Tag Archives: Media

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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Facebook Forced To Turn Over Account Info, Photos, and Conversations

The New York Court of Appeals, its highest state court, approved in a 5-1 decision a search warrant that forces Facebook to turn over material on 381 accounts including account information, private photos, and conversations.  This ruling is based significantly on New York law which the court interpreted to mean search warrants issued by judges cannot be appealed to a higher court and the proper venue for challenging search warrants is during a pretrial hearing when a party argues the search warrant is an illegal search.

Read more about this case in this New York Times article here.  The underlying case deals with disability fraud and the Brennan Center provides a concise summary, along with its amicus brief, on its website available here.

One could argue that this opens the door to New York search warrants giving prosecutors access to users’ data on other social networking sites.

The full slip opinion is available here.

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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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Legal Biscuit’s Summer Movies and Television Shows List

One of my favorite things about the summertime is outdoor movies!  If I could host a free outdoor movie event geared towards lawyers, these are the following movies and television shows that I would play.


  1. The Verdict
  2. A Few Good Men
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird
  4. Legally Blonde 1 and 2
  5. The Dark Knight
  6. The Paper Chase
  7. Erin Brockovich
  8. A Civil Action
  9. Adam’s Rib
  10. My Cousin Vinny

TV Shows:

  1. The Good Wife
  2. Matlock
  3. Major Crimes
  4. Scandal
  5. Fairly Legal
  6. DareDevil (Netflix)
  7. Law and Order: SVU
  8. The Escape Artist
  9. The West Wing
  10. Ally McBeal

What’s your favorite legal movie or legal themed television show?  List it on the side in the comments section!

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Invest in Legal Aid

My five seconds of fame is in this video about legal aid in Massachusetts.

The clip was created by the talented Gary Yordan, who is CEO of the Zachary Group, and Pat Swansey, who is the graceful, eloquent, and miracle-worker Program Director at Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation.  It was truly a pleasure working with these two amazing individuals!

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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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What is a Photocopier? Dramatization

I am super excited and proud for my friend, Brett Weiner, who produced this short video for the New York Times Verbatim Op-Doc.  Weiner describes the clip as a “dramatization of transcripts from a legal deposition [where] a lawyer becomes embroiled in an absurd argument about the definition of a photocopier.”  You should check out this piece!  It is pretty funny and any legal guru can appreciate the nuances of language that is depicted in the video.  Here is the link to the article and clip.  If you are interested, you can follow Brett Weiner on Twitter @BrettBAW.

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Legal Aid Legislative Briefings at the Massachusetts State House

Earlier this week on Monday, February 10th, I spent the morning at the Massachusetts State House for the 13th Annual Civil Legal Aid Constituent Services Briefing.  Legal aid advocates from across the state spoke to leaders, aides, and state house staffers about issues that impact people.  Specifically, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation brought in attorneys to focus on unemployment, the impact of the American Care Act on health care, housing, foreclosures, homelessness, domestic violence, and government benefits.  I have included a few pictures from the morning below.

Weyonnoh Nelson-Davies, Mehda Makhlouf, and I answering questions at the Community Legal Aid table at the State House.

Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, Mehda Makhlouf, and I answering questions at the Community Legal Aid table at the State House.

Mehda Makhlouf talking about Medicare, Medicaid, MassHealth, Commonwealth Connector, and other health care items.

Mehda Makhlouf talking about Medicare, Medicaid, MassHealth, Commonwealth Connector, and other health care items.

Marc Potvin, from Neighborhood Legal Services, informing others about foreclosure law.

Marc Potvin, from Neighborhood Legal Services, informing others about foreclosure law.

Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies speaking about government benefits.

Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies speaking about government benefits.

In addition to meeting legislative staffers from offices based out of Worcester and Hampden County, I met Christine Lee who is a reporter for Channel 22 News.  I would just like to note that she was a lawyer before she became a journalist.  Follow her on Twitter at @christinenews .

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