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04/03/14

Our Third Branch Needs Your Help



One of the functions of a Bar Commissioner is to meet with the Bar Commissioners from other Bar organizations from throughout the United States. In this way, your Bar Commissioners can see how other states handle issues that come before other organizations and can anticipate issues or problems that may arise in Idaho.

The first thing you notice when meeting other state Commissioners is the Idaho State Bar’s great reputation. We can all be proud of the respect the Idaho State Bar has among the various state organizations. Credit for this respect goes largely to our Executive Director and the long time staff that has been assembled to serve the lawyers in the state of Idaho. Credit also goes to the Bar Commissioners elected over the years and their diligence in listening to the Idaho membership and their concerns.

This is perhaps the greatest strength of the Idaho State Bar Association. The Idaho State Bar Association is very transparent and provides the membership with a financial report each year so that every member of the Bar is aware of what money is coming in and where that money is being spent. In addition, and unlike many of the State Bar Associations in the United States, the Idaho State Bar sets its own dues. I was surprised at the number of states that simply allow their Bar Association to announce what Bar dues will be and to direct where that money is spent. Several states have experienced revolts among the lawyers in their states because of this practice. Washington recently severely cut its Bar Association. A lawyer legislator in Colorado recently proposed legislation making Bar membership voluntary because of a perceived lack of accountability.

One of the most important aspects of the Idaho State Bar, is that the lawyers in the state of Idaho control how the Commissioners of the Idaho State Bar conduct the Bar’s business. Each year the Commissioners go on the “Road Show” and meet with District Bar leaders and with the general membership. At these Bar meetings we discuss and vote on various issues that face the Bar. The Bar Commissioners propose resolutions to the membership but it is ultimately the membership that decides how to proceed. I don’t believe I would want to be a member of a Bar that preceded any other way or that did not have a “Road Show” to allow members and their Commissioners to interact, face-to-face.

With that said, two resolutions from the recent Road Show dealt with the Idaho Judiciary; Resolution No. 13-07 and Resolution No. 13-08. The first resolution dealt with judicial compensation and the second with increased funding for technology in our court system. The resolutions were necessary because your Bar Commissioners cannot take any stand before the legislature without a vote of the membership. These two resolutions passed the Bar by a percentage of 84% and 93%, respectively. With the authority of the members of the Idaho State Bar, the Commissioners have been able to approach the legislature, which is in session as I write this article, to let them know how the lawyers in Idaho feel about their judicial system and the respect they have for the Judges who are the backbone of that system. The resolutions read as follows:

13-07: Improve Judicial Recruitment by Addressing Inadequate Judicial
Compensation
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the members of the Idaho State Bar endorse a Legislative solution to address judicial recruitment by increasing compensation for all members of the Idaho Judiciary and establishing a salary scheme which looks towards parity and equity with the salaries paid to judges, whether national, regional or the average salary of judges of the surrounding western states.

13-08: Support Transition to New Statewide Computerized Case Management
& E-Filing System
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the members of the Idaho State Bar endorse passage through the 2014 Idaho Legislature of the Idaho Supreme Court’s proposed legislation and budget enhancements necessary to secure the new software, equipment and services required to fulfill the Court’s technology vision.

It is important for the Commissioners and the practicing attorneys in the state of Idaho to remind our legislators and Governor that a well funded and respected judiciary is as important to economic development in this state as building a road, bridge or any other function of government. At any given time, tens of millions of dollars in client funds, not to mention the rights of the citizens of the state of Idaho, are on the line in our court system. It is also important to remember that while the legislature meets for two or three months each year and the executive deals with day-to-day aspects of running the state, the citizens usually have the most contact with our legal system. Whether it is in the area of criminal law or civil disputes, it is the legal community and the legal system that attempts to resolve these issues on a daily basis. Without the stability of the legal system by placing on the bench our most seasoned and qualified candidates, the cost both in economic and personal terms, can be great. The same holds true for the increased productivity that benefits Idaho’s future with the use of technology. The time and cost to clients saved by upgrading technology in our court system cannot be emphasized enough.

The real emphasis of this President’s Message is to urge individual members of the Bar to contact their legislators now, as they are in session, and express to them your personal belief that the resolutions passed by the Bar should be acted upon this year. That is, the legislature must address the compensation package for our judges and increase funding for the court system to implement technology changes to benefit the state’s economic development and reduce the cost of legal services in the state of Idaho. If you will go to the website http://www.legislature.idaho.gov it will give you the name of your representatives and senators so you may send an e-mail or better yet, contact them by phone, to express your support and the support of the Bar for these two resolutions.

Specific legislation will soon be proposed.

On behalf of the Commissioners of the Idaho State Bar, and your fellow lawyers, I thank you in advance for becoming involved.

About the Author

Robert T. Wetherell is a 1982 graduate of the University of Idaho Law School and clerked for the United States District Court for the District of Idaho immediately upon his graduation. Since that time he has been in private practice in the city of Boise and is currently a Principle and Partner at Capitol Law Group, 205 N. 10th St., 4th Floor, P.O. Box 2598, Boise, Idaho 83701-2598. Mr. Wetherell began serving as Bar President in January of 2014. He has been married to his wife, Deborah, for 29 years and they have two adult children; Marie Ellen, a third year law student at the University of Idaho College of Law and R. John, a senior at the University of Idaho. GO VANDALS!








02/23/14

Robert T. Wetherell’s First Message as Bar President to Idaho Lawyers



Recently, Robert T. Wetherell was named President of the Idaho State Bar Board of Commissioners. Robert’s first President’s Message appeared in the February 2014 edition of The Advocate, a magazine for lawyers in Idaho.

If the President’s first message is to be a rambling introduction, this should do. I am one of those individuals who always wanted to be a lawyer. I remember in grade school seeing a program about John Adams and his defense of the British soldiers at the Boston Massacre. In addition, “To Kill a Mockingbird” had been recently released with Gregory Peck standing to defend the rule of law in a small town in the South. The law seemed to attract people of integrity and courage. I was born in Mountain Home in 1958. It was a wonderful community while I was growing up and still is today. With approximately 8,000 people in town and 8,000 people at the air base, it was a much larger community than people realized. In addition, it was by far the most diverse community in the state of Idaho. With retired military in the community, it was not uncommon to hear foreign accents from Germany, France and other European countries. In addition, with the Air Force base kids attending school in Mountain Home, you were able to interact with people from all over the United States and students who had traveled the world. The schools in Mountain Home were first rate.

Because of federal impact funds and money the school district received from Idaho Power for Anderson Ranch Dam, teachers in Mountain Home were paid more than teachers in the rest of the Treasure Valley. We had excellent teachers and leadership, and I never recall a bond election that failed. My father was a state senator in the 1950’s-60’s and my mother was a state senator in the 1980’s-90’s. Law and politics were always a topic of conversation. You never knew who was going to be at the house on a particular occasion. I was able to see a true cross section of life.

One thing that impressed me most about living in Mountain Home in my formative years was the way the lawyers in town were treated. In particular, Frank Hicks, Fred Kennedy and Perce Hall were very well respected. You saw them wear suits every day and it seemed as if the town revolved around their counsel and advice. More than just practicing law, Frank Hicks especially, was everything a small town attorney should be. He didn’t simply practice law and go home. He volunteered his time to various organizations and you would often see him on week nights and weekends working to make the city of Mountain Home better for everyone. He offered me advice as I continued to tell him how I wanted to be a lawyer. Frank Hicks gave me one quote from Abraham Lincoln I will never forget. It’s a partial quote, but it says volumes about what lawyers should be, even in this day and age: “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise wherever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this . . . A moral tone ought to be infused into the profession which should drive such men out of it.”

After I graduated from the University Of Idaho College Of Law in 1982, I was fortunate enough to obtain a clerkship with United States District Judge Taylor and United States District Judge McNichols. I did well enough in law school that I was asked to interview for the position. Interestingly enough, I didn’t get the job but did receive a call stating I had come in second during the interviewing process. As luck would have it, the graduate who was actually offered the job turned it down to be an associate at a bankruptcy firm in Spokane. Apparently it paid more, but I can guarantee with all the money he probably has now, he couldn’t buy the 2½ year experience I had at federal court working for Judge Taylor and Judge McNichols.

I would encourage any new lawyer to clerk for a judge, regardless of pay. In those days, you could only clerk for the United States District Court for two years. The reasoning was that a federal judge is appointed for life and therefore that judge should not turn around and appoint two additional lawyers for life. Those days have changed. My first controversial statement is as follows. I would encourage state and federal judges to rotate their clerkships in order to provide opportunities for new graduates from law school. This would provide a better understanding of the court system by giving young lawyers the experience of seeing how the system operates from the inside. I don’t believe it is a good practice to have longtime law clerks. It only serves to separate the bench from the bar. Change is hard, but change is good. Change gives new energy to you and the people around you. After my clerkship, I entered private practice and have engaged in private practice for approximately 30 years now. It has been very rewarding. Fred Kennedy worked me 50 hours a week my first two years and taught me the importance of preparation in the practice of law. I think the most important experiences have been practicing with and against other lawyers. They have been exceptional professionals and become lifelong friends. I look forward to serving you as President of the Idaho State Bar in 2014. I hope to write articles for The Advocate that will be thought provoking on topics we should be discussing, but at times are reluctant to mention.

About the Authors: Robert T. Wetherell is a 1982 graduate of the University of Idaho Law School and clerked for the United States District Court for the District of Idaho immediately upon his graduation. Since that time he has been in private practice in the city of Boise and is currently a principal and partner at Capitol Law Group. Mr. Wetherell began serving as Bar President in January of 2014. He has been married to his wife, Deborah, for 29 years and they have two adult children; Marie Ellen, a third-year law student at the University of Idaho College of Law and R. John, a senior at the University of Idaho.








01/27/14

Target’s Free Credit Report Email: What to Do Next



By FindLaw Staff

Did you get Target’s email about free credit reports? If so, what should you do next?

In a push to regain the trust of its customers after a massive data breach, Target is offering impacted customers daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and access to a Fraud Resolution Agent.

Millions of Americans received Target’s free credit monitoring offer email recently, but considering all the risks associated with scam emails, they may be unsure about how to react, Credit.com reports.

If you received Target’s free credit report email, here are a few steps you may want to consider:

  1. Make sure it’s real. In a tragic twist of irony, email scams of Target’s free credit report offer are making the rounds. Keep an eye out for telltale signs of Target email scams, CNNMoney advises. Watch out for email addresses that don’t match (or addresses that just don’t look quite right) and emails that ask for personal information or money. A red flag should also go up if the email contains spelling errors or stresses a sense of urgency.
  2. Sign up. Out of an abundance of caution, you may not want to click on the links in Target’s email message. Instead, go to the address bar of your browser and manually type CreditMonitoring.Target.com. Fill out your name and email address there. Next, obtain and save the redemption code Target sends you (if you can’t find it, check your spam folder). Manually type ProtectMyID.com/target into your browser’s address bar. That will bring you to Experian’s website for Target victims. Paste the redemption code into the box. Fill out the other identifying information. Keep in mind you’ll have to enter some sensitive financial information and your Social Security number to verify your identity, cautions Credit.com.
  3. Check your report and repeat periodically. Once you make it through the authentication process, carefully review your credit report and check for errors. You should do this once every month, on Target’s dime. Also, don’t forget to set up text alerts — again, on Target’s dime — so you’ll be contacted if someone tries to open credit in your name.

Signing up for Target’s free credit monitoring is an excellent way to help protect yourself from fraud stemming from the hacking incident. Keep in mind that guests have until April 23, 2014, to sign up to receive an activation code. Activation codes must be redeemed by April 30, 2014.

Related Resources:

Source: Common Law Articles








01/27/14

'Court Case' Email Scam: Don't Click on Attachments



By FindLaw Staff

A nationwide court email scam could leave a nasty virus on your computer if you’re not too careful.

Several federal and state courts are warning the public about an email scam that tells recipients that they have an upcoming court hearing, missed a jury summons, or have a warrant out for their arrest. The fraudulent emails will either contain an attachment that contains a virus, or the email will tell the reader to pay money to avoid arrest.

So what can recipients do to spot a scam email?

What Do the Fake Emails Look Like?

The court email scam is targeting people all across the United States, so everyone should be on high alert. The scam emails will appear to be addressed from either a court clerk or a law firm (i.e., from someone @jonesday.com or @hoganlovells.com).

While the emails appear to be coming from real courthouses and legitimate law firms, the fraudsters have apparently hijacked the email addresses.

The body of the email will likely be similar to this:

Notice to Appear,

Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing that will take place in the court of [court name] on [some date] at [some time].

Please bring all documents and witnesses relating to this case with you to court on your hearing date.

The copy of the court notice is attached to this letter. Please read it thoroughly.

Note: If you do not attend the hearing, the judge may hear the case in your absence and [some type of threat of action (jail, fines, etc.)].

Yours truly,

Clerk of the Court

What Should You Do If You Receive a Scam Email?

If you think you received one of these scam email messages, delete it immediately. Some of the emails will allege that you’re scheduled to appear in court and give you a phony case number; if you’re concerned, you can call the court or check the court’s online case database to see if you’ve actually been summoned, as the District of Columbia Courts suggest. Typically, you can look up a case using your last name.

If you’ve made the mistake of opening the email, try not to download any attachments. By downloading the attachments, you could potentially subject yourself to a computer virus or give the fraudsters access to your personal information.

To prevent further court email scams, you can also report the fraudulent email to the court and to law enforcement.

Related Resources:

Source: Common Law Articles








01/27/14

25 Terrible Passwords Biz Owners Should Avoid



By Jenny Tsay, Esq.

With more businesses being hit by cyberattacks, small business owners will want to take precautions. One simple thing you can do is to avoid using the 25 most common (and most terrible) passwords that are floating around the Internet.

Password-management firm SplashData has released its annual list of the 25 most popular online passwords. These passwords make it very easy for other people to log in to your personal accounts, which puts your personal information at risk, according to the company.

So without further ado, here are the 25 worst passwords by rank, according to SplashData:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. 123456789
  7. 111111
  8. 1234567
  9. iloveyou
  10. adobe123
  11. 123123
  12. admin
  13. 1234567890
  14. letmein
  15. photoshop
  16. 1234
  17. monkey
  18. shadow
  19. sunshine
  20. 12345
  21. password1
  22. princess
  23. azerty
  24. trustno1
  25. 00000

Strong Password Tips

Choosing a good, secure password may be as valuable as purchasing expensive software to prevent hackers and cyberattacks. To create a unique password, make sure that your passwords:

  • Are more than eight characters;
  • Contain numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters like !, @, and ?;
  • Are changed frequently; and
  • Are different for every account.

Another tip is to create “passphrases” — short words with characters or spaces separating them. It’s best to use words that aren’t associated with each other to keep cyber criminals at bay, according to SplashData. For example, “star_computer_door” or “phone@glass!purple.”

Remember: You want to create a password that you can easily recall, but is unique enough to ward off hackers. So use the 25 terrible passwords list as inspiration for what not to do when setting up your company’s accounts.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Google+.

Related Resources:

Source: Free Enterprise Law Feed







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