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Legal

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1.
#34497

2009 Brings ADA Changes

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) took effect on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA, which was signed by President Bush on September 25, 2008, is intended to restore Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions that had been eroded by a series of Supreme Court decisions.

Trapp, Greg. National Federation of the Blind (2009). Articles>Accessibility>Legal>United States

2.
#23903

Answering the Critics of Plain Language

Plain language has to do with clear and effective communication -- nothing more or less. It does, though, signify a new attitude and a fundamental change from past practices.

Kimble, Joseph. Plain Language Network (2003). Articles>Writing>Legal>Minimalism

3.
#36440

The Anywhere Office = Anywhere Liability   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The 20th-Century office is dead. According to Telework Trendlines 2009, WorldatWork’s new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, the number of Americans working remotely at least once a month jumped 39%, from 12.4 million in 2006 to 17.2 million in 2008. Last year Congress even introduced bills that would encourage and expand telework programs in the federal government. Although the disap- pearing office boundaries caused by technological advances have obvious benefits for employers and employees, something else is dissolving along with those cubicle walls: clear limit lines of employer liability.

Genova, Gina L. Business Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Legal>Telecommuting>Workplace

4.
#38375

Authors Can’t Be Sued For Linking To Libelous Material

Hyperlinking is fundamental to how information spreads on the web—it’s the reason why traffic spikes on some sites and also explains why false information can funnel outward so quickly. One question that publishers and lawyers have long wrestled with is whether sites are legally liable for the accuracy of material they link out to. In a major ruling today, a court offered an answer to that. Authors should not be held liable for providing links to websites that contain defamatory material, according to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Roberts, Jeff. PaidContent.org (2011). Articles>Legal>Hypertext>Canada

5.
#14955

The Basics of the Entity Alphabet©

Has anyone told you something that sounded like 'I folded my S-Corp into a C-Corp, then transferred the shares to an LLC that was the GP of an LLP'? It used to be easy. You were either a corporation, partnership, or if only one owner, sole proprietorship. Nowadays, the proliferation of choice of entities for even small, single-owner businesses can be daunting. While it can all be very confusing, all of this alphabet jargon boils down to two basic issues: taxation and liability. In the old days, you could only have limited liability if you were taxed as a corporation and could only be taxed as a partnership if you had full liability. Now the two issues have been separated, giving modern business owners the full range of possibilities. Let's take a look at how these two issues have been dealt with and what concessions business owners have wrestled out of the IRS in the last 20 years with the introduction of the Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Jurney, Thomas F. STC Williamette Valley (2002). Careers>Management>Legal

6.
#33813

BlockShopper v. Jones Day: The Right of Web Sites to Link

Cases that have addressed links and copyright dealt with the permissibility of "deep linking"—linking to a page other than the home page—which, of course, is indeed permitted. Ticketmaster famously lost a lawsuit against Tickets.com about just this. But that case was about copyright infringement; by making a trademark claim instead, Jones Day opened up another legal avenue.

Davis, Wendy. Slate (2009). Articles>Web Design>Legal>Hypertext

7.
#31785

Breaking Professional Boundaries: What the MacCrate Report on Lawyering Skills and Values Means for TPC Programs   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In 1992, the American Bar Association released the MacCrate Report, which listed the ten skills and four professional values that all attorneys need and critiqued law schools and state bars for not doing enough to teach and encourage the development of these skills and values. In response, law schools have significantly increased the skills-based components in their curricula, and most state bar exams now include a performance test. Technical and Professional Communication (TPC) programs already provide substantial instruction in all of the skills and values described in the MacCrate Report; further, an education in TPC prepares graduates to excel in law school and on the bar exam. This knowledge offers opportunities for growth if educators, administrators, and scholars take steps to encourage students to consider not only writing for but also joining in the legal profession.

Todd, Jeff. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2008). Articles>Education>Legal>Business Communication

8.
#31423

Communicators and Lawyers: Winning in Both Courts

Professional communicators and attorneys have long stood side by side as both fought to win in court—one in the court of law, the other in the court of public opinion. These two sometimes wary compatriots, however, are now beginning to partner more frequently to garner the best results for the executive suite.

Deveney, John and Meghan Ozcan. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Business Communication>Legal

9.
#10033

Contracts for Every Occasion

This is a reference library of forms to help protect your work and your visitors. It contains sample forms, contracts, and charts to ease the legal technicalities of running a Web site, such as privacy policies, link agreements, copyright agreements, sweepstakes rules, and cease and desist letters.

TechRepublic (2001). Resources>Legal>Contracts

10.
#22231

Contracts: An Introduction to the Skills of Legal Writing and Analysis   (peer-reviewed)

Contracts is a computer program designed for first year undergraduates studying Obligations in Glasgow University's School of Law, written by Paul Maharg and Professor Joe Thomson. It aims to improve students' written work.

Maharg, Paul. JILT (1996). Articles>Writing>Legal>Contracts

11.
#30111

Customer Profile: Ernest Svenson, PDF for Lawyers

A well-known advocate for the effective use of new technologies in the legal profession, New Orleans-based attorney Ernest Svenson finds Adobe Acrobat and PDF to be highly valued tools in a document-intensive field.

Foss, Kurt. Adobe (2007). Articles>Information Design>Legal>Adobe Acrobat

12.
#26086

Disability Discrimination Act: An Update for 2005

Many organisations are confused and concerned about the latest requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which came into effect on 1st October 2004. Failure to make reasonable adjustments may mean that organisations are discriminating against disabled people. Yet what does 'reasonable adjustments' mean and what exactly do organisations need to put in place?

System Concepts (2005). Articles>Accessibility>Legal>United Kingdom

13.
#33326

eDiscovery: A Company's Worst Nightmare

EDiscovery: You don't want it to happen. Borne of the term discovery, used by lawyers to describe collecting evidence, electronic discovery comes about because of a possible violation in regulatory compliance. Whatis.com defines it as "to any process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case."

Tim Rosa Associates (2008). Articles>Legal>Policies and Procedures

14.
#24046

Editing All the Legalese the Law Allows  (link broken)

Strictly speaking, legalese isn't intended for use outside a judicial context, but quasi-legalistic writing, with its officious tone, wordiness, and complex terms, percolates into business, government, and public interest documents. It's a parroting of the real thing -- which is already hard to swallow -- and there's a lot of it around. That kind of legalese demands to be edited, because people will do almost anything to avoid reading it.

Mayhew, Paul and Elizabeth McBurney. Editorial Eye, The (1997). Articles>Editing>Legal>Writing

15.
#29013

The Effects of Print and Other Text Media Developments Upon the Law in America   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The law has long been shaped by the technical aspects of compiling, writing, storing, and accessing textual verbiage. Text media technology affects all areas of the law, from its intellectual basis to its promulgation, dissemination and enforcement. From America's Colonial period, the operative state of the art of printing has accordingly shaped the development of the law in America, and has caused it to grow in a different direction from the law of England. Since the Colonial period, the state of the art of text media technology has made quantum evolutionary leaps forward, impacting American law in the process. Artifacts of these text media technologies are to be found in the statutes, legislative histories, judicial decisions, and other legal materials. Modern technology has accelerated the pace of text media technology development, and has impacted the law accordingly. Current developments continue to impact the law on an ongoing basis, and future developments in text media technology can be expected to leave their impact upon the law.

Ryesky, Kenneth H. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (1999). Articles>Publishing>Legal>History

16.
#29773

Errors and Omissions Insurance: Assuming the Risk of Professional Liability   (PDF)

Like most other business owners, technical communicators may, from time to time, have legal exposure for their actions and mistakes. Errors and omissions insurance is one way to manage the risks the associated with operating a business and while it may not be the best solution for everyone, it's worth considering whether the benefits of this of insurance coverage outweighs the costs.

Juillet, Christopher. STC Proceedings (2004). Careers>TC>Legal

17.
#34288

Free Web Tools for the Way You Work

While law firm IT spending frequently flattens out in tough economic times, that doesn't mean you or your colleagues have to restrict yourselves to using the same technology. A host of free Web applications are surprisingly effective in helping law firms from solo practitioners to large firm in-house PR and marketing staff, stay on top of the game. The trick is knowing which tools out there are worth your time. Here are the applications that made our top-24 list.

Legal Technology (2009). Articles>Legal>Software

18.
#19454

Freedom of Information Act Fundamentals

FOIA has become an indispensable tool for probing actions of government and the companies and people that come into contact with government. Your catch is only limited by your imagination.

Wilson, Duff. Society of Environmental Journalists (2002). Resources>Legal>Government>Civic

19.
#22049

Freelance Writer Agreement  (link broken)

This is an example of a typical agreement used for freelance writing assignments. Not that there is specific limitation of rights granted to the “buyer.” In no case do you want to sell blanket rights to your writing. It may be necessary to do it, but make every effort to negotiate a first national rights condition. If the clients wants more, get them to pay more.

Tech-Writer. Careers>Freelance>Legal>Contracts

20.
#23701

From Tech Writer to Paralegal

Writing spots were becoming fewer and farther between, and it was clear that I'd have to make a career change. I used to pick up temporary secretarial spots during lulls, but with the downswing in the economy and the proliferation of PCs, the demand for word processing gurus had dwindled considerably. Most of the writing jobs that did come my way over the last three years were dreadful. Job satisfaction had reached an all-time low.

Lookabaugh, Nancy K. MetroVoice (2002). Careers>Writing>Legal

21.
#25005

Gender-Free Legal Writing: Managing the Personal Pronouns  (link broken)

Where a statement of any complexity is made about a person, the maker of the statement may face decisions about how further references should be framed.

Close, Arthur. British Columbia Law Institute (1984). Reference>Writing>Legal>Grammar

22.
#10345

Getting Professional Help: Why Contractors and Independent Consultants Need Lawyers   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article begins with the premise that there is no such thing as a standard contract and goes on to explore some of the ways that the attorney/client relationship can have unexpected benefits for technical communication consultants and contractors. The conclusion is that these communicators should seek legal counsel to protect themselves and their businesses.

Glick-Smith, Judith L. 'Judy' and Carol Stephenson. Technical Communication Online (1998). Careers>Consulting>Legal

23.
#21425

Good Lawyers, Bad Products

Lawyers may know their way around a courtroom, but they have no business designing products. Too often, in their zealous pursuit of zero liability, they end up damaging products, alienating customers, destroying companies, and killing people. It's up to you to stop them.

Tognazzini, Bruce. Nielsen Norman Group (2002). Design>User Interface>Legal

24.
#25004

Good Legal Writing: of Orwell and Window Panes  (link broken)

George Orwell once wrote that `[g]ood prose is like a window pane.' What I take Orwell to have meant by that remark is that when people read good prose, it makes them feel as if they've `seen' something more clearly.

Samuelson, Pamela. University of Pittsburgh Law Review (1984). Articles>Writing>Legal>Minimalism

25.
#31015

Harnessing Collective Expertise: Delivering Market and Client Intelligence Research Within a Law Firm   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Explains how a leading global law firm manages its market and client research. Outlines the firm's divisions, business activities and client base. Explains in detail how the firm uses business research, covering use of market intelligence on the business issues that an individual client faces, and the gathering of intelligence about the client, to disclose the nature and extent of the firm's ambitions to advise the organization concerned. Discusses the staffing of a law firm's business research capability, pointing out that not only staff expertise but also confidentiality concerns mean that it is not always efficient for lawyers to access internal and external information sources directly. Suggests that defining the minimum business research necessary improves the usefulness of the information delivered and saves the firm time -- and that removing the uncertainty about what is required improves job satisfaction as well.

Blaxland, Diane. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Legal>Collaboration

 
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