The psychological term for it is The Online Disinhibition Effect, a condition brought on by the interlocking effects of dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority. This is the condition that leads people otherwise aware of proper social and professional behavior to go off the rails and say things they would know not to broadcast publicly if the world could easily identify them.
That’s what happened to a self-identified judge who routinely posted under a pseudonym on a popular college sports board.
And now it looks like we’ve cracked the code and figured out who this judge is, and if we’re right, he’s a rising star. Or he was a rising star, before this….
(It turns out that we’re right. Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.)
So federal judges should be keenly interested in the insights of young legal minds — especially minds being cultivated at the Yale Law School, the nation’s #1 law school (according to both the U.S. News rankings and the Above the Law rankings). Right?
Well, just because a judge wants your advice as a law clerk doesn’t mean he wants to hear from you as an expert witness. A current Yale law student recently learned this lesson the hard way….
I showered maybe two times after gym class in middle school. And both times, I was wearing underwear. Looking back, I still don’t understand why the school couldn’t shell out just a few more ducats and construct private shower stalls. Why do schools choose to introduce communal showering right at the time that we are learning that our bodies are horrible monsters that we are rightfully ashamed of? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to that question. At my middle school, there were two kids who stood sentry at the shower room entrance, judging the size of each kid’s equipment. Can you imagine, dear reader, the horror of that experience? Perhaps you can. And perhaps you can imagine why my Hanes remained safely affixed to my inguinal region as I scampered, eyes fixed on the cement floor, surely to meet my death. If I could just run under the sprinkler, I could retreat to my locker where someone somewhere surely had some of that spray deodorant. Christ almighty, friends. Why do we still embrace the communal shower? I WAS A CHILD!!!!!!!
This week, a lobbyist caught the vapors much like I had as a child. Only this lobbyist is an adult. Presumably. Because I still haven’t gotten over middle school and because I don’t want to write about anything else, let’s talk about one issue this week. Let’s talk football. Let’s talk gay paranoia.
* Of course there’s a gender pay gap in Biglaw, but none of the firms are going to tell you about it. We’ll be discussing the results of the annual National Association of Women Lawyers survey later today. [ABA Journal]
* In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Texas struck down its ban on gay marriage, but stayed the ruling pending appeal. Seriously, of all places, this happened in Texas. Yeehaw! Ride ‘em, cowboys! [New York Times]
* New Mexico Law didn’t like what it found after auditing its SBA’s off-campus bank account. FYI: the SBA apparently isn’t supposed to spend money on bars, liquor, and restaurants. Who knew? [Albequerque Journal]
* “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s peculiar behavior.” Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, is changing his tune about his former flame as their appeal date gets closer and closer. [CNN]
A week ago, someone called me out on Twitter for a perceived grammatical error in one of my posts. That person told me to “get it together.” I corrected that person on the rule, but my would-be grammar adviser didn’t like it one bit. That person responded in true ATL commenter style by retorting, “Maybe that [rule] will help you pass the bar exam.”
That person was another woman. I reminded her that she’d been using her real name while making her snide remarks, and she immediately deleted her Twitter account. She’d apparently forgotten that she wasn’t using her anonymous commenting handle, and didn’t want to be associated with what she’d said.
Perhaps that’s why our commenters feel like they have free rein to say whatever they want, no matter how racist, how sexist, or how anti-gay it may be — they can disclaim ownership, because in the majority of cases, they’re not using their real names. It’s much easier for lawyers and law students to be vile when they don’t have to associate themselves with what their online personalities have said in real life.
That said, it’s difficult being a minority online, whether that word is used to describe race, gender, or sexual orientation. If you’re interested in learning how to engage your commenters, you should attend Above the Law’s inaugural Attorney@Blog conference, where I will moderate a panel on racism, sexism, and homophobia in online commenting platforms, featuring the following distinguished panelists:
Vivia Chen, chief blogger at The Careerist, who has been covering law and business — with a focus on career and women — for more than 10 years;
This panel will explore the various strategies and best practices (along with their intellectual underpinnings) available to legal bloggers in managing the dark side of the internet: the “trolls” who engage in offensive and hateful (albeit protected) speech.
For more information and for tickets to the conference, please click here. Up to six ethics CLE credits will be available. We look forward to seeing you on March 14.
* Were you curious about who would be on the Mount Rushmore of Tax Law professors? No? Well, here they are anyway. [TaxProf Blog]
* The so-called “trial penalty” is really a myth and empirical data confirms that defendants who reject plea deals and go to trial actually garner a “trial discount.” Yep, prosecutors aren’t overreaching at all. [PrawfsBlawg]
* President Obama called for patent law reform in the State of the Union address. Now we have some insight into what he’s thinking about. [Patently-O]
* Congratulations to Matthew Skinner, the next executive director of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York! [LeGal]
Bad behavior like this is usually on the part of the lawyers themselves, not their clients. But maybe the clients have decided to take some cues from their lawyers. In Texas, clients now think it’s cool to threaten to anally rape testifying deponents, question lawyers’ sexual orientation, threaten to fight them on the record, and show up to videotaped depositions wearing t-shirts emblazoned with multiple f-bombs.
We always knew that things could get a little wild during depositions, but not this wild….
* As if law schools aren’t charging enough, they also absolutely ravage students on casebook prices. It doesn’t have to be this way. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Who’d have thought it would be this hard to define a pig? [Modern Farmer]
* If you aren’t following DLA Piper’s boss Sir Nigel Knowles on Twitter, then… you’re lucky. [Legal Cheek]
* The vice president of the Constitutional Accountability Center weighs in on Judge Wright Allen’s marriage equality decision from the perspective of a gay, married Virginian. [Pilot Online]
* See, it’s not just lawyers who get annoyed when TV doesn’t live up to the realities of the profession. Political communications professionals can get pretty irked by House of Cards. [Ditto Public Affairs]
* A circuit judge just seized control of a lower court’s docket, setting restrictions on a judge’s ability to hear domestic violence cases after finding a repeated pattern of improperly blowing off these matters. It may be the Benchslap-Heard-Round-the-Nation since the slapped jurist is also the president-elect of the American Judges Association. [Detroit Free Press]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.