11:04 AM

Eyewitnesses, oral arguments and referral marketing: Top takeaways from the January-February 2019 Journal of The Missouri Bar

by Gary Toohey, editor and director of communication

February 2019 Top Takeaways

In his regularly appearing column, Missouri Bar President Ray Williams extols the unique role that the state bar and its members can and should play as “conveners”—that is, bringing together stakeholders, including those with varying perspectives, to resolve problems in a productive and collaborative manner.

Multiple studies have shown that any number of variables can affect a person’s recall of events. Thus, when eyewitnesses testify in legal matters, the courts are tasked with ensuring that juries give appropriate weight to such testimony. In this issue of the Journal, St. Louis lawyerAbigail Twenter explores Missouri’s current stance on the two most popular methods employed by state judiciaries to educate jurors on the fallibility of eyewitness memory: jury instructions and expert testimony.

When organizing their business relationships, parties can choose from a variety of business formation structures, including partnerships, LLCs, corporations, joint ventures, or even a mix of different entities. However, the type of entity that a party chooses will have important consequences for taxation purposes as well as the statutes or case law that will apply should those relationships fray. Authors Gerard V. Mantese, Theresamarie Mantese and Fatima M. Bolyea provide guidance to attorneys representing business clients as to the types of agreements and provisions that can be helpful—or should be avoided—when selecting business entities.

Experienced lawyers know that oral argument has possible pitfalls for appellants and appellees alike, a situation compounded by the potential decisiveness of oral argument and the pressure that accompanies it. Nevertheless, author Marshall L. Davidson III writes, those risks can be minimized by following time-tested recommendations.

Referral marketing can be a very desirable source of new business for an attorney. Likewise, referring out a matter can also be beneficial if it is not within the referring attorney’s usual practice area or outside the referring attorney’s geographical location. But a word to the wise: Referrals are not without ethical risks. In the regular “Ethics” column, staff counsel Nancy Ripperger from the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel identifies some of the common ethical concerns related to referrals.