Tag Archives: Events

National Taxpayer Advocate Blog

While I was attending the Tax Controversy Forum hosted by New York University’s School of Professional Studies in New York City, I had the pleasure of hearing the National Taxpayer Advocate give a keynote speech.  National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson, started off her talk with the potential impact of upcoming budget cuts on the IRS and the release of her upcoming report on June 28th.  She also informed everyone that the National Taxpayer Advocate Blog has restarted its regular weekly blog postings on Wednesdays.  Check it out for some summer reading.

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Suffolk Law Admitted Students Reception in DC on 4/13/2017

Suffolk Law alumni are hosting a reception for the newly admitted Suffolk Law students on April 13, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at Stinson Leonard Street in Washington, DC.  This event is open to Suffolk alumni, current Suffolk students, admitted Suffolk students, and prospective students.  Please RSVP here and hope to see you there!

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Alternative Sentencing: Judge Approves A Punishment of Reading

Five teenagers in Loudoun County were caught and pleaded guilty to vandalizing a historic schoolhouse in Ashburn, Virginia with racist graffiti.  As punishment, the prosecutor compiled a list of books for the teenagers to read and write reports on.  The Virginia judge condoned the sentence and probation agreed to enforce this alternative form of punishment.  The New York Times published an article about this with further details about the sentence, reasons behind this arrangement, and the full list of books approved.  The article is available here.  In addition, Loudoun County’s Attorney’s Office released a press statement available here.

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Upcoming Supreme Court Decisions and the Further Impact of Justice Scalia’s death

While the country is deeply saddened by Justice Scalia’s death, many are still in shock over the loss of a truly influential judge.  It is Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution that gives the President, with advice and consent of the Senate, the authority to appoint judges of the Supreme Court.  As the current President Obama fights with Republicans in the Senate over the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice, it will be interesting to see how upcoming case decisions will change due to the loss of such an outspoken legal figure.

Forthcoming Supreme Court decisions will, for the most part, be reviewed as an eight judge panel.  This means that decisions that were originally 5-4 could result in a 4-4 even split.  That being said, Tom Goldstein from SCOTUS Blog wrote a piece addressing this issue.  Read his article here.

Most notable of Goldstein’s post is this:

If Justice Scalia was part of a five-Justice majority in a case – for example, the Friedrichs case, in which the Court was expected to limit mandatory union contributions – the Court is now divided four to four.  In those cases, there is no majority for a decision and the lower court’s ruling stands, as if the Supreme Court had never heard the case.  Because it is very unlikely that a replacement will be appointed this Term, we should expect to see a number of such cases in which the lower court’s decision is “affirmed by an equally divided Court.”  (emphasis added)

Also, please be sure to check out SCOTUS Blog’s other coverage on Justice Scalia’s death available here.

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Justice Scalia passes and the Supreme Court enters a new era

Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.  While I missed my opportunity to meet Justice Scalia in person when he spoke at my school, he has had an impressive impact on all Americans through his literal, originalist, textual interpretations of the law and written decisions.  His death marks the end of an era on the Supreme Court.

Further details about Justice Scalia’s life and passing are detailed in this New York Times article and this NPR broadcast.  While this comes as shocking news to a lot of people since his death was so unexpected, the upcoming presidential election now takes an interesting turn as both parties fight to obtain power to appoint the next Supreme Court justice if current President Obama does not appoint a new justice soon.  Things are about to get a lot more interesting in the current presidency and in the upcoming presidential elections.

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Worcester Community Dialogues on Race

Earlier tonight, I tweeted about the Worcester Community Dialogues Listening Sessions on Race.  You can see my tweets @legalbiscuit.

With the spike of racial tensions across the country, as witnessed by the violent-race-related deaths, the City of Worcester decided to take pre-emptive action and start an ongoing dialogue between community members and leaders.  The hope is that this open dialogue will prevent future race violence in this geographic area.

The seven part series started on Monday, May 18th.  These listening sessions take place every Monday night from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.  They are facilitated by the US Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

I went to my first listening session tonight.  The theme was “Media and Online Social Networks.”

When you arrive at the listening session or community dialogue, you are assigned a number.  Brief introductions are made in the main foyer area.  Then, participants are divided equally among different listening sessions or break out groups.  You converse with your group for about an hour and a half.  The group facilitator leads the group discussion through a series of race-related questions.  The questions vary week to week and focus on the theme for that session.  Then, the notetaker in the session synthesizes and summarizes the discussion into a 2-3 minute presentation.  At the end of the listening session, all participants converge into the main foyer again.  Each break out group has one person present their group’s discussions to the main audience.  Closing remarks are then made.

Also, importantly, they feed you dinner at the event.

The remaining listening sessions, locations, and themes are listed below:

June 29th, 2015       Economic Development (at Worcester Technical High School, 1 Skyline Drive)
                                     
July 13th, 2015        Report back and next steps (at DCU, enter showcase corner at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Major Taylor Boulevards)

If you have additional questions about free parking for the event or shuttles, the most recent press release is available here.  Also, the United Way posted a frequently asked questions PDF available here.  Worcester Magazine published an article about the initial event available here.
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Artist Profiting off of other People’s Instagram photos

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published an article about the Richard Prince Exhibit at the Frieze Art Fair in New York City. In his exhibit, Prince enlarged screenshots of Instagram posts by other people.  Then, he sold all the artwork with some individual pieces going for $90,000.

Apparently, the proceeds are not going to the original Instagram poster.  One of the original Instagram posters stated that she did not give express permission to Prince to duplicate her work.  That being said, did the original poster have the right to exclusive use of her photo regardless of whether or not it was posted on social media?  Would the same Instagram photo have been sold for as much as it did if it was sold by the original poster?  Keep these rhetorical questions in mind the next time you post a photo on your social media feed.

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Toiletry Drive at Elder Services of Worcester Area

This post is not law related.  But, as someone who works with elders, I want to tell you about Elder Services of Worcester Area‘s Toiletry Drive.  Now is a great time to clean out your closets and bathrooms.  If you have any bath products like:

  • soap
  • unused sponges
  • shower gel
  • denture cleaning products
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • combs
  • brushes
  • shampoos
  • conditioners
  • nail clippers
  • deodorants
  • hand sanitizers
  • powder
  • razors
  • shaving cream
  • lotions

Please donate your unused products because it will benefit neglected and abused elders in Worcester.  The drive takes place from May 15, 2015 to June 19, 2015 and you can see the official flyer here.  You can drop off items at 67 Millbrook Street, Suite 100 or 117, Worcester, MA during Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Thank you!

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Excellence in the Law Awards

Earlier this evening, I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 Excellence in the Law Awards hosted by the Mass Lawyers Weekly and the Massachusetts Bar Association.  This wonderful event was held at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel in Boston.  The room was packed!

In addition, my colleague, Jane Edmonstone, received an “Up & Coming Lawyers” Award given to impressive attorneys who have practiced less than ten years.

Below is a picture of Amy Romero, Faye Rachlin (Deputy Director), Jane Edmonstone, and me representing the Community Legal Aid contingent at the dinner.

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Uniform Bar Exam (Beyond the MultiState) is Growing

California, Florida, and New York are known for their challenging state specific bar exams, but, for New York, this will be over.  Earlier this week, the New York State Board of Law Examiners announced on their website that the New York Court of Appeals adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) effective July 2016.  This means that New York bar applicants will no longer take the state specific exam.

Please note that the UBE is not to be confused with the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).  The MBE is a 200 question, multiple choice exam administered on the Wednesday of the bar exam period.  The MBE consists of the same multiple choice questions for each state, with the exception Louisiana and Puerto Rico who do not require or administer the MBE.  The UBE is a step beyond the MBE.  The UBE is literally a uniform bar exam.  Apparently, the UBE was administered in 2011 with Missouri and will grow to 16 states by next summer.

In addition to the UBE, New York bar applicants are “required to complete an online course on New York law and take and pass an online examination on New York law, as a requirement for admission.”  If you would like to read a full copy of the advisory committee’s recommendation to adopt the UBE to the Court of Appeals, the report is available here.  If you do not want to read the whole report, a condensed New York Times article about the transition to UBE is available here.

 

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