You've resolved to upgrade your personal and professional technology this year, starting with a new smartphone. So what do you choose? The January Wisconsin Lawyer, available online and in mailboxes soon, can help you decide. "Apple's iPhone is elegant and seamless without any stutters or pauses when moving between screens and apps," writes State Bar Practice Management Advisor Nerino Petro, who compares and contrasts the major smart phones in his 101 article titled, "Smart Phone Wars 2014: Apple vs. Android," as well as a Webxtra video. "However, this sophisticated and seamless user experience comes at a cost: in contrast to Android and other smart phone operating systems, functionality for adding apps, transferring files to and from the device, and working with them are all restricted on the iPhone." Don't miss this write-up with a handy chart comparing specifications. Petro's smart phone wars will get readers amped up for the magazine's top three feature stories, and the numerous columns on topics ranging from metadata in digital photos to space law and whether client fees can be designated "nonrefundable." Feature Articles
Breaking up can be hard to do. But lawyers can help their divorcing clients by properly "Valuing a Business in Divorce," our cover story written by family lawyer Gregg Herman and business lawyer Sandy Swartzberg, who teamed up to explain the process. Both note that valuing a business is a "highly subjective science" that can lead to over- or under-valuation, loss of proprietary information, or double counting of income. The article "is a guide to ethically navigating a divorce" and the purpose is to "assist the business owner who wants to 'do the right thing' without being eaten for lunch – and the spouse who benefits thereby," write Swartzberg and Herman. Considering a motion for substantive consolidation? "Substantive consolidation" allows a bankruptcy court to combine the assets and liabilities of entities that are members of the same group but are legally separate, often affecting creditors' rights to collect. But as Milwaukee lawyers Peter Blain and Benjamin Lombard explain in "Substantive Consolidation: Adding Assets to the Bankruptcy Pot," a recent federal court decision suggests that winning a motion for substantive consolidation may not be so easy. "This article discusses the Archdiocese of Milwaukee case in the context of a review of the current condition of substantive-consolidation doctrine," write the authors, who note that the case is the first one addressing the issue in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Finally, as Madison lawyer Timothy Edwards explains in "Getting Through the Door: The Admissibility of Electronically Stored Information," it makes little sense to devote considerable resources to the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) unless the attorney can also admit the ESI into evidence for appropriate reasons. The article provides a framework for the "admissibility of ESI under the Wisconsin Rules of Evidence by addressing threshold questions of relevance, authenticity, and the application of the hearsay doctrine to computer systems," Edwards notes. What Else Is Inside?
Who speaks for Earth if an alien life form were to make contact? Should broadcasting radio messages to other planetary systems be outlawed as too dangerous? These are some of the many legal and science policy questions Adam Korbitz and other lawyers and scientists ponder every day. Learn more in 10 Questions with "Adam Korbitz, 21st Century Legal Explorer." Is it permissible for attorneys to designate minimum fees as nonrefundable? No, says Dean Dietrich in his Ethics column, "Never Say 'Never' About Refunding Fees to Clients." Dietrich is vice chair of the State Bar's Professional Ethics Committee. Attorneys must understand the interplay of same-sex marriages with federal and state law. Madison lawyer Christopher Krimmer explains why in a Solutions column titled, "Federal Benefits for Married Same-Sex Couples." In a Technology column titled "Metadata in Digital Photos – Should You Care?," contributors Sharon Nelson and John Simek say "the words and numbers lurking beneath the surface of a digital image can be among the most valuable and dangerous facets of the picture." Lighten your mood and lighten your load. These are just two pieces of New Year advice from River Falls lawyer Max Neuhaus in a Final Thought titled "Resolutions – It's All About the Small Stuff."