ABA Journal

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Considering mask fights, states may hold off on making COVID-19 vaccine required school immunization

Lawyers interviewed by the ABA Journal disagree on whether requiring the vaccines is the best approach for keeping children in schools, but most agree the virus has caused significant work for school administrators, many of whom are still dealing with pushback on masking rules.



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ABA Commission on Immigration offers students 'hands-on' experience with people in detention

“A lot of people frequent the hotline, so you build a relationship with these callers who are really trying their best to understand the process,” says Emma Yznaga, who was an intern with the ABA Commission on Immigration’s Detention and Legal Orientation Program Information Line for four months.



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ABA internship for law students with disabilities spurs young lawyer’s work at IT company

Lawyer Derek Bolka credits an American Bar Association internship for kick-starting his career at Accenture, an information technology services company, where he is now an inaugural fellow of a legal program for lawyers with disabilities.



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University of Montana faces Title IX complaints, including from law students

Following a Title IX lawsuit brought by former administrators and a current professor at the University of Montana, law students at the school claim they were dissuaded from filing administrative complaints alleging repeated use of slurs in the classroom and sexual misconduct.



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Online dispute resolution promises to increase access to justice, but challenges remain

Court leaders say an online dispute resolution program, known as LA-ODR, is part of their ongoing efforts to enhance access to justice for self-represented litigants through the use of technology. A 2019 California Justice Gap Study found that 55% of Californians at all income levels experienced at least one civil legal problem in their household in the prior year, but nearly 70% of them received no legal assistance.



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Prosecutors are working towards the release of the longest-serving inmates

Historically, most prosecutors haven’t felt responsible for examining cases closed by their predecessors to determine whether everyone’s punishments fit their crimes. The prosecutors in these offices, however, are pushing their field to adopt changes to address mass incarceration and sentencing disparities in the criminal justice system.



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As more courts use facility dogs, some defense lawyers object

In a justice system that can sometimes appear hostile, facility dogs can comfort child witnesses as they talk about the most traumatic experiences of their lives. Because the dogs lie at children’s feet in the witness box, jurors may never see them. But according to some defense lawyers, when judges say witnesses will be assisted by canines, that makes them appear more sympathetic or believable, violating the due process rights of their clients.



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An increasing number of physicians are dismissing patients, but are they doing it legally?

In some areas of medicine, patient dismissal rates are increasing, with physicians firing their patients directly and telling them to seek care elsewhere.



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Costly Collisions: A small-town personal injury case sends a powerful message to the trucking industry

The number of crashes involving large trucks has been rising during the past decade. And as the number of crashes has increased, so has the size of jury awards and settlements, often resulting in what some lawyers call “nuclear verdicts”—multimillion-dollar damages verdicts significantly higher than expected given the injuries in the case, generally in excess of $10 million.



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The Supreme Court is in the building—contentious rulings behind, more major cases ahead

U.S. Supreme Court justices are hanging up their phones after a year and a half of teleconference arguments because of the pandemic and returning to the bench for the new term that begins Monday.



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Law student Emily Dillan is an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence

Emily Dillan went to the University of Massachusetts School of Law hoping to help survivors of domestic violence in her community, but through a new opportunity with the ABA, she could soon extend her advocacy across the country.



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ABA's inaugural Equity Summit will highlight importance of inclusion; guests include Justice Sotomayor

Throughout the summit’s four days of programming, registrants can attend five CLE programs; four TED-style talks; three workshops on critical diversity equity and inclusion issues; and a fireside discussion Sept. 29 with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.



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California is poised to permit remote court hearings through at least mid-2023

The San Diego Superior Court system has utilized remote hearings amid the COVID-19 pandemic to keep court business moving forward. Under a bill the California legislature approved unanimously last week, courts across the country’s most populous state would be permitted to continue hosting remote hearings in civil proceedings.



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How legal managers can negotiate trauma for themselves and others



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At some law schools, why are those who teach called 'instructor' rather than 'professor'?

At Rutgers Law School, everyone who teaches law is called a professor, but that is not true at many other institutions, where faculty who teach topics including legal writing, academic success and clinical work are often given titles including “instructor” or “director.” They are usually paid less than tenure-track professors and sometimes have little if any job security.



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When the Supreme Court cites your amicus brief

When the U.S. Supreme Court releases a decision, the parties and their lawyers scan the opinions to determine whether they won or lost. Meanwhile, those who filed amicus curiae, or friend of the court, briefs in the case also want to know the outcome. But first, they are eager to find the answer to a different question: Did one of the justices cite my brief?



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Tara Isa Koslov brings passion for antitrust law to the ABA

As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Koslov thought she might pursue a career in journalism. That changed after Koslov saw a gunman shoot and wound her father as they walked together near their home in 1983. “My dad was such a good writer and communicator, but he was not a lawyer, so he was dependent on the lawyers to tell his story,” she says. “I thought, ‘I like to speak, and I love to write. Maybe I need to focus my skills in that direction instead.’”



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Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has full approval from the FDA, how will employers respond?

There’s a sense that implementing mandatory vaccine policies could be difficult for employers—particularly when employees are not seeking religious or medical accommodations and instead fall into the “I don’t want to” group.



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LegalZoom is pursuing an alternative business structure license in Arizona

Obtaining an alternative business structure license would allow LegalZoom to hire attorneys as employees to provide legal advice directly to customers rather than relying on an independent network of lawyers.



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Law prof's federal discrimination suit against University of Idaho allowed to go forward

A U.S. district judge last week denied the University of Idaho’s motion for summary judgment on gender and race discrimination claims brought by a Black female law professor who claims she was unfairly denied an associate dean position and a stipend.



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Technical problems again plague remote bar examinees, who blame software provider

Following various technical issues candidates faced with the remote October 2020 bar exam, the July 2021 online administration had problems as well, according to some test-takers. They reject software provider ExamSoft’s assertion that the complications were related to hardware.



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Troubling Treatment: Efforts are underway to reform teen behavioral programs

At age 15, Chelsea Filer tried to run away and live with her grandparents. A couple of weeks later, two large men, who worked with a transport company hired by her mother, woke her up in the middle of the night. The men took her across the border to a private residential school and treatment center in Mexico. “When children are legally kidnapped and trafficked across state or border lines, they lose their rights and any protections from the jurisdiction of their home state,” says Filer, who is now a youth rights advocate in Sacramento, California.



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Law & Order's prime-time formula shaped a generation's understanding of the legal system

During its original broadcast run from 1990 until 2010, Law & Order became a cultural phenomenon. With an emphasis on procedure as the primary plot device and less reliance on exploring characters’ personal lives or relationships, the success of the show spawned numerous similar shows and spin-offs while inspiring countless fans to go to law school or pursue careers in law enforcement.



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States drive a wave of bills affecting transgender youth

States have filed more than 250 bills affecting LGBTQ people this year—including more than 120 anti-trans bills. Opponents say the proposed legislation promotes discrimination and prejudice and could negatively impact trans youths’ mental health.



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