms were unaware that their systems were breached. Most law firms may be at risk since the study also found that the size, type, and complexity of the law firm had little or no bearing on whether that law firm was targeted for a sophisticated cyberattack.

Fewer than one-fourth of law firms surveyed in the study had cyberattack insurance. Admittedly, this is a brave new world with evolving threats, but more law firms should be protecting their clients’ confidential information and protecting their own assets. The cost of doing otherwise is simply too high.

So, how many total law firms are being affected by this ongoing onslaught of cyberattacks. The LogicForce study indicated that upwards of 65% of the 200 surveyed law firms had been breached with at least one cyberattack.

If there’s a silver lining to all of this it’s that about half of law firms tend to have an incident response plan in the event of a cyberattack. This means that lawyers are prepared to respond to threats of varying sizes with different strategies. That’s good news for mitigating the damage, but more proactive measures are needed to ensure that cyberattacks are kept to a minimum.

A similar though more comprehensive study undertaken by the American Bar Association (ABA) found that half of law firms with staff of 500 or more lawyers had an adequate incident response plan while 60 percent of law firms with 100-499 lawyers had such a plan in place.

The takeaway from all of these studies is that law firms should consider taking out cyberattack insurance and developing graduated incident response plans in case a cyberattack takes place.

Karl Heideck’s Guide to Pennsylvania Employment Law for Small Businesses

Do you operate a Pennsylvania business? There are a few things that you need to keep in mind regarding your workforce. Although labor laws are constantly evolving, it’s critical that you stay ahead of the curve. Here’s how employment regulations influence your compliance obligations and corporate future.

Critical Laws That Impact Pennsylvanian Companies

Employment law has a broad scope that touches on a vast range of practices. Some of the regulations that bind you may be specific to your industry or business model. For instance, if you employ legal minors, or individuals under the age of 18, then you’ll need to adhere to the Pennsylvania Child Labor Law, or CLL.

Other provisions are more broadly applicable regardless who’s in your workforce. Understand these critical rules:

Minimum Wage and Labor Practices: The Fair Labor Standards Act

This law, also known as the FLSA, lays down the rules for when you need to pay your employees minimum wage. It also covers overtime, your tabulation and recording of work hours, and your duty to post FLSA requirements visibly at your premises.

Although the FLSA governs the minimum wage, it’s important to remember that these federal rules don’t override state laws. For instance, as of June 2017, most Pennsylvanian workers who earned minimum wage received the same $7.25 hourly rate that the FLSA set. Since 2016, however, individuals who worked for the state’s government or contractors that bid on state jobs earned $10.15 when making minimum wage. If you’re unsure whether you need to pay federal or state minimum wage, the general rule is to pick the higher of the two.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

Also known as the FMLA, this federal law ensures that eligible employees are allowed to take leave when it’s related to their family or medical needs. During someone’s FMLA leave, you don’t have to pay them, but you can’t penalize them by firing them from their job or cut back their group health insurance eligibility.

Employees covered by the FMLA may take as many as 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. Valid reasons for taking leave include when workers

  • Need to care for their children, parents or spouses who have serious health problems,
  • Are having a new baby or need to care for one who was born less than a year ago,
  • Are adopting or foster parenting a new child,
  • Can’t perform their job due to their own serious health issues, or
  • Have military spouses, offspring or parents who get injured.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Employees are getting older, and employers must afford elderly workers the same rights that they’d grant their younger counterparts. If you fail to do so, you could face discrimination lawsuits or fines.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, dates back to 1967. It was originally intended to stop bosses who employ more than 20 people from discriminating against workers above the age of 40. Navigating this law isn’t as simple as determining whether you meet these basic tenets, however. For instance, if you operate a consumer research organization, then you may have a valid reason for restricting certain employment offers based on applicants’ ages or other demographics.

The ADEA applies to government institutions and contractors. As workforces grow progressively older, however, legislators may expand the law to protect more employees.

IRS Worker Classification

Should you withhold income and Social Security taxes from your workers’ paychecks? There’s a big difference between part-timers and independent contractors. Bodies like the IRS apply various rubrics to gauge how much control you exert over your workers and determine whether they should be classified as employees.

It’s critical that you understand these distinctions so that you don’t fall afoul of tax regulations. Also, remember that the federal unemployment taxes, or FUTA, that you must pay the IRS are separate from the sums required by the state’s unemployment contribution law.

Hiring, Harassment and Discrimination: Equal Employment Laws

While the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, or EEOC, may be the first agency you think of when it comes to employment discrimination claims, it’s not the only body with jurisdiction. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, or PHRC, also fields claims, and the state’s Human Relations Act may mean that you’re subject to anti-discrimination guidelines that the EEOC excludes.

The PHRC typically deals with companies that have between 4 and 14 workers, but the EEOC handles enterprises with at least 15. Both prohibit hiring and employment discrimination based on protected classes, like race, religion, sex, national origin, disability and age.

Situation-specific Laws

In addition to state-level laws, federal legislation and rules that only impact your industry, you may be subject to statutes imposed by your city, county or township. For instance, in 2017, Philadelphia barred employers who do business in the city from asking about new hires’ wage histories.

Employment law is exceedingly complex, but this isn’t an excuse for falling behind. Many small business owners find it helpful to consult with legal experts about their obligations.

More by Karl Heideck:  Career Spotlight: Litigation with Karl Heideck

About Karl Heideck

Karl Heideck is a Philadelphia-based contract attorney who works hard to help businesses do right by their employees. Karl Heideck firmly believes in assisting firms that strive to adhere to the spirit of the law and not just its letter.

Karl Heideck has practiced in various fields of employment and contract law for more than a decade. In addition to coming directly to the aid of companies that would otherwise struggle to master the complex nuances of their regulatory obligations, he routinely contributes to online news sources and blogs by explaining the evolution of Pennsylvanian law and its impact on businesses.

During the time he spent as a Pepper Hamilton LLP project attorney and a Conrad O’Brien associate, Mr. Heideck gained invaluable experience fighting for enterprises and individuals alike. Karl always looks forward to applying his exhaustive knowledge in challenging new cases.

For more information, connect with Karl Heideck on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry Presents an Analysis of Freedom of Speech

Understanding Freedom of Speech 

It’s important to comprehend the legal parameters of the freedom of expression in particular jurisdictions. The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Human Rights Law. Freedom of speech is basically the right to articulate opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or societal sanctions. The United States Constitution is a document understood best in context form. There have been 27 amendments to the United States Constitution since its inception as America’s founding political document. The First Amendment primarily focused on protecting political as well as religious expressions. In essence, this Amendment was designed to protect the people from government pressure. As late as 1798, the scope of free speech was still up in the air when President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts. Based on the First Amendment, Americans receive protections from exercising their spiritual beliefs freely without government restrictions. Free speech and a free press are protected under the Constitution on citizens assembling peacefully, but the confusion in this scenario arises when people don’t understand what each of those two things means.

Understanding Hate Speech 

Americans across the board are widely in support of the idea of freedom of expression and yet there is a growing movement that is promoting social justice as well hate speech restrictions. From a legal point of view, those ideas entirely contradict. In a broader sense, there is no constitutional prohibition distinctively addressing hate speech despite the fact that some states have enacted laws that target hate speech. Hate speech may fall under the category of “Fighting Words and Offensive Speech.” According to the First Amendment of the Supreme Court of 1942, the spoken or written works that would likely cause violence are not protected under the law. The general statement against a group that causes emotional distress under the umbrella of free speech cannot be restricted.

Free Speech and College Campuses 

In the United States College Campuses, free Speech is more volatile. It’s believed that colleges are strongholds of democratic deliberation and critical thinking. Moreover, in the last decade dramatic shift in mutual attitudes at institutions of higher learning has been noticed. College environment illustrates why free speech is important and some universities remain devoted to protecting the free exchange of ideas. Many institutions in America are in support of freedom of expression simply because student activism has indeed changed school policies. The concept of human nature apparently helps people to relatively narrow the range of thought and ideas. The only way to broaden these perspectives is to challenge them with competing ideas in favor of emotional growth along with human understanding. Therefore, free speech is fundamental.

Role of Social Media 

The transfer of information was a slow process for the most of America’s history. It’s evident that the transmission of information from coast to coast took weeks before the existence of radio, telegram, and telephones. In the last 50 years, the internet has turned the world into universally acknowledged social standards and people can interact with an increasingly different pool of acquaintances. However, social media exposes a variety of political opinions in real time by bringing new as well different ideas right on your front door. The United States Constitution lawfully protects your fundamental human rights by valuing free speech and advocating generation of new ideas. This promotes respect and creates the safest public atmosphere for all citizens transversely to every political stripe and social issue.

Who is Sujit Choudhry? 

Sujit Choudhry is the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions. He is the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law California University, Berkeley school of Law, where he served as a dean. Choudhry is an expert in comparative constitutional law. Previously Choudhry was the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University, and the Scholl Chair at the University of Toronto. Born in New Delhi in 1970, Sujit is an internationally recognized authority on comparative constitutional law and politics. He holds law degrees from Oxford, Toronto, as well from Harvard. Professor Sujit was a Rhodes Scholar in which he served as law clerk to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada. He combines a wide-ranging research agenda with in-depth field experience as an advisor to constitution building processes since he has lectured in over two dozen countries including Jordan, Nepal, Libya, South Africa, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Ukraine. Professor Choudhry generates and mobilizes knowledge in support of constitution building by assembling as well as leading international network of experts to produce thematic research projects that offer evidence-based policy options to practitioners and agenda-setting research. Up to date, the Center for Constitutional Transitions has worked with more than fifty professionals from more than twenty-five countries whereby it partners with a global network of multilateral organizations such as think tanks and NGOs.

Professor Choudhry’s research addresses a wide range of issues in comparative constitutional law along with politics. He has written extensively on Canadian constitutional law. The fields he has concentrated more includes; constitutional design as an instrument to manage the change from violent conflict to diplomatic democratic politics, constitutional design in ethnically divided into societies, constitutional design in the context of transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, basic methodological questions in the study of comparative law, minority and group rights, official language policy, Bills of rights and proportionality. He also discussed issues related to federalism, decentralization, and secession. Professor Choudhry has published over 90 articles, book chapters, working papers, along with reports. Central to such an endeavor, the books include; “The Migration of Constitutional Ideas” (Cambridge, 2006), “Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation?”(Oxford, 2008), “The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution” (Oxford, 2016), and “The Constitution Making” (Edward Elgar, 2016). In collaboration with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Professor Sujit Choudhry is currently co-leading three global collaborative research projects. The projects are; “Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions,” “Security Sector Reform and Constitutional Transitions in Emerging Democracies” and “Security Sector Oversight” which will yield a series of research and policy outputs to be published in 2017.

Interviews with Sujit Choudhry: 

Ideamensch

CEO/CFO

Daniel Budzinski Podcast

I-CONnect

Further Analysis Of Dakota Access Pipeline’s Environmental Impact Ordered

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a major source of debate in the political and environmental spheres as of late. Now, a U.S. federal judge had ordered that debate to continue.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington determined that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not analyze the possibility of a catastrophic oil spill to satisfactory levels. Such an oil spill could have negative effects on the livelihood of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, he claims. The judge found that federal permits issued for the pipeline violated the law by not thoroughly completing this investigation.

As of now, the pipeline has not been stalled again, but pending the results of an investigation, it could find itself dead in the water again. The Corps will be required to resume their investigation and will need to reconsider certain aspects of its past investigation.

People on both sides of the issue are disturbed by this outcome. Those against the pipeline are upset that the pipeline hasn’t been definitively stalled to allow the investigation to run its course. Those in support of the pipeline are worried that the findings in the Corps investigation could persuade the court to take further action to dismantle the pipeline once and for all, killing their considerable investment.

The Corps themselves believe they will be able to persuade the court to allow construction to continue while they address the discrepancies in their analysis. They believe that the errors found can be addressed quickly and will not require much time or effort to warrant a halt to construction.

Donald Trump famously pushed the pipeline through with an executive order shortly after he was sworn into office. However, that rush he placed upon the Corps has now been found to be unlawful and may not only endanger the pipeline but come back to bite him politically as well.

 

Cosby Case Called a Mistrial

Over the past few months, one of the most followed criminal cases in the world has been the case against Bill Cosby. Cosby, who is one of the most successful actors and comedians of all time, was charged with assaulting several women over the past twenty years. After several weeks of deliberations, and over a year of case preparation, the jury finally finished their discussions and announced a verdict (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/arts/television/bill-cosby-trial-day-11.html?_r=0).

While many people were expecting that the jury would be able to come to a conclusion, it appears that the 12 person jury has ended in a deadlock and was not able to come up with a conclusion. After the jury spent 50 hours discussing the case, the 12 people ended up declaring a mistrial.

The result of the case was a surprise to many people, but the lack of a decision was expected by others. While there were several different women that came forth, the lack of physical evidence made it hard for people to convict. It is believed that this is the main reason why some jurors were not willing to vote guilty during the deliberations.

While Cosby is now considered a free man, it is not yet clear whether his legal troubles are behind him. The prosecuting attorneys have stated that they will likely pursue another case against him, which is possible given the fact that it was a mistrial and that he was not proven not guilty. However, while the prosecutors may want to pursue another case, there is a chance that they will not be given the opportunity to do so by the state given the amount of resources that go into high-profile criminal cases.

At this point, the criminal legal process is still up in the air, but Cosby could still face some civil charges and convictions. Even though there was a mistrial in the criminal court, he could still be found guilty in the civil court system. While this would not result in a criminal penalty, it could result in a very severe financial penalty that he will be required to pay to the plaintiffs in any civil court trial.

 

Trump’s Legal Team goes after James Comey

The Trump legal team has said that it has filed a complaint about James Comey, the former FBI director. The legal team led by his personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz said that this will be done through the department of justice office and will be addressed to the inspector general. Trump’s legal team are accusing the former FBI director of leaking a conversation with the president of the United States. He is also accused of leaking important memos regarding these conversations. This information was provided by a source close to the president’s legal team. This complaint will not only be sent to the department of justice, but it will also be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kasowitz said that the draft sent to the Senate committee would consist of other issues other than leaking conversations.

This comes after the president of the United States accused Comey of being a leaker and giving false statements about the president. Trump legal team had accused Comey of handing his memos to a close friend with the aim of circulating them widely. However, Comey did not deny these allegations and said that he had shared the memos. He said that he felt compelled to reveal the memos to the public and this is why he asked a friend to share the memos. The said friend then shared them with a reporter. However, Comey said that he refused to share the memos because of various reasons that he could not disclose.

Legal experts say that the former FBI director did not commit crime through the act of revealing the memos. Legal experts say that it would only have been a crime if the reports were classified which was not the case. However, legal experts also say that he violated norms that had existed for a long period and thus acted improperly. Mr. Trump’s legal team say that Comey had leaked the documents earlier as New York Times had referenced the memos a day earlier. They accuse him of revealing thees documents as a retaliatory move to the fallout with the president. However, it has also been proved by independent legal experts that Trump’s legal team was not honest and gave an inaccurate chronology.

Comey was threatened by a tweet by the president who said that there might be some recordings of the proceedings cautioning Comey to be selective about what he says. The memos that Comey shared were leaked to the media by a Columbia Law Professor.