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Are We Maintaining Diversity on the Bench? Judge for Yourself

Today, online news channels, TV, newspapers and social media are inundated with stories of women (and men) speaking out against injustices that professional women have had to endure from men in positions of power. But there is a calculated plan unfolding that will have long-lasting effects on the judiciary that is largely unnoticed. It may not be as sexy as bringing down a famous director (or two), or dethroning a political candidate, but one that may be even more important in the long run. While individuals who engage in sexism and vagrant mistreatment of women are deservingly being “outed,” we are seeing a dangerous revival of sexism at the highest level of our government. A recent Associated Press survey found that 81 percent of President Trump’s nominees for federal judgeships are men, and that 91 percent are white. That is the highest percentage of white men in 30 years, according to the news service. Only 11 of 58 nominees to appellate and district court judgeships are women, while 47 are men. All but five of those 58 nominees are white, while three are Asian-American, one is Hispanic and one is African-American. I believe deeply in the importance of increasing diversity at all levels in our legal system, as well as promoting diverse lawyers to positions of power in firms and on trial teams.  However, the importance of diversity is especially true in our judicial system, which must reflect today’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-gender and multi-racial society. The judicial branch holds a unique place in our government. For our system to be fair – and to be perceived as fair by non-white males – we must have judges from all walks of life and with diverse life experiences hearing and judging the cases in our system. The nature of Trump’s judicial appointments in the past year is a remarkable contrast with President Obama’s record. During his eight years in office, 42 percent of his confirmed judges were women and only 37 percent were white men. However, the Republican-controlled Senate blocked all of Obama’s appointments in the last year of his term, giving Trump an opportunity to make far more lifetime appointments to the bench. While we, as legal professionals, don’t have the power to make judicial appointments, we can sound the alarm about sexism and prejudice in our courts. Neither our country nor our judicial system can go back in time to an era when women and minorities were excluded from positions of power in the workplace and in government. Whatever your political beliefs, I encourage you to speak up for gender, racial and ethnic diversity in our courts because it strengthens our nation’s judicial system. It is even more important today because the courts serve as a role model for our legal profession and our society as a whole. Get involved in legal, community and civic organizations.  Find candidates who share your values and offer your support.  That is our responsibility as defenders of a fair and equitable American system of justice. The post Are We Maintaining Diversity on the Bench? Judge for Yourself appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
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Top 6 Legal Tips for Retirement

Some of us are counting down the days to retirement. Others are counting our pennies and wondering if we'll ever get to retire. And whether retirement sounds like a dream to you or a nightmare, you still have to prepare for it. Here are some legal considerations as you near retirement, from our archives: 1. When Can I Retire? This is what we all want to know. While you can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as 62, the longer you wait, the more your payments will be. Find out how to calculate your retirement date. 2. Pre-Retirement Checklist for Married Couples If you're married, you may have a few extra things to prepare for in retirement. Sitting down and mapping your financial future with your spouse's salary and savings in mind is essential. 3. In Divorce, Am I Entitled to Half of My Spouse's Retirement? Whether your spouse has to split their retirement benefits with you can depend on what state you live in. Community property states entitle you to half of the money saved in a retirement plan during the marriage, and you may even get it before your spouse retires. 4. 5 Best Cities for Working After Retirement You may not be the relaxing kind when it comes to retirement. Plenty of people work well past their retirement age, and if that sounds like fun to you, find out where it's the most fun to do. 5. Retired and Working Again: Social Security Rules No matter where you live, working during your retirement can have an impact on your Social Security benefits. Depending on your age and income, the Social Security Administration may deduct yearly earnings from benefits. So find out if working during retirement is right for you. 6. Which States Have the Best Tax Laws for Retirees? Speaking of your benefits, you're probably wondering where your retirement dollar can go the farthest. And some state tax laws are friendlier to retirees than others. If you have more questions about your retirement plan or social security benefits, get in touch with a local social security attorney. Related Resources: Find Social Security Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) 5 Legal Issues You Can Plan Ahead For (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) FindLaw Survey Reveals Social Security Concerns (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Use My 401(k) for a House Down Payment? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Top 10 Divorce Questions a Family Lawyer Can Answer

Going through a divorce is hard. And it's even harder to go through it alone without any legal help. There are many reasons why you'll want to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you with your divorce. One of them is an attorney's ability to accurately answer any and all questions you'll have about the divorce process generally, and your divorce specifically. Here are the top 10 divorce questions to ask a family lawyer: 10. How Long Will My Divorce Take? Although it occupies the 10 spot, this question may be one of the most important you have. Every divorce case is different, but you need to know what to expect and that your attorney has a good sense of how your case will go. A good family attorney should be able to provide a timeline of your divorce from initial filings to completion. This will also give your attorney a chance to give you a step-by-step overview of the divorce process in your state, as well as cue you into any deadlines or waiting periods. 9. What Is Your Experience With Divorce Cases? As part of demonstrating his or her familiarity with the process, your attorney should give you a rundown of their resume. Family lawyers might be experienced in various types of family disputes, without having many divorces under their belts. You should ask your attorney how many divorce cases he or she has handled, or what percentage of the firm's time is devoted to divorces. This gives your attorney a chance to discuss his or her legal experience -- hopefully in a way that inspires confidence. 8. What Can I Reasonably Expect From My Divorce? This is a broad question, but along with the timeline, you need to ask your attorney, if you hire him or her, what you can reasonably expect out of litigating or mediating your divorce. Your attorney should be able to paint you a range of likely outcomes based on your case, giving you a good basis for what to expect. 7. What Documents Will I Need for My Divorce? Depending on your shared assets and debts, you might need to provide quite a bit of documentation to back up your divorce filings. You may need to bring everything from pay stubs and tax returns to prenups and birth certificates to a consultation with a divorce attorney. And a good lawyer will be able to tell you how best to prepare for a divorce. So know what you'll need before you start you divorce. 6. How Will the Divorce Affect My Business? If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, your first question might be how to protect your business assets during a divorce. Ask your attorney about which legal structure can best insulate your business from divorce proceedings and whether placing your business in a living trust could help protect it, and its assets, from your spouse. An attorney can also help you create an enforceable postnuptial agreement regarding the business (if you don't already have a prenup) and advise you on the effect of community property laws on small businesses. 5. How Will Our Property Be Separated? Who gets what in a divorce can become a major battle, and you'll want to know where you stand before the first shots are fired. But if not, you may need to divide everything from the furniture to the financial assets. There are two main factors to deciding property issues: (1) whether you live in a community property state or not, and (2) whether the property is separate or marital property. Your attorney should be able to tell you which marital property laws apply, and how those laws will apply in your case. 4. How Will Custody and Visitation Be Determined? More important than sorting out the kitchenware is sorting out the kids. ...
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Injury Lawsuits: When Can You Sue for Lost Wages, Future Earnings?

When calculating damages for an injury lawsuit, lost wages are often included in the total amount. Lost wages typically include money that a plaintiff would have earned from the time the injury occurred until the settlement is reached or a trial is complete. However, an injury lawsuit may also seek recovery for the loss of future wages, known as earning capacity. Damages for lost earning capacity seek to compensate an injured person for his or her diminished ability to earn money in the future due to impairments caused by an injury. When can a plaintiff seek these two types of damages? Lost Wages Lost wages fall into the category of special damages, which generally include any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the injury or the defendant's actions. Unlike general damages for which it may be difficult to determine a specific value (such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium with family members), special damages such as lost wages generally must be proven with specificity in order to be awarded. Lost wages can typically be proven by showing what the injured worker's normal rate of pay was, and what that person would've earned from working in the absence of the injury. In some circumstances, even a person who was unemployed at the time of an accident can recover lost wages, if he or she can prove that money would have been earned during the period following the injury. Loss of Earning Capacity If an injury results in a person becoming unable or less able to earn money in the future, then lost earning capacity damages may be awarded in addition to lost wages. The amount of future earning capacity lost is generally harder to prove with specificity. In addition to your past earnings, the court will likely consider a number of other factors including your age, occupation, skill, and life expectancy. If you've been injured in an accident, a personal injury attorney can help you determine the strength of your case and how much your potential claim may be worth. You can also learn more about damages in a personal injury lawsuit at FindLaw's section on Injury Damages. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Brain Injury Lawsuits: How Much Is Your Case Worth? (FindLaw's Injured) Truck Accident Damages: How Much Can You Collect? (FindLaw's Injured) 5 Things a Personal Injury Lawyer Needs to Know About Your Case (FindLaw's Injured)
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