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Former NFL player wins disability appeal

Former Redskins and Bears player Wilber Marshall, who won two Super Bowl rings with those teams, got a victory in the 4th Circuit over the NFL. This dispute concerned disability benefits payments to former players. Marshall is afflicted with degenerative arthritis. The 4th Circuit reinstated a decree ordering the NFL to pay $72,000 in disability benefits, plus fees and costs.


Email is the same as paper

The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in Basis Technology Corp. v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 06-P-1048 (Mass. App. Ct.) on Jan 7th, 2008 that email settlements or proposals carry the exact same weight as paper documents, if they meet the traditional criteria of enforceable contracts.


Supremes Rule on lawyers "phoning it in"

In an unsigned opinion on Jan 7th, 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled that appearing by phone is not presumed to be ineffective counsel. Defendant Joseph L. Van Patten who was sentenced to 25 years for homicide, had argued his Sixth Amendment right to counsel had been violated by his counsel's physical absence from a plea hearing, the lawyer having appeared by speaker phone. The Supreme Court held that appearing by phone was not necessarily ineffective, though they did not rule decisively.


Supreme Court limits Security Fraud suits

On Tuesday, January 15th, 2007 the US Supreme Court, in one of the biggest securities cases in years, decided that fraud claims are not allowed against third parties that didn't mislead investors, but were partners with those who did. The case, Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta, (o6-43), was decided 5-3. One likely impact of this decision is to destroy a massive $40 billion dollar suit against financial institutions arising out of the Enron scandal. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, and was supported by Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas. Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Souter dissented, with Justice Breyer taking no part.


ABA's online help to people interested in pro bono services

Attorneys who are interested in finding volunteer or pro bono work can look up the online National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide put up by the American Bar Association, which lists more than 1,100 of these programs. These sites are the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, the ABA Center for Pro Bono and Pro Bono Net where attorneys can search the site based on location, area of law and the population served. They can also identify projects that require their skills and experience with features highlighting opportunities for transactional lawyers, litigators, law students, and others. ABA President Karen J. Mathis stated the site has been developed with the aim to facilitate lawyers to identify pro bono opportunities and "respond to the challenge of providing assistance" to those people whose income is limited and whose legal needs cannot be fulfilled. He also said that pro bono service had "always been an integral part of the legal profession." The site also offers the opportunity to state and local bar associations, as well as community-based nonprofit organizations to add or update information to ensure that the lists stay up to date and accurate.


Leake & Andersson takes Lafayette firm Roy Bivins into its fold

The law firm of Leake & Andersson has merged operations with the Lafayette firm of Roy, Bivins, Judice, Roberts & Wartelle. The merger is a win-win for both firms which will help both firms to offer services to clients all over the State. The new firm will practice as Leake & Andersson and its 25 attorneys and 35 support personnel will operate out of the New Orleans and Lafayette offices. Four of the named attorneys of the earlier firm, Harmon Roy with his five decades of experience, John Bivins, Philip Roberts, and Pat Wartelle will now practice as Leake & Andersson. Only the fifth partner, Ronnie Judice will practice privately. Paul Andersson, senior partner in the new firm stated that the new Lafayette office would help the firms to serve clients more efficiently as well as boost its "statewide litigation and counseling effectiveness." Leake & Andersson is specialist in litigation and general business practice law. The firm also acts as counsel nationwide for clients facing legal issues in class action and mass tort cases.


Lawyers jump to greener pastures

Attorneys keep crossing over the fence all the time driven by the urge to find more challenges, career-wise as well as for better moolah. These set of lawyers, often ranked in the upper echelons in law firms would not stop to gather moss, shunning comfort zones in search of better prospects.

Law firm giants like Nixon Peabody and Vinson & Elkins are a few names in the whole list of who's who keep welcoming new partners to its offices every month. These firms are always on the lookout for veteran talent, and grab them at the first opportunity.

Former Hiscock & Barclay partners in Syracuse, Peter Swartz and Matthew Moses, joined Nixon Peabody's energy practice recently, followed by Jeremy J. Wolk who joined the Rochester office as an associate in the firm's private company transactions group. International law firm Vinson & Elkins, LLP, is expanding its NYC office and insolvency & reorganization practice with the addition of Cronin & Vris partners, Denis Cronin, Jane Vris, and Dov Kleiner. Two more of the same firm, J. Ronald Trost and Larry Cherkis, are joining V&E in New York as counsels, while Harry Perrin, a former bankruptcy partner at the law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges is joining V&E's Houston office.

This trend was virtually unheard in the legal arena few decades back, has caught on and law partners are now jumping to competing establishments, says a report in The Democrat and Chronicle. However, the jump syndrome also has its own bag of uncertainties and challenges. It is not always that the clients of these lawyers also jump ship with the lawyer. Again certain law firms also dissuade their lawyers from soliciting clients. The going gets tough in these cases. However, the firms have now smartened up and have designed special retention programs keeping in tune with the emergent needs of the market.


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