ICYMI: Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and the Art of the (plea) Deal

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Within a span of a couple weeks, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded guilty to fraud charges in federal court. The two men’s plea agreements were widely discussed by the media, giving the public a look into the federal justice system. The situation is like being able to review Amazon’s most recent settlement agreements.

For lawyers, there must be some important and tactical information included in those agreements, right?

Check out my recent column in the Indiana Lawyer that breaks down Cohen’s and Manafort’s deals and what lawyers can glean from them. (Spoiler alert: Nobody walks away from plea negotiations with the United States with a great deal.)

ICYMI: Sounding Out Our Criminal Justice System

If you are looking for a captivating and informative podcast to listen to during your commute or workout, I highly recommend a series of podcasts discussing the criminal justice system by Preet Bharara, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara interviewed a high-profile criminal defense attorney, a defendant convicted of insider training, and the former U.S. Attorney in Chicago about what it is like to be involved in the inner workings of a criminal case.

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Paganelli Law Group Congratulates James Bell on becoming 2018 Indianapolis Bar Association President

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The entire team from PLG attended the luncheon to support James at his installation as president Jan. 23. Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana swore in James as president with his family by his side.

As president, James will be working on many goals for the organization, with the biggest being finding new space for the offices of IndyBar and the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.

In addition, IndyBar installed its Board of Directors as well as the president of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and its Board of Directors, which includes PLG founder Tony Paganelli as a Director and PLG attorney Raegan M. Gibson as Secretary of the Board, at the luncheon held at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre.

James leads PLG’s criminal defense and professional discipline team. He’s one of the most sought-after speakers on legal ethics and criminal practice issues in Indiana. James also is the host of the popular “Amateur Life Coach” videos on professional ethics. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and three children.

‘Amateur Life Coach’ Tackles Being ‘Screw Drivered’ by a Client

The “Amateur Life Coach” James Bell wraps up his “screw drivered” trilogy with advice on what to do with a client who doesn’t pay legal bills, posts negative reviews of the attorney online, or has a collection of hot pants from the early 60s. Whatever you do, don’t retaliate by sharing embarrassing personal information about that client.

“All of this falls under the category of ‘What should I do when I get “screw drivered” by a client?’ And the answer is: It depends on what the client did.”

‘Amateur Life Coach’ Offers Advice on Being ‘Screw Drivered’ by a Judge

Paganelli Law Group attorney James Bell’s “Amateur Life Coach” is back with what to do when you feel like you’ve been “screw drivered” by a judge. With help from his second cousin, “Steve,” who also is an attorney, the two explain (using the comic book structure) why it’s best to keep your personal thoughts about the judge to yourself.

“Remember, life is a comic book, and God gave us a thought bubble and a voice bubble. In your thought bubble, you can say whatever you want. But in your voice bubble (or your blog bubble) you have to be a little bit more careful.” 

Paganelli Law Group welcomes attorneys Caroline Richardson, Jonathan Bont

Paganelli Law Group is pleased to announce that attorneys Caroline Richardson and Jonathan Bont have joined the firm. Caroline is an experienced civil litigator whose practice has included commercial litigation, business formation, and commercial and residential foreclosure proceedings. She has also provided restructuring, loan workout and bankruptcy advice to a variety of companies and individuals facing insolvency. Caroline has represented both debtors and creditors in diverse bankruptcy and adversary proceedings. 

Caroline is a 2009 graduate of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and served as a law clerk for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. 

Caroline sits on the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and recently concluded her term as president of the board of directors for Partners in Housing Development Corp., where she remains a board member. She also served as the president of the board of directors for Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana for six years. 

Jon practices in the areas of criminal defense, business litigation and government compliance. Prior to joining Paganelli Law Group, Jon served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana for five years. Jon also previously practiced at Bose McKinney & Evans, focusing on litigation and employment law, and was a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. 

He is a 2009 graduate of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

By Chris McGrath, Attorney

Over coffee Client Clem asked about reducing his company’s exposure to the uncertainty, expense and delay of litigation. I asked if he had considered alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). Here is a quick overview.

Litigation is classic dispute resolution but as Clem pointed out it is time consuming, costly, and outcomes can be difficult to predict with the certainty business owners seek. Still, its effective. Most cases settle prior to trial.

Arbitration is the out-of-court resolution of a dispute between parties to a contract, decided by an impartial third party (or parties). It is generally faster and more cost effective than litigation. Cases are tried to an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. The process is generally governed by a set of rules promulgated by various associations, the most popular of which is the American Arbitration Association (the other “AAA”). Parties may also enter into agreements pertaining to the arbitration, such as the selection of an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. A roadmap and cost overview can be found here.

Mediation is an informal negotiation assisted by an impartial third party (the mediator) that encourages parties to work towards their own crafted solution. A skilled mediator creates the space necessary for that to occur. Mediation is often attractive because it enhances the likelihood of continuing a business relationship. Mediation can take place prior to, during, or sometimes even a lawsuit or arbitral proceeding has been filed. And parties don’t necessarily need to be adverse; those simply trying to get a deal done can benefit as well.

Negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. It is different from a discussion aimed at winning. Those directly involved with the underlying facts can enter into a negotiation, but it’s often effective to involve people at other levels of the organization.

Is your situation ripe for mediation or another form of ADR? Feel free to reach out.