Craigslist and Legal Services?

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This is a referral post to both technola and the ABA Journal. Technola for its post about Craigslist and referral to the ABA Journal’s post requesting comments from readers about whether they’ve used Craigslist to advertise.

I’ll be following the findings.

-RFW

Afterthought: Is anyone monitoring attorney advertising rules and ethics on Craigslist?

Legalese? No thanks!

I’m always pleased to see articles by others about using Plain Language in lieu of legalese. And yesterday, techno.la posted one.

So then I thought I’d check and see how often the term “Legalese” appears in news searches on Google.

The answer is 147 times.

Then for goofs, I checked how often the term appears in blog searches on Google.

The answer is 72,710 times.

And what is the reason for this?

Blogs allow people to express their feelings much more easily, especially displeasure. Now I did not read the seventy-two thousand seven hundred ten different blogs (I do work y’know) but I glanced at their topics and noted that they were generally berating the use of legalese.

Why? BECAUSE LEGALESE IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND.

Sure, it may mean a little job security in the short-term, but in the long-term, we’ll have poorly drafted documents that may amount to gibberish.

Some of the blogs also noted that plain, concise language is actually harder to write. Easier to read, but harder to write.

Take this example from here:

When the man in the street says: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, the lawyer writes,”Insofar as
manifestations of functional deficiencies are agreed by any and all concerned parties to be imperceivable,
and are so stipulated, it is incumbent upon said heretofore mentioned parties to exercise the deferment
of otherwise pertinent maintenance procedures.”

Just a Thursday thought!

-RFW

Ever wish you had a map for the court system?

Wonder no more!

Thanks to National Center for State Courts (NCSC) for the innovative online interactive map that plainly delineates the structure of each of the state court systems.

To review the South Carolina Court System, click here.

This is good news for pre-law students and any others with an interest in civics, but especially low-income people who want to learn about the court system. Information such as this provides necessary education about the court system and assists access to justice.

And thanks again to Techno.la for pointing this out!

-RFW

FREE OR LOW COST Online Legal Research Tools

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As many of us try to limit our costs, any low cost or free alternatives are appreciated.

Thanks to our friends at Techno.la for pointing SC Access to Justice toward this resource out of Georgetown.

The Georgetown Law Library has put together an online guide for legal research indicating which services offer state court information, which ones offer federal court information, which have case law, which have statutes, etc.

-RFW

Language + Web Tools = Access

The folks at techno.la have done it again. They have pointed readers to information on the web for LEP people or people with Limited English Proficiency. The specific article is well worth reading if you work with LEP. Check it out here.

If you want to learn more about equal justice ideas and initiatives, read the whole magazine starting here.

-RFW

And Another Thing . . . I-CAN!® E-File 2008 Reports

Thanks to Kate Bladow at Techno.la and ProBono.net for this additional info!

I-CAN!® E-File 2008 has REPORTS that allow us to see how many filings are completed out of each state. As of this writing 36 South Carolinians had completed their returns using I-CAN!® E-File 2008 for refunds totalling $54,492 and Earned Income Credits (EIC) totalling $18,219.

If you are unfamiliar with the term EIC, you can learn more here. In order to qualify for EIC, taxpayers MUST file a tax return, even if they did not earn enough money to be obligated to file a tax return.

-RFW

Check it out: Can My Boss Do That?

In Bright Orange Letters, Interfaith Worker Justice lets people know:

Can My Boss Do That?

This site offers information and a general how-to, not legal advice, for workers with general employment and unemployment questions. Some of the headers on the homepage include:

  • Health Benefits and the Stimulus COBRA Subsidy
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Can they fire me?

There’s more. Check it out here.

-RFW

Thanks Techno.la for referring us to this site.