DUI and Military Law

You might think that getting a DUI is the same for all American citizens, however there is one group that will face a much different procedure than the majority of the country. When you are in the military, you are governed by a much more stringent set of rules than the rest of the population. While you are in the military if you experience any type of legal issue, especially a DUI you will want a military attorney to defend you.

Military Law
The one thing you must understand about military law is that it does not have to conform to the constraints or state laws. In other words just because you are not over the legal limit for your state law does not mean you, as a military member, will not be charged with a DUI under military law. The US constitution made provision that all military personnel are ruled by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This is why you need a military lawyer if you ever get into any type of legal trouble as a member of the armed services.

Not only can the definition of a DUI be different from civilian law to military law, the consequences are quite different as well. In addition to a jail sentence and fines, you could be facing loss of rank, pay grade, security clearance or even a dishonorable discharge. While a DUI in regular life is not any fun it generally will not interfere with your job or career path, this is simply not the case in military justice. Remember there is no maximum sentencing so the judge can impose a lengthy jail sentence. As you can see the consequences can be quite severe and a military lawyer is a must have.

Men and women who protect this country are subject to civilian law but they must also adhere to military justice as well. What might be looked at, as a minor infraction in the civilian courts can be a serious incident when you are governed by UCMJ. You might try to defend yourself in the regular court system, but if you are facing a military trial make sure you have a military lawyer!

Weird Laws in the World – 2

Weird Laws are dumb laws or crazy laws. These laws are not only stupid and impractical but also very irritating and illogical. Such laws can be seen in all parts of the world especially US.

Such weird laws make people laugh. For Example, in Alabama, you can find many such crazy laws such as; it is illegal to play dominoes on Sundays. It is illegal to wear fake mustaches in churches that make people laugh. Apart from these, there are other such weird laws in Alabama such as putting salt on a railroad track may be punishable by death, men may not spit in front of the opposite sex, masks may not be worn in public, solitaire may not be played on Sundays, bear wrestling matches are banned etc.

In Alaska also, you can find such laws. For example, huskies are not allowed in school buildings; no child can build a snowman taller than himself on school property; in Fairbanks, it is illegal to feed alcoholic beverages to Moose.

Certain laws of Arizona are not only weird but ridiculous also. In Arizona, Women cannot wear pants in Tucson and it is illegal to drive a car in Glendale. Also, it is unlawful to refuse a person, a glass of water. In Arkansas, men are allowed to beat their wives once a month, doesn’t it sound odd? Here, even dogs are not allowed to bark after 6 pm. So, better muzzle up your doggie’s mouth.

In California, women are not allowed to drive while wearing a housecoat and in Pacific Grove, ‘molesting’ butterflies can result in a $500 fine. Other dumb laws in California are: it is illegal to eat an orange in bath tub, it is illegal to prevent children from playfully jumping over puddles of water and it is illegal to have bath houses. Thank God! They have not made bathing illegal.

Colorado too is notorious for its weird laws. In the city of Denver, it is illegal to mistreat rats and is against the law to loan your next door neighbor your vacuum cleaner. In Logan County, it is illegal for a man to kiss a woman while she is asleep. In Pueblo, it is illegal to let a dandelion grow with in the city limits. In Sterling, Colorado, even a cat is not spared since the law will demand your pet to have a tail light.

In Connecticut, it is illegal to dispose of used razorblades. Any one caught biking over 65 mph will be ticketed here. Other crazy laws of Connecticut include: in Devon, it is against the law to walk backwards after sunset, in Hartford, it is illegal to educate a dog and a man cannot kiss his wife on Sundays.

In Delaware, “R” rated movies cannot be shown in drive in theaters. In Rehoboth, one cannot whisper in church and changing into or out a swimsuit in a public rest room is prohibited. On Fenwich Island, it is illegal to lie down on a beach at night. In Lewes, it is illegal to wear pants that are form fitting around the waist.

The Different Law Enforcers At Work To Keep Our Streets Safe

When it comes to keeping the streets of America and its residents safe, law enforcement forms one of the three major components of the criminal justice system, the other two being the courts and corrections. Although there is an element of collaboration associated with the criminal justice system in the US, each component has an individual purpose and works independently from the rest.

The purpose of having law enforcers on our streets is largely to keep the public safe, but these teams of people also work to maintain order and service functions and also investigate suspected criminal activity. The law enforcement agencies at work in the US also provide the first response to emergencies and the protection of certain public facilities.

In America there are various types of police at work. There are numerous types of agency operating at different levels and as each state has their own rules and regulations which are unique to it when it comes to policing agencies, it can get very confusing. The powers, responsibilities and funding for each policing agency will vary from state to state; therefore it is important to understand the difference between the law enforcers at work.

A federal police officer will have full federal authority given to them under United States Code. These officers have the authorization to enforce various laws which not only operate on a federal level but they also have the authority to enforce state, county and local laws. A federal police officer is considered to operate at the highest level of the law and possess nationwide jurisdiction for the enforcement of federal law.

Because of the way that the US is organized into states with individual jurisdiction for each state, it is hard for the federal government to exercise general police powers to all members of the police force. Each sovereign state retains their police, military and domestic law-making powers which can make things complicated.

Most states in America have government agencies which are responsible for providing law enforcement duties. These can be known as the State Police, State Patrol or the Highway Patrol. In most cases these agencies are part of the state Department of Public Safety. The Highway Patrol is a police unit that has been created for the purpose of enforcing traffic safety compliance on the country’s roads and highways. The duties of highway patrols or traffic police can include a whole range of things. They are responsible for investigating accidents and determining the cause, enforcing traffic laws, teaching the public how to drive safely, emergency response, maintenance of the roads and also traffic enforcement to make sure that all the relevant traffic regulations are met, for example speed limits.

County police is also an important part of law enforcement in the United States. Within parishes and boroughs, law enforcement is the responsibility of sheriff’s departments and county police. In general, county police are only in use in metropolitan countries, if need be there will also be a sheriff’s department on hand to deal with minor issues such as service papers. However, in other areas there is no county police and the local sheriff takes on the responsibility of sole law enforcer. In this case, the sheriff will act both as sheriff and county police; this is the most common approach.

The sheriff’s job is similar to that of a police chief and in some areas; the sheriff can be the highest ranking law enforcement officer. A sheriff is not required to patrol or handle street crime as this is the job of the city police. A sheriff’s duties include making arrests, warrants, conducting criminal investigations and maintaining the county jail. A sheriff is also responsible for providing court security, for example he will be required to serve summonses and divorce papers, as well as collect overdue taxes.

Why I Like The Term Counselor At Law

The term counselor-at-law is more in keeping with high goals and ambitions than the term lawyer. Counselor elicits an image of one who has deep knowledge–who dutifully informs and offers insight into critical matters of the mind and heart. A counselor is a person who guides others–a confidant and a pathfinder, and law firms would be wise to find ways to show their clients that they are counselors as well as lawyers.

Creating a change in image does not mean rejecting traditions that have contributed to a firm’s past success. We must be careful not to toss out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. We should not take for granted the hard-won wisdom of the old traditions. The process of reinventing tradition need not always be at the expense of the past.

Progress is being made in the legal profession. Today, the art of mediation is being taught to lawyers in record numbers. Lawyers are seeing the value of keeping clients out of court and even experimenting with new methods of managing conflict resolution–sometimes on their own, but usually with the help of trained mediators.

Although the practice is still rare, lawyers are increasingly taking it upon themselves to meet with opposing counsel and discuss pathways to resolution for their respective clients.

Lawyers are beginning to see themselves as expert negotiators–as facilitators who are skilled at managing conflict proactively and helping parties to achieve mutual gain. This type of “counselor-to-counselor” mediation may be the beginning of a new -tradition–one in which using the term counselor-at-law seems more appropriate.

“Counselors” are still advocates who must vigorously serve their clients’ will in an adversarial forum. Yet we must remember that in days gone by, the court was considered a forum of truly last resort. Going to court often represented the failure of parties to resolve a dispute between themselves. The prospect of having strangers sit in judgment of one’s personal affairs was considered embarrassing. It meant that the parties were not able to handle their affairs responsibly on their own but needed outside help.

Although some lawyers are turning to negotiation rather than lawsuits, legal education has not kept pace with the profound need to teach client communication skills to law students. Many law schools do not offer courses in management and leadership, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution or, in a more general context, how to serve clients well. Less than 3 percent of the law schools in this country offer even a single course on client communication skills, negotiation or even alternative dispute -resolution.

Blind Advocacy

Law schools still believe that their role is to prepare students to become warriors; rarely are students taught that they may also be agents of resolution. To legal educators, the term advocate has traditionally been defined within the singular context of litigation. Lawyers, however, can also be advocates when they work toward resolution and finding ways to better serve their clients.

It is no surprise that law school graduates go on to become paper soldiers in a world filled with adversaries. The plaintiff is adverse to the defendant; the defendant is adverse to the plaintiff. Students are even taught how to protect themselves against their own clients. We lawyers measure ourselves by the number of wins we post, not by how skillfully we serve our clients’ interests.

Lawyers are steeped in their adversarial domain, and this tradition is hard to change. Too often we see our roles as extensions of our clients’ anger and frustration. We are like professional gladiators, wielding sword and shield, blazing a path to justice at almost any cost–even if we end up adding fuel to the fire and assuming greater levels of risk for our clients.

For new law-school graduates, the adversarial system must seem like a giant game station with its own set of rules–checks and balances. Each side is given equal access and the opportunity to use whatever traps and tricks they wish, with the assumption that in the end, justice will prevail. Students begin to think of themselves as hired guns–paid to win, but not necessarily paid to serve.

Today, trial advocacy is probably the single most popular elective taken in law school. Schools send their best and brightest students to compete nationally in the art of trial advocacy. Yet there is no national competition for serving clients well or negotiating and resolving difficult conflicts. At this time we can only imagine a competition where students win points for formulating creative strategies in negotiating a settlement or for demonstrating calm and reason at the negotiation table.

There’s no doubt that going to battle releases more adrenaline than providing service. But does teaching our law-school students only one way of problem solving really provide them with a complete view of their future roles as lawyers and counselors?

Negotiating a case to settlement is not always the answer–there are legitimate reasons to settle matters in a courtroom rather than a mediator’s office. Nonjudicial resolution may be impossible when the parties rightfully and legitimately want to have their day in court. Under these circumstances, what is the lawyer’s role in the context of being a service-driven counselor?

The lawyer, as counselor, helps clients to identify and clarify priorities and to distinguish anger from reason. The lawyer makes sure that a client’s decision to fight comes from a clear head and, if possible, that it is an unambiguous choice. In this counseling role, the lawyer helps a client to make a considered, thoughtful decision, born of free will, after all of the options have been explored and after all the costs and risks have been examined. Finally, when it is time for trial, the advocate skillfully and masterfully gives voice to and goes to battle for the client’s cause.

How to Achieve a Good Lawyer-Client Relationship

In courting clients, a good rainmaker discovers the nature of a potential client’s business and the specific challenges the person faces. When appropriate, the lawyer also learns as much as possible about the client personally.

This high level of commitment is the essence of being a fiduciary, and it does not end when the prospect becomes a client. Instead, taking on a new client must mark the beginning of a committed and conscious effort to serve.

For most lawyers, learning how to serve requires specific skill development and training. It requires learning the arts of listening and asking questions. These are the most undervalued and overlooked skills in the legal profession today. Law firms usually balk at investing in the education and professional development of their associates, and mentoring is often limited to developing legal skills, but developing communication and character skills should be at least equally as important.

Learning how to serve clients, especially for young associates, should not be a hit-and-miss process. Firms must take an active and determined stand regarding developing and sustaining a high level of communication skills throughout the firm. Promoting these skills should be as important as developing an associate’s writing skills.

What Does It Mean for Clients to Count on Their Lawyers?

Action that arises from character is authentic and, therefore, predictable. Clients should find that their lawyers can be counted on under almost any circumstances. Lawyers who can be counted on to be responsible, attentive, caring, sensible, honest, hardworking and trustworthy will attract new clients and keep existing ones.

Developing a law firm driven by such inspired values will create growth and prosperity. These values cannot be imposed from the outside and cannot simply be words in the firm’s brochure–they must originate at the core of the firm and grow outward. This is the essence of great marketing.

Justifying our hourly rates should have more to do with the service we deliver than the prevailing rate of the marketplace. The value of an extraordinary counselor–a trusted friend–is greater than one can imagine, and clients expect to pay more for such service. This is why, in the long run, no investment will bear greater returns than the investment firms make in marketing programs that reach into the essence of a firm and build service development systems that clients want and value.

It’s not too late. Signs of new traditions and new ways of looking at service-driven marketing are already upon us from places you might not expect. I speak of leading firms, giants in their own ways of doing business that are ever intent on reaching new levels of service for their clients.

Swinging Out: Keeping Our Eyes on the Ball

It’s said that those who dream most, do most. Dreams resides in our imagination and come to life in the choices and actions we take. The extent to which our dreams are realized depends on our willingness to consider new approaches and employ new ideas. Marketing, when done well, draws upon both.

The law firm of Heller Ehrman not only understands this concept, but has also applied it with great success. It has chosen to lead, and its own branding makes clear that it is a different type of firm. The ad copy below comes from a full-page advertisement about the firm. Listen for the inherent truth in their words:

“Perhaps a law firm need not exist inside the legal-sized parameters of tradition. Maybe it lies outside of convention. Maybe it crosses lines of formality. Maybe it recognizes a need to overstep the expected. And quite possibly, it realizes that inspired acts of tenacity and imagination are the only way boundaries get pushed.”

Consider that just five years ago, maybe less, a nationally recognized law firm would never have dared to print such statements. Today, however, these words are part of what defines this firm.

Daring to swing out–to take a chance by doing things differently–takes both courage and faith in a profession where convention rules: courage to face the consequences of our choices, and faith that whatever life throws at us will only strengthen our resolve. In this sense, faith and courage are inextricably tied together.

It takes great courage to keep seeing. The problem with looking away is that it requires that we take our eye off the ball–if only for a moment. We would rather not face the personal disappointment of knowing that we settled for less in our professional lives–that we could have gone much further had we dared to really swing out–had we had the courage to look inside and ask what it was that we really wanted and what it would take to get it.

Marketing ourselves is much more than promotion. It involves a search for professional identity. It must necessarily include, for each of us, an inquiry into our personal identity and then into the collective identity of the firm.

A concept such as finding our personal and collective identities may not be what you’d expect from an article on law firm marketing–but it goes to the essence of how we really attract and keep new clients. Changing the way you market your firm will require a willingness to change your perceptions, leave the comfort of your domain and dare to imagine how things might be. Your new vision will be the catalyst for your success. It will align your firm with its highest values and distinguish it from other firms.

This strategy goes far beyond the conventional approach to marketing. It is based on strength of character, and the marketing that emerges from character will continually generate powerful opportunities for your firm. If you dare to consider what it might mean to find your unique voice as a professional and your own special brand of service, you will be infinitely rewarded. Who would think that law firm marketing could lead to such extraordinary insight.

Is Lady Justice’s Blindfold Truly Hiding Dollar Signs for Eyes?

Is Lady Justice’s Blindfold Truly Hiding Dollar Signs for Eyes?

FACT: During 2002, 36 million Americans were hospitalized; simultaneously, 93 million court filings were made.

ASSESSMENT: YOU are almost three times more likely to need legal assistance than you are to need medical/hospital assistance. Yet, more than likely, you have medical insurance,but you do not have “legal insurance.”

It’s a sad fact that only 10% of the population (the rich) is able to afford legal representation and another 10% of the population (the poor) is able to access legal services via the legal aid system. The remaining 80% of the population (Middle America-you and I) must pay for legal representation. Still, how many Middle Americans do you know that can afford the typical attorney fee: $110-$200 per hour?

At last, the day has come when affordable legal services are available to all North Americans. Tom, a close friend of mine, recently found this to be true. Here’s his story.

Tom called me today to inform me that his employer of the last six years has terminated him. It was clear to me that he was very exasperated from the experience and I knew that after the listening I’d be doing, I’d be compelled to provide him some guidance – should he ask for it.

And what would be my authority for being in a position to provide him guidance? My own experience, of course.

Just a while back, my employer of close to five years had terminated me in what was clearly a very hostile manner.

The termination came as a complete surprise. During my employment, I had achieved three position promotions (and, of course, the perquisites that accompanies upper management promotions). Furthermore, I had always received increasingly superior performance appraisals and, moreover, I had introduced several innovations to systems and service delivery that enhanced the company’s strategic position in its marketplace. No big deal. I did what I was hired to do and a lot more, that’s all.

The company experienced rapid growth as a result of my and a few other top notch directors, yet the primary benefits of this growth were only fully realized (in terms of the greatest compensation) by upper echelon management in ‘corporateville.’

Clearly, there wasn’t equal disbursement of bonuses based on contribution or performance. They were a greedy group.

Nonetheless, we persevered, day-to-day, to get the job done.

The company’s greed was further evidenced by its restructuring model. Upper management, known for never practicing inclusion when major decisions regarding direction were being considered, and relying on the input of the ignorant that held the position of friends instead of relying on the expertise of the few qualified professionals present, decided to cut back on the company’s number of entry level positions (a position title that was crucial to day-to-day operations), while increasing the salaries of three barely competent individuals who, combined, just a few months prior, were instrumental in ushering in a moratorium on referrals from the industries contracting organization. This moratorium cost the
company plenty.

The new management team decided to convert the operation from a distinct three shift model (8a-4p|4p-12p|12p-8a) (which was required for the 24/7 operations), to a “centralized” model that still incorporated the three distinct shifts, but just utilized the people in an altogether different manner. To be more specific, they took staff from the third shift and placed them on the second shift. First shift staff was mandated to work third shift. The new management team had no concern for the lifestyles of the staff. This was a completely disrupting strategy.

Needless to say . . .

Staff was resigning in droves. Those staff that didn’t wholeheartedly welcome this change and get on board with it were terminated. Staff at all levels were leaving. The company was operating on a very limited personnel roster. The new management team’s response was to increase mandatory overtime hours, this caused an even greater loss of staff.

My role in this change was one of conciliation. While I was in total disagreement with the spirit in which the changes were effectuated, I could completely understand the corporate mindset. The company was afraid. It was afraid that it would lose out completely in terms of continuing to be a viable provider of services in its industry if drastic changes were not quickly made.

Well, one of the new managers saw that my positional, referent, and expert power was increasing, and he felt that this would be a detriment to his solely positional power base. How ridiculous! Since I had always used every advantage I had for the furtherance of the company’s mission.

Certain signs at this point were directing me to begin reconsidering my continuing with this company. Since the new upper management fellow was closely aligned with the corporate team and his word held great sway over them, I began to get that “gut” feeling that despite my many contributions to the company, I was making this individual feel uneasy.

Granted, upper-level managers had been let go before and will continue to be let go in the future, for whatever reasons.

However, historically, all mid- and upper-level directors were let go with a six-month severance package. I state that here to prepare the reader for the next salient element of my story – the element that ties everything together.

Months passed. Many changes were implemented. I rallied behind each change, seeking to find the benefit of each seemingly dreadful decision set forth by the new management team. In retrospect, I now see that many of these changes (e.g. changing my hours from 9a-5p to 2a-10a; changing my days off from Sat. and Sun. to Fri. and Sat; changing the mid-level managers that reported to me, men that I had trained and developed, and had built a very strong working relationship with to transferring the companies newest and least productive mid-level managers to my team, etc.) were set forth in an attempt to get me to resign. Boy, did they wrongly evaluate me. Hadn’t time taught them that when the going got tough, I got going even stronger? Obviously not.

In any event, after seeing that I would not be shaken no matter what they threw at me, they upgraded their tactics to the next level.

One Friday afternoon, I was called to the Human Resources Department offices. Clearly, what was about to take place was quite obvious. I had never been summoned to the HRD offices. I had in the course of my employment, summoned many individuals to the HRD offices, only for the purpose of termination. Note: All of the terminations I conducted were due to documented violations of company policy and procedure (the paper trail was existent).

When I arrived at the HRD offices and entered the boardroom, I saw that all the upper-level new management team members were present. As soon as I sat down, my immediate supervisor stated, “We called this meeting to inform you that you are being terminated.” I replied, “Can you tell me why I’m being terminated?” There was a brief silence in the room which was broken by my immediate supervisor’s supervisor stating, “No reason, you just don’t work here any more.” Not being one to quibble over such issues, I moved the conversation to the next logical point – my severance package.

I asked, “When do I sign my severance agreement?” My supervisor’s supervisor responded, “You are not getting a severance package.” Needless to say, I was very surprised. Despite the hostile manner in which I was being terminated, I certainly thought the company would at least consider executing their dirty work with a little bit of class. My thoughts were wrong.

I was unceremoniously escorted off the property with my personal effects in tow.

Returning home that evening, my mind was racing a mile per second. What happens now?” “What do I do?” “How will I break this bad news to my family?” “How will I pay my NEW mortgage?” “Can they dismiss me like that and deny me a benefit that I know was provided to other individuals at the time of termination (namely, the usual severance package)?” An endless stream of questions raced through my mind. Those of you reading this that experienced a similar situation can probably relate.

Some of you are very close to experiencing what I did and you probably aren’t even aware of how close you are to being in my “shoes.” Be prepared.

When I arrived at home, I conducted myself as though nothing had changed. Just another day of work completed.

My mind still racing – I knew I needed an attorney, but how could I possibly afford one considering I had just lost my job?

The next day, I sent my ex-employer multiple e-mail messages in an attempt to get justice. All were ignored. I didn’t get one response.

My mind was racing all through the night. Upon awakening, I realized what I needed to do.

I remembered a similar situation from years ago, wherein I needed an attorney and couldn’t afford the $110-$200 an hour type.

I found a provider of legal services that specialized in leveling the “access to legal services” field.

I immediately went online to research this particular legal services provider. Within less than one hour I was in the
system. I had more that just one attorney, I had an entire firm.

Making my initial contact call was extremely easy. I called the firm; they took my information and told me an attorney would contact me in less than 24 hours. That same afternoon, an attorney specializing in employment law contacted me and provided a FREE consultation (try to get a free consultation from your attorney).

I had already prepared an eight-page expository letter to be sent to the corporate office of my ex-employer. I just wanted to make sure the document was fool-proof, that I wasn’t violating the law by sending it. I faxed the document to my attorney. Within 30 minutes she, my attorney, called me back to inform me that the document was not libelous. She further stated that if I needed her to further assist me all I need do was ask. The cost for this initial on my behalf was: $0 (it was included in the plan).

From that point on, I felt empowered.

So many times I’ve said, “I’m going to call my attorney” – and at the same time fully knowing that I didn’t have an attorney.

But that has all changed. I now have an entire firm on my team, covering employment law, real estate law, marital law, international law, motor vehicle law, trial defense law, trust and estate law, business law, and so on. In other words, I HAVE AN ENTIRE LAW FIRM ON MY TEAM. And the firm is one of the best in the Pennsylvania area.

Back to my story…

I faxed he document to my ex-employer’s corporate offices. I sent the eight-page expository document to the CEO, the
President and the Director of Human Resources. Not only did I send them this powerful documentation, I gave them a deadline to respond; by the close of business on Friday.

At 10:00am that Friday morning, the Human Resources Director called me and informed me that he would be faxing me a Severance

Agreement and Release (SAR). The SAR arrived; I faxed it to my attorney for review (no charge-included in my plan). She

reviewed the SAR then contacted me to inform me that it was okay for me to sign.

Well, needless to say, the table was turned. I now had my severance package (full pay and family medical benefits for

six-months). My ex-employer now has a new found respect for me. It’s sad that the situation had to transpire in this manner, but that’s the way the “bully mind-set” works. They thought they had the little man (me) beat, until they turned the corner and saw my big brother (law firm) waiting there for me.

Well, to be sure, after Tom heard my story he couldn’t wait to learn more. I provided him with a link to a web site where he was able to get all the details and sign up for the service. Now Tom, like me, has the law on his side. His transition has been completely stabilized. His family now has peace of mind and they rest securely at night knowing that no one will be able to take advantage of them ever again.

Wouldn’t you like to have this level of security and safety for your family? Well. Now you can!

Remember, it’s not a matter of if you will ever need legal representation; it’s clearly a matter of when.

Prepare yourselves today and be ready when the inevitable situation or condition presents itself wherein you will need legal counsel. I will tell you this, there is nothing more empowering than calling YOUR attorney when you need a contract reviewed, when an automobile mechanic has given you a bad deal, when a jeweler has misrepresented a product, when a tenant refuses to pay the rent, etc.

In sum, access to competent legal services is finally available to all Americans and Canadians. You, too, can arm yourself with the means to add this powerful tool to your or your family’s team.

To learn more about this shift in the realm of legal services access, visit