Why is it so hard to get rid of squatters in Philadelphia, but so easy to get rid of deadbeat tenants?

November 14, 2017
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Squatters? Yeah, we’ll get right on that…

Imagine this… you’ve been a landlord for years, and have become quite well versed at evicting tenants who don’t pay their rent.

You purchase a new property. But when you open the door and find people living there. They don’t have a lease, the place reeks of urine, and there is a giant dog who looks like it’s going to bite your face off. You tell everyone to get out, and they laugh at you. Is that a needle on the floor?

What’s going on here? This is your property, they’re trespassers, and this is illegal! So, you call the police, who show up at your property.

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Shared Office Space for Lawyers? Can You Ethically Run a Law Practice Out of WeWork?

November 13, 2017

Rushie Law PLLC World Headquarters

My, how the world has changed in just a few years…

In 2017, all my law books are on my iPad / Kindle, I use Uber to get downtown, and my faxes convert to .PDF and are sent to my email account. My files are all saved to Google Drive, meaning I can access them anywhere. My office voicemails are converted into an audio file, transcribed, and also sent to my email. Large documents are now sent to courts and opposing counsel on flash drives (or better yet, I just email them a link to my Google drive), and almost all of my filings are electronic. I have become a master at editing .PDF files. Some days it feels like my entire practice is run from my Macbook Pro, and the only things I need are a good scanner, printer, Adobe Acrobat, and stationary.

Transportation has also changed the nature of law. Client is too badly injured to make it to my office? No problem, I’ll take an Uber out to their place halfway across the City. Worried the client can’t make it into court? I’ll have an Uber pick them up and take them to the courthouse.

Suddenly, the whole world feels smaller and more accessible…

As technology shifts, I have found that the need for a huge office dwindles day by day. In 2014, I was paying $2500 a month plus U/O taxes for office space. My space was huge. It had a private conference room, a dedicated administrative room with filing cabinets, a giant printer, and supplies. The cost did not include the additional costs of coffee, paper, etc. It also did not take into account the man hours of simply having to gauge what supplies we had, what supplies we need, and keeping everything in check. We’re out of coffee? Someone has to run to the coffee shop. Jordan just printed out a gigantic court filing and we’re out of paper? That needs to be addressed stat.

In 2016, I decided to give shared office space a try. Many of you have asked me what it’s like, and whether it would work for your practice. I can’t answer that. But here is a day in the life of Jordan Rushie…

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Where Should I Go to Law School?

May 6, 2017

Almost ten years into law practice, this is a discussion I’ve never had…

“Jordan, do you handle zoning?”
“Yep. All the time.”
“Excellent. Also, where did you go to law school?”
“Temple.”
“Um… dude…”
“Weren’t they a Tier 2 back in 2008, according to U.S. News and World Report?”
“I don’t know. I don’t read U.S. News and World Report.”
“This other guy up the street, he went to Fordham. That’s a Tier 1 school.”
“Okay…”
“Does he handle zoning?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I’d feel a lot more comfortable with a T1 law school grad…”

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Far From Home

April 28, 2017

I had never been to Elk County, Pennsylvania before. Almost five hours from Philadelphia, it never occurred to me that I would try a case out this way. Oh well, it’s a short one day bench trial, might as well enjoy the experience of seeing new places.

As I arrived late on a Sunday night, the area had a certain charm to it. Surrounded by state game land and steel factories, I felt like I had traveled back in time about 100 years. Things seemed much simpler out here.

Starving after a long drive, I pulled up into a diner and sat down next to a heavy fellow. We began striking up a conversation.

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Is the Brock Turner case as bad as it looks? Yeah, it is.

June 11, 2016
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Brock Turner really is raping everybody out there

When it comes to commenting on court cases, I don’t get my information from silly clickbait blogs like Gawker. Instead, I try and pull the actual evidence and adduce what I can from it. Blogs like Gawker simply want people to click on links, and pander to the lowest common denominator.

Lately my Facebook feed has been filled with the name Brock Turner. The narrative going around is this: Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer, pulled a woman behind a dumper, raped her while she was unconscious, and then ran away. After getting convicted, Judge Aaron Persky then gave Turner an extremely lenient sentence because he’s white and went to Stanford.

Of course, the internet was incensed. College rape, a white kid of privilege, a heinous crime, and parents who just don’t seem to get it. Then, of course, there is a powerful victim impact statement which has been circulated all over the internet, combined with a judge who seemed to favor a rich white kid and completely ignore her suffering.

When I first heard about the story, it sounded too outrageous to be true. However, most of what was coming up in my newsfeed were from sources that either aren’t typically credible or didn’t provide a lot of substantive information. So, I decided to do a little digging, using actual documents submitted in court.

After reviewing the evidence, police reports and trial documents, believe it or not, this one might be as bad as it looks…

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What Does the American Bar Association Actually Do?

February 9, 2016

When you think of the American Bar Association, you imagine an institution that focuses on lawyer things. I’ve always assumed that the role of the ABA was to function at the top of our profession, and to hand down things like the Model Rules for the rest of the states to incorporate. I remember studying the Model Rules of Professional Conduct in law school, which were drafted by the ABA and then adopted in full or in part by most of the states. As a small time practitioner, that’s what I’ve always assumed their role in the legal world was – to set legal policy at the highest level, which then trickles down into state law, and eventually finds itself on my desk in the form of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct or Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence.

I was up last night reading Twitter when something from the American Bar Association popped up in my feed:Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.39.29 AM.png

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Why is Density a Four Letter Word?

January 10, 2016
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If you’re going to own a car in the city, go all out.

“Density.” Anyone who has ever attended a zoning community meeting or hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment has heard this word. The project is “too dense” or it’s “an over-utilization of the property.”

In English, this means someone feels a developer is trying to put too many units into too small a space. Typically, neighbors tend to disfavor residential multi-units because more residents means less parking. Many residents also assume that families want to live in traditional style row homes, while only college kids, renters, and “Section 8” want to live in smaller units. Frankly, I’ve seen a lot of stereotyping and prejudices expressed at zoning meetings, and often unfairly.

Economically, townhomes are more expensive to build, more expensive to sell, and generate less of a return for the developer. An average rowhome in Fishtown could sell for about $350k – $500k. That price is beyond the means of many people.

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