ABA Journal

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ABA grants will help legal services providers reach more veterans in Texas

The ABA Military and Veterans Legal Center earlier this year awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to three nonprofit organizations that deliver legal services to veterans in Texas.



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Will California be the next state to permit nonlawyer paraprofessionals?

The State Bar of California is considering a proposal to have the Golden State join a small number of other jurisdictions in permitting nonlawyer paraprofessionals to provide legal advice and undertake other tasks typically handled by attorneys.



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Can real estate disclosure laws protect buyers from the supernatural?

Real estate agent Nancy Blaker Weber is no stranger to old ghost stories swirling around a grand Victorian house nestled on the banks of the Hudson River in Nyack, New York. Decades ago, the family living in it reported levitations, apparitions and other strange happenings. But that didn’t stop Blaker Weber from selling the home for a third time in June.



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Supreme Court revisits Second Amendment with challenge to New York concealed-gun restrictions

When two residents of upstate New York sought unrestricted licenses to carry concealed weapons for self-defense outside the home, officials denied their applications under the state’s demanding standard for such permits. Those relatively routine administrative actions have teed up the most important Second Amendment case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in more than a decade.



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Has COVID-19 made the workplace more accessible for lawyers with disabilities?

Since March 2020, most law firms and legal organizations have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing their employees to work remotely and transition to more flexible hours. For some lawyers with disabilities, teleworking has brought significant benefits, including increased access to their clients and colleagues and to more job opportunities.



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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 toward 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?

Few physicians will admit to ghosting a patient. It’s the type of behavior that could lead to a lawsuit or a patient complaint to a state medical board. 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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