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Court says expelled Sumter High students got due process (access required)

Parents who went all way to the state Supreme Court with claims of due process violations by a school district are heading back to circuit court after the justices ruled that their sons had gotten the necessary due process. Joseph and Cynthia Stinney challenged Sumter School District 17 when a high school expelled their two sons in 2003. They claimed the district violated their sons' due process rights but they never took their appeal of the expulsions as far as circuit court. Two years later, they sued the district in tort, including due process claims among their causes of action.

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Case unexpectedly brings together three members of the USC Law Class of 1977 (access required)

In 1974, Geoff Waggoner felt a tap on the shoulder while studying in the University of South Carolina's law library. The tall, redheaded, young law student turned around and saw a classmate standing before him. "You Waggoner?" the inquirer asked. "Yes," Waggoner replied, perplexed. That's when Jay Gouldon, now a Charleston attorney, introduced himself - not as a member of Waggoner's law school Class of 1977, but as a former teammate on the soccer field at Eaton Hall prep school in London 19 years earlier.

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Task force seeks out ways to grease dockets (access required)

Roster breakdowns, interruptions in trials and lack of uniformity in scheduling are among the problems a new Supreme Court task force will target as it looks for ways to improve docket management in the state's trial courts. Led by Justice Kaye G. Hearn, the task force, consisting of judges, clerks, court administrators and practitioners, will hold its first meeting Thursday, with Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal expected to charge the group with its mission. That mission will entail gathering data and recommendations on how to streamline docket management as the state Judicial Department struggles with decreasing budgets and growing caseloads, Justice Hearn told Lawyers Weekly.

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5 dean hopefuls visiting USC School of Law (access required)

Five lawyers seeking the top job at the University of South Carolina School of Law will be getting a who's who tour of the Palmetto State's legal community in coming weeks as the hunt for a new law dean moves into a new stage. Three candidates hail from outside the state. Two others have South Carolina connections. But all will be under scrutiny from a variety of legal professionals as well as law students, faculty, staff and members of the committee that's leading the search.

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Credit card payments, electronic deposits are legal ethics pitfall (access required)

The conveniences of technology abound for both lawyer and client, and lawyers like to make payment easy for clients. But those conveniences contain traps for both the wary and unwary, J. Cameron Halford told Lawyers Weekly. The state Supreme Court sanctioned the Fort Mill attorney last week over his handling of credit card payments and electronic deposits.

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Railroad beats fine for ugly bridge (access required)

The Midlands city of Cayce fined a freight carrier under a criminal ordinance for not painting a railroad bridge (pictured), but the company hadn't violated the ordinance because a federal law preempted it, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled. The law trumped the ordinance even though the two were not in direct conflict, the court said.

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Web-based technology setting next stage for trial preparation (access required)

Technology has revolutionized many parts of the legal industry, and trial presentation is no exception. Not long ago, hiring a trial presentation company was necessary for even the simplest needs due to high costs and the expertise required to operate software programs. Times have certainly changed. Now, myriad do-it-yourself solutions have hit the market, Microsoft PowerPoint is widely popular and hardware costs continue to shrink, all making it more feasible for law firms and corporate counsel to craft homespun solutions for their trial presentation needs.

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Retailoring the profession: S.C. Bar study on lawyer dissatisfaction garners national attention, approval (access required)

A 2009 study detailing Palmetto State lawyers' dissatisfaction with the legal profession is not only getting attention within the State Bar but is also drawing kudos nationwide. The study is becoming a model for other state bars that are doing their own assessments of their members' feelings about the legal profession, said Barbara George Barton, a Columbia lawyer who chairs the S.C. Bar's Professional Potential Task Force. And a nationally recognized expert on lawyer retention said she is touting the study as an unusually effective instrument for measuring the depth of lawyer dissatisfaction. "I can say that if I have my way it will have an impact around the country. I have already mentioned it in a blog," said Cynthia Calvert, senior advisor and co-founder of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Project for Attorney Retention.

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