Thursday, October 20, 2011


There are a few different methods for litigating employment discrimination and harassment cases.  For a Federal title VII claim, you need to file an EEOC complaint and wait six months.  With a state claim, you can either proceed directly in the New York State Supreme Court, or file an administrative complaint with the State Human Rights Commission. The EEOC and NYS Human Rights Commission have dual filing, so filing with one counts for the other as well.  In New York City, there is a third entity, the NYC Commission on Human Rights, that functions similarly to to the State agency.

There are pros and cons to each approach. In general, the Federal Courts are efficient and push cases through relatively quickly. Although each judge is different, as a general rule Federal Judges are highly intelligent and analytical, and will carefully scrutinize the theory of liability under which a case is brought. Additionally, Federal Courts have a broader jury pool.  On Long Island, Federal jurors can come from Nassau, Suffolk, or even Queens or Brooklyn.   

State Court Judges can be just as intelligent, if not more-so, than their Federal counterparts, but they are usually dealing with a much larger case load.  The effect is that discovery moves slower. Additionally, in a State court, your jurors all come from the county where you filed.  

With the Division of Human Rights administrative hearings, or equivalent hearings in the City, there are no juries, but the procedure is simplified, and they are significantly more friendly to pro se litigants.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011


In some respects, personal injury lawyers can manage cases in a mechanical fashion.  With car accidents, slip or trip and falls, and many construction accidents, personal injury attorneys deal with the same fact patterns over-and-over again, and are negotiating with insurance carriers who look at the cases as statistics. 

In other respects, however, a personal injury lawyer needs to be able to make jurors, the defense attorneys, and the insurance adjuster, understand that their client is more than a mere statistic.  The bulk of the money awarded in personal injury cases is for pain and suffering, and statistics do not suffer -- people do. 

Thus, there needs to be a balance.  In order to effectively maneuver a case towards resolution, a personal injury attorney needs to step back and process a case in an efficient manner.  Evaluating liability, and the procedure for bringing a lawsuit, generally has little to do with the manner in which the particular individual involved in the suit was injured.  At the same time, however, a personal injury lawyer needs to be able to seamlessly switch back from "robot" to "human" when speaking with or about their client.   

Divorce Attorney

With matrimonial and family llitigation, there is a fuzzy line between legal and personal advice.  Divorce attorneys have an expertise and training in one, but usually not the other.  For many issues, howrver, the two overlap.

Clients may ask how a particular decision will affect their "case," but often the more significant impact of that decision will be on the client's life, relationships, and overall well-being.

A divorce lawyer needs to be able to listen and understand the whole situation, along with the client's goals and concerns, and identify and seperating the legal issues  from the personal ones.  A lawyer's advice may include reiterating fundamental principals such as the "best interest of the child," but that advice can also include helpig the client identify the issues, or portions thereof, that are better addressed through personal reflection (and, perhaps, consulting with medical professionals, clergy members, or trusted friends/relatives).