Bar Exam Redux

As much as it pains me to say it, it’s true: In six weeks I will sit for the Pennsylvania Bar Examination.

No, I’m not moving to Pennsylvania. What happened is my firm recently opened an office in Philadelphia and I’ve been asked to become a licensed Pennsylvania attorney so I can help with cases in the new office.  Awesome!

It’s been four years since I sat for the Maryland bar. Back then I had the luxury of making the bar exam my one and only job. I studied day and night and followed BarBri to a T. Continue reading

Electronic case filing in Maryland, Part 2

Breaking news! Electronic case filing is coming to Maryland!

As some of you may recall, I blogged last week about how electronic case filing in Maryland was “nowhere in sight.” It turns out I was wrong. Very wrong.

Since my posting I have had the pleasure of speaking with Chief Judge of the District Courts of Maryland Ben C. Clyburn and Angelita Plemmer, director of the Office of Communications and Public Affairs for the Maryland Judiciary. Together, Judge Clyburn and Ms. Plemmer educated me on the steps that have been taken and the continued progress that is being made toward implementing e-filing in Maryland.

Here is a summary of what I learned: Continue reading

Electronic case filing in Maryland?

Based upon some quick research I did, it looks as though there are 14 state court systems actively utilizing electronic case filing, including the District of Columbia.  Additionally, almost every federal jurisdiction has electronic case filing through the now well-known PACER CM/ECF system.

I’ve been involved in a number of cases filed in the U.S. District Court here in Maryland, and currently my office has two cases in the District of Columbia.  To put it simply, the more electronic filing I do in these jurisdictions, the more frustrated I get at the fact that Maryland does not have such a system.  Not only that, it appears as though electronic filing in general civil cases in Maryland is nowhere in sight.

I recall when the District of Columbia implemented electronic case filing for all civil cases back in 2006.  I believe I was a law clerk at the time, and one of the partners in my office asked me to attend an open meeting held by the D.C. Superior Court staff to address initial concerns about the system so that I could be the D.C. case filing expert in my office.  Whoa.  Talk about pressure. Continue reading

I’m Back

In the past 10 days I’ve received numerous e-mails from friends, colleagues and previously anonymous readers asking why it’s been almost a month since my last blog post.  All of those e-mails brought a huge smile to my face, and a heartfelt thank you goes out to each and every one of you for (1) reading my posts,  and (2) actually being “concerned” about my whereabouts.

The reason for my absence is simple: a five-day medical malpractice trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court from March 23rd to March 29th.  Now, some of you might be asking yourself: “But, wait, if the trial was only five days, why have you not posted in over three weeks?”  Let me explain.

This might sound obvious, but being in trial is hard.  You are in front of a judge and a jury who demand every single ounce of your attention.  It’s adversarial, which is exhausting in and of itself.  And even when the day ends, the work does not.

Continue reading

March Madness

Today is March 9, 2010. If my calculations are correct, the Maryland General Assembly has 35 days left in this year’s legislative session. March madness indeed. (I apologize if you were expecting this blog post to be about the NCAA tournament. I tried. I really did. Despite my best efforts, I could not reasonably connect young lawyering to the NCAA tournament. I suppose I could have written about work distractions caused by the tournament. But I think that holds true for all lawyers – young and not-so-young).

Of particular interest to me are two bills, one in the House (HB 622), and one in the Senate (SB 769), that seek to increase the maximum amount of noneconomic damages allowable for personal injury actions and wrongful death actions arising out of medical malpractice. Currently, noneconomic damages are generally capped at around $650,000.00, depending on when the cause of action arose. While the House bill and the Senate bill are slightly different, both bills would effectively increase that limit to $740,000.00 for causes of action arising in October or November 2010.

I do think Sen. Gladden and Del. Waldstreicher are putting their best feet forward on this issue, but I am forever amused at the arbitrary amounts our legislators seem to come up with as it relates to capping awards in medical malpractice cases. In all honesty, arbitrary does not even begin to describe it – it’s downright random.

So, why $740,000.00? Continue reading

Olympic Lawsuit?

I am a big fan of the Winter Olympics.  I look forward to it every four years.  My favorite events are downhill skiing, hockey and curling (yes, I find curling to be incredibly engaging and fascinating).  Unfortunately, the 2010 version of the Winter Olympics has been overshadowed by the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.  Kumaritashvili died when he was thrown from his sled and into a steel beam during a practice run the Friday before the Olympics were set to begin.

Given my occupation as a plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer, the topic of a potential lawsuit from this incident has dominated recent conversations with my family and friends.  I heard about Kumaritashvili’s death from my father.  Naturally, he asked me, “Do you think there will be a lawsuit?” Continue reading