Mesothelioma Legal Information

Mesothelioma is mainly caused by exposure to asbestos during the production or use of asbestos products. It is widely believed that, for sixty years, the companies that dealt with asbestos related products knew about its hazards to health. The dangers of asbestos exposure were kept a secret by the companies for obvious reasons. This holding back of information on the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma has made those companies legally responsible for damages caused by their asbestos products.

Workers who subsequently contract this often fatal disease have the right to file lawsuits for damages. Mesothelioma claims settlements are huge, ranging from $200,000 to millions of dollars. Of course, that depends on the details of the case. Funds are usually set aside to repay the workers and their families.

In the United States, for instance, the median mesothelioma-related settlement is a million dollars. It is reported that cases that went into trial produced an average settlement of $6 million. Yet, it is important to remember that only a small portion of the thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits in the country are linked to mesothelioma.

Finding a decent lawyer to take care of these claims is vital. Since the settlements involve huge sums of money, attorneys are on the lookout for mesothelioma patients. Thus, claimants must take a cautious approach in finding an experienced lawyer to handle their claims.

Some law firms get hold of a mesothelioma victim, and transfer the information to lawyers experienced in handing such cases. Upon doing this, they get a decent referral fee from any successful claim. It is imperative for any lawyer selected to handle a mesothelioma case to have prior experience with litigation involving medical issues.

It is prudent to ask certain questions of attorneys who have been picked to handle the claim. The queries may include his experience in handling mesothelioma claims, the number of claims he has settled and the number that have gone into trial.

Mesothelioma claims can be a drawn-out affair, and law firms should have the necessary wherewithal to take care of them.

What Has the Law to Do With a Wedding Invitations List?

One Saturday afternoon I brought my 17-year old nephew to my solicitor’s office. We were attending a wedding dinner that night. I ushered him into my chamber, and he found himself surrounded by voluminous law books, law periodicals and law reports. He cast an amazed look at the amount of papers piling up on my desk – all requiring my urgent and immediate attention. I also had several large cards laying haphazardly on the desk – wedding invitations.

My nephew, who was interested in a career in law, took a book titled ‘Family Law’ and began reading it. Meanwhile I continued my work of drafting a statement of defence to a plaintiff’s statement of claim, preparing an affidavit in reply at the same time. I also looked at some files of divorce cases which were scheduled for hearing at the High Court next month.

After reading for about 20 minutes or so, my nephew stood up and posed me a question: “Uncle, is there a relationship between whom one invites to his wedding and the law?”

“The simple answer to that question is, no, there isn’t. Whom do you invite is not governed by any law, of course. There would be legal chaos if there be a law governing how many guests one could include in one’s wedding invitations. But there may be relationship between whom one invites to one’s wedding and the state of one’s later married life, albeit a fortuitous one. Why do you ask?”

He shrugged, and said,” No particular reason. Just ask for the sake of asking.”

“OK, but you must avoid asking such questions in the future. If you are interested in the law, you are of course encouraged to ask questions – and good questions only. For example, you might want to ask why, in the first place, there are laws governing marriages and divorce.”

His curiosity piqued, my nephew was all ears, as I continued: “In the first place, do you know that a marriage is a contract? That means it entails contractual obligations on the part of the two parties to the marriage, and that’s why there are marriage and divorce laws and regulations.”

“Oh,” came my nephew’s answer, “I didn’t know that. It sounds rather unromantic that a marriage is a contract.” How true.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in my chamber. After my personal introduction to contract law, my nephew became quite interested in the law of contract. I handed him my Guest’s Law of Contract and he began to read it.

That evening, as we mingled with the guests who made the list on the wedding invitations, I couldn’t help reflecting on the question my nephew asked of me in the office earlier. Of course, a marriage (which is always lauded as being made in heaven) is a romantic affair, an occasion for joy and cause for celebration. Who would like to be told that, in the eyes of the law, a marriage, properly formalized, becomes a contract just as much as an ordinary, cold agreement comes into force after all the terms and conditions are fulfilled? Which couple would seek the solicitor’s legal advice on marriage while they are busy preparing the wedding invitations, wedding cakes, wedding reception and the associated paraphernalia? Of course that would be the last thing on their mind.

SUV Rollovers – Legal Information

SUV (Sport Utility Vehicles) sales have sky-rocketed in the United States over the past few years. In 2004, SUV’s accounted for 25 percent of all new-vehicle sales with over 22 million on the road. Because SUV’s are larger, and heavier than other cars, buyers often times overlook the safety issues concerning them. Unfortunately, SUV’s have the leading cause of rollover death on our highways. New statistics show that more than 12,000 people died last year in rollover accidents with SUV’s accounting for 62 percent.

In the US, SUV sales are rising and so are the problems that come along with them. Because SUV’s have a higher center of gravity, they are the most unstable and rollover-prone vehicles on the road today. Many SUV’s are designed to be driven off-road, however very few are equipped with proper equipment such as roll bars. In addition, only a few meet the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration roof safety standards.

If you or someone that you know has been the victim of an SUV rollover you should seek help immediately. An experienced accident lawyer can help you understand the complex legal system to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t let legal time constraints impede or terminate your case before it happens. Contact a lawyer immediately!

Taking an In-Depth Look at Court Reporting

An effective stenographer is a necessity in an organization that requires accuracy and keen listening skills. Different states refer to these people with different terms such as court, shorthand, or law reporters, but they all mean the same thing.

Stenographers or court reporters handle the difficult job of transcribing every speech or written communication happening inside the courtroom. The nature of the job requires specialized skill sets and training.

The demands of the position are something many people are unwilling to take on. It takes an extraordinary amount of patience and skill to come closer to the basic requirement for the job. This is the reason law firms and federal agencies go to lengths to make sure they hire the right people for the job. This also makes the business of providing court reporting and stenography service a profitable industry.

Court reporters are some of the most competent people in the business. This is mostly because they are required to perfect their craft through years of training. Traditional stenotype court reporters are highly popular, but the market has grown to include those specializing in voice stenography. The difference is the amount of time spent in acquiring the basic court reporting skill. It takes around two to four years for stenographers to complete their training while voice reporters only need around six months to one year to complete theirs.

Evolving Technologies

In an industry as competitive as stenography, introducing new and better ways to get the job done is necessary. Many court reporting companies now use video technology to record and save legal proceedings on disks for easy reference. It also helps minimize errors and omissions as the video can be played repeatedly to collect the most comprehensive and accurate information for transcription.

Developing litigation support software has also helped make the transcription process less tedious. Litigation support software makes it easy to make revisions or add annotations to any transcripts. It also makes sharing the information more efficient.

Transcription Services Made Easy

Technology has significantly improved transcription management. The availability of different software that can save, print, and search for transcripts in a given database is a welcome convenience. With these technologies, the time needed to complete transcription and data transmission is shorter. This allows everyone involved in the legal process to get the job done in half the time.

With many companies providing the same transcription service, it all boils down to the add-ons you receive. It is important to look into what else you are getting in addition to basic transcription.

Law Firm Branding – The Danger Of Illusory Brands

Over the last ten years, we have witnessed advances in law practice technology, the expanding roles of paralegals, and the outsourcing of legal work. Yet despite all of these cost-cutting and time-saving advantages, many law firms, especially the large ones, remain struggling for their very survival.

Only a decade ago, law firms were enjoying remarkable levels of growth and prosperity. Firm coffers were full and firms were spending significant sums of money on promoting themselves in order to enter new markets and acquire premium business. Some firms even began experimenting with branding. In those days, branding was mostly viewed as just another form of advertising and promotion. In truth, firm leadership rarely understood the branding process or what the concept of branding was actually intended to accomplish. But it didn’t really matter, revenue was climbing and profitability remained strong. But what so many of these firms didn’t expect was that, in just a few years, our economy would be shaken by a deep and fierce recession, one which would shake the financial foundations of even the most profitable of firms.

For law firms, the recession that began in 2007 had, by 2010, penetrated the most sacred of realms- the proverbial benchmark of a firms standing and achievement- profits-per-partner. For many firms, especially mega-firms, the decline in law partner profits were reaching record lows and it wasn’t long until the legal landscape was littered with failed firms both large and small.

In trying to deflect further losses, firms began to lay off associates and staff in record number. But the problems went much deeper. There simply were too many lawyers and not enough premium work to go around. It was a clear case of overcapacity, and it was also clear it was not going to improve anytime soon.

More than twelve of the nation’s major law firms, with more than 1,000 partners between them, had completely failed in a span of about seven years. Against this background, law schools were still churning out thousands of eager law graduates every year. Highly trained young men and women who were starved for the chance to enter a profession that once held the promise of wealth, status and stability.

As partner profits dwindled, partner infighting grew rampant. Partner would compete against partner for the same piece of business. The collegial “team-driven” identity and “progressive culture” that firms spent millions of dollars promoting as their firm’s unique brand and culture had vanished as quickly as it was created. While financial times were tough, in truth many of the big firms had the resources to survive the downturn. Instead, partners with big books of business were choosing to take what they could and joined other firms- demoralizing those left behind.

To understand why this was happening, we must first remove ourselves from the specific context and internal politics of any one firm and consider the larger picture. The failure and decline of firms was not only a crisis of economics and overcapacity, it was also a crisis of character, identity, values and leadership. Sadly, the brand identity many of these firms pronounced as their own did not match up against the reality of who they actually were. In other words, for many firms, the brand identity they created was illusory- and illusory brands ultimately fracture in times of financial stress.

Ultimately, the branding process must also be a transformative process in search of the firms highest and most cherished values. It is, and must be, a process of reinvention at every level of the firm- especially its leadership. The transformative process is fundamental to building a true and enduring brand. Without it, firms run the risk of communicating an identity that does not represent them, and this is the danger, especially when the firm is tested against the stress of difficult times.

How this miscommunication of identity was allowed to happen varied widely from firm to firm. But generally speaking, while firm leadership was initially supportive of the branding process, in most cases these same partners were rarely willing to risk exposing the firm’s real problems in fear that it would expose their own.

While decline of law firm revenue was clearly attributable to both a bad economy and an oversupply of lawyers, from an internal perspective the firm’s inability to come together and develop effective measures to withstand these pressures could usually be traced directly back to the lack of partner leadership. A firm that proclaims to be something it is not- is inevitably doomed to failure. Say nothing of the psychic damage it causes at the collective level of the firm. It is no different then the psychological dynamics of the person who pretends to be someone he is not- ultimately it leads to confusion, frustration and eventually self-betrayal.

It’s easy to indulge in self-praise when economic times are good. Some partners might even attribute their success to all that clever branding they put into place years before. But, when the threat of financial crisis enters the picture, the same firm can quickly devolve into self-predatory behavior- a vicious cycle of fear and greed that inevitably turns into an “eat-or-be-eaten” culture- which for most firms marks the beginning of the end.

For any firm playing out its last inning, it is simply too late to rally the troops or reach for those so-called cherished values that were supposedly driving the firm’s success. In truth, when times got bad, these values were nowhere to be found, except on the firms website, magazine ads and brochures.

The point is that when a firm is actually driven by its cherished beliefs and core values, the firm will begin to live by them, especially in times of adversity. The firm will pull together and rally behind its leadership, and with clarity of purpose, each person will do what needs to be done to weather the storm. But when there exists a fundamental contradiction between what a firm says they are, and how they actually conduct themselves both internally and to the world- the vendors with whom they do business and the clients they represent- the firm will never reach its full potential. It will remain dysfunctional and it will risk joining that growing list of failed firms.

The financial collapse and deterioration of so many law firms in the past few years is a compelling testament to the importance of insisting on truth and integrity in the branding process.

In 2014, it is clear that business-as-usual in our profession is no longer a sustainable proposition. For this reason I am convinced that firms driven by fear and greed are firms destined to eventually self-destruct. That is because, no matter how much these firms try to brand, they will never be able to brand truthfully, and therefore they will never be able to compete against more progressive and enlightened firms- those that do not worship wealth and power, but rather cherish personal and professional fulfillment.

There is a choice for those who believe their firm is worth saving- reinvent yourself to reflect values that are truly worthy of cherishing, or risk devolving into something less than what you aspire to be and risk your firm’s heart and soul in the process.