A trial is nothing more than a scripted, rehearsed play. A good trial lawyer is the actor, the playwright, and the director of an effortless performance to a small, powerful audience of twelve. Opening statements are the trial’s prologue; they’re not much ado about nothing. Opening statements are the critical first scene where attorneys begin to compete for the jury’s headspace. In this presentation, we’ll draw upon theatre and William Shakespeare as we guide you through the process of understanding, drafting, and delivering an opening statement.
Almost everyone likes a to-do list. But what about a not to-do list—a malpractice not to-do list? A malpractice not to-do list is a list of professional behaviors or situations that, if undertaken, stand to bring a lawyer closer to malpractice. In this presentation, we present a seven-item not to-do list spanning every phase of a representation—from initial consultation, to relationship-building, to routine client interactions, to end of relationship. We explore why clients file malpractice claims and identify a wide range of common ethical traps.
In this presentation, we’ll present a foundation in mediation, which we’d say with no hesitation is becoming a routine part of litigation. This course is geared toward lawyers who are new to mediation, although even seasoned hands might find a few things to think about. We’ll explain what mediation is, how it works, and how to prepare yourself and your client. We’ll offer tips for the mediation session itself, and we’ll consider some common pitfalls involving attendance, settlement authority, settlement agreements, and confidentiality.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions” are cities, counties, or states that use a variety of measures to limit law enforcement participation in federal immigration enforcement efforts. In this introduction to sanctuary jurisdictions, we will explore the constitutional tension underlying these measures, and trace the history of federal reliance on state law enforcement to carry out immigration enforcement. Additionally, we will review the various federal immigration programs that solicit law enforcement participation, as well as explore the measures some jurisdictions have implemented to prevent such participation.
All police must comply with the U.S. Constitution. When they don’t, the harm police cause is unjustified, and its impact can be far reaching. In this presentation, we introduce you to the major issues that arise in representing people harmed by police during an “arrest, investigatory stop, or other seizure.” We will take a practical look at the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable seizures, and the primary vehicle for addressing excessive police force—42 U.S.C. § 1983. In doing so, we will explore Fourth Amendment excessive force caselaw, including the doctrine of qualified immunity, and touch on the hot topic of police bodycams.
In this course, we will discuss the importance of maintaining civility in communications with clients, opposing counsel and others and recommend best practices for doing so by exploring scenarios that an attorney might face in practice.
In this digital age, invisible threats lurk in every dark alleyway of the internet. Knowledge, awareness, and daily cyber hygiene are necessary to prevent cybercrime and fraud, preserve confidential information, and ethically serve clients. Through two hypothetical scenarios, we’ll explore the biggest cybersecurity vulnerability of all—ourselves. People with poor cyber hygiene are a prime target for cyber adversaries, who use tactics and methods like phishing, social engineering, and malware to exploit their weaknesses. We’ll explore the ethical dimensions of cybersecurity, the types of cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities, some daily preventive habits that can reduce threat exposure, some techniques for recognizing phishing scams, and the anatomy of a ransomware attack. Viewers will also receive a cyber hygiene checklist.
Bias can influence decision-making and behavior in profound ways, and bias against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (“LGBTQIA”) communities is pervasive. LGBTQIA clients need attorneys who are both competent in the law, and competent in LGBTQIA experiences. This presentation divides LGBTQIA cultural competence into five distinct areas: understanding the terminology around gender, sex, and sexual orientation, calling out the messaging that can influence our beliefs and behaviors, appreciating the specific challenges facing members of these communities, cultivating inclusive spaces that helps LGBTQIA clients feel comfortable expressing their needs, and being an ally by committing to a reflective practice. The presentation contains a number of helpful practice tips about representing LGBTQIA clients.
Beginning in Ancient Rome and journeying to modern bankruptcy law in the United States, this presentation offers an overview of the history and current substantive law of so-called straight consumer bankruptcy in the United States under chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. In this course, we’ll walk through a typical chapter 7 case with Debbie Debtor, recently unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll learn about the filing of the petition, the creation of the bankruptcy estate and automatic stay, the § 341 meeting of creditors, discharge, postdischarge issues, and more!
Discovery can be one of the more challenging parts of a federal civil case. With so many rules, procedures, and opportunities for conflict, it’s no wonder that discovery makes some lawyers worry. This presentation will put your mind at ease with a step-by-step guide to the concepts and tools you need to navigate – and love— federal discovery.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an epidemic that occurs among all races, ethnicities, and income levels – including among noncitizens who lack legal authorization to be present in the United States. In the past three decades, immigration law has increasingly provided for protections and benefits for such IPV victims. In this course, we will address the two main types of immigration visas for which noncitizen IPV victims may apply – VAWA visas and U-visas.
When it comes to remote lawyering, with great power comes great responsibility. With the great flexibility and independence, comes the great demands of securing confidential client information and maintaining practice standards. In this survey of the challenges and opportunities of remote work, we explore some of the major considerations for practicing law remotely, from leveraging technology, to managing clients and staff, to staying sane when your pug is your paralegal. We begin by exploring what’s to learn from COVID-19 and remote legal operations.
They say that life's two sole absolutes are death and taxes. This presentation can't help you with the former, but it will address the latter by surveying the basic principles of federal income taxation for typical individual taxpayers. We'll cover the whole process of calculating federal tax liability, from computing taxable income to running that number through the tax tables to properly accounting for payments and credits.
An effective oral advocate balances control and flexibility, directly responding to questions while continuing to emphasize a core theory. An effective oral advocate addresses any lingering doubts, demonstrates their knowledge and abilities, and serves as a problem-solver to the bench. Being an effective oral advocate takes significant preparation—battle plans. This oral argument boot camp walks you through the rigorous process of preparing for an appellate oral argument. Topics include techniques for conquering nerves, distilling a core theory, developing a dedicated process to practice answering questions, getting mooted, and more.
Transactional attorneys need to understand, appreciate, and actively assess their risks to prevent ethical violations and malpractice suits. In this presentation, we will address a broad range of ethical issues relevant to transactional practice. Particular emphasis will be on ethical perils in the M&A context, including mistakes, conflicts of interest, attorney-client privilege, candor in negotiations, and cybersecurity and technological competence. Each peril will be paired with a helpful list of pointers to help the M&A attorney prevent it.
Survivors of human trafficking have a wide range of individual legal needs. In this introduction to human trafficking, we first address the nature and extent of human trafficking in the United States. Then, we introduce a selection of legal remedies available to survivors of trafficking, homing in on the civil cause of action available to survivors of forced labor, involuntary servitude, and sex trafficking under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003. Finally, we offer a few tips on working with survivors of human trafficking.
Stress can cause serious harm to one’s health, or even death. Approximately 120,000 people die every year as a direct result of work-related stress, and over 75% of physician visits pertain to stress-related issues. Over the years, stress has been normalized in the legal ecosystem, with success and achievement outweighing balance and wellbeing. Chronic stress can have a dangerous impact on attorney wellbeing and competence to practice law, but there’s a movement within the profession to change all that. In this presentation, we’ll take a humorous look at stress and burnout in the context of attorney competence and explore the concept of attorney wellbeing. We’ll then use a self-mastery framework called the “Elements of Self” to explore individual techniques and practices for reducing stress, achieving wellbeing, and maintaining competence.
Addiction is a great equalizer. Among attorneys, substance use is particularly concerning; it is pervasive and covert. Approximately 50-75% of lawyer discipline problems involve substance use. Paradoxically, the qualities that can propel a lawyer to success can also put a lawyer at risk. In this presentation, we introduce ten things that every attorney should know about substance use. Topics include the incidence of substance use disorders, contributing factors, the ethics of impaired lawyering, strategies for addressing substance use, and practical tips for increasing resiliency.
Millions of uninsured people in the United States have the right to receive emergency medical care thanks to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Signed into law by President Reagan in 1986 and still in force today, EMTALA provided the first limited federal right to health care regardless of ability to pay. In this survey of EMTALA, we dissect the “golden rule of the emergency room” and introduce the major statutory and regulatory mandates, as well as case law interpretations thereof. In that vein, we also cover hot-button issues and present some of the top compliance challenges for hospitals.
Negotiation is the bread and butter of lawyering. In this introductory presentation, we give you the bottom line on negotiation skills. First, we explore the various theories of negotiation, including adversarial and problem-solving models, negotiation styles, and ethical considerations. Second, we review the preparation process and phases of negotiation. Finally, we introduce the hot topic of negotiating remotely with videoconferencing technology.
Public support for legalized cannabis is at an all-time high, and at least 33 states have legalized it in some fashion. In light of the booming cannabis industry and the significant regulatory challenges that cannabis-related businesses face, the need for legal advice is industry-wide. However, giving cannabis-related legal advice can raise some hazy ethical issues for attorneys, due in part to the continued illegality of cannabis at the federal level. In this presentation, we will examine both the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and a selection of state rules and opinions as we work through the ethical implications for lawyers who don’t stay off the grass.