Yesterday, we reported on the lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania high schooler Blake Robbins against his school for invasion of privacy. Robbins was one of 1,800 students given a laptop for home use by the Lower Merion School District. When Robbins was punished by a vice principal at Harriton High School for “improper behavior at home,” the evidence was allegedly a webcam photo that the vice principal had taken of Robbins at home by activating a webcam remotely.
Robbins filed a class action lawsuit for invasion of privacy, which garnered widespread media attention. Last night, the school’s superintendent, Dr. Christopher McGinley, responded by announcing that the spying feature was being turned off — but that the school had never spied as alleged. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. McGinley’s letter to parents (available in full after the jump):
Laptops are a frequent target for theft in schools and off school property. District laptops do contain a security feature intended to track lost, stolen and missing laptops. The security feature, which was disabled today, was installed to help locate a laptop in the event it was reported lost, missing or stolen so that the laptop could be returned to the student.
Upon a report of a suspected lost, stolen or missing laptop, the feature would be activated by the District’s security and technology departments. The security feature’s capabilities were limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator’s screen. This feature was only used for the narrow purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District never activated the security feature for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever.
Many alumni of the school district are discussing the case. One reached out to us to offer scuttlebutt about the “improper behavior” that Robbins got in trouble for. The alumnus also suggests that the story is more complicated than it has been presented by Blake Robbins in his complaint.
Justice Barack Hussein Obama? No, that’s not a joke. Professor Jeffrey Rosen makes a serious case for President Obama to become Justice Obama, in the Washington Post:
Though Obama has struggled to find his footing in the White House, his education, temperament and experience make him ideally suited to lead the liberal wing of the court, especially at a time when a narrow conservative majority seems increasingly intent on challenging progressive economic reforms for the first time since the New Deal. Obama is clearly eager to take on the four truly conservative justices — Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — as his State of the Union smackdown suggests. But as president, he’s constrained by that pesky separation of powers. So what better way to engage the fight than to join the bench?
History offers examples of other executives who have moved over to the judicial branch. E.g., William Howard Taft, who served as chief justice after serving as president; Earl Warren, who served as chief justice after serving as California governor.
But in Obama’s case, how exactly would this happen?
We’ve written before about the tragic murder of Robert Wone, a promising young Asian-American attorney in Washington. At the time of his death, Wone, 32, was the general counsel of Radio Free Asia; prior to that, he was an associate at Covington & Burling.
We would have written more about the Wone murder, but one problem is that there hasn’t been much to write about. Years after the August 2006 murder, the case remains unsolved.
But now, with trial looming — a trial on charges of conspiracy, obstruction, and tampering, but not murder — there are some new developments to report. And some of them are deeply disturbing.
Adrielle Churchill is not just “law school hot.” The third-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law was recently crowned Miss Arkansas USA.
It’s a good thing she’s a 3L and that exams don’t matter, since she’ll be competing for the national title this May in Las Vegas. There’s some synergy in practicing law and winning beauty pageants, according to Churchill:
“The law school community has been incredibly supportive of pageants,” says Churchill, who is also the current president of the Student Bar Association. “The public speaking skills you learn in pageants are immeasurable, even though we ‘pageant girls’ are always the first to try wearing four-inch heels to a trial,” she laughs.
So let’s get inside the not-so-secret world of Jeff Toobin and Casey Greenfield — daughter of television personality Jeff Greenfield and an associate at Gibson Dunn (so there’s a Biglaw connection here too). From the New York Daily News:
One of the media elite’s most whispered-about scandals went public Wednesday when married CNN correspondent Jeffrey Toobin squared off with a woman who says he’s the father of her baby.
Yale-educated lawyer Casey Greenfield — the daughter of eminent CBS News analyst Jeff Greenfield — had a chilly faceoff with Toobin in Manhattan Family Court.
Watch out, Jeff: Casey practices in litigation at Gibson Dunn, recently named by the American Lawyer as Litigation Department of the Year. And if this litigatrix loses, she might take it to a higher court — perhaps aided by GDC’s stellar appellate practice. (Thanks to Ted Olson’s involvement in the Proposition 8 case, Gibson lawyers are acquiring expertise in family and matrimonial law.)
More discussion — plus a better photo of Casey Greenfield, who’s quite attractive — after the jump.
* ‘You’re admitted. Whoops. No. You’re not.’ [Washington Post via Tax Prog Blog]
* The story behind the Austin, Texas plane crash. [Going Concern]
* The woman at the heart of the Duke Lacrosse case finds her way back into the news. [New York Times]
* Volunteering can interfere with your welfare benefits. [Fox]
* Virginia loves guns and Red Lobster. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
* Hasta la vista, Latham. [Deadline Hollywood]
* Want to spend quality time with Lat and Elie? Attend their HLS event this coming Tuesday, “The Future of Biglaw: A Debate on Lockstep.” [Harvard Law School (second event)]
Although our colleague Elie Mystal is on vacation this week, he took some time today to sit down with Fox Business News, where he discussed how some large law firms enjoyed record profits in 2009 — thanks, in part, to record layoffs.
An added bonus: he offered weight loss advice! No donuts involved.
We are excited to announce that in the near future we will be launching a completely revamped Career Center, with more information and resources for all of our readers.
In preparation for this, we are looking to add additional writers and researchers to our Career Center team. We are looking for people who can commit 10 to 20 hours per week for the next several months (and there is a chance this could develop into a longer-term position).
If you are interested, please send your resume to email@example.com. Thanks!
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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