Category Archives: Pre-Law Articles

Reasons Why Lawyers Make Good Politicians

Published / by Stephenson

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What do Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama have in common? They both served as sitting presidents of the United States of America. But there is more. Besides being leaders of the free world, these politicians studied Law in College. The list is longer than these two, making the all-time conclusion that maybe, just maybe, being a lawyer is likely to make a prospective politician than a non-lawyer. Here is why:

Public speaking skills

Politicians are often expected to be smooth-talkers whose words should move a crowd. With the whole world looking and opinions polls counting every two seconds, politicians are better off delivering impressive speeches, be it in debates or a presser. It so happens that lawyers have the experience of addressing masses of people in court. Lawyers also interact with people from all walks of title, giving them that common touch. Effective public speaking is, therefore, a great given to them when they decide to pursue political interests.

The art of persuasion

A lawyer spends most of his time at work convincing people to listen to his point of view and embrace it. It could be the judge or a jury. A good lawyer always thrives on presenting well-reasoned arguments that will make him win. These arguments hone the skill of persuasion, which is highly needed by politicians. At the time before elections, the ambitious politician needs to persuade the voter to vote him/her. After elections, the art of persuasion helps in debates especially to pull other members of the house to his/her side when discussing critical bills.

Analytical skills

Barristers spend a lot of time analyzing complex situations and resolving them. The ability to find a range of solutions for a problem and the knack for detail makes lawyers very flexible politicians. Most lawyers are also able to perform under pressure, a characteristic that every politician should have.

Knowledge of Legislation

Based on their background, lawyers have a lot more prior know-how as to how legislative processes work. Politicians cannot run away from legislation. Studying law gives a politician an upper hand in understandings how laws are made and how they ought to be applied.

Ethics

Law is quite the principled profession. Since progressive politics is built on ethics, most lawyers make a good fit as far as this factor is considered. Not all lawyers are ethical-there are some bad fruits in there- but a good percentage of them have a good understanding of the ethical values to adhere to.

5 Characteristics of Successful Law Firms

Published / by Stephenson

Going by the number of TV shows based on law firms and their lawyer magic, law firms are here to stay. Then comes the question: Just how much money do lawyers in prestigious firms make? Are the figures as exaggerated as they sound? Well, lawyers in prestigious firms do receive hefty paychecks. Most of the time, these lawyers actually put in the time and work to earn as much as they do.
For a young law firm, it may seem an uphill task to scale the heights that the high and mighty in the legal world have reached. Here are some of the things to do to rise that ladder faster:

Keep the customer close

Just like in business, the customer is the most important person. To build a lasting relationship, the firm has to establish a certain level of trust with its clientele. Satisfied customers are more likely to refer new clients to your firm and grow the base.

Focus on the strengths

The most successful law firms have specialized in their area of expertise. When the lawyers in the firm have zeroed in on a particular legal practice(s), then they are likely to deliver services at an excellent score level. To be good in a particular field, the law firm might consider encouraging its practitioners to read more and attend relevant seminars on the same.

Build a Strong online presence

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Most Americans today go online to seek for the least of solutions. The taxi business has Uber; the Health Sector has numerous apps and websites. To attract new customers, law firms must also adapt to these changes and set up an interactive website to market themselves. A good website builds credibility and gives a potential customer the confidence to approach them with their needs.

Outside-the-Office Networking

To broaden the scope of language and be more believable when representing their clients, lawyers must develop an interest in their clients’ activities and have a first-hand experience of what they do. For example, lawyers in a firm representing the Yankees must have an idea what American football is all about. Interacting with people in outreach activities and being actively involved in the community creates a good reputation.

Get a sturdy support staff

Having a reliable staff that will attend to financial operations, I.T support, as well as other professional duties is very crucial. By supporting the firm’s running, much of the workload for the attorneys is cut to a level where they can offer quality services as is needed.

Marine Nude Picture Scandal

Published / by Stephenson

three marines working together

If you have not heard of the very disturbing nude picture scandal that recently came out, I will fill you in on what I have learned. Apparently, there was a secret Facebook page created by marines, for marines. The secret page contained provocative pictures of female marines. From what I understand, the pictures were either clandestinely taken of the woman, or they were given to Marine men, but were posted on the Facebook page without women’s consent.

I don’t even know how to feel. I guess I can start by stating that I know that that horrible scandal is not a proper reflection of every male in the Marines. I am sure that a lot of them are just as disgusted with the marines who were a part of this scandal as the rest of us are. I am not writing this to talk down on the Marines.

That being said, I am utterly repulsed by the maries who were a part of this. The Facebook page had 30,000 members – all of them were current marines and former marines. I don’t understand. These men are supposed to be leaders. They signed up for the military to protect our country. The signed up for the military to protect our rights, our privacy, and our freedom. How could they violate the very rights that they have sacrificed so much for? To make matters worse, they violated the rights and privacy of their own fellow marines.

Maybe they did not sign up for the marines to be role models; it’s fine if they didn’t. I am not saying that marines or anyone in the military has to wear a halo on their heads. But you are representing our country. You are in a sense, helping to keep our country together. How are you helping lead our country when you are doing things that help tear us down? It was probably all in fun to them. I am sure they assumed that since it was a private page, that it was not a big deal. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Regardless of them being marines, that is someone’s daughter, or sister, or mother. You don’t do that. Have some respect for them, and have some respect for yourself.

I just hope that they are punished for this. I just can’t understand what would make them think that it is ok to violate someone’s privacy like that. Why would you want to support such a disgusting page? All I can do is pray for them. There are so many good marines out there, perhaps they will follow their lead, instead of the lead of some twisted Facebook users. What are your thoughts on this scandal? Leave your comments down below!

Defamation

Published / by Stephenson

Defamation is when a person claims actions taken by another has ruined or damaged their reputation. Defamation is not a criminal law offence. Instead defamation falls under the category of civil law. As defamation is categorized under civil law, when a defamation case is filed the aggrieved party is seeking financial compensation for damages to their reputation. Defamation law strikes the balance between the right to freedom of speech for all and the need to ensure people can protect their reputations arising from false and harmful comments.

Defamation can occur in both written and spoken form

Libel
If defamation occurs in writing, such as in a newspaper, it is called libel.

Slander
If defamation occurs when spoken, such as during a speech, it is called slander.

Proof Of Defamation
Suing someone for defamation is when a person takes legal action to protect his or her reputation. In order to prove that a person has been defamed, proof has to be established. The statement that caused the defamation case can be written, spoken or images such as a cartoon or photograph. The defaming statement needs to show proof of:

• Must be published
• False information
• Injurious results
• The Statement Was Unprivileged

The Statement Was Published
In order to show proof of defamation the statement must have been published. This means that a third party must have been present or have heard, seen or read the defaming statement.

The Statement Held False Information
The information in a defaming statement must be false. Even if the statement is considered horrible or mean, it is only defamation when it is false. If a person writes a bad review about a new book, it is not necessarily defamation as the statement can not necessarily be proved to be wrong.

There Were Injurious Results
A statement that defamed an individual must have caused injurious results to that person’s reputation. This can include losing employment, having the press harass them and being shunned by friends or associates.

The Statement Was Unprivileged
In order for a defamation case to be filed the statement must be unprivileged. In some environments statements are protected by law from being considered defamation and are considered privileged. For example, the statement that a witness makes during a court case is considered a privileged statement. This is also true of government ministers and lawmakers.

Should Minors Have a Curfew

Published / by Stephenson

SYes, yes, and double yes. When I think back at the tragedies that occurred amongst my peers when I was a teenager, they typically had to do with them being out late when they should have been at home. My heart breaks just thinking about those stories, because they could have been easily prevented. I feel that a lot of teen deaths could be prevented if minors had a curfew, and I feel as though there should be a law that requires minors to have a curfew.

My main question is, “Why not?” I can only see more good than harm coming from this. Where do these kids and teenagers have to go at 11:00 pm? I can see this as limiting their rights in some way, but I do not know if they are at the maturity level to handle being out that late.

Adults experience some of the worst accidents and violent encounters when they are out doing stuff late at night. Why wouldn’t a minor? I have seen minors who finally get their license, racing at midnight on what they think is an empty road. How many news stories are there where young teens were drinking and driving late at night, and got into a horrible car accident? I am not saying that children and teens are not competent beings. I do not feel that way at all; that is why I want to lower the voting age. However, I think most people, adults and children alike, tend to feel freer at nighttime, and they also tend to get into a lot more trouble at nighttime.

That being said, I don’t think that the curfew should be ridiculous, and I think that the curfew should be extended on the weekends. I also feel that minors around the age of 17 (and maybe 16) should have a later curfew.

Everything in life is about giving and taking. A legal curfew for minors can be a protective measure, without completely debilitating them of enjoying an evening out with their friends. Do you think a law should be made that gives minors a curfew? Leave a comment down below!

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution

Published / by Stephenson

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, overriding lesser laws and acting as the fundamental basis of our legal and political systems. How, then, does the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution work?

Article VI, Clause 2, or The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, is a vital rule which primarily serves to enforce federal rulings over state rulings. As a federated government, the United States has both federal and state laws, as well as a plethora of local laws. When these laws overlap or conflict with one another, there must be some form of remedy to determine which is the ultimate law to be followed; the supremacy clause functions exactly as that remedy.

The Supremacy Clause holds that the constitution, and most federal laws, will supersede and override laws at the state level. States who are dissatisfied with a specific federal law are not permitted to violate it, even if they have their own laws or constitution stating otherwise.

As a conflict-of-laws rule, the Supremacy Clause establishes one ultimate legal authority, and prevents a number of judicial conflicts over jurisdiction from breaking out.
A pertinent historical example of this is the desegregation of schools in the American South in the 1960’s; in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jim Crow laws often forbade African Americans from attending White schools in many Southern states. These laws were eventually rendered null after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional.

Now that racial segregation was unconstitutional per the highest law in the land, it no longer mattered that existing state laws or constitutions forbade them; it was the Supremacy Clause in action.

Intricate legal and political systems like that of the United States need rules such as the Supremacy Clause to keep things functioning smoothly. Without it, our nation would be a land of complex and contradictory laws vying against one another for legal legitimacy.
What are your thoughts on the Supremacy Clause? How do you think our nation would be different without such a rule? Leave a comment down below!

Evaluating How the Criminal Justice System Works

Published / by Stephenson

The criminal justice system is basically made up of 3 major institutions that process each case from inception to trial and punishment. Cases are set in motion when law enforcement officers investigate a criminal offence and gather evidence that can be used to pin down the presumed perpetrator. Thereafter, the case is forwarded to the court system, which analyzes the evidence presented before it to establish whether the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

If the defendant is found to be guilty of the alleged crime, a jail term will be prescribed depending on the seriousness of the crime that he/she committed. The corrections system uses several means to punish offenders including probation and incarceration. The correction system similarly aims at rehabilitating those who go through it.

At each stage of the criminal justice process, there are various constitutional protections that have been implemented to guarantee to protection of the rights of the convicted and accused persons. These protections are important since they make it possible for the criminal justice system to carry out investigations and prosecute the accused persons while upholding their fundamental human rights.

1. Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System

The police are an important pillar of the criminal justice system. The constitution protects those who are accused from police abuse and brutality. The Miranda advisement for instance, prohibits law enforcement officers from carrying out unreasonable arrests and searches. In as much as arrested people are aware of pertinent issues such as the right to remain silent, it is the duty of the arresting officers to remind them about these rights before questioning them.

the criminal justice system hard at work

On unreasonable searches and arrests, the Miranda advisement prevents law enforcement officers from arresting a suspect or searching his/her home without a valid warrant. Nonetheless, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, a suspect can be arrested without a warrant in the event that there is a hot pursuit, or the alteration of evidence.

3. The Court System and Bail

Just like it is the case with arresting a suspect, dozens of restrictions pertaining the trial of cases also exist. This includes the right to confront the defendant’s accusers, right to counsel, right against implicating one’s self, and the right to trial by a jury. The role of these safeguards is to ensure that the accused have a fair trial. Besides this, the defendants have the right to choose an attorney of their choice without being restricted by the court.

Before going to trial, the accused may have the chance to post bail. This is what is used to help people get out of jail before any pending trial or sentencing. In the US Constitution, the 8th Amendment explicitly details that bail bonds should not be excessively expensive. There are a few reasons for this, including negating the government’s ability to collect money from a defendant, nor should bail be used to punish a person suspected of committing a crime.

3. Corrections

The role of jails is to punish and rehabilitate criminals. However, this must be done in a human way since they are also protected by fundamental human rights. More often than less, jail terms or probation is used. Offenders who are sentenced to probation are typically those who have committed minor misdemeanors. However, more serious felonies are likely to attract jail terms.

Hope you enjoyed this! If you have any thoughts or comments please let me know.

Texting and Driving is Legal in Texas

Published / by Stephenson

Texting and Driving is Legal in Texas: When Will That Change?

Considering what a conservative state Texas is, I was shocked to learn that there is no state law in Texas that prohibits texting and driving for the general public. I was not just shocked, I was appalled.

After learning about this, I went on the DMV site for Texas and almost laughed at what I read. The page about distracted driver’s states that 23% of car accidents are caused by distracted drivers. After stating that, ironically enough, it lists the laws that Texas has implemented to fix that problem. After reading those laws, I realized that they enabled the problem more than fixing the problem.

The only time that texting and driving is prohibited state wide, is when Texas residents are texting and driving in designated school zones, when a driver is under 18, and when a bus driver is driving. Really? So after a person is 18, or when a bus driver hops into his personal car, he or she is allowed to text and drive? This blows my mind. How is that ok? I understand that it is physically impossible to catch everyone who texts and drives, but that does not mean that Texas should just allow them to do whatever they want. If more people got fined or were given a little bit of jail time for texting and driving, I think that there would be a definite decrease in the number of horrific accidents that happen due to texting and driving.

I am not trying to pick on Texas; I have not researched other states who do not have any general laws banning texting and driving. However, I live in Texas, and I am really disappointed to learn this information. I love Texas, but with us being one of the largest states in America, I would have hoped that we would do a better job of protecting and regulating our citizens, while also being an example to other states.

On a more positive note, there are lot of cities in Texas that ban texting and driving. I was happy to see that major cities like Austin and San Antonio are a part of that group. However, I was extremely disappointed to learn that Houston, one of the largest cities in the United States, does not ban texting and driving. Houston should be the main city that prohibits texting and driving. Dallas, another large city, does not have a law that bans texting and driving as well.

I am trying to be rational and figure out what the logic is behind this. Something that came to mind, was that a lot of people would simply deny that they were texting and driving, or perhaps cops would be easily triggered to stop people all of the time. I don’t know. Regardless, this is a huge safety issue. I think that Texas should make a law that bans texting and driving in all cities. I do not know if this is based off of a Supreme Court ruling that says that cities have the power to make that decision on their own or not. I have to do more research. But if that is not the case, then this needs to be changed; not just in Texas, but in all states. Also, to those of you who text and drive. Please, please, please stop. You are not only putting yourself in danger, but you are also putting the lives of other innocent people in danger. Here is an article about the potential to make texting illegal.

How Do Arrests Work

Published / by Stephenson

An arrest occurs when a police officer apprehends a person suspected of committing a crime. The person under arrest is then taken into custody and they are no longer able to simply walk away. Usually, a person is arrested for being a suspect prior to being formally charged with that crime. Often, when a person is arrested they will also be formally charged. A person cannot go to court and be convicted of a crime without first being arrested and charged with it. Remember, police officers must follow set out rules when arresting a person.

When a person is being apprehended police will search that person. This is done to ensure that they are not carrying a weapon or do not have anything else on their person, like drugs or stolen items. Police may also search the property or car of the person being detained.

A person under arrest still maintains the right to not speak and to have access to an attorney at all times. Police officers must read a person their rights and grant them access to a lawyer.

guy in handcuffs

Once at the station, the police officers will officially take information like the suspects full name and date of birth. This is called being booked and the details of the person being arrested are then formally recorded. The arrested person will also have their fingerprints recorded and their photograph taken.

Then, the suspect may be formally charged with the crime they allegedly committed. The prosecutor must then decide if the apprehended person will be formally charged with committing a crime or not.

If the charges are successfully filed, then that person will need to appear in court. The charges against the alleged criminal will be read out to the courtroom and they have to state if they plead guilty or not guilty.

Depending on the nature of the crime, the person charged may be able to apply for bail. This means that person would pay a set amount of money to the court to get out of jail and ensure that they will go to all mandatory court dates. If bail is refused, that person will stay in police custody until the trial concludes!

Here is another neat article on arrests and how they work. I also wanted to share this video about arrests and excessive force.