The Brief No. 50: America’s Sister Souljah Moment?

 
 
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August 14, 2019

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Hire an Esquire was the first to recognize the need for a new way to connect law firms and attorneys for flexible work. As the years go on, some others have started to enter the online legal job space. So how do we stack up against the newcomers and what does the landscape look like now? We’re glad you asked, check out our latest blog post and learn more.

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Sister Souljah Moments.....?

On Gun Control Will the mass shootings of the past week in El Paso and Dayton be a tipping point? The U.S. has averaged >1 mass shooting (defined by non-profit Gun Violence Archive as 4+ people shot/killed excluding the shooter at once) per day in 2019. While widespread public support for tighter gun control has been blocked by the Republican controlled chambers of government, recent fatalities may be spurring change. Republican Governor of Ohio Mike Dewine has unveiled a 17-point plan to reduce gun violence in a dramatic about-face for Republican-controlled, pro-gun Ohio while other Republicans are proposing “Red Flag Laws” allowing guns to be taken from individuals exhibiting troubling signs. Democrats are also calling for universal background screenings,  which POTUS currently claims he and his party will support. Skeptics note his past flip flops and a lack of Senate urgency on the issue; POTUS declined to leave the golf course to make a statement in the wake of the El Paso shooting and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to Reconvene the senate from their summer recess to address the issue. 

On White Nationalism Responsible for 73% of domestic terror attacks in recent years; FBI and domestic law enforcement cite this as the number 1 domestic terror threat and are voicing frustration that the White House has not been receptive to their warnings. POTUS faces criticism for fanning the flames and emboldening hate groups noting the manifesto of the El Paso shooter parroted Trump’s use of language. Scholars and Civil Rights Lawyers are noting how his nationalist power trajectory and language bears a striking similarity to that of Hitler who promised to “Make Germany Great Again” along with ex-wife Ivana’s statement in court documents that Trump studied and kept an annotated and translated book of Hitler’s speeches next to his bed. Experts studying the movement agree that the tone from the top is emboldening the movement and that the internet is also crucial to its rise and recommend “de-platforming” groups to slow their progress. 

De Minimis Dark Roast: California continues to be ground zero (or patient zero, depending on your viewpoint) for labor and employment laws. At the end of July the CA Supreme Court handed down their decision on Troester v. Starbucks. More than just ruling that Starbucks must compensate employees (like shift managers) for work done “off the clock”, the court did not apply the “de minimis” rule —increasing the viability of future lawsuits addressing employee concerns over seemingly small instances of lost compensation. Meanwhile, businesses operating in California heavily dependent upon Independent contractors continue to await the state Supreme Court Decision on retroactive application of the stringent “ABC” employment classification test.

Prison Pipelines: Feel like some non-Epstein news concerning the workings of the U.S. incarceration system? There’s a new bar association on the block and it could be the seed of major reforms to the criminal justice system. The National Justice Impact Bar Association is specifically for lawyers and law students who have been incarcerated. Vanderbilt Law alum and previously incarcerated Dieter Tejada is working closely with Shon Hopwood and Tarra Simmons to build this bar association using their personal experiences with incarceration to improve the justice system and educate their fellow attorneys.

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Casetext’s podcast The Modern Lawyer featured spoke with Christina Blacklaws, the President of the Law Society of England and Wales (the other side of the pond’s American Bar Association). Ms. Blacklaws has been a proponent of alternative fee arrangements and discusses how to succeed in law women have historically been forced into a “man-shaped woman” role.

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