ABA Journal

Features

702 ABA Journal Features articles.

Forced Labor?

For decades, activists have been challenging what has become a widespread policy of paying little to nothing for work done by immigrant detainees. The October 2021 verdict in Nwauzor v. the GEO Group has been hailed as not just a success story but also a potential game changer for a practice advocates say violates civil rights.

Psychedelic Rx: Legal battles aim to expand patients’ access to psilocybin and other hallucinogens

While Indigenous communities have long integrated plant-based psychedelics such as peyote and ayahuasca into their spiritual practices, interest in using both natural and synthetic hallucinogenic substances to alleviate depression and anxiety as well as anorexia, substance use disorder and other mental health conditions has increased in recent decades.

Legal Sleaze: Are pop culture’s unethical, incompetent, crooked lawyers examples of art imitating life?

When it comes to pop culture, it can be good to be bad. That’s especially true for lawyers in movies, television shows, books and plays. Pop culture is full of tropes, archetypes and caricatures that show lawyers in the worst possible light.

America’s Lost Children

When researchers began the painstaking work of identifying Indigenous children who died at the Genoa U.S. Indian Industrial School in Nebraska, they kept making chilling discoveries.

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.

Food Fight: Do lawsuits challenging product labels benefit consumers?

Legal actions against food and beverage companies over the wording on their labels have exploded in recent years, from just 19 class action lawsuits in 2008 to a record 325 cases filed last year. And lawsuits over whether a “foot-long” sandwich is really 12 inches or whether the unfilled space in a food package is cheating consumers have also grabbed headlines over the years.

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.

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