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LAW NOTES

THE PROFESSIONABA Poll Shows Home Pages Up, Internet Access Near 100 PercentThat joke about the techno-phobia of lawyers may be as dead as vaudeville, if the results of a survey conducted by the American Bar Association are any indication. Fully 99 percent of lawyers who responded to the ABA poll can now access the Internet from their law firms or corporate legal departments, according to the 1999 Legal Technology Survey Report. The most common on-line activity reported by the attorneys? Not surprisingly, it was general legal research, followed by non-legal research and communication with clients and colleagues.The survey, conducted by the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center, polled lawyers from solo, small, medium and large law firms, as well as corporate law departments, about their use of the Internet, e-mail, legal research, remote access and software and hardware preferences.Also on the upswing: home pages. Seventy-one percent of large firms and 32 percent of small firms responding to the survey have one, up from 58 percent and 11 percent in 1998. More than 40 percent of large firms and 15 percent of small firms said the Internet has expanded their practice areas, especially in the areas of technology and intellectual property law.Need more evidence? More than 85 percent of lawyers surveyed said they use a computer for business when away from the office, while 41 percent can access their firm’s internal systems when they’re not there. Respondents reported using computers at client meetings, in courtrooms, in depositions and while on the road, in addition to home use.Only 9 percent of those polled said they did not use a computer when out of the office.NAPIL Bucks the Trend in Pro BonoWhile large law firms are paying some first-year associates starting salaries equal to federal judges’ income, not all lawyers are in it for the money: The National Association for Public Interest Law announced an expansion of the nation’s largest postgraduate legal public service fellowship program.Seventy-seven new attorneys were selected for the program earlier this month, creating a total of 145 NAPIL fellows.“NAPIL Fellows live the lawyer’s professional commitment to service,” said David Stern, the association’s executive director, in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome the Class of 2000 to our growing, national corps of public interest attorneys.”The newest fellows were chosen from a pool of about 2,300 applicants, the largest number to date, according to NAPIL. Philanthropist George Soros funded the program in 1998 with a multi-year, multi-million-dollar grant from the Open Society Institute that matches donations up to an annual limit of approximately $3 million. Currently, more than 80 law firms and corporations, are sponsoring the program, NAPIL reported.Fellows get a salary and loan repayment assistance for two years. In addition, they receive training to help future clients in domestic violence, access to healthcare, disabled rights, seniors, community economic development, death penalty defense and environmental preservation.NAPIL, based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1986 by law students to help millions of low-income people and families overcome barriers to equal justice. The fellowship program has expanded dramatically to become the largest program of its kind in the country.LEGAL EDUCATIONMarking International Law Week, Former ICJ Judge to Speak at UBHighlighting International Law Week, Sept. 25-29, the University of Baltimore will present a free lecture by Stephen Schwebel, former judge for the International Court of Justice and current jurist-in-residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.Schwebel, a graduate of the Yale Law School, is an active international arbitrator and serves as president of the arbitral tribunal in the southern blue fin tuna case (Australia and New Zealand v. Japan). He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and also studied international law at Cambridge University in England.The judge will speak on “The Decision-Making Process of the International Court of Justice” on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. in the Moot Court Room, Angelos Law Center at UB’s downtown Baltimore campus. For more information, call (410) 837-4882.