Marijuana Legalization: The Journey and Today

Legal discussion on marijuana

The journey of marijuana legalization has been full of controversy and change, from the 1930s up to today. Once criminalized throughout the entire country and shunned by the U.S. government through aggressive anti-drug propaganda and campaigns, marijuana is now becoming legal in many states for medicinal or even recreational use.

Marijuana Use: Government Resistance and Public Defiance

Michael Jaccarino on marijuana crackdown

In the 1930s, the U.S. government took a strong stance against the sale and use of marijuana with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930 and the criminalization of marijuana in 1937. In 1936, the propaganda film Reefer Madness demonized marijuana as a “violent narcotic” that was sure to bring dangerous and undesirable symptoms such as uncontrollable laughter, hallucinations, and acts of violence to anyone who used it. Throughout the 1930s, the U.S. government warned the public that if they used marijuana, they would be supporting Mexican criminals who grew tons of marijuana across the border and sought to sell it to white high school students. This, however, did not stop the American public from quietly using the drug in the 1940s and 1950s, hiding it in books and buying it discreetly from door-to-door salesmen.

Once the 1960s and the counter-culture movement arrived, the American public became bolder about defying authority to openly use marijuana, despite controversy, government resistance and legal repercussions. Widespread protests occurred, and scientists began testing marijuana for its potential medicinal use. The U.S. government continued to fight marijuana use throughout the 1970s and 1980s with anti-drug campaigns in schools and on television as well as police dogs that could sniff out marijuana inside luggage at airports as marijuana use rose during the Vietnam War.

The Legalization of Marijuana

Protester for legalization of marijuana

Marijuana activism continued in the 1990s, and the voting public could not be silenced. As early as 1996, medical marijuana use was legalized in California. The new millennium brought a rapid succession of marijuana legalizations around the country. In the year 2000, the use of medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado. In 2002, marijuana activists in New York and all around the world began holding rallies to promote the legalization of marijuana during the “Million Marijuana March.” In 2010, medical marijuana use became legal in Washington, D.C., while, incidentally, voters struck down a proposition to legalize recreational marijuana use in California. In 2012, the use of recreational marijuana became legal in Washington. Recreational marijuana use became legal in Colorado in 2012.

Marijuana Legalization Today

Lawyer Michael Jaccarino discusses Compassionate Care Act

Voters in New York are anticipating the legalization of medical marijuana within the next 18 months. All they need is the signature of governor Andrew Cuomo on the “Compassionate Care Act” bill. Cuomo supports this bill because he feels that people with certain illnesses should not have to suffer needlessly when their pain could be alleviated through the use of medical marijuana, including children who suffer from epilepsy and seizures. 22 states have already legalized medical marijuana use in some form, and New York would be the 23rd state to do so.

The journey that marijuana legalization has taken since the 1930s demonstrates the power of the American public to change the course of history when they are determined and persistent enough to demand changes in legislation. At this point, marijuana legalization for medicinal or recreational use is sure to continue in other states as well.

 

 

 

“Hot” Arrestee’s Photo Goes Viral on Facebook

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Jeremy Meeks, 30, was arrested on Wednesday, June 18th in Stockton, California on felony charges for street terrorism and possession of weapons in the trunk of his car. After the Stockton Police Department posted Meeks’ mug shot on their Facebook page, the photo has quickly received more than 70,000 “likes” and more than 20,000 comments. No other mug shot has earned so much positive attention on the Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page since they started the page in 2012. Any given post or picture on the page typically receives hundreds of likes or comments at most.

An Overnight Sensation over Facebook and Twitter

Michael Jaccarino Facebook Page

There are several Facebook fan pages for Jeremy Meeks created by Facebook users, the most popular of which was created Thursday, with more than 60,000 followers. Pictures posted on the page include Meeks’ mug shot as well as pictures of him with his family, or his mug shot pictured as a meme or Calvin Klein ad with his neck and face tattoos removed. One meme reads, “steals your heart, and your DVD player.” Meeks has also been trending on Twitter, with users posting pictures of Meeks in memes and modeling ads accompanied by hashtags like #jeremymeeks, #FreeJeremyMeeks, or #FelonCrushFriday.

Arrest meme for lawyer Michael Jaccarino

Media Coverage

News sources reporting on Meeks and the overnight social media frenzy brought on by his photo have taken a humorous tone, for the most part. Many sources share comments left by enthusiastic women about Meeks’ handsome features or jokes along the lines of him only committing the crime of being too sexy. Some sources point out that Meeks is a dangerous criminal and should not be idolized for his good looks. Meeks, who is married, told ABC News that he wants admirers to know he is turning over a new leaf when he gets out of jail and doesn’t want to be known as a “kingpin.”

The Power of Social Media

ABC News reports that people in the Stockton community who were shown Meeks’ mug shot did not think he was particularly handsome and thought it was silly that his mug shot received so many “likes” and comments on Facebook. The social media attention received by Meeks’ mug shot clearly demonstrates the power of social media to make content “go viral” when it is deemed to be interesting by users and shared enough times, as well as the phenomenon of users taking existing content and making it their own, then sharing it to make the original content even more viral than it was before.

 

Sterling & NBA Set for an Epic Battle but is Recording Legal?

Lawyer Michael Jaccarino talks about NBA's cas against Donald Sterling

By now you’re probably quite aware of the punishment that the NBA has handed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Aside from being fined $2.5 million, Sterling is also banned from the NBA for his entire life; as part of this ban, the NBA will be looking to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

The punishment that’s come down from the NBA follows confirmation from Sterling that it’s indeed his voice which is heard expressing racist views. In fact, according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Sterling had no remorse or regret when confirming that the recording was real and not doctored.

You can listen to the recording by checking out the video below from TMZ which is the conversation that Sterling had with his girlfriend.

 

While the conversation was private and the views expressed within the recording are nothing new to those that have some knowledge of Donald Sterling, because it was leaked, the outcry was just too much for NBA commission Adam Silver to ignore.

The question that remains though is if it was legal to record the conversation and whether it was legal to leak. The legality of this issue is important as Sterling will be looking to fight the NBA which will be facing a legally risky path.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the legal aspects that surround the conversation that took place between Sterling and his mistress of the recorded conversation between Sterling and his alleged mistress, V. Stiviano.

Issue 1: Legality of Recording the Conversation

From a legal standpoint, it’s of utmost importance to determine whether it’s necessary to get consent from only one party “one-party consent” or whether you need consent from all parties prior to recording a conversation, whether it be by phone or in-person.  To answer this question, it depends on the state that you are in during the conversation.

The majority of states only require one member of the party to have knowledge of the conversation being recorded for it to be considered legal. However, some states like California which is a “two-party consent” state, requires that anyone that’s involved in the conversation to have knowledge that they are being recorded for it to be considered legal.

Sterling was in California when the conversation took place. Sterling’s expectation of privacy is objective – if there was no consent by Sterling, then his expectation for the conversation that took place between him and V. Stiviano to be private is reasonable. On the other hand, if the call was made by Stiviano and it was done on speaker phone in a public or semi-public place and Sterling was aware of this, then an objective expectation of privacy isn’t present. 

So depending on whether Sterling was made aware that he was being recorded or was made aware that the conversation that was taking place was being broadcast in at least a semi-public area, then the conversation may in fact have been recorded illegally.

According to the a statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times from Mac Nehoray, who serves as the legal representation for Stiviano,  Sterling was made aware that he was being recorded. However, Nehoray declined to tell the Times why the conversation was being recorded in the first place.

Issue 2: Legality of Leaking Recording 

Ethics aside, if we assume that the audio was obtained legally, then there is nothing illegal about leaking the recording to a reporter. Furthermore, the reporters who then took the audio and published it online to disseminate the contents to the public also did nothing illegal.

According to the same article in the Los Angeles Times, lawyer Mac Nehoray states that it wasn’t Stiviano who released the audio.

Issue 3: Is this a Case of First Amendment Violation

Has the freedom of expression been violated in Sterling’s case?

Most definitely not. Sterling has every right to speak his mind and say whatever he pleases just as the public and the NBA also have the freedom to condemn Sterling for his views. Furthermore, the NBA is a private business and therefore has the right to punish Sterling as they see fit.

While we can argue the ethics centered around whether it was morally right or wrong to leak the conversation that took place between Sterling and his mistress, the fact is that legally there was no violation when it comes to issue #2 and issue #3. Most likely this case will be centered around issue #1 and whether there was reasonable expectation for privacy and if Sterling had knowledge of the audio recording taking place.

 

 

 

Michael Jaccarino Discusses Arrest

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Michael Jaccarino discusses Brandon Carter arrest

It looks like Brandon Carter’s issues aren’t just on the football field as he was arrested on Tuesday by Forth Worth police due to suspicion of Brandon possessing marijuana.

The officers were on a routine patrol when they came across a 2010 Lexus in the area. They decided to run the license plates and pulled the car over after a “warrant hit” came through. The car’s owner, Alexis Harris who was a TCU member of the women’s soccer team and who had two outstanding traffic warrants, along with Carter were arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession (it should be noted that it was less than 2 ounces). of marijuana.

According to workers at the jail, Brandon Carter was released on his own recognizance from the Mansfield jail Wednesday morning.

TCU has been made aware of the arrest and will be looking into the details. Assuming that Brandon Carter is guilty of possession, he will then be in violation of TCU’s student code of conduct, which means that they can apply disciplinary actions as per their code.

Brandon was expected to be a huge difference maker for TCU after a stellar 2012 season which saw him come up with 36 receptions for nearly 600 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, 2013 didn’t turn out to be the way the team expected; Carter requested a leave of absence after a subpar year which saw him grab 31 catches but for nearly half the yards as last year (370) and compiling 0 touchdowns.

Brandon Carter is one of a long list of arrests that’s plagued TCU and their football team. Earlier this year, receiver LaDarius Brown was expelled from the football team after being arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession.

February 2012 saw 4 TCU players get kicked off the team due to being arrested as part of a drug sting. The players — Devin Johnson, Tyler Horn, Tanner Brock,  and D.J. Yendry.

I’ll keep you TCU fans up to date on Carter’s situation as soon as possible.

PR Tips for Your Firm

Michael Jaccarino Discusses PR For Your Law Firm

If you want to run a successful law firm, then you need to know how to position it so that people narrate the tale of your business the way you want them to. Position your business right, and you’ll be able to drive new business, however do it wrong and you’ll find your firm’s reputation in danger.

If you just started your firm, then it’s quite possible that you don’t have the resources to hire an external PR agency or hire someone internally that’s dedicated to marketing your business. But that’s okay… in this day and age of the internet, with proper targeting, you’ll be able to execute a successful marketing campaign.

Know yourself. It’s important when coming up with a campaign to come up with sound bites and concise, value driven messages. To tell a good story and come up with the right messages, you need to figure out what exactly it is that you want that messsage to be. If you can’t come up with your firm’s value, then you can’t expect others to.

Every comic book hero has an origin story

Every comic book hero has an origin story, so what’s yours?
Time to put on that thinking cap and figure out what your value proposition is. What is it that makes your business unique? Figuring out your businesses unique selling point will allow you to focus on the aspects of your business that makes the biggest difference and what separates you from the rest which in turn will allow you to start crafting a strong message about your law firm.

Know your audience. Now that you’ve figured out who you are as a business, it’s time to figure out what type of clients you want and then breaking that demographic down so you know how to properly target them.

A few things that you should consider when determining your audience:

  • age
  • gender
  • occupation
  • socio-economic status
  • geography
  • family structure (single, couple, married, children, retired)

Figuring out who your audience is will allow you to deliver a more poignant message should your audience be very specific, or if you find that you have a very broad audience, then you’ll want to come up with a more comprehensive message.

Coming up with a plan and implement.  Just like anything else in life, if you want to be ensure success, then you need to come up with a plan. You need to figure out what media outlets are right for your business. Make sure to include print and digital publications, as well as blogs, news sites, niche legal sites, radio and podcasts as well as any other sources that may be relevant.

Once you’ve come up with your list, it’s time to start building relationships. Use BuzzStream to help you with the process of building and managing relationships with influencers. Get on social media to actually communicate with reporters and those who you want to write about your story.

No one is coming to you unless you’re a huge firm, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this.

Customize your pitch. Most people, and especially reporters and influential blog writers, don’t want to be a part of an email blast. Journalists get hundreds of pitches on a daily basis, so if you want them to cover your business and story, make sure that you customize the pitch so that it’s relevant to their coverage area and audience.

Take a little extra time to look at their previous articles and figure out a good angle for your story to fit in. Spend some more time to craft an email that fits with the journalist that you’re emailing. They can tell when they’re getting a unique pitch versus one that’s cookie cutter and will most likely reply back to you if you’ve taken the unique approach.

Don’t use press releases. I see so many people using PRWeb and BusinessWire to distribute a press release, only to be disappointed when after spending a few hundred dollars, they don’t get any leads.

Press Releases Are A Waste Of Time and Money

Press releases for the most part are a waste of time for the majority of you. They typically have a lot of marketing jargon, quotes from C-level executives, praise from analysts and a bunch of other fluff… all of this comes at a high expense and typically will land in the digital trash bins of the journalists you’re trying to reach.

Use that money to have someone come up with a few basic email templates which you can then customize yourself when you outreach to journalists.

Or you can use that money to join Profnet from PRNewsWire – the services allows you to find and respond to reporter requests for sources. You can also look at using free service HARO (Help A Reporter Out) which sends an email three times a day showing requests from reporters who are looking for sources for their stories.

With these tips you’ll be on your way to getting yourself some media attention without having to spend the big bucks to hire a PR agency. Do you have any questions or looking for additional advice? Leave a comment below and I’ll make sure to answer as best as I can!

 

Capping Hourly Fees is Typically a Lose-Lose Proposition

Why Capping Your Fees Is A Bad Idea

Flat fees are seemingly becoming a more popular method for lawyers to charge clients. One type of way that lawyers offer a flat fee is by capping their hourly rate. As an example, a lawyer working on a small lawsuit might bill a client at $250 an hour with a ‘cap’ of $5,000 which means that the lawyer at a maximum will only bill 20 hours, even if they end up spending more time on the case. You can see then why this would be such a bad idea! Basically, by working on a capped fee, you will at best only be paid for your hourly work and if you end up needing to bill for more, you end up getting the shorter end of the stick.

A capped fee is different from a true flat fee where a lawyer would charge one flat rate. Going back to our example, that would mean the lawyer setting a fixed rate of $5,000 would get that amount regardless of the amount of hours spent which potentially allows a lawyer to come out ahead, even, or behind.

Capped Fees Are a Lose-Lose For Both a Lawyer and Quite Possibly the Client

As we saw above, by using a true flat fee, there are three possible outcomes for a lawyer, which helps to distribute the risk between the lawyer and their client. The risk to the client is that the lawyer will be more efficient then the estimated hours projected and the lawyer’s risk is that they will be less efficient.

It’s clear why a capped fee is a bad proposition for a lawyer, but it can also be bad for the client. If the lawyer goes over the projected hours of a capped fee, that means they aren’t getting paid for their extra hours. This in turn can possibly lead to a lawyer that loses interest and stars working less efficiently.

Of course this can happen with a fixed fee as well, it’s less likely because time is being separated from value. While you can argue that time was a factor in coming up with the value of the flat fee, it’s not using as the measuring stick. This means that lawyers that charge a flat fee for a project will not be as concerned with time.

In addition, a lawyer who works on a flat fee versus a capped fee will look for ways to be more efficient in the handling of representation. In fact, typically lawyers that go about charging a flat fee will in many cases come out ahead with this charging model as opposed to charging by the hour while being able to deliver the same degree of competency to their client.

Regardless of how you choose to bill, it’s important that you deliver the best value you possibly can to your client as there’s nothing more important than your reputation, so if a flat fee doesn’t work for a particular case, then use a billing method that’s most appropriate for the case – even if it means that you won’t end up signing the client.

Useful Business Skills for a Lawyer

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Business Skills for Lawyers

While some of the best lessons of lawyers are learned from dealing with real life experiences, there would (at least in my opinion) be some benefit if law schools taught students some more practical skills, especially skills that MBA’s learn as they go through business school. Even if it would mean another year of law school, whether it be a year of classes or a required internship, I feel that had I had learned some of the more practical skills of lawyering, I would have been a bit better prepared even though some lessons just have to be learned over time. Anyway, here are a few skills that I think would have been helpful for me as someone who has worked for both a large law firm as well as a boutique firm, in addition to running my own business.

1. Billing

It doesn’t matter what size law firm you work for, the knowledge of billing is essential. Your success will depend on your annual billable hours as most of the revenue that a law firm receives from charging clients by the hour… and if you aren’t doing your job right with billing, then you aren’t earning. Doesn’t matter if you decide not to bill by the hour a billing is still a necessity since you need to come up with some way of making money for the work you perform, whether it’s a flat fee or some other arrangement, which means figuring out your time, how much its worth, etc.

2. Accounting

This skill is very much related to the previous skill of billing. While not as essential if you work for a large firm, if you are working for a smaller firm, or run a solo practice, then this is quite important. You need to figure out if you’re profitable, what your expenses are, how to spend the money coming in (do you bring it into income or put it back to trying to grow the business).

3. Sociability

Being a lawyer is more than just understanding the written law or how to apply it. If you want to be successful in law, you need to have good social skills. Whether you realize it or not, when you start out as an associate, you’ll be graded on your ability to handle yourself in social situations. That means when you get an invitation from a partner, it isn’t optional and you need to know how to treat them. As you grow in the law firm, you’ll need to know how to work with clients. Social skills are what allow you to be successful as a lawyer when you network, whether it’s with other lawyers or potential clients. Additionally, have good social skills will help you with the next important skill…

4. Marketing

Marketing is essential and is more difficult than people realize. Knowing how to do marketing will allow you to land the big job at that large law firm or help you with bringing in additional business if you’re running solo.

Would love to hear in the comments what skills you think law school do teach to better prepare students for the business aspect of being a lawyer!

Mistakes Lawyers Make on Social Media

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Social media mistakes to avoid

Michael Jaccarino Discusses Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Social media is starting to be accepted by all professions, including lawyers, as it’s a great way of providing opportunities to generate leads, connect with clients, network with other professional and build up your brand and reputation. However social media can serve as a double edge dagger; while it presents all these great opportunities, when used incorrectly by lawyers, it can ruin your reputation, lead to your license being revoked, or at a minimum, runs the risk of embarrassing yourself if you aren’t caution and end up running afoul of state ethical rules and obligations.

Let’s face it – if you do a search online, you’ll even find lawyers who have been disbarred or even placed under arrest for what they’ve done via social media which is why presented below are a couple of tips to keep in mind so that you embarrass yourself – or worse – when using social networks liked Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+:

Don’t Accidentally Reveal Confidential Information

All attorney’s know this, however it’s important to remember that what you do on social media isn’t private and confidential. For example, if you post a picture on social media, it might be geotagged wit your location and time which in turn might inadvertently disclose a meeting location that was meant to be a secret. There re also many websites that work in conjunction with social media – many sites actually ask you to create an account with your social media login. If you were to do this, it’s possible that the information is being cross shared which in turn could result in confidential information being disclosed which then means it would no longer be protected by the attorney-client privilege. In the same vein, it’s a common courtesy and quite important that you remind any clients that choose to interact with you via social media that they should be careful with what information they divulge so that they don’t inadvertently disclose confidential information.

Don’t Unintentionally Create Lawyer-Client Relationship

The great thing about social media and the online world is that it can be a wonderful place to exposure your knowledge and build up your reputation as an expert within a certain subject. However, this comes with some risk.

Whenever you provide legal education, you need to tread the waters very carefully to make sure that you are providing general education as opposed to specific advice which might inadvertently cause harm to the person and in which case they could potentially sue you. You also want to make sure that you don’t solicit confidential information as to not create a lawyer-client relationship.

Don’t Use Insults

The Internet seems to be a great place for people to get their frustrations out, but remember that once it’s out there, you have no control of what happens. How many news stories have you seen where someone has said something they shouldn’t have, only to realize their mistake and delete the post, and yet somehow what ever they’ve said is still caught.

Out of honor for your practice and for your reputation, make sure to refrain from badmouthing your colleagues, opposing counsel, and/or clients. Its quite possible that if someone were to find out about the insult that they can take some sort of action against you. Even if they don’t, you could irrevocably damage your reputation if people discover that  you readily insult those you work with.

If you have additional tips or advice or have a story to share, leave a comment below!

Supreme Court Case on Recess Appointments Could Undo NLRB Decisions

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Supreme Court Case on Recess Appointments Could Undo NLRB Decisions

Supreme Court Case on Recess Appointments Could Undo NLRB Decisions

A potentially major case (National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning) the Supreme Court will take up during its new term, which started earlier this month, could reshape presidential appointment powers by redefining or limiting the president’s ability to name federal appointees while the Senate not in session.

A significant point for employers and workers alike, beyond the broader balance-of-power issue: the case could also undo literally hundreds of decisions over the past few years issued by the NLRB, the agency which oversees workplace elections on unionization and adjudicates unfair labor practices cases. The NLRB is supposed to have five members, serving staggered five-year terms, but in recent years it’s had difficulty staying at full strength.

During the Obama administration, the agency has been particularly active and controversial, reversing a number of previous policies and positions, and adopting aggressively pro-union stances in areas such as expedited unionization election procedures, union dues check-offs, restrictions on employer use of social media, workplace confidentiality rules, and many others. Some of the NLRB’s actions have been overturned in court challenges, and other challenges are still being reviewed.

As partisan disputes slowed Senate action on the administration’s nominees for NLRB vacancies, on January 3, 2012, the term expiration of one recess-appointed NLRB member reduced the agency to just two members, one short of the three needed for the quorum required to decide cases or adopt rules. So the next day, President Obama made three “recess appointments” to bring the agency up to full strength.

Recess appointments are a sometimes controversial short-term exception to the Constitution’s ordinary provisions on presidential appointment powers. Clause 2 of Article II, Section 2, requires Senate “advice and consent” for presidential nominees to many federal offices, but Clause 3 allows the president to fill vacancies “that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” Recess appointees can serve only until the end of the Senate’s next session, unless they later win Senate confirmation.

Presidents of both parties have resorted to recess appointments when swift appointments are needed and the Senate is out of session, such as during its traditional summer recess or a recess between the end of one Congress and the start of another (known as an “intersession” recess).

The Senate often bristles at recess appointments, viewing them as a way to bypass its advice-and-consent powers. Aiming to prevent recess appointments, the Senate did not officially adjourn at the end of 2011, but remained in pro forma session, meeting every three days but not conducting any substantive business. When the new Congress began on January 3, 2012, the Senate similarly stayed in pro forma sessions until the January 20 “State of the Union” speech, meeting once every three days but not transacting legislative work. The three NLRB recess appointees were named during this period.

About a month after the three recess appointments were made, a Pepsi bottling company, Noel Canning, lost an NLRB unfair labor practices case involving a Teamsters local. Before a federal appellate court in Washington, DC, the company challenged the NLRB’s authority to make any ruling, claiming the recess appointments were invalid, depriving the agency of a quorum and leaving it powerless to act. For a recess appointment to be valid, the company argued, the Senate must be out of session, and since the Senate was still in pro forma session, recess appointments could not be made.

In January 2013, a three-judge appellate panel sided unanimously with the company, saying the framers of the Constitution intended to limit recess appointments to intersession recesses between one Congress and another. Two of the judges went further, saying that in their reading, the Constitutional provision on recess appointees only applies to vacancies that come open during a Senate intersession recess, and could not be used to fill earlier openings.

The Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the limits for recess appointments, will hear the case, probably in 2014. Besides the two issues reached by the appellate court – what constitutes a Senate “recess,” and what vacancies can be filled by a recess appointment – the high court also asked for the parties’ views on the validity of the Senate’s tactic of staying in pro forma session to forestall recess appointments.

If the high court agrees with the appellate panel that the recess appointments were invalid, hundreds of NLRB decisions and actions between January 4 and July 30, 2013 (when the Senate eventually confirmed new NLRB members) could be invalidated. If the Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s broadest ruling, and thus invalidates an earlier recess appointment at the NLRB, agency actions going back as far March 2010 could be reversed.

Alternatively, the Supreme Court could reverse the appellate court’s decision, or view the case as raising primarily political rather than legal issues and opt not to decide it.

Appointments and actions by other agencies could also be affected; for example, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a creation of the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill, received a recess appointment the same day as did the three NLRB appointees. But labor law advisors will be keeping an especially close watch until the Supreme Court hands down its decision.

 

 

What Legal Specialties Are Hot?

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michael-jaccarino-specialties

When choosing a legal specialty, it makes sense to not only strive for a career in a niche you are interested in, but that is an up-and-coming practice area with room for growth. With that in mind, here are some of the hottest legal specialties poised to draw lots of new clients and new areas of practice in the coming years. You’ll notice that many of these have a close relationship to topics frequently covered in news and politics.

Read on for a list of specialization you may want to explore if you’re interested in starting a new practice—or growing an existing one—in 2014.

  1. Bike Accidents
    If you live in a city, you might have noticed that hordes of commuters are now traveling by bicycle. In fact, many cities are introducing or expanding bike-sharing programs so that residents and tourists can easily get around to points of interest. For personal injury lawyers, becoming well-versed in the laws associated with biking in your city can bring in a new clientele who have been involved in bike accidents (either as biker, driver, or pedestrian).
  2. Elder Law Services
    As the baby boom generation becomes senior citizens, there will be greatly increased need for lawyers that deal with issues surrounding aging. For example, changes to Social Security and Medicare will be a concern for older adults, and they may need additional estate planning or medical guidance. And for the children of baby boomers who are caring for their elderly parents, guidance about guardianship and power of attorney will be critical. As an alternative, specializing in health care will also cover many of these issues and ensure that you’ll be gainfully employed for years to come.
  3. Corporate Transactions
    In today’s business climate, companies are constantly partnering with, merging with, or acquiring other companies. Having the legal expertise to broker these transactions can solidly place you at the forefront of your field. And since some of these transactions will inevitably sour, both parties will need a lawyer who can be there to pick up the pieces.
  4. Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
    It’s a sad fact that the recession caused many Americans to lose jobs, putting them in danger of bankruptcy and potential foreclosure. Though the worst has past, the economic mess left behind in the housing bubble will take several more years to clean up. By focusing on clients who need help in a difficult financial situation, you can grow your business while helping others. And because of the increased unemployment in the United States, employment law will also be a critical area of specialty for new lawyers.
  5. Cyber Crime
    Our society’s increasing reliance on technology means that those looking to exploit others for financial gain have turned to the web. As a lawyer specializing in finding and prosecuting those who have perpetrated online scams, you’ll need a solid technological foundation and an interest in keeping up with the latest advancements. Intellectual property law, or copyrights for art, music, and writing, also fits closely with an interest in new technology.