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Sociable Lawyer Round-Up; Week of April 11th

Today, we here at Sociable Lawyer present to you a smattering of posts we found interesting over the past week. Is it easier to get parole after lunch? Why is your virtual law office failing? And do you really need those disclaimers at the bottom of your email? Let’s find out.

Spare Us the E-Mail Yada-Yada

“So why are the disclaimers there? Company lawyers often insist on them because they see others using them. As with Latin vocabulary and judges’ robes, once something has become a legal habit it has a tendency to stick.”

The Economist takes a look at those pesky attorney disclaimers at the bottom of your e-mails and asks “why?”

Will an Out-of State Ticket Follow You Home?

“Clients who have a driver’s license from another state usually ask me how a Virginia conviction will affect their driving record. If I could accurately predict that, I’d be rich. I could do nothing but answer that question all day long for drivers all over the country.”

According to Andrew Flusche, the answer to this question is like that Meryl Streep movie nobody really liked: It’s Complicated.

Controversial 1099 Reporting Requirements Repealed

“Remember those new 1099 reporting requirements that caused such a sensation when they were quietly sneaked slipped burrowed inserted into last year’s health care law? Under the terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, businesses would have been required to issue a form 1099 to all vendors who provided goods and services during the year which totaled more than $600. The idea of the provision was to “encourage” reporting (by, you know, requiring it) of transactions thought to be under the radar previously to the tune of $2.5 billion.”

If you’re a small business owner, you likely spent some time kvetching over the 1099 requirement Tax Girl explains in this post. Put simply, the provision would have created a fairly obscene amount of paperwork and small businesses were justifiably perturbed at the possibility. Today, President Obama repealed it. So, while you may have wasted some time and trees this year, you can breathe easier when you file again in 2012.

Justice is Served, but More So After Lunch: How Food-Breaks Sway the Decisions of Judges

“There’s an old trope that says justice is “what the judge ate for breakfast”. It was coined by Jerome Frank, himself a judge, and it’s a powerful symbol of the legal realism movement. This school of thought holds that the law, being a human concoction, is subject to the same foibles, biases and imperfections that affect everything humans do. We’d love to believe that a judge’s rulings are solely based on rational decisions and written laws. In reality, they can be influenced by irrelevant things like their moods and, as Frank suggested, their breakfasts.”

What if you heard that a prisoners likelihood of getting paroled spikes right after judges eat and plummets thereafter? Would you believe it? Ed Yong at Discover Magazine presents a disturbing study which suggests just that.

Can Blogging and Other Social Media Fill a Part of the Mentoring Gap for Young Lawyers?

“Where does a recent law grad learn how to practice law in a real and meaningful way — in a way that’s providing effective legal representation? Not in law school. Not even via internships during law school.”

Kevin O’Keefe’s thoughtful examination of social media’s confluence with the practice of law is a must-read. In the end, he decides that “recent law grads who aren’t afraid of connecting with senior lawyers, meeting people, and asking questions to seek guidance and counsel should be lauded. They are getting mentorship –it’s just not the way [older lawyers] did it.” Highly recommended.


We’re always looking to broaden our horizons here at Sociable Lawyer. If you write a blog, love a blog, or are just interested in writing a one-off post, feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

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