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August 31, 2005

What would you ask Roberts?

A group of Democratic Senators want to hear from the public what questions they should ask Judge Roberts at the confirmation hearings next week. Submit your question. (Hat tip: Howard Bashman)

Also on the Roberts pre-confirmation watch, a new anti-Roberts ad, discussed here, here and here. And Tommy Goldstein of Stanford Law School and Scotus Blog will be liveblogging the hearings next week at their spinoff Supreme Court Nomination Blog, where there is already a ton of great information about Roberts, including all the cases he argued in the Supreme Court and a round-up of the latest headlines on the hearings.

August 31, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Tracking time and billing

Rees Morrison at Law Department Management reports that the NYC Law Department has started (over significant dissent) requiring its 650 attorneys to keep track of their time. The department has also started sending hypothetical bills to city agencies for the department's services.

So much for avoiding life in the sixth-of-an-hour zone by steering clear of firm employment.  I've always felt that keeping track of your time the way law firms require is pretty demeaning.  But I do think that letting agencies know how much time lawyers are spending on their complaints is a worthwhile task. Rees advises:

Every law department that does not charge back the fees and expenses of outside counsel retained to defend the company in litigation could consider this innovative technique. If you can estimate internal hours (and multiply them by your fully-loaded internal cost per lawyer hour), so much the better.

August 31, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Outsourced legal services

Joy London of excited utterances and Ron Friedmann of Prism Legal have updated their list of Outsourced Legal Services. Joy adds an interesting analysis of the market to outsource legal services in India.

August 31, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Katrina's wake

The devastation in Hurricane Katrina's wake is awesome, and the blawgers are talking about it. The Wired GC explains what law firms are doing to cope. Ernie the Attorney has a heartwrenching firsthand account. Orin Kerr said he'll match others' donations. FEMA lists organizations to donate to. You can follow updates on the Katrina Blog (hat tip: J. Craig Williams).

August 31, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

'Storage Technology Corp.' decision

Cathy Kirkman at the Silicon Valley Media Law Blog has an excellent discussion of the the Federal Circuit's decision in Storage Technology Corp. v. Custom Hardware Engineering & Consulting. As Cathy says, "The case is noteworthy for a number of reasons -- it takes a limited view of the scope of the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions, and it takes a broad view of the rights of third party agents to access software for maintenance purposes under copyright law, as well under software license terms."

Custom Hardware is a company that fixes data libraries. The court found that the maintenance and repair of computer systems that Custom Hardware performed was not a copyright infringement, so its actions did not trigger the DMCA.  For DMCA minimalists, this is a great decision because; as Cathy says, "It  suggests that if a technological control were circumvented for a noninfringing personal or fair use, the DMCA circumvention could be permissible." The court also concluded that the license allowed third party access to the code, even though it did not explicitly say so.  For licensing attorneys, this means you need to be really careful in your drafting, and as Cathy advises, "License agreements need to be drafted with precision and clarity, and should be drafted from an all rights not expressly granted are reserved standpoint."

August 30, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Virtual roundtable on 'Grokster' decision

Robert Ambrogi points to this virtual roundtable discussion of the Grokster decision from a special issue of the newsletter Internet Law & Strategy. It is between members of  the magazine's board of editors and other Internet law experts, including Ambrogi, who wrote:

For companies involved in developing technology-based products and services, the immediate lesson of this case is to watch what you say. Focus on the product's legitimate commercial applications. A more troubling issue arises from between the lines of the Grokster decision -- that of whether a company is obliged to act when it suspects its product is being used for unlawful purposes. Here, the Court finds evidence of the companies' unlawful objectives in their failure to develop filtering tools or other mechanisms to reduce copyright infringement. This failure to act underscores the companies' intent, the Court said. However, the Court quickly adds, in a footnote, that a company's mere failure to act to prevent infringement, absent other evidence of intent, is not grounds for liability.

(Also check for his comments on comparisons to Sony.) Like most cases that create or alter standards, we really will not understand the full impact of Grokster until the first judge applies it. But it is interesting to see what this diverse group of experts has to say, particularly, how they are advising clients in light of the decision.

August 30, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Creative networking opportunities (for both sexes)

Following up on the meme of the Glass Ceiling, The Common Scold points to a piece in Sunday's NYT, in Lisa Belkin's "Life's Work" column that asks: "What are your networking alternatives if you don't play golf?" As Common Scold notes:

Belkin talks about various "affinity" groups that can serve the same purpose. She cites Diane Danielson, who founded a young women's networking organization,, and suggests alternatives to ball fields, such as taking folks to the theater. "I generally try to get three tickets and invite two clients who might enjoy meeting each other," she says. And that also mitigates an often-sticky situation if you are entertaining male clients, who might mistake the invite for a date, she says.  She also talks about how Winston &  Strawn offers events planned just for women clients and partners -- such as a private viewing of the Chanel exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As I said yesterday, it's about women having options and making choices. Kudos to Belkin for pointing out some. Though I must say, this is just as valid for men who don't golf. Networking is incredibly essential for everyone in many businesses, including law. If your opportunities seem limited because you're not interested in the options available, it's up to you to create your own. 

August 30, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Critical thinking

Bruce MacEwen, over at Adam Smith, Esq., urges you to read this Harvard Business Review column to determine whether you really are a critical thinker. He says that he thought he was preblogging, but was surprised to learn how passively he used to absorb information when he wasn't thinking of how to "critique, extrapolate, synthesize, or otherwise comment intelligently."

I'm experiencing this phenomenon this week, as I write this blog. Reading the blawgs is time-consuming, and commenting on them takes it up a couple of notches. The upside is that you get so much more out of what you read when you are forced to write your thoughts down, which is one reason I enjoy blogging so much. I sense Adam Smith, Esq. agrees.

August 30, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

Vigilante Justice vs. Speech

Crime & Federalism points to a debate on PrawfsBlog about e-shaming.  The debate started with an article in the LA Times about Fox news releasing the home address of a known terrorist. Satellite photos of the house and directions to the residence were posted online.  Turns out the house had been sold three years prior, and “[f]or the last 2 1/2 weeks, the lives of the couple and their three children have been plunged into an unsettling routine of drivers shouting profanities, stopping to photograph their house and -- most recently -- spray-painting a slogan on their property.” 

Dan Solove thinks that releasing information like this is vigilante justice, and Mike says it’s free speech.  As personal information becomes more easy to spread and access, I have no doubt that we’re going to see more of this.  Like many conflicts between privacy and speech, I’m less sure on which side I stand.

August 29, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

NARAL's new ad gets it 'mostly right' has signed off on NARAL’s most recent ad on Roberts’ abortion position, finding that the ad gets it “mostly right.”  You can read the script on the site, and according to the review, “The latest ad takes a different tack, and was even produced by a different ad firm. Where the first ad showed images of a bombed-out abortion clinic, this ad shows images of a happy, smiling families and a tender couple. And rather than falsely implying that Roberts condones violence, this one mostly sticks to the facts.”

Whatever you think of the nominee, we should all agree to just stick to the facts.

August 29, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Liability and blog comments

Seobook is a blog about search engines. Traffic Power, in the search engine advertising business, just sued Seobook and a gaggle of Does and Roes, for defamation and trade secret violations. Seobook posted the complaint in Nevada's Clark County district court. Here, you can see an earlier cease-and-desist letter.

One issue in the case is whether a blog editor is responsible for what is said in his or her contents, and a debate is raging on Seobook and elsewhere as to whether moderating comments increases or decreases any potential liability. Aaron Wall, the blog editor, writes that he’s likely to just take the offensive content down once he gets Traffic Power to articulate exactly what’s bugging them. While I haven’t read the offending comments, I hope he doesn’t cave that easily. This is a topic I’m very interested in ... what do you think?

August 29, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

The Glass Ceiling

Thanks to Carolyn Elefant for pointing to this article about a Sacramento lawyer’s initiative to address work-balance issues that create huge gender differences at the top of most law firms.  The initiative is based on San Francisco’s No Glass Ceiling project, “which aims to prod local law firms to make work environments more family-friendly and promote more women up the ranks.” According to the article, “In 2002, a group of [San Francisco] lawyers began signing up 76 law firms and legal departments to agree to a pledge: By 2005, make sure at least 25 percent of partners are women. In 2002, 22 percent of firms met that goal. As of July, 63 percent had, according to the task force's most recent survey.”

Elefant fears she sounds too much like the young John Roberts when she says, “I'm all in favor of attorneys -- male or female -- who choose to forego their careers short term to stay home with children so long as they're aware of middle-of-the-road options for balancing law and family.”

No worries, Carolyn. You’ve got it right when you say it’s about women having options and making choices that work for them.  We’ll see how Roberts spins his words at his hearings next week.

August 29, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 26, 2005

Welcome Guestblogger Lauren Gelman

Please help me welcome Lauren Gelman, associate director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, who will guestblog here all next week while I'm away on vacation.

I started reading Lauren's blog when she wrote the bloggers' amicus brief in Apple v. Does.   She also appeared in this blog when she and Wendy Seltzer consented to audio interviews about bloggers' legal rights (the audio is linked here). 

Thanks Lauren. I'll be back after Labor Day to blog the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts.

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

California contest: 'There oughta be a law'

The title of this post is shared by an annual contest in California that resident J. Craig Williams cordially invites you to join. He writes,

"[Y]ou can submit your idea (application available in Spanish, too) ... Here's one to get you started:  How about a law that requires each portable piece of electronic equipment to use the same charger -- or limit the range of chargers to just four or five models that will always be available at your friendly neighborhood electronics store? "

OK, here's mine, inspired by my friendly neighborhood Starbucks: a law banning spoken testimonials by certain Canadian yodelers about the "true" path of their "life as an artist" and subs in a woman who can help me get my Friday on. 

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Does your patent paperwork make you a prime target for ID theft?

If you have filed for a patent or hold one(s), there's one more box for you to check: Read this post by Bill Heinze and make sure that you're not one of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records that "allow nearly unlimited access to the Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers of hundreds of individual inventors who petition to reclaim their patent rights each year." Heinze hat-tips Tom Ramstack writing for The Washington Time on August 23, 2005, and continues,

"In response to a lawsuit filed by David Brown, who noticed the identity-theft vulnerability when he petitoined to reinstate one of his patents in 2003, the Office agreed to publish Privacy Act statements on patent forms telling inventors their personal information could be disclosed in public records. The following advisory appeared on Aug. 10 ..." More here.

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Why I'm glad this dude never showed up for work

Once upon a time, Mike Fox reports, two buddies left for a bar. They drank. And then they drank some more. They drank enough that Dude #1 asked Buddy #2 for a favor.

Clock me in if I'm too hung to be on time, Buddy?

Sure, Dude.

Buddy delivered. And when Dude didn't show at all, Buddy clocked him out, too.

When the fog cleared a couple of days later, Buddy and Dude confessed to their supervisor and were fired. The men tried to sue for discrimination, arguing that two women colleagues got away with it. Turns out, however, that the women showed up for work eventually -- as opposed to getting credit for a day when they played hooky, as Dude did.

But I'm glad Dude played hooky if he was too altered to perform on the job.  Why? Because Dude and Buddy are mechanics for a school district, and I just signed my son's field trip permission slip. 'Nuff said.

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

8th Circuit judgment 'clouded by wicked weed'

So asks Doug Berman in a fantastic post on U.S. v. Chauncey, in which he describes the 8th Circuit's decision to uphold a pre-Booker sentence of 100 months for less than two ounces of marijuana. (Hat-tip to Mike Cernovich, who authored one of the Ashcroft v. Raich blogs). Berman writes:

"The defendant in Chauncey, as a result of a criminal history leading to his classification as a career offender, received a sentence of 100 months after being convicted of possessing with intent to distribute less than two ounces of marijuana.  According to Judge [Donald P.] Lay's dissent, 'Chauncey's undisputed purpose was to help [his friend] obtain marijuana to alleviate the painful effects of her multiple sclerosis.' ... In a spirited dissent, Judge Lay argues that 100 months for Chauncey's offense violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments.  ... Disappointingly, Judge Lay's dissent does not engage the issue of reasonableness after Booker (although surely he believes the sentence is unreasonable as well as unconstitutional)."

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

The year ahead: KM conferences

The good news is that Cisco's director of legal services, Hans Albers, is giving talk Sept. 12-14 on "The Law Department of the Future: How Cisco Effectively Applies Technology in Its Corporate Legal Department."

The bad news is that if you're not going to be in Montreaux, Switzerland, for the European Corporate Counsel Summit, you'll miss out.

Fortunately, Joy London has a solution:  She's blogged the year ahead in KM conferences around the world. She's got a baker's dozen or more of meetings with Web sites for you to check out. (Full disclosure:  The two LegalTech conferences she lists are sponsored by ALM,'s parent company.)

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

I'm with Coudert, oops, Orrick!

"That didn't take long," writes Bruce MacEwen in an update on the demise of Coudert. "Orrick has snagged a total of 40 Coudert lawyers in China, including one partner in Shanghai, two in Beijing, and six in Hong Kong.  Despite the earlier unpleasantness over Orrick's he-said/she-said poaching of Coudert's London and Moscow offices, this is evidently amicable, or at least, as they say in matrimonial-land, uncontested.  Coudert's chairman, Clyde ("Skip") Rankin, would only say 'As previously announced, the partners of Coudert authorized" acquisitions like this.' "

More from Bruce here.

August 25, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

'Time to retool your legal research toolkit?'

Bill Heinze shows you the latest bookmarks here and here.

Any other links folks should have? Please add them below. Thanks.

August 25, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

A ham-and-eggs lawyer tries white-collar defense: 'ugh'

Here's my gift to the community for the day: I suggest you read Norm Pattis, who shares a beautifully crafted vignette from his summer. He begins:

"I am a ham and egg lawyer. I have never worked in a big firm. I never clerked for anyone. Law review looked like a stupid waste of time, the professional equivalent of a circle jerk. I don't have institutional clients. The people I represent are usually in a jam of one sort or another with the Government. The so-called 'big cases' don't come my way.

"So I thought I would try hand at some white collar defense.

"Ugh ..."

August 25, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Just like at my house, where every kid gets the same Bionicle

Marriott apparently hired a law firm manager who strives to direct the same amount of business -- about $2 million -- to each of its 10 outsourced law firms, reports Rees Morrison. Morrison is amazed Marriott has invested a full-time equivalent in this relationship, but even more surprised about the interchangeable firms. He writes, "Surely the firms are not that fungible!"

August 25, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Integration ad infinitem, please! ILTA looks to Redmond?

Monica Bay and Ron Friedmann are blogging the International Legal Tech Association meeting (she's there, he's not).

Friedmann, on report from a friend, says the buzz is Microsoft and "integration, integration and some more integration." He writes:

"I met and interviewed four CIOs on Monday. One interesting common theme emerged when I asked about the future of business applications in the firm (e.g. DM, CRM etc.) – and whether there’s appetite for more – all of them said that the issue is not new applications, but how to make those that they have 'talk' to each other ..."

August 25, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

SOX co-author calls Sarbanes-Oxley 'flawed jewel'

"You think?  No kidding," writes J. Craig Williams in his wrap-up of Congressman Michael Oxley's recent visit to Williams' zip code.  Williams continues,

"Oxley himself pointed out the statute's flawed requirements using an example in his own district, Ball Metal.  The auditors there listed the janitor's theft of a few toilet paper rolls from the company bathrooms as a 'material weakness' that had to be listed on the company's reports to the SEC and investors. 

"I don't know about you, but I'm selling my stock in Ball because those rolls of TP will likely break the company.  Riiiight.  They likely spent more money on the reporting aspects of that issue than the cost of the missing rolls.  While Oxley didn't commit to amendments to the law, he did pin his hopes on Orange County's Chris Cox, now at the helm of the SEC.  Oxley stated in the Register's article that he expects Cox to loosen the 'too stiff' burden of SOX compliance on small and midsize businesses ..."

More here.

August 24, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Sneak peek at U.K.'s Top 100 firms

... or the Top 10 of the Top 100, anyway. Bruce MacEwen has the link and the list. He writes:

"The Lawyer's UK 100 listing will be out right after Labor Day, but we have an advance peek at the top 10 today.  Linklaters is #1 at £410-million in revenue (US$738-million), up over 8% on strong corporate-department performance.  Clifford Chance took second at £402-million, but up just 4%.  Both Allen & Overy and Freshfields suffered declines in revenue, with A&O down just over 1% (£358-million) and Freshfields down 6% (£320-million).  We'll have to await the full report to understand why.

"Interestingly, 14 of the top 50 are US-headquartered.

"Meanwhile, over at Bloomberg, there's a more analytic story that shows a reporter actually doing more than repackaging press releases.  (Since the California courts have held that bloggers aren't journalists, I can say that without fear of revocation of my press credentials.)   Bloomberg analyzed "productivity" of the top law firms ..."

Read the whole thing here.

August 24, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Thanks to ReThink(ip), you can use RSS to keep up with the USPTO

Bill Heinze points to a post by ReThink(ip) that launches RSS feeds on Official Gazette and Federal Register announcements, as well as general, patent and trademark news. Heinze also adds link to EU IP.

"Go ahead and subscribe," write the ReThink-ers. "Who knows, you might find yourself actually reading PTO news and notices on a regular basis!"

August 24, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Patent trolls and other patent foolishness

Bill Heinze reports on the latest on invention without production from Microsoft's former chief technologist and current CEO of Intellectual Ventures, Nathan Myhrvold.

Myhrvold "reportedly told told the Progress & Freedom Foundation's annual conference on Tuesday that "before you get worked up about this gigantic [patent troll] problem, you ought to see what the facts are." More here.

August 24, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Hate your lawyer? Don't sue -- draft personal legislation!

Client hires attorney. Client misses deadline. Client hires new attorney. New attorneys pull strings to sponsor new state legislation extending client deadline.

Carolyn Elefant has the story of Connecticut resident Sylvia Kuehl, in "Next Time You Miss a Deadline, Why Not Change the Law?"  Elefant begins, "Apparently, for well-connected law firms in Connecticut, there's a far more potent tool than pedestrian legal malpractice insurance for addressing legal malpractice claims: personal legislation ..."

August 24, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

A psychological profile of your boss here

What do you call a litigation support partner who freaks because the three-inch binders his grunts have been building all day have two different colors of white paper? (True story: I was one of the grunts who listened to this man's rant about the need for consistency in coloration between paper reams. Not that I noticed the difference in color. I was busy billing 80 hours a week to count the pages in each binder to make certain each had its appropriate 317 pages. For this I went to college? Buh-bye ...)

According to a new survey on legal leadership styles written up by The Wired GC, you'd call this guy a "pacesetter." WGC has his usual dry take on the issue: "Not surprisingly, the associates preferred leadership that emphasized coaching to edicts from a driven 'pacesetter,'" he writes.  "I think I worked for a pacesetter once, but that’s not what I called him at the time ..."

In addition to pacesetting, the other five categories tested for effectiveness were "directive, visionary, affiliative, participative and coaching."  Read the textbook definition and more on the survey here.

August 24, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

Discriminating prejudices: gay and religious rights

A former Allstate employee says religious discrimination is the reason he was fired, after he wrote an anti-gay article.

Allstate says it fired him for using employer property for private pursuits.

I say, as we wait out the eve of yet another Congress riven by religious differences, that you should read Mike Fox's thoughtful assessment of the case, both from the employer's perspective and that of a policy implementer. Fox writes,

"Being an employer has never been easy, but in a world where personal communication on a wide spread basis is not only easy, but done daily by hundreds of thousands of individuals who are also often employees, and where there are increasingly hard-line positions on matters of politics, idealogy and religion, you know that conflicts are going to come and employers may often find themselves in the middle. ... This volatile mix will only become more difficult if legislation that has been introduced for the last several Congresses by those on opposite ends of the political spectrum ever becomes a reality. See my earlier post, Workplace Religious Freedom Act - Consensus On Neither the Right Nor Left."

August 23, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Race discrimination 'a scourge' in Dallas County DA office

Mike Cernovich follows yesterday's story "Prosecutor Kerri New is Sexist and Hates Poor People" with an update from the Dallas Morning News. I urge you to follow Mike's lead and register (free, relatively easy) with the Dallas paper to reward it with a little traffic and/or link love for running this story. Here's an excerpt from Mike's piece:

"The Dallas Morning News (thx, Rodney) has a fascinating series on jury selection in Dallas:

"Racial discrimination in jury selection was a scourge on the Dallas County district attorney's office for decades and was cited recently by the U.S. Supreme Court as it overturned a 1986 death penalty case. The Dallas Morning News spent two years gathering and analyzing jury data from felony court trials to see what had changed.

"Key Findings:
• "Dallas County prosecutors excluded black jurors at more than twice the rate they rejected whites ..."  More examples here.

August 23, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Want to cut costs? 'Don't hire a head of litigation!'

Given Rees Morrison's typical restraint in the use of punctuation, I was amazed to read this headline from his weekend blog posts: "Don’t hire a head of litigation!" It's one of 10 rules for cutting litigation costs recommended by Jeff Carr of FMC Technologies. Morrison likes and recommends reading the rules -- especially this one:

"Here’s Carr’s zinger. Don’t hire a head litigator, for the reason that 'the last thing that person wants to do is work himself out of a job.' Carr advocates making business lawyers responsible for litigation, presumably because they will take a commercial view of resolving a dispute as promptly as possible and with a view to ongoing relations or bottom-line effect."

August 23, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

How does a lawyer agree not to get a discretionary bonus in writing?

At least this lawyer has plenty of company still living in Silicon Valley. If you've never worked for a pre-IPO startup, you may find it hard to believe the story Geoff Gussis found on ContractsProf Blog: Get that 'Discretionary' 'Guarantee' in Writing. Check out:

(a) How jerked around this GC was by this startup, and

(b) How quickly the 7th Circuit handed him his hat when he appealed summary judgement.

August 23, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Unforgiven and unforgiving: Coudert coverage

Bruce MacEwen is dumbfounded by The New York Times' decision as yet to ignore Coudert -- and recommends Coudert fans gird themselves to read Caitlin Griffith's "roundhouse punch at the woebegone firm."

Speaking of direct hits, MacEwen himself is rather direct with the Times: "Astonishingly, and unforgivably, The New York Times has yet to take note.  Unless they're saving up their ammo for a behind-the-scenes feature, the reaction can only be:  What up?!?"

More here.

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Go small to expand your horizons

Noting that "a large firm can be a very small place when it comes to conflicts," Carolyn Elefant expands on a piece in the Aug. 22 edition of the Connecticut Law Tribune. The Trib describes the experience of two former Pepe & Hazard lawyers, Jennifer Cox and Jennifer Osweiki, who left a large firm to find greater freedom to build a health care practice. More here.

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

No teeth, no skirt, no service

I tend to agree to disagree with Michael Cernovich, much as I enjoy reading him. On the rare occasions when we agree, it's always a keeper that I end up e-mailing to friends and family. Today's post is such a one:  Don't miss the post that began its life as   "Prosecutor Kerri is Sexist, and Hates Poor People" and became Prosecutor Kerri New is Sexist, and Hates Poor People.

Duly noted: Cernovich hat-tips AWC.

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Should you be on the Blawg Review guest map?

The Common Scold links the latest Blawg Review innovation, and I love the diversity of thought leaders they're showing off.  Go see. Then ask yourself: Should you be on this list?

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Assuming your litigator isn't Mark Lanier...

... you might want to consider a less sexy, operational approach to developing your case (and limiting your costs). Try this one by Ron Friedmann. Or you could go whole-hog, as Joy London describes here.

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Did Mark Lanier win, or did Merck lose?

Many Monday-morning quarterbacks are clustered around Merck's whopping $253 million defeat of Friday afternoon, notes The Wired GC. Confessing that some of his friends still miss the Vioxx painkiller noted in the case, our GC wonders whether "this case may have been lost long before it started." He asks,

"Once Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market, in a move they probably thought would be strategically sound (and perhaps even publicly praised), every word written or spoken about Vioxx was put under a different microscope than Merck was familiar with. People who do drug research are focused on finding cures and enhancing treatments, not writing exhibits for their depositions ..."

What do you think? Here's the story I pulled off the newswire:  Merck Ponders Grounds for Appeal in Wake of $253M Vioxx Verdict

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


In a nod to a change in today's blogroll, I'd like to thank Matt Homann for helping to launch the Blog Network last fall. Since then, he's changed the focus of his blog, the [non]billable hour, from running his small firm in the Midwest to a new consulting enterprise in the Los Angeles area. I'll be watching what he does next -- and hoping he continues his signature interviews, the Five-by-Five series, archived here.

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

Would Huck Finn be found guilty today?

Author Mark Twain may rest easy says J. Craig Williams, in his interpretation of a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling. Williams begins:

"You remember Huckleberry Finn and his friend Jim?  They find a corpse, but don't report it to the authorities.  Did they violate Missouri law all those years ago?  Is Mark Twain rolling over in his grave?

"Twain fans will be relieved to know the Missouri Supreme Court doesn't think so.  The story has a modern-day twist:  a Missouri man convicted for doing so had that conviction overturned based on Twain's tale ... "

More here.

August 19, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Hint: Transmit fraud and deceit via private overnight mail

A tip to the wise from Michael Cernovich: the tale of Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones and his decision to make a false statement via the United States Postal Service.

August 19, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

That giant sucking sound is bankruptcies being filed before Oct. 17

Noting how much easier it will be to liquidate than reorg under new bankruptcy laws, The Wired GC wonders what Northwest Airlines will do ...

August 19, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Coudert follow-up: "[M]ost of the firm's partners should land on their feet"

So said a law consultant to Anthony Lin of New York Law Journal, who followed Thursday's breaking news.

August 19, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

MacEwen: "Coudert, RIP"

Blogger Bruce MacEwen, who has been following the story of Coudert before its merger talks with Baker & McKenzie, writes an insightful epitaph. He begins:

"We note with great sadness the passing of a 150-plus-year-old firm, a pioneer on the international scene in ways many are still trying to emulate. (Also here.)

"The firm's demise strikes me as exceedingly unnecessary -- given the long perspective -- but essentially inevitable, on the short perspective.  And sometimes the short run gets you, as vicious (and virtuous, but that's for another day) cycles are real.  Rumors ..." More.

Related stories:

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

What happens to student loans if you file for bankruptcy?

Yes. And if you take the same tact implemented in Kelli O'Brien's loan structure, you'll get "So far, it's an A+ for creativity, F for effectiveness," writes J. Craig Williams. He urges you to beware. More here.

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Apt furnished with Fedex boxes

Bill Heinze passes along a terrific story from the PHOSITA blog. Apparently FedEx is miffed at a Fedex_table man who has furnished his entire apartment with FedEx boxes. FedEx sees his work as a violation of copyright and trademark laws. The creator -- and his attorneys at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society -- see it differently. Here's an excerpt from Melody Wirz's post at PHOSITA:

"FedEx has sent a letter insisting that the furniture itself, along with the
Internet Website and the pictures violate the copyright and trademark rights
held by FedEx. The letter even claims that the actions fall within the
purview of the DMCA. Luckily, the creator is represented by the Stanford Law
School Center for Internet and Society who sent this letter in response." More photos and info here.

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

Remove head from sand, apply firm blogging policy

Geoff Gussis has the diplomacy required of a successful in-house counsel. "Are your employees blogging?" he gently asks. "By making sure that your company and its bloggers are on the same page, you can ensure that blogging wil be a win-win situation for both parties. Michael P. Maslanka, the managing partner of the Dallas office of Ford & Harrison, has great tips for in-house counsel grappling with employee blogging issue ..."

I'm not an in-house counsel, so I won't act like one.  If some of your employees aren't blogging, openly or anonymously, they will be soon. So take Gussis' advice and circulate a policy now. Here are some others to consider:

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

ABA's legal tech survey of 1,500

It ain't free, but Bob Ambrogi says it's available now in five volumes or one executive summary.

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

How many depositions do we have to do to pay the VCs back their $20M?

Poooor Legalink. This happy conundrum is one of many facing the Boston-based court reporting company that just netted a big-time venture capital investment. Bob Ambrogi reports.

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack

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