July 22, 2018

Archives for August 15, 2011

Vote CBA-CLE Legal Connection as One of the ABA’s Top 100 Law Blogs

The ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 is back for 2011 and we need your help! The ABA is compiling its list of the 100 best law blogs and it is up to you, our loyal readers, to nominate us for consideration.

Click here to vote!

Your vote will help raise our profile even more and able us to reach more Colorado (and national!) legal professionals with updates on everything from revised forms, rule changes, case law, legislation, and happenings and news from around our legal community. We’ve also started a new Law Practice Management section on the blog, covering helpful and trending topics like legal technology, legal writing and research, networking, and social media!

We’re working hard to make sure Colorado attorneys can easily stay on top of all the legal updates and tips they need to make their practices successful. If you like the content that we provide you here, we hope you’ll consider voting for us. The nomination process ends September 9, 2011.

We are greatly appreciative of all our readers. Thank you for visiting, subscribing, and sharing.

And, as always, we welcome your feedback. Is there something you’d like to see featured on CBA-CLE Legal Connection that we don’t currently cover? Something you’d like to see more of? Email me (zwillis@cobar.org), call me (303-824-5332), or just stop by the next time you’re here for a CLE program or CBA meeting.

Thanks for your vote!

Carolyn Pannell Named as New District Court Magistrate for Larimer County

On Monday, August 15, 2011, Chief Judge Stephen Schapanski announced that he has selected Carolyn Pannell to join the Eighth Judicial District as a district court magistrate for Larimer County. Pannell will replace the Honorable Susan J. Winfield, whose retirement is effective October 1, 2011.

Since March of 2009, Pannell has been a staff attorney with the Bringing Justice Home Project, which provides legal representation to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Larimer, Weld, Routt, Grand, and Moffat counties. Previously, she was a solo family law practitioner in Fort Collins. Pannell earned her law degree from the University of Florida.

Pannell will take the bench on October 3, 2011. Her docket will be a mix of dependency and neglect, child support enforcement, and contempt hearings in family and juvenile cases.

Click here to read the full press release from State Judicial regarding the appointment of Carolyn Pannell.

Lawyers Take Third Place in the Battle of the Young Professionals Kickball Tournament

The Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division took third place at the Colorado Society of CPAs Young Professionals Summer Kickball Showdown on Saturday, August 13, 2011. The showdown was held at Clement Park in Littleton and, from all accounts, was a blast!

In case you missed the excitement this time, the Young Lawyers Division sponsors all sorts of fun activities throughout the year. We’ll keep you apprised!

Congrats to the team for dominating the competition and placing at the top of the pack of young professionals!

Click here to view more photos from the tournament.

Seventh Judicial District Conducting Court Service-Improvement Program This Week

This week, judges, magistrates, clerks, and other court employees will again collect data to help improve the way the courts of Colorado’s Seventh Judicial District conduct their business. The court service-improvement program, which was first instituted in 2008, uses public surveys to gather information and assess the functioning and accessibility of the courts in each district. In the last three years, the surveys have been used at least once in each of Colorado’s twenty-two judicial districts.

Judicial officers, clerks and other court employees will spend time talking to people about their experiences as jurors, parties to a case, or as recipients of other Judicial Branch services. Attorneys, law enforcement officers, and anyone who does business with the courts will be encouraged to participate.

People leaving the Montrose County Justice Center on Tuesday, August 16, will be asked whether they had business with the courts and are willing to fill out a brief anonymous survey. The survey forms will be available in both English and Spanish.

The survey is designed to measure public opinion about access to and fairness of the courts. Questions include whether people felt safe in the building, whether they could easily understand the forms they needed, and whether they felt their case was handled in a fair manner. Participants also are asked whether they felt the judge or magistrate listened to them, whether they had all the necessary information before making a decision, and whether they felt they were treated with courtesy and given clear information about the next step in their case. The new information will be used not only to check the progress of changes initiated since the first round of surveys, but also to support the possibility of further improvements.

During the past three years, an average of 6,757 cases have been filed each year in the courts in Montrose County. That figure included 1,881 cases filed in Montrose District Court and 4,876 in Montrose County Court.

Click here to read the full press release from State Judicial regarding the court service-improvement program.

Roy Ginsburg: ABA Rules – No Major Ethics Overhaul Needed to Address Web Marketing

In a draft proposal issued last month, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 recommended no new restrictions relating to online marketing. The Commission did offer some useful guidance on how to interpret some web-based marketing tools within the context of existing ethics rules – guidance that I intend to pass along to the solo and small-firm lawyers that I coach.

Lead-generating tools

The Commission approved the use of “pay-per-click” and “pay-per-lead” internet sites to generate leads.  Some feared that that the ABA would interpret its Model Rule 7.2, which prohibits lawyers from paying someone else for a recommendation of their services, to ban web-based lead-generation tools.

Instead, the ABA said use of these tools is fine as long as there is no improper fee-sharing, false or misleading communication, or improper solicitation – just like in print. Further, the proposal clarified that a “recommendation” is defined as any communication that “endorses or vouches for the lawyer’s credentials, abilities or qualities.”

Solicitation

Increasingly, lawyers are posting information on their own websites, blogs and social networking sites that is read by people who may become clients. Increasingly, interaction between lawyer and reader is encouraged.  Under Model Rule 7.3, when does this information or interaction become “solicitation”?

According to the ABA draft proposal, solicitation occurs only when the lawyer “offers to provide, or can be reasonably understood to be offering to provide, legal services to a specific potential client.” Information provided to the general public is fine. Also allowed is information provided in response to a specific request or information automatically generated by an internet search.

Who is a “prospective client”

Model Rule 1.18 prohibits lawyers from using or revealing information they have received from someone who is a “prospective” (but not yet an actual) client. The Commission proposes revising the rule to clarify its application in an electronic world, where lawyers receive and send communications in a wide variety of new formals.

As proposed, a “prospective client” would be defined as someone who communicates with a lawyer about the possibility of forming a lawyer-client relationship and has a “reasonable expectation that the lawyer is willing to consider forming” such a relationship. A well-worded disclaimer on all electronic communications can protect the lawyer or firm from the creation of an unplanned and unwanted lawyer-client relationship.

Long story short

What impact will the draft proposal have on the solo or small-firm lawyer? Very little.  The same adherence to the Rules that serves you well when marketing in person, over the phone and in print will serve you just as well when marketing on the internet.  Just use good sense.

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared as a guest post on Carolyn Elefant’s My Shingle blog on August 12, 2011. Carolyn Elefant has been a resource, an advocate, and an inspiration to lawyers around the country who are either currently solo or considering solo, and she is in Denver this week! Don’t miss her keynote presentation at CBA-CLE’s Hanging Your Shingle event! Click here to register.

Roy Ginsburg is an attorney coach in the areas of business development, practice management, and career development/transitions. He helps his nationwide clients achieve individualized practice goals and career satisfaction. He is also a solo practitioner and practices in the area of legal marketing ethics. His clients include FindLaw and Super Lawyers magazine, Thomson Reuters businesses.

Colorado Supreme Court: Week of August 14, 2011 (No Opinions)

The Colorado Supreme Court issued no opinions for the week of August 14, 2011.

Tenth Circuit: Petitioner Knew of Legal Duty to File Accurate Tax Returns for Escort Business but Affirmatively Concealed and Misled by Underreporting Income

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Hoskins on Friday, August 12, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioner was convicted of tax evasion after she and her husband failed to pay taxes for income they earned from a Salt Lake City escort service. The government contended that Petitioner failed to account for more than one million dollars in income the escorts generated. At sentencing, the government’s tax loss was relevant to potential jail time and restitution under United States Sentencing Guidelines. In an effort to minimize the tax loss for sentencing purposes, Petitioner offered “hypothetical tax returns (it was too late to submit amended returns to the IRS) that accounted for the unreported income and attempted to take deductions [she] claimed [she] would have been entitled to but for the tax evasion.” The district court rejected the tax returns and accepted the government’s tax-loss estimate. Petitioner now appeals that decision and claims the district court also erred in rejecting her challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her conviction, and the reasonableness of her sentence.

The Tenth Circuit rejected Petitioner’s contentions. The district court had ample evidence to conclude that Petitioner knew of her legal duty to file accurate tax returns and knew the state of the company’s finances; despite this knowledge, Petitioner voluntarily signed a tax return that underreported more than a million dollars in gross receipts, acting affirmatively to mislead and conceal. Also, the district court did not err in considering additional evidence regarding the accuracy of the tax loss calculation, nor did it err in accepting the government’s tax-loss estimate and declining to consider Petitioner’s proposed tax calculations.

Tenth Circuit: Arbitrator’s Imposition of Discipline Was Not Inconsistent with Award of Employment Reinstatement

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Chevron Mining Inc. v.United Mine Workers of America Local 1307 on Friday, August 12, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. A former employee of Petitioner was fired when he failed to follow company rules requiring him to supervise refilling of his fuel truck and he was not forthcoming about the ensuing consequences. Petitioner and the union for its workers are parties to an agreement that Petitioner must establish “just cause” for discipline and discharge of employees. The employee challenged his discharge by alleging that Petitioner had not shown just cause. An arbitrator determined that his actions were not the kind that should subject him to termination and he should instead be offered probation and a last chance agreement that has been afforded to other similarly situated employees. Petitioner seeks reversal of the arbitrator’s order.

The Court, however, did not find error in the arbitrators findings. “Because [Petitioner]’s Rules simply provide that violations may be grounds for termination, one can contemplate circumstances where noncompliance with the Rules, ‘subject[ing] employee to corrective action up to and including discharge,’ would nevertheless fall short of the just cause required for termination”; the arbitrator’s decision, therefore, was not necessarily counter to Petitioner’s Rules. It was within the arbitrator’s discretion to fashion an appropriate remedy given the circumstances, and the arbitrator’s imposition of discipline was not inconsistent with the award of reinstatement.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 8/12/11

On Friday, August 12, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and three unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

Neal v. Province

United States v. Hoskins

Thompkins v. McKune

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