Tag Archives: Social

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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How Do You Organize Your Business Cards?

Over the years, I have amassed a box full of business cards from various professionals.  I do the traditional method which is to write how I met the individual on the back of the business card and a few key facts about them (or name pronunciations).  Then, I put them in this box that sits in my desk drawer.

I am thinking of converting these cards to an electronic format, but I would rather not add them to my mobile phone contacts.  What type of programs do you use to organize your business contacts and business cards?

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Facebook Obtains a Patent Related to Credit-Worthiness Calculations Based on Your Social Network

Last week, Facebook obtained a patent that allows for filtering spam emails, improving searches, filtering offensive content, and using a person’s social network to determine their credit worthiness.  CNN Money describes in a recent article how the credit risk analysis works:

“You apply for a loan and your would-be lender somehow examines the credit ratings of your Facebook friends.

“If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected,” the patent states.”

Other publications, like the National Journal in this piece and the Consumerist in this post, are writing about the potential harm from this patent.  The National Journal writes, “lenders would have access to the credit scores of your Facebook friends. Judging by their credit scores, a loan could be rejected. It’s guilt by association.”

Both the National Journal and Consumerist emphasize the negative effects this patent could have on social network users who are on the border of good and bad credit because their credit worthiness could gravitate in a particular direction based on their Facebook friends.  The National Journal pointed out that, “There is a major disparity in access to credit between Latinos and Blacks and their White counterparts,” and this new feature could potentially have a disparate impact based on a user’s race.

However, it should be noted that Facebook has not publicly announced whether they plan on using this credit worthiness feature yet.

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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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NCLC Consumer Law Conference Nov. 7-10, 2013

I want to draw your attention to the National Consumer Law Center‘s (“NCLC”) Annual Conference scheduled for November 7 to November 10th in Arlington, Virginia.  NCLC is well known for their extensive guidebooks on consumer law ranging from topics about student loans to foreclosure law to credit reporting.

The organization just released the agenda for the Consumer Law Conference and the program is filled with hot topics about class actions, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) regulations, maximizing damages, loss mitigation, litigating debts, and much more.  A full schedule with speaker bios and panel names is available here.  If you want to register for the NCLC Conference, click on this link here to access their website.  NCLC will also offer, for an additional fee on top of the regular registration fee, a one day symposium at the end of the conference on either bankruptcy for distressed homeowners or class actions in consumer law.

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30 Years of Working for Justice

On May 22nd, the Massachusetts Legal Aid Corporation hosted the 30th year anniversary gala at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.  The keynote speaker was former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman.

Many attorneys, judges, and supporters of civil legal aid attended the event.  It was great to speak with so many lawyers who have practiced for countless years and dedicated their lives to social justice.

I was pictured in one of the photo opportunities here and it was published on GazetteNet.com which is a newspaper based out of Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Prison Reviews on Yelp

Who could predict such uses for social media?  The Huffington Post published an article about how inmates review prisons and post the writings on Yelp.  Because the reviews are available publicly, lawyers, family members, bail bondsmen, and various investigators use the information to their advantage.  Read more about these reviews here.

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Yahoo! to Purchase Tumblr for $1.1 Billion

Yesterday, Yahoo! announced its plans and its offer to buy Tumblr for $1.1 Billion.  The official press release is available here.

Tumblr, often called a blogging website, allows users to post quick and short updates.  Tumblr is very similar to Twitter, but without the constraints of the 140 character limit.  Also viewed as a social networking site, Tumblr does not have as many bells and whistles as Facebook.

The Yahoo! press release assured the public that:

Per the agreement and our [Yahoo!’s] promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!’s Chief Executive Officer, explained that Yahoo!’s older audience and Tumblr’s younger audience will fit together and she stands firm with her business decision.  The Washington Post published more details about the acquisition and you can read about it here.

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Legality of Pins and Posts on Pinterest

One of the latest new crazes on the Internet is a popular site called Pinterest.  Pinterest is a social networking site described as, “a content sharing service that allows members to ‘pin’ images, videos and other objects to their pinboard.”  Users can find pictures images or videos on the Internet and re-post them or ‘pin’ them on their Pinterest pages.  Users can organize their pinboards or Pinterest pages by themes, collections, or categories.

A photographer, blogger, and lawyer named Kirsten posted an article on the legality of pinning images on a person’s Pinterest account.  The initial blog post can be found at her website: DDK Portraits.  Kirsten concludes that users are liable for copyright violations as Pinterest’s terms of use offer no protection to users.  She states:

“My initial response is probably the same as most of yours:  ‘Why [can’t I pin their work]?  I’m giving them credit and it’s only creating more exposure for them and I LOVE when people pin my stuff!’  But then I realized, I was unilaterally making the decision FOR that other photographer…Bottom line is that it is not my decision to make.  Not legally and not ethically.”

After she published the blog post, Pinterest contacted her and she wrote a follow up which is available here.  The conversation with Pinterest led to this conclusion:

[Pinterest founder] knows there are issues with Pinterest and the fear of claims of copyright infringement and he wants to figure out a way to make “his little web page” (which he said his Dad calls it — I thought that was cute) work within the confines of the law AND in a way where photographers and every user feels comfortable.

Business Insider published an article by Alyson Shontell which further summarized the issues.  Shontell states:

Basically, if a photographer sues you for pinning an image illegally on Pinterest, the user must not only pay for his or her lawyer, they must also pay for Pinterest’s lawyer.  In addition, the defendant must pay all charges against him or herself, along with all of Pinterest’s charges.

Check out the links to the full articles above.

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