The Civil Justice System’s Role Protects Consumers Federal Preemption Threatens This Role

The American Association of Justice (AAJ) released a series of documents that detail how helping negligent corporations escape accountability has been a top priority for the Bush Administration. The documents were obtained through repeated Freedom of Information Act requests by AAJ and reveal how the Bush Administration has silently ordered federal agencies to usurp state law and consumer protections.

The AAJ report titled, Get Out of Jail Free: A Historical Perspective of How the Bush Administration Helps Corporations Escape Accountability, tracks the origins of complete immunity preemption. Further, the report reveals how in 2005 carbon copy statements claiming that federal agency rules preempt state law began surfacing in the rule “preambles” issued by the federal government, and in some cases the final rules. To date, seven federal agencies have issued over 60 proposed and final rules with preemption language in the preamble and claimed the authority to provide immunity from state law.

The Wall Street Journal recently outlined how these new rules will weaken consumer protections and will affect everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medicine. The story also includes an acknowledgment from a former Administration official that skirting Congress and usurping tougher state consumer safety laws was a goal of this Administration. And we can expect even more activity from federal agencies in the waning months of the Bush Administration. In exposing this wide-ranging attempt by the Bush Administration to dismantle states’ rights, AAJ uncovers the cozy relationship between federal agencies and the industries they regulate and the dissension at the agencies that resulted from the move to curtail states’ authority.

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Oct 21, 2008 at 01:28 PM

Most Technologically Advanced Courthouse in U.S.

On November 20th, 2006 I had the opportunity to accompany attorney Perry Zivley to the newly built Harris County Civil Courthouse, to conduct an interview/videocast with the honorable Judge Ken Wise of the 152nd Judicial District Court.

The data collected during this interview was used in preparing the content for an educational article Perry is writing entitled, “Understanding and Using Courtroom Technology in the New Harris County Civil Courthouse.”

I’ve visited and worked in a few other courtrooms across the country and I can say hands down that the new Harris County Civil Courthouse is by far the most tech-friendly courthouse I’ve come across. Having used the technology before, I was already a proponent of the new courthouse and being afforded the opportunity to showcase it here on Real Lawyer News came as a real honor.

Judge Wise was very hospitable and excited to explain in specific detail about the technology now available in the new courtrooms. I recommend any lawyer scheduled to try a case in the new Harris County Civil Courthouse to take amoment and watch the below videos, which were shot on location in the new courtroom setting.

Hopefully other municipalities seeking to install reliable and easy to use technology into their own courtrooms will first visit the Harris County Courthouses for a prime example in leading edge, 21st century courtroom technology implementation.

Mr. Zivley has the article he wrote about using courtroom technology posted at his blog, click hereto read it before its official debut in The Houston Lawyer Magazine.

The first video is the uncut footage of Perry’s Interview with Judge Wise. The second video is my attempt to shoot some footage of Judge Wise actually demonstrating the various components of the courtroom technology setup. Please forgive my zooming skills and the noises coming from the camera  =)

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Dec 05, 2006 at 01:30 PM

Do Real Lawyers Still Need a 1.0 Website if They Have a 2.0 Blog?

For anyone who has followed Real Lawyer News since its conception in September you may be wondering what has been going on with the Zivley Law Firm’s technology transition.

Even if you’re not wondering – I received an e-mail this morning from Massachusetts’ infamous media and technology lawyer Bob Ambrogi over at LawSiteswhich has prompted me to write the following post.

Ambrogi Asks:

“What’s happened with your experiment with the Zivley’s? Can’t tell from your blog whatever came of it.”

— Bob Ambrogi

Thanks for your inquiry Mr. Ambrogi.

From the outside The Zivley Project may appear to be on slow M..O..T..I..O..N… but from the perspective of the halls within The Law Office of Perry Zivley everything is really coming together faster than they expected.

Thanks to Craig Whitley over at Texas Web Designs, the primary landing site for is nearing its final stages of development.

To give you a preview Perry has decided to go ahead with the ‘beta‘ launch ofThe Zivley Law Firm website. Click on the link to take a look, but please keep in mind that he is still adding a few multi-media elements like clips from deposition videos as well as a couple of other articles that he’s authored and various other points of interest.

You can also find a section on the new Zivley Law website in the top navigation bar, under the “media” tab directing readers to the Zivley Blog.

Although The Zivley’s venture into the blawgosphere has still consisted primarily of reading blogs, please do bare with them. They are both very excited about publishing their blog and are really looking forward to interacting with the community and fellow blawgonauts.

I know it has seem somewhat silent around here lately… but rest assured, I am working on a few interesting posts for the future – just been getting all of my pixels down the right paths.

I’d like to thank all of you who have subscribed to Real Lawyer News and who have linked or told people about my blog. I enjoy reading all of your blogs and watching the wonderful conversations that blossom around them.

Until next post, may all of your conversations be real and meaningful!

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Nov 16, 2006 at 09:01 PM

We Want Real Lawyers – NOT Ridiculous Rules

Meet Kevin O’Keefe, he’s a veteran trial lawyer and the founder of LexBlog. I actually found out about Kevin a few months ago when the idea first crossed my mind to begin publishing Real Lawyer News. While running a Google search for ‘Real Lawyers’ I was welcomed by an army of posts plastering Kevin’s name all over my screen.

If there is anyone that deserves the title ‘Real Lawyer’, Kevin is by far a nominee. He and LexBlog are an essential catalyst responsible for driving the American legal arena into the blawgosphere. LexBlog has developed a ton of weblogs for attorneys all over the country and every one of the LexBlog sites that I looked at are slick, clutter free and well executed.

The reason I decided to write about Kevin today (I’ve been meaning to write about him for a while) was due to an alarming bit of news that I found via his blog regarding the on going controversy of what constitutes ethical advertising for lawyers as defined by the New York’s Administrative Board of Courts

Kevin writes:

“Lawyers’ foolishness in clamping down on lawyer blogs has made its way to the tech community. Slashdot, a highly popular technology-related news website, shared the absurdity this evening.

An anonymous reader writes:

‘While you might not guess it from watching late night TV, advertisements by lawyers are regulated by a web of regulations intended to protect potential clients from deceptive claims in such ads. Generally, these rules require lawyers to submit their ads to a review board, often with a filing fee paid with each new advertisement. The New York bar has proposed new rules which woulddefine blogging as advertising. Should these rules be enacted, any New York lawyer who blogs on any legal topic in New York would be required to submit any new blog post to the New York Bar for review. For New York lawyers who write frequently updated blogs, this could force them to make multiple (and potentially expensive) reports to the New York Bar every single day.’

We’ve got to get with it guys. It’s okay to run garbage ads on late night TV, on the side of busses, and on the walls behind urinals (yes, ads for dui lawyers), while we’ll clamp down on lawyers providing helpful info via blogs. Defies common sense. But suppose that’s how we got the reputation we have.”

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My response is simple: I believe that there’s an abundance of real lawyers in New York that can prevent this rule from being passed into effect if they care enough to fight it. Secondly, how can this trash be legal? Lastly, a post found on The Greatest American Lawyer pretty much sums the future of lawyering up, here’s a quote:

“If you fall into this group of people who have a great excuse not to blog, you will soon be in the minority. It’s just a question of time. Look at the number of people using MySpace or Youtube Look at how many people are blogging, sharing their lives online. Remember that a blog started in many ways as an online journal. It was far more personal in nature. The concept of debating “blogging for business” has only come later in the game. There is a giant wave coming and building. The early adopters will be in a much better position to ride that wave.”

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Rich in content, rich in results, rich in rewards for everyone. This is web2.0 – Law2.0 – Life2.0. Thanks to leaders like Kevin O’Keefe and countless others who are blogging (or ‘blawging’ however you want to describe it) the web is becoming a much more reliable and useful place. I propose that having a ‘user certified’digital identity will soon be seen as a prerequisite for any lawyer truly seeking to maintain or establish credibility among their peers and countrymen and women.

Until next post may all your days be REAL and Meaningful!

Further Research:

  • To learn more about LexBlog and Kevin O’Keefe visit
  • New York lawyer Ray Beckerman’s blog about the proposed new rules
  • The Greatest American Lawyer Blog
  • The Proposed New York Rules encase you missed it above

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Oct 27, 2006 at 04:16 PM 

This Wave Is Yours

…but you gotta be willing to jump in and swim if you want to catch IT.

A few weeks ago I was linked in to an attorney blawger that I believe all solo practitioners and big firm lawyers should closely be paying attention to. His name is Charles “Chuck” Newton, he is a Texas lawyer, a father of four and husband to Jane who is also a lawyer.

Chuck does not maintain a traditional office that most consumers typically associate with law firms. He has no waiting rooms for clients to cool their heals, no reception area in which to be ignored, no meeting rooms for client visits, no file room in which to lose files, no law library, no messy private office for the firm’s attorneys to hide. There are no walls with licenses and diplomas hanging on them, no rec room to chat with staff over coffee and donuts, and his firm’s shingle hangs from no building. Go look in any phone book and you will not see acheesy ad for Chuck’s law firm. He answers his own phones, reads and responds to his own email, faxes and snail mail.

How does Chuck’s law firm accomplish such a thing? Well IMHO, it looks like hegets things done because he doesn’t need to rely heavily on anyone to do stuff for him, but instead utilizes the miracles of information technology:

  • email
  • Internet telephony
  • Internet faxing
  • electronic case filing
  • Internet research
  • blogging or blawging

There is virtually no person that cannot be reached, and no document that cannot be received or delivered, by phone, fax, email or snail mail. Chuck believes that staying connected allows him to tear down the barriers that keep him from his clients and their objectives.

Chuck is so on to IT that IT truly does radiate from his smile, just look at the picture of him below. This guy sees IT clear as day… He see’s the future – NOW. He knows that we are all in the middle of a paradigm shift and he sees the beautiful future that is presenting itself for those willing to see IT.

“Think about what technology is all about.  It is about effortless collaboration and effective communication with those around you without the need for filters.  The whole purpose of technology in aThird Wave society is to knock down thestructures that bind us, and to cut the levels of management and support help that hold us back.  In short, these technologies substantially improve what?  The productivity of all of those lawyers that become attuned to and use the new, cheap technologies.” -Chuck Newton

We are indeed heading toward David Brin’s transparent society of collaborative technologies. I’d like to believe that we are a culture of team work and a nation of unity, but lately there has been so much division. Who knows if it was policy or religion or just pure fear that caused us as a people to be broken asunder and segregated, but is it not apparent that we are all slowly but surely coming back together again? In a third wave world there are no walls and we are all the connector and the connection – Linking IN, teaching IT, and spreading IT all around the globe.

-Posted by Jamie Parks on Oct 25, 2006 at 01:07 PM

This Week In Law Episode #1

The This Week in Law podcast is out! Leo Laporte just posted the first episode to his blog tonight.

I just listened to the show… It’s an interesting first start. Excellent content yet the audio quality is some what poor and quite distracting.

Despite the technicalities, this podcast isso refreshing and definitely worth a listen. To have the opportunity to listen in on real lawyers gathering together for a conference call to discuss current day law and technology issues is a tremendous milestone for Law2.0 – I wish Denise and Leo all the success with TWiL and I look forward to listening to future episodes.

If TWiL turns out to be anything for Law that was for technology, it will certainly be a jewel worth mining for. Denise Howell’s other shows on theGigaVox Media Network are worth listening to as well.

Hosts: Denise Howell, Cathy Kirkman, Ernie Svenson, John Palfrey
Guest: Hank Barry

-Posted by Jamie Parks on Oct 23, 2006 at 01:09 AM

Upgrade Update

Perry has a server and a new desktop, Monique (Perry’s legal assistant) got her new machine, and Harriett now has a laptop. I’ll keep the specification details short. Lets just say Perry called DELL and explained his goals. He requested the best value for his dollar and packages started showing up at the law firm. I’m relieved that the hardware is finally out of the way, now maybe we can start getting down to the business of blogging =)

Perry’s first college room-mate, Dave Broeckleman of Strategic Network Consultants, has successfully got the Zivley Law Firm server up and running.Dave says he has been trying to get Perry away from using AOL and peer to peer networking for many years. Nevertheless, he was thrilled to be helping Perry with the hardware upgrade. He has now successfully migrated all of the Zivley Law Firm directories over to the server and has also set Perry up with a new e-mail address at his domain.

Perry is happy because he no longer has to wait 10 minutes each morning for his machine to boot up and he doesn’t have to rely on a peer to peer network to manage his data. The days of the computer constantly being thrown into lethargic mode every time his paralegal needs to access a shared directory on his hard drive are finally over!

Now it’s time to begin testing the realusability of this upgrade. As of now, Perry’s filing system will not change that much, he typically nests his relative client files within their respective directories on his hard drive. Now he will just be storing all of that data on his server drives.

To better manage the wealth of knowledge
 living within each case that Perry handles, he hopes to soon be able to easily tag (add meta data) into every file that he or his paralegal creates — word docs, spreadsheets, presentations, deposition transcripts, photos or videos. Each element of every case that the Zivley Law Firm handles will not only be redundantly backed up in to perpetuity but as it is being archived, the data base will be growing infinitely smarter. By each author having the capability to instantly wrap the content of a file with meaningful meta data a tremendous value will be packed in to any search query made on the firm database in the future. Tagging is a great way to share legacy information among colleagues at a law firm. I wonder how many law firms are guilty of inefficiently managing their knowledge bases?

Knowledge Management is a whole other topic worth exploring in a separate post so I’ll save it for later. I just wanted to send out a quick update to catch everyone up on the happenings at the Zivley Firm. I realize it has been a while since the last time I published, and believe me I know all about consistency being key. So find it in your heart to forgive me and I’ll do my best to have some engaging footage to publish again next week. On that note, I’ll leave you with a short movie that I made in hopes of bringing you a little closer into the upgrade process over at the Zivley Law Firm. Until next time, may all your days be real and meaningful. Thanks for dropping by!

=Posted by Jamie Parks on Oct 13, 2006 at 11:34 PM

Teaching Lawyers About IT

August 29, 2006 – I delivered my beta/ever evolving presentation “Be A Real Lawyer” to an existing client, the Zivley Law firm. This blog was inspired by that encounter.

Meet Real Lawyer #1: Harriett Zivley, wife of Zivley Law Firm founder
Perry Zivley and also an attorney herself, has expressed a sincere
passion to start a weblog, and it’s my job to show her how to get started and how to keep it going. Her enthusiasm about communicating the behind the scene realities of The Zivley Law Firm’s unwavering commitment to its clients is contagious. This should turn out to be an interesting experience for everyone.

The meeting was an enlightening learning experience for all of us. Little glimpses into some very useful technologies that neither Harriett or Perry were previously aware of certainly brought a good vibe into the room. Watching their eyes take in and process what was going on as I scrolled both of them around the workings of an RSS reader was priceless. Linking to a few succesful lawyer sites who have already embraced such revolutionary technologies like blogging, podcasting, flickr, and YouTube seemed to really get their minds clicking into gear!


Keep in mind this is my first attempt to try and teach a law firm about the various angles of IT and all of the possibilities that await. Being the practical hands on kind of teacher that I aspire to be, I thought It would simplify Harriett’s learning curve if I were to go ahead and set up a new blog here on TypePad as a teaching tool and living example of how the Internet has the amazing ability of spreading and attracting information and informers. If all goes as I hope, this site should become a small hive of humans swarming in and out sharing links and experiences. Time will tell…

Moreover, I hope this blog will truly demystify some of the froth of the web2.0 halo and show Harriett and other lawyers out there some real world examples of just how quick, simple and inexpensive it really is to start publishing their messages and experiences to the web.

Next week: More about the beauty of RSS and how consistently publishing informative/entertaining posts to a blog greatly increases organic search results in both Yahoo and Google search engines. I’ll also be showing the Zivley’s a little more around the blogosphere to semi-familiar-eyes them with what’s been happening over the past few years.

OK, so check out Harriett’s YouTube video debut!


Posted by Jamie Parks on Sep 04, 2006 at 01:21 PM