Benefits and Limitations of Google Scholar

Eric VoigtIf you have not tried Google Scholar for your legal research needs, you should. Google Scholar has seven primary benefits.

  1. It is free. We all like free research, right?
  2. Google Scholar has an extensive database of reported cases from state and federal courts. Its database covers cases from the United States Supreme Court (since 1791), the United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts (since 1923), and supreme court and intermediate appellate courts from all states (since 1950). It also has some federal and state cases that have been designated “not for publication.”
  3. You can find federal and state cases with Google Scholar’s powerful search algorithm (similar to WestlawNext and Lexis Advance), and it will likely return relevant results even if you do not use the proper search terms. Its algorithm works best for issues that are commonly litigated.
  4. You can limit your search results by keyword, date, and court (e.g., just the Seventh Circuit or just the Ohio Supreme Court).
  5. It has a citator to find subsequent judicial opinions that have cited your case. And the results can be organized based on the depth of discussion in that the first listed results have discussed your case in more detail than later results. Thus, you will immediately know which opinions did more than merely cite your case.
  6. You can create citation alerts and have them delivered to your email.
  7. Although Google Scholar has no database for legal articles, you can keyword search to find articles, and it will provide links to articles hosted on other websites (e.g., the Social Science Research Network).

If Google Scholar is so wonderful, why is it free? Google Scholar has five main limitations; as a result, it will not put Westlaw or LexisNexis out of business any time soon. [Read more…]

Seven Ways to Get the Most out of an NBI CLE Live Seminar

evan-guthrieI recently took advantage of NBI’s Unlimited CLE offer this past year. I have attended a multitude of seminars taking full advantage of the pass and have learned many takeaways to get the most out them.

1. Ask The Presenters Questions: The program is designed to be attendee friendly and help answer all of the questions that you may have. The presenters are leaders in their field and are there to help you. A break or after the event may also be a good time to ask a more in depth or personal question.

2. Sit Up Front: The best seat in the house is up front as far as being able to hear and see the presentation. Many times the seats up front are the last to be filled, but they offer the best attendee experience. [Read more…]

MS Word Tips for Attorneys: Using AutoText and Building Blocks

This is the first introductory glimpse at the materials for our upcoming “Unleashing the Power of Microsoft Office and Adobe for Attorneys” CLE webcast to be held tomorrow (April 24th).

Written by Ann GorrAnn Gorr

In every law office there are many repetitive words and phrases that are either used on a frequent basis or are difficult to type correctly into you documents. WORD has two features that assist you with creating “re-usable” phrases/characters and streamline repetitive tasks through the day. These phrases can be inserted quickly and easily into any document as needed. [Read more…]

Attorney Liens Update: Significant Changes in New Jersey

Attorney Antranig GaribianThe Abolition of Retaining Liens in New Jersey

Written by Antranig Garibian, Stradley Ronon Stevens and Young, LLP

The following is a follow up to the May 10, 2012 NBI article entitled “Attorney Charging Liens in Delaware” and the October 17, 2012 NBI presentation “Attorney Charging Liens

Effective April 1, 2013, pursuant to an order by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, no New Jersey lawyer shall assert a common law retaining lien. The new rule arises out of the amendment to Rules of Professional Conduct 1.16(d) of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. In 2012, the New Jersey Supreme Court requested the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics (“Advisory Committee”) to consider and report on the continued viability of the common law retaining lien as it relates to RPC 1.16(d) and requested that the New Jersey State Bar Association also be invited to participate in the matter. It is crucial for attorneys to understand the implications of this ruling, as well as the limitations. [Read more…]

NBI Subscriptions: Unlimited CLE

unlimited cleIf you had the choice between attending two seminars a year or getting unlimited CLE for the same price, which would you choose?

The choice is real with NBI Subscriptions.

Where you’ll get unlimited access to our continuing legal education courses…

For 12 months…

With a personal account manager to assist you when needed…

All for one low price!

NBI offers three different subscription packages so you can choose the one that’s right for you. [Read more…]

7 Great Articles on Animal Law

attorney Michael KaiserAnimal Law is a topic that has grown in popularity among our customers over the past couple years.

Below are seven animal law articles written by attorney Michael Kaiser that you may find helpful and interesting.

Mr. Kaiser’s involvement in animal legal and other related issues is extensive. He recently contributed his personal services to what is expected to be globally ground-breaking animal-law litigation, as suits will be filed in several state courts seeking legal personhood for animals. [Read more…]

Small Business Retirement Plan Options that Every Attorney Should Know

GinaI hear it so often, “My small business client wants to have a retirement plan. What’s the best option?” As with almost any question in law the answer depends on the client’s objectives.

Saving for retirement can be especially hard for small business owners. Making bills and the daily pressures of running a business can make saving a low priority. Even if a business is very profitable, traditional retirement plan options do not always allow the business owner to save in a way that might actually allow for a good amount of income replacement when they reach retirement age.

The most common retirement savings is done through traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs. The problem with IRAs is they offer extremely low contribution limits ($5,500 yearly limit, $6,500 if over age 50). These limits are far too low for a small business owner to save enough to have sufficient income replacement as they head into retirement. However, small business owners can offer and take advantage of retirement plans with significantly higher contribution limits and tax benefits.

This article is meant to be a brief synopsis of five specific types of retirement plans that provide greater opportunity for tax deferred savings to small business owners that hopefully will give them a leg up in their overall financial plan. [Read more…]

Case Budgeting, Billing and Collections: What Every Attorney Needs to Know

Cheryl BettenWritten by Cheryl Betten

Case Budgeting and Conferring with the Client

One of the most difficult parts in the practice of law is controlling legal costs. Clients want guarantees that lawyers are just not able to provide. In many areas of law, the option to contingency bill or offer a flat fee for a case is not allowed. When budgets are set in certain types of legal matters, this exercise is often accomplished at the onset of the case. This is the point of the case where the lawyer is least familiar with the case and has had no opportunity to get to know the players involved or all the facts. Sometimes things change in the middle of litigation that could not have been predicted at the initial client meeting. What is the number one way to diffuse this issue? Communication. [Read more…]

9 Must-Read LLC Operating Agreement Articles

John-CunninghamIf you’re a lawyer who plans, negotiates and drafts operating agreements for LLC formation clients, here are nine articles you’re going to want to check out.

They are written by one of our great faculty members, attorney John M. Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham is of counsel to McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, P.A. His practice is focused on (1) handling legal and tax issues in the formation of LLCs and other entities for business start-ups; (2) counseling the owners and managers of these entities; and (3) restructuring business entities to enhance business asset protection and obtain tax benefits.

Enjoy! [Read more…]

An Attorney’s Guide to Engagement Agreements

signaturePreviously on the NBI CLE Blog, law practice coach and consultant Allison Shields wrote a series of posts about the essential elements of a retainer agreement or engagement letter. Below is a compilation of those posts for your convenience.

Aside from your jurisdiction’s ethical rules, the single most important document that defines your relationship with your client is your retainer agreement or engagement letter. When was the last time you reviewed your agreement? Does it cover the items below? [Read more…]