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Will law firms open up to Open Source?

How lawyers are using it

The Firefox web browser is probably the Open Source program most commonly used by lawyers. Firefox is a secure, powerful browser that outperforms Internet Explorer in many ways.

"I live in Firefox," said Denise Howell, a Los Angeles sole practitioner.

She notes that many plug-ins are available for Firefox which are also Open Source. The plug-ins add many new features and functionality.

But Howell's experience with other Open Source programs do not compare to that of Firefox.

"I have used other Open Source programs sporadically, but nothing has stood the test of time like Firefox," she said.

John Sakers of Younts Consulting, a legal technology consulting company in Maryland, has been assembling a full set of Open Source applications and has chosen Foxfire as the anchor for this project.

"In my practice I still frequently hear 'Open Source isn't for serious work,' but mainstream apps like Firefox are changing that tune," he said.

For lawyers looking for Microsoft alternatives, Thunderbird, a companion program to Firefox, provides a viable alternative to Outlook for e-mail. It's robust, full-featured and free.

There are a variety of other useful open source programs for lawyers, including password keeps, encryption programs, PDF creators, case management programs and even full-featured audio editing programs like Audacity, a favorite of lawyers experimenting with podcasting and audio programs.

Other options for firms include Linux (an alternative to the Windows operating system most commonly used on network servers) or Apache (Web server software popular for hosting websites and other Internet applications). Interestingly, both large law firms and techie solos have switched to Linux for cost, reliability and security reasons.

OpenOffice is the Open Source alternative to Microsoft Office. It's free and it produces documents in Word formats. Firms looking at the costs of moving to Office 2007 will be giving Open Office a look.

Enrico Schaefer, who has a small firm in Traverse City, Mich., suggests a creative way to use OpenOffice. His firm, like many others, has extra computers attached to scanners or available to anyone, including clients at the office.

"While computers are cheap, Microsoft Office is not," he said. "OpenOffice is a fully featured office suite, fully compatible with Microsoft Word and Excel. Most important of all, it is free."

Open Source programs are also attractive when a firm has limited needs for a type of software or wants to experiment with a new area of technology to see if it works for them before making a large cash outlay. For example:

# Photo editing.

Buying a copy of Photoshop to edit a few digital pictures is an expensive proposition. However, the free Open Source GIMP program might do all you want and more.

# Audio.

Using the free Audacity program to edit audio might work well for you until you decide that you are committed to doing audio programs or outgrow the program.

# PDF formatting.

PDFCreator gives you the ability to create PDF files without the need to invest in Adobe Acrobat Professional on every computer.

# Extranets.

Enrico Schaefer, the Michigan solo, has tried activeCollab as a no-cost alternative to create extranets for clients.


David Jacobson's Australian Law Blogs List

If you are looking for an Australian blog on a specific Australian law-related topic then I suggest you look at the sites below. Once you've had a look I suggest you subscribe to the feeds of the blogs you like and then develop your personal preferences from there.

If you know of a site not mentioned by me that's worth adding to the list, let me know:
david at djacobson dot com.

David Starkoff (Inchoate)
…High Court analysis

David Jeffery (Oikos) government environmental lawyer

Bazpat (Patent attorney)

Warwick Rothnie (Melbourne IP barrister)

Simon Slade (Adelaide criminal defence)

Peter Black (Freedom to Differ)...media law

Law Font (group)…law, technology, economics, policy

House of Commons (IP research group)

Nic Suzor (technology law/creative commons)

Lightbulb IP

IP Downunder

Small firms and solos

Australian Real Estate Blog

Simon Lewis' Lawyers Workstation Conferences

FarisQC Blog

The Legal Soapbox (legal/political)

Dr Mirko Bargaric (Moral Dilemma)

Open and Shut (Freedom of Information and privacy legislation)

Weatherall's Law (last post January 2007, but a great copyright law resource)

And of course, my blogs

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Humor from the LawTunes

Lawrence Savell, of LawTunes fame, has released his third CD of original "allegedly-humorous" law-related rock-and-roll holiday songs, "Merry Lexmas From The LawTunes." His two previous CDs were "The Lawyer's Holiday Humor Album" and "Legal Holidaze." The CDs can be purchased individually or as part of the LawTunes Holiday Trio at LawTunes.com.

The 15 tracks on "Merry Lexmas From The Lawtunes" include: "Another Billable Christmas," "Santa's Headhunter's Calling," "Livin' Life In Six Minutes," "Merry Lexmas, Baby," "I Got A Footnote In My Stocking," "Ridin' On A Red-Eye With Santa On Christmas Eve," "Hey, Santa, I Appeal," "We're All Just Elves," "So If Your Client's Name Is Santa," "Billable Christmas Blues," "Merry Lexmas Time," "You Don't Wanna Cross Santa," "Down the Halls of Nussbaum, Hanley" (parody of "Deck The Halls"), "The Twelve Days of Lexmas" (parody of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"), and "Billin' On Christmas Eve."

Savell's songs are part of an "effort to make people think a little differently about lawyers, and show that attorneys are not necessarily humorless, boring, or incapable of self-deprecation (success on at least the last item is guaranteed)." Learn more about the LawTunes, listen to sound clips, and order the CDs at LawTunes.com.

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BlawgSearch and Blawgs Radio

BlawgSearch.com, a search tool for legal blogs. The database of more than 1,000 editorially selected legal blogs is updated throughout the day with new posts. You can sort your search results by relevance or posting date, and you can subscribe to RSS feeds of your searches.

There is also a blawg directory, with subject and locality categories, and a blawg-rankings system. Thousands more legal blogs, as well as additional features and functionality, will be added.

If you are looking for podcasts and other multimedia files, try Blawgs.fm. Now available in its first alpha version, Blawgs.fm searches all of the posts that are included in BlawgSearch.com, but just returns those posts that have audio or video files attached to them. There is also a directory of legal podcasts and vidcasts, categorized by subject and locality, and ranking of the podcasts.


Law Podcasts

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School "is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development." As part of its mission, the Berkman Center hosts lectures and discussions by professors, scholars, attorneys, activists, and other experts on a wide range of topics relating its mission.

The Berkman Center makes audio and video recordings of these lectures and discussions available for free at MediaBerkman. Recent podcasts have included:

  • “Africa’s Internet Infrastructure” with Eric Osiakwan and Ethan Zuckerman
  • “Napster's Second Life? Regulatory Dynamics of Virtual Worlds” with Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government
  • “Does Participatory Culture Lead to Participatory Democracy?” with David Weinberger, Research Fellow, Berkman Center
  • “Copyright and Access to Knowledge” with Mary Wong, Professor of Law, Franklin Pierce Law Center
  • “Opening Up to Open Access: What Can Other Disciplines Learn from the Sciences?” with Gavin Yamey, Senior Editor, PLoS [Public Library of Science] Medicine

The recordings are usually a little over an hour, but you can download the audio to your MP3 player and listen while you take a walk, ride a stationary bike, or just relax. So download a podcast and learn something interesting while you take a break.


Mortgage Glossary

The following terms are important in the mortgage and housing profession, but often come up in division of property in a divorce situation:

SOURCE: DivorceNet

203(b): FHA program which provides mortgage insurance to protect lenders from default; used to finance the purchase of new or existing one- to four-family housing; characterized by low down payment, flexible qualifying guidelines, limited fees, and a limit on maximum loan amount.

203(k): this FHA mortgage insurance program enables homebuyers to finance both the purchase of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage loan.


Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM): a mortgage loan subject to changes in interest rates; when rates change, ARM monthly payments increase or decrease at intervals determined by the lender; the change in monthly payment amount, however, is usually subject to a cap.

Amenity: a feature of the home or property that serves as a benefit to the buyer but that is not necessary to its use; may be natural (like location, woods, water) or man-made (like a swimming pool or garden).

Amortization: repayment of a mortgage loan through monthly installments of principal and interest; the monthly payment amount is based on a schedule that will allow you to own your home at the end of a specific time period (for example, 15 or 30 years).

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): calculated by using a standard formula, the APR shows the cost of a loan; expressed as a yearly interest rate, it includes the interest, points, mortgage insurance, and other fees associated with the loan.

Application: the first step in the official loan approval process; necessary to the underwriting process, this form is used to record important information about the potential borrower.

Appraisal: a document that gives an estimate of a property's fair market value; an appraisal is generally required by a lender before loan approval to ensure that the mortgage loan amount is not more than the value of the property.

Appraiser: a qualified individual who uses his or her experience and knowledge to prepare the appraisal estimate.

ARM: See Adjustable Rate Mortgage.

Assessor: a government official who is responsible for determining the value of a property for the purpose of taxation.

Assumable mortgage: a mortgage that can be transferred from a seller to a buyer; once the loan is assumed by the buyer the seller is no longer responsible for repaying it; there may be a fee and/or a credit package involved in the transfer of an assumable mortgage.


Balloon mortgage: a mortgage that typically offers low rates for an initial period of time (usually 5, 7, or 10) years; after that time period elapses, the balance is due or is refinanced by the borrower.

Bankruptcy: a federal law whereby a person's assets are turned over to a trustee and used to pay off outstanding debts; this usually occurs when someone owes more than they have the ability to repay.

Borrower: a person who has been approved to receive a loan and is then obligated to repay it and any additional fees according to the loan terms.

Building code: based on agreed-upon safety standards within a specific area, a building code is a set of regulations that determines the design, construction, and materials used in building.

Budget: a detailed record of all income earned and spent during a specific period of time.


Cap: a limit, such as that placed on an adjustable rate mortgage, on how much a monthly payment or interest rate can increase or decrease.

Cash reserves: a cash amount sometimes required to be held in reserve in addition to the down payment and closing costs; the amount is determined by the lender.

Certificate of title: a document provided by a qualified source (such as a title company) that shows the property legally belongs to the current owner; before the title is transferred at closing, it should be clear and free of all liens or other claims.

Closing: also known as settlement, this is the time at which the property is formally sold and transferred from the seller to the buyer; it is at this time that the borrower takes on the loan obligation, pays all closing costs, and receives title from the seller.

Closing costs: customary costs above and beyond the sale price of the property that must be paid to cover the transfer of ownership at closing; these costs generally vary by geographic location and are typically detailed to the borrower after submission of a loan application.

Commission: an amount, usually a percentage of the property sales price, that is collected by a real estate professional as a fee for negotiating the transaction.

Condominium: a form of ownership in which individuals purchase and own a unit of housing in a multi-unit complex; the owner also shares financial responsibility for common areas.

Conventional loan: a private sector loan, one that is not guaranteed or insured by the U.S. government.

Cooperative (Co-op): residents purchase stock in a cooperative corporation that owns a structure; each stockholder is then entitled to live in a specific unit of the structure and is responsible for paying a portion of the loan.

Credit history: history of an individual's debt payments; lenders use this information to gauge a potential borrower's ability to repay a loan.

Credit report: a record that lists all past and present debts and the timeliness of their repayment; it documents an individual's credit history.

Credit bureau score: a number representing the possibility a borrower may default; it is based upon credit history and is used to determine ability to qualify for a mortgage loan.


Debt-to-income ratio: a comparison of gross income to housing and non-housing expenses; with the FHA, the monthly mortgage payment should be no more than 29% of monthly gross income (before taxes) and the mortgage payment combined with non-housing debts should not exceed 41% of income.

Deed: the document that transfers ownership of a property.

Deed-in-lieu: to avoid foreclosure ("in lieu" of foreclosure), a deed is given to the lender to fulfill the obligation to repay the debt; this process doesn't allow the borrower to remain in the house but helps avoid the costs, time, and effort associated with foreclosure.

Default: the inability to pay monthly mortgage payments in a timely manner or to otherwise meet the mortgage terms.

Delinquency: failure of a borrower to make timely mortgage payments under a loan agreement.

Discount point: normally paid at closing and generally calculated to be equivalent to 1% of the total loan amount, discount points are paid to reduce the interest rate on a loan.

Down payment: the portion of a home's purchase price that is paid in cash and is not part of the mortgage loan.


Earnest money: money put down by a potential buyer to show that he or she is serious about purchasing the home; it becomes part of the down payment if the offer is accepted, is returned if the offer is rejected, or is forfeited if the buyer pulls out of the deal.

EEM: Energy Efficient Mortgage; an FHA program that helps homebuyers save money on utility bills by enabling them to finance the cost of adding energy efficient features to a new or existing home as part of the home purchase.

Equity: an owner's financial interest in a property; calculated by subtracting the amount still owed on the mortgage loan(s) from the fair market value of the property.

Escrow account: a separate account into which the lender puts a portion of each monthly mortgage payment; an escrow account provides the funds needed for such expenses as property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, etc.


Fair Housing Act: a law that prohibits discrimination in all facets of the homebuying process on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

Fair market value: the hypothetical price that a willing buyer and seller will agree upon when they are acting freely, carefully, and with complete knowledge of the situation.

Fannie Mae: Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA); a federally-chartered enterprise owned by private stockholders that purchases residential mortgages and converts them into securities for sale to investors; by purchasing mortgages, Fannie Mae supplies funds that lenders may loan to potential homebuyers.

FHA: Federal Housing Administration; established in 1934 to advance homeownership opportunities for all Americans; assists homebuyers by providing mortgage insurance to lenders to cover most losses that may occur when a borrower defaults; this encourages lenders to make loans to borrowers who might not qualify for conventional mortgages.

Fixed-rate mortgage: a mortgage with payments that remain the same throughout the life of the loan because the interest rate and other terms are fixed and do not change.

Flood insurance: insurance that protects homeowners against losses from a flood; if a home is located in a flood plain, the lender will require flood insurance before approving a loan.

Foreclosure: a legal process in which mortgaged property is sold to pay the loan of the defaulting borrower.

Freddie Mac: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLM); a federally-chartered corporation that purchases residential mortgages, securitizes them, and sells them to investors; this provides lenders with funds for new homebuyers.


Ginnie Mae: Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA); a government-owned corporation overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ginnie Mae pools FHA-insured and VA-guaranteed loans to back securities for private investment; as with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the investment income provides funding that may then be lent to eligible borrowers by lenders.

Good faith estimate: an estimate of all closing fees including pre-paid and escrow items as well as lender charges; must be given to the borrower within three days after submission of a loan application.


HELP: Homebuyer Education Learning Program; an educational program from the FHA that counsels people about the homebuying process; HELP covers topics like budgeting, finding a home, getting a loan, and home maintenance; in most cases, completion of the program may entitle the homebuyer to a reduced initial FHA mortgage insurance premium -- from 2.25% to 1.75% of the home purchase price.

Home inspection: an examination of the structure and mechanical systems to determine a home's safety; makes the potential homebuyer aware of any repairs that may be needed.

Home warranty: offers protection for mechanical systems and attached appliances against unexpected repairs not covered by homeowner's insurance; coverage extends over a specific time period and does not cover the home's structure.

Homeowner's insurance: an insurance policy that combines protection against damage to a dwelling and its contents with protection against claims of negligence (inappropriate action that results in someone's injury or property damage).

Housing counseling agency: provides counseling and assistance to individuals on a variety of issues, including loan default, fair housing, and homebuying.

HUD: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; established in 1965, HUD works to create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans; it does this by addressing housing needs, improving and developing American communities, and enforcing fair housing laws.

HUD1 statement: also known as the "settlement sheet," it itemizes all closing costs; must be given to the borrower at or before closing.

HVAC: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning; a home's heating and cooling system.


Index: a measurement used by lenders to determine changes to the interest rate charged on an adjustable rate mortgage.

Inflation: the number of dollars in circulation exceeds the amount of goods and services available for purchase; inflation results in a decrease in the dollar's value.

Interest: a fee charged for the use of money.

Interest rate: the amount of interest charged on a monthly loan payment; usually expressed as a percentage.

Insurance: protection against a specific loss over a period of time that is secured by the payment of a regularly scheduled premium.


Judgment: a legal decision; when requiring debt repayment, a judgment may include a property lien that secures the creditor's claim by providing a collateral source.


Lease purchase: assists low- to moderate-income homebuyers in purchasing a home by allowing them to lease a home with an option to buy; the rent payment is made up of the monthly rental payment plus an additional amount that is credited to an account for use as a down payment.

Lien: a legal claim against property that must be satisfied when the property is sold.

Loan: money borrowed that is usually repaid with interest.

Loan fraud: purposely giving incorrect information on a loan application in order to better qualify for a loan; may result in civil liability or criminal penalties.

Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio: a percentage calculated by dividing the amount borrowed by the price or appraised value of the home to be purchased; the higher the LTV, the less cash a borrower is required to pay as down payment.

Lock-in: since interest rates can change frequently, many lenders offer an interest rate lock-in that guarantees a specific interest rate if the loan is closed within a specific time.

Loss mitigation: a process to avoid foreclosure; the lender tries to help a borrower who has been unable to make loan payments and is in danger of defaulting on his or her loan.


Margin: an amount the lender adds to an index to determine the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage.

Mortgage: a lien on the property that secures the promise to repay a loan.

Mortgage banker: a company that originates loans and resells them to secondary mortgage lenders like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Mortgage broker: a firm that originates and processes loans for a number of lenders.

Mortgage insurance: a policy that protects lenders against some or most of the losses that can occur when a borrower defaults on a mortgage loan; mortgage insurance is required primarily for borrowers with a down payment of less than 20% of the home's purchase price.

Mortgage insurance premium (MIP): a monthly payment, usually part of the mortgage payment, paid by a borrower for mortgage insurance.

Mortgage modification: a loss mitigation option that allows a borrower to refinance and/or extend the term of the mortgage loan and thus reduce the monthly payments.


Offer: indication by a potential buyer of a willingness to purchase a home at a specific price; generally put forth in writing.

Origination: the process of preparing, submitting, and evaluating a loan application; generally includes a credit check, verification of employment, and a property appraisal.

Origination fee: the charge for originating a loan; is usually calculated in the form of points and paid at closing.


Partial claim: a loss mitigation option offered by the FHA that allows a borrower, with help from a lender, to get an interest-free loan from HUD to bring mortgage payments up to date.

PITI: Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance - the four elements of a monthly mortgage payment; payments of principal and interest go directly towards repaying the loan, while the portion that covers taxes and insurance (homeowner's and mortgage, if applicable) goes into an escrow account to cover the fees when they are due.

PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance; privately-owned companies that offer standard and special affordable mortgage insurance programs for qualified borrowers with down payments of less than 20% of a purchase price.

Pre-approve: lender commits to lend to a potential borrower; commitment remains as long as the borrower still meets the qualification requirements at the time of purchase.

Pre-foreclosure sale: allows a defaulting borrower to sell the mortgaged property to satisfy the loan and avoid foreclosure.

Pre-qualify: a lender informally determines the maximum amount an individual is eligible to borrow.

Premium: an amount paid on a regular schedule by a policyholder that maintains insurance coverage.

Prepayment: payment of the mortgage loan before the scheduled due date; may be subject to a prepayment penalty.

Principal: the amount borrowed from a lender; doesn't include interest or additional fees.


Radon: a radioactive gas found in some homes that, if occurring in strong enough concentrations, can cause health problems.

Real estate agent: an individual who is licensed to negotiate and arrange real estate sales; works for a real estate broker.

REALTOR: a real estate agent or broker who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, and its local and state associations.

Refinancing: paying off one loan by obtaining another; refinancing is generally done to secure better loan terms (like a lower interest rate).

Rehabilitation mortgage: a mortgage that covers the costs of rehabilitating (repairing or improving) a property; some rehabilitation mortgages - like the FHA's 203(k) - allow a borrower to roll the costs of rehabilitation and home purchase into one mortgage loan.

RESPA: Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act; a law protecting consumers from abuses during the residential real estate purchase and loan process by requiring lenders to disclose all settlement costs, practices, and relationships.


Settlement: another name for closing.

Special forbearance: a loss mitigation option where the lender arranges a revised repayment plan for the borrower that may include a temporary reduction or suspension of monthly loan payments.

Subordinate: to place in a rank of lesser importance or to make one claim secondary to another.

Survey: a property diagram that indicates legal boundaries, easements, encroachments, rights of way, improvement locations, etc.

Sweat equity: using labor to build or improve a property as part of the down payment.


Title 1: an FHA-insured loan that allows a borrower to make non-luxury improvements (like renovations or repairs) to their home; Title I loans less than $7,500 don't require a property lien.

Title insurance: insurance that protects the lender against any claims that arise from arguments about ownership of the property; also available for homebuyers.

Title search: a check of public records to be sure that the seller is the recognized owner of the real estate and that there are no unsettled liens or other claims against the property.

Truth-in-Lending: a federal law obligating a lender to give full written disclosure of all fees, terms, and conditions associated with the loan.


Underwriting: the process of analyzing a loan application to determine the amount of risk involved in making the loan; it includes a review of the potential borrower's credit history and a judgment of the property value.


VA: Department of Veterans Affairs; a federal agency which guarantees loans made to veterans; similar to mortgage insurance, a loan guarantee protects lenders against loss that may result from a borrower default.


Why lawyers love hourly billing

The Greatest American Lawyer:
One of the issues, which is repeatedly overlooked in the discussion concerning hourly billing, is the fact that many law firms prefer it. Think about it. Hourly billing is the perfect vehicle to obtain the first retainer check from a client. An average retainer ranges between $2,500 and $7,500.

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Two recent changes have lawyers discussing electronic discovery with renewed interest. On December 1, 2006, amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure became effective. The new rules provide specific procedures for discovery of electronically stored information (ESI).

In late November, Microsoft began release of its Vista operating system. The higher-end versions of Vista have at least three features that will affect e-discovery: shadow copies of all versions of files, increasing significantly the amount of potentially discoverable ESI; close tracking of each user’s activities on the system; and encryption that may make forensic examination impossible.

If you have been ignoring discussions of e-discovery, assuming that it will not apply to the types of cases you handle, check out the podcasts and articles below:

Lawyer2Lawyer: The Misconceptions of E-Discovery (Mar. 29, 2007), Legal Talk Network (33.1 min.).

Litigation Podcast: Ten Rules for Managing Electronically Stored Information (Mar. 29, 2007), ABA Section of Litigation (4.6 min.).

Conrad J. Jacoby, Separating E-Discovery Myths from Realities (Mar. 18, 2007), LLRX.com.

Craig Ball, Microsoft Brings an Altered Vista to EDD (Mar. 14, 2007), Law Technology News.

Dennis Kennedy, Evan Schaeffer & Tom Mighell, Incorporating EDD into Your Depositions — the 5Ws of EDD Depositions (Mar. 2007), DiscoveryResources.org.

For further information see:

  • Stratify, eDiscovery Resources: The FRCP and eDiscovery (http://www.stratify.com/e_discovery_resources/frcp.html)
  • Craig D. Ball, P.C.
  • www.fiosinc.com
  • DennisKennedy.com: Electronic Discovery Resources (http://www.denniskennedy.com/resources/legal-tech-central/edd.aspx)
  • The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog: Discovery
  • In Re Discovery (http://sochaconsulting.com/inrediscovery/)


New Car Troubles? - Legal Tips

So you have just purchased that new vehicle and the new car smell hasn't worn off yet. Out of nowhere, the unexpected occurs as the engine light comes on, the vehicle stalls or the transmission doesn't shift properly. How can his happen to your new vehicle? In reality, this happens all the time. Different statistics show that between 1% and 10% of all new vehicles may be lemons.

If your new car has a problem, schedule a service appointment with the dealer right away. Make sure that the service department is made aware of each and every problem that the vehicle is having. Explain the problems in as much detail as possible, and make sure that the dealer uses your words to describe the problem and not theirs. When meeting with the service advisor, be sure to ask about Technical Service Bulletins (TSB’s) on your vehicle. A Technical Service Bulletin is an acknowledgment by the manufacturer that there is a known problem with your vehicle. The manufacturer is required to prepare a TSB for a vehicle after a problem or defect has exhibited itself on a number of occasions.

When you return to the dealer to pick up your vehicle after the repair attempt, be sure to get a copy of the repair order or invoice that indicates your chief complaint and the efforts that the dealer made to remedy the problem. Do not leave the dealer without this documentation. In Pennsylvania, the dealer is required to give you a copy of the documentation under established state law. When you get in your vehicle, check right away to see if the problem has been properly repaired or if there is a reoccurrence. If the vehicle has not been properly repaired or has a reoccurrence of the problem, schedule another appointment with the dealer. You must realize that you paid for the warranty that came with your vehicle, it was part of the purchase price. Do not be afraid to use it. You must also give the dealer/manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to make the repair before you pursue lemon law assistance.

What I have found is that many times the dealer will state that they “could not duplicate the customer’s concern”. Do not allow this to stop you from attempting to get your vehicle repaired. Many problems that are found vehicles occur on an intermittent basis. Just because a problem doesn't show up while the vehicle is at the dealer does not mean that it doesn't exist, and further, does not relieve the dealer/manufacturer from the burden of finding the problem and fixing it.

If the problems with your vehicle are not repaired after a reasonable number of attempts (three in Pennsylvania, other states differ) then you may be able to pursue a Lemon Law claim. A valid Lemon Law claim will force the manufacturer to either repurchase your vehicle at a full refund, or will entitle you to a new replacement vehicle free of cost. In Pennsylvania, as well as many other states, you will also be entitled to free legal representation and recovery of all other collateral charges associated with your lemon, like tax, title charges, interest and the like.
Greg Artim is a Pennsylvania Lemon Law attorney based in Pittsburgh PA. Please be sure to visit his website at www.ihatethislemon.com

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CNN reports that the FBI has virtually scoped out Second Life's casinos, at the invitation of Linden Lab. According to the article:

Second Life is a popular online virtual world with millions of registered users and its own economy and currency, known as the Linden dollar, which can be exchanged for U.S. dollars.

Yoon said the company was seeking guidance on virtual gaming activity in Second Life but had not yet received clear rules from U.S. authorities.

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for Northern California declined comment.

Hundreds of casinos offering poker, slot machines and blackjack can easily be found in Second Life. While it is difficult to estimate the total size of the gambling economy in Second Life, the three largest poker casinos are earning profits of a modest $1,500 each per month, according to casino owners and people familiar with the industry.

The surge in Second Life gambling coincides with a crackdown in the real world by the U.S. government, which has arrested executives from offshore gambling Web sites.

Most lawyers agree that placing bets with Linden dollars likely violates U.S. anti-gambling statutes, which cover circumstances in which "something of value" is wagered. But the degree of Linden Lab's responsibility, and the likelihood of a any crackdown, is uncertain.
"It's not always clear to us whether a 3-D simulation of a casino is the same thing as a casino, legally speaking, and it's not clear to the law enforcement authorities we have asked," [Linden general counsel] Yoon said.

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Broward County Florida, Martial Law at its Best

In Florida, my sons friend Andy, missed the first 3 days of school this week because he was very sick. He attends Pompano Beach High. during these same 3 days some kid phoned in a Bomb threat for 2 of these days. Andy is an honors student and works when he is not in school in order to help his grandmother who he lives with. Yesterday while in school Andy was called to the principals office and he thought it was because of the three day absence he just had. Upon arriving there he was arrested and put in jail. Today was his arraignment, the judge said because he was a flight risk that Andy will remain in jail until his trial.

This isn't a one time thing in Broward County. Last year my son found out while he was at Radio Shack that the kid that came along with him for the ride had stolen 2 cell phones, so what did Jake do? He turned these in to the security officer. The store decided to claim these on insurance and had to file a police report. So they charged my son with Grand Theft because he was the only person they knew. My Son, after about 7 months, ended up having to pay a reimbursement of $350 and all this for trying to do the right thing.

My wife and I fell victims to a Nigerian scam. We were paid for some computer accessories with stolen checks. I was arrested after trying to cash the funds and had to spend almost a month in jail. For the next 3 years Broward County decided to prosecute us. I lost my business and several jobs because of the three years in their Justice system.Ended up having to cop pleas in order to end this entire ordeal. Me for petty theft and my wife for trespassing. Coincidentally the arresting officer in our case was the one who forced a guy in jail to admit to all these crimes just so they could close the books on them.

The sheriff of Broward county has no experience himself in Law enforcement, he was a Senator before running for sheriff. He speaks very eloquently to the press but in real life he does just the opposite.BSO is famous for forcing innocent people to confess to crimes they never committed:. They will bully you and do everything at their means to make you guilty. Nazi Germany probably had more rights for its people than BSO.

Things like this exist all over our country but what is ever done about these true criminals, the law makers and the people who work for them? We are the richest country in the world but is this value based on legal wealth or by wealth created by hurting others? We have the largest percentage of its people incarcerated worldwide. Laws are made only to find a reason to incarcerate the people that can't be charged with anything else.
Jeffrey has over 2 decades experience in the business world. When he writes he blends his unique wit and humour into every article which if you rread his blog you can see all of his many works. http://www.nosugarcoating.info/newz/

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