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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 Those days are long gone now that the 84th legislature has repealed the attorney occupation tax.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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Law Firm Sues Over Anonymous Online Reviews

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A small Houston construction law firm has filed a defamation lawsuit against John and Jane Doe, alleging the unknown defendants posted "false and defamatory statements" about the firm on various online websites. The Cromeens Law Firm, based in Houston, seeks up to $100,000 in damages from the defendants in The Cromeens Law Firm v. John Doe. The firm alleges the damages are in the form of loss of business reputation, loss of business opportunities and financial damage. "We are trying to do something about getting irresponsible posts removed," said Rhonda Allen, a senior associate with the firm. "We just want to...

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Happy Anniversary!

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Q: Michael, How would you describe yourself in law school? A: I didn’t discuss my grades, and I didn’t do study groups, so most people were shocked to see me on the Chancellor’s List our third year of law school. (The Chancellors are the top 16 students in a class of 500). I would have a lot of fun during the first two months of each semester, and then holed up in my apartment and studied nonstop. I only took breaks to sleep, eat, and go running. Q: What was the class you hated the most in law school? A: Constitutional law wasn’t...

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HIGH STAKES GRAMMAR PEDANTRY, OR …

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The Case of the $10M Comma In the legal field, attention to detail has ALWAYS played a role. On occasion, there has certainly been room for interpretation – we’ve all heard the argument between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. But the details of one particular case, worth an estimated $10,000,000, is all coming down to a comma; which takes the old adage “the devil’s in the details” to a whole new level. A nice article detailing all the ins and outs of this 2014 classaction suit that recently went to the United States Court of Appeals...

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Should the SCOTUS #UnplugSexOffenders?

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For those who haven’t been following the Packingham v. North Carolina case, it may be time to set down the legal pad, get out your selfie stick, and maybe even go crazy using some hashtags. The basic argument of this case being presented to the Supreme Court is looking at whether sex offenders should be allowed to retain their right to use social media under the constitution’s first amendment. And whether you’re a Baby Boomer, a Gen X’er, or a Millennial, the lines that are being debated in this case are definitely a bit blurry. Which makes us wonder what...

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Khan Academy Offering Online LSAT Prep Course for FREE

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Remember your college days when money was tight and you barely had two pennies to rub together? Paying $1,000 or more for an LSAT prep course was a lot of money. The same is true today for future law school students which is why legal organizations, such as the Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio (MABA), have begun to offer an LSAT prep course scholarship. But in 2018 there will be another option for college students when it comes to LSAT prep courses. The nonprofit online platform Khan Academy has recently announced they will be offering an LSAT prep course...

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Search that parallels PACER

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The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), which was designed to facilitate and improve electronic public access to court information on a Federal level, is sparking similar innovations in Texas with the recently unveiled re:Search TX platform. While it is not yet available to the public or many attorneys in Texas, the database will allow access to civil case records in all 254 Texas counties for attorneys of record on that specific case. Access is currently limited to clerks, state and county judges, as well as a handful of attorneys. Of course, in this day and age, the scrutiny over...

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