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​ The good news is that the legal industry has hit a post-recession high, adding approximately 1,600 jobs in March. The year 2018 was reportedly the U.S. legal industry’s best for financial growth in the last 10 years. So what are the hot areas for legal job growth for 2019? Energy, cannabis, cybersecurity, and complex litigation, according to the RMN Agency’s January 2019 blog and Aebra Coe’s blog “ The 3 Hottest Practice Areas for 2019 .” Cybersecurity: This area continues to grow because it impacts just about every other industry and company. As the number of data breaches increases, so, too, will the need for legal professionals with data privacy ...
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Be True to Your Voice

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The recent attention to Elizabeth Holmes’s low-pitched voice brought to mind the voice lessons I received in my first year in private practice. Back then, the managing partner at my firm offered me the opportunity to participate in a weeklong voice program in New York City, followed by work with a speech pathologist, because, I presume, he wondered whether the pitch of my voice was negatively impacting my credibility with judges and clients who had not dealt with female lawyers. What I learned at this program was fascinating and fairly easy to apply, and it quickly made such a difference. It didn’t take long for my presentations in court and communications ...
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Right to Repair

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My mother-in-law’s refrigerator broke last week. It was only a year old and one week out of warranty, which meant the repair would run about half the cost of a new unit. At the last minute the manufacturer decided to extend her warranty and make the whole thing right. Of course if that hadn’t happened, her next step would have been a third-party repair shop. Imagine if doing that was just not an option. With some products and industries, it is nearly impossible or cost prohibitive to repair a product yourself or have it repaired by a third party. In this situation, the manufacturer has the consumer over a barrel and can inflate repair costs to the point where ...
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Chief Judge Kathleen M. Brickley Van Buren County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Brickley is the chief judge of the Van Buren County courts. She was appointed to the 36th Circuit Court bench in 2012 and elected that year to a six-year term, serving in the criminal division. From 1990 to 2012, Judge Brickley was in private practice in Kalamazoo. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, chair of the Van Buren Community Corrections Advisory Board, cochair of the Michigan Judges Association Criminal Committee, and a member of the Michigan Judicial Institute Academic Advisory Committee, the Michigan Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee and Policy ...
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Brevity in branding isn’t new. Examples of this are all around us—from KFC’s origins as Kentucky Fried Chicken to Dunkin’ Donuts’ recent trim down to just Dunkin’. And while the legal industry isn’t known for the speed with which it adopts trends in the marketplace, law firm name rebranding seems to be well upon us. A recent article on The American Lawyer website points out that we don’t really choose what we’re called. Mintz Levin was being called “Mintz” long before the firm made the formal shift and changed their logo. Here in Michigan, it likely wasn’t Honigman or Dykema that decided to refer to their firms by a single name. Instead, a law firm’s abbreviated ...
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Driving While High

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The Impaired Driving Safety Commission was established by 2016 PA 350 to research and recommend a threshold THC bodily content for per se impaired driving. In March 2019, the commission issued its report . The Commission reviewed the thresholds imposed by other states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana and examined the science of THC absorption and metabolism as well as the behavioral effects of cannabis. The report explained the difficulties of assessing measured blood THC levels and impairment given differences in cannabis ingestion methods and drug tolerance issues: The consequence of these results for setting per se limits is that ...
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The name is a portmanteau of iPod and broadcasting. Podcasts actually started in 2004 , but they are becoming more and more popular. According to the 2019 Infinite Dial , 70% of the U.S. population is familiar with the term podcast , and 51% have at least listened to a podcast. However, for those people who do not listen to podcasts , 37% do not understand what a podcast is, 48% are not sure how to listen to a podcast, 65% say there are so many podcasts, they don’t know where to start, and 80% think they do not have a podcast app on their phone. If you are one of those people who do not listen to podcasts, here are five things you should know: ...
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On January 23, 2019, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order giving notice that it is exploring “whether questions regarding mental health should be included on the personal affidavit that is part of the application for the Michigan Bar Examination, and if so, what form those questions should take.” Question 54a on Michigan’s bar exam application asks: Have you ever had, been treated or counseled for, or refused treatment or counseling for, a mental, emotional, or nervous condition which permanently, presently or chronically impairs or distorts your judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality or ability to cope with ordinary demands of life? If ...
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              Hon. Joseph J. Farah practiced law for 18 years before being appointed to the Genesee County Circuit Court in 1998. He was originally assigned to the Family Division, handling domestic and juvenile cases until 2005, and is currently assigned to the Civil/Criminal Division. Along with being a member of the judiciary, Judge Farah has taught a dozen law school classes concerning the law of evidence and has been a regular presenter to lawyers and judges concerning evidence and many other topics in and outside of Michigan. He is a former board member of the Michigan Judges Association, the Michigan ...
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Especially when it’s with a client. Most of us have had an occasion or two when we’ve either withdrawn from representing a client or just thought long and hard about doing so. If you are in the “thought about” camp, there may have been something holding you back: the notion of loyalty, explains Eric Cooperstein in Wash That Client Right Out of Your Hair . Cooperstein argues some of the “most important principles of lawyer ethics—confidentiality, avoidance of conflicts, holding funds in trust—are built on the idea of loyalty to the client.” Thus many lawyers believe in the notion that once you agree to represent a client, you do so until the very end. But ...
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The Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act, MCL 408.961 et seq. , added by 2018 PA 338 , amended by 2018 PA 369 , is set to go into effect this Friday, March 29, 2019. As of that date, the act requires that employers with 50 or more employees implement a compliant policy providing eligible employees with 40 hours of paid medical leave each benefit year. Even with the effective date fast approaching, there is still some question about the future of the act. The PMLA originated as a citizen-led ballot initiative, but it never got on the ballot. Instead, the Michigan Legislature adopted it and then made substantial pro-employer amendments. In February, ...
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Industrial hemp in the United States has been largely nonexistent for the last 90 years due to heavy taxation and outright prohibitions, based on hemp’s association with marijuana. Then, in the flurry of legislation passed at the end of 2018, the state legislature amended the Industrial Hemp Research Act ( MCL 286.841 et seq . ) to rename it the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act and also to allow for licenses to be issued for hemp production under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) ( MCL 333.27101 et seq . ). Although this was much less publicized than the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act ( MCL 333.27951 ...
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Aside from prison time, the Sex Offenders Registration Act ( SORA ) is one of the most significant consequences that can result from a criminal sexual conduct conviction. Beginning March 17, 2019, there is another serious consequence: that conviction could become evidence in a subsequent hearing or trial. Under amended MCL 768.27b ( see 2018 PA 372 ), other acts evidence of prior sexual assault will be admissible “for any purpose for which it is relevant.” Sexual assault in this context means any tier I, II, or III offense under SORA. MCL 768.27b(6)(c) (referencing MCL 28.722(j) ). Of course, evidence of prior sexual assaults could also ...
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If you enjoy long walks along the shores of the Great Lakes, you may have been following Gunderson v Indiana . The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear the Gundersons’ appeal, which asked the Court to decide where the public’s right to walk along the shoreline of the Great Lakes ends and where private property owners’ rights begin. The questions presented in the petition framed the issue as unique in the context of large “non-tidal lakes with extensive beaches,” distinct from oceans and rivers or small inland lakes. The case arose when lakefront property owners along Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline challenged an ordinance that defined ...
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​ Judge Julia B. Owdziej was appointed to the Washtenaw County Probate Court in 2014. She currently serves as Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division. She holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law. Judge Owdziej began her legal career as an Assistant Michigan Attorney General. She began serving the citizens of Washtenaw County in 1991 as an Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney. In 1999 she was appointed a Washtenaw County Trial Court Referee and later added the duties of Washtenaw County Juvenile Drug Court Referee and Deputy Probate Register. When is your ...
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​ Effective March 29, 2019, “trust directors” will replace “trust protectors” under EPIC, thanks to legislation drafted by James Spica. 2018 PA 663 imports the Uniform Directed Trust Act (with some changes) into EPIC at MCL 700.7703a. The purpose of the UDTA, according to Mark Harder, is “to bring some order and certainty to the law governing . . . trust protectors, trust advisors, or trust directors, . . . arrangements [with] the common feature of granting someone other than a trustee a power over some part of the administration of a trust.” MCL 700.7703a changes the scope of the trust protector’s (to become the trust director’s) duties to trust beneficiaries ...
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Yes, I’m Blushing

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Yes, I’m Blushing   Freckles and shyness. That combination pretty much guarantees blushing accompanies many of my communications. People often feel the need to tell me I’m blushing, sometimes to undermine my message, or maybe to alleviate my discomfort. Maybe my blushing is making them feel uncomfortable. Early in my career as a lawyer, I discovered it worked pretty well to say, “Yes, I blush all the time for any and all reasons, so please don’t let it bother you.” In 2012, I began to more truly understand and embrace my blushing self when I read an amazing book. I highly recommend Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking ...
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Jeff Bezos , the founder and CEO of Amazon, recently announced that he and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, are splitting. Bezos is currently the world’s richest person , with an estimated net worth of $136.2 billion. The announcement has raised many questions, including the possible division of assets and stocks. It was recently reported that the couple had neither a prenuptial agreement nor a postnuptial agreement. If the parties do not have some sort of agreement, the division of assets will likely be determined by a private mediator or by the court. The standards of property awards differ depending on the jurisdiction. The Bezoses will ...
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About four years ago, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and wrote about my takeaways here . Essentially, I concluded that while I don’t subscribe to some aspects of the KonMari method , I definitely think decluttering is incredibly cathartic. I suggested that “[a]n uncluttered physical space really can inspire a new outlook.” A few weeks ago, Marie Kondo popped back into my life, this time via her Netflix show, Tidying Up . My six-year-old took one look at her and was completely mesmerized, so we watched the show together. About halfway into the first episode—as the TV family dumped every single item of their clothing into one giant ...
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​ While you were looking in your closet to find that one spangled top, the legislature was passing, and making immediately effective, changes to the certificate of trust. Before the new legislation, there were two certificates under the law, a certificate of trust recorded in connection with an instrument that conveys, encumbers, or otherwise affects real property (pursuant to MCL 565.431, .434, and .435) and a certificate of trust authority and existence that could be provided to any person other than a trust beneficiary (under MCL 700.7913). The new legislation aligns these two certificates by repealing MCL 565.432, .433, and .436 and amending the requirements ...
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