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Showing posts from September, 2015

Texas Attorney Population Increased by 28% from 2004-2014

The number of actively practicing attorneys in Texas has increased from 67,764 in 2004 to 86,494 in 2014, according to a report issued by the Texas State Bar, which has been reported by the Wall Street Journal Blog and the Dallas Morning News. This is an increase 28% of attorneys while the population of Texas increased by 20% for that same period. In the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area, the number of attorneys increased from 21,492 in 2004 to 27,827 in 2014 (a 29% increase). In the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area, the number of attorneys increased from 20,378 in 2004 to 26,364 in 2014 (also a 29% increase). Despite the growth, the article in the Wall Street Journal blog points out that Texas still lags behind other states with respect to the number of attorneys per person (there is one attorney for every 250 people in Texas according to the article). See the 2014 Attorney Populations Density by Metropolitan Statistical Area 2014-15 by the State Bar of …

The Law Behind the Volkswagen Scandal

This past Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency accused German automaker Volkswagen of cheating on emissions tests.  Several studies determined that Volkswagen had programmed its cars to detect when a government-mandated emissions test was occurring and to reduce their nitrogen oxide output during the test.  Volkswagen has acknowledged that the actions behind this scandal may result in criminal prosecutions.  But which laws have been broken?

In the United States where this scandal broke, the Clean Air Act of 1970 is the primary law governing air pollution emissions standards.  The Clean Air Act was amended in 1990 to add several new items, including rules for particulate emissions from diesel engines.  These standards are required under 42 U.S.C. § 7521 and tested as per 42 U.S.C. § 7525; Volkswagen is accused of installing its cars with software created specifically to cheat this test, which is specifically illegal under 42 U.S.C. § 7522(a)(3)(B).

Volkswagen will be facing pos…

Finding and Understanding Materials from the American Law Institute

For nearly 100 years, the American Law Institute (ALI) has sought to ameliorate the uncertainty and complexity of modern American law. After its founding in 1923, the American Law Institute initiated its initial Restatement projects for Agency, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Judgments, Property, Restitution, Security, Torts, and Trusts. These projects were completed in 1944, and work on Restatements Second and Third began in the years 1952 and 1987, respectively. Recent  projects have led to the addition of Restatements for Foreign Relations Law of the United States, The Law Governing Lawyers, Suretyship and Guaranty, and Unfair Competition.

In addition, the Institute publishes its Principles of Laws on a number of topics, which result from “intensive examination and analysis of legal areas thought to need reform.” Some of the areas studied have included Aggregate Litigation, Family Dissolution, Software Contracts, and Transnational Civil Procedure.

The American Law Institute’s members …

Happy Constitution Day!

Today is Constitution Day, the day we commemorate the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787. Since 2004, September 17 has also been the celebration of Citizenship Day, which  “recognize[s] all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.” In fact, when Senator Robert Bryd shepherded the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 108-447) into law, he added additional requirements to encourage citizens to learn more about their Constitution. Now the head of every federal agency must provide each employee with educational and training materials concerning the Constitution on September 17 and any educational institution which receives Federal funds shall hold a program on the U.S. Constitution for students on this day.
Beyond reading the Constitution, you may wish to celebrate more thoroughly by studying theConstitution of the United States of America: Analysis and InterpretationThis work, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, provide…

Trial Presentation Apps

These days more and more attorneys are using technology in the courtroom and some apps have been created to help them with organizing information and presenting it at trial.The following apps have been created specifically to help attorneys with trial presentations:
TrialDirector – This free app is currently available for the iPad.Users can import PDF documents, images, and videos through Dropbox, iTunes, and other programs, markup and annotate documents, and present and annotate two exhibits side-by-side.More features are available for those who subscribe to the desktop TrialDirector software.ExhibitView – This iPad app costs $89.99 and allows users to import PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and image documents through iTunes or Dropbox.Audio and video files are also supported.You can also markup and annotate files as well as print documents. Those who subscribe to the PC version of ExhibitView can also create presentations on their PCs and save them to their iPads.TrialPad – This app, …

New Features Added to World Population Clock

According to a recent press release, the U.S. Census Bureau has added a number of new features to its World Population Clock web tool. These include national profiles with trade, population, and demographic data, as well as national population projections. You can access this information by clicking on a country in the interactive map. And for those of you keeping score at home, the world’s population is now 7.27 billion and counting.

FCC Announces Platform for Sign Language Communication With Federal Agencies

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently announced that the agency will introduce a video access platform to allow speech- and hearing-impaired people to communicate with federal agencies using American Sign Language (ASL). Users will be able to download open source applications to their smartphones or computers that will allow video calling to agency representatives fluent in ASL. The beta version of the program will be introduced later this year, with a final release scheduled for spring of 2016. The open source accessibility platform will also allow other public institutions and private businesses to offer similar services in the future. To read more about the platform, see this announcement on the FCC website.