Just a Lawyer in Lincoln's Hometown

May 31, 2012

Justice Stevens’ Reasoned Takedown of Citizens United | ACS

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 8:39 pm

Justice Stevens’ Reasoned Takedown of Citizens United

May 31, 2012by Jeremy Leaming

At some point perhaps soon the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative wing will have to reckon with some of its sweeping assertions in its controversial 2010 Citizens United v. FEC majority opinion.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in a methodical, thoughtful speech at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Services detailed why he thinks some of the holding in Citizens United is due for reconsideration.

via Justice Stevens’ Reasoned Takedown of Citizens United | ACS.

Further proof that being a Cubs fan does not impair one’s ability to reason well. Justice Stevens was right to retire, but we miss him. Citizen’s United is one of the worst things to ever happen to American electoral politics.

Bankruptcy issues relating to personal injury cases | Illinois State Bar Association

Bankruptcy issues relating to personal injury cases | Illinois State Bar Association.By  Brett J. Swanson

Despite difficult economic times, the American Bankruptcy Institute has noted the number of bankruptcy filings has dropped across the country. However, a recent opinion from the Illinois Appellate Court confirms that trial lawyers from both sides of the bar should be aware that bankruptcy filings can, and will, impact your case. In Berge, the First District found that the doctrine of judicial estoppel bars a plaintiff from proceeding with a cause of action in state court where the plaintiff fails to disclose the action as an asset in a bankruptcy petition. Berge v. Kuno Mader and DMG America, Inc., 354 Ill.Dec. 374, 957 N.E.2d 968 (1st Dist. 2011).

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Mr. Swanson is a smart guy. Thanks to ISBA for publishing this. Go read the full article in the Bar Journal. The federal courts here in the 7th Cir. will apply judicial estoppel to inchoate civil rights claims. Which is why I learned to, and now ask my prospective employment clients whether they have ever filed a bankruptcy claim!

May 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 7:58 pm

I know I have seen cases like this – but they are subtle and difficult to prove.

The Situationist

From Harvard Business Review (part of an op-ed written by Lauren Stiller Rikleen):

The new millennium has not brought much progress for women seeking top leadership roles in the workplace. Although female graduates continue to pour out of colleges and professional schools, the percentages of women running large companies, or serving as managing partners of their law firms, or sitting on corporate boards have barely budged in the past decade.

Why has progress stalled? A recent study suggests the unlikeliest of reasons: the marriage structure of men in the workplace.

A group of researchers from several universities recently published a report on the attitudes and beliefs of employed men, which shows that those with wives who did not work outside the home or who worked part-time were more likely than those with wives who worked to: (1) have an unfavorable view about women in the workplace; (2)think workplaces…

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May 7, 2011

A month into the virtual practice.

Filed under: Law Practice — Chuck @ 8:41 am
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So far, so good!
I love the commute – 10 steps!
Getting the mail, going to the courthouse, etc. are a pain, but the errands keep me from being a hermit.
I forgot how many trees lawyers kill. The original piece of paper, a copy for me, a copy for the other side, a copy to keep in the file in case the originals are lost, it goes on and on. All on one side of the page double spaced, so everything takes 2-3 times as much paper as is necessary. What a waste! (I’ve eliminated some of this by imaging everything, but not all.)
Having to make good use of note taking, to-do lists, etc. With only me, and my porous memory, and no assistant, to track things, my use of electronic memory aids has become uber-important.
I think most of my clients are liking the personal attention, but still miss my old paralegal.
Adjustments, adjustments!

Chuck from Watson Law, LLC

April 2, 2011

My New Law Firm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 7:42 pm
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Watson Law, LLC is now in business. My experiment with partnership has shown me that I really do not play well with others. Years of solo practice do not prepare one for working well with others. Solo practice involves making decisions about the practice by one’s own self, and living, or dying, by the results. Working in a firm structure is very different. You need to take account the needs and desires of another, sharing the decisions and the results. It’s a lot like a marriage.

My long-suffering wife and I live in partnership. We are successful.

Apparently, I only have one such arrangement in me.

Chuck from Watson Law, LLC

March 29, 2011

Hey, listen up!

Filed under: Employment Law — Chuck @ 1:45 am
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Employers beware, when an employee makes an oral complaint that raises issues of overtime, wage payment, or minimum wages, it is now clear that an employer may not retaliate. The Supreme Court in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., held that if an employee’s oral complaint is “sufficiently clear and detailed for a reasonable employer to understand it, in light of both content and context, as an assertion of rights protected by the statute,” it can trigger the anti-retaliation protections of the FLSA.

Although the Court specifically declined to rule in whether purely internal complaints are protected, a fair reading of the language used by the court makes it likely that the Court would rule that way if pushed to do so.

Employers, don’t retaliate. Employees, don’t be (as) afraid to complain about problems. Both sides, speak to an employment lawyer first.

Chuck from Watson Law, LLC

February 16, 2011

Employers – Wake Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 7:29 am
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Employers,

Just because one or more of the people who worked for you only lasted a few months, or even weeks, you are NOT excused from giving them a W-2. Even if you want to classify them as “Temps”, they were employees who should have had taxes withheld and who are now owed W-2s. You are late, get to it.

Thank You.

February 14, 2011

The Best Client

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 6:00 am
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On occasion I wonder what clients think lawyers do for a living. Mrs. X hired me to prosecute her divorce action against that no-good, cheating Bas*rd she was married to. Had to dig deep into her financials, investigate the claims of adultery (since she would not agree to move forward with a more innocuous claim), look into the child custody issues, etc. Spent a good long time doing all the preliminary work and drafting the petition for Dissolution, Petition for Temporary Relief, and some unique discovery. I had her in, reviewed all the material with her, told her what else needed doing, and got her OK to file.

Literally hours before filing, I got the call that she was getting back together with her husband.

Getting back together is a good thing.

But then she said, “When do I get my money back?” We discussed the matter, but I never moved her past “but you didn’t do anything for me.”

I give up.

Chuck from Watson Law, LLC

November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and Visitation

Filed under: Family Law — Chuck @ 1:00 am
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You remember Henry and Samantha. They’re divorcing and trying very hard to being good parents to their children, Ken, age 8, and Jenna, age 6. They have worked out a temporary agreement on custody and visitation for Henry’s regular visitation. But although they had consulted lawyers, they went against advice and agreed to “alternate holidays.”

As every experienced divorce lawyer would have told them, this kind of language in a visitation schedule can lead to horrible complications. Even well-meaning people, like Samantha and Henry, can have a hard time deciphering what this means, and remembering who had what holiday.

Does alternating holidays mean that Samantha has Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and Henry has both next year? Does having Thanksgiving mean the day only, or from Wednesday after school until the end of the weekend. What if the tradition has been to go to Henry’s parents’ house, in town and only requiring a trip of twenty minutes, one year and to Samantha’s parent’s the next year, 500 miles away and requiring a couple of days?

To add to the confusion, what is a holiday? Samantha celebrate Thanksgiving, the first Sunday of Advent and then Christmas, while Henry only celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas. What does this mismatch do to the “every other” language?

Again, because they are both trying to be good parents while, henry and Samantha talked about Thanksgiving before it came up, and remembered that both of their lawyers had said that what looked simple, wasn’t. Between them, the two attorneys came up with a schedule of holiday visitation that set out the hours and days that each parent had holiday visitation. For example, this year, an “even” year, Henry has the children from Wednesday after school, until Friday at 5:00 PM when Samantha gets them for the weekend (even if it would normally be Henry’s). The next year, and “odd” year, the schedule is reversed. The schedule sets out who gets what in odd and even years.

Now that the schedule is written down, in all its complicated detail, all Samantha and Henry need do is consult the schedule to know exactly who gets what holiday and what that means.

Chuck from Watson Law, LLC

November 19, 2010

Dating and Divorcing

Filed under: Family Law — Chuck @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Divorcing is always an emotional time in a person’s life. Even short-term marriages started off with a commitment to stay together. Even though a lawyer will try to introduce some unemotional advice into the equation – emotions run high. Calming those emotions is often very important to settlement.

But that same divorce induced stress makes it important to have and develop emotional support. Moving on with life is important, and finding new love may give enough support to allow a divorcing spouse move on. But it can cause problems as well.

Spending excessive money in your dating life may well be looked upon as dissipation of marital assets that could lead to a change in the allocation of marital assets.

Flaunting your new boyfriend in front of your divorcing husband will NOT dampen emotions. In some circumstances it will guarantee going to trial.

Introducing your new girlfriend to your children before they are ready may generate negative emotions that may tilt the custody equation against you.

Some judges may consider your dating relationship to be infidelity, and technically, if you are engaged in sexual relations, you are committing adultery. If your judge takes a dislike to you, you may not get the good side of any discretionary rulings.

There are many good reasons to not date while divorcing. But the emotional support may be important. So if you do date, you need to be discrete. Flaunting the relationship carries too many negatives. Don’t go showing off your new love in all of your old haunts. If you do, you may regret the decision. Be smart and be discrete!

Chuck from Watson Law, LLC

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