Ask a random group of attorneys what they think of social media, and you’ll get some funny looks. Several of them will turn up their noses, while an equal number will have only a vague idea of what you’re talking about. Although more attorneys are participating in social media, there is still a good bit of reluctance to get involved.
The phenomenon called social media is simply a category of online resources used by people to communicate with one another, research topics of interest, stay on top of current events, and market their businesses. It includes blogs, which may be used by professionals to write about news affecting their industries, promote their businesses and expertise, and engage in dialogue with others in far away places.
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are considered to be more pure social media than blogs. A blog can be created and maintained without interaction with other people, if that’s what the writer chooses. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites require interaction with others to make them worthwhile. On these sites, you will “connect” with people you know or are interested in, and you’ll be able to see updates they post about themselves and their companies, articles they’ve written, and articles they find interesting. You will be able to “like” or comment on their updates, and often engaging discussions follow. Continue reading
In November 2014, Marquette University professor of political science Dr. John McAdams criticized the instructor of a philosophy class (graduate student Cheryl Abbate) for allegedly shutting down discussion of a student’s negative opinion of gay marriage. Dr. McAdams wrote:
Abbate explained that “some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions” and then went on to ask “do you know if anyone in your class is homosexual?” And further “don’t you think it would be offensive to them” if some student raised his hand and challenged gay marriage? The point being, apparently that any gay classmates should not be subjected to hearing any disagreement with their presumed policy views.
Dr. McAdams opined:
Abbate, of course, was just using a tactic typical among liberals now. Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed “offensive” and need to be shut up.
Abbate complained to the university and others, saying that the article written by Dr. McAdams was bullying. She apparently received offensive emails from third parties in reaction to the controversy. Continue reading
In 2013, Nevada enacted an anti-SLAPP law… something all states should have, but only 28 do (and those laws vary in quality). SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” It’s basically the type of lawsuit that is filed in order to get people to shut up.
I am no stranger to such suits. I was sued in this fashion by Medifast Inc. (aka Take Shape for Life) in 2010, and it took over five years for me to be dismissed, have the dismissal affirmed, and have the court order Medifast to pay my attorneys’ fees. The whole point of the Medifast lawsuit was to make me stop saying unflattering things about the company. And to scare anyone else who might dare to say bad things about the company…. the cost of litigation is tremendous, and companies like Medifast use the threat of litigation to shut up their critics. Continue reading
Freedom of speech reigns in the United States. Unless you are criticizing a person or company with the funds to sue you into infinity. Then you could find yourself on the receiving end of an expensive lawsuit that has no aim other than to shut you up. (Case study: Medifast Inc.’s $270 million lawsuit against me and others; I have won and Medifast is now trying to get out of paying the $300k+ of legal fees they are required to pay.)
Attorney Eric Turkewitz writes about his experience with SLAPP suits in New York. (SLAPP = Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Although the law protects people who write truthful things and/or state their opinions, the legal process of getting a case dismissed is onerous without anti-SLAPP laws. (Even with anti-SLAPP laws, it can still be expensive. Medifast sued in California, where there is good anti-SLAPP legislation, but it still took over $300k in attorneys fees — not counting the hundreds of thousands of dollars the other defendants spent on their attorneys — and over four years of litigation to get the suit against me dismissed.) Continue reading
Why might an accountant providing traditional tax or auditing services want to branch out into litigation work? There are lots of opportunities for expert witnesses, and the work is interesting. Watch the video below for Tracy Coenen’s commentary on this topic.
I receive many requests for information on the field of forensic accounting, including questions on courses of study, certification, job opportunities, and preparing for a career. Over four years ago I wrote this article for students and job seekers, and I thought it was a good time to update the information.
The first three bullet points of the article still hold true. If you want to work in the area of fraud investigation and forensic accounting, make sure all of your education and job choices put you on that path. Even if you can’t get started as a forensic accountant right away, make sure you’re doing everything you can to at least get a little bit of experience in the area. The more experience you have, the more attractive a candidate you will be for future jobs. Continue reading
Recently the AICPA published an article on its Journal of Accountancy website regarding private investigator licensing rules across the country. There is a concern that forensic accountants may be subject to private investigator regulations since they are doing investigative work. The AICPA has drafted a grid outlining the regulations by state, but you should do further research on your own because it does not tell the whole story.
The grid provides the following information on private investigators in Wisconsin: Continue reading
One of the common issues raised when an expert calculates damages is “reasonable certainty.” It is not uncommon for opposing counsel to suggest that the expert’s calculated damages are speculative.
The calculation of damages necessarily requires estimates and assumptions. Something has happened, and a company or individual is claiming that there are lost profits because of it. We can never know with complete certainty what revenue or profits would have been if that incident or action had not taken place. Mathematical precision is not possible. Thus, the expert must make certain estimates in order to calculate damages. Continue reading
Today Brian Willingham of the Diligentia Group has inspired me with his article Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Make Better Private Investigators? While Brian agrees that experience in law enforcement can be helpful to a private investigator, it does not necessarily make that investigator better. The same can be said for forensic accountants and fraud investigators: Law enforcement experience can be helpful, but it is not as important as you might believe.
Brian points us to a video that suggests that: Continue reading
Last week Marc Randazza, his wife Jennifer, and his daughter Natalia filed suit against “investigative blogger” Crystal Cox in United States District Court in Nevada. The suit is a treasure trove of tales about a nutty blogger who fancies herself an investigator and protector of civil rights.
The backstory has been covered here before. Crystal gained her nutty notoriety because of her attacks on Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance. In steps Marc Randazza, noted First Amendment lawyer, who considered representing Cox in that case. After that went south, Crystal Cox started buying domain names which included the names of Randazza, his wife, and their three-year-old daughter. She offered Randazza “reputation management services,” whereby she would refrain from posting defamatory things about him on her websites if Randazza paid her enough. That, my friends, is extortion.
The complaint summarizes: Continue reading