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Are parents better off as solos, or at firms? | Why law-app developers are ignoring Android

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Washington, D.C., solo Carolyn Elefant—who has one daughter in high school and another “on the cusp of college”—writes at Above the Law that her working for herself rather than for a law firm worked out for her and her family. But is being a solo always the best way to go if you have a family? There are pros and cons on both sides she writes.

Two pros:

Flexibility and control. “Solos in some practice areas—such as estate planning or small business counseling—can generally set their own hours, so they might close the office at three to be home when school lets out or, alternatively, open for business a few nights a week or on weekends when a spouse can provide childcare coverage.” They can also choose where to work and work from home as needed.

Freedom to explore new areas. “Parents who work at a firm don’t have much spare time, so they’re often stuck focusing on the same practice area rather than expanding to new projects. By contrast, solos working part-time have more flexibility and may decide to reduce their schedule and use the time while their children are young to transition to other practice areas.”

Two cons:

No paid maternity leave. “Many solos may need to tend to matters—even if just checking email or writing a quick motion—within days of giving birth. And unless solos have staff to continue servicing clients during a lengthy maternity leave, the time away from the office can pack a serious financial punch.”

Second-best syndrome. “You may wind up assuming disproportionate responsibility for household chores and childcare than your partner. Some part-time solos feel guilty that they’re not earning as much as a partner so they may try to overcompensate by voluntarily taking on more work. … Unless working solos make clear that they’re not willing to settle for second place simply because their schedule is more flexible, their careers may suffer more during child-rearing years than if they worked full time.”

A droid lawyer’s lament

The Droid Lawyer, Jeffrey Taylor, was recently preparing for a trial “and lamenting the fact that we’re not any closer to having an Android-based trial presentation app, like TrialPad.”

Many lawyers eschew Android and get iPads because of the greater availability of lawyer apps, Taylor wrote. And he notes a Law Firm Mobile report that nearly all of apps produced by BigLaw firms are offered for the iPhone while only about a third are offered for Android.

Taylor says that the coding Android apps is particularly challenging, even though it’s “getting better, especially since Google recently released Android Studio.” Also “despite our anticipations, there isn’t a new Nexus 10 tablet, nor is there one, single ‘Pad killer’ available on the market,” so it makes more sense for lawyer-app developers to focus their energies on iPad apps.

When the dead rise

The Legal Geeks devoted two posts this week to exploring the legal dilemmas in Resurrection, a series that premiered March 9 on ABC. Resurrection is about loved ones who return from the dead—not as rotting zombies, but healthy and fully intact—years after their deaths. (I have not watched it—I’m skeptical that I would like it as much as The Returned, an unrelated French series with an identical concept.)

In one Resurrection storyline, a child who died 32 years ago returns. His family members decide to inspect his grave. But would the courts allow it? The Legal Geeks think so.

“A child who died 32 years in the past and then returns to life with DNA that matches the deceased child’s parents would be a ‘substantial reason’ for a court to order a body exhumed,” Josh Gilliland wrote. “Knowing the truth would be in the public interest for determining parenthood, child custody and whether the reanimated person was who they claimed to be.”

Another hypothetical: What if a dead spouse returned to a living spouse? Would the couple still be married? No. “Marriages end at the death of one spouse (See, Cal Fam Code § 2201),” Gilliland writes in another Legal Geeks post. “As such, a dead person coming back to life would not reinstate a marriage (or invalidate a subsequent one), because the resurrected spouse had died, thus ending the marriage. The same argument could be made for insurance policy payments. The insured met the contractual requirement of death, which obligates insurance companies to pay. The fact a person returns to the living after years of being actually dead would not invalidate performance under the policy. The condition for performance was met (death) and policies do not include provisions for the dead returning to life after decades.”

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