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When I moved last year from Chicago to London, my morning workout changed along with my postal code: Instead of lifting weights and jogging on alternate days, I now jog every morning, plodding through my lap around Regent’s Park. Either the new exercise regime or my appetite for British food has affected me: Although I hadn’t realized it, I’ve lost a fair amount of weight this past year. (I started at only 5’10″ and maybe 175 lbs; losing 20 pounds wasn’t necessarily a good thing.)

Here’s what I noticed when my wife and I recently visited Chicago: When you’re in your twenties and lose weight, your friends say, “Hey, Mark! You’re looking good!” When you’re in your fifties and lose weight, your friends whisper to your wife: “Pssst: Is Mark okay?”

Anyway, our son, Jeremy (you remember him), recently survived his medical school boards and visited us in London for a while. He joined me for a few of my morning jaunts. I sprinted; he jogged. We both went the same pace.

All of this prompted me to reflect on the differences between the States and the Kingdom. I’ve previously noted that the United States cleans the UK’s clock in a couple of areas, such as dryer and traffic-light technology. But the reverse is also true: The Kingdom beats the States in a couple of noteworthy ways….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The United States v. The United Kingdom”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Noah Messing of Yale Law School — author of the newly released book, The Art of Advocacy: Briefs, Motions, and Writing Strategies of America’s Best Lawyers (affiliate link) — explores how law firms might reassess how they select junior associates.

Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have hired thousands of employees over the last decade by relying on brain teasers such as “Why are manhole covers round?” and “How would you weigh your head?” One psychology professor concluded last year that this sort of “puzzle interview is being used with greater frequency by employers in a variety of industries.” Earlier this week, however, a top human resources executive at Google reported that his company had scrapped the practice, offering the following admission: “brainteasers are a complete waste of time.” Google realized that its tests failed to identify the traits that correlate with success. For instance, Google now seeks managers who are “consistent and fair,” even if they aren’t good at estimating how many golf balls can fit inside a school bus.

Law firms are overdue for a similar reassessment of how they select junior associates. And as a corollary, law students should pay attention to the skills that law firms ask them about.

Let’s start with the employers. Several years ago, I organized a focus group of partners from top-10 Vault firms. I wanted to learn which skills Yale Law should emphasize as we continue to modernize the way that we train our students. The partners (including two corporate attorneys) all said that legal writing was the most important skill for junior associates.

The simplest way to know how candidates write, of course, is to evaluate their writing….

Read more at the ATL Career Center….

Make it rain, law schools!

* With the Supreme Court’s term winding quickly to a close, it’s likely that conservative justices will write for the majority in some of the most closely watched and controversial cases. Uh oh. [Washington Post]

* Judge Edward Korman, the man who slapped around the FDA like it owed him money in a ruling over access to the morning-after pill, is actually a very soft-spoken, kind-hearted fellow. [New York Times]

* Wherein a Chicago Law professor and a Vedder Price partner argue that instead of cutting law school down to two years, financial aid should be given out like candy. Hey, whatever works. [Bloomberg]

* Brooklyn Law’s got a whole lot of drama these days: Their president is stepping down, their dean is apparently still a full-time partner at Patton Boggs, and a law professor is suing over alleged ABA violations. [New York Law Journal]

* That’s not the only New York-area law school awash in scandal. Chen Guangcheng has received the boot from NYU Law due to alleged harm done to the school’s relationship with China. [New York Times]

* When questioned about the need for his school, Indiana Tech’s dean says the lawyer oversupply and lack of jobs don’t matter. It’s about the quality of the graduate. Good luck with that! [Journal Gazette]

* This came too soon (that’s what she said). The alleged porn purveyors at Prenda Law will close up shop thanks to the costly litigation surrounding their copyright trolling. [Law & Disorder / Ars Technica]

* Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hassan won’t be allowed to use a “defense of others” strategy in his murder trial, because not only does it fail as a matter of law, but it’s also ridiculous. [Associated Press]

* Harvard Law grad Cate Edwards, daughter of disgraced pol John Edwards, took a dramatic step away from her father’s tabloid-esque pubic interests by opening her own public interest firm. [WJLA ABC 7]

* Judge Thomas Jackson, well-known for his antitrust ruling against Microsoft, RIP. [New York Times]

“Siri? How do I commit a massive breach of my professional and ethical obligations?”

As previewed in Morning Docket, a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius allegedly patent-trolled a firm client.

I say “allegedly” not to suggest there’s any question over whether the partner owned the trolling company, but because the partner claims he had no involvement in the decision to sue his firm’s most prominent tech client. Even if he didn’t, it hardly sounds kosher.

Whatever his precise role, he might have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that meddling privilege log…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Partner’s Company Patent Trolls Firm Client”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series from Bruce MacEwen and Janet Stanton of Adam Smith Esq. and JDMatch. “Across the Desk” takes a thoughtful look at recruiting, career paths, professional development, human capital, and related issues. Some of these pieces have previously appeared, in slightly different form, on AdamSmithEsq.com.

We humans like to put things in categories.

And while we can get it plain wrong, or mix up two categories benignly or malignly, there’s no question our propensity for categorization — from friend or foe and food to poison, to Linnaeus, to the periodic table, to the Dewey decimal system — has gotten us a long way on the planet so far.

So today we launch our own taxonomy of law firms….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Across the Desk: A Law Firm Taxonomy – Introduction”

If you enjoy streaming movies at home through Netflix or Amazon Prime (or whatever other service you use), get ready to start paying more, because there’s a new technology just dropped off at the patent office that promises to keep you from enjoying movies with a few friends.

If you’re wondering why anyone would let this technology into their home, rest assured thousands will. Even you might, unwittingly.

And who’s to blame for this patent? Wait for it after the jump…

Oh what the hell, it’s totally Microsoft…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How A Tech Giant Proposes To Charge You For Having Friends”

My dear sweet girlfriend Stephanie doesn’t understand sports. To nothing and no one in particular, she will say “How can anyone get upset over the results of a game?” I mentally catalog my responses. That it’s a shared culture and every result arrives like a cascade of memories, connecting fathers and sons and entire families. Place and time all wrapped up and held within a blowout victory or a narrow loss. I get frustrated. I realize that she could never understand this compulsion. I would have better luck explaining what the color blue is. Words fail me as this column attests to on a semi-weekly basis. And my mind instinctively reaches for every illogical thing she does, from the interminably long morning routine to the row of bras, neatly displayed on a table in her living room. Explain the bras, Stephanie! If you’re such a cold, calculating machine, explain the terrifyingly ordered row of bras on the table!

This all happens in the span of fifteen seconds. And at the end of the psychic meltdown, I look over and see Stephanie staring off into space, not caring about sports or even those who care about sports. She doesn’t care about the question or the answer, I realize.

My dear sweet girlfriend Stephanie trolls me on a regular basis.

Let’s talk sports…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Amateur Athletics Is A Sham. Girlfriend Don’t Care.”

* A former general counsel has settled a case with the SEC alleging a slew of backdated options. It was suspicious when all the options were backdated to October 30, 1929. [ABA Journal; The Recorder]

* “If Microsoft Shuts Down Google Maps In Germany, How Does That Benefit The Public?” Um, it makes it harder for them to find Poland! Duh. [TechDirt]

* Senator Ted Cruz is having a rough go of it in the Senate. He’s already been publicly ripped by fellow Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Then he raised the ire of Senator Diane Feinstein, who has exactly zero patience for his crap. [Jezebel]

* Based on the description, HLN is licking its chops. [Craigslist]

* Supreme Court bobbleheads! I’m particularly impressed by Justice Brandeis riding the railroad. [Justices For Sale]

* To get yourself wound up for March Madness, here’s a fictional lawyer bracket from Constitutional Daily. Jack McCoy didn’t even make the field so this won’t be a repeat of the Above the Law winner. [Constitutional Daily]

* Lifting the amazing disappearing cloak over merit scholarships. [TaxProf Blog via National Jurist]

* Lawyer cited as the good guy in a punchline. Hurray! [OMFG Meme]

* Video after the jump of Lindsay Lohan showing up late for court, and getting a surprise gift from the crowd…

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When Rick told Ilsa that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, he was right, because a hill of beans is worth a whole hell of a lot thanks to Monsanto.

Today, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., an appeal from the Federal Circuit regarding the extent of Monsanto’s rights in patented, genetically modified soybean seeds. In addition to the obvious stakes for the agricultural sector, the decision could impact the entire biotechnology industry, as well as computer software and nanotechnology. I mean, I want to know who holds the patent when the grey goo overruns the planet!

So, who are the players and why do they care?

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Thanks to spyware, an FBI dad got a gift-wrapped child porn case.

Like any dad, Joseph Auther was worried about what his son might get up to while exploring the wilds of the World Wide Web. So when his 7th grade son got a school-provided laptop from Whispering Palms School in Saipan in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, Auther decided to install a monitoring program on it. He went with a spyware program called eBlaster from SpectorSoft, a company based in Vero Beach, Florida. Unbeknownst to his son, the program captured his website visits, his keystrokes, and every email, chat, and instant message he sent and received. This was all delivered up to his dad in emails, while giving the monitored person no hint that it was doing so.

Auther has a special appreciation for the benefits of surveillance. He’s an FBI special agent. In April, he discovered he was being transferred to the FBI office in Denver. At the end of the school year, Auther let Whispering Palms principal Thomas Weindl know that his family was moving and that they would be returning the school’s laptop. Weindl, 67, was actually a friend of the Auther family; when he got married earlier that year, Auther’s wife gave a reading at the ceremony. Auther told Weindl that he would return the laptop after he removed all of his son’s files, programs, and games.

Auther first took the laptop to his FBI office and asked his colleagues how to wipe it clean. Apparently they don’t have many cyber experts in the Mariana Islands, because they were unsuccessful. So Auther had to instead take it to a computer repair shop, which cleaned out the old files and allegedly re-imaged the hard drive to return it to its original settings. Auther didn’t tell the shop about eBlaster being on the computer — perhaps feeling a little Big Parent shame — but assumed that it would be wiped along with everything else. He then returned the computer to Weindl….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “FBI Dad Finds Handy Fourth Amendment Workaround to Bust School Principal for Child Porn”

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