Blogging

Heather Clem

Sorry if I’m a little bit late to this story, but did you know that Hulk Hogan is suing Gawker for posting a sex tape of Hogan and his friend’s wife?

Let me back up: Gawker had a sex tape up with Hulk Hogan. Hogan initially used the Shaggy Defense, then came clean and contended that his friend Todd Clem (aka: Bubba the Love Sponge) set him up with his estranged wife, Heather Clem (pictured, and apparently able to be used as a floatation device in case of emergency).

Hogan claims that he didn’t know the sex (which took place six years ago) had been recorded, and he is suing Todd Clem, Heather Clem, and Gawker for posting the video.

And… did you know the Hulkster’s real name is Terry Bollea?

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Courtney Horne

You can’t keep a good story down. And the case of Courtney Horne v. Donald North, currently being tried in the court of public opinion, is a good story.

We first mentioned this ugly spat between a former law student at Southern University Law Center and her former criminal law professor in passing. Readers clamored for more coverage. So we did a follow-up post, a quick Quote of the Day — which racked up thousands upon thousands of pageviews.

So let’s give you what you want: more discussion of Courtney Horne, Professor North, and Southern University Law Center (SULC)….

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Ed. note: This column will be about entertainment, the law, and the intersection of those two things. If you know of a law-related personality you’d like to see interviewed here, please contact us.

Staci here. Are you interested in entertainment law, but don’t have a law license? Or even better, are you interested in entertainment law, but you have no legal training? Not to worry, my friend, because there’s still hope for you in the world of legal journalism.

This week, Mr. Legal Entertainment was able to chat with a leading legal journalist who covers the world of entertainment: Eriq Gardner, senior editor at the Hollywood Reporter and writer at the site’s Hollywood, Esq. blog. Garner gave us the scoop on what really goes into gathering background information and writing stories about our favorite celebrities’ latest legal affairs for the site….

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Courtney Horne

It amazes me that after [six] weeks in law school you now speak as an expert in a course where in my estimation you were mediocre at best. I accept my responsibility, as your professor, for trying to have Standards and Expectations. After thirty years in this profession, I am amazed that we have finally created a vehicle where cowards can express their accusations without retribution.

Southern University Law Center Professor Donald North, responding to Courtney Horne’s blog post explaining her choice to quit law school. Her post largely blamed the decision on Professor North and his class.

(Keep reading to see more of the back-and-forth between this former law school student and her ex-crim law prof…)

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If Arkansas allows medical pot, Clinton could finally inhale.

* A tipster writes: “PLEASE address this trash pile of an article… I’m begging you.” Well, here you go. [XOJane]

* The controversy over Elizabeth Warren’s phantom law license continues. Here’s more analysis of her allegedly unlicensed practice. [Legal Insurrection via League of Ordinary Gentlemen]

* Cravat swine and more? Court approves punishment for necktie thief. [Blog of the Legal Times]

* Where do Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent live? [TaxProf Blog]

* Check out this legal technology writing contest. Seriously. You could win $5,000. Hell, maybe I’ll enter too. [IT-Lex]

* Isn’t it oddly fitting that Bill Clinton’s home turf is the first southern state to consider allowing medical marijuana? [Fox News]

* Lat gives some protips on launching a successful law blog. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

Scalia v. Posner meets Mean Girls

* Someone was finally able to liken the Scalia v. Posner debate to a suitable situation: bitchy mean girls fighting each other in a middle school cafeteria. Seriously, only the inclusion of “like” throughout the entirety of the dialogue could’ve made it better. [lawprofblawg]

* Who pays your law professors’ salary? The obvious answer is law students, since professorial wallets are padded by tuition dollars. But what happens when IBR comes into play and loan debts are forgiven? Then the answer shifts to the taxpayers. [PrawfsBlawg]

* When Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers died, everyone was expecting that a lawsuit would be filed, but no one really thought that it would be one based on contract law. [New York Law and Legal Analysis Blog]

* What kind of case “really turn[s] on” everyone’s favorite First Amendment lawyer? Free speech cases that are riddled with challenges, of course, and questions about what does and doesn’t constitute porn. [Vegas Inc]

* You must be wondering where Above the Law fell on this ranking of the 15 Most Influential Law Blogs. We won’t give it away, but let’s just say that we now share something in common with Cooley. [Business Insider]

* “[S]ome dude with the munchies is getting a little legal education.” That’s what we thought when one of our top searches last week was “pictures of tacos” — and not even “duck tacos,” but regular ones. [Search Party]

Tom Wallerstein

Blogging is not something I expected to make part of my weekly routine as a litigator. Yet here I am, writing a post every week that relates in some way to my own experience of having moved “from Biglaw to boutique.” This post marks my 40th post on Above the Law, and for several reasons, I remain grateful and look forward to the opportunity to write a post every week, dead weeks included.

If your goal is to build credibility regarding your expertise in a certain area, then blogging — or tweeting, for that matter — about that topic is a helpful start. Blogging about a certain topic is in some ways the online equivalent of presenting a seminar or CLE course.

Generally, the benefit of presenting a seminar is greater than the sum of its parts. For example, if you give a seminar, each attendee is a prospective client. But more than that, you also help build a reputation as someone knowledgeable about your topic.

Legal blogging works the same way. If you consistently blog about a certain topic, then you have a good platform by which you can establish credibility as an expert in the field. If you tweet and re-tweet about your topic, then someone searching Twitter is more likely to come across your name and assume you have expertise in the area. I know from experience that valuable contacts and potential clients actually do consult Twitter for lawyers to hire….

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Yesterday we covered the internet brouhaha over Progressive Insurance. The insurance company caught a lot of internet flak after comedian Matt Fisher wrote this provocative blog post: My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court. Outrage against Progressive’s apparent provision of a defense to the driver who killed Katie Fisher — even though Katie Fisher was Progressive’s insured, not that driver — went viral over social media (especially after actor Wil Wheaton got involved).

Now Progressive is paying up. The company has reached a settlement with the Fisher family.

We recently heard from Progressive’s PR firm, which sent us a statement on the Fisher case. What does Flo have to say for herself?

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If you were on the internet at all yesterday, you likely heard about this. Your mom probably posted it on her Facebook wall and a thousand of your tweeps probably hit you up on the Twitter to register their outrage. On Monday, a comedian by the name of Matt Fisher wrote a post on his tumblr account titled “My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court.” What resulted was an outpouring of rage and hive-minded moralizing that has become the internet’s stock in trade. A great injustice had been done and, dammit, the internet was going to save the day. Or at least tweet about the day. Even Wil Wheaton made an impassioned cameo in the great shoutathon, presumably because a cameo is the best Wil Wheaton can hope for these days.

And this great unwashed mass of outrage went to sleep last night and slept like babies, secure in the smug knowledge that they had done good. Of course, the picture that was so broadly painted yesterday didn’t do justice to anyone. Progressive Insurance is not evil and the Internet remains a cesspool of pornography and legal blog posts. Matt Fisher did a pretty solid number on Progressive Insurance; this is true. They’ve taken a great PR hit, and most coverage of the whole affair has quickly moved on from any sort of analysis of the actual claim itself to a much easier consideration of how, and in which ways, Progressive Insurance is royally f**ked.

This is a shame….

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The threat of getting sued for libel or defamation has always hung over the heads of media professionals, now particularly so in the blogging era. The truth is always the clearest, simplest defense when faced with libel claims. But there are other, less direct avenues one can pursue as a defense, if need be.

A lawsuit recently dismissed against Gizmodo shows off one of the more commonly overlooked ways to bolster a defense against defamation. Let’s just say there’s often a reason bloggers like to include all those hyperlinks…

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