Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Billing Time Song

I laughed out-loud at this spoof of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" song on YouTube. Called The Billing Time Song , it was a welcome moment of lightness in what has been a harried week preparing to go out of town. Thanks to Neil J. Squillante at TechnoLawyer for the heads up on this video.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Are Goals Important?

I'm jumping the gun a bit here, but we are nearing the time of year when many assess the ending year and set priorities for the coming year. That said, some of us have the best of intentions to do this and never quite get around to it. Life tends to throw 'must-do's' and just everyday stuff at us so that before we know it, the week, month, year, etc. is gone.

So here is my suggestion - check out this article by Kevin Eikenberry "The Pause that Refreshes: Seven Reasons Why Goals Matter". The very first reason he addresses really hit home with me:
"Goals create acccomplishment instead of activity." How much of my time is spent on 'stuff' that does not contribute to my purpose(s)? Answer: too much!

Print it out and take it with you. When you escape to the garage to hide from your in-laws during the holidays, you'll have something to read and think about.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Designation of Experts - The Discussion Continues

We have recently been discussing the problem of being designated as an expert without permission and/or without having received a retainer and often without even knowing about it. (If you missed the discussion, the PDF summary can be downloaded from the right column of this blog.)

One of our newsletter readers emailed me this week regarding that discussion:
" of the recurring questions was how to discover whether or not we have been disclosed as experts without our knowledge. In this day of IT and search engines, there must be a way to do this. Adversary attorneys always seem to know of our past testimony, most likely from Lexis-Nexis searches, and attempt to use it to impeach us. My question is this: would a Lexis-Nexis search be able to discover all the times a given expert has been disclosed? If it does, it would pay for us to subscribe to Lexis-Nexis, or at least pay for periodic searches, or even have friendly retaining attorneys do it for us. If we can discover that we have been disclosed without payment of a retainer, that is the first step to collecting damages, and to stop this from happening again."
Here was my reply:
"I called an attorney friend of mine who is familiar with Lexis and here was his take: 'Because expert witness designations are not always part of the public record, there is no easy way to know when an attorney has designated an expert. LexisNexis would not yield this information, as designations are usually only exchanged between opposing parties. There is a distinct difference between when an expert has testified and when an expert has been designated. Expert testimony is much easier to uncover than designations.'

The attorney I spoke to is in California and pointed out that in that state (and believe me, it differs a great deal from state to state!) the attorney has to swear under penalty of perjury that the expert has agreed to testify at trial. Therefore, an expert who designates an expert in California without their permission risks criminal penalties. Some other states have similar statutes."
Any thoughts on this subject? Is the situation different in your state? Is this something the American Bar Association should/could address? Post your comments and suggestions here or email them to me at . This is too common a problem and I'm not one to just say, "well, that's the way it is".

Sunday, December 03, 2006

For That Special Attorney in Your Life

If you haven't already planned a holiday mailing to your list, you've probably missed the boat. But for attorney specific cards and clever gifts for legal professionals, I discovered a site called The Billable Hour . Some of the "greeting" cards cross the line between humorous and offensive, so be selective and judicious. Check out the nifty gift items under TBH Office like the Sign and Seal (referring to the animal called a seal) or the Slam A Gavel.

And if you missed the "holiday" mailing, it's not too late to get a New Year's mailing out. Check with your local printer or the various card catalogs you've doubtless received and be originial. Your card or announcement for the new year could stand out even more, coming after the flood of holiday greetings!