The Death of Business Casual

by Robert Madelmayer 

It boils my blood to see how some “men” get dressed in the morning and head to work. The baggy shirts, ill-fitted pleated khaki pants and square-toed shoes with thick rubber soles; business casual is dead.

Enough.

Years ago, men from pretty much every profession would get suited up daily and head to work. The popular AMC show Mad Men does a good job depicting the modern male dress code in the 1960s. They looked sharp, well put together, and professional. These guys killed the game back in the day.

the-death-of-business-casual

Somehow though, we have lost our way.

What happened?

I’ll tell you what happened … the dot-com era happened. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, tech companies started to hire younger talent. This younger workforce didn’t want to wear suits and ties like their fathers did, and these companies recognized that. So, they loosened up the dress code in order to entice this younger workforce to join corporate America. The problem is that men became increasingly lazy and they started to care less and less about what they wore. This slippery slope brings us to where we are today, and it’s a mess.

Going-out-of business casual looks like this.

The Death of Busienss Casual

Take a look around next time you head to the office or go out for lunch during the week. These men are everywhere and people think its okay to leave the house looking like this.

Exposed undershirt. Ill-fitting button down, and pleated pants. Cell phone holster. Square-toed shoes. All of it needs to go.

 

When it comes to professional attire, there is a Catch-22 for guys. If a guy leaves the house too well put together, he runs the risk of people thinking he is some sort of hipster metrosexual (which is fine if you are, but not every well dressed guy should feel this way). If a guy leaves the house looking like he just left a party, he is a slob.

So, now what?

The Death of Business Casual

There is nothing more versatile than a well-tailored blazer, nice jeans, and a crisp button down. This combination is quite literally the backbone of any mans wardrobe, assuming he takes his style serious. It’s a youthful look, but when done right, you can blend into pretty much any social scene.

Meeting a client? Check.

Happy Hour after work? Check.

Date night? Check.

More importantly than what you are wearing though, is how it fits. Women pay attention to these kinds of things and the Modern Man should do the same. Men should have (at the very least) a basic relationship with a tailor they trust. If you don’t know where to start head to this site to find one near you.

Don’t want to spend a ton of money on a bunch of new clothes? No problem. Grab a handful of shirts, and a few pairs of pants you already own and have them tailored. It will feel like you have a brand new wardrobe. I promise.

You can’t look bad if you look good.

 

Reach Robert via Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

 

Give the Reporter a Hand to Get a Clean Deposition Transcript

by Julie Brook, Esq.

This material is reproduced from the CEBblog™, Give the Reporter A Hand To Get A Clean Depo Transcript, (http://blog.ceb.com/2014/12/15/give-the-reporter-a-hand-to-get-a-clean-depo-transcript/) copyright 2014 by the Regents of the University of California.  Reproduced with permission of Continuing Education of the Bar – California.  (For information about CEB publications, telephone toll free 1-800-CEB-3444 or visit our Web site, CEB.com).

give-the-court-reporter-a-hand-to-get-a-clean-deposition-transcriptWhen you’re taking a deposition, you know that ensuring a complete and accurate record is vital. So don’t take the person who’s dutifully taking down the proceedings for granted: Assisting the court reporter is not only polite, it might be the key to a clean depo transcript to use at trial.

Helping the court reporter starts even before the deposition begins by

  • Showing up early to organize documents for convenient reference and mark them as exhibits.
  • Giving the reporter a copy of the case caption so the transcript will include the correct case name and court number.
  • If the deponent is an expert, offering the reporter a written glossary of unusual terms that will be used during the deposition.

Once the deponent and other counsel show up at the deposition, you can help the court reporter by identifying everyone there, including the party each counsel represents.

During the deposition, help out the reporter by:

  • Spelling technical words or proper names into the record;
  • Controlling the examination so that two people aren’t talking at once (and if they do, ensuring that the reporter records the deponent’s statements before others’);
  • If you’re working with a relatively inexperienced reporter, making sure he or she understands that interrupting the examination to ask for an answer to be repeated is preferable to guessing at what was said;
  • If you are uncertain whether the deponent’s answer was recorded correctly, asking the court reporter to read back the last question and answer and, if the answer is incorrect, asking the deponent to repeat the correct answer;
  • Checking in with the reporter at a break about any transcription problems; and
  • During unusually long or technical depositions, occasionally asking if the reporter would like to take a short break.

Dual Agency: A Hazardous Real Estate Practice

Douglas Whipple

Douglas Whipple

“Dual Agency” is a practice used
routinely in many residential real estate
transactions, and the liability risks often are
not recognized by the parties or the real estate
licensees (both agents and brokers). Many
licensees are ill-equipped to know how to
identify a conflict between the interests of the
buyer and the seller after the Dual Agency
Agreement has been signed and, when such a
conflict happens, how to proceed.

The potential hazard of dual agency
relationships has been recognized in the
industry for years but those warnings have
not necessarily been heeded. According to a
survey of legal issues conducted by the National
Association of Realtors® (NAR) in 2011, 57% of
respondents stated that the issue of dual agency
is the basis for a “moderate” or “high” number
of disputes, and more than 83% placed the issue
among their top three current legal issues. The
survey disclosed a belief that agents and brokers
do not understand dual agency. When the NAR
survey was conducted again in 2013, breach of
fiduciary duty lawsuits accounted for the largest
single number of residential real estate-related
court cases, including conflicts over the duties
owed in a dual agency relationship.

An excellent example of this legal minefield
is the recent case of Martha v. Black v. Stouffer
Realty, Inc. & Relic, Summit Cty. Common Pleas
Case 2010-11-7671. Conflicts arose between the
interests of the seller of a home in Richfield and
the buyer after they had signed a Dual Agency
Agreement. These conflicts served to posture the
Agent on the side of Seller and adverse to Buyer.
Eventually the transaction fell through. Seller,
disgruntled, sued Buyer for breach of contract.
Buyer in turn sued Agent and Broker for fraud,
breach of fiduciary duty and breach of the Dual
Agency Agreement. The jury returned verdicts
against Agent and Broker on all three counts
and the court entered judgment on the three
verdicts. This judgment was affirmed on appeal.
Black v. Stouffer Realty, Inc. & Relic, 9th Dist. C.A.
26550 (Dec. 26, 2013).

The Ohio Department of Commerce Division
of Real Estate publishes a standardized form
that defines “dual agency” and provides a list of
actions that the licensee shall and shall not take,
outlined by R.C. 4735.57(B). A dual agent may
not, among other things, advocate or negotiate
on behalf of either party or engage in conduct
that is biased on behalf of either party.

By signing the Real Estate Purchase
Agreement, Seller and Buyer had expressed their
common objective to conclude the transaction.
Agent thus perceived her fiduciary duty to
the parties as doing whatever was necessary
to consummate the transaction. But a dual
agent’s obligation is more complex than this.
Agent’s misperception resulted in considerable
conflict, trouble and expense for all concerned
— particularly for Agent and her Broker.

The transaction was peppered with mistakes
by Agent from the beginning. Buyer testified
that only after she had submitted her initial offer
on the Purchase Agreement form did Agent
present Buyer with the Dual Agency Agreement
form, stating authoritatively “Oh, I have this
form you have to sign. This is so I represent both
the buyer and seller fairly.” Buyer was under the
impression that signing the document was a
requirement — not a choice.

By this point in time Agent should have
presented Buyer with the “Consumer Guide to
Agency Relationships.” OAC 1301:5-6-05; R.C.
4735.56(D). At trial Agent admitted that failing
to give the Consumer Guide to Buyer until
weeks later was wrongful.

Buyer’s initial offer was $500,000, with the
deal being contingent on her ability to sell her
present home in Green. Seller formulated a
written counteroffer of $515,000, and delivered
this counteroffer to Agent. However, Agent
never presented the $515,000 counteroffer to
Buyer. Agent instead presented a different
counteroffer to Buyer four days later, after
Agent and Seller secretly conferred with each
other. The revised counteroffer provided
for a purchase price of $510,000, with Agent
waiving $5,000 of her commission. It also
provided that the contingency clause would
be removed. When Buyer accepted the
revised counteroffer she did not know that the
original counteroffer had ever existed. Agent
concealed the initial counteroffer from Buyer
and suggested the revised counteroffer so as to
accommodate Seller’s afterthoughts about the
contingency clause.

An agent in a dual agency relationship
may not engage in any act of advising on or
advocating the price of the property — no
matter how well intentioned. Here, Agent
appreciated how important it was to Seller to
remove the contingency clause but ignored
how important the clause was to Buyer. Agent
was duty-bound to convey to Buyer, as Buyer’s
agent, Seller’s original counteroffer. Had
Agent done so, Buyer could have accepted the
purchase price of $515,000 and retained the
ability to terminate the transaction if she was
unable — in a soft housing market — to sell her
present home. Agent presumably understood
that the contingency clause was desirable to
Buyer and undesirable to Seller. Agent believed
that her willingness to waive some of her
commission to facilitate the transaction was
commendable; when in fact any effort by a dual
agent to influence an agreement on the price
terms is prohibited.

Another problem was the physical appearance
of the Purchase Agreement. Agents often
direct the parties to hand-write their offers
and counteroffers in the margins and spaces
of the original purchase agreement form. The
final version of the Purchase Agreement in this
case was virtually indecipherable due to the
numerous revisions that had been scribbled
throughout the document. The quagmire of
notations created ambiguity as to whether Buyer
was to make a down payment of $148,000 or
only $103,000.

Once the parties agreed to the terms of the
deal in principle Agent could have prepared
and had the parties sign a clean, readable
copy of the Purchase Agreement. This is what
most lawyers would do if finalizing a contract
containing countless revisions. Had Agent
done so the ambiguity would have come to light
and the parties could have resolved it early on.

The ambiguity as to the down payment, which
Agent could have prevented, was a major reason
why Seller sued Buyer for breach of contract.

Agent also crossed the line by trying to
facilitate financing. Because the purchase
of the property was no longer contingent on
the sale of Buyer’s home, Buyer sought to
obtain a mortgage loan. The bank’s appraisal
of the property came back at $25,000 less
than the $510,000 price in the Purchase
Agreement. Agent informed the loan officer
that she disputed the initial appraisal. Agent
requested that the initial appraisal be appealed
and supplied the loan officer with several
additional comps for consideration. But Agent
failed to obtain Buyer’s permission to pursue
this appeal.

As a result of Agent’s appeal, a revised
appraisal established a value of the property
that was even lower than the first appraisal —
$58,000 less than the purchase price. The loan
officer informed Agent that the revised appraisal
was controlling. Agent protested and suggested
that yet a third appraisal be obtained — again
without Buyer’s authorization.

At this point it was in Buyer’s best interest
to abandon the anticipated deal. Buyer had no
motivation to pay $510,000 for property that
appraised for $58,000 less. A loyal advocate
would have helped Buyer find a permissible way
to terminate the contract rather than continue
to pursue the transaction aggressively. The
positions of the parties were irreconcilable;
Seller wanted to keep the deal and Buyer wanted
to kill the deal. Agent could no longer serve the
interests of both sides.

The bank eventually denied Buyer’s loan
application based on the low appraisals. Agent,
still oblivious to the concept of neutrality,
promptly put Seller’s property back on the
market and served as dual agent for Seller and
the eventual purchaser of the property. When
all was said and done, Seller ended up with the
Agent and Buyer ending up with a Summons.
There were many times that Agent should have
informed Seller and Buyer of a conflict and
that she was unable to proceed in a manner
that was unbiased as to both parties. This
case is an important teaching tool for brokers
and agents as to their obligations to both sides
after the Dual Agency Agreement has been
signed. It demonstrates the sobering fact that
the principles of dual agency sometimes require
the licensees to notify the seller and buyer of
their right to terminate or revoke the agency
relationship. See, e.g., R.C. 4735.57(B)(7),
R.C. 4735.71(A) and R.C. 4735.72(E)(1).

Dual agency is not an effortless maneuver to
score a double commission; it fundamentally
changes the agent’s relationship with both
seller and buyer. For prospective sellers
and buyers, this case illustrates why they
should not casually consent to a Dual Agency
Agreement that an agent has asked them to
sign. The case demonstrates that brokers have
a responsibility to ensure that their agents
understand the Dual Agency Agreement well
enough to explain it to sellers and buyers and
to implement it conscientiously.

Lawyers ordinarily refuse to enter into dual
representation relationships with potentially
adverse parties; and once in such a relationship
they proceed with considerable caution. In
matters involving dual agency, the real estate
sales industry would do well to emulate the
laudable principle of restraint that is exercised
by the legal community. Real estate licensees, for
the benefit of their clients as well as themselves,
should not view the Dual Agency Agreement
as a routine practice but, rather, a contract
laden with serious risks that may outweigh its
potential value.

Douglas Whipple has been a civil
trial lawyer for 33 years, providing
legal services to businesses, families
and individuals. He represented the
Buyer in this litigation. Mr. Whipple
is a Life Member of the 8th District Judicial
Conference, and has been a CMBA member since
1982. He can be reached at Whipple Law LLC,
whipple-law.com, (216) 912-8479.

Boston Court Reporting Firms

Boston court reporters are helping law firms meet emerging challenges.

Boston court reporters are helping law firms meet emerging challenges.

Today’s legal professionals need every edge as they take on the complex cases that have become staples in today’s legal system. More cases, more clients, crowded court dockets, and less time have all become the norm for today’s attorneys, and they need technology to help them work at their highest level.

Boston court reporters can help lawyers who want to maximize their time and talents. These court reporting professionals offer all of the tools that today’s busy legal professionals need as they guide their cases from preparation to presentation in the courtroom.

Connectivity has enhanced our lives in many ways, and it has changed the way people work in many fields. New tools like videoconferencing, realtime reporting, and online repositories take advantage of connectivity as the cornerstone of a new way of working that can alleviate travel burdens and help lawyers work more effectively.

Even with all of the technology available, Massachusetts court reporters remain the reliable source for accurate and timely court reporting and transcripts that are crucial to attorneys’ work every day. These reporting professionals have also now evolved to bring innovative ideas and new technology into the work of legal professionals both in the area and across the country.

Court Reporting in Canada

Court Reporting In Canada

Keep your court reporter aware of special needs you may have.

by Kimberley Neeson

When conducting depositions in Canada, it pays to do a little research before booking a court reporting firm. What is considered the “norm” in your state or country may not be the “norm” in other jurisdictions.   Here are a few quick points to bear in mind:

  • In many provinces in Canada, stenography is not the method of court reporting. Many court reporting firms employ digital recording with monitors, and typists prepare the transcripts (and not necessarily the monitor who sat in your deposition!)
  • Court reporters do not have to be licensed in Canada in order to certify transcripts.
  • Court reporters who swear in the witness should have a Commissioner of Oaths from the province they are working in.
  • Rates differ dramatically from province-to-province and even city-to-city (think New York City rates versus Small-Town-USA rates, for example).
  • Qualified legal videographers are few and far between. Only a handful of videographers in Canada have actually obtained their CLVS certification.
  • The technological abilities of court reporting firms varies widely in most provinces. Some reporters still use WordPerfect 4.2 from the late 1980s in order to produce transcripts!

How do you locate a qualified court reporter and videographer in Canada?

  • Choose a reputable court reporting firm with affiliations to associations where they have been independently vetted, i.e. National Court Reporters Association, National Network of Reporting Companies, etc.
  • Ask what method of reporting your court reporter will be providing; in other words, if you need a steno reporter, make sure to ask for one and indicate that digital recording is not acceptable.
  • Ensure your court reporting firm can provide you with the tools you require to meet your needs; i.e. hyperlinked exhibits, synced video media, transcript formats that will work with legal software databases, etc.
  • Ensure your court reporting firm can meet your transcript turnaround deadlines; i.e. ask for a rate sheet that includes turnaround times in advance of booking.
  • Inquire whether conference rooms are available and complimentary; this is standard offering in most Canadian court reporting firms
  • For videography, inquire in advance if you can get your media on a DVD; you don’t want to deal with the old school VHS system!
  • Last but not least, because you are an out-of-country customer, ask if prepayment is necessary.

By creating a quick checklist of absolute musts for your court reporting and videography services, you’ll save yourself a nasty surprise in a location where “fixing” the problem will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

About Ms. Neeson:

With over 30 years of court reporting experience, Ms. Neeson has been at the forefront of the advanced technologies of reporting. She was one of the first reporters in Canada to actively use and promote realtime reporting in the litigation setting.

Ms. Neeson is a Registered Professional Reporter, a Certified Realtime Reporter, a Chartered Shorthand Reporter, a Certified CART Provider and a Certified Broadcast Captioner, and was recently awarded NCRA’s Certified Realtime Administrator designation in July 2011.

neesoncourtreporting.com

 

It’s Not What You Said, It’s What They Remember

It’s Not What You Said, It’s What They Remember

Video is one way to reach jurors using new media.

At trial, the key oftentimes is getting complex issues that the parties have lived with for years to be comprehensible and memorable for juries whose understanding of the issues start from scratch and may only last for a couple of weeks.

The use of demonstrative evidence has progressed from a simple poster board drawing to animation showing accident scene recreations, all with an eye to making an impression on the collective jury’s mind of what each advocate wants the jury to remember most.   An homage, perhaps, to the saying that “A picture is worth a thousand words.

That may be fine when the point to emphasize can be reduced to one or a series of images, but it becomes more challenging when the point can only come across from oral testimony.   Studies have shown that the brain dedicates approximately five times more space to remembering sound (echoic memory) than it does to what you see (iconic memory).   The key word here is “remembering.” The image can make complex concepts concrete and easier to understand, but the spoken word actually has a better chance of being remembered.

The good news is that there’s a readily available technology that not only can combine the aural and visual, but complements it with reading comprehension. When video and synchronized text is combined in the form of closed captions, you get as close to the perfect world in information retention as possible in a trial setting (if you could have the witnesses sing their testimony to the tune of “Mairzy Doats” it would be even better).

If you’re interested in learning more, contact your local NNRC Trial Presentation Expert and they’ll be happy to give you a demonstration on how you can make sure that the jury not only hears what you said, but remembers it.

National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC) announces Partnership with inData Corporation

NNRC members will offer state-of-the-art litigation and trial consulting services through a strategic partnership and alliance with inData Corporation.

National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC) announces Partnership with inData CorporationFolsom, CA– {November 20, 2014} – The National Network of Reporting Companies, founded in 1983, and now the largest and oldest network of independently owned national court reporting firms serving as the global source for court reporting, legal video and video conferencing services, today announced a new partnership agreement with inData Corporation based in Gilbert, Arizona, to provide litigation and trial consulting services.

As a result of this partnership, NNRC members will expand their services by utilizing inData’s trial services division to provide experienced trial consulting and related litigation services, explained Chuck Cady, president of NNRC.

“This strategic alliance with inData will enable our independent members to enhance their services by offering full-service litigation support from discovery through trial to litigators nationwide,” said Cady. “This partnership will enable NNRC member firms to establish litigation support divisions that will help time-strapped trial teams expertly produce demonstrative graphics, prepare trial presentations, and choreograph courtroom and war room set-up or simply run presentations during trial.”

The NNRC boasts a network of independent court reporting partners with more than 55 of the most customer-oriented, technologically advanced court reporting firms in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Its members must be recommended and go through an in-depth vetting process before becoming a part of this prestigious network, strategically located in the United States and around the world.

Following inData Corporation’s release of its market-leading trial presentation software, TrialDirector®, the company established a professional services team that has worked side-by-side with litigators in hundreds of trials across the globe and developed a recognized expertise in the legal community for consulting in trials in a variety of industries according to Jordan Ray, inData Vice-President and Trial Services Division Director. “We are delighted to announce this highly-anticipated partnership with the NNRC,” said Ray. “The independent NNRC members provide state-of-the-art technology in court reporting with an unparalleled reputation for ethical and responsive customer service. This alliance provides the industry with seasoned professionals who will seamlessly provide a one-stop shop in all aspects of litigation for litigators seeking the most experienced, technologically advanced litigation services to expedite and win more cases for their clients.”

Further information, please contact Debbe Dreher, executive director of NNRC, at 916-932.2202

About the NNRC

NNRC is the most prestigious and largest litigation support network, handling more than 10 million depositions since 1983. Through personal recommendations, NNRC partners have been assessed as the most technologically advanced and dependable court reporting companies in the USA and worldwide. These independent court reporting firms offer global video depositions, conferencing services, as well as litigation support services. Learn more at NNRC.com.

About inData Corporation

Founded in 1984, inData is a technology company specializing in the management and presentation of information. It is a privately held company, headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona. inData develops innovative software and uses seasoned trial experts to provide software training, trial consulting and graphic services to legal professionals dealing with the challenges of litigation. Software products include the best-selling trial presentation software, TrialDirector®, in addition to TimelineXpress®, TimeCoder™ Pro, DepoView®, DepoView® DVD, and TDNotebook®.

.For further information, visit the inData website: http://www.indatacorp.com or contact Judy Miller, inData National Account Executive and NNRC Liaison

Austin Court Reporting Firms

Austin Court Reporting Firms

Austin, TX

Austin court reporters are ready to provide today’s attorneys with all of the technology they need to work more effectively. Today’s lawyers are facing new challenges in their casework, and having the right tools can be an important element that allows legal professionals to serve their clients more effectively.

Over the past few years, connectivity has played an increasingly important role in many fields. In the legal profession, it can help lawyers take advantage of their most precious commodity: time. Realtime reporting and videoconferencing can be important tools that help lawyers alleviate travel burdens or immediately access the information they need when they work.

There are also other tools like online repositories and indexing that can be an integral part of legal work every day.

When attorneys travel to the area, they can count on Texas court reporting firms to help provide all of the technology that allows legal professionals to accomplish their objectives and return to their clients. Additionally, they can enjoy the best conference facilities that allow them to work in comfort.

Today’s lawyers need every tool to serve their clients and maximize their talents. The right court reporting company can be important to help lawyers get the most out of their work every day.

Atlanta Court Reporting Firms

Atlanta Court Reporting Firms

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta court reporters are the source for the very latest in technology and experience that today’s law firms need as they take on more complex cases. There are many new tools that have emerged in the past few years that have given lawyers new ways to approach their cases and work more effectively and efficiently.

New tools like realtime reporting, videoconferencing, indexing, and online repositories have allowed lawyers to save time through each phase of their casework. They can help lawyers take command of information in new ways and work with greater ease in an era where there is often a much larger volume of documents and other information in cases.

Lawyers who travel to the area can also take advantage of the skill of these top court reporters. Georgia court reporting firms offer all of the tools that are important to today’s lawyers in addition to the amenities that help visiting attorneys work more effectively. They can accomplish their objectives and stay in touch with their legal teams, making the most of their limited time in the area.

Having the right team in place is important in any profession. The right court reporters can be an important part of your law firms effort to serve clients better.