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AVVO Ethics Violations – Marketing or Recommendation?

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AVVO has quickly become a known website for consumers to find information about attorneys. AVVO goes way beyond standard lawyer marketing, which is causing ethical controversies regarding the website. New York is the latest state to target this attorney match service for ethical violations. The New York State Bar Association’s opinion is that a lawyer paying AVVO’s marketing fee to be a part of its legal services program is making an improper payment for a recommendation, which is a violation of state ethics rules. While it is not yet illegal in New York, state bar president Sharon Stern Gerstman stated that...

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The Hot Topic of Hot Coffee

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Remember the McDonald’s hot coffee case in August of 1994? Of course, you do. Everyone was talking about it. For plaintiff personal injury attorneys, it can often be the start of a joke about the profession. But do the people using this case as a punchline REALLY know what happened? The sad truth is many people still believe Stella Liebeck’s lawsuit against McDonald’s was all about a woman who wanted to get rich quick. Whether you want to blame the media, public relations “spin,” or any person aligned with tort reform, the reality is this lawsuit was, and still is, vastly misconstrued. Stella...

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4 Questions You Need To Ask In Your Office

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Office culture is largely based on the people who make up your office. Everyone is different in the way they communicate, the manner in which they work, and their interactions with others. So why is this information important in a law firm? The answer to this question is simple - people are not the same. Without understanding how each person in your firm prefers to receive direction and accept recognition, the way you instruct and reward someone could prevent you from having the best working relationship possible. Here are four questions for you to ask your staff, so you can learn how...

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Cowen | Mask | Blanchard Sponsors Upcoming TTLA Event

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We’re excited to sponsor the TTLA Happy Hour on Thursday August 17th! This event is hosted by the 2017 Advocates Board of Directors and is open to all TTLA and SATLA members and prospects. Join us for an evening of fun and networking. There will be a full bar as well as delicious appetizers. The Details: 5:30 pm Piatti at The Quarry 255 E. Basse San Antonio, TX 78209 Admission is $20 at the door and can be paid with cash, check or credit card. To RSVP contact Lisa Dorn at ldorn@ttla.com or at 210-224-8852. We look forward to seeing you there! Don’t know what TTLA is? Keep reading…....

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Don’t Get Caught Text-Handed

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While some cities already had a ban in place, Texas has finally implemented a statewide ban on texting and driving. Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 62, which approved the state’s ban on hand-held communications by motorists. The ban will go into effect September 1, 2017. This legislation was attempted six years ago, but after clearing both chambers, Governor (at the time) Rick Perry vetoed the texting-while-driving ban. Perry’s reasoning for the veto was that he didn’t want to “micromanage the behaviors of adults.” Texas was one of only four US states not implementing a texting-while-driving ban. Clearly this was an issue of...

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Top 5 Reasons Why Wrongful Death Cases By Car Accident Are On The Rise

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Most people don’t immediately lump the economy, technology, and car size in as reason for traffic fatalities, but recent research shows otherwise. With the help of some of the latest reports, we’ve put together what we see as the top 5 reasons traffic fatalities are on the rise.   5 - SMARTPHONES A growing population of drivers are becoming increasingly distracted by their phone, adding to the largest increase in highway fatalities in the last 50 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some apps specifically incentivize interaction while driving: Snapchat – allows you to take pictures or video that shows...

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Attorney Occupational Tax

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Remember the days when you had to pay $200 for an “attorney occupation tax?” Those days are long gone now that the 84th legislature has repealed the attorney occupation tax. For many lawyers, doctors, and engineers the annual licensing fee, imposed in 1991, was a form of double taxation. “This is an example of legislative and agency effort to eliminate an unfair burden of our licensees,” stated Susan Stanford, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The repeal eliminates more than $300 million worth of fees over the next two years, on approximately 650,000 professionals from 16 different professions....

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The California Bar Exam Standards: Too High or Just Right?

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The California bar exam has historically had the highest cut score of all 50 states, resulting in the lowest pass rates in the nation. California’s multistate bar exam cut score is currently 144. Last July, California’s pass rate reached an all-time low record of 62%. For reference, New York’s pass rate was 83%. Even more shocking, the overall passage rate for the February 2017 administration of the California bar exam was a 34.5%. Although California has always been known to have low pass rates, the recent results caused an outcry, and law professors and students alike have begun to ask...

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The “Textalyzer” – Safety vs. Privacy

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The debate continues over new strides in fighting distracted driving. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of breathalyzers and how they essentially work - which can confirm a driver’s blood alcohol level through a small, portable device. But with distracted driving accident statistics quickly catching up to drunk driving, some are looking at the need to do something similar to confirm drivers’ activities leading up to an accident, specifically regarding their interactions with their mobile device. And that’s exactly what the mobile forensics company, Cellebrite, has set out to do through their latest development the “Textalyzer.” Just as...

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The Big Give 2017

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At CMB, Giving Back to the Community has Always Been an Important Part of Our Company Culture. Last month, we were honored to participate in The Big Give, a 24-hour period of online giving fueled by the power of generous donors, creative nonprofits, and social media. The goal of The Big Give is to support nonprofits in the South Central Texas region that are committed to making the region a great place to live, work, and play. To do our part, we created a Facebook page "likes" campaign. For every new “like” we received during The Big Give, we pledged to donate...

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