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Commentary

“F” – as in felony – is the new Scarlet Letter (access required)

Is a convicted felon ever a proper person to hold a position within a profession or regulated industry? In one news report, it was questioned whether a convicted felon was a suitable person to transport human remains. More recently, the State Bar chose to continue the suspension of former Gov. Mike Easley rather than to apply the harsher penalty of revoking his law license. In each case, the party had previously pled guilty to one or more felonies.

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Commentary: Many lessons to learn from fantasy football (access required)

With 2011 now over, a lot of us are looking at our holdings and assessing what worked well and what didn’t. There were blue chips that did phenomenally well — way better than we expected — and boosted our profitability. But some of our holdings that had breakout years in 2010 pretty much crashed in 2011. Now it’s time to re-group, roll up our sleeves and make changes where necessary for 2012.

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If laws go online-only, costly problems are sure to follow (access required)

The American Bar Association in February will be asked to endorse a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission to address a trend, still in its infancy, of shuttering public printers and posting laws only online. But shifting an entire system of laws to online-only postings puts our legal system at risk.

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Commentary: Commercial real estate finance market will be solid in 2012 (access required)

Significant challenges hit the commercial real estate finance market in the last two years, but 2011 saw significant recovery and progress over the previous year. Mortgage bankers are optimistic that 2012 will be another solid year. For most commercial mortgage originators, 2011 was a dramatically better year than 2010. For instance, most companies in Strategic Alliance Mortgage, a national network of independently-owned mortgage banking firms, reported production increases of more than 50 percent year-over-year. Norris, Beggs & Simpson Financial Services saw production rise more than 75 percent. While 2012 may not be a record year, it is expected to bring moderate growth.

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To see what really matters in people, develop double vision (access required)

If you had to identify some of life’s greatest gifts, other than your faith, what would they be? Two different stories, with two different people, and two very different circumstances, give us a big clue. One of the organizations in our area which deals with the aging population does so with kindness and special insight. It deals with seniors suffering through the ravages of dementia in all of its forms. But it sees past the loss of a mind that once was to what remains in the core of us all. It’s a sort of double vision which sees the character of every life.

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Roll the tape (or not): A review of recent decisions regarding DUI videotaping (access required)

Since 2009, when South Carolina revised its DUI statute to require video recordings of traffic stops and breath tests, the courts have been required to address various wrinkles in the law. With the season of revelry upon us, it’s worth taking a look at some of those decisions. In Murphy v. State (Opinion No: 4816, S.C. Court of Appeals), the Court of Appeals addressed the Circuit Court’s decision not to suppress the videotape of the defendant‘s traffic stop.

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Top 10 ways to increase law firm revenue (access required)

Top 10 lists have long been a journalistic staple, but their ongoing role on David Letterman’s television show has made their use almost a cliché. Even so, a concise ranking can combine the value of focus with brevity. And there is nothing on which any business, including a law firm, should be more focused than increasing revenues. Business revenues will not increase without a plan to identify the desired outcome and define what is necessary to achieve it. A law firm that does not plan to increase its revenues will wind up with a practice reflecting whatever walks in the door, which is not the best path to revenue growth. Taking any or all of these top 10 steps offers far greater likelihood of success.

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It’s not how you start, but how you finish (access required)

His career started out poorly, to put it mildly. He studied law in upstate New York, at a law school no one I know ever heard of. He worked a few years at a small law firm in Albany, N.Y., and when that did not go particularly well, he moved to a small town in Wisconsin to practice. He practiced there for two years when his office building, containing his entire practice, burned down. He moved to California to work in a retail store with some of his brothers, but returned to Albany when that did not work out. He went back to California a couple of years after that.

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Are you the lawyer you wanted to be wanted to be? (access required)

There was a quote I read on a friend’s loft in college that asked, “Are you the man the boy wanted to be?” This always struck me as an interesting thought, although I’m not sure I grasped its full meaning as a twenty-something know-nothing. But from time to time things in my legal career cause me to pause and to reflect on this question and ask myself whether I am, in fact, the lawyer the first-year law student wanted to be.

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Ten ways to guarantee your press release is toast (access required)

Press releases or news releases are a standard way for a law firm, business or nonprofit organization to announce news and events to media outlets. It’s a two-way relationship that is valuable for both sides. The group with news or information wants to get its message out. The media outlet wants to know what is happening and is always looking for good stories. A good release takes a page from a Journalism 101 textbook and, in the opening paragraph, delivers Who, What, Where and When. It helps to work in Why and How, if possible.

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