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Our Firm Covers Bankruptcy in the Wake of COVID-19
Class Action News | 2020/11/23 08:44
Bankruptcy Law Chicago - Bankruptcy Lawyer | Daniel J. Winter

Being a practicing attorney for 30 years, I have been honing my skills every day. In these 30 years, I’ve met with hundreds of clients, and learned how to listen, then how to develop a specific financial plan based on my experience in the Bankruptcy Court.

Not just hear, but actually listen to the clients and hear what they want, their goals, and needs.

These listening skills help me have real-world conversations with my clients. I have detailed discussions about a topic that most people won’t talk about with their own family or friends, money. I let people bare their souls about what has happened to them, and how they have handled their struggles. I listen and learn from them about their businesses, their jobs and their life. I then make sense of it all, and untangle the web of loans, credit cards, mortgages, car loans, medical debt, and personal loans. We talk about all of the options available, both in Bankruptcy Court and out of it.

Using my legal knowledge of the Bankruptcy Court system, and real-world experience, I can then counsel clients on how to prepare for Bankruptcy, the requirements, and best timing for filing for Bankruptcy Relief. This is where my legal experience comes into play. I also can offer my own everyday life experience and offer practical suggestions!

Navigating Bankruptcy Court is different than other Courts in that every case is assigned a Trustee, who conducts a hearing to review their Bankruptcy Petition. The Trustee is the person who reviews each case to determine whether there are issues to bring to the Court’s attention. I have strong working relationships with each Trustee in the Northern District of Illinois. These relationships are based on decades of dealings with each Trustee. In each interaction, my integrity, my work-ethic, and preparedness shows. And the Trustees remember the quality of my work, which benefits each of my clients.


GOP tries again to get high court to ax health care law
Class Action News | 2020/11/10 18:50
A week after the 2020 election, Republican elected officials and the Trump administration are advancing their latest arguments to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, a long-held GOP goal that has repeatedly failed in Congress and the courts. In arguments scheduled for Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear its third major fight over the 10-year-old law, popularly known as “Obamacare.” Republican attorneys general in 18 states and the administration want the whole law to be struck down, which would threaten coverage for more than 23 million people.

It would wipe away protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, subsidized insurance premiums that make coverage affordable for millions of Americans and an expansion of the Medicaid program that is available to low-income people in most states. California is leading a group of Democratic-controlled states that is urging the court to leave the law in place.

The case comes to a court that now has three justices appointed by President Donald Trump: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett,  who joined the court late last month following her hurried nomination and confirmation to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The three Trump appointees have never ruled on the substance of the health care law. Barrett, though, has been critical of the court’s earlier major health care decisions sustaining the law, both written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Supreme Court could have heard the case before the election, but set arguments for a week after. The timing could add a wrinkle to the case since President-elect Joe Biden strongly supports the health care law.

The case turns on a change made by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 that reduced the penalty for not having health insurance to zero. Without the penalty, the law’s mandate to have health insurance is unconstitutional, the GOP-led states argue.

If the mandate goes, they say, the rest of the law should go with it because the mandate was central to the law’s passage. But enrollment in the law’s insurance markets stayed relatively stable at more than 11 million people, even after the effective date of the penalty’s elimination in 2019. According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, enrollment dropped by about 300,000 people from 2018 to 2019. Kaiser estimates 11.4 million people have coverage this year.

Another 12 million people have coverage through the law’s Medicaid expansion. The legal argument could well turn on the legal doctrine of severability, the idea that the court can excise a problematic provision from a law and allow the rest of it to remain in force. The justices have done just that in other rulings in recent years.

But in the first big ACA case in 2012, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas voted to strike down the whole law. Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor have voted to uphold it. A limited ruling would have little real-world consequences. The case could also be rendered irrelevant if the new Congress were to restore a modest penalty for not buying health insurance. A decision is expected by late spring.



Barrett bats away tough Democratic confirmation probing
Class Action News | 2020/10/15 16:38
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett batted away Democrats’ skeptical questions Tuesday on abortion, health care and a possible disputed-election fight over transferring presidential power, insisting in a long and lively confirmation hearing she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases “as they come.”

The 48-year-old appellate court judge declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics. She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Donald Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the Nov. 3 election.

“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda ? I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion ? and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee during its second day of hearings.

“It’s not the law of Amy,” she said. “It’s the law of the American people.”

Barrett returned to a Capitol Hill mostly shut down by COVID-19 protocols, the mood quickly shifting to a more confrontational tone  from opening day. She was grilled by Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s nominee yet unable to stop her. Excited by the prospect of a judge aligned with the late Antonin Scalia, Trump’s Republican allies are rushing ahead to install a 6-3 conservative court majority for years to come.

The president seemed pleased with her performance. “I think Amy’s doing incredibly well,” he said at the White House departing for a campaign rally.

Trump has said he wants a justice seated for any disputes arising from his heated election with Democrat Joe Biden, but Barrett testified she has not spoken to Trump or his team about election cases. Pressed by panel Democrats, she skipped past questions about ensuring the date of the election or preventing voter intimidation, both set in federal law, and the peaceful transfer of presidential power. She declined to commit to recusing herself from any post-election cases without first consulting the other justices.

“I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process,” she said.

A frustrated Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, all but implored the nominee to be more specific about how she would handle landmark abortion cases, including Roe v. Wade and the follow-up Pennsylvania case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which confirmed it in large part.



Supreme Court pick Barrett draws on faith, family for Senate
Class Action News | 2020/10/11 17:34
Supreme Court  nominee Amy Coney Barrett vows to be a justice “fearless of criticism” as the split Senate charges ahead with confirmation hearings on President Donald Trump’s pick to cement a conservative court majority before Election Day.

Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, draws on faith and family in her prepared opening remarks for the hearings, which begin Monday as the country is in the grips of the coronavirus  pandemic. She says courts “should not try” to make policy, but leave those decisions to the government’s political branches. She believes she would bring “a few new perspectives” as the first mother of school-age children on the nine-member court.

Trump chose the 48-year-old judge after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon. “I have been nominated to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, but no one will ever take her place,” Barrett says in her remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Associated Press obtained a copy of her statement on Sunday.

Barrett says she has resolved to maintain the same perspective as her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was “devoted to his family, resolute in his beliefs, and fearless of criticism.” Republicans who control the Senate are moving at a breakneck pace to seat Barrett before the Nov. 3 election, in time to hear a high-profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act and any election-related challenges that may follow the voting.

Another reason for moving quickly: It’s unclear whether the election results would make it harder to confirm Barrett before the end of the year if Democrat Joe Biden were to win the White House and Democrats were to gain seats in the Senate. The hearings are taking place less than a month after the death of Ginsburg gave Trump the chance to entrench a conservative majority on the court with his third justice.

Democrats have pressed in vain to delay the hearings, first because of the proximity to the election and now the virus threat. No Supreme Court has ever been confirmed so close to a presidential election. The country will get an extended look at Barrett over three days, beginning with her opening statement late Monday and hours of questioning Tuesday and Wednesday.


Flowers, homemade signs by high court in Ginsburg tribute
Class Action News | 2020/09/19 18:23
Mourners dropped off bouquets and gathered outside the Supreme Court early Saturday in quiet tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Homemade cardboard signs and a collection of flowers blanketed the court's grounds.

Hours earlier, hundreds of people had turned out after hearing of Ginsburg's death. They wept and sang in a candlelight vigil, packing the high court’s steps in a spontaneous memorial.

Scores of candles flickered in the nighttime wind as people knelt to leave flowers, American flags and handwritten condolence messages for Ginsburg, who died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87 after 27 years on the court. Prayer candles with Ginsburg’s photo on them were also left on the steps.

Several times, dozens in the crowd broke out into song, singing “Amazing Grace” and “This Land is Your Land” as others embraced one another and wiped tears from their eyes. At one point, the crowd broke into a thunderous applause — lasting for about a minute — for Ginsburg.

“Thank you RBG,” one sign read. On the sidewalk, “RBG” was drawn inside a pink chalk heart. Jennifer Berger, 37, said she felt compelled to join the large crowd that gathered to pay tribute to Ginsburg’s life.

“I think it is important for us to recognize such a trailblazer,” she said. “It is amazing to see how many people are feeling this loss tonight and saying goodbye.”

Ginsburg spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s liberal wing and became something of a rock star to her admirers. Young women especially seemed to embrace the court’s Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the Notorious RBG, for her defense of the rights of women and minorities.

The memorial service remained mostly peaceful and somber, but turned tense for several minutes after a man with a megaphone approached people in the crowd and began to chant that “Roe v. Wade is dead,” a refence to the landmark Supreme Court ruling establishing abortion rights nationwide.

A large group confronted the man, leading to a brief shouting match. Many in the crowd began yelling “RBG” to try to drown out the man’s voice as he continued to say Republicans would push to quickly appoint a conservative justice to the court. Supreme Court police officers stood alongside the crowd and the man eventually left the area.


Colombia court calls on Uribe to testify in massacre probe
Class Action News | 2020/08/24 08:02
Colombia’s Supreme Court is calling on powerful former President Alvaro Uribe to testify in an investigation into three massacres that could once and for all establish whether he had any ties to violent paramilitary groups.

The new legal quandary for Uribe is potentially more damaging than a separate Supreme Court probe into possible witness tampering that sparked protests earlier this month after magistrates placed the ex-president on house arrest.

Details of the massacre inquiry are contained in a 71-page court document obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday and also published in local media in which magistrates examine whether Uribe had any connection to three mass killings in the Antioquia department as well as the death of a human rights activist during his time as governor.

Both cases strike at long-standing ? but never legally proven ? accusations that Uribe had a direct role in paramilitary groups, which were formed by landowners during Colombia’s long civil conflict to fight violent Marxist guerrillas.

Though the Supreme Court is still in an investigative stage, the inquiries have split open tensions in Colombia over the peace process that led to an accord with the country’s biggest rebel movement. Uribe has vehemently denied the accusations and his lawyer is calling into question the timing of the new court request. Human rights activists, meanwhile, have praised the court for advancing the probes in a country where the powerful routinely escape accountability.


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