poetic justis

 

Cutbacks in the legal industry are not just affecting lawyers. They are also imposing upon legal secretaries, who are increasingly being displaced as firms try to reduce costs and attract the new generation of lawyers who conduct business through virtual collaboration, email, and drafting their own legal documents on iPads and laptops.

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We are seeing dramatic change in the area of liability protection for corporate officers and directors. An increasing amount of current litigation and regulatory enforcement actions exist against corporate officers and directors in the face of our current environment.

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The following quotation from economist Richard Susskind is framed and appears prominently in our office:

"Law does not exist to provide a livelihood for lawyers any

more than illness exists to provide a livelihood for doctors."

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We often get questions from our clients being sued in state court about the possibility of removing the lawsuit to Federal Court. At the end of 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law the Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011. Among other things, this law changed the rules affecting the removal of lawsuits filed in state courts to the Federal Court system.

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Part 1 of this series discussed the importance of a small business becoming the first to file for federal trademark protection for its name and/or logo. This discussion will provide more insight on the benefits that owning a federally registered trademark has on a business.

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Let me warn you up-front; this is an unscheduled blawg posting which contains no helpful legal content. This is simply my way of responding to the feedback I have received since throwing my hat in the ring for the open At-Large Peoria City Council seat. Since City Hall has posted the list of applicants, my phone has been ringing and my Inbox filling up with numerous comments. Virtually every inquiry I have received has included this same recurring question:  Why are you doing this, and are you insane?

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This week I had an interesting conversation with one of my banking colleagues. "As much as you preach about the legal industry under economic attack," he told me, "banks, especially community banks, have become a huge victim of this economy thanks to industry over-regulation." He is right. The tidal wave of banking regulations that Congress has enacted to "punish Wall Street" and "reward Main Street" is having the opposite effect. The "too-big-to-fail" institutions keep thriving while our nation's 7,000 community banks feel the heaviest impact of these regulations.

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Last week I co-chaired our annual local Federal Court Practice seminar with Tim Bertschy of the Heyl Royster firm. The seminar went extremely well, and we set a new attendance record with our webinar feed. Interestingly, it was subtly suggested to me prior to the seminar that I keep my presentation on-point and not diverge into my typical deluge over the economic crisis facing our legal industry. I guess anyone who knows me anticipates that I will eventually stray down this path touting "Lean Six Sigma" and "Legal Project Management" as our client-driven solutions. Nevertheless, I was a good boy and kept my focus on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This week, however, my fire was fueled a bit further. I received an invitation to speak for a local philanthropy, and the invitation was summarily withdrawn when I told them I planned to discuss the economic status of our legal industry. Apparently, the other attorneys in the organization didn't want to hear such nonsense. As a result,I thought I might take this opportunity to post a timely blawg on the topic.

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A federal court in New York has found that Apple conspired with five large publishers to raise the retail price of books in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act. United States v. Apple Inc., 12 CIV. 2826 DLC, 2013 WL 3454986 (S.D.N.Y. July 10, 2013). While this does not mean that the cost of the next Game of Thrones e-book will be slashed in half, the court opinion reads like a novel. The court carefully detailed the facts surrounding the actions of the publishers and Apple, and the most interesting plot twist is that there was nothing inherently illegal with Apple's agency agreement plan to enter the e-book market. Rather the plan soured and became illegal when Apple used its influence and the agency agreement as a vehicle to conspire with the publishers to eliminate price competition and raise prices.

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In the apparent pursuit of making Illinois the least desirable state in which to locate a business, the Illinois Appellate Court this week determined that a company's noncompetition and non-solicitation agreement with an employee is not valid or enforceable unless supported by adequate consideration, and that consideration must be more than just employment.

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Many of the blog icons on this page have been created by Joe’s three children. They are so excited to see their artwork on Dad’s work website!

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