Podcast category: Legal News

Special Reports

Florida Bar Winter Meeting: Shawn Vincent on Social Media and the Zimmerman Case

Florida Bar Podcast host Adriana Linares interviews Shawn Vincent about being the communications director for O’Mara Law Group at the 2015 Winter Meeting of The Florida Bar. Vincent advises anyone working in a high profile case to treat local and national newscasters the same, tell the truth, know what you can and cannot say, and demonstrate respect for the legal system. He goes on to discuss pressure and how to deal with negativity in social media. As the communications director at O’Mara Law Group Shawn Vincent managed the media attention the firm received during the high profile Zimmerman case. At the Solo and Small Firm Technology Conference, he spoke about the challenges of dealing with big data in litigation.

 

ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

Author Tells Tangled Tale of the $19B Verdict Against Chevron in ‘Law of the Jungle’

In February 2011, an Ecuadorean court found the Chevron Corporation liable for environmental damage caused by oil-drilling activities in the rainforest region El Oriente in the 1970s and 1980s. Chevron, which in 2001 purchased Texaco (the company which had actually operated the oil wells), was ordered to pay $19 billion to the class-action plaintiffs who brought the suit. These plaintiffs, a collection of small farmers and indigenous peoples, had the support of a team of Ecuadorean and American attorneys, including the charismatic Steven Donziger. Donziger, a media-savvy graduate of Harvard Law, had helped them gain the support of variety of environmentalists and celebrities.

Although it is tempting to fit this into a simple narrative–either “scrappy band of lawyers wins enormous victory for oppressed people against an evil corporation” or “responsible corporation preyed upon by voracious plaintiffs attorneys over scurrilous accusations”–the truth just isn’t that simple. And the $19 billion verdict was far from the end of this story.

“When you combine the rainforest, multinational oil company and indigenous tribespeople, most people think they know the story with just those three facts,” said Paul M. Barrett, author of the new book Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who’d Stop at Nothing to Win. “Life is always more complicated than that.”

Barrett first reported on this case when he wrote a profile of Donziger for Bloomberg Businessweek, where he is assistant managing editor and a senior writer. In this Modern Law Library podcast, he discusses with moderator Lee Rawles the wild twists and turns this case has taken, both before the verdict and afterwards.

As of this publication, legal battles are still being fought as accusations of fraud, forgery, bribery and conspiracy have been leveled against Donziger and the rest of the plaintiffs’ legal team. And as Barrett explains, the result of those battles could have severe and wide-ranging effects for all class-action lawsuits against major corporations.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Soto v. Bushmaster

On December 14th 2012, a lone gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Of those, 20 were first graders and six were adults. Nearly two years later, the families of the slain filed civil suit against Bushmaster Firearms International, the manufacturer of the firearm used in those murders. In their suit, the plaintiffs claim multiple counts of wrongful death and loss of consortium. Although no one questions the tragedy of these deaths or pain suffered by the families, is the firearm manufacturer the proper party to seek redress? In this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host Bob Ambrogi interviews Elliot Fineman from the National Gun Victims Action Council, Charles Heller from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, and Professor Nicholas Johnson from Fordham University School of Law. Together they discuss the merits of this case, the Second Amendment, and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Tune in to hear outcome predictions as well as debates regarding self-defense and gun control. Where do you stand on the ownership of firearms and how responsible should companies be for the actions of others?

Elliot Fineman’s son was murdered in 2006 when a paranoid schizophrenic murdered his son with a legally obtained firearm. Since that time, he founded National Gun Victims Action Council and has become a leading voice for a network of gun victims, survivors, and the faith community seeking to change America’s gun laws. Among many other appearances, Mr. Fineman has been on CNBC, CNN, and Fox News. He has been quoted by top media outlets including USA Today, National Public Radio, and the Chicago Sun-Times and has hosted a bi-monthly radio program called “It’s The Guns, Stupid” on 1480 WPWC in Washington DC.

Charles Heller is the former Executive Director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (now their Communication Coordinator). Mr. Heller is a talk show host for shows like Swap Shop, Liberty Watch, and America Armed and Free on 1030 KVOI in Tucson, Arizona. He has been a state-certified concealed-weapons instructor since 1994 and lists his political affiliation as a “Freedomist”.

Nicholas Johnson is a Professor of Law from Fordham University School of Law where his principal subjects are Contracts, Environmental Law, Gun Control, and Gun Rights. He’s published many articles on the 2nd Amendment and Gun Control including a recent article about the Soto v. Bushmaster case titled “Newtown Suit Proceeds Under False Pretenses”.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

 

Robert Half Legal Report

Legal Jobs and Practice Areas to Watch in 2015

In this episode of The Robert Half Legal Report podcast series, Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal, and George Denlinger, senior district president of the company, take a look at the practice areas that will drive demand for legal jobs in the months ahead. They also discuss trends to watch in the legal profession for 2015, including how the need for specialized legal expertise is influencing the ways organizations approach hiring and retention.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Robert Half Legal.

 

Digital Detectives

The Sony Hack: You Can’t Keep the Barbarians Outside the Gate

In November of 2014, hackers infiltrated Sony’s computer network lifting terabytes of corporate data, human resources information, internal intel, films, corporate emails, and other valuable information. This led the corporate world to question how protected we really are from cyber attacks. In the 1990’s, the only computer issue was viruses, but the attack vectors have since changed. Companies and individuals are now subject to spear phishing, spyware attacks, malware, drive-by downloads, and browsers. What steps are now necessary to keep hackers from accessing your valuable data? And on a separate but equally interesting subject for lawyers, who really was behind the Sony attack?

In this episode of Digital Detectives, hosts Sharon Nelson and John Simek analyze the progression of data security over time, look into data loss prevention steps, and consider each potential suspect of the Sony hack. Nelson describes the internet security suites that have been developed to include protection from all different types of attacks. However, she explains, these security systems are unlikely to keep out a sophisticated and determined hacker who is specifically targeting a corporation, law firm, or individual. The newer systems simply try to detect the infiltration and respond to it, observing what data is compromised and trying to identify the hacker. Simek explains several systems that are being used for security including data loss prevention, intrusion detection, and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) products which correlate data to figure out what’s normal.

Nelson and Simek then go on to analyze why Sony was attacked and who may have done it. The hosts explain security blogger Bruce Schneier’s theories on the suspects ranging from an official North Korean military operation to a disgruntled ex-employee. Listen to the podcast to hear the hosts’ strong case for who they think the hacker was. Nelson also reviews Sony’s reaction to the security attack. Stay tuned until the end for the NSA’s rumored ability to create a cyber defense system and the international implications of an automated cyber attack response.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

The Senate Committee Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program

In December 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. Among the many infractions alleged were unlawful torture, coverups, wrongful detention, and unauthorized dissemination of classified information. Since its release, there have been many critics of that report including the Senate Republican Minority, former Vice-President Dick Cheney, the CIA, and its former directors. In this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host Bob Ambrogi interviews Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) attorney Professor Mark Denbeaux, Project 21 Chair Horace Cooper, and Cato Institute Policy Analyst Patrick Eddington. Together, they discuss the legalities of enhanced interrogation, whether or not it’s effective, and the morality of its use in the theatre of war.

Professor Mark P. Denbeaux is the director of the Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy and Research, which is best known for its distribution of the internationally recognized series of reports on the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp. Professor Denbeaux’s interest in the conditions of detainment arose during his representation of multiple detainees including Abu Zubaydah, who was held in a CIA dark site, as well as two Tunisian detainees from GTMO.

Horace Cooper is co-chairman for Project 21’s National Advisory Board and adjunct fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research. In addition to having taught constitutional law at George Mason University, Mr. Cooper was general counsel to U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Patrick Eddington is a policy analyst in Homeland Security and Civil Liberties at the Cato Institute. A former senior policy advisor to U.S. Representative Rush Holt from New Jersey, Mr. Eddington’s legislative portfolio includes security, intelligence, and detainee interrogation issues.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

The Digital Edge

ABA TECHSHOW 2015: Don’t Miss It!

The ABA TECHSHOW is an annual legal technology conference in Chicago, sponsored by the Law Practice Division of the ABA. The goal of the conference is to educate lawyers, legal professionals, and law firm employees on using technology in their practice. The 2015 conference will be held April 16th through the 18th, and will feature many new and recurring educational topics that are trending in legal technology. Want to find out if this conference will benefit your practice?

In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview the Chair of the ABA TECHSHOW Board, Brett Burney, about the 2015 conference, what attendees can expect, and why attendance is useful to almost anyone working in the legal field. The people who should attend, Burney says, are solo and small firm lawyers, government lawyers, members of corporate legal departments, and big firm lawyers. Additionally, law firm employees such as paralegals, legal assistants, CIOs, IT professionals, law firm administrators, office administrators, litigation support professionals, and many others will benefit from the educational value of the ABA TECHSHOW. He talks about this year’s legal technology topics such as cloud computing, a paperless office, digital security, and many others, and how the board selects speakers of quality and relevance. Burney discusses how having vendors and exhibitors at the conference can help users, why a legal professional should attend for the first time, and what’s new and cool for the 2015 conference. The ABA TECHSHOW comes highly recommended by past attendees for legal professionals at any level of tech experience, from novice to expert.

Brett Burney is the Chair of this year’s ABA TECHSHOW Board and is also the Principal of Burney Consultants LLC. He focuses the bulk of his time consulting on e-discovery and litigation support topics. He also works with lawyers who want to integrate Macs, iPhones, and iPads into their practice. Burney is a frequent contributor to Legal Technology News and speaks around the country on litigation support, e-discovery, Mac and iOS-related topics.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Serve Now.

ABA Journal: Asked and Answered

Linda Greenhouse and Jonathan Turley discuss the relationship between courts and the press

In this month’s Asked and Answered podcast, moderator Stephanie Francis Ward talks to Linda Greenhouse and Jonathan Turley about the past, present and future of legal journalism, and how it has influenced courts. Greenhouse reported on the U.S. Supreme Court for the New York Times for four decades, and is now the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at Yale Law School. Turley is an attorney, legal scholar and professor at George Washington University Law School and is a legal analyst for several media outlets.

Linda Greenhouse is the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at Yale Law School. That follows a 40-year career at the New York Times, where she covered the U.S. Supreme Court. She currently writes a biweekly op-ed column about the Supreme Court for the New York Times website.

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, focuses his academic work on constitutional matters, legal theory and tort law. He also writes an eponymous blog; is a member of USA Today’s board of contributors; and had done legal analyst work for CBS and NBC.

Workers Comp Matters

Overtime and the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is often overlooked as a part of workers’ compensation because it does not involve injury. The FLSA was a job creation bill passed in the 1930s that requires all employers in the United States to pay employees time-and-a-half, or 1.5 times their normal rate applied to every hour worked in overtime. As probably every worker knows, overtime starts after 40 hours of work per week. This is a federal statute that applies in every state to every worker, although 29 states have their own Wage and Hour laws. Who is exempt from the FLSA, how is this law enforced, and what related issues arise?

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, host Alan Pierce interviews Michael Galpern, a workers’ compensation lawyer who specializes in the Wage and Hour area of the law. Together they discuss the importance of the FLSA, what types of managerial positions are exempt from the law, and how the Departments of Labor enforce the law. Galpern explains the issues that arise with tipped employees and cash methods of compensation. If an employee has suffered an infraction or violation of the FLSA, he urges them to find a lawyer. The attorney will know what questions to ask of the employer and what documents to require for discovery. Furthermore, the defendant must pay for the attorney if the case is ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Galpern gives an example of a case, Stillman versus Staples, in which Staples had classified many of their assistant managers as managers and claimed them exempt from the FLSA. Tune in to hear the exciting verdict. Overall, Galpern emphasizes that every job in the United States is covered under the FLSA; some jobs may be covered and exempted, but all are initially covered.

Michael Galpern is the Co-Managing Partner and Chairman of the Wage and Hour department of the Locks Law Firm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Galpern is also the new president of the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG) and the past president of the New Jersey Association for Justice. Galpern has also been an invited lecturer on numerous occasions, speaking on subjects related to civil litigation and complex torts.

Special thanks to our sponsor, PInow.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Animals’ Writ of Habeas Corpus: Autonomy, Self Determination, and Chimpanzees

On December 2, 2013, the first ever lawsuit on behalf of captive chimpanzees was filed in the New York Supreme Court. The objective of that lawsuit was to grant Tommy (a chimpanzee) bodily freedom through a common law writ of habeas corpus. Since then, two similar lawsuits have been filed. Leading the charge in all three actions is world-renowned animal rights lawyer Steven M. Wise from the Nonhuman Rights Project. In this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host J. Craig Williams welcomes back Mr. Wise to discuss the legal theories behind his cases as well as other animals that could potentially benefit. Tune in to hear why Steven is not deterred by the recent loss in Tommy’s appeal and the difference between legal personhood and being human.

To hear more from Steven M. Wise on this topic, please listen to “Should a Chimpanzee Have Human Rights?” which was recorded before Tommy’s case was filed.

Steven M. Wise is the president of the Nonhuman Rights Project and has been practicing animal protection law nationwide for 30 years. He currently teaches Animal Rights Jurisprudence at Lewis and Clark, University of Miami, and St. Thomas Law Schools and has previously taught Animal Rights Law at the Harvard and John Marshall Law Schools. Wise has published four books on animal rights, including Rattling the Cage – Toward Legal Rights for Animals, and is currently heading three simultaneous lawsuits in the State of New York to free Chimpanzees.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

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