Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Debbie Purdy: Right-to-die campaigner dies

Right-to-die campaigner Debbie Purdy, who won a landmark ruling to clarify the law on assisted suicide, has died.

The 51-year-old from Bradford had lived with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) for almost 20 years.

Ms Purdy had spent a year in the city's Marie Curie Hospice and had sometimes refused food. She died on 23 December.

In 2009, she won a ruling to get clarification on whether her husband Omar Puente would be prosecuted if he helped her to end her life.

Lord Falconer, the former lord chancellor, said Ms Purdy's role as a campaigner against the law on assisted suicide was "absolutely key" and she had transformed the debate.

Mr Puente confirmed the death of his wife in a statement, paying tribute to "a much loved wife, sister, aunt and friend".

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

IBM’s Outgoing General Counsel Looks Back at the Future

"Imagine having Watson there with you in the courtroom," said Robert C. Weber, general counsel for International Business Machines Corp.IBM +0.34%, referring to the company's problem-solving software of Jeopardy! fame. "There are a lot more cases out there than anybody can keep track of. The facts of cases are sometimes extremely complex."

Watson, in this conceiving, would have all the facts and the cases at his command. The software could weigh the pros and cons of a legal argument, on the spot, in the same way Watson is learning how to marry patient records with medical literature for treatment options. "Having Watson there with you as a lawyer gives you an associate with encyclopedic knowledge and inexhaustible work ethic."

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

​A Mock Cross Examination Of Darren Wilson's Testimony

Hopefully, you've had the opportunity to look over Darren Wilson's grand jury testimony in the case of the State of Missouri versus Darren Wilson. The "versus" part is a complete joke, of course. If you read through the testimony and listen to the statements of prosecutor Bob McCulloch, you'll see that it's more like "Missouri and Darren Wilson versus Michael Brown." Wilson was not put on trial, the dead black teen was, and Brown didn't get to testify.

If Wilson had been brought to trial, his testimony would have been subjected to cross-examination. It's possible that Wilson wouldn't even have taken the stand in his own defense — many criminal defendants do not — because he wouldn't have wanted to face cross-examination.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thought from End-to-End: Affordable Email Encryption for Every Lawyer.

Being a lawyer is not an easy job: They carry a special responsibility towards their clients, in particular their obligation to confidentiality. The clients on the other hand want to communicate with their lawyer quickly, preferably via email. A dilemma because emails can be intercepted and read with any laptop. While most lawyers still send their emails openly like postcards, pioneers like Thomas Feil are ready to break new grounds.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pistorius Faces 15 Years in Prison After Manslaughter Conviction

scar Pistorius was found guilty Friday of a manslaughter charge that carries a potential penalty ranging from a fine up to 15 years in prison, capping a trial that chronicled the high life and swift fall of a disabled South African hero who shot and killed his girlfriend through a locked bathroom door.

In rendering her verdict, Judge Thokozile Masipa said Mr. Pistorius acted recklessly in firing four shots at what he thought was an intruder lurking in his bathroom. Three of those shots from a 9mm pistol—loaded with hollow point bullets that expand on impact—struck his girlfriend, 29-year old model Reeva Steenkamp. She died almost instantly.

"A reasonable person in possession of his faculties with a similar disability would have foreseen that possibility," Ms. Masipa said as Mr. Pistorius, seated alone on a wooden bench in courtroom in the South African capital, listened impassively.

Monday, September 8, 2014

From The Career Files: The (Alleged) Uber-ification Of Legal Services

The business of law continues to evolve post-Great Recession. Law firms are dealing with clients who are trimming legal budgets, shunning expensive hourly billing rates and subsidized training of associates, and opting for smaller and more cost-sensitive legal options.

These trends have had a ripple effect. The job market for lawyers—while showing signs of improvement in small pockets—remains depressed, resulting in intense critiques of legal education, downward-trending law school applications, and law schools adapting or closing. Presumably, law students and new lawyers notice these trends and are strategizing accordingly, thinking commercially and entrepreneurially about their careers, and seeking the best legal experience and ROI in a rough macro legal market.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Laws of the Land: Where Is ‘Open Carry’ Legal?

As people on both sides of the debate regarding open carry—the practice of carrying firearms in plain view—have been turning up the heat, more companies are being forced to take a side.

Gun-rights advocates see the practice as a way to normalize gun ownership and deter crime, while gun-control activists believe carrying guns in stores and restaurants is disruptive to the public and encourages violence.

Recently, TargetStarbucks and Chipotle have asked their patrons not to bring their guns. After petitions by gun-control groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Kroger said it would uphold local and state laws in the 34 states it operates.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Three Judges From Same Court Busted For DWI

One is an outlier. A sad reminder of the legal profession's struggle with alcoholism. Two is a curiosity. Perhaps a coincidence? But when three judges, all from the same court, get charged with DWI over the course of a mere six months, you're looking at a trend.

Just this morning, the third judge in this trend was handcuffed and led away from the scene of an accident. In this case, the courtroom parking lot. That's right, she's accused of running over the gate to the lot and then ramming a parked sheriff's car.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Justice Scalia Mercilessly Mocks A Lawyer (And He Was Totally Right To Do It)

Justice Scalia is kind of a troll sometimes. He routinely snarks out his fellow justices and is a total dick to legal luminaries like Judge Posner. His belligerence is drenched in sarcasm and usually arbitrary.

In a sense, Antonin Scalia is ATL's spirit guide.

But when he went after an attorney appearing before him, he got immediately chastised by a fellow justice and raised the ire of even conservative commentators.

In this instance, I'm going out on a limb and say Justice Scalia was absolutely, positively, 100 percent right….