May 28 2013
Many are aware that print media such as newspapers, magazines and books are largely decreasing in popularity and are being replaced by digital media. With the ability to read books, news articles and more in digital format on everything from laptops and e-readers to smartphones and other handheld devices, the relative advantages of digital media sources is evident. In general, digital media is more conveniently portable, more affordable and more accessible than print media. The prevalence of digital media today begs the question of whether law firms will soon become bookless as well.
The Expenses Associated With a Legal Library
In smaller and larger law firms across the country, dozens or in some cases hundreds of law books may be used as reference materials for lawyers and their assistants. These books may contain information about legislation, case law and more that can be referenced in negotiations and court proceedings. However, these books do have a price associated with them. Firstly, they are an expensive investment to make, and digital reference materials are often more affordable. They also can take up a considerable amount of space. Some law firms today may be struggling with the high cost of overhead, and part of this overhead relates to the cost of office space. By digitalizing their legal library, they could free up a considerable amount of space. This could ultimately reduce overhead by enabling the firm to downsize or to use space more efficiently.
The Benefits of a Digital Library
While a digital library could free up space in a law firm and save money in this way, it also could provide the law firm with additional benefits. For example, a digital library may feature searchable texts. This could speed up the process of searching through huge volumes of law books for specific case law. Furthermore, employees could access the law firm's digital library remotely, and this may enable them to work while traveling on business, to reference case law during a court recess or to work from home in the evenings and on weekends. Multiple individuals could use the same reference materials at the same time when they are available in digital form.
While there are many benefits associated with law firms going bookless that ultimately may make this an inevitably in the future, in many law firms, this will not be a quick transition. Some law books may cost hundreds of dollars or more, and replacing dozens or hundreds of print books with digital books can be expensive. With many law firms already stocked with print reference materials, some law firms may view purchasing digital books as an unnecessary expense. Instead, they may choose to gradually replace print books with digital books as their existing reference materials become worn out, damaged or lost over time.
Ultimately, there are many benefits to law firms for upgrading their library of reference materials and replacing print media with digital media. With these benefits, it seems almost inevitable that most law firms would eventually make this transition. However, it is important to note that the existence of a full law library available in many law firms today coupled with the cost to replace this library with digital media may result in a slow transition to digital media rather than an abrupt change. Unless a law firm has the strong desire or a significant reason to invest financially in this upgrade, it may be many years before most established law firms are completely bookless.
May 01 2013
Money should be some kind of motivating factor when deciding what to do after graduation. If you’re not a trust fund child, you’ve likely racked up some pretty significant student loan debt. You’ll need to score a good job after college, in order to begin the slow process of paying back all that debt. From lowest to highest, this list takes a look at some of the highest paying legal professions and outlines what they entail, so you can make the right decision when planning for your future.
Over time, a judge will likely earn a million dollars. Their salaries tend to be quite high, as most judges make around $110,000 a year. If presiding over cases sounds like a better place to be than standing in front of the jury, then maybe you should be a judge. Judges are very important to the legal system and because of that, they get great benefits and retirement packages.
Just remember, as a judge you’re going to be faced with some pretty difficult decisions. You’ll have to hear a lot of testimony and you’ll be responsible for someone’s fate, each and every time you hear a case. A criminal judge, especially, has to impose sentences on parties, found either innocent or guilty. What happens when you don’t agree with the verdict? It’s important that you choose a judicial field you’re comfortable passing judgment in.
The Department of Labor estimates that the top 10% of earners in this field make more than $145,000. Still, not all judges are fabulously wealthy. It’s said the bottom 10% aren’t even earning $30,000 a year. As competition over judicial positions grows, it may be worth getting into a high-paying specialty if you want to become a judge and make a lot of money.
2. Chief Legal Officer
The CLO is the private council to large corporations. This means, your only job would be to represent a single corporation, while managing a legal team and being held personally responsible for all legalities. In this position, you’re in charge of hiring all the attorneys beneath you. If having a huge paycheck and getting to hand-pick your own crack team of attorneys sounds ideal, then you may want to try your luck at corporate law.
It’s important to keep in mind that anything that tarnishes the reputation of the corporation you work for will also tarnish your reputation. Imagine being Enron’s corporate attorney in 2001. A large number of Enron employees were sent to prison, finding themselves on the opposite side of the law. Make sure the corporation you’re working with has longevity in the business world and is making legal business decisions.
Litigators make a lot of money and rightly so. These attorneys spend hours preparing for the courtroom and when they get in, they are coming guns blazing. These attorneys are aggressive and work tirelessly to ensure the outcome is in their clients favor. So, if you’re not ready to persuade the jury, this isn’t the right field for you.
Like a good chess match, your work in this field will pit you against worthy advisories. You’ll need to outthink and outmaneuver your opposition. It won’t be easy and it won’t be fun all the time, but you will be making some good money.
If you’re someone who is also a do-gooder, you could focus your litigation career on consumer advocacy, trying cases for medical malpractice, environmental issues, and pollution. Asbestos has been illegal a long time and yet some people are still being exposed to it, including military veterans. Mesothelioma lawyers represent these victims, ensuring they’re compensated with the money they need to get the treatment they need. You could be the person who makes great money representing these victims.
April 29 2013
Subject-matter jurisdiction involves the authority of a court to hear a case based upon the subject-matter of the case. Subject-matter jurisdiction is distinguished between courts that retain general jurisdiction to hear a broad category of cases, and courts that retain limited jurisdiction to hear cases that fall within specific subject categories. The facts surrounding the cases determine whether a court may hear a case.
Case or Controversy
When a court has jurisdiction to hear a case, there must be an actual case or controversy that can be resolved by a court decision. If the plaintiff alleges an injury in fact, the injury must be within the zone of interest protected by statutes—either state or federal law. The plaintiff must also have standing, which involves a direct interest in the result of the case. The plaintiff must have been directly injured by the actions of the defendant—but more than an implausible or incidental interest in the outcome of the case. For example, courts typically will not hear a case based upon an individual’s status as a citizen alone without other facts that demonstrate an actual injury-in fact.
Ripeness and Mootness
Sometimes a plaintiff may have standing, but the judge may dismiss a case based upon ripeness or mootness. A case will be dismissed if it is not ripe, which means that the petitioner’s claims are too indefinite to exist as an actual case or controversy. In other words, an individual may not sue in court for an injury that has not yet occurred. Conversely, mootness is the opposite of ripeness. When a case has already been resolved by the court, or the passage of time has dissolved the case or controversy, the court will dismiss the case for being moot. In determining whether there is a current and actual injury-in-fact, the entire facts of the alleged dispute will resolve this issue.
When a court has exclusive jurisdiction, this is the only court that may hear certain types of cases. No other courts have authority to hear a particular case, when one court retains exclusive jurisdiction.
When more than one court has concurrent jurisdiction with each other for certain categories of cases, the plaintiff may choose to bring an action in either court.
State Courts vs. Federal Courts
In general, Congress has authority to vest exclusive jurisdiction of certain types of cases in federal court. State courts have concurrent jurisdiction to hear cases involving federal claims, when federal courts do not retain exclusive jurisdiction. State courts also have general jurisdiction to hear cases that involve state laws and statutes.
The plaintiff must petition the court that has original jurisdiction before proceeding to the appellate level courts. For instance, a criminal trial court has original jurisdiction to hear cases involving criminal law before an appellate court has authority to review the trial court’s decision.
Appellate jurisdiction involves a court’s authority to review decisions made by lower-level court. Appellate courts may revise decisions made by lower courts or send the case back to a lower court for review. However, one party must appeal a decision made by a lower court before the appellate court reviews the decision.
Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction
Pursuant to the Constitution, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases where a state is a party and cases involving public ministers, consuls and ambassadors. The Supreme Court also has original jurisdiction over cases between two or more states.
Thomas Welby is a freelance writer who focuses his energies on legal issues such as Fraud, Criminal Law, Personal Injury, International Law, Business Law and others as well.
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