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Veteran Slams Pardoned War Criminal’s Bid to Become a Lawyer

John Lamparski/Getty

John Lamparski/Getty

A former United States Army officer who was convicted of war crimes over killings in Afghanistan and later pardoned by Donald Trump has been criticized by one of the men who served in his platoon over his apparent plans to become a practicing lawyer.

On Thursday, Todd Fitzgerald—a specialist who was standing near 1st Lt. Clint Lorance when Lorance gave the orders to fire that led to his court martial—publicly shared his intention to oppose Lorance’s legal ambitions. “Eleven years ago, I witness the harassment, threatening, and murder of innocent Afghan locals by my former platoon leader,” Fitzgerald wrote in a Twitter thread. “Now, he’s applying for the state bar in Oklahoma to attempt to practice law. I’m going to object on moral fitness and character.”

‘I Love You, Sir’: Convicted War Criminal Thanks Trump for Pardon on ‘Fox & Friends’

In July 2012, Lorance was commanding a platoon in southern Afghanistan when he ordered his soldiers to shoot at three men standing alongside a motorcycle who he claimed were posing a threat, according to The Washington Post. Two of the men were killed while the third escaped. The following year, a court-martial trial found Lorance guilty of murder, and he was ultimately handed a 19-year sentence.

Six years into his incarceration, in 2019, Trump issued a full pardon for Lorance following a vocal campaign in right-wing media for his release. In an interview with after he was freed, Lorance discussed his intention to become a lawyer after studying at the Appalachian School of Law—though claimed his dean had informed him he would only have a small chance of passing the bar in light of his conviction.

In his Twitter thread, Fitzgerald provided a link to the Oklahoma Bar Association website listing Lorance as an applicant

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CMBA working to eliminate financial barriers for those in need of legal services

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association is celebrating 150 years in existence.

To honor their long-standing history, the organization says they want to continue improving people’s lives and have plans to introduce a new initiative they say is needed in the community.

“It’s needed because a lot of people don’t know about the legal system, and if you don’t have the means to pay for it, then you’re walking into a situation blindsided,” said Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Client, Cherea Humphrey.

A game-changing opportunity is in the works for those who are struggling to get access to legal services.

“This is going to create all kinds of opportunities to eliminate barriers that will create better lives,” said Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association CEO Becky Ruppert McMahon.

This help comes at a time, McMahon says, many people simply can’t afford legal services because they’re already living paycheck to paycheck or at or below the poverty line – and don’t qualify for free help.

“That’s either because they make quote-unquote, ‘too much money,’ so that they don’t qualify for free legal services, but they still can’t afford a market-rate lawyer,” McMahon said.

Cherea Humphrey says this can put people in a difficult situation like she once experienced before she qualified for free legal assistance thanks to a partnership between the bar association and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

“By me not being able to afford one, you know, it was like, okay, well, what I’m going to do,” Humphrey said.

That’s where Ruppert McMahon says the Cleveland Legal Collaborative will step in to help.

Starting next year, Ruppert McMahon says lawyers in their first five years of practice will work with more experienced law professionals to provide quality legal services at a flat, fixed, low fee – and in some cases at no

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Healey, the state’s top judge rallied for $49M state investment into legal aid for low-income residents

Lawyers, bar association leaders and advocates are urging Massachusetts legislators to allocate more money for civil legal aid programs in the next state budget. They say the past few years showed an increased demand for these programs, which provide low-income residents with free legal advice and representation.

Hundreds of people attended a virtual event Thursday in support of a $49 million allocation, including some heavy hitters in Boston’s legal circles, such as Gov. Maura Healey and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd. The budget-writing process for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, is revving up as the governor drafts her ideas for tens of billions in state spending.

“Our legal system is dedicated to the principle of providing equal justice for all,” said Budd. “But too often we fall short of the ideal because many people still lack the legal resources that they need to present their cases in the courts, and our legal aid organizations work tirelessly simply do not have enough funding to provide counsel for everyone who comes to them seeking help.”

Budd said in the last three years, civil legal aid cases involving unemployment insurance quadrupled from pre-pandemic figures, and that domestic violence cases, housing and immigration all increased by 20%.

Fewer people were turned away from legal aid services this past year thanks to state funding — but advocates say more is needed.

Louis Tompros, chair of the Equal Justice Coalition, which hosted Thursday’s event, said last year state dollars helped cut down on how many qualified recipients had to be turned away by legal aid programs across the state: 47% last year, down from 57% the year before.

“More funding means more people being served, and yet there remains a huge unmet need,” he said. “Almost half of low-income residents

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Honorary Dr. King’s civil rights legacy with free legal aid

By Becky Kruse

Updated: 1 day ago Published: 1 day ago

Stock gavel / court

If the pandemic has taught us anything, that’s how much we need each other. Businesses need workers. Children need teachers. The sick need doctors and nurses. Most of us need a professional hairdresser.

And to encounter a legal problem, you need an attorney. Regrettably, thousands of Alaskans face legal challenges every year without the resources to hire an attorney or access to limited legal aid. Filling that gap falls to attorneys willing to volunteer their time pro bono.

On Jan. 16, attorneys across the state will be spending their Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday as “a day on, not a day off” by volunteering for the 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Legal Clinics.

At these free in-person clinics in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Bethel, Alaskans with civil legal problems can expect first-come, first-served consultations with an attorney. Attorneys will be available to provide advice on a wide variety of issues, including family law (child support, custody, divorce, guardianship), housing (eviction, foreclosure), public benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security), employment, personal injury , probate, estate planning and Native allotments. Times and locations will vary by community. For more information, visit

Alaskans with low or moderate incomes can also submit legal questions at This free legal clinic is available any time of the year but will have extra staffing on MLK Day to serve those unable to attend one of the in-person clinics.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Legal Clinics are sponsored by the Alaska Bar Association, the Alaska Court System and Alaska Legal Services Corp. and honor Dr. King’s spirit of service and advocacy for equality and social justice.

Becky Kruse is chair of the Alaska Bar Association’s Pro Bono Service Committee.

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This Is Why Only Lawyers Should Be Offering Legal Services

The New Jersey State Bar Association has long opposed the trend of non-lawyers providing legal services. This ongoing, troubling practice seen in some parts of the nation threatens to undermine the autonomy attorneys have in practicing law.

To make matters worse, the idea of ​​law firms being run by financial institutions—hedge funds, large accounting firms, and private equity ventures—inches closer to reality each year. The result is a profit-driven practice of law—a legal system where lawyers are forced to place the interests of their corporate owners over advocacy and care for their clients.

Taken together, these two threats would undermine the sacred role of lawyers playing as officers of the court, operating under strict ethical guidelines and free of influence from corporate overlords or earnings.

The bottom line is this: only lawyers should perform the work of lawyers. Any alternative would do the public and our system of justice a grave disservice.

ABA Rules 5.4

The American Bar Association took the critical step this summer to renew its longstanding rule that prohibits lawyers from partnering with those not licensed to practice law. Rules 5.4 blocks non-lawyers from having a financial stake in a lawyer’s profits and influencing them to prioritize corporate goals and earnings over the duty they owe to clients.

Lawyers, trained in the law and bound by ethical constraints designed to protect the public, should provide legal services, not corporations or hedge funds, the rule affirms.

Though Rule 5.4 has been adopted in some form by most states, Arizona and Utah have worked around the guideline in the name of promoting access to justice for low-income clients. Arizona abolished Rule 5.4 in 2020 to license 25 non-lawyer entities that offer services in business law, taxes, and estate planning.

Meanwhile, Utah has allowed non-lawyer investors and managers

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Kentucky’s lawyer disciplinary system to be reviewed by the American Bar Association

Kentucky’s lawyer disciplinary system will be reviewed next month by an American Bar Association committee, officials said.

The Kentucky Supreme Court and the Kentucky Bar Association said in a joint statement that they requested the review in an effort to create more efficiency, ensure due process and protect both the public and the integrity of the legal profession. The review in December will evaluate the current system, and a report with any recommended changes will be submitted to the Supreme Court next spring.

The last significant change to the lawyer disciplinary system was made about 20 years ago, the statement said.


“This review by an outside group will ensure Kentucky’s processes and procedures relating to lawyer discipline align with national standards and best practices,” Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton said.

The lawyer disciplinary system in Kentucky will be reviewed by the American Bar Association next month.

The lawyer disciplinary system in Kentucky will be reviewed by the American Bar Association next month.


Kentucky Bar Association President Amy Cubbage said she looks forward to “an evaluation of the health of our discipline system” and to making any changes needed.

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Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz’s Lawyer Tamara Curtis Faces Bar Inquiry After Flipping the Bird in Court

Tamara Curtis, a member of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s defense counsel, is under investigation by the Florida state bar association, a spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast on Thursday night.

News of the inquiry comes a day after Cruz was formally sentenced to life in prison, following an emotional two-day hearing during which the parents of his victims lambasted his attorneys for their conduct over the course of the trial.

The Florida bar’s probe was first reported by Miami-based station WPLG. In a statement to The Daily Beast, bar association spokesperson Jennifer Krell Davis confirmed that the investigation was ongoing but did not elaborate.

Curtis, an assistant public defender, was not present in court on Wednesday. She went unnamed by the relatives who gave testimony. But several of them referenced a moment during a pretrial hearing recess weeks ago when she appeared to flash an obscene gesture at the court, rubbing her middle finger on her cheek as she sat next to a smirking Cruz.

The bar investigation’s subject and scope were unclear as of Thursday night, as was the exact date the inquiry was launched. A call to the office of Melisa McNeill, Cruz’s chief public defender, was not immediately returned.

What prompted Curtis’ gesture is unknown, but Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old victim Jaime Guttenberg, said last month that the attorney had been “frustrated” by how Judge Elizabeth Scherer was responding to her courtroom arguments. “That moment was disgusting, immature, and reprehensible,” he tweeted. “It was also a reminder to me that this defense team long ago lost any humanity for the victims of this crime.”

In footage of the incident, Curtis appears to catch sight of a courtroom camera, making an inaudible comment to a woman sitting next to her. The woman

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Barristers end strike after accepting improved legal aid deal in England

Criminal defense barristers in England and Wales have narrowly voted to accept an improved offer on legal aid fees from the UK government worth millions of pounds, which will end a month-long all-out strike that has disrupted thousands of trials.

Members of the Criminal Bar Association, which represents 2,600 barristers, have taken days of strike action since late June over rates paid for legal aid work. They began an all-out walkout on September 5.

Their action has caused delays in the courts as the government battles to reduce a backlog of cases in the crown court that rose from 40,000 in March 2020 to 59.992 in July this year.

The government revised the offer late last month, and on Monday the CBA said 57 per cent of barristers had voted in a ballot to accept the offer and suspend action from 6pm on Monday.

Barristers, who are self-employed and who can earn as little as £12,200 in their first three years of work, had pushed for a 25 per cent rise in legal aid fees for representing the defendants.

They were warned that, without an increase, there would be a further exodus of younger barristers from criminal legal aid work.

The government had initially promised to increase fees by 15 per cent but only for new cases taken on from late September, rather than for upcoming trials that barristers had already booked to do.

But Brandon Lewis, justice secretary, last month unveiled a revised deal amounting to a £54mn government investment in the criminal bar and solicitors.

Crucially, he agreed to apply the 15 per cent uplift in fees to most cases going through the crown court system, rather than just for new cases. The deal also provides a further £3mn for barristers’ case preparation and a £5mn uplift

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Criminal barristers to vote on new legal aid pay deal to end strike

Criminal barristers are to vote on whether to accept an improved deal on legal aid rates from the government at ending a strike that has disrupted thousands of trials in England and Wales.

Members of the Criminal Bar Association, which represents 2,400 advocates, started industrial action in late June escalating to indefinite strikes on September 5 over the rates paid for legal aid work.

Their action has caused severe delays in the justice system with some trials delayed until 2023 and 2024 at a time when the government is seeking to reduce the backlog of cases in the crown court, which has risen from 40,000 in March 2020 to 59.992 in July.

Barristers have said the current legal aid rates have in a 28 per cent fall in their income in real terms over the past 20 years and called for a 25 per cent uplift to fees, to stem a further exodus of young barristers, who can earn as little as £12,200 a year.

On Thursday, justice secretary Brandon Lewis announced a new pay offer involving a £54mn government investment in the system for criminal barristers and solicitors.

The old offer was for a 15 per cent increase that applied only to new cases taken on from late September. This angered barristers as it meant existing trials, which they were already booked to do, would be paid at the existing lower rates.

The new offer, worth tens of millions, crucially applies a 15 per cent rise for new cases, plus existing cases barristers have already signed up to do.

The offer will also inject £3mn of funding for case preparation and a further £5mn uplift for fees paid for youth court work.

Lewis said the proposals were “generous”. “My priority in these discussions has been to ensure that victims

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Michael P. Heiskell (JD ’74) Named 2022 Baylor Lawyer of the Year | Law

Michael P. Heiskell (JD ’74) Named 2022 Baylor Lawyer of the Year

Baylor Lawyer of the Year, Michael Heiskell (center), with Ambassador Ron Kirk, Baylor Law Alumni Association President Cynthia Clack, Baylor University President Linda Livingstone, and Dean Brad Toben at the Fort Worth Club on Thursday, September 15, 2022.


The Executive Committee of the Baylor Law Alumni Association has selected Michael P. Heiskell (JD ’74) as the 2022 Baylor Lawyer of the Year. Cynthia Clack (JD ’78), President of the Baylor Law Alumni Association, presented Heiskell with the award during a recognition luncheon at the Fort Worth Club on Thursday, September 15th.

Michael and Anita Heiskell

“Michael exemplifies every quality of a Baylor Lawyer. He is a fierce yet compassionate advocate for his clients and has an unswerving dedication to improving the quality of our justice system while maintaining the highest ideals of the legal profession,” stated Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. “He is an outstanding lawyer and a truly authentic person. His career and life bear testimony to his richly deserving this honor.”

“I am honored, humbled, and grateful to be the recipient of the 2022 Baylor Lawyer of the Year Award,” Michael said. “To be listed among the most influential and iconic Baylor Lawyers—from Leon Jaworski, to Matt Dawson, to Bob Bullock, just to name a few—is a blessing that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” he continued. “Attending Baylor Law was a dream come true for me. I left it a lot wiser in ways I never imagined. I am proud to continue to associate myself with Baylor University and its great law school.”

Heiskell, who focuses his practice on criminal defense and representing civil rights litigants, is one of the three founding partners of the Fort Worth-based firm

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