Legal Advice and Research

Often individuals looking for legal advice simply don’t know where to turn. With so many branches of the law and types of lawyers available, it can be an overwhelming process to find a quality and affordable lawyer. But with so many resources now available on the Internet, the process has been greatly simplified. All it takes is a quick search in order to find hundreds of lawyers within minutes of any location, and some sites offer ratings and comments from those who have previously utilized each lawyer’s services.

Another great way the Internet has helped in the legal field is the information available for research that is just a few clicks away. Individuals can perform a quick web search on past cases and rulings, and find thousands of case studies and other information, often available at no charge.

Some websites also feature updates to legal practices, billing, and other valuable information that lawyers may not have access to otherwise. One of the most useful tools is Google Scholar, which allows for searches of any United States case law. Users can easily perform free searches for opinions of cases and legal journals, in full-text format, as well as patents and basic articles. It is very easy to use, especially for those who are already familiar with Google, as the search is done in exactly the same way. A search can be performed using any information available, such as topic, citation, lawyer name, or case name.

Using advanced search limits results based on jurisdiction or the state where the case took place. This feature also offers assistance with performing a Boolean search if the case in question cannot be located. Citations are also given in search results, which show up as quoted information from the actual case.  The search also provides additional sources with further information about the case, under the “Related Documents” tab.

A Guide to Finding Legal Assistance

Often, people will hire the first attorney who speaks to them, and sometimes people may decide to hire an attorney based upon his or her advertisements, without even meeting the legal representative. Unless you want to suffer in court, this is not what you should do. Here are some guidelines to follow when looking for legal assistance:

1. Check an Attorney’s Expertise

Don’t just hire anyone; get to know their skills and abilities. If they studied medical copyrights and you have an international taxation case, that makes a big difference. A smart consumer should research the attorney to ensure that he or she is skilled in a specific area of the trial. For example social security lawyers have a different set of expertise than personal injury lawyers .

2. Fees Matter

Don’t just go with your gut! Do not hire anyone without finding out his or her average rates. Check rates and make sure the lawyer is a good value.

3. Don’t Use Your Attorney as a Therapist

Attorneys can be very supportive and such good listeners. However, many attorneys charge a fee for time spent consulting with clients. Paying $600 per hour to be heard by your attorney is not a good value. Save your consulting time to discuss things that are pertinent to your case. It’s a good idea to hire your attorney based on their professionalism and hire a good listener/therapist separately.

4. Pick a Lawyer who has a Compatible Schedule

If you and your attorney have a compatible schedule, you can find time to work together. If he or she is over-booked, you’ll find that no matter how much you pay per hour, you won’t get the service you deserve.

In short, you should do your homework and meet prospective lawyers in person to get a feel for their level of organization and professionalism. Ask important questions and find out if your schedules work well together. If you play it safe, your day in court with your attorney may go more smoothly.

Technology and Court Reporting

One of the fastest growing career fields today is that of court reporting. Statistics indicate that this field will see a growth rate that could be as high as 18 percent by 2018. The technology used by court reporters is also growing; some courts are installing completely automated reporting systems. This may sound bad for human court reporters but the technological advances will actually produce more jobs than it eliminates.

While used mainly in courtrooms, court report technology is also used during other legal proceedings such as depositions and such. Court reporting makes a record of what is done and said during the proceedings to protect not only the court but the other participants (witnesses, attorneys and so on) as well.

Early court reporters used pen and ink up until about the late 1800s. In the late 1870s, the first stenotype machine was introduced. The Stenomask was introduced in the 1940s and these two machines were the main technologies used by court reporters.

Types of Court Reporting

The stenographic system is the most commonly used today and uses a stenotype machine. These machines use a series of buttons that translates to letters and words.

Electronic reporting uses audio technology. This technology does still require a person who takes notes about what is actually happening in the court, such as who is actually talking and any physical actions.

Another form of court reporting is voice writing, where a reporter speaks into a special microphone with a voice silencer.

Automated Systems

Because the court systems are experiencing budget cuts, some have decided to choose automated reporting systems. No human court reporter is required as this system entails both video and audio recording technology. If transcription is needed, it can be done at another location. There are many opportunities to embrace this new technology as a career.

Suicide Letters on Facebook

Only in gloomy science fiction had a topic so morbid been addressed before. While deaths occurred on live television before, an announced intention to commit suicide and then carrying out the act seems more like it belongs in a fictional world than in the headlines.

Forty-two year-old Simone Back issued an alert that announced her intention to commit suicide via Facebook. Despite putting this cry for help in her status, not a single person out of her more than 1,000 Facebook friends acted in an attempt to save her. The British based Daily Mail reports that Black’s Facebook status read, “Took all my pills be dead soon bye bye everyone.” She died on Christmas Day 2010.

Rather than act in sympathy or to try to help Back, her Facebook wall contained multiple obtuse messages that expressed doubt or even seemed to dare her to act. It took more than 17 hours for police to respond to the posting and break down the door of her residence, where she was found dead.

Back’s mother said that some friends who did not live in the area attempted to intercede by asking for her address. No one who lived near here made any attempts. One of Back’s friends said that people argued over how to act or acting as if the suicide attempt was not occurring.

As disturbing as Back’s case is, hers is not the only example of a person announcing their intention to attempt suicide. Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi posted the status of “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry” before his body was found.

The technology of Facebook presents an interesting legal dilemma. There might be a moral obligation to help a Facebook friend in need, but is there a legal one? Currently, the answer is no, but if more cases of suicide announcements via Facebook occur lawmakers and lawyers might seek to punish those that ignore cyber cries for help.

Online Legal Services: Online Divorces

You really can get anything online these days, including a divorce. As technology spurs forward even more with coding and software advances, our reliance on the Internet becomes greater. Legal document templates have long been available online as well as other legal services, but now with a few clicks of your mouse, you can get a divorce.

The Internet isn’t likely to replace lawyers as each of the online legal service websites will quickly point out that their services are for information and advice only. It seems, however, that the days of long drawn out divorce proceedings costing thousands of dollars may well become the exception rather than the rule.

Designed primarily for uncontested divorces, the online divorce services are favored by couples who want a quick dissolution of their marriage. Couples would need to still agree on the standard issues of child custody and support, alimony, and the liquidation and sharing of communal property. Couples would still need to sign a professionally prepared contract, but these documents are available on online divorce websites.

The cost of online divorce is perhaps one of the most attractive features. A traditional conventionally filed divorce with no contest will start at about $1000.00, and go up from there. Online divorces cost an average of about $300.00. This will gain you all the documents you need as well as filing instructions. Court filing fees are generally not included and neither are notary fees, if applicable.

The second most attractive component of an online divorce is the lack of drama typically associated with conventional divorces. There are no angry mediation sessions, no stern judges looking down at you, no tears as one party or the other feels slighted.

There are many companies offering online legal services, but online divorces are quickly gaining in popularity amongst couples who wish an amicable separation carried out quickly, inexpensively and without unnecessary drama.

Legal Services Offered for Website Creation Issues

If you want to start a personal business online but aren’t sure how to begin, a good starting point is researching passive income options. One wonderful option for Internet-based passive income sources is website creation.

Those individuals with great website ideas or an insight into online user demands make wonderful incomes doing what they love. However, while there are wonderful benefits to using website creation as passive income sources, there are also certain safety precautions to take. A few of those precautions are listed below.

Creating Domain Names

When you are deciding which domain name to create for your website, be sure you don’t violate any copyright issues with the domain name. Many website creators have faced serious legal issues because the domain names they purchased violated the copyrights of major corporations.

For example, if you want to start a blog discussing a certain product you love, it may not be legal to use part of the product’s name in your domain address. Even if you think the corporation will never find your domain or press charges if you are violating their copyright, this is an issue to avoid because it can create a variety of unnecessary problems.

Understanding Plagiarism

If you will be hiring writers to create articles with links to your website for search optimization purposes, ensure the articles aren’t plagiarized by using text searching technology. Many sources are available where you can input text and assess whether or not the copy is original work. You should never use plagiarized material for search engine optimization or other purposes because this can affect your search engine rankings and reduce the credibility of your website.

Consult a Professional

If you have any questions regarding the legal issues of starting a website, consult a professional. Legal professionals who specialize in online issues can aid you in the website creation process and help you bypass the legal dilemmas so many others have faced.

Internet Research is Dynamic

There’s no better way to conduct research on any topic than to turn to the Information Superhighway that is the Internet. Well, make that any legal topic, as mobsters, drug dealers, and those who commit insider trading don’t really put out a lot of information on the how-to’s of their businesses. But for the majority of other topics, books have been supplemented by the resources available in cyberspace. No longer are dusty volumes the end all and be all for information gatherers. That’s because old books are not only dusty and musty, but their information is a bit rusty, too.

Unless you’re looking for information on a static piece of history, books probably aren’t going to provide you with all the information you’d like on a topic. Knowledge in every field of study is constantly expanding, so quoting old facts and figures is not necessarily going to give you the most accurate idea of what’s happening now. Take astronomy, for example. Poor Pluto has been declassified as a planet, after centuries of being known as a planet. When even the planets are subject to updating, it’s important to be able to access the latest thinking and news so that you use accurate information in your research.

None of this is meant to take anything away from books, however. Most books have been well researched, and as such, offer reasonably accurate data as of the date of their printing. Unfortunately, not all information on the Internet is verified as rigorously, so research conducted online should be double checked for accuracy from more than one independent source. Additionally, portions of many researched books are available on the Internet, so it’s sometimes easy to find the “old” information and compare it with the latest thinking on a particular subject. To keep up with a dynamic and ever-changing world, it’s essential to use the most dynamic and frequently updated source!

Internet Legal Services

Not everyone can afford a lawyer when they need a lawyer. Sometimes people just need a few answers and guidance on how to do something. It’s a DIY world, after all. Internet legal services serve a very important function in today’s technologically savvy world. Not only do legal services rendered through the computer help the client, they can be great marketing opportunities for the lawyers.

Along with free legal services come some very useful applications that are also free and can help with managing your legal issues.  One needs to have a reliable word processor such as Open Office which can open and save almost any document in any format.  If your legal issues concern finances, then GNU Cash is a great freeware program that keeps money matters simple.  Try Freemind to arrange your thoughts in a logical fashion and keep track of important points as you embark on your legal course.  These applications are a great help when dealing with the complicated world of law.

Free legal services are definitely out there for the individual willing to put a little more effort into the search. ILRG Legal Forms has an extensive archive of legal forms for business and personal use. Whether you’re researching the best way to word a legal document or you need to download one, this site can help. Here’s the caveat; in order to download the form in Word, it will cost 9.99. Otherwise, you’ll have to copy and paste and re-format. The University of Washington’s law school has a site with extensive research material. If you have a question, the answer is probably in this database.

The law firm provides extensive resources from where to find a lawyer to necessary legal forms. This site is probably a good place to start for the person using the Internet to find legal services. There are also up-to-date articles about various legal issues on this site.

For lawyers, there’s The Center for Law Practice Technology, which offers resources for attorneys who want to deliver legal services over the Internet. The need for good online resources goes both ways. The consumer has to know what to look for and the legal team has to know how to deliver.

As technology takes over the way we deliver and receive our legal services, security will be a major concern. Therefore, any legal professional transferring documents over the Internet will need to make sure they have excellent security measures in place on their office computers

Finding Legal Services Online

The legal system is a complex place. Being able to properly navigate the various rules and regulations is important to making sure that legal actions are done well and won’t come back to haunt you. While the legal system is complex, navigating through the endless amount of services out there to help you through those things can be far more complex.

A person who is interested in pursuing legal services online must be careful about what information they take and whose help they get to execute things like taxes, living will, business incorporation and everything else. Here are a couple of sound tips to help the person in need of legal advice, get the safe advice they need.

Verify the Site

Every site that offers legal advice will claim to have the knowledge and the expertise necessary. While that is all well and good, it’s not enough for someone to make complex legal decisions on. The key is to verify the site before taking in any information from the site. Look for the “about us” section. If one does not exist then you should be weary of the site.

The “about me” section should have a list of legal credentials. It should tell you who runs the site and who are the legal advisors who are dispensing this information. While that might seem like enough, it’s best to do an additional search and see if the lawyer has an Internet presence. The more they are online, and the more variety they come up the more likely it is that they are legit.

Do Additional Research

Don’t make the mistake of taking anyone’s word for anything. When you are getting information from anyone, including an online source, it’s important to search online for other information to back up your initial findings. The key to looking for legal advice or services online is to recognize that while it’s a convenience, it’s not an easy fix.

How Far Can Outsourcing Go?

For those who may not be familiar with the term, outsourcing means that a company enters into a contract with another company to provide services that ordinarily would be handled by the original company’s employees. Examples of outsourcing include payroll duties, customer service tasks, and other jobs.

Outsourcing is nothing new; it has actually been going on for quite a while. One example of outsourcing that’s been around for a long time is a small company taking advantage of a person who works as a tax preparer during tax time (the months of January through April) and allowing that person to keep the company’s books or handle payroll duties throughout the remainder of the year. This was an arrangement that was common before the days of computers.

It is computers, with their ability to provide communication services all over the world, that has brought outsourcing to the level where it exists today. And, even though simpler things such as payroll duties or customer service are still highly popular tasks for outsourcing, it is also being considered in other areas, such as research and even the legal field.

You might wonder how you can outsource a lawyer. After all, aren’t there certain legal services that can only be performed in person? Yes, there are, but this does not mean that the lawyer doing the “face-to-face” work has to literally be in the same building as the client.

In the case of legal services, law firms may contract with others in different states (and in some cases, even different firms) to represent the main firm in a specific area. The legal firm providing the contract work takes care of matters in that area, all the while maintaining communication with the original law firm, using computers, of course.

So, thanks to computers, there is no telling how far outsourcing can and will go. Finding out should be interesting.