NALP Exchange

Discussion of the Law

Month: May 2013

The Law and E Cigarettes

For the last decade or so (depending on which country/state you live in) smokers have been on the losing side in the legal battle which dictates where they have a right to light up. It’s not difficult to see why society has decided to curtain the freedom of those who enjoy the smoking of tobacco leaves, the fumes given off as they partake in their habit is as lethal to those around as it is to themselves. Regular citizens should have the right to go about their lives without endangering their health and that of their children. Unfortunately though the same people who went after tobacco are now gunning for those who have made the sensible switch to the pastime known as vaping.

Vaping is the act of using a personal vaporizer product which delivers nicotine to the user without burning any leaves, which massively reduces the number of chemicals inhaled into the bloodstream. Vapors, as they are known, relish the fact that they can continue their nicotine habit without the health dangers associated with the cigarettes they once used. They also boast about the fact they are now able to enjoy their habit in public places where smoking has been banned, and without causing harm to those around them.

With vaping being seen as generally safe why has it become a target for anti-smoking groups and government agencies? According to Ric from honestecigarettereviews.com “it’s becuase cigarettes have not been designed as a stop smoking product in the way patches, gums and inhalers have. They are viewed by users as a replacement for tobacco which can be used over the long term. The fact that they are a harm reduction product is bizarrely ignored in the crusade to ban anything which might be seem to encourage nicotine addiction.”

Hopefully with time the eyes of the law will realize the mistake it is making in trying to regulate electronic smoking devices as a drug product which needs to be controlled or banned altogether. The health of hundreds of millions of people depends on them making the right decision.

The Internet, The Law and a Tragedy

In January this year, internet expert Aaron Swartz and political activist committed suicide. With the aid of the rope, he gave up.

The CFAA was passed in 1986 to penalize the new offense of computer hacking. Usage of computer networks was uncommon then. Now it’s omnipresent. And Congress has enlarged the law several times, making its punishments more acute and its reach broader. The action has eventually become a sprawling mess – – a cryptic and powerful weapon that could possibly reach millions of average Americans.

And prosecutors have interpreted it amazingly broadly. In-one case, a woman was prosecuted by the government for breaking the conditions of service of a website. In another, now on appeal, the government brought charges for seeing a company site to gather information the company had released on the internet but had not meant to be broadly seen.

The difficulty results from the law’s obscure language: When accessibility is unauthorized but nearly 30 years after its passing, no one yet knows.

Some courts say (accurately, we believe) that accessibility is unauthorized only when a man bypasses a technological constraint a password gate But a broader view is taken by other courts, finding accessibility unauthorized whenever a person violates the terms of service on a site or even just uses the pc in a sense the owner would not enjoy.

The difference is enormous. Under the reading, the law only forbids breaking into a pc – – the kind of thing that not many people do. But under the broader strategy, the law criminalizes the behaviour of millions.

Conditions of service on sites normally say, for example, that users must enter just true information.

The law cries out for a reworking. After Swartz’s departure, a cross partisan coalition in Congress, headed by Democrat Zoe Lofgren and Republican Darrell Issa, did just that, suggesting a regulation that would stop liability for terms of-service violations and would restrict felony liability for violations. But amazingly, some in Congress are heading the other way. Last month, a draft that was circulated by the House Judiciary Committee, ignoring common-sense reworking, of proposed modifications to the law that would actually raise its penalties, not decrease them – – making the law more punitive than before and even broader.

Some indicate that the Judiciary Committee’s proposed changes would dampen the CFAA by limiting liability for breaking terms of support to a few particular circumstances. To the contrary, the bill is composed in such vague provisions that the proposed changes demand virtually no limits whatsoever. One of the “particular scenarios,” for instance, makes it a felony if a man violates terms of support to get information which is “sensitive.” But sensitive in what manner, and to whom? The language does not say, and you will bet that prosecutors will see information as sensitive whenever they need to create a prosecution.

Defenders of the mass criminalization tell us not-to stress. They say, even though the regulation is over – comprehensive, prosecutors will probably be attentive. But as recent prosecutions illustrate, trust has not worked. It’s time to reduce this enormous over-regulation by narrowing the reach of-the legislation.

This should not become a partisan problem. Because all of contemporary life is mediated by computers, but we are united on this problem. A lot people spend the majority of our day online.  It is hardly surprising that many people now routinely use a Fake IP address – a simple procedure nowadays –


This video is from Youtube – the page is here.

Punishments for malicious hacking should be powerful and speedy. But just as terrible things can occur on-line, so also can good stuff. The law shouldn’t confuse the two by labeling innocent actions a felony. Congress should reject attempts to expand the CFAA, and work instead to concentrate the law in ways similar or even identical to the ones such as the laws proposed by Representatives Lofgren and Issa. Violating terms of support should not be considered a crime. Minor intrusions ought to be treated as minor offenses. The aim should be to punish bad while leaving the rest of us only.

Further Information here:

Projecting Invesment Growth

As law students move into practice, their wealth is bound to grow significantly.  Young law professionals can utilize tools such as the InterestBot to see how their wealth can grow over time.

Using an interest calculator is something that you should do before deciding to put your money into any savings account. There are many people that are sucked in by the fact that their money is safe, this leads them to simply settle for anything and get very little interest in return. The best way for you to avoid this would be to use caution when it comes to your money. Always use a calculator, this would allow you to determine the value that is attached to what you are doing with your money. Once you are able to decide what you would like to do, it would be a lot easier to position yourself in a positive way financially. The key is not to settle for something with a very low interest rate.

Instead, you can use an interest calculator that would work much better for helping you to save more money. If you have been thinking about saving for your children in order to help them pay for a college education, you will need to find the highest interest rate possible. It would be a great idea because you do not have to worry about the loss of your investment. However, it is also important that you are allowing your money to go to work today to help you accomplish the things that you would like to in the future. This is the best way to do something for your family that will pay off big for many years to come.

Law Students Should Review Their Student Loan Payments

A new payment calculator has recently been launched and current or recently-graduated law students should use it to understand their student loan debt.

Payment calculator at paymentbot.org can be considered as a very easy measure through which the payments for a loan or account balance after deposit term can be calculated. If you are providing the capital and the rate of interest, then the calculator calculates the total amount after a particular amount of time.

The calculation method at paymentbot.org varies for simple interest as well as compound interest. In a simple interest the final value is calculated for a particular time period and if the rate varies, the interest is calculated for the same capital amount. For compound interest, the interest is added to the capital and for the next term, this accumulated amount is considered to calculate the interest.

The paymentBot calculator at paymentbot.org takes the following values as inputs. The capital, interest rate in decimal format, number of instances compounding is done in a year and the time given in years. The first step in calculation is dividing the interest rate by the number of terms or the number of times the interest is compounded that is if the interests is compounded quarterly then divide the interest rate by four.
 

Next thing is to add the quotient by 1. The result of the addition is then raised to the number of times the interest is compounded throughout the term of the loan. The number of compounds is calculated by multiplying the number of years and the compounds in a year. The result of the exponential calculation is then multiplied by the capital amount. The product of the multiplication is the final value which is the interest to be paid.
This is a very simple way of calculation, as a user you only need to give the input and get the final value. You can make the payments periodically after getting the final amount that you need to pay at the completion of the term through the payment calculator at paymentbot.org.

Learning Law

I travelled out to the USA to study law from Scotland and I have to say I absolutely love it here. from the sports to the cities I think it is great and the colleges are fantastic.

I did get a bit homesick but I got some Irn Bru and Scottish iPhone cases sent out to me so I feel a bit better, in fact some of my friends are coming out for a visit in a few weeks so it will be great to show them all these amazing places.

I feel like I am learning so much as well and have a part time job/apprentice ship in a small law firm close by so I am gaining some practical knowledge and getting some experience so when it comes time for me to start applying for jobs I will have a head start. The partners that own the firm are great guys to and have taken me out to the baseball a few times. I just wish we could be so into our sports over in the UK as it breeds a great atitiude among the people I have met over here in the states, competetive but fair and people always give 100%.

 

The Law of Terror

It has been an interesting few days for legal matters here in the United States hasn’t it?

First, President Obama has said explicitly that he still wants to close Guantanamo Bay. If you remember his original campaign almost 8 years ago, he talked about the need to improve our image in the world and to live up to the highest standards of the United States, which in part means closing Gitmo.  Part of the ongoing issue there is that the prisioners are currently staging a hunger strike which is causing Americans to force feed them, which in itself is considered a form of torture by most governments around the world.

Secondly, three additional people involved with the attack on the Boston marathon have been brought into custody for destroying evidence. I have a hard time believing that any college student who was not involved in any way, would destroy a suspects laptop don’t you?  What is there to gain by that action?  I would have never done that as a student for one of my roomate’s.

Lawyers Are Also Entrepreneurs!

If you are a lawyer, then one of your life goals may be to set up your own law firm.  In order to succeed at this, you need to not only have skills as a lawyer, but also as an entrepreneur.  As with any business proposal, you need to think about it in a logical way and follow some steps to ensure you cover all bases and don’t hang yourself out to dry.  Here is some basic information to get your wheels moving in the right direction.

 

The first step, of course is to have a plan of what you want to achieve.  In all forms of business, it is important that you have a sound business plan in order to convince potential investors that they will not lose if they decide to put money into your new company.  This master plan also allows you to understand your own ideas down to the smallest detail and helps you clarify what you are really trying to achieve and what the potential outlay will be if you do not succeed in your new venture.

One huge thing to think about is your business premises.  Whilst you may logically think it would be easier and cheaper to work from home, you have to think about your clients expectations and how they view your credibility.  Would it not seem strange for someone to be paying a lot of money for a solicitor yet that professional does not have their own premises?  Would this seem that you are unprofessional?  In my mind, it would, so I would definitely be looking at office premises as a must have in my new business.  

 

It is important to remember however, the added cost and stress that having an office brings.  If you have ever moved house, you will be well aware of what a stressful experience that can be.  Obviously, there is a huge financial burden to think about when signing a long term lease, but fit out costs can also be very expensive and management of this whole part of getting your business off the ground can need an entirely different skill set to what you are used to as a lawyer or solicitor.  At this stage, it is important to link up with someone who knows exactly what they are doing so you don’t make any silly mistakes that could potentially cost you a lot of money.

 

Owning a business also means that you must have professional indemnity insurance which can be a significant cost if you do not hunt around for a good deal.  Starting a new company as a solicitor in the UK also means you must register with the SRA – The Solicitors Regulation Authority.  These are not the only two things you need to worry about.  It is really important that you seek advice from someone who can explain all the ins and outs or starting up your new firm as very recently, some solicitors were getting fined as they had breached the Data Protection Act because they had not notified the Information Commissioners Office.  Unfortunately, there are many similar pitfalls that can swallow you up when starting a new business and they change on a regular basis.  Something like this really does require expert advice from someone who has a constant finger on the pulse, otherwise you are bound to miss something and big fines will be imposed.

 

Many people also worry about how they are going to go about getting clients.  The obvious answer is referral work but that can often not be enough.  You should have a strategy in place to gain clients on a month to month basis.  One hugely untapped area is the online world.  With more and more people gaining access to the internet every year, other forms of advertising are starting to have less and less impact.  General publications get your name out but your audience is not particularly targeted.  However, with internet search engines, you can receive properly targeted prospective clients. 

 

There is generally two ways to get new business off the internet via search engines.  You can, and should pay for adverts that show up next to the search engine results when a person types in a search term.  You can laser target what terms you want to show up for and get some great leads from this method.  Alternatively, you may wish to set up your own website so that your prospective clients can find you but that means you will have to get involved, or pay for, search engine optimisation and try to get listings in a local business directory.  That is way beyond the scope of this article but is definitely a great way to find new customers for your fledgling business.

 

As you can see, starting your own law firm will require many skills, as well as your knowledge of the law, in order for it to be successful.  Calling on other professions is all part of this process and trying to take on the micro management of all these elements is likely to lead to an extremely stressful start or maybe failure.  Good luck!

 

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