ProfNet Experts Available on Energy Storage Mandate, Proactive Estate Planning, More Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers and Media Industry Blog Posts

Oct 23, 2013, 13:00 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing. To receive these updates by email, send a note to with the industries you cover, and we'll add you to the appropriate edition. 

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  • Social Media and Jury Duty Don't Mix
  • Importance of Proactive Estate Planning
  • Workers' Safety Concerns With Rise in Oil/Gas Jobs
  • Consumer Debt Collection
  • California CPUC's Energy Storage Mandate
  • Parents and Schools Are the First Line of Defense Against Cyberbullying


  • Editor – The Daily Journal (CA)
  • International Editions Editor – Hearst Magazines (NY)
  • Reporter – Lincoln Journal Star (NE)


  • Media 411: Journalists Selling Subscriptions?
  • Career Tips for Media Professionals
  • Spotlight: Grave Lavigne, Journal of Commerce


Social Media and Jury Duty Don't Mix
Nancy S. Marder
Professor, and Director of the Justice John Paul Stevens Jury Center
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
"Jurors using social media could compromise defendants' Sixth Amendment right to fair trials. Mistrials, appeals, and contempt-of-court citations have resulted from jurors' online activities. Jurors are accustomed to going online for information. Unfortunately, when they feel they haven't gotten all the information they want in the courtroom, they may go online for it. This is a serious problem because jurors are supposed to base their decisions only on evidence that is presented and tested through cross-examination in the courtroom." Marder says that the search for information can take many different forms, from looking up something on Google or Wikipedia to asking others using Twitter, Facebook or other social media. "There have been occasions when jurors have attempted to "friend" parties in the case -- including witnesses, attorneys and the judge." Marder says the federal government and several states have crafted model jury instructions to help alleviate the problems.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne, gosborne@kentlaw.iit. edu

Importance of Proactive Estate Planning
J. Scot Kirkpatrick
Trust and Estates Practice Group Lead, Atlanta
Chamberlain Hrdlicka
"Millions of Americans don't realize that their lack of estate planning can cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default upon their death. Even the guardianship of their children can be at risk."
National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 21-27) highlights the danger Americans face by overlooking a potentially catastrophic element of financial wellness: proactive estate planning. The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils estimates more than 120 million Americans don't have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves and their families from the IRS in the event of sickness, accident or sudden death. National Estate Planning Awareness Week provides a great opportunity to talk about the simple steps that can be taken now to protect a lifetime of earnings for the next generation.
Kirkpatrick leads the Trust and Estates Practice Group for national law firm Chamberlain Hrdlicka in Atlanta. Tom Jones chairs the corporate practice in Atlanta, maintaining a dual practice in Corporate/Business law and Trust and Estates law. With several decades' experience handling every imaginable -- and unimaginable -- twist and turn of domestic and international estate disputes, Kirkpatrick and Jones can share information to help your consumer financial audience plan ahead and preserve the assets they built over a lifetime.
Media Contact: Lacey Krauss,

Workers' Safety Concerns With Rise in Oil/Gas Jobs
Jeffrey L. Raizner
Personal Injury Attorney
Doyle Raizner
"More oil production requires more workers and means an emphasis on profits over safety. Texas leads the nation with accidental deaths occurring in oil fields. There is a lot of data about the rise in production and the rise in traumatic injuries and fatalities."
The Energy Information Administration stated the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas this year, over Russia, could be the United States. Due to the hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the U.S. will move to the top, exceeding Russia in the production of petroleum and gas fuels in the year 2012. The expansion of fracking in the U.S. could out-produce Saudi Arabia in oil production, leaving the U.S. to be the world's largest gas and oil producer in 2013. The dominant reason the U.S. has increased oil and gas production has been the fracking of oil reserves in Texas and North Dakota.
Raizner is a Houston-based attorney with more than 20 years of experience in the areas of personal injury and bad faith cases involving insurance misconduct. He is particularly committed to legal matters involving offshore injuries, maritime law, overseas holiday and travel injuries, and workers compensation bad faith cases. He has been lauded for his legal advocacy as an offshore injury lawyer, helping injured seamen maximize compensation by invoking their Jones Act rights through litigation. Raizner has represented clients from the UK who have been injured while vacationing in the United States, as well as U.S. citizens working overseas who have been injured or exposed to harmful toxins. His practice is entirely devoted to litigation cases.
Media Contact: Denae Olberding,

Consumer Debt Collection
Mark Schiffman
Vice President of Public Affairs
ACA International
"The recovery of rightfully owed consumer debt is vital to America's economic health and maintaining a credit-based economy."
Schiffman is available to discuss consumer debt collection, national and state legislative and regulatory trends pertaining to consumer debt collection, and tips for consumers if contacted by a debt collector. He recently wrote ACA's Blueprint for Modernizing Debt Collection, which is a road map to modernize consumer credit and debt collection in America. He is able to connect reporters to other national and state-specific experts to discuss consumer debt collection.
Expert Contact:

California CPUC's Energy Storage Mandate
Tom Leyden
Solar Grid Storage
"We applaud the CPUC for unanimously approving an energy storage mandate for California. People are increasingly aware of the vulnerability of our electrical grid, especially as the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches. Pairing solar and storage will be key to the future for our electrical grid. Combining clean and renewable solar power with energy storage enables a series of new benefits including emergency backup power, peak demand reduction and power balancing on the grid. Simply put, solar plus storage will ensure a more stable, resilient and smarter grid."
Leyden, an industry veteran, is expert on renewable and solar energy and the innovative approach of pairing energy storage with renewable resources such as solar power. An innovator in the energy storage arena, Solar Grid Storage is partnering with solar project developers and utility grid operators on a new energy storage approach that provides grid stability and emergency power backup. They're delivering and maintaining electricity in the event of power interruptions due to extreme weather and other natural disasters. This is crucial to maintaining operations at facilities. And, under normal conditions, Solar Grid Storage continually helps maintain balance on the grid. The company's technology is already being deployed in the 14-state PJM service territory on the East Coast. Solar Grid Storage and partners have deployed their new energy storage approach in several projects, including one inaugurated in Maryland on Oct. 15 by Governor O'Malley and FERC Chairman Wellinghoff.
Media Contact: Susan DeVico, ="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">  

Parents and Schools Are the First Line of Defense Against Cyberbullying
Nancy Z. Hablutzel
Adjunct Professor
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
"Cyberbullying by children is a cruel form of torture that requires proactive approaches by parents and educational institutions to be prevented. Because children can't see the victim, they are more apt to say things that are far more hurtful than they could get away with in person. Parents who allow their children to use cell phones, computers, social media and other technology also have a moral obligation to monitor information their children send and receive. Parents must notify a school when a child is being bullied and schools must take decisive action -- whether it is suspension, counseling, or prohibition of access to technology for the bullies. For extreme cases, many jurisdictions have applicable protective orders or stalking laws. Parents, schools and communities must embrace zero-tolerance policies to prevent bullying. The bottom line: Children need guidance and discipline."
Hablutzel is available to discuss issues relating to cyberbullying. She teaches a course, "Legal Rights of Children," at Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Media Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne,



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Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line at

  • MEDIA 411: JOURNALISTS SELLING SUBSCRIPTIONS? Long gone are the days of the stereotypical trench coat-wearing journalist with a fedora on his head, notepad and pen in hand, making calls to find the big story, creating his magic on a typewriter. The job of a journalist has changed drastically in the 21st century where one is expected to write, shoot video, edit video, take photos and now -- gasp! -- sell subscriptions?
  • CAREER TIPS FOR MEDIA PROFESSIONALS. We recently hosted a #ConnectChat where we discussed career tips for media pros. Our guest was Rebecca Kiki Weingarten, a career, executive and life coach -- among many other things:
  • SPOTLIGHT: GRACE LAVIGNE, JOURNAL OF COMMERCE. Each month we feature a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you. This month, we highlight Grace M. Lavigne, an associate Web editor at The Journal of Commerce in Newark, N.J.


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