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Austrian law student and founder of the websit...

Max Schrems, a 24-year-old law student from Austria, has become one of Facebook's fiercest critics.

While most law students are shaking off the winter break and settling back in for the second semester, Max Schrems is busy doing his best to bring Facebook to its knees.

Last year, the 24-year-old University of Vienna law student spent a semester abroad at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. His privacy law professor there, Dorothy Glancy, invited a privacy lawyer from Facebook to be eaten alive by speak to the class. Schrems was shocked by the lawyer’s limited grasp of the severity of European data protection laws, and decided to write his final paper for the class on how Facebook was flunking privacy in Europe.

In the course of his research, he discovered that Facebook’s dossiers on individual users are hundreds of pages long, and include information users thought had been deleted. When he returned to Austria last summer, he formed an activist group called Europe v. Facebook (to legitimize his campaign and make it seem like more than just one law student), filed dozens of complaints in Europe about Facebook’s data practices, and publicized his findings online, leading to widespread media attention, a probe by a European privacy regulator, and questions from Congress.

On Monday, Facebook’s European director of policy (and former MP) Richard Allan and another California-based Facebook exec flew to Vienna to meet with Schrems for a whopping six hours to discuss his concerns.

Continue reading at Forbes.com….

The battle between educational institutions and loudmouth students who fight for the right to say dumb things is a rich area of recent American history. A student says something inflammatory. The school suspends/fails/disciplines the student. The student sues, and everyone has a big First Amendment debate party.

Usually, I have a lot of sympathy for the schools. Teenagers are, how do I say this, dumb. They think they know everything, and that somehow it’s of cosmic importance that they are allowed to proclaim their love for illegal drugs on campus.

But I cannot abide when schools become the fun police. The University of Minnesota currently falls under this category. In a case that will be heard today by the Minnesota Supreme Court, a mortuary sciences student is fighting to overturn ridiculous penalties levied against her for a couple of (seriously) harmless jokes made on Facebook.

Some commentators are worried about broader implications the case will have on the power colleges have over their students. I’m more upset about the fact that the University of Minnesota can’t take a joke….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The University of Minnesota Is the Facebook Fun Police”

History is littered with examples of Aussies sticking it to the Brits: from early convict rebellions to the time Rupert Murdoch bought our favourite tabloid newspaper, The Sun, and had a photo of a topless woman placed on its inside page each day — a tradition that continues to this day (semi-NSFW link).

Last week they were at it again when Australian law firm Slater & Gordon used some of the millions generated from its 2007 public listing — the first ever for a law firm — to snap up the large British personal injury firm Russell Jones & Walker (RJW), in an unprecedented £54m ($85 million) cash and shares deal. Once again, the people of the U.K. were left shaking their heads.

Of course, we should have seen it coming. British lawyers have been talking about the deregulatory provisions of the U.K. Legal Services Act (LSA) for years now. And it’s not as if we haven’t been watching the rapid growth of Slater & Gordon — where turnover, staff numbers and office locations have nearly tripled since the firm responded to Australia’s enactment of a similar law by going public — with eyebrow-raised interest from afar.

For some reason, though, we failed to put the two together….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: U.K. Law Firms Set to Cash in Facebook-style”


It’s always tempting to call people like the guy in this story the stupidest (alleged) criminal ever. But, somehow, the bar for getting arrested via internet idiocy keeps getting set lower and lower.

In the modern era, it seems that thieves and would-be murderers can’t help but gloat about their illicit activities online.

But until today, I’ve never heard of a wanted man posting on his local sheriff’s Facebook wall, commenting on a story about the fact that police were looking for him.

Wait, did I say commenting? This dude started a whole thread. You can’t make this stuff up….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “He Trolled the Law, and the Law Won”

* How many friend requests did these firms just get? Fenwick & West and Simpson Thacher are the Biglaw stars of Facebook’s S-1 filing for its $5B initial public offering. Like. [Am Law Daily]

* The prosecution is expected to make its arguments today in Julian Assange’s appeal of his extradition from the U.K. to Sweden. Hope it won’t affect his role on The Simpsons. [CNN]

* Adventures in fourth-tier second-tier law school marketing: go to the University of Dayton School of Law, take a tour, and get your first-year textbooks for free. Mmm, the sweet smell of bribery. [National Law Journal]

* The little hybrid that could: Heather Peters, the former lawyer who decided to sue Honda in small claims court, has won her case. Maybe she should reconsider her career options? [Los Angeles Times]

* Looking for a way to shield your assets during a wrongful death suit? Just adopt your adult girlfriend. It has “nothing to do with the lawsuit” — dude just wants to bang his daughter. No big deal. [Palm Beach Post]

* Unpaid internships are so last season. A former intern for fashion mag Harper’s Bazaar wants class action certification for a lawsuit claiming that her free labor violated wage and hour laws. [New York Times]

Snooki and J-WOWW

* Florida: a place where people don’t care about your income tax returns. Mitt Romney dominated the state’s primary, grabbing all 50 of the delegates needed for the Republican nomination. [New York Times]

* Entry-level hiring might be down, but lateral hiring is being approached like an NFL draft. Biglaw firms want the best of the best, and if they have to poach partners to get what they want, they will. [Wall Street Journal]

* In the wake of scandal, Edwards Wildman has named a new managing partner. Robert Shuftan will take up the position tomorrow, and he’ll get first dibs on all of the partners’ wives. [Boston Business Journal]

* Paul Ceglia was ordered to pay Facebook’s legal fees, and now he’s crying over Gibson Dunn’s Biglaw price tag. Instead, he wants to pay podunk fees for his podunk town. [Bloomberg]

* Some cities in New Jersey don’t like pollution — they want to keep the trash down the shore. Hoboken’s mayor has denied MTV’s film permit request for Snooki and J-WOWW’s spinoff show. [New York Post]

You realize your kids won't even learn how to do this.

Given the tough job market, law students are doing everything they can to get a leg up on the competition. Whether that means showing up with freshly baked cookies before the interviews, or pumping out handwritten thank you notes after they meet people, students are going to the mattresses.

I’m serious about the cookies and notes. I had a person ask me if she should bring cookies to her interview (to which I said, “I think they’ll be more eager to receive their blow jobs…. you realize I’m joking, right? Do not bring cookies or blow people in interviews.”) For thank you notes, even some career service professionals suggest handing them out. Because nothing says “I’m desperate to have one more second of your attention before you throw this away” like a thank you card.

But why should a law student hand-write his own handwritten thank you card? This is American legal education in 2012, baby. Surely, there is a law student out there who is just desperate enough to write another law student’s thank you cards. At least that’s what one student at a top law school was hoping….

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The great thing about free stuff is that it is free. Nobody cares what kind of plastic junk they’re getting as long as it’s free. Why do sports fans go nuts over t-shirt cannons, even though the shirts are ugly as hell and always XXL? Duh, because they’re free.

To me, it seems logical that no one has any right to complain when free stuff is taken away, or when it turns out to be a major letdown.

If you want a crummy T-shirt so badly, go buy one. If you want to go to Starbucks, don’t complain that your aunt Maggie didn’t give you a big enough gift card for Christmas. Just go buy your coffee.

Judging from a recent LexisNexis online promotion geared toward law students, though, it seems I might be in the minority. On its Facebook page, Lexis has been advertising “challenges” for law students. Supposedly, the first 1,000 students to complete each challenge win 1,000 “Lexis points,” which are similar to credit card rewards points.

Tragically, some computer problems caused students to have trouble accessing and submitting their answers earlier this week. A tidal wave of law school students became enraged and took to Lexis’s Facebook with their fury. Woe to he who angers law students….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Students Go Insane Over LexisNexis’s Online Promotion”

* Landmark case alert. This just in from SCOTUS: the separation of church and state even applies to employment discrimination lawsuits. Say hello to the “ministerial exception.” [New York Times]

* Paul Ceglia was fined for ignoring a discovery order. He also has to reimburse Facebook for all of its related, Biglaw legal fees. Here’s looking forward to Ceglia’s bankruptcy filing. [Bloomberg]

* “[D]emand for lawyers is declining,” but we definitely need another law school in Texas. A federal judge quit his job to become the dean of the ten millionth law school in the state. [National Law Journal]

* Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to the murder of Stephany Flores yesterday, but we know what most Americans are thinking. WHERE’S THE JUSTICE FOR NATALEE HOLLOWAY?!!?!?!?!! [CNN]

* Proof that Casey Anthony isn’t mentally ill: she’s been thinking of kicking Jose Baez’s limelight-loving, camera-hogging ass to the curb. Time for Cheney Mason’s takeover. [New York Post]

* Lindsay Lohan is being sued for allegedly running over a paparazzo. But really, she should be sued for thinking she can play Elizabeth Taylor. Come on, that’s just not right. [Hollywood Reporter]

Thoreau admonished us that we cannot “kill time without injuring eternity.” But what did he know? That proto-hippie pond-fetishist could not have imagined today’s world, where our collective attention spans have shriveled to goldfish levels and so much actual productive white-collar labor can be, to an observer, indistinguishable from simply loitering in front of a computer screen. Unless someone is looking over your shoulder, nobody knows whether you’re on PACER or playing Angry Birds.

We asked you, the ATL readership, where you turn for distraction when you don’t feel like billing or studying. The results of our research poll, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ways and Means of Mass Distraction”

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