Category Archives: Student Postings

ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms

A form book can be helpful in many ways to a practicing attorney.  It provides checklists for litigation and fill-able practice forms within various areas of law that become a good starting point for lawyers, particularly were they to need to draw up a form in an area of law that is outside their practice area.  It is important to remember when using this resource that forms are unique in every case and should be modified to reflect the individual defendant.

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North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms, 5th edition, by Ronald M. Price, is a single volume resource filled with a bounty of criminal trial forms.  It has a table of relevant cases, general index, and a master table of contents, not to mention individual ones at the beginning of each chapter.  According to the table of contents, this form book addresses the following legal issues: stop and frisk, search and seizure, confessions and self-incrimination, double jeopardy and collateral estoppel, bonds, probable cause hearings, venue, arraignment, discovery, and motion to dismiss.  Each of these issues is broken down further in the table of contents by subject matter.  Under “Chapter 18: Capacity,” for example, there are forms dealing with capacity that a practitioner would need to file on behalf of a client, such as notice of defense of insanity, motion for mental evaluation, application of transfer of prisoner to a hospital, and motion questioning defendant’s capacity.

The table of cases is one of the most important features of North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms.  The reader uses the table of cases to quickly look up and consider or cite the law used in any given form.  The index, organized by a more extensive topical listing than the table of contents, includes a range of legal topics and subtopics such as age, Batson, blood, children and minors, burglary, capital cases, interpreter, voir dire, and weapons.  These topical headings make it easier to locate the form relevant to your client’s situation. Additionally, the pocket part, at the back of the resource, includes the most current itineration of each form were its language and corresponding annotation to case law updated since the most recent publication.  This is important because failing to submit to the court the proper form, one that is reflective of the most current and binding legal authority, is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

To locate North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms, look up the electronic version of the resource in the universal search box on WestlawNext, or conduct a search for the print resource in the Charlotte School of Law Library catalog.  Getting here requires the following steps: 1) access the Charlotte School of Law homepage, 2) follow the link on the left-hand side, to “Our Law Library,” 3) click on the “Library Catalog” link on the right-hand side, and 4) search within the catalog for the call number using the following search string: “North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Series.”  The print version of North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms is located in the “Reference: Carolinas” section of the library, but unfortunately does not circulate outside of the library.  It’s always nice to have remote access to the electronic version of a specific resource so that you don’t have to commute to the library, but upon my graduation this summer, the luxury of remote access will be no more and, alas, I will have to come on campus for the print resource and its electronic counterpart on WestlawNext, just like the other attorney members of the CSL library.

To demonstrate how easy and helpful this book of forms is, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Let’s say that you are a new attorney and you wish to file a motion to suppress a coerced taped confession from your client.  First, you would start in the table of contents and locate “Chapter 5: Confessions and Self-Incrimination.”  It sounds like the perfect place to start, so you proceed to browse through the subtopics within the chapter.  Under “motion to suppress,” you locate two different forms for motion to suppress defendant’s statements and another helpful form for motion for exclusion of involuntary admissions and confessions, but nothing relevant to the element of coercion.  So, you go to the index and look up “confessions, generally.”  There, you find exactly what you are looking for, just in a different chapter, a form called “Suppression Motion for Taped Confession” which has the element of coercion.  After this, don’t forget to check for updates in the pocket part to complete your research effectively!  Also, remember, these forms are not a “one size fits all” kind of thing.  They should be modified and tailored to fit your client specifically; no two defendants are the same.

North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms is an indispensable resource for any lawyer and even more so for newly admitted attorneys just learning which form to submit to which court on behalf of their respective clients.

~ Ashley Lawrence, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Criminal Procedure in North Carolina

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For 20 seasons, on the television show Law & Order, we watched the police investigate the crime and arrest the criminal, and then, with bated breath, hung on Jack McCoy’s every question and objection as he prosecuted the crime for the win. We’ve seen this scenario play out countless times and believed it to be the criminal process, but is it really? In North Carolina, there is a clear beginning, middle, and end to the criminal justice system, and it revolves around the rules of criminal procedure. But, as new criminal lawyers starting out on our own, how do we know what to do?  After all, the beginning, middle, and end of the criminal justice system can seem a little overwhelming, especially so if we do not have a mentor to guide us through the process.

Luckily, there is hope! Criminal Procedure in North Carolina by Irving Joyner is the very practice guide that can help the new lawyer, and even some seasoned lawyers, navigate the rough waters of our state’s criminal justice system. To find this practice guide, locate the call number (KFN7975 .J69 2005) in the Charlotte School of Law library catalog, or look up the title using the “browse sources” feature in Lexis Advance.

After a defendant has hired you as her defense attorney, how do you know what to do? The great thing about Criminal Procedure in North Carolina is that, similar to the dramatic arc of Law & Order, the practice guide logically and sequentially moves the practitioner from arrest, to pre-trial, to trial, and then to sentencing.  At each stage in the prosecution of a crime, the practice guide explains the relevant processes and procedures, providing annotations to primary authority for greater context, and supplements with a plethora of other useful information for new attorneys, like sample forms.  The pre-trial section, for example, uses precedential case law to explain the importance of discovery and pre-trial motions practice to a client and the pre-trial issues that arise.

Furthermore, the pre-trial section includes sample forms that show the attorney how to draft and file a particular motion. I found the forms particularly helpful because, while I had learned how to file a motion in limine, others like a special venire were foreign to me.  So, how do you file a motion for a special venire? Well, the practice guide explains who can file this type of motion, when it should be filed, and the type of claim the defendant might bring, such as a motion based on array or racial composition. After the full discussions of the motions that a defense attorney can use, the practice guide then provides the forms so that the attorney can properly file the appropriate motion within the court, changing only what they need to change based on the court where the motion is to be filed.

What better way, when lost in the sea of the criminal justice system, than to go to Criminal Procedure in North Carolina to make sure that you are taking proper advantage of any and all pre-trial and trial motions on behalf of your client.  It doesn’t matter if you are a new attorney or have been admitted to the bar for 20 years, this practice guide is a great resource to make sure that you are following the proper criminal procedure guidelines in the North Carolina courts. Criminal Procedure in North Carolina makes better attorneys because it helps them provide their clients the representation that they deserve.

 ~ Adrianne Ribar, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Crimes – A Guidebook on the Elements of Crime

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Introduction

Attorneys use practice guides in different areas of law as a way to quickly identify the rule of law and its respective authorities from which to craft a legal argument. These guides also help practitioners with the procedural elements and motions requirements of a cause of action.

About North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook on the Elements of Crime

North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook to the Elements of Crime (7th ed. 2012), written by Jessica Smith of the North Carolina School of Government, is a single volume, soft cover treatise detailing the elements of the criminal laws in North Carolina.  This guidebook only covers the state’s substantive crimes, excluding obscure ones, minor infractions such as traffic offenses, and special offenses related to alcoholic beverage control law and fish and game law.  A student, patron or attorney member can locate the call number (KFN7966.8 .N67) of North Carolina Crimes by plugging the following search terms – north carolina crimes – into the Charlotte School of Law Library catalog.

Key Features of North Carolina Crimes

North Carolina Crimes analyzes each criminal offense within its own chapter and divides each into the following four categories: elements, punishment, notes (explanatory points regarding the offense, including case law) and related offenses. State of mind, defenses, and structured sentencing are additional topics discussed in the introductory chapter of each offense. Because the clear and concise layout of the guidebook makes locating and understanding the criminal elements easy, the supervising attorneys and judges, at my externships, consider it an excellent reference guide during trial or at a court hearing.  For this reason, North Carolina provides the latest version to all state prosecutors, and most state law enforcement officers and judges keep the guidebook handy at all times, as well.  Law enforcement officers refer to North Carolina Crimes when they need to make a quick charging decision about a perpetrator’s alleged criminal behavior; prosecutors use the guidebook when putting their cases together; and judges rely on it when deciding the rule of law or explaining it to a jury.  Essentially, North Carolina Crimes helps to keep all of the parties participating in the prosecution of a crime on the same page.

There are several useful ways to search for your topic in North Carolina Crimes.  To begin, there is a master table of contents at the front of the book, listing every topic and subtopic with its corresponding page numbers, and an individual table of contents at the beginning of each chapter. North Carolina Crimes also has the following useful indexes: 1) a case index that lists the cited cases alphabetically, 2) a table of statutes that organizes the enacted laws in ascending numerical order, and 3) a subject index that helps the reader navigate to a particular subject or crime.

Researching using North Carolina Crimes

North Carolina Crimes is an excellent place to begin legal research on a criminal issue. For example, suppose you need to understand the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter in North Carolina.  Upon consulting the guidebook’s table of contents, you locate the subtopic “manslaughter” within the topic “homicide” and then navigate to the corresponding pages.  In North Carolina, manslaughter is a common law crime which means its rule of law stems from state court decisions and not the legislature.  The “manslaughter” section highlights the elements for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and provides an extensive list of on-point cases interpreting the scope of each element.  To update the authority, you would then KeyCite with WestlawNext or Shepardize with Lexis Advance.

Conclusion

North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook to the Elements of Crime uses a simple, easy-to-navigate style to detail and annotate the rule of law of the major North Carolina criminal offenses, making the guidebook an essential tool for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges.

~ Maria Fisichello, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice

northcarolinacorporationlawandpracticeIntroduction

North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is a practitioner’s resource, which comprises part of the “North Carolina Practice Series” of treatises.  As with other examples of treatises, this title is available both in print and, with the advent of new technology, in e-book form. I chose to review North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice (Fourth Edition) because the formation and dissolution of corporations has always interested me. I have always been fascinated by the variety of forms one may choose from when incorporating a business.

About North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice

North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is authored by James E. Snyder, Jr.  A native of North Carolina, Snyder was born and raised in Davidson County. He received his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1970.  In addition to authoring seventeen books, Snyder practices law in North Carolina. Last updated in August 2012, the title may be located in the Reference Carolinas section of the CSL Library, using the following call number KFN7613.A65.  The e-book version of the treatise may be located on WestlawNext.  From the WestlawNext homepage select “Secondary Sources” as your content type then choose “North Carolina” as the jurisdiction.  Next, pick “North Carolina Text and Treatises” and click into the following link “North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice.

North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is arranged into nineteen parts, each sub-divided into chapters, which discuss the various types of corporate structures. A researcher may follow a business entity through the entire process, from start (formation) to finish (dissolution). The treatise also includes discussions on such topics as shareholders, reorganization, bonds, notes, securities, and contracts.  One of the great features of this treatise is the detailed table of contents.  For example, a person researching market associations may easily go straight from the table of contents to part seventeen on marketing associations. The treatise also includes references to statutory and common law authority related to the following types of business corporations: non-profit corporations, professional corporations, cooperative associations, marketing associations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

Special Features in North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice

As referenced earlier, North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is also available in e-book format on WestlawNext. A researcher may use either the table or contents or perform full-text searching in order to quickly and efficiently locate specific topics.  Another great benefit of the e-book, is the ability to link directly into the full-text of referenced cases or statutes. Lastly the e-book format allows seamless and efficient updating.

Another important feature of North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is the way in which the treatise is organized. The treatise is arranged in a manner that enhances one’s understanding of the process required to select the appropriate business entity. Throughout the treatise, various checklists, forms, and lists of requirements for specific organizational structures are also provided.

Conclusion

Overall, North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is a great resource for attorneys or persons interested in forming a corporation in the great state of North Carolina. It lays out all of the requirements needed to form a variety of business entities.

 ~ Jeremy N. Hughes, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Susan L. Catterall, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Law.com

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Few blogs, regardless of their focus, are more aptly named than Law.com.  While the majority of legal blogs offer original content, a dedicated blogger or staff, Law.com functions more like a comprehensive aggregator to newspaper articles, journals, and blogs from the United States and around the world.

Law.com is a “virtual property” of ALM Media Properties, LLC, a marketing and advertising firm whose primary focus is on the legal profession. The main page is crisp and clear, with no embedded videos, pop-up surveys, or animated .gifs cluttering the screen, except for two banner ads at the top and in the upper right, which are constantly refreshed to offer various legal products and services.  Icons to connect with Law.com and the rest of ALM’s virtual properties via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are prominently displayed, as well as, an icon to customize RSS feeds and a button which links to a sign-up page to receive ALM’s virtual newsletters.  ALM also offers a full suite of apps for Law.com and other ALM sites available for both Android and IOS phones and tablets.

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Visitors to the site are informed of major cases, trends, activities at leading firms, and even milestones in the careers of influential professionals with continually updated headlines.  Past articles can be found via a keyword search box, while the most popular current links are featured in a “Most Viewed” column on the right-hand side.  While Law.com offers no original content or opinion pieces, a broad range of topics are covered and organized into the following categories which are accessible via a link bar at the top of the home page:

News

This section features headlines and links to the most current legal news from around the world.  The headlines are constantly refreshed, often several times a day.  The drawback to this feature is that some of articles on the referral sites are behind a pay wall, so unless the visitor also happens to be a subscriber to the referral site, there is no way to read the article.

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International

The International page offers a continually refreshed main headline above additional headlines grouped by geographic region, including North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, “Australasia,” and “Cross-Border.”  Each region groups headlines specific to its territory, with each group of regional headlines also continually refreshed.  As with the main news site, however, visitors may also encounter proprietary content or paywalls when clicking on links to international sites.

The Hot Seat

Bribery. Money laundering. Investment scams. Lawyers don’t just represent folks accused of such crimes; lawyers often are the accused. Here, Law.com collects stories of lawyers accused of defrauding clients, judges charged with abusing their powers, and individuals who’ve just plain gone off the rails with behavior so bizarre we can only wonder, “What were they thinking?” While some of the accused lawyers and judges have been cleared of all charges, others have been reprimanded, sanctioned, or sent to jail. Their tales are funny, sad, weird — and not to be missed.

The remaining links are to sites which promote products, services, research, and training materials from ALM or its subsidiaries, exclusively or through an affiliation with Westlaw and LexisNexis.  These promotional links include the following:

Last, but not least, ALM offers membership subscriptions either through an existing LinkedIn profile or by creating a new profile on ALM’s proprietary platform.  Because there is no original content on Law.com or any of the other ALM sites, all of the aspects of “community” typically created through comment sections, bulletin boards, listicles, etc., are not available.  Instead, ALM connects its members tangentially via their profiles on LinkedIn and Google+.

If you’re in need of a concise website that is easy to scan on your phone, tablet, or laptop over morning coffee, in between calls, or at any other time throughout the day, Law.com is probably one of the best.  Just skimming the headlines and glancing through the “Most Viewed” and “International” sections will keep you up-to-date on all of the major events in the legal profession.  Additionally, the “Legal Research & Directories” section is always ready to help you find a quick citation to a secondary source or case on point.  What Law.com may lack in originality and flash, it more than makes up for in efficiency and reliability, just like the legal professionals it was designed to serve.

~ Charles Stafford, L’14 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: The Jury Room

 The Jury Room: A Strong Resource for an Aspiring or Practicing Litigator

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Litigators and those of us aspiring to be litigators too often overlook how important it is to act with purpose towards the preconceived notions, individual opinions and general psychology behind the mind of a juror. We forget that the matter at hand is not dependent upon the strength of our speaking skills or that of the evidence; but rather, the jury’s perception of the strength of those skills and the evidence.  The Jury Room is a resource that brings focus to this subject.

The Jury Room is an excellent source for potential civil or criminal litigators or anyone involved in a profession of an adversarial nature.  With articles ranging from personal appearance to general psychology, the blog also appeals to professionals who rely on charisma or psychology to influence people.

For this target audience, The Jury Room aspires to “get the best outcome in a jury trial.” The pursuit of this goal is reflected by the blog’s organization; posts are divided into the following subject areas: case preparation, case presentation, leadership, and decision making.

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The main part of the blawg is called the “News Feed,” where the newest articles appear on a semi-regular basis. The actual articles are the perfect length: long enough to display great information, but short enough to take less than 15 minutes to read.  The articles are written by various authors, each with unique and informative viewpoints and opinions.  On average, a new post is added about every 2-5 days, typically on a topic related to one of the previously mentioned subject areas.  But, sometimes there is an “alternative” post, outside a typical subject area, on topics such as understanding mental illness and on others that are interesting and helpful to an attorney, but often overlooked.

The blog, however, comes up short in the areas of website navigation and links to outside resources. The archives are arranged by subject area and month of publication. Because there are near 1,000 articles within the archives, dating back to May of 2012, scrolling through them within a subject area can be inconvenient and time consuming.  Luckily, the blog features a search box.  Additionally, the blawg contains numerous links to outside resources, but some seem out of context or irrelevant.

The Jury Room community seems uninvolved, considering that the posts garner a range of only 3-10 comments, of no more than a single sentence in length.  Visitors to the blog are encouraged to sign up to its twitter feed to receive regular updates.  Surprisingly, the blog does not have a Facebook page.

In summation, The Jury Room is an excellent resource for litigators who want to receive diverse and regular information to improve their chances of obtaining favorable jury verdicts, or to be more charismatic and influential outside of the courtroom. Though the blawg has numerous flaws (i.e. a difficult to navigate archive and seemingly irrelevant links to outside sources), such flaws are outweighed by the blog’s usefulness as a continuing education resource.

~ James Saccardo, L’14 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Popehat

popehat

Laced with satire and dripping with sarcasm, Popehat is a blog written by lawyers and non-lawyers who all have one goal: to maintain the integrity of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The blog parallels headline news stories throughout the nation. However, these news stories are not the ones the general public is going to hear on the morning news show; but rather, stories that anyone who adamantly follows law blogs or First Amendment blogs would hear. For example, there are multiple posts on Roger Shuler, an Alabama blogger arrested for violating a preliminary injunction when he wrote defamatory comments about a local political figure. The problem with the state action is that the preliminary injunction is an unconstitutional prior restraint.  As exemplified by the Shuler articles, the blog volleys between defending our First Amendment freedoms and criticizing the means by which those freedoms are tested.

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 The blog is written for the everyday individual. For those posts that are slightly more law intensive, the author explains exactly why a First Amendment violation occurred and then proceeds to discuss the implications. And although primarily focused on First Amendment freedoms, the authors do not shy away from posting about random topics or other areas of law. One such post on a “random topic” reviewed the music of Norah Jones’ sister. The stream of consciousness type writing, mixed with the blog’s utter disregard for offensiveness, makes for an extremely entertaining read.

The blog’s witty undertones do not disappoint when scrolling through the sections “About Popehat,” “Become a Member,” and “Comment Policy.” The authors of the blog liken its comment policy to mom and dad, and its commentators, to children. Mom and dad get ultimate say as to what gets posted, while the children are guests in mom and dad’s house and must respect their rules. Likewise, Popehat’s “Become a Member” section contains outlandish membership rates with promises of engraved pens, logoed sweatshirts and a Popehat compilation compact disc.

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Substance certainly is not lacking in the blog. Nevertheless, the one thing that proves slightly frustrating is how to subscribe to its RSS feed. Clicking on the link brings one to a java page that is less than friendly to navigate. I gave up on the feed, and rather than being notified by email about a new posting, I simply went to the blog everyday.  However difficult it may be to actually know when there is a new posting, the blog itself is very user friendly. The postings link to other related blogs or the original news story on which the blog is based. The writers also update their posts if new information comes to light. There are satirical cartoons sprinkled into the postings, as well as, links to YouTube videos for the readers’ entertainment. Overall, Popehat is an easy to understand, extremely entertaining and informative blog for attorneys and non-attorneys interested in First Amendment issues.

~ Jamie Blundell, L’14 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: The Namby Pamby

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The Namby Pamby is a comical, legal blog that light heartily pokes fun at everyday issues lawyers may face. The blog is aimed at and will completely satisfy anyone who is looking for a little bit of humor to brighten the day.  Oftentimes, the blog creator uses humor to deliver helpful information about the legal profession to his readers. When he talks about the legal profession, he demystifies its more complicated parts with concise explanations and creates analogies of his legal experiences to everyday life. This makes the blog relatable to almost anyone who reads it.

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The creator of The Namby Pamby has made the website easy to navigate with a variety of tools available to the user.  These tools include being able to search for a blog post by the month, follow the blog by email, and read past comments. The Namby Pamby currently has over 2,443 people following the blog by email. Although there are a lot of followers, few leave comments, usually no more than three per post.  The small number of comments, however, is offset by the large dose of humor within them.

For nine years, the creator of The Namby Pamby has run the blog.  He generally blogs about seven times a month, but lately his level of output has progressively decreased. It would be nice to have a daily post because the blog is so funny and a great daily pick-me-up.

I enjoy that the blog is not too long and does not take a lot of time to read, which is very important for those with a busy life. If you are looking for a humorous read that includes some insight into the legal realm, I suggest you take some time to read The Namby Pamby.

~ Courtney Rudy, L’14 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Lowering the Bar

loweringthebar

Lowering the Bar is targeted at the legal professional, including students and practitioners. The author, Kevin Underhill, is a partner at Shook, Hardy and Bacon in San Francisco and graduated from Georgetown in 1993. His postings are humorous, yet true.  He prides himself on verifying information before he posts it to the blog, and embedding links to cited authority and other resources.

Although legal professionals enjoy the site, it is written in a very down-to-Earth way that appeals to law students and non-legal professionals, as well.  In a convenient column on the right side of the home page, Lowering the Bar offers 30 links to other outside sites. There are also links within the site to archives and useful resources such as commonly used pleadings. To ensure easy access, there is a column that lists over 50 areas of law alphabetically. This helps if you are looking for interesting items in a particular area such as animal law or environmental law.

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Lowering the Bar archives older posts and, at the end of each post, provides links to other relevant articles on the site and metadata tags. At the top of the homepage, there is also a list of recent posts.  To make following the blog easier, there is a “Follow Me” button on the home page, links to social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and several others, and an RSS feed.

My first experience with Lowering the Bar was a Google search that listed the blog among other relevant hits related to a federal case, in which police in New Mexico manually searched the anus of a man believed to be hiding drugs behind his clenched buttocks, that I had decided to research as a result of a posting on Facebook.  I went to the blog and found a post discussing the “clenched buttocks” case and other current actions, as well as, links to the original news stories and subsequent others. Lowering the Bar has posted updates to its original post, including links to the federal court filings and news coverage of the victim’s police and medical records.

Mr. Underhill generally posts every day, sometimes several posts a day. They usually discuss recent news and are interesting and informative, while still being entertaining. The recent murder investigation of an undercover agent is one example of an interesting news item that has appeared in several blog posts. The police had ruled the agent’s death due to natural causes, even though his body was found inside a locked duffel bag that had been placed in a bathtub. The blog posts several pictures of the expert witness recreating the scene by getting into a bathtub and zipping himself into a duffel bag.

I love Lowering the Bar; it is easy to use and has a lot of helpful resources. The blog also is a great place to find a little bit of humor about the sometimes, very heavy subject of law.

~ Debra Chamberlain Marshall, L’15 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, Supervillains, and the Law

What Happens When Real Law is Applied to Superheroes and Supervillians?

Today, I am taking a look at a blog called Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, Supervillains, and the Law. While fighting villains, Hulk breaks anything in his way, Superman throws Ironman through a building, and the Avengers destroy a train while trying to contain Hulk. Have you ever wondered who pays for all of that damage? Well, two lawyers who are clearly superhero enthusiasts started this blog in an attempt to answer that question.

You might be asking yourself, “Who would read a blog like this?” Well, the answer to that are legal practitioners or others interested in the law who are also comic book nerds who like superheroes and have wondered who is liable for the collateral damage once the superheroes have saved the world…again. The goal of the authors is to provide a forum where real legal principles can be applied to fun fact patterns for the purpose of explaining legal concepts. Judging by the large numbers of comments for each article, which are almost as important and informational as the articles themselves, there are many readers who enjoy learning about the law in this way.

If you are an avid reader of comic books, you may have noticed that the storylines sometimes include legal questions. In an effort to make the characters appear more realistic, the ingenious writers of comic books add sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant legal issues to the storylines for our amusement. For those who have an interest in the law behind these legal issues, this blog attempts to answer those legal questions using the fictional scenarios created in the superhero stories. If you are saying to yourself, “Who cares?” – this blog is likely not for you. But, for the rest of us comic book readers and superhero movie watchers, who recognize these legal issues and wonder how they would be resolved, here is a forum where those questions can be answered!

The authors of the blog are attorneys currently practicing in the fields of intellectual property and insurance. There is a disclaimer stating that the information contained in the blog is not legal advice or analysis, but merely legal discourse based on fictitious scenarios. Most often, when analyzing a legal issue on behalf of their Superhero clients, the authors consider laws from across the various jurisdictions, rather than rely on a single state’s laws.

The authors also analyze the charges against Supervillians for stealing intangibles, such as a Superhero’s powers. In one post, the authors consider criminal charges against Yashida were he successful in stealing Wolverine’s healing ability, particularly since, without it, Wolverine becomes mortal and faces the possibility of death. Ultimately, the authors determine that, in the very least, Yashida could be charged with some type of theft or assault depending on the jurisdiction, and could also be sentenced to life in prison. Assault is a possibility because Yashida would have to extract Wolverine’s claws and bone marrow in order to steal his powers and turn him mortal.

The authors post anywhere from two to twenty nine articles every month. Those articles are archived, and the archives are easily accessible on the right side of the home page. A reader can also navigate and browse the articles by legal category.

Readers can easily share articles and stay current with the most recent posts by clicking on the Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ icon. In each article, there are hyperlinks to internal resources, such as Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, and external resources, which become very useful when the reader is not completely aware of what character or story the blog is referencing.

~ Jennifer Morgan, L’14 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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