May It Please The Court

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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 191

A Living Case Study of Software and Hardware In A Law Firm

Here goes. As you may know, I've learned a few things about sermons in my time, having listened to a few too many in my younger days.

The basic rule is tell 'em what you're going to tell, tell 'em and tell 'em what you told 'em.

Here's what I'm going to tell. Well, share.

I've been thinking that the tech channel could present a case study of a law firm's computer hardware, software and its trials and tribulations in getting everything (and everyone) to work together.

Here's the brief rundown. We have four servers. One that runs the network, one that runs the telephone system, one that runs our document management system and one that's a bit of a catch-all for storage.

We have a slew of software that runs on those servers. Here are the main programs: Outlook for email; Internet Explorer; Time Matters for calendar, contacts, case management and billing; Word Perfect and Word for word processing, with customized macros in Word Perfect,

We also use Winscribe for dictation, Lexis for legal research, Checkcite for checking citations in legal briefs, Worldox for document management (although we're considering a change - more on that later), TeleVantage for our managing our telephone system; and QuickBooks Pro for financial management and billing.

We use a host of other software for utility management, such as AD-Aware SE, Spybot, Symantec Anti-virus and spam filters, and ActiveSync and HotSync on and on and on.

Our workstations are all XP-based, and our servers run enterprise versions of our programs, and are all Windows based.

More detail will follow, along with individualized discussions of hardware and software. Plus, when we add things, I'll interrupt the progression and detail the add-on. For example, I just added the Targus fingerprint authenticator, largely because I liked the OmniPass software that came with it.

Oh yes, I'll cover laptops, tablets, Pocket PCs, Palms and other gizmos and gadgets.

Plus, if you've got suggestions, I'd be happy to check it out and report back.

Stay tuned.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 at 23:58 Comments (0) |

The Three R's Of Remediation: Read, Read, Read

We are getting taken to school by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

We are being taught the ABC's of CERCLA.

In two cases issued by the Sixth Circuit just before Thanksgiving, GenCorp v. Olin and Village of Milford v. K-H Holding Corp., we get back to the basics.

The two cases are great primers on the federal law of contamination, and are worthwhile reading for anyone involved in litigating CERCLA cases. The GenCorp action is now going on its twelfth year in litigation.

Yes, I said 12 years.

First lesson: these cases just keep going and going.

Second, the relationships that parties devise just defy the imagination. Just read the factual summary in the GenCorp case. If you can remember the twists and turns of that relationship, send me the flowchart you created. Next, what's really interesting about this case is the outcome. Look at it this way: the Court recites that Olin had incurred $65 million in remediation costs, apparently so far. It then finishes the factual summary with this little tidbit - in 1992, Olin began the remediation plan.

Presumably, the property is far from being clean.

The Sixth Circuit went out of its way to give us a short course in CERCLA law. But it sent the case back to the District Court to determine whether Olin will incur future costs, and thus be entitlted to a declaratory relief determination. It said it didn't have enough information in the record.

That may be, but if the Sixth Circuit knows so much about contamination, and the case (and cleanup) has already stretched into 12 years, why wouldn't the Court think that Olin will be spending more money to cleanup the property? Did I miss something in the opinion?

The next case, Village of Milford, is likewise a good primer on CERCLA. But the interesting aspect of this case is its determination that the money spent by attorneys performing non-attorney work, such as investigating the parties who may be PRPs, can be recovered as attorneys fees, an issue that was previously up in the air in the Sixth Circuit.

I know, you're riveted. But, if you practice in the area or work for someone with these problems, this is good stuff.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 at 00:05 Comments (0) |

Joni Mitchell Moves To Oregon

Things are changing in Oregon, thanks to Measure 37.

Looks like landowners may get compensation if the government won't allow them to develop their land. A lot of landowners have been waiting a long time for one or the other.

It's a common battle in rural areas. Preserve rural land or develop it.

What's your position: open space or pave over paradise (just to quote a song, not to express an opinion)?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 23:02 Comments (1) |

What's Your Handicap?

According to today's Courthouse News Service," A bad golfer has been sued for negligence in New York State Court. Defendant allegedly 'aimed and struck (the ball) so inaccurately' that it was 'beyond the scope of reasonable risk' when it whacked and injured the plaintiff."

Keep me off the course.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, November 29, 2004 at 22:39 Comments (0) |

Land Use In The Courtroom Limelight

While we weren't watching last week, a jury in Santa Barbara was.

The jury awarded some $5.5 million against the County's Planning Department, two former employees, one current employee and a consultant of the County.

Personally against the former and current employees and consultant, plus punitives. The jury sent a message. This case has been hotly litigated from the beginning, and it's not over yet.

It stems from the County's efforts to designate some 95 of 262 acres as wetlands and prevent Adams Bros. Farming from farming the land. Seems that the jury thought the wetlands delineation was a foregone conclusion and that the land was not actually wetlands.

The County had big plans for its
Orcutt Community Plan, but the jury saw through those plans, and held for the farmers whose land got redesignated. They found that the County's actions to rezone the farmers' lands as wetlands violated the farmers' rights, and were intentional, despicable and done with "malice, oppression or fraud."


The USEPA is pursuing a criminal action in LA against the Adams Brothers for filling the wetlands. Although I haven't seen that case, my guess is that with this jury verdict, the USEPA's case just got a lot harder to prove.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, November 29, 2004 at 17:53 Comments (1) |

New Channels To Keep You Informed

The long weekend's over for most, but some are still trapped in Reno.

Here at MIPTC, we've been busy this holiday weekend. We've added a Tech channel, where I will occasionally review tech-related items. You know, gizmos and gadgets, and anything that plugs in. Sometimes even things that don't plug in.

It will give you some ideas, but if you buy her a big screen TV for the holidays, I'm not going to be able to help you with that one, buddy.

Plus, we've added a new feature called "How To Get Sued." Right now, I've populated it with selected items from old MIPTC posts that both took a lighter look at the law and at the same time provided some educational value on what not to do in the world of law. It's still in development, so take an occasional look there too. I'll be posting every once in a while.

Since lawyers are constantly disclaiming liability, I figured I might as well come right out and tell you how to go about getting sued.

You won't be able to blame that one on me, either.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, November 28, 2004 at 22:33 Comments (1) |

Sermonizing for the Government

Those Thanksgiving Proclamations are pretty long-winded.

I can't imagine what they'd be like tacked on to a Congregational sermon.

Haven't caught my drift yet?

Neither had I when my mother told me today. Let me explain. She doesn't have a computer. She's 72. So, I've tried to explain to her about this blog, but she only gets it when I equate it with a column in a newspaper.

She asked me what I wrote about for Thanksgiving, so I told her. You can skip down to the day before yesterday and read it.

Once I told her about the proclamations, she told me that my father, God rest his soul1, was required to read government proclamations during his Sunday morning church services.

These readings happened in the First Congregational Church in Middleboro, Massachusetts, before I was born. Every proclamation that was issued by the President, Governor, Borough or Town fathers. It was expected.

As you can imagine, she was referring to the way it was in the fifties.

Now, you're reading them in a blog. I had no idea I was repeating history.

MIPTC's footnotes

1 Imagine my shock when I found my father's obituary on the internet. I was there for the funeral and burial, and remember it quite clearly. But there's nothing like having it emblazoned into my forehead when I looked at the result of my vanity search using my father's name and finding his (previously undiscovered) obituary on the internet.

There are just some reminders I'm not ready for, especially around the holidays.back


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, November 27, 2004 at 23:36 Comments (0) |

Perry Mason for AG and Madonna for Secretary of State

Maybe Bush should reconsider his nomination of Condoleezza Rice. Excuse me, I meant Dr. Rice.

I think he may want to consider Madonna. You think I'm joking? Not at all. I'm completely serious.

Right before Thanksgiving, I read that Madonna had expressed her views on terrorism.

After all, Madonna did attend the University of Michigan, where she studied ... dance. Oh, did I forget to mention that she dropped out? But, she did graduate from high school. Now I'm not here to offend Madonna fans. I enjoy some of her music. Neither I am here to offend college dropouts or high school graduates. Or, for that matter, anyone.

I'm just trying to make a singular point about why we listen to celebrities comment on things other than their celebrity or their chosen field of expertise.

In fact, I could have picked any one of a number of celebrities who make political comments. Admittedly, no one is immune from gaffes.

But I wanted to stick with celebrity comments. You can check the politicians, if you'd like.

Before we do, however, let's take two slight detours just to make sure I've got my head screwed on straight. First of all, there are exceptions to the rule - we already have celebrity politicians, some revered, some TV stars turned Congressmen, and even a Senator turned TV star and movie star (Ok, he was a movie star first).

Second, I don't think for a minute that my comments on the arts performed by celebrities would be reported in worldwide media, despite whatever education I may have. [Even though I did play the Stage Manager in Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town in 11th grade, a role I seem to continue in today]. For that matter, think back to how many politicians you’ve heard or read about expressing their views on the arts. Stumped? How about the other way around? Probably no shortage on the latter.

The lines have blurred between celebrities and politicians. But that doesn't mean the line between celebrities and politics should blur, too. Somewhere along that second line though, we seem to have let it.

Otherwise, why would the BBC have reported Madonna's comments? Are the Brits just as star struck as we seem to be?

The question I pose is whether we should lend credence to celebrity comments on issues outside the scope of their expertise? Should we even listen?

If you agree that perhaps we should not, then ask yourself this question: what does that tell us about journalists, news reporters, editors and even networks that print, reprint and broadcast this stuff? Do they have real questions or just fluff?

Or, more likely, should we just follow the media money?

Here’s another way to look at it. Could Perry Mason really practice law?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, November 26, 2004 at 17:13 Comments (3) |

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