Weekly roundup: Legal news from around the country

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This week’s highlights 

  • Appeals court allows eviction moratorium to continue, says CDC likely to win appeal 
  • Lawyer fined for “inappropriate gesture” on Zoom hearing 
  • Legal services sector adds 1,700 jobs in May 
  • Increased demand for fully remote legal jobs 
  • 11th Circuit ruling has significant implications for debt collectors 

Appeals court allows eviction moratorium to continue, says CDC likely to win appeal 

“A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday denied a request by a group of landlords to resume evictions, leaving the temporary nationwide eviction moratorium intact for now.” (The Hill) 

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by a group of landlords to resume evictions, which left the temporary nationwide ban in place for now.  

The move follows a ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who struck down the Center for Disease Control moratorium after finding that the agency had overstepped its authority. Friedrich, though, stayed her ruling to allow the Biden administration time to appeal.  

The landlords sought to lift that stay Wednesday, which was denied with the court stating that the Department of Health and Human Services had “made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed in its appeal.” 

Lawyer fined for “inappropriate gesture” on Zoom hearing 

“The Michigan Court of Appeals has fined a lawyer $3,000 and referred him for possible further discipline after determining he raised his middle finger to an opposing lawyer during recent oral arguments.” (Detroit Free Press) 

A Michigan attorney has been fined for raising his middle finger during a Zoom hearing. Attorney James Heos told the Detroit Free Press that he had flipped the bird in frustration at a malfunctioning computer screen, and he had no idea he could be seen. 

“I would imagine it appeared to them that I was flipping off the court and my opponent, which I would never do,” he said. 

Legal services sector adds 1,700 jobs in May 

“The legal services industry gained 1,700 jobs in May, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released Friday by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics) 

According to the May jobs Report the legal industry had a total 1,138,500 jobs, which is 40,600 more jobs than in May 2020, a period when the industry lost jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The May gains follow a bumper gain of 8,600 jobs in April, according to the revised numbers. The revised figure shows jobs growth in April was quite a bit faster than initially reported. Total legal jobs remain below their February 2020 high, but are rapidly recovering.  

Increased demand for fully remote legal jobs 

“As firms begin the process of reuniting their attorneys in the office, some lawyers are rebelling—threatening to move to another firm so that they don’t have to move from their home office.” (law.com) 

As more large law firms announce plans for office re-openings there is a simultaneous increase in lawyers seeking out fully remote lawyering positions.  

In interviews with legal sector recruiters law.com found many “highly successful individuals looking for a change of environment” and “numerous” lawyers asking for remote roles. Recruiter Dan Snow told the website that “these lawyers are contemplating leaving their current firms because they won’t be able to work remotely in the future.” 

11th Circuit ruling has significant implications for debt collectors 

“The 11th Circuit held that a debt collector’s transmittal of a customer’s debt-related data to a third-party without authorization stated a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claim under. The decision may have implications for the debt-collection businesses that outsource customer-related tasks to vendors.” (National Law Review) 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit may have upended the long-standing business practice of financial services companies using third-party vendors to manage, service and collect on outstanding debt. If left unchecked, the opinion will significantly broaden the scope of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). 

In Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc., the court reversed the lower court and held that when a debt collector provides an outside letter vendor with personal account information relating to the collection of a debt, it rises to the level of an impermissible communication with a third party to which there is no exception if there is no consumer consent. 

Richard Heinrich

Richard Heinrich

Richard is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at InfoTrack. He has worked with law firms for more than a decade to advise on adapting to regulatory and technological change. He writes about the courts, civil procedure, and developing trends that may affect law firm operations.
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