The Kennedy-Mighell Report: “Lawyers and Smartphones”

Do the iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre have what it takes to topple Blackberry as a lawyer’s smartphone? On this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, co-hosts, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell take a look at all three devices – hardware, software, functionalities and services – to compare.

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FINDLAW:Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court -06/22/09

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, EDUCATION LAW

Forest Grove Sch. Dist. v. T.A., No. 08–305
In an action challenging a hearing officer’s order reimbursing fees paid by Plaintiff’s parents for his special education program under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), the award is affirmed where IDEA authorizes reimbursement for private special-education services when a public school fails to provide a free appropriate public education and the private-school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special-education services through the public school.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, WATER LAW

Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, No. 07–984
In an action against the Army Corps of Engineers challenging the Corps’ grant of a permit to a mining company to discharge waste materials, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed where the Corps, not the EPA, had the authority to permit the discharge, and the Corps’ interpretation of Clean Water Act regulations was entitled to deference.

CIVIL RIGHTS, ELECTIONS, GOVERNMENT LAW

Northwest Austin Mun. Utility Dist. No. 1. v. Holder, No. 08–322
In an action seeking relief under the “bailout” provision in Section 4(a) of the Voting Rights Act, which allows a “political subdivision” to be released from the preclearance requirements if certain conditions are met, the dismissal of the complaint is reversed where the Act must be interpreted to permit all political subdivisions, including Plaintiff district, to seek to bail out from the preclearance requirements.

New York State Bar Association Approves Comprehensive Plan to Help Solo and Small Firm Practitioners

ALBANY, NY (06/22/2009)(readMedia)– The New York State Bar Association released a new report outlining a comprehensive plan to help solo and small firm practitioners – the largest and fastest growing segment of its membership. The report, authored by the Special Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practice, was adopted by the House of Delegates, the decision- and policy-making body of the Association, at its June 20 meeting in Cooperstown.

The Special Committee, chaired by Past President Robert L. Ostertag (Ostertag O’Leary and Barrett, Poughkeepsie) and established in August 2008 by Immediate Past President, Bernice K. Leber (Arent Fox LLP, New York City), was charged with making a thorough study of the issues and challenges that confront solo practitioners and small firms in New York.

Committee members, working in four sub-committees, also reviewed the quality, accessibility and level of awareness of existing State Bar programs designed to assist solo practitioners and small firms. They recommended new programs, benefits, resources and services that should be developed to help these practitioners and their firms.

“One of my priorities over the next year as president is to make sure the State Bar offers programs and services that are relevant and helpful to our members, particularly as they struggle in these tough economic times. With more than 64 percent of our members now working in firms of 20 or fewer attorneys, these initiatives will bring value to the growing majority of our membership,” said State Bar President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP, Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick, New York City). “I want to thank Bernice Leber and Robert Ostertag for their leadership on this critical issue.”

For a full copy of the New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practice’s report, go to www.nysba.org/SSFReport.

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