Articles Posted in General Announcements

In Are We Nearing a Global Turning Point?, business expert witness Douglas E. Johnston writes:

Several important economic factors appear to be moving unfavorably for the US at the moment, both domestically and abroad, and there are increasing indications that America may not be able to orchestrate a hoped-for global resurgence on its own. Despite encouraging signs of domestic recovery, fundamental structural problems persist in the US economy. The National Debt now exceeds $18 Trillion, the Department of Agriculture confirms that well over 46 million Americans continue on food stamps, and key voices have stepped forward asking for a deeper look at several U.S. economic statistics….

Mathematically, the odds are very strong that a global realignment of the dollar, euro and yuan and their relative weighting and exchange rates will occur, and possibly soon. Why? Because despite the brave declarations of economic recovery from global leaders, each of them has very capable advisors who understand the reality that the entire planet is daily sinking deeper into depression. The Baltic Dry Index, long noted as a reliable surrogate statistic for the volume of global shipping trade, has reached an all-time low in February 2015. It is increasingly possible that the passage of time plus continued money printing from central banks may no longer produce reliable global economic growth.

With the vaunted Chinese economy weakening to its slowest growth rate in 24 years, with Japan (the world’s #3 economy) now shrinking at 1.2% per year, with Russia now contracting 10% or more under new economic sanctions, with Europe in steep recession, and with oil and many global commodity prices now in free-fall, the allegedly-recovering US economy and its targeted 3.5% growth rate for 2015 are being touted yet again as the growth engine for the world. As we look at the increasingly-frequent negative revisions from the BLS, Commerce Department and others regarding broad economic activity, employment rates, durable goods orders, and housing, the repeat image of the ‘US as Economic Locomotive to the World’ might be a little more far-fetched this time around. The problem is global, and the US is huffing and puffing but maybe no longer powerful enough to pull a growth train of debt-laden railcars, with some of them now moving in reverse. As Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver recently noted, the US ability to carry the world economy “is simply not sustainable.”

Global growth has always been the answer to the debt problem, but the idea of more and more money-printing bailouts to ‘buy time’ for the world economy to heal may have been an overworked solution for many years now. As former PIMCO Co-Founder Bill Gross (now with Janus Capital) wrote in his January Investment Outlook:

The power of additional and cheaper credit to add to economic growth
and financial asset bull markets has been underappreciated by investors
since 1981…There comes a time, however, when zero-based, and in some
cases negative yields, fail to generate sufficient economic growth…
The good times are over….The time for risk-taking has passed


The European Union Times recently quoted the McKinsey Global Infrastructure Report in noting that global debt has grown by 40% from $142 Trillion in 2007 to $199 Trillion in 2014. But global economic growth has not kept pace, indicating that the higher debt levels will be even harder to service. While additional trillions in bailouts, global central bank money-printing and QE announcements still offer very welcome news headlines to markets in the short term, perhaps the smart money now acknowledges that target 3.5% US growth forecasts may not come even close to providing the ‘escape velocity’ to overcome this added debt load, or to pull the global economy out of the looming debt problems and core mathematics.

Can lower crude oil prices provide the missing global growth stimulus? Undoubtedly, the broad stimulus of the recent 60% decline in global crude prices over the last 8 months will provide both relief and a small boost to the common man at the gas pump, but the losers on the other side of the oil price equation are powerful companies, banks and countries which have a tighter economic nexus. Their concentrated losses could have a more impactful and disproportionately large effect on global markets, especially in the financial derivatives area, as compared to the more widely-scattered gains of the average man in the street. We will see. The quadrillion dollar derivatives market has yet to be fully understood by many.

But lastly, what again about the recent ‘good news’ of the steadily surging dollar? There seems to be little real relief there either, as the other side of the stronger dollar is that it makes precious US exports more expensive and thus less competitive in global markets. As Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman carefully noted last week: “The rising dollar will not be good for U.S. manufacturing or the U.S. economy.” As the G-20 meets this week in Turkey, perhaps the world will look to other economic engines and other solutions.

Doug Johnston (through Five Management, LLC) is an expert witness in banking/lending and an investigative business consultant specializing in Commercial Banking & Lending, Private Equity, and International Banking. Early in his career he was named as the youngest bank president in Texas, and thereafter he established multiple bank offices in California and Texas. Expanding into Corporate Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions, he became a ‘Founding Father’ of the largest private company in Los Angeles. As a C Level executive, Doug has ‘hands-on’ debt and equity finance and documentation experience with both lenders and investors involving hundreds of companies engaged in technology, service, real estate, manufacturing, and entertainment across the US as well as in Europe.

Since 1999, Internet For Lawyers has provided law firms, corporations, corporate legal departments and local and state Bar Associations around the country with professional and entertaining turn-key CLE programs teaching legal professionals to use the Internet more effectively for business, legal and investigative research.

Company principals, Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch will present the following in-person Continuing Legal Education seminars during February and March. They also offer online quizzes for California Self-Study Continuing Legal Education Credit.

February 26 Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI)
Philadelphia, PA
March 11

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Technology, the Cloud and Your Practice: A Day with Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch Webcast Series
9-10 AM Power Your Practice with Google “Cloud” Gmail and Calendar Business Apps
10:30-11:30AM How to Avoid Potential Ethical Traps While Using Social Media
12 Noon-1PM “No Thanks, I’m Just Browsing” – A Non-Technical Introduction to the Chrome Web Browser
2-3PM How the Internet Can Benefit Your Litigation Practice: Internet Legal Research on a Budget

Minnesota CLE Webcasts
March 12 Investigative Internet Research: Find It Fast and Free!
Minnesota CLE
Minneapolis Conference Center

About Internet For Lawyers – MCLE Provider

An automotive engineering expert witness testified this week in the federal lawsuit two Minnesota families brought against Toyota. While the Koua Fong Lee and the Trice-Adams families argue that a defect with Lee’s Camry caused a deadly crash in 2006, Toyota says the accelerator pedal shows it was pushed down during the crash and that Lee mistook the brake for the accelerator.

Older model Toyotas were not included in the carmaker’s massive recall after sudden acceleration problems. Toyota was fined $1.2 billion in 2014 by the Justice Department after prosecutors said Toyota’s tried to conceal the problem of sudden acceleration in its vehicles. The case will go to the jury next week.

The National Transportation Safety Board is offering a new course for Legal Professionals, NTSB Investigations: What Legal Professionals Need to Know, to be held March 5-6, 2015, at the NTSB’s Training Center in Ashburn, Va.

This two-day course will provide participants with the foundational knowledge needed to advise clients about the statutory framework that defines NTSB investigations, and the regulations, rules and practices NTSB follows in conducting its investigations. Emphasis will be on understanding the legal reasoning through facilitated and interactive discussions of issues that commonly arise during the course of NTSB investigations. Participants will also learn practical techniques to use when engaging with NTSB investigators, as well as important information regarding assistance to victims’ families.

Acting NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart is scheduled as a keynote speaker and participants will also have an opportunity to hear from NTSB attorneys and investigators, as well as attorneys from prominent law firms and aircraft manufacturers.

Registration is now open for the course. Tuition rates increase after February 3, 2015. The registration link for the course is available on the course page:

The NTSB will provide the information required to obtain Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit from participating states.

Information about the NTSB Training Center, course registration information and a complete listing of all public courses offered is available at:
NTSB Training Center: 571-223-3900
Contact: NTSB Public Affairs 490 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
Keith Holloway (202) 314-6100

The Forensic Expert Witness Association’s Annual Conference will be held in San Diego on April 23-25, 2015.

The Forensic Expert Witness Association’s Annual Conference is a national event that brings together a large and diverse group of professionals from across the country who share common goals related to forensic consulting and expert witness services in all fields of discipline. FEWA welcomes new and seasoned forensic consultants, attorneys, legal professionals, exhibitors, and those interested in exploring forensic consulting as a career to attend the 2015 Annual Conference, April 23-25 at the Westin San Diego.

The FEWA Annual Conference offers forensic consultants who often serve as expert witnesses, the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and techniques required to perform in an effective manner. Forensic experts testify in court trials or provide vital information that will be used in a trial. Oftentimes, they must perform highly technical and precise work where one misstep can have an adverse impact on a legal case. In almost every case, the expert’s testimony is a necessity and is expected by jurors and judges.

The conference schedule features two days of continuing education sessions for experts and networking with attorneys, judges, arbitrators and trial consultants, plus an optional pre-conference day of training. The optional pre-conference sessions will feature two concurrent educational tracks for those aspiring to become forensic consultants as well as for seasoned forensic consultants seeking advanced interactive education. In addition, the conference offers attendees the opportunity to earn over 15 credit hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for CPAs, plus Continuing Education Credits towards FEWA’s soon to be announced Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant (CFLC) certification program. Furthermore, the conclusion of the meeting will feature presentation of the FEWA President’s National Meritorious Service Awards.

Conference co-chairs Allan Kleiner and Mike Wakshull are collaborating with the FEWA Annual Conference Planning Committee to develop a schedule of courses designed to be of interest to experts of all disciplines and all levels of experience. Attorneys, judges and fellow forensic consultants will share their experiences and expertise on a wide range of topics including, how experts are expected to contribute in all aspects of a trial, effective report writing, the role of technology, cross and direct-examination skills, communication skills to effectively fulfill the needs of jurors, alternative dispute resolution, and much more! This year’s Conference theme “Where Forensic Consultants Learn, Connect, & Grow” empowers attendees and speakers to engage with like-minded professionals who seek advanced interactive education, peer-to-peer networking and referrals, and direct interaction with attorneys.

More info:

In Coming to Grips with Risk, business expert witness Shelley Lee Boyce writes that “Your tolerance for risk is an important factor in how you allocate your investment portfolio among different investments.”

While investments are subject to many different types of risk, risk tolerance typically refers to your ability to hold an investment when the return is either less than you expect or it declines in value. You should only assume a level of risk you are comfortable with, so you aren’t tempted to sell an investment when it is at a low point.

There are at least two factors affecting your risk tolerance. One is the level of investment risk appropriate for you based on your personal situation. Key factors to consider include:
• Family situation – If you are married and in good health, you can probably assume more risk than someone going through a divorce or who has health problems.
• Age – Typically, you are less willing to assume risk as you age.
• Employment – Individuals with stable employment or whose spouse also earns an income will typically be able to assume more risk.
• Debt and liquidity – If you have sufficient liquid assets to weather temporary financial problems, you’ll typically feel more able to take on risk.
• Insurance – If you have insurance to cover the major risks in life, including life, health, disability, and property insurance, you will probably feel more willing to assume more risk with your investments.
• Other investments – The current composition of your portfolio will affect how much additional risk you want to assume. If your portfolio already contains investments with significant risk, you might want to invest in more conservative investments. On the other hand, if your portfolio is primarily composed of conservative investments, you may want to take on more risk .
The other element is your emotional tolerance for risk. Even if your personal situation indicates you could assume a high level of risk that may not be prudent if you don’t feel comfortable with that risk. How you’ve reacted to the stock market fluctuations over the past few years should provide an indication of your emotional comfort with risk. Have you taken the fluctuations in stride or were you anxious about your portfolio’s value? Did you frequently check your portfolio’s value or did you only check occasionally? Were you tempted to sell all your stock investments or did you realize that downturns are just a normal part of the investing process? What would you do if the stock market started to decline substantially again? How long could you withstand a declining market before feeling compelled to see? After answering these questions, you should have a better feel for your emotional tolerance for risk.

Carole Levitt and Judy Davis, co-authors of Internet Legal Research on a Budget (ABA 2014) and Mark Rosch, co-author of The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet (IFL Press 2014) present Internet Legal Research on a Budget on Saturday, September 13th, 10 am-12 pm.

Are you an attorney who didn’t pay enough attention in your first year Legal Research class and now realize you should have? Or do you know all about the Internet but want to learn how to use new legal and investigative research sites that are free and low-cost (and even established sites that you have yet to try out)? Or, did you attend law school before computers existed, much less the Internet? Then this seminar is for you!

In partnership with Internet for Lawyers this class will provide instruction and tips from recognized Internet research authorities: Carole Levitt and Judy Davis, co-authors of Internet Legal Research on a Budget (ABA 2014) and Mark Rosch, co-author ofThe Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet (IFL Press 2014).

This class will be videotaped. By registering for this class you consent to the use of the videotape by the presenters for future educational or commercial purposes.

Class Covers:

• Quickly find and effectively use reliable free (or low-cost) legal and investigative resources online • Become less reliant on pay resources (but learn when they are the better option)
• Search expensive databases for free to gather background and investigative information • Locate missing parties, witnesses, and other people • Use databases that you might already have free access to (Casemaker and Fastcase)
• Become an expert searcher using Google Scholar,, FDsys, PACER, public records, and more

Two hours general MCLE credit
$40 for the class (non-refundable payment reserves spot)
$99 for the class AND a discounted copy of Internet Legal Research on a Budget (the book retails at $89.95 but is available with the seminar for an extra $59)

When Sat Sep 13, 2014 5pm – 7pm GMT (no daylight saving)
Where LA Law Library, 301 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA, United States (map)
More info at Internet For Lawyers and Los Angeles Law Library.

Expert Witness Skills Workshop offered by The American Institute of CPAs

Do you have the confidence and communications skills necessary to serve as an effective expert witness under pressure? Are you often chosen to serve as an expert witness by outside clients? How do you communicate to jurors today that are more technical and have different expectations of testimony and witnesses? Limited to just 36 participants, the AICPA Expert Skills Workshop answers all of these questions and covers the expert witness process from qualifications to depositions to mock trial.
In three intensive days, you will:

• experience a real-life courtroom atmosphere

• present to practicing experts and attorneys
• be personally critiqued
• benefit from hands-on training
• testify in a mock trial
This blend of classroom lectures and instant personal feedback will provide the key framework for developing the “real life” skills you need to succeed as an expert witness. Ensure your spot at this interactive workshop, and register today!

• Practitioners with minimal to no testifying experience who need a safe environment to develop their skills • Experienced testifying experts who wish to refine and advance their skills

Date: Sep 11 – Sep 13, 2014
Location: Hotel Palomar
Washington D.C., DC
Recommended CPE Credit: 28
More info.

Business expert witnesses may consult on joint ventures, shareholder disputes, financial fraud and business damages. Bruce Dubinsky, Managing Director in Duff & Phelps’ Dispute Consulting practice and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Regent, will be a featured speaker and present a session titled “Preparing for Civil Litigation in a Fraud Examination” at the 25th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference in San Antonio, TX, being held June 15-20, 2014. Bruce will share his real-world experience serving as an expert in the fraud examination field, including testifying in the “Madoff 5” criminal trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York as the fraud examiner for the United States Department of Justice.

Attendees will also learn how to:

Manage the case discovery process from the expert and client perspective Successfully write an expert report to convey your opinion Testify effectively at trial or deposition to illustrate your view
For more information about the 25th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference or to register, please click here.

In The Internet of Things, for Better or Worse, computer security expert witness Steve Burgess writes on networked devices. Burgess Forensics has offered computer forensic and electronic discovery as well as expert witness testimony since 1985.

“The Internet of Things.” Sounds like a carnival ride or a zombie movie doesn’t it? But it’s not that and it’s not a new idea. Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems was talking about networked home appliances & devices at the turn of the last millennium when he announced the advent of Jini, Sun’s java-based network architecture for connecting said appliances. The Internet of Things is nearly the same concept – networked devices, with the added feature of being accessible from the Internet.

What kinds of devices make up the Internet of Things (“IoT”)? Anything Internet-connected, which can currently include everything from computer to coffeemaker, from range to refrigerator, from baby monitor to burglar alarm, from car to crockpot. And because they’re Internet-connected some people are afraid that these devices may be subject to malware that will cause them to become zombies.

And indeed, unauthorized use of internet-connected devices has already begun. Around the end of 2013, about 100,000 such devices were used to send about 750,000 spam messages. Seven messages per device is not much, but it is indicative of a real problem. And the low number per device may have been by design, so as to avoid detection. What to do?

It’s bad enough to have to go set your clocks after a power outage or when daylight savings time rolls around. But who has the time or the inclination to install antivirus software on their toaster and a dozen other household machines? How would you even do it? One solution would to require such wireless devices to check in with your home computer on a regular basis, whereupon updates to the appliances’ security could be automatically downloaded. Much like Microsoft Windows Update, it could be automatically installed whenever new malware is detected, and we know that nothing ever goes wrong with Windows Update.

Yes, there are likely to be some unforeseen events. Most will be along the lines of the room getting too warm or the coffee too cool. We may hear of events like a hacker unlocking all the doors remotely and walking in at his leisure. We may see sites full of kiddie scripts allowing teen geeks to turn on your bathtub to overflowing as a prank.
It might be time to hire a Roomba trainer, or hope our little toaster is brave enough to come to the rescue.

Connected appliance vendors will have to harden and update security. There will be messy errors along the way. Devices may still get used to send spam, and certain applications, like alerts to take your meds & the aforementioned door locks will need extra security measures. Amongst the enhanced convenience of automated shopping lists, your car making an appointment with your mechanic, there will be some mishaps that are likely to be mostly sound and fury with little actual damage. Your fridge does not hold your business records or your life history (although it may know when you are bingeing on Ben & Jerry’s). That data will still lie in your computer or your smart phone, devices which are well-ensconced in their ongoing battles against malware. And the big targets for stealing credit info will still be businesses and stores like, well, Target.

Yet, individuals do get targeted by stalkers. On-board data storage capacity in home appliances may be minimal, but still may get stuffed by those attempting to hide – or illicitly share – information. While common IoT capabilities may be relatively minimal, logs of times and dates of access and file markers will become important in forensic examinations. Who will the testifying experts be for such connected devices?

By and large, the techniques and skills needed won’t vary dramatically from the skills currently possessed and being used by computer and network forensics experts today. In-home router logging will be a richer source of evidence, and IP addresses galore will be stored both by the appliances, and the routers and computers though which they are connected to the world. It is likely that forensic software and hardware vendors will design IoT-specific tools for civil and law enforcement forensic specialists alike.

And while I’ve made light of many of these potential device errors and misuse, it is certain that vendors will need to come up to speed quickly on making such machines secure, or lose market share which will prod them into action much more than gentle ribbing by articles such as this. New FTC rules will surely come to pass that may put some bite on manufacturers that do not security-harden IoT appliances.

The Internet of Things is already in our cars, in our hands, and increasingly, in our homes. In a very few years it will be a market worth trillions of dollars. The spoils will go to vendors who make networked Things that are and remain simple but safe, and opaque to those who do not belong.

Read more: Steven G. Burgess.

The ABA TECHSHOW 2014 will be held at the Hilton Chicago with conference dates March 27-29 and expo dates March 27-28. ABA Techshow contacts may be found here. From, here are tips on attending.

Planning for ABA TECHSHOW
Once you’ve registered, spend some time looking over the Conference Schedule – our dynamic list of educational tracks, sessions, and speakers. The ABA TECHSHOW Board has organized the schedule into multiple tracks, or general topic areas. There are also vendor tracks, meet-the-author opportunities, lunch ‘n learn sessions, and the ABA TECHSHOW 2014 Keynote Speaker, Rick Klau!

Within each educational track, you’ll find multiple sessions. Read the descriptions carefully, and make a plan of how you’re going to spend your time:

Join the ABA Law Practice Division (LP) to get a great discount on your ABA TECHSHOW registration. ABA members join for only $50/year, which is well worth the discount you receive on registration!
Download the ABA TECHSHOW Conference App. The Conference App is your portal to ABA TECHSHOW and will help you plan your time wisely.
Book a room at the Hilton Chicago by Monday, March 11, 2014. The Hilton Chicago has hosted every U.S. President since Eisenhower. Be sure to ask for the special ABA TECHSHOW rate.
Bring your business cards! You’ll want to hand them out not only to the new friends you’ll be meeting, but to the speakers and vendors you’d like to follow-up with.
Sign up for a Taste of ABA TECHSHOW dinner. These dutch-treat dinners are hosted by a Faculty or Board member at a fabulous local Chicago restaurant. Sign up early!
Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Dress comfortably, and professionally. Bring comfortable, sensible shoes, as well as a business casual attire for evening receptions and events.
Read the ABA TECHSHOW blog. The Board and Faculty put together blog posts to help you stay up to date on new developments, events, and can’t-miss sessions.

Incentive: 70% of Large Firm Lawyers Don’t Know If Their Firm Has Been Breached

“Fully 70% of large firm respondents reported that they didn’t know if their firm had experienced a security breach,” according to the 2013 survey, entitled “Security Snapshots: Threats and Opportunities” conducted by the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center. Of course, the fact that they don’t know does not indicate a breach (easy to overlook that point).

According to the survey, 15 percent of survey respondents had experienced a security breach, and respondents of mid-size firms (10-99 attorneys) were most likely to know about the breach. That makes sense because mid-size firms are more attuned to anything major happening that might affect the firm.