Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer Just to Get Information About Filing?

Many Americans these days are facing financial difficulties with some of them to the extreme of needing to file for bankruptcy. Before making the decision about filing for bankruptcy most people would like to learn a little bit about it and fly under the radar. Even though filing bankruptcy has lost its taboo over the last couple years, it is still something that most people don't want to talk about. So that leads to the question, how do you learn about filing for bankruptcy if you're afraid to ask anyone. The easiest and the best way to get information is to consult a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your financial situation and ask questions that are plaguing you. That's the easiest way, but for most people it's a last resort to make that call. With the growth of the Internet, most individuals search the web and try and get the answers that are close to their situation. The problem with this is, if you don't know what you're looking for, many times the information you gather is either dated or outright wrong.

First of all, the normal Joe should stay away from blog sites to look for information on a bankruptcy filing. While, blog sites are very informative and entertaining, they are very opinionated. Another reason to be careful of blog sites is that different states handle a bankruptcy filing in different ways and usually the poster doesn't identify the state they are writing from. This could make all the difference in the world if someone is talking about a homestead exemption in the state they reside offers very generous bankruptcy exemption laws, only to find out that this does not apply to your particular situation. A lot of the information that is written online is from a bankruptcy lawyer. You need to just be careful where the bankruptcy lawyer practices. That's why it's advisable to use the bankruptcy court website for general information where even the bankruptcy forms are downloadable for your convenience. There are many other good legal sites with large amounts of information about filing for bankruptcy. It's important to make sure that the site is regularly maintained and the information is current as the bankruptcy laws are constantly changing.

5 Tips for Hiring a Personal Lawyer

Everyone needs legal help and professional attorneys sometime in their life. People just can't manage all the legal issues and situations on their own as it requires special skills and extensive subject knowledge. However, many clients have found it very frustrating when they go out to find a lawyer and hire the specialist for their requirements. Usually, they end up paying huge sum of money for various services that they don't need or expected for. Hiring an attorney can be one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. It is very important that you make the correct choice when it comes to legal advice and legal issues

Here are 5 tips for hiring a personal lawyer that will definitely help you in making the right choice in your legal matters:

1.How do they bill for their services: Most of the clients are afraid of talking about the billing method adopted by the lawyer for the services they offer to them. As you are most probably seeking legal advice for monetary issues therefore this should be one of the very first questions that you ask you lawyer. It is better to clear everything in the beginning rather than be surprised later. The most suitable and effective engagement model would be a flat fee or a project based payment. Try to avoid lawyers who charge on an hourly basis unless it is required by the court in special cases. Further, ask and clarify that the lawyer would not send any unexpected bills to you for phone calls or anything else.

The Characteristics of a Good Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy is the state whereby a person is left in a financial difficulty as a result of a troubled economy or a personal crisis. It can also be referred to as being insolvent. A bankrupt individual is usually unable to pay his or her debts. At this point, a person has to begin a fresh life. Therefore, when filing for bankruptcy, it is advisable to hire the services of a capable and reputable bankruptcy lawyer. Having a competent attorney is very vital. This is because you get to understand the functions and implications of bankruptcy laws. In addition, the attorney helps you apply the laws efficiently. This helps in beginning a new life. The process of getting a lawyer should not be rushed. This is because a bankruptcy law suit is very complex. Therefore, it requires some planning as well as research. There are vital aspects to consider. For instance, you should look for one of the most experienced lawyers to handle your case. He knows everything about the financial problems and can provide solutions.

In addition, an experienced lawyer always has a lot of exposure to these cases. For instance, you may come across a learned attorney with no experience. With all the education, you are likely to lose the case. Therefore, in these cases, it is not only about the education of the attorney but also his technical ability and knowledge. This type of attorney should have a proven track record. This record must show the ability of the lawyer to deliver the required results. Anyway, a good lawyer should be able to deliver with or without pressure.

Furthermore, a bankrupt person needs a friendly and kind attorney. Debts are some of the things that no one would want to have. When a person has huge debts, it is normal to see him stressed. Consequently, this is the sort of character that can make a person calm. For that reason, a good bankruptcy lawyer should be easy going and optimistic. A positive lawyer will make you feel better about the situation. This is because he makes you believe that everything will turn out positively. Therefore, the personality of the attorney is of extreme importance.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Drug Charges

Probably one of the most serious cases that anyone could face is drug charges. In many countries, the consequences of being proven guilty of this crime are no joke, which includes paying hefty fines, jail time and of course, a permanent mark on the criminal record. Aside from this, being convicted for this case would definitely affect the reputation of a person significantly, reducing good opportunities that he could take. That is why, when facing this serious kind of charges, it is very important to be represented by a good criminal defense lawyer.

Lawyers are professionals who can represent people who are facing drug charges offense or defense. They are expert individuals who are well trained and experienced in handling this kind of circumstances. Being professionals who have dedicated their lives studying laws and court systems, they are well knowledgeable about the ins and outs of these kinds of charges.

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer from a good criminal law firm is very essential in order for a person charged with drug cases to have their rights protected. If a person is properly represented, he would be guided carefully on the proper process. This would prevent you from saying things that can push you deeper into conviction, and this is true even if the person being charged is innocent of the crime.

New Adaptation of "1984" Under Consideration

George Orwell's 1984 may be returning to the screen. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard at Imagine Entertainment were looking into adapting the iconic novel with the assistance of artist Shepard Fairey. At the same time, LBI Entertainment's Julie Yorn had a similar project in the works.As a result, the two companies have decided to team up.

1984 has been adapted before: In 1956 Edmond O'Brien and Michael Redgrave starred in a big screen adaptation and in 1984 John Hurt and Richard Burton starred in a big screen production.

Love, Loyalty, and Sacrifice in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Linda Ross Meyer, Quinnipiac University School of Law, has published Love, Law and Sacrifice in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Here is the abstract.

This paper reflects on themes of love, loyalty, and sacrifice in the film version of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' Using the typology of Kierkegaard's knight of the infinite/knight of faith, the paper argues that Atticus does not stand for liberal principles of universal law but rather faith in the possibilities of friendship and neighborliness.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Crime Shows Recognized At Royal Television Society Programme Awards

Two law-related shows won awards at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards, held March 20th in London. The acclaimed crime drama Luther, which stars the wonderful Idris Elba, took home honors as best drama series. Mr. Elba won a Golden Globe earlier this season for his role as Luther, the conflicted detective.

Dominic West and Emily Watson, stars of Appropriate Adult, a miniseries dramatizing the career of serial killer Fred West and Janet Leach, the social worker who sat in on his meetings with police, won for their roles as Fred and Janet. The Sundance Channel bought the rights to the series last fall. More here from the BBC about the miniseries.

Law and Literature In the First Year Curriculum: Tort Law

Zahr Said, University of Washington School of Law, has published Incorporating Literary Methods and Texts in the Teaching of Tort Law at 3 California Law Review Circuit 170 (January 2012). Here is the abstract.
This essay, presented in a Law and Humanities Section panel at the 2012 AALS Annual Meeting, discusses my use of literature to aid and amplify legal analysis in a first-year Torts class. Literary texts and methods helped my students investigate how the law conceives of, and expresses, duties and losses among parties. The course drew on several diverse strands of law-and-literature methodology and it incorporated literary texts and methods into discussions of case law and legal policy to produce analysis that is deeply interdisciplinary.

Content and methodology, to the extent they can be satisfactorily decoupled, informed my teaching of Torts in separate ways. First, I incorporated a central literary text that accompanied more traditional legal materials. Second, I required students to engage in close reading and I helped them theorize the act of reading itself. By emphasizing the textually mediated nature of the cases — both as a function of common law’s system of authority through analogy, and as a function of the casebook editors’ choices — I hope to have made clear to students that this is a new type of reading they are doing in law school, and that they are learning to think in new ways. In growing acculturated to legal analysis, law students are learning not just a new language, but a new awareness of how and why they read the way they do.

The paper includes an appendix listing some discussion questions for The Sweet Hereafter, by Russell Banks, one of the texts I used in the class.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

International Law, Torture and "24"

Knut Fournier has published Torture Justification in ‘24’: Aesthetics of the Bush Administration

In the context of the War on Terror, fiction is a support of ideologies for the Bush administration. The TV series '24' resorts on all legal justifications of torture made by the Bush administration, and justifies torture as being necessary, effective, and lawful. In that justification process, the thesis of the main international lawyers supportive of the Bush doctrines are used in a very detailed way, maintaining a 'simulacra' in the sense of Baudrillard.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. NB: The text is in French.

Law, Culture, and Housing Law and Policy

Lisa T. Alexander, University of Wisconsin Law School, has published Hip-Hop and Housing: Revisiting Culture, Urban Space, Power, and Law, at 63 Hastings Law Journal 803 (2012).

U.S. housing law is finally receiving its due attention. Scholars and practitioners are focused primarily on the subprime mortgage and foreclosure crises. Yet the current recession has also resurrected the debate about the efficacy of place-based lawmaking. Place-based laws direct economic resources to low-income neighborhoods to help existing residents remain in place and to improve those areas. Law-and-economists and staunch integrationists attack place-based lawmaking on economic and social grounds. This Article examines the efficacy of place-based lawmaking through the underutilized prism of culture. Using a sociolegal approach, it develops a theory of cultural collective efficacy as a justification for place-based lawmaking. Cultural collective efficacy describes positive social networks that inner-city residents develop through participation in musical, artistic, and other neighborhood-based cultural endeavors. This Article analyzes two examples of cultural collective efficacy: the early development of hip-hop in the Bronx and community murals developed by Mexican immigrants in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. These examples show that cultural collective efficacy can help inner-city residents mitigate the negative effects of living in a poor and segregated community and obtain more concrete benefits from urban revitalization in their communities. Cultural collective efficacy also provides a framework to examine important microdynamics in the inner-city that scholars and policymakers have ignored. Lastly, this Article devises new combinations of place-based laws that might protect cultural collective efficacy, such as: (1) historic districts with affordable housing protections secured through transferable development rights, (2) foreclosure prevention strategies, (3) techniques to mitigate eminent domain abuse, and (4) reinterpretations of the Fair Housing Act's "affirmatively furthering" fair housing mandate. These examples of place-based lawmaking may more effectively promote equitable development and advance distributive justice in U.S. housing law and policy.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

More Baseball Trading Cards

Ross E.Davies, George Mason University School of Law; The Green Bag, Craig D. Rust, George Mason University School of Law Alumni, and Adam Aft, George Mason School of Law Alumni, have published Supreme Court Sluggers: Introducing the Scalia, Fortas, and Goldberg/Miller Trading Cards in volume 2 of the Journal of Law (2012). Here is the abstract.

We are pleased to introduce a few new members of the“Supreme Court Sluggers” trading card lineup. The addition of Justice Antonin Scalia to the team is in keeping with our goal of expeditiously compiling and publishing data for all current members of the Supreme Court. (We have issued cards featuring Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice John Paul Stevens, and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Samuel Alito are in the works.) This season, we have also completed the first two cards of what might be called our “Veterans” series of those who served long ago: Justice Arthur Goldberg, who appears in the company of baseball great Marvin Miller, and Justice Abe Fortas.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Race, Law, and American Literary Studies: A Conference at the University of Maryland

From Christopher Brown, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English, University of Maryland, news of an exciting upcoming conference at the University: Race, Law, and American Literary Studies. Among the speakers are Brook Thomas, Nan Goodman, and Eric Foner. The conference runs from March 29 through March 30.

Harry Potter in the Law School Curriculum

Marc Roark of the Literary Table on using Harry Potter in the Law School curriculum.

ASLCH Conference Underway In Dallas

The annual conference of ASLCH (the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities) is going on this weekend at Texas Wesleyan School of Law in Dallas. The Graduate Student Workshop, the association's first, was yesterday, and Susan Ayres tells me it was very successful. Today the panel presentations begin. The law school is a lovely venue and everyone has been making us feel very welcome.

The theme for this year's conference is "Representing Justice." The keynote speakers are Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis. Their recent book, Representing Justice, is featured here in the New York Times.

The US Constitutional Model and Chinese Legal History

Jedidiah Kroncke, Harvard Law School, has published An Early Tragedy of Comparative Constitutionalism: Frank Goodnow & the Chinese Republic. Here is the abstract.

This article recovers a lost episode in the neglected early history of American comparative constitutionalism. In 1913, pioneering comparative lawyer Frank Goodnow was sent to China to assist the new Chinese Republic in the writing of its first constitution. Goodnow’s mission reflected the growing interest of America in China’s legal development in this era, and his constitution-writing project won broad support from the American legal profession. Goodnow’s tenure ultimately generated great controversy when he advised China to adopt constitutional monarchy rather than continue on as a republic. This article describes this controversy and how American international engagement was increasingly shaped in the early 20th century by the attempted export of American legal models as a presumptively altruistic mechanism of modernization. Goodnow’s allegiance to comparative legal science agitated against this more parochial view of legal internationalism, and in the end he was excommunicated from American foreign policy affairs.

More broadly, this article shows how the early history of American comparative constitutionalism had its roots in the early 20th century American discourse on colonial administration. Goodnow and other American lawyers of the era turned to indirect engagements with foreign legal reform only after the popular rejection of colonialism that had been already constitutionally sanctioned by the now infamous Insular Cases. This article further argues that these colonial roots and Goodnow’s feckless misadventure in China hold key lessons for today’s comparative constitutionalists. It provides a vivid example of how the technocratic illusion of engaging in depoliticized legal reform abroad is self-defeating and untenable. Further, it warns against the inherent tensions between a methodologically coherent comparative law and the desire to export American constitutional models abroad, and how such tensions can undercut clear-sighted American understanding of foreign legal developments.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Harry Potter and the First Year Curriculum

Nancy J.White, Central Michigan University, has published Harry Potter and the Denial of Due Process. Here is the abstract.

This paper is designed to be used to teach students the concept of due process using the book/move Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It contains an overview of due process and examples using due process violations from the book.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Law and the Humanities in the Curriculum

The current issue of the California Law Review is a companion to the Ninth Circuit's Symposium on Excavating and Integrating Law and the Humanities into the Core Curriculum.  The symposium features contributions from Bret Asbury, Ariela Gross, Melissa Murray, Zahr Said, Carol Sanger, David Sklansky, and Rose Cuison Villazor.

[Information provided by Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley].

Conference on the Iconography of Justice

The Warburg Institute is sponsoring a conference on the Iconography of Justice on May 7, 2012. Speakers include Dennis Curtis, Dame Hazel Genn, Martin Loughlin, Judith Resnik, Peter Mack, and Avrom Sherr. More here from the Institute's website.

[Information provided by Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, UC, Berkeley]

They're Not Lawyers, But They Play Them In the Movies

Attorney Alan L. Rupe discusses what movies have taught him about how to present a case in What I Learned at the Movies. Among the films he lists as worthy of legal study are Legally Blonde, North Country, Norma Rae, Philadelphia, and the lesser-known Office Space.

Swinish Behavior?

Robert Krulwich ponders law, journalism, ethics, and the three little pigs in this essay for National Public Radio. I would say he hams up it, but...