November 23, 2017

Archives for December 14, 2011

Motion to Modify or Dismiss Protection Orders Amended by State Judicial

The Colorado State Judicial Branch has issued a revised protection order form. The form is used for filing a motion to modify or dismiss temporary or permanent protection orders. Practitioners should begin using the new form immediately.

All forms are available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Microsoft Word formats; many are also available as Word and Excel templates. Download the new forms from State Judicial’s individual forms pages, or below.

Protection Orders

  • JDF 397 – “Motion to Modify or Dismiss Temporary or Permanent Protection Order” (revised 11/11)

Coach’s Corner: How Do You Fully Leverage Paralegals?

The Role of Paralegals

Paralegals have long been considered a highly cost-effective form of leverage, undertaking routine legal tasks under the supervision of a partner while at reduced billing rates that are attractive to the client yet supportive of the firm’s bottom line. These paralegals may be employed within the firm itself or they may provide outsourced services in a virtual relationship. Either way, the most typical tasks they engage in are generally technical in nature: research, document review, organizing client files and the like.

Paralegals Enable a Firm to Create Additional Business

A paralegal’s fundamental task is to allow a firm’s lawyers to do more client or marketing work without running up against the danger of not properly addressing client needs. Paralegals enable a firm to create additional business, using the principle of leverage, that would not otherwise be possible, in addition to reducing lawyers’ stress level.

How to Leverage Paralegals

Once they understand the firm and its culture, paralegals can be leveraged not just through their technical abilities but also for their client service strengths. Consider such strategies as these:

  • Failure to return phone calls or respond to letters is the number one complaint clients have about lawyers. Lawyers may be otherwise engaged, but clients want to be assured that their matter is being dealt with. Having a paralegal step in and assure the client that their inquiry will be answered as soon as possible can prevent many client relations problems.

  • Clients want to know what’s happening with their matter. Even though the lawyer might be doing a great job, if the client doesn’t know that, there’s bound to be a problem – usually at fee-paying time. Paralegals can often handle the kind of communication that clients appreciate, by sending copies of documents, by writing, or making calls for updates. Clients kept informed at every step of their matter are happier clients. Happier clients pay their bills faster and refer other clients.

  • Clients should be able to connect directly with paralegals who may have an impact on their matter or who might be able to answer one of their questions. The client who walks away with an answer, even if not from the mouth of the attorney, is far more likely to be a satisfied client. That means that client service education training is a must for paralegals.

Direct Supervision of Paralegals is Important

In such activities, of course, lawyers must continue to exercise direct supervision of paralegals. But given that, paralegals in such roles can enhance client service and firm profitability.

Ed Poll is a nationally recognized coach, law firm management consultant, and author who has coached and consulted with lawyers and law firms in strategic planning, profitability analysis, and practice development for over twenty years. Ed has practiced law on all sides of the table and he now helps attorneys and law firms increase their profitability and peace of mind. He writes the LawBiz® Tips E-zine, where this post originally appeared on November 1, 2011.

Tenth Circuit: Competition and Contract Terms Were Valid Considerations in Determining to Not Proceed with Proposed Casino

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC v. HV Properties of Kansas, LLC on Tuesday, December 13, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Respondent entered into a real estate sale contract with Petitioner, “pursuant to which [Respondent] purchased from [Petitioner] parcels of land in southeast Kansas for $2.5 million for the purpose of seeking to develop a lottery gaming facility on the land. [Respondent] ultimately chose not to develop a lottery gaming facility on the land. [Petitioner] thus did not receive $37.5 million of payments that it had hoped to receive . . .  under the contract.”

Respondent filed this diversity action seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not breach the terms of the contract, and Petitioner filed a counterclaim alleging that Respondent breached the terms of the contract. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Respondent.

The Court concluded that “competition from other nearby casinos, or the threat of such competition, would have, under the terms of the Sale Contract, been a valid consideration for [Respondent] in assessing the reasonable acceptability of the terms of the Management Contract it executed with the Lottery Commission”; Respondent had the right to decide whether the negotiated and executed management contract was “reasonably acceptable,” and in turn to withdraw if necessary. Sufficient evidence exists to show that Respondent reasonably did not believe that, due to the combination of the downstream casino and terms in the executed management contract, the proposed casino would be sufficiently viable to justify the investment.

Tenth Circuit: After Fruitless Effort to Ask About the Identity of Objects in Defendant’s Pockets, a Reasonable Officer Could Conclude They Could Be Weapons

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Rochin on Tuesday, December 13, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioner’s car was stopped by an officer for an expired registration. Dispatch warned the officer that the occupant was a suspect in a drive-by shooting. When Petitioner could provide no identifying or registration information, the officer feared for his safety and requested that Petitioner exit the vehicle for a protective pat down. Feeling two suspicious objects on Petitioner, and their verbal exchange in Spanish providing no clear information, the officer remove the objects, which turned out to be drug paraphernalia. Petitioner was arrested for drug possession, and a later search of the vehicle discovered firearms leading to a conviction of a federal firearm offense. Petitioner claims that the officer “violated the Fourth Amendment because he removed the items for inspection when he had no idea what they were.”

The Court disagreed, finding that “the subjective beliefs and knowledge of the officer are legally irrelevant”; “the constitutional inquiry turns on whether an objectively reasonable officer could have feared that the detected objects might be used as instruments of assault.” A reasonable officer could have concluded that the long and hard objects detected in Petitioner’s pockets might be used as instruments of assault, “particularly given that an effort to ask [Petitioner] about the identity of the objects had proved fruitless.”

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/13/11

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and nine unpublished opinion.

Unpublished

United States v. Denny

Rivera v. Mullin

United States v. Williams

Sims v. Chester

Cook v. Central Utah Corr. Facility

United States v. Vaughan

Yancey v. Crow

Burling v. Addison

Ngatuvai v. Breckenridge

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.