In the News: You’ll want to read these!

In the News: You’ll want to read these!

Electronic Briefs: Hyperlinking Your Way to A Positive Outcome

from Digital Paralegal Services, LLC by Cathy

Dress for Success: The 5 Shoes Every Woman Should Own

by on February 3, 2012

When people walk into my bedroom their first reaction always seems to be “you have so many shoes!” It is true, I have a major shoe addiction and my collection takes up more space in my room than my furniture (a fact I’m completely okay with). My collection runs from worn-down leopard ballet flats to pristine Dior stilettos to Old Navy dessert wedges. Some I wear once a year, some I wear every other day. There are irrefutably a few pairs that are wardrobe staples that I think every woman should own. For each one I would recommend sticking with the classic stiletto shape , closed toe, and standard 3.5″ heel. These will be classic anchor pieces for your shoe collection and will be appropriate no matter the current trends.

1Black. This is a no brainer. Every woman needs a pair of black heels that they can turn to to make them feel like a million bucks. Whether you choose a flat black or a patent finish is simply a personal preference as both will work on most occasions. I personally live in my Cole Haan Air Talia pumps. They may be a little pricey for some but definitely worth the investment as the Nike technology they incorporate really make a difference (and if you do a little digging you can usually find them on sale)
2Brown. Another no brainer, a great brown shoe is just as necessary as a black shoe. There are a lot of variations with browns and exactly which shade will depend a lot on your personal preference. I tend to gravitate towards cognacs and dark tans but I have found myself wishing for a chocolate pair on more than one occasion.
3Nude/Beige. Nude heels have gained a lot of popularity over the last couple years. They lengthen bare legs and add a great contrast to an all black/dark outfit. For this particular color I would recommend a patent finish over a flat finish as they tend to look more polished (and don’t dirty as easily).
4Statement Color. You should have at least one pair of shoes that will add a great pop of color to any outfit. Your options are really endless depending on your personal taste and style. If you have more classic taste then go with a lipstick red (not a stripper red, which would be super bright, almost neon). Other good colors include magenta, cobalt, and mustard. My personal “pop” shoes are teal satin Nine West platforms.
5Animal Print. I know that animal prints can be very polarizing for some people, you either love them or hate them. I personally love them and wear them frequently. If you’re on the fence or not the biggest fan of animal prints then one of the best ways to work them into your wardrobe is on your feet. I prefer snakeskin and giraffe over the expected leopard but appropriate options can be found in all patterns.


This article was originally published by Debra Bruce at Raising the Bar Law Practice Management Thoughts and Tips on January 12, 2012.  Debra is President of Lawyer-Coach LLC.   She draws on her extensive legal experience, as well as a degree in Psychology and well over 500 hours in training as a professional coach, to help lawyers improve their management skills, increase productivity and bring in more business.

A few months ago, one of my attorney clients called on his way home from a hearing to discuss the briefing schedule the judge had outlined for our case.  The judge had also clearly indicated his preference for electronic briefs with hyperlinks to the cited legal authorities.  I docketed the briefing deadline and began to research the additional steps required to provide the judge exactly what he wanted.

The first step for any litigation project is checking the applicable rules of civil procedure, county and local court rules.  I then downloaded several electronic brief samples and carefully examined the document organization.  It was easy to see why any judge would prefer this format.

Litigation support firms offer electronic briefs, but those services can be expensive.  You will definitely need to examine the size of your project and the available budget before deciding how you want to tackle your project.  A third party contractor would mean closing out the brief early to meet the vendor’s time requirements for the project.  This was just a small brief in the grand scheme of things.

After considering my options, I found some guides to help me prepare for my first electronic brief project.  The tips outlined below were very helpful.  I was happy to discover that my Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro software was the only software I needed to complete the project.

Mobile Media Blog By Melissa Daniels | Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:24 am

Smartphones are offering divorce lawyers a treasure trove of evidence, according to an industry study, highlighting the lack of privacy on mobile devices. In a survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 92 percent of attorneys said they’ve seen an increase in the cases that use evidence from smartphones.

Though sending a text message to a spouse or partner may feel intimate, that privacy is not as protected as people think in a court of law. Those same messages are prone to search warrants in some states, and a pending law in Missouri puts cell carriers responsible for revealing phone locations of suspected missing persons.

A client who saves a series of insulting, combative or otherwise insightful text messages from their spouse can give that to a divorce lawyer to serve as evidence.

“Text messages can be particularly powerful forms of evidence during a divorce case, because they are written records of someone’s thoughts, actions and intentions,” said Ken Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.


Applying E-Discovery Best Practices to Cloud Computing

Christine Soares All Articles
The Legal Intelligencer
February 10, 2012

What implications will cloud computing have for civil litigation? This was the question posed by David Campbell, chair of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and professor Richard Marcus, associate reporter of the Advisory Committee in a June 29, 2011, memorandum to the participants of a “mini-conference” of the discovery subcommittee of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States. The conference convened on Sept. 9 to discuss the possible amendment of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to better address issues regarding preservation and sanctions in e-discovery.
According to the minutes of the mini-conference, attendees agreed that advancements in technology since the Supreme Court approved the e-discovery amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have led to new challenges in e-discovery and preservation. Included among those advancements is cloud computing. The conference addressed cloud computing, calling it, along with social media, a “second generation” issue. One attendee noted the move to cloud computing will likely make the preservation and collection process “more settled,” and recognized that e-discovery vendors will eventually evolve to handle e-discovery in the cloud.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York, known for her expertise in e-discovery, recently raised the issue of the discovery consequences of storing ESI in the cloud. As Scheindlin remarked, “everyone now is talking about cloud computing, but … many people don’t know exactly what cloud computing is.”
So, how will companies storing information in the cloud fulfill their obligations under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? The answer is not as complicated as it seems, but as with any defensible e-discovery strategy, it requires an in-depth understanding of the cloud computing model.
What is cloud computing? Simply put, the cloud is storage of data over the internet. The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” Most people who own a personal computer use cloud computing. Google’s Gmail is one example where users can access email on their laptops, desktops, and PDAs from anywhere in the world. The server and email management software is all in the cloud and managed by Google, the cloud service provider.
From a business perspective, cloud computing creates a virtual environment where data and information technology resources are housed outside of a company’s own data center and accessed over the internet. Cloud computing vendors use a global network of locations to house servers and may move data from one server to another to optimize storage space. Remarkably, cloud computing is reported to be able to reduce a company’s information technology floor space by 80 percent and save significant costs.
Despite the convenience and the costs saved by storing data in the cloud, the identification, preservation, and collection of ESI stored in the cloud can be complicated. However, by applying traditional best practices in e-discovery to cloud computing, companies can minimize risks and avoid adverse consequences.
Preliminarily, even if a party’s data is stored in the cloud, the question under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is whether the data is within the party’s control. Rule 34(a) defines discoverable information as documents or ESI “in the responding party’s possession, custody or control.” The federal courts have consistently treated data in the hands of a third party to be within the party’s possession, custody, and control. Therefore, the burden will be on the party to identify, preserve, and collect ESI stored in the cloud.
Understanding the client’s data management systems is the first step to e-discovery and will always be a critical component of any defensible e-discovery strategy. Traditionally, counsel will consult with the client’s IT personnel to understand the company’s information technology systems. Counsel and the client can create a data map outlining what data is available within an organization and where ESI resides. A data map can be created at any time, even before the client is involved in litigation.
With cloud computing, where data is not located in-house, data mapping requires a different approach. Counsel should first identify the client’s cloud service providers and understand where the client’s data is physically located. Before litigation, counsel should fully understand the client’s cloud service providers’ document archival and retention capabilities. For example, some cloud service providers may not automatically preserve metadata, causing spoliation and exposing the lawyer and the client to sanctions by the court. In addition, metadata in the cloud may be inseparable among clients of the cloud service provider. As a result, production of one company’s metadata could possibly disclose the metadata of another client.
The next step in managing e-discovery is preservation. Under the Zubulake v. UBS Warburg cases, the duty to preserve data is triggered whenever a party reasonably anticipates litigation. Once the duty is triggered, counsel should immediately issue a litigation hold notice. When the client stores data in the cloud, the litigation hold notice should issue to all of the client’s cloud service providers.
However, as with traditional e-discovery practice, simply issuing the litigation hold notice is not enough. Before a party anticipates litigation, counsel should carefully negotiate the terms and conditions of the service-level agreement with the cloud service provider, ensuring that the contract includes language regarding the preservation of data for purposes of e-discovery and the timeframe within which the preservation process can be implemented. The provider should have the ability to stop end users from deleting relevant data.
Such provisions and defined capabilities will help the client avoid adverse consequences, including a court holding that ESI stored in the cloud is within the control of the client, despite the client’s inability to compel the cloud service provider to preserve it. The provider should also agree to execute data retention and preservation policies before and after the client anticipates litigation. The contract should set forth policies related to the preservation of data and metadata in the normal course of business.
Carefully negotiating the service-level agreement with the cloud service provider is also vital in collecting ESI stored in the cloud. Before a client anticipates litigation, counsel and the client should know its cloud service provider’s capabilities regarding ESI retrieval and collection. For example, does the provider restrict access to the company’s data, which might preclude self-collection and increase the costs of collecting ESI? At a minimum, service-level agreements should address how the client and the cloud service provider will cooperate in responding to e-discovery requests.
Case law regarding e-discovery in the cloud is almost non-existent. However, as companies continue to use this advanced technology, federal courts will likely address e-discovery issues in the cloud and analyze the adverse consequences of cloud computing. In the meantime, counsel can continue to apply the Zubulake reasonableness standard and traditional best practices to e-discovery in the cloud.
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Christine Soares is an attorney in the litigation department at Fox Rothschild. Email:

When it comes to evidence, texts are the dominant type of evidence presented, making up 62 per cent of smartphone-provided evidence, according to the study. E-mails are second at 23 percent, phone numbers and call histories poll at 13 percent and GPS/Internet search histories together make up one percent.

The study makes no mention of social media sites, but past studies show that Facebook can pose its own roadblocks for a married couple.

Smartphone texts are becoming commonplace in family courts, suggesting marital communication on intimate levels using digital devices come back to haunt people. Facebook profiles offer similar evidence, and likewise, during a police investigation, the same data considered private might be mined in a court proceeding.

For divorce lawyers, building evidence becomes easier to prove with a smartphone in their client’s hand, since it could contain concrete words from the opposing party to support the claim. Just as search warrants for phones can give evidence for arrests, phone communication between a quarreling couple could have legal ramifications. As the justice system continues to make use of the digital landscape, people’s supposedly private data runs the risk of being used against them.

Intimate exchanges are no exception to the rule of law when police, or divorce lawyers, are seeking evidence to build a case. If users are looking to keep their thoughts and words to themselves and away from the hands of a courtroom, keeping sensitive topics off of a smartphone could prove valuable down the road.