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Author: Thomas D. White

White Law Office, Co. > Articles posted by Thomas D. White

A Virtual Attorney in a Changing World

What is a Virtual Lawyer? As I write this I am at a legal technology conference in San Diego with the speaker proclaiming the virtues of virtual lawyers and virtual law firms. As a traditionally trained lawyer, the concept of “virtual” law was at first daunting for me. “Virtual” sounds like a lawyer existing on a Star Trek holodeck. What I discovered was much different, but we need to first define virtual law. We live in a world that is leveraging technology at an increasingly rapid pace. I remember as a young lawyer marveling at the IBM Selectric’s ability to backspace and erase what I had just typed. It seems like yesterday, but technologically, it was in the Stone Age. Simply put, a virtual lawyer is a lawyer who is able to use technology to efficiently and economically provide services to the client. As technology changes, legal services need to become more efficient and economical for the client. If you think about it, lawyers have been using technology to serve clients virtually (not face to face in a law office) for about a hundred years through the telephone. Most of my conferences with clients are not in person, they a phone calls. But phone calls are only one way of attorneys and clients communicate. For instance, most of our correspondence with clients is by email. This is much quicker than regular mail in communicating and allows us to send documents instantly. An emerging use of technology that many of our clients enjoy video conferences. The internet has...

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Parental Equal Rights

Equal rights have always been a hot-button issue for Americans. Equal protection of the law, enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, is the bedrock for the enforcement of equal rights. There are misunderstandings about whether separated parents have equal rights to their children in divorce. Fathers who feel that mothers are given preference in custody decisions are balanced by mothers who feel that they are at an economic disadvantage if the father is the greater wage earner. It is important to know that in Ohio separated parents start at a point of equality when it comes to making decisions on who the children live with. This policy is found in Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.03 which states: "When husband and wife are living separate and apart from each other, or are divorced, and the question as to the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of their children and the place of residence and legal custodian of their children are brought before a court of competent jurisdiction, they shall stand upon an equality as to the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of their children and the place of residence and legal custodian of their children, so far as parenthood is involved." This is an all too often neglected statute in divorce litigation. Good lawyers are aware of this policy and know how to use it to obtain the best results for their clients. Thomas D. White Senior Partner ...

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Giving Testimony: High Anxiety Part 1

As a lawyer and judge, I have been around people giving testimony for about 40 years. Every time I reach the end of a trial or a round of depositions (before trial testimony given in lawyers' offices), I promise myself to write about the experience that I have seen so many go through (and occasionally gone through myself). Here are some of my observations about testifying for good or ill. The anxiety begins with the Oath or Affirmation. Anxiety, often high anxiety, is built into the process of testifying. Giving any testimony requires that you raise your right hand and swear or affirm, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Swearing an oath to testify truthfully is in the form of, "Do you solemnly swear the that your testimony shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" to which the witness responds, "I do." The purpose of the oath is to impress the witness with the solemnity of the trial and summons thoughts of divine retribution for lying under oath (which is also a seldom prosecuted crime called perjury). While I have never seen bolts from the sky strike down a perjurer, I have from time to time moved my chair to put greater distance between me and a witness that I highly suspected was lying. You know, just in case. As an alternative to taking an oath, a witness may "affirm the tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...

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A Knight Is Sworn To Valor

As we often state, our core values are Trust and Integrity. What we are saying to ourselves, each other, our clients, our opponents and the world at large is: “You can trust my integrity.” But what does that mean? Lawyers are addressed with the surname “Esq.” which stands for Esquire, from the Latin for Knight. A couple of weeks ago, during a discussion, someone thought about the knight’s head chess piece that is our logo....

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What a Trial Lawyer Knows About Trials

What a Trial Lawyer Knows About Trials Posted by Thomas D. White in Litigation Often when I sit down with a new client to discuss how they feel they need to sue someone or someone has sued them, we first have to work through the shock of why they are in a lawyer’s office. We need to know where lawyer’s offices and doctor’s offices are but somehow we hope we will never need them....

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Family Law – In Seven parts

  Part 1- Introduction to Co-Parenting. Parents enduring a divorce are often puzzled by the buzz-word “Co-Parenting.” I have read psychological studies that find divorce as one of the worst things you can experience as an adult. Worse even than the death of a spouse. If your spouse dies, there is a funeral, grieving and a chance to move on with your life. In divorce, your former spouse may be legally dead to you, but they are still walking around (kind of a weird living dead thing), especially if you are parents. While in the midst of a heart-rending divorce, being a “Co-Anything” with the spouse you are divorcing doesn’t make sense. Your spouse has hurt you beyond reason and while feelings of hurt, betrayal, and revenge, the judge will often order you to attend a “Co-Parenting Seminar.” What’s that all about? Co-Parenting is just the latest way to formulate something that I used to tell divorcing parents when I was a Judge: “You can divorce each other, just don’t divorce your kids!” Even in the most heated divorces, most of us can agree that the divorce is not the kid's fault. Yet, it is the kids who often pay a heavy price for divorce. They can be viewed as trophies whose custody is “won” or “lost.” They can be wooed or threatened to “pick sides” in the divorce. The other parent can be blamed for financial hardship for the child (“Daddy just doesn’t love you enough to pay his child support”). And many other ways to...

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