Wednesday, May 18, 2005

~ online legal dictionary helps you find, define and substitute words and phrases ~

The People's Law Dictionary is now free and searchable online. Search computing, medical and financial terms also.

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~ more tips for those with memory problems ~

Firms Shorten Monikers to Give Them a Marketing Edge

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

~ too much knowledge can lead to imprecise memory ~

The less you know, the better you remember certain details. Accuracy in recall can be hampered by the intelligent adult tendency to categorize.

"There seems to be an inverse relationship between the ability to categorize and the ability to remember details," Sloutsky said. "If you're very attentive to details - like the children in this experiment - you can't create categories. But without ignoring the details, we would be unable to categorize."

First, they found that there is a gradual decrease in recognition memory from children to adults - there is no large jump that occurs as people approach adulthood. Secondly, the study shows that it is "lack of knowledge - not something specific to children - that helps make recognition memory more accurate." That's why adults had accurate, child-like memory in the experiment in which they were tested using the imaginary animals. Read the article

This may be an argument to select jurors whose purported knowledge is far afield from the case facts in order to impress upon them your viewpoint!

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

~ law journal articles on the internet ~

Full text search of law journals on the Internet.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

~ Counting Questions: Adding Up High Court Outcomes ~

It seems that the scientific method can be applied to detecting the outcome of Supreme Court decisions. Perhaps, lowly observers of the Court's oral arguments may decipher the inner workings of the Justices' minds before they do.
In a new study entitled "The Illusion of Devil's Advocacy: How the Justices of the Supreme Court Foreshadow their Decisions During Oral Argument," Sarah Shullman came up with a surprisingly simple and accurate way of predicting outcomes based on the number and tenor of oral argument questions by justices.

After seven of the 10 cases she studied were decided, Shullman looked for correlations -- and found them. In all of the cases, the justices in aggregate asked more questions, and more hostile questions, of the party that ultimately lost the case.

Shullman acknowledges that her sample was small, but the methodology has already been tested since she did her study. John Roberts Jr., one of the masters of the trade before taking the bench in 2003, used her theory for a talk he gave on oral advocacy before the Supreme Court Historical Society last year. Picking 14 oral arguments from the 1980 term and 14 from the 2003 term, Roberts found that in fact the most questions went to the losing party in 24 of the 28 cases -- an 86 percent rate of accuracy. "The secret to successful advocacy," Roberts deadpanned in conclusion, "is simply to get the Court to ask your opponent more questions."
If only trial courts allowed jurors to ask questions...

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Monday, May 09, 2005

~ legal tips between meetings ~

The Texas BAR provides the Ten Minute Mentor, a collection of topical presentations in audio or video. This is quickie MCLE. Scroll through the presentations, organized by theme, or search by keyword.

Here's an example presentation.

How to Obtain Health Information in Connection with Litigation and in Compliance with HIPAA by Cheryl Camin (1/05) Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

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~ police departments don't follow witness identification guidelines ~

Mistaken eyewitness identifications helped convict nearly 80 percent of the 157 people nationwide who eventually were exonerated through DNA testing carried out by the New York-based Innocence Project. Other studies also have shown false eyewitness i.d.'s have led to unjust convictions.

Psychological experts on witness issues have found that inadequate, outmoded police procedures are a major part of the problem. Read all about it

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~ find your way around the world ~

Time, date and telephone dialing codes for any city can be found at

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

~ find gold, cultivate clients, become a thought-leader or just make friends - the possibilities in legal marketing ~

Legal marketing on the Internet is flying high in the form of the web log hosted by attorneys of all specialties. Like any dedicated marketing effort maintaining a blog is sometimes more than any hard working professional has the time to do. But if you're so inclined, read this starter article by one of the best known legal blawgers.
Blogging and the Bottom Line
Why blogging and syndication are the hottest tools in legal marketing

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

~ private investigators assist the public with access to personal information - listen to the NPR report: Private Eyes Cramped by Privacy Breach ~

Larry Abramson has a report today on the NPR radio program, All Things Considered, that features interviews with several investigators (including me) highlighting the detrimental effect on the public of the new policy implemented by Choicepoint that masks portions of social security numbers, driver licenses and dates of birth.
In the weeks after they announced major security breaches, data brokers like ChoicePoint and Lexis-Nexis have imposed restrictions on access to Americans' personal information. Some of their clients are no longer allowed access to social security and drivers license numbers. NPR's Larry Abramson reports on the affects this has had on private investigators, who have come to rely on personal data to solve cases. Listen to the story

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