Produce and air television ads to showcase overarching messages and powerful messengers. One powerful way to generate earned media and drive the narrative while a court case is pending is by airing a television commercial highlighting a poignant story or a powerful messenger. During federal court consideration of lawsuits in the Mountain West, we aired a television spot featuring retired U.S. Senator Alan Simpson speaking about the western and Republican values that were important to him and how they led him to support the freedom to marry. In Tennessee, we aired a spot featuring a gay Navy officer who had just served in Afghanistan and yet couldn’t marry his partner in his home state. In Texas, through our Texas for Marriage campaign, we featured the voices of non-gay police officers standing beside a gay colleague in support of his freedom to marry. For each of these, we did relatively small media buys, with the goal of getting coverage of the spot on television news and in print. Because the stories were both so powerful, for a relatively small investment in airing the spot, we received solid earned media coverage.
Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.
Support legal teams with “friend-of-the-court” briefs: Amicus briefs (“friend-of-the-court” briefs) can be filed by groups that seek to expand on legal teams’ arguments or bring an additional perspective to the conversation. During marriage legal cases, state and national partners often came together to line up robust amici briefs, and as marriage work shifted overwhelmingly to the courts in 2014, a significant amount of work involved enlisting signers. Hand-in-hand with our legal advocacy organizations Freedom to Marry worked to enlist signers who could demonstrate most powerfully that America was ready for marriage nationwide. This included Republican officials, faith leaders, businesses, first responders, and mayors. During these court cases, we generated media and public discussion by highlighting the numbers and prominence of signers on amicus briefs, and putting forward their business/public health/faith, etc., case for ending marriage discrimination.
The HOPE Court judge recognizes that high-risk offenders, who may also have co-occurring disorders, or who have failed in drug abuse treatment, fare better in HOPE Court when they are required to attend frequent status checks. Under Judge Bert Brown’s close courtroom supervision, offenders move from the streets to sober living. The program's success is based upon Judge Brown’s zero judicial tolerance, coupled with rehabilitation programs and alternative sentencing.
In almost all situations, a negotiated solution to a dispute is quicker, less expensive and more private than litigating in court. Often, judges require litigants to attempt to reach agreement using a trained facilitator called a mediator before they will be allowed to move forward to a courtroom trial. Take full advantage of the available opportunities for mediation. Cooperate fully with the mediator's requests, and see if it's possible to arrive at a negotiated deal that both you and the other side can live with.
Many people presume that judges issue rulings in court based simply on the facts at hand, without public opinion playing any role at all. However, history tells us that how judges read laws and constitutions very much reflects where public opinion is (or, at least, what they think the public will accept). Leading up to the final Supreme Court marriage victory, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview that “there hasn’t been any major change…in which there wasn’t a groundswell among the people before the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on the inclusion in the equality concept of people who were once left out.”
Washington state has become a battleground over the legality of online gambling. A landmark ruling last year against the then-parent company of Seattle-based Big Fish Games found that it was facilitating online gambling because the chips in the company’s casual casino games represented a “thing of value” under state law because users can’t play without them.
In arbitration, the parties submit their case to an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, who will decide for one side or the other, like a judge in a courtroom. Although there are many different forms of arbitration, arbitration typically resembles a trial. Each party has the opportunity to present witnesses and introduce evidence. You may be represented by an attorney.
As we interviewed experts on the subject, including former Justice Department officials who keep track of these things, we realized that these numbers were extraordinary. No one had an exact count comparing, say, the Obama administration’s record in court after two years with the Trump administration. But as we researched the subject, we found studies estimating the average “win rate” for administrations in the courts was somewhere around 70% whereas the Trump administration appeared to be losing at least 70% of the time.
The focus for this specialty drug court is on those defendants between the ages of 18 and 24, young offenders (YO), and requires family support and participation. The program was launched in July 2010 and follows an intensive supervision drug court model with a focus on family treatment. This team has found a formula that is successful with the drug court defendants, especially with young offenders. YO Court mandates frequent court status checks, substance abuse treatment, community service activities, random drug testing, life skill classes, homework assignments and family involvement.
Litigation was the pathway to the freedom to marry in many states. It often takes a judge to challenge prevailing assumptions (and even prejudice) that political decision-makers such as legislators or voters may be more unwilling to overcome. Early on, we won in state courts, first in Hawaii in the 1990s, then in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Iowa. Later, we won in federal court, first in California, then in Utah, Oklahoma, and beyond, all the way up to the Supreme Court. In total, 25 of our final state victories (aside from the 13 final states we won at the U.S. Supreme Court) came through judicial rulings – 5 in state court and the rest in federal court. Most of these court wins came through our movement’s legal arm – the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights – while a significant share were initiated by private attorneys and assisted by growing numbers of law firms eager to join in the progress. Several of these victories, though, were stripped away by political attack, and most of them would not have happened had we not built momentum in public understanding and even the politics of the marriage debate, creating the climate for the courts to rule in our favor and ensure that the public and elected officials would accept the outcome.
In civil lawsuits, particularly in Small Claims Court, you can get a judgment by the Court for money owed you, but you may have great difficulty collecting the money. There are ways the Court can put pressure on the payee, with garnishment or a lien against the property. In these cases, you must be proactive in getting the court to use its power in any legal means necessary to get someone to pay, But, as they say, "you can't get blood from a turnip."
A lawsuit begins when a complaint or petition, known as a pleading, is filed with the court. A complaint should explicitly state that one or more plaintiffs seek(s) damages or equitable relief from one or more stated defendants, and also should state the relevant factual allegations supporting the legal claims brought by the plaintiff(s). As the initial pleading, a complaint is the most important step in a civil case because a complaint sets the factual and legal foundation for the entirety of a case. While complaints and other pleadings may ordinarily be amended by a motion with the court, the complaint sets the framework for the entire case and the claims that will be asserted throughout the entire lawsuit.