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My original reporting on legal events and trends:

Reporting

February 17th, 2017
Here's a freelance piece I did today for the New York Law Journal about New York City's ground-breaking plan to use city funds to ensure that tenants earning less than 200 percent of the poverty level will have lawyers when facing eviction: New York City's plan to offer free counsel to low-income Housing Court tenants facing eviction doesn't mean tenants who fail to meet income requirements won't receive any help... Continue Reading
October 21st, 2016
Here is my piece just published by the Connecticut Law Tribune about a new pro bono program aiming to help close the access to justice gap: The power of the internet is being harnessed to make it easier for low-income Connecticut residents to access legal advice, and to make it easier for pro bono attorneys to volunteer to help people who can't afford to pay for attorneys. Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut is one of the... Continue Reading
October 20th, 2016
Here's a recent piece I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune about reforms to that state's power of attorney law: Sweeping changes have been made to Connecticut's power-of-attorney law, including making it harder for banks to upend the wishes of people who do estate planning by rejecting power-of-attorney forms. Reforms to the law came into effect Oct. 1. Leaders in the Connecticut field say this is the first time the law... Continue Reading
September 14th, 2016
Here's a recent piece I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune about a bizarre scenario: a litigant suing for alleged personal injury has been charged with perjury because he allegedly falsely claimed his mother had died in order to excuse his absence from court. Sometimes, you can't make the world of law up. *** An Arizona man sued Dollar Tree Stores, alleging that he fell due to a hole in the floor of one of the chain's... Continue Reading
August 28th, 2016
Here is a recent piece I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune about the limits on liability for mass shootings: The debate over guns usually brings to mind the Second Amendment and legislators passing laws about background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of people on the terrorist watch list or with mental health problems. An event last week at the American Museum of Tort Law in Winsted highlighted the role of tort law in... Continue Reading
August 15th, 2016
Here is a freelance piece published last month by the Connecticut Law Tribune: Vacant, foreclosed homes have become a bane in many neighborhoods in the United States. There are currently 896,913 properties in some stage of foreclosure in the United States, according to RealtyTrac. The impact of vacant, foreclosed homes is affecting Connecticut too. Two homeowners in Wyndham County have been living through the experience of having a... Continue Reading
March 20th, 2016
The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that a negative review of a wedding venue is protected by the First Amendment. In doing so, the court also set precedent for how to distinguish whether speech is protected opinion or a defamatory assertion of fact. Justice Richard C. Baldwin, writing for the court, applied a Ninth Circuit test in Unelko Corp v. Rooney: "whether a reasonable factfinder could conclude that an allegedly... Continue Reading
February 21st, 2016
How do you overcome the ax murderer taking care of Grandma problem? Lawyer Peter H. “Tad” LeVan knows a thing or two about that. A few weeks ago, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, sitting en banc, ruled that the state's ban on former convicts working in elder care was unconstitutional. LeVan gave me a recent interview about this litigation. It started with a challenge to the law's constitutionality on an... Continue Reading
November 17th, 2015
I wrote a piece for the Connecticut Law Tribune about how telecommuting and taking conference calls from home can make lawyers run afoul of the unauthorized practice of law rules: There are probably hundreds of lawyers who are licensed in New York and living in Fairfield County in Connecticut. It's become commonplace for these attorneys to log onto their home computers to work on legal documents on behalf of New York clients, to... Continue Reading
November 3rd, 2015
Laura Elliott-Engel (1/25/47—11/2/2015) My mother took the next step on her spiritual journey Monday morning, passing away at 3:15 a.m. after a diagnosis with late-stage cancer a brief 32 days ago. My brother, Jeremy Elliott-Engel, husband, Jason Rearick, and I were with her, holding her hands as she passed. As we returned to Mom’s home on a valley hillside after she passed, the sun was rising, mist was... Continue Reading
October 25th, 2015
Here's my latest piece for the Connecticut Law Tribune: Connecticut lawyers can now be paid by clients for their services in chickens and eggs. Well, not quite. But an opinion issued by the Connecticut Bar Association's Standing Committee on Professional Ethics seems to have opened the door for lawyers to engage in barter. The committee was asked to offer an opinion on whether an attorney may barter his or her legal services... Continue Reading
July 27th, 2015
Here's a piece I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune about the mysterious death of a black attorney and the NAACP's call for further investigation into his death: Abe Dabela was 35 years old and life seemed to be going well. He had come to the legal profession late, after a series of jobs in the health care industry, and had recently completed a stint as an associate at a major law firm. He loved riding motorcycles and was... Continue Reading
July 21st, 2015
Here's a piece I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune about a lawsuit alleging a police officer in Connecticut went too far when stopping two black men: When two black brothers were pulled over by a cop in the city of New London, the officer frisked them both, allegedly touching their genitals and their buttocks. When one of them protested and turned around during the pat down, he was arrested for interfering with the police officer... Continue Reading
June 16th, 2015
Here's a piece I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune about a lawyer's law school debt: Law school students learn how to argue over contracts. But that doesn't necessarily mean they can litigate their way out of a contract to pay their law school loans. One Branford-based attorney is facing this reality after a federal judge ruled that, more than two decades after receiving his law degree, he owes the federal government more... Continue Reading
May 26th, 2015
Here's a piece I wrote for the Connecticut Law Tribune about an unusual sentencing request: The normal drill for punishment in federal court is prison time, fines or probation. But a North Branford-based construction company that ran afoul of the law is asking U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton to consider sentencing the company to build two homes. The hook is that the houses wouldn't be sold for profit. They would be... Continue Reading

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