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As appeared in May 8th Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Dozens of fractured families gathered in a small sitting area on Wednesday in the Westmoreland County Courthouse as they waited to take their divorce and child custody cases before a hearing officer.
There were no lawyers in sight.
For more than a year, a growing number of mothers and fathers, husbands and wives have been serving as their own attorneys in domestic court cases. "I considered hiring a lawyer but changed my mind because of the cost," said Nattalie Turner of Jeannette as she awaited a custody hearing in the courthouse in Greensburg. "You can do everything yourself. I found out everything I need on the Internet. It was very easy," Turner said.
There were more than 2,500 domestic cases, including custody complaints and divorces, filed last year in Westmoreland County. Almost 25,000 similar cases were filed last year in Allegheny County. "A large percent of those cases are filed (without lawyers)," said Patrick Quinn, a family court administrator in Allegheny County. "I'm sure if people don't have money, they can't afford to pay for a lawyer. It's expensive to retain counsel."
April 08, 2011 – The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners announced the results of the bar examination given on February 22 and 23, 2011. 692 applicants took the examination of which 482 passed (the overall pass rate 70%).
New York court officials outlined procedures Tuesday aimed at assuring that all homeowners facing foreclosure were represented by a lawyer, a shift that could give tens of thousands of families a better chance at saving their homes. Criminal defendants are guaranteed a lawyer, but New York will be the first state to try to extend that pledge to foreclosures, which are civil matters. There are about 80,000 active foreclosure cases in New York courts. In more than half of them, only the banks have lawyers.
As more courts require e-filing, lawyers may need to adjust their writing style to account for differences in the way people read online.
That’s the conclusion of Houston appellate lawyer Martin Siegel in an article for Texas Lawyer.
Online readers “jump around, skimming and seizing on bits of text,” Siegel writes. “Eye-tracking studies show they seek content in an F-shaped pattern, looking down the left side for structural cues and then focusing on headings and first sentences of paragraphs. Heaven help the content provider with important text consigned to the bottom right of the screen.”
Siegel cites a book by Houston appellate lawyer Robert Dubose and a law review article by University of Dayton law professor Maria Crist. Dubose says lawyers writing with online readers in mind should put their most important points in headings and first sentences of paragraphs, use bullet points, and quickly get to the point. Similarly, Crist endorses short paragraphs and condensing chunks of information into smaller pieces.
To read the entire article, visit the ABA Journal: www.abajournal.com/news/article
Locked up in a California jail, Malcolm Alarmo King wanted healthier meals. In an argument apparently made to a friendly court, he won a ruling from Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson that he should be fed double-portion kosher meals.
Good News for Displaced Pennsylvania Lawyers
An increasing number of corporate law departments are hiring contract lawyers and sending them more projects, according to two principals with Pennsylvania legal staffing firms.
Americans support Arizona immigration law
Although condemned by the White House, Arizona’s controversial new immigration law has popular support among American voters.
The Arizona statute, which requires law enforcement officials to ask someone's legal status if there is "reasonable suspicion" to believe the person is in the U.S. illegally, was approved of by 31 to 51 percent of the survey’s respondents, and 35 to 48 percent said that they want a similar immigration law enacted in their state, according to a nonpartisan Quinnipiac University Poll, reports USA Today.
Maryland divorce lawyer learns empathy
Maryland divorce lawyer Regina DeMeo changed the way she practices law after her own marriage ended.
Before her divorce, DeMeo took a businesslike approach when counseling divorce clients, the Washington Post reports. “OK, come on," she would think. "Get yourself together and let's move on."
ABA holds leadership academy and reports on female lawyers confidence
Women lawyers need to exude more confidence in the courtroom, even if they have to fake it, according to a Pennsylvania federal judge.
There are few differences between great male and female lawyers in the courtroom, three judges said at a program at the ABA's Women in Law Leadership Academy in Philadelphia on Thursday. But they identified some things women could do better, the Legal Intelligencer reports in a story reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.).
Being confident in the courtroom is one way women lawyers could improve, according to U.S. District Judge Norma Shapiro of Philadelphia. "Women in general lack the confidence that men seem to have in the courtroom," she said. And if lawyers don’t have confidence, jurors and judges will also lack confidence in their arguments.