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IP ALERT, BAR-HOPPING AND BASKETBALL RIOTS

IP reminder: Hey, geeks, save money here

Bill Heinze interrupts his vacation to note that higher U.S. Patent and Trademark Office fees will kick into place once President Bush returns from South America and signs the new congressional omnibus appropriations bill. Patent and trademark owners who file applications, pay maintenance fees and renew trademark registrations before then will pay current (read: lower) fees. Need the current and revised fee schedules and extensions? I/P Updates provides them here.

Bar-hopping: Can your state association save you time and money?

Just ask Carolyn Elefant, who today on MyShingle.com unveils her "2004 Bar Review," a unique state-by-state survey of bar association resources edited to help the solo and small-firm surfer.

Here's how: Elefant eyeballs each bar's Web site so you don't have to, looking for and hot-linking specific research, law practice management and ethics tools that can save solos and small firms time and money. She rates each site, too. For example, the New York and Alabama bar sites are "excellent" because of their extensive tools, but she takes points off the ABA's score, "in light of its recent penny-pinching decision to cut the Solo and Small Firm Standing Committee within the ABA." Try the HTML page -- it puts you one click away from these carefully researched resources.

"Baseball's lessons for lawyers"

Meanwhile, the [non]billable hour is reaching outside of the law altogether for inspiration. After reading a write-up on the Minnesota Twins' new vouchers, where fans get a little ticket discount and lot of flexibility, Matt Homann writes about his new customer-friendly trial offer that just might become permanent:

"When I first read about the Twins’ plan, I started to think about how lawyers could use a similar voucher plan in their offices. We are talking to a few of our clients about offering estate-planning vouchers they can pass on as gifts to adult children, friends, parents, employees, etc. Each voucher is good for two wills, and powers of attorney for health care and property. We’ll offer the vouchers at a slightly lower cost than our normal flat rate for the services. In the event a person needs more significant estate planning, we’ll apply the value of the voucher towards our normal fee for that service. If this year’s trial run goes well, we will offer all of our clients the vouchers beginning next year."

(Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy has a little something to say about baseball, too.)

Getting -- and giving -- the business

Once upon a time, there was a man named Lemoyne Dailey, according to a story I read today in May It Please The Court.

One day, Dailey attempted to put out a fire allegedly caused by sparks from a Union Pacific train. After incurring second- and third-degree burns over a substantial portion of his body and spending a number of months in the hospital, Dailey won a  $1.2 million settlement and $10,000 a month for a decade from the railroad.

Did Dailey live happily ever after? Or did his health insurer successfully sue him for $800,0000 in medical bills? Listen to J. Craig Williams' Podcast of the story or read it yourself here.

Discriminating opinions

On his way out of town for Thanksgiving break, Mike Fox draws attention to two cases in which the two circuit courts of appeals affirmed summary judgement on claims brought by former human resources employees, one involving racial discrimination allegations and hearsay. In Jottings by an Employer's Lawyer, he concludes:

"Although employers are often justifiably concerned when HR employees sue, perhaps attributable to the "they know where the bodies are buried" syndrome, as this week's result show, all is not always lost when they sue."

Meanwhile, Paula Brantner, blogging at Today's Workplace, reveals the plaintiff behind a recent "run-of-the-mill" story on a $2.5 million jury verdict as Republican state representative, Mario Goico of Kansas' District 100. Turns out that Rep. Goico is a pilot who successfully sued his employer, Boeing, for age discrimination. Noting that Goico's $2.5 million award includes $1.5 million in punitive damages against Wichita's largest employer, Brantner writes:

"This case shows that even a Republican legislator from a white legislative district can encounter discrimination (and not "reverse" discrimination either) that limits career advancement and job opportunities."

At the watercooler

Who's worse -- spoiled, overpaid NBA players or spoiled, abusive Detroit fans? After Friday's cup- and punch-throwing riot at an Indiana Pacers vs. Detroit Pistons game in De-twah, Juan Non-Volokh says the real coward is David Stern. But he thinks you can blame the fans, too. (Perhaps Stern should take Orin Kerr's advice and read fans the original Riot Act.) Both Kerr and Non-Volokh blog for The Volokh Conspiracy.

Speaking of complaints, Michael Cernovich says it's a shame no one is allowed to brandish a cup at Target. Apparently the department store's nonsolicitation policy has been extended to the Salvation Army for the 2004 holiday shopping season. Don't miss the comments -- one Crime & Federalism reader says Target's not alone.

Posted by Laurel Newby on November 22, 2004 at 07:11 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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