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Gov. Patterson Green Lights Gay Marriage in New York

Checkmark In what amounts to a major victory for gay marriage advocates, Governor Paterson issued a directive which required that state agencies recognize gay marriages performed in another jurisdiction. 

While I've always supported marriage, I've had issues with allowing it via judicial directive as our laws are currently written.  Passing legislation that allows gay marriage is, in my opinion, the best way to avoid the thorny issues of constitutional interpretation and allow every New Yorker to receive the benefits derived from the vows of a life time commitment to another human being. 

This directive is a step in that direction, but legislation should be passed in order to mute the objections of those who oppose gay marriage.

Some excerpts from an AP article

Paterson issued a memo earlier this month saying that gay New Yorkers who marry where it is legal will have the right to share family health care plans, receive tax breaks by filing jointly, enjoy stronger adoption rights and inherit property. He cited a February ruling in a New York Appellate Division court in which the judges determined that there is no legal impediment in New York to the recognition of a same-sex marriage...

At a Manhattan news conference on Thursday, Paterson, a Roman Catholic, defended the directive, saying failure to issue it would have left the state open to lawsuits claiming the state deprived gay couples of civil rights enjoyed in other states.

"We have a time-held and time-tested tradition honoring those marital rights," Paterson said. "I am taking the same approach that this state always has with respect to out-of-state or marriages conducted in foreign governments being recognized here in the state of New York. I am following the law as it has always existed."

The New York Legal News Round Up

Latest_newsIt's the middle of the week and time for the round up of New York law-related headlines from the past week:

The New York Legal Blog Round Up

Blawgs It's time for the belated round up of interesting posts from my fellow New York law bloggers:

Indignant Indigent:

Judgment Day:

Juz the Fax:

New York Civil Law:

New York Public Personnel Law:

Second Opinions:

Define That Term #283

Dictionary_2 Last week's term was jus cogens, which is defined as:

Principles of international law so fundamental that no nation may ignore them or attempt to contract out of them through treaties. For example, genocide and participating in a slave trade are thought to be jus cogens.

Edward Wiest's guess was pretty much spot on.

Today's term is:

Feres Doctrine.

As always, educated guesses are welcome.  Dictionaries are not.

The New York Legal News Round Up

Latest_news It's time for the round up of interesting New York legal headlines from the past week:

Technology, Web 2.0, and the Practice of Law

Drlogo11 This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Technology, Web 2.0, and the Practice of Law" 

My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.


Technology, Web 2.0, and the Practice of Law


  Your old road
        Is rapidly agin'
        Please get out of the new one
        If you can't lend your hand
        For the times they are a'changin'

            --Bob Dylan

      Many lawyers find themselves overwhelmed with their workloads and as a result, keeping up with technological changes is relatively low on their list of priorities.   

      It shouldn’t be. Technology is dramatically altering the legal landscape, and if you don’t make an effort to keep up, you’ll be left behind with a dust cloud swirling around you, wondering what hit you.
     While learning about emerging technologies may seem like a daunting task, it needn’t be.  There will most certainly be a learning curve, but the effort spent familiarizing yourself with new technology will pay off immensely in the long run.

      A great place to start is at the website my colleagues, Greg Back and Matt Lerner, and I created to complement a continuing legal education seminar recently held at the Monroe County Bar Association:  Practicing Law in the 21st Century--Practice Management and Substantive Law Resources on the Internet. This website, a blog, is predictably called Practicing Law in the 21st Century.

      The blog highlights readily available internet resources and tools that will allow lawyers to practice beyond the four walls of their law office and become more productive, more efficient and less stressed.  It provides links to a vast assortment of cutting edge law office management tools, productivity tools, links to free legal research sites, and free substantive resources. 

      Many of the tools highlighted on the blog are considered to be part of the next generation of Web 2.0 applications.

      Of course, after reading the previous sentence, you might be wondering:  What exactly is Web 2.0? 

      Wikipedia describes Web 2.0 as “the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users…(t)he idea of ‘Web 2.0’ can also relate to a transition of some websites from isolated information silos to interlinked computing platforms that function like locally-available software in the perception of the user. Web 2.0 also includes a social element where users generate and distribute content, often with freedom to share and re-use. This can result in a rise in the economic value of the web to businesses, as users can perform more activities online.”
    In other words, Web 2.0 is a living, breathing, evolving World Wide Web, which increasingly relies upon the participation and collaboration of its users.  Websites are no longer static, information-providing pages.  Rather, they are ever changing and responsive, with the content being envisioned, generated and shared by a participatory web community.   Much of the content is created and stored online using web applications, as opposed software downloaded to individual computers.  YouTube, Wikipedia, blogs, and Flickr are prime examples of Web 2.0 in action.

      One of the Web 2.0 applications that was a favorite of many participants on the CLE panel was Jott, a free reminder service that, among other things, allows you to call your Jott account vis a toll-free number and dictate a note which is transcribed and sent to you via email or text message.  Another very useful Web 2.0 application, Zamzar, provides free online file conversion.  This web applications converts uploaded files into any number of formats, from, for example, Word to WordPerfect, and sends the converted file right to your email inbox.
     Also of interest to many participants were the office suites available online at no cost, which offer the ability to create word processing documents, spreadsheets and online presentations, much like Microsoft Office.  Zoho,Open Office  and Google Docs  are well-known and popular online platforms that provide these services.

      Another tidbit that caused a stir amongst seminar attendees was the fact the entire New York Code of Rules and Regulations is newly available for free online.  Also of interest was a useful and free online database containing the municipal codes of nearly every town and village in New York State.

      These websites are just the tip of the iceberg.  Head on over to the blog and explore it at your leisure.  Embrace technology and learn how to practice law in the 21st century.   
    I promise--it will be relatively painless.  You might even find it to be an interesting, educational and enjoyable experience!

The New York Legal Blog Round Up

Blawgs_2 It's a chilly day in May and time for the weekly round up of interesting posts from my fellow New York blawgers:

Coverage Counsel:

Judgment Day:

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog:

New York Personal Injury Law Blog:

New York Public Personnel Law:

No-Fault Paradise:

Second Opinion:

Law and Web 2.0

Checkmark Today, I participated in a CLE, Practicing Law in The 21st Century, with two fellow bloggers, Matt Lerner of the New York Civil Law Blog and Gregory Bell of the Jazz@Rochester blog.  The venerable Charles Inclima was our moderator.

In conjunction with the CLE, Greg, Matt and I created a blog, creatively named: Practicing Law in the 21st Century.

This blog highlights "tools that will help lawyers to practice beyond the four walls of the law office and make life within those wall less burdensome and, possibly, less expensive" and includes information regarding:

Our goal is to periodically update the blog with new resources and information.

Check it out.  If I may say so myself, it's a great resource!