ABA Journal

Features

697 ABA Journal Features articles.

Prosecutors are cracking down on online romance scams

In 2020 and 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice website posted at least 10 news releases about separate indictments involving romance scams. In 2021, people reported losing a total of $547 million to the crimes, and that was an 80% increase over 2020. The numbers could be greater than that because many romance scams go unreported. Trying to avoid judgment from peers is one reason, and blackmail from scammers is another.

Pen Pals

Matthew Strugar received the first mysterious postcard in August 2018. On one side, two black-and-white patterned orcas leapt into the air from their large tank of turquoise water at SeaWorld. The handwritten plea on the back of the postcard was signed, “Sincerely, Your imprisoned orca clients.” Most lawyers would have found the note odd, but for Strugar, it struck a familiar chord.

Judging Jurisdiction

In July 2020 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch read the majority opinion in McGirt v. Oklahoma, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Cozzoni sprang into action. In that moment, she knew what would happen next: Scores of major crime cases would be landing in her federal court district in Tulsa, requiring rapid adjustments and recalibration.

40 wellness tips to help lawyers cope with job pressure

No matter what type of law you practice, there are always stressors and pressure points that only get bigger as the stakes get higher. With that in mind, we asked attorneys, wellness experts and other legal industry professionals for tips on how lawyers can take care of themselves and not get overwhelmed.

Troubled Waters

As interest in outdoor recreation has surged, more people are clashing with property owners over the right to be on the waterways. The conflict over the uses of—and even the definitions of—public and private space is a legal conundrum bedeviling locales across the country.

Risky Business

Do you want to fight for your clients but are short on cash? Call litigation finance groups today and get $500,000 or significantly more! But not if you have public discipline, bad credit, too much debt or a dog case. Or if the other side is known for slash-and-burn legal tactics. Or if it looks like your case won’t bring in enough damages to satisfy the client after the funder gets paid.

Can C-suite diversity officers really make a difference?

“It’s a growing trend that’s going to stick,” says Sylvia F. James, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the international firm Winston & Strawn. “I think it sends a message both internally and externally about the importance that the firm places on the position.”

Guardianship battles in the spotlight spark new calls for reform

Guardianship, also called conservatorship, is a term used when state law grants an individual decision-making power over an adult deemed incompetent or a minor child. A court-appointed guardian’s control is often limitless and can include power over their person and/or property.

State of the Profession 2021: BigLaw proved to be most resilient to COVID-19

Fears that COVID-19 would cause a prolonged financial blow to the legal industry did not come to fruition. Instead, many firms were able to quickly and effectively transition to remote working, which left them in position to assist with an array of COVID-19-related legal issues. But the industry’s successful transition to widespread remote working has not come without drawbacks.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How pandemic practice left lawyer-moms facing burnout

As the world ground to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic and parents scrambled for solutions, an uncomfortable truth emerged: Women are America’s default social safety net. It’s a regressive construct that has entrapped and hobbled working mothers across the spectrum—including lawyer-moms. The pandemic simply tightened the screws.

Read more ...