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When I signed on to write full-time for Above the Law, I thought that I might be able to make some of our readers and commenters see the sunnier side of things at lower-ranked law schools. I had a very positive experience, and I don’t have very many regrets about the school I chose to attend.

But sometimes lower-ranked law schools do things that make even me cringe.

News came to us that the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law has created what the school is calling an Illustrated Law Journal. UDC Law’s new journal aspires to provide visual illustrations of laws and legal concepts so that laypeople and jurists can get a handle on the law in the world around them.

In other words: “Hey John Q. Public, you’re pretty dumb, here’s a comic book about law.”

When about 95% of the legal profession is centered around the written word, why do we need a coloring book law journal?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hey, Fourth Tier: We Do Not Need Coloring Book Law Journals”

For attorneys, missing deadlines is a big no-no. BIG no-no. A Goodyear blimp-sized no-no. People have literally died because of blown deadlines. Cases worth millions of dollars get tossed out because of missed deadlines, even if someone has a decent excuse.

That being so, I do not envy the lawyer who had to tell his client that the 4th Circuit shut down their lawsuit because he didn’t know how to use his Microsoft calendar.

More about the difference between “excusable neglect” and this run-of-the-mill bonehead mistakes after the jump…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How to Lose a Case With Simple Computer Cluelessness”

Benesch Apportunity

Law firm marketing and technology don’t always go well together. When firms try to go high-tech, the results are often mortifyingly cheesy.

To avoid humiliation, many law firms — often culturally conservative, risk-averse institutions — play it safe. But caution can also result in some of the worst law-firm websites, ones that get compared to “a seventh-grade history project” or “[s]imply a brochure placed online.”

Sometimes, however, a law firm gets tech right. Check out the new iPhone / iPad app developed by the Benesch law firm, the subject of a nice write-up in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Morning Docket).

What does the app, called “Benesch Apportunity,” actually do? And might other law firms want to implement similar apps?

Let’s learn more….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Finding a Legal Job? There’s an App for That”


Last month, we announced our exciting Legal Technology Leadership Summit, which we’re hosting in partnership with the Electronic Discovery Institute and the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery (ASDFED).

We are pleased to announce TCDI and Planet Data as VIP Ambassadors of the event. We also continue to add great speakers to the panels, including Nishan DeSilva of Microsoft, Ronke Ekwensi of Pfizer, Paul Meyer of Towers Watson, and Demetrius Rush of Zurich N.A.

Space is limited, so please sign up now to attend.

Legal Technology Leadership Summit

Earlier: For Legal Technology, Above the Law Needs An Entire Summit

Did you watch Lost? I was a big fan of the show, which ran on ABC from 2004 to 2010. The series required quite a commitment from its viewers, since it had a large ensemble cast and was a true serial — you really couldn’t miss any episodes. After the third season, the producers made the unusual announcement that the series would definitely conclude at the end of the sixth season. Since so many elements of the show remained a mystery until the very end, it became a guessing game as to whether the writers would be able to tie everything together into a satisfying ending.

Toward the end of the final season, the show revealed a location that we’d never seen before that was crucial to explaining the Island’s secrets. (I’m not giving anything away here if you haven’t seen it.) But the location, a glowing cave, was rendered with cheesy special effects that looked like they’d been borrowed from the original 1960s “Star Trek” series. The bad effects were so jarring that they took the viewer out of the story, causing you to say, “What’s with the cheeseball special effects?”

What the heck does this have to do with improving your legal writing? Find out after the jump.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: The ‘Lost’ Art of Hyphens”

I graduated from Northwestern Law in 2009. It is now 2011, my loans are coming due (real due — not the fake, put ‘em in forebearance, due of yesteryear), and I am currently “employed” doing two things: reviewing documents at an embarrassing hourly wage on projects that start and stop without any sort of consistency, and writing “jokes” about the Microsoft Zune every weekday morning, every other week. To borrow from David Foster Wallace, this is water.

And so it is with a sick sort of pleasure that I read Professor Paul Campos’s very interesting piece on The New Republic website yesterday. Coupled with Elie’s post on the Biglaw bloodletting, the article tells me what I’ve wanted to know and, in fact, what I’ve been telling my mom for two years now. Namely, that MJ was right. I am not alone.

What is the true state of unemployment for law school graduates? Professor Campos has crunched some numbers….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Schools Lie Like A Dog… Or A Rug. A Dog On A Rug.”

Isn’t it annoying when the YouTube video you’re watching just stops loading right in the middle? Or when your Skype connection suddenly starts sucking in the middle of a video conversation?

Well, it turns out that in Europe, sometimes stuff like that doesn’t happen accidentally. Internet Service Providers intentionally “throttle” certain kinds of web traffic.

The European Union is sick of this. On Tuesday, the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda threatened new legislation and public humiliation for companies that don’t allow consumers easy access to a free and open Internet. That’s right, kids; the net neutrality debate is hot in Europe, too….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Just Like Us, Europe Isn’t Sure How to Handle Net Neutrality”

* Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tapped the brakes on the Insane Train yesterday, vetoing one measure that would allow guns at schools and another that would require presidential candidates to prove they weren’t Kenyan immigrants hellbent on the destruction of Lee Greenwood. [TucsonSentinel.com]

* Microsoft went before the Supreme Court yesterday to argue that patents should be easier to challenge. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking the Microsoft attorney how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [Reuters]

* Customer accounts have been frozen following the indictment of online poker companies. Bloomberg decided this was the perfect time to upload their stock poker photo, featuring the caption “A royal flush, circa 1950.” [Bloomberg]

* And here’s a rundown of the potential attorneys and firms who will work the defense side in said p-p-p-poker case. [Am Law Daily]

* The Taco Bell soylent beef lawsuit was dropped yesterday. Posting will be light today while Elie makes a run for the border. [NPR]

* Yo, Mr. Dopeman, you think you’re slick. You sold crack to my sister and now she’s sick. But if she happens to die because of your drug, federal judges will have a difficult time sentencing you. Oof, that N.W.A. lyric took a weird turn, didn’t it? [New York Times]

* The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by five Uyghurs being detained in Guantanamo Bay. On a related note, I just wasted a good ten minutes listening to this pronunciation of Uyghur. [CNN]

* Match.com will begin cross-checking users against sex offender registries after being sued. Whatever, juggalove.com is more my speed anyway. [WSJ Law Blog]

Raj Rajaratnam

* Raj Rajaratnam’s got a cute insider trading friend named Octopussy. Maybe he’s been doing some other insider trading, if you know what I mean. [Bloomberg]

* Florida redefines “beating it.” It may be time to reconsider things if you’re paying $2.99 to watch a hate crime with your pants off. Come on, at least look into some free porn. [Washington Post]

* Speaking of beating it, here’s a memo to file for John Branca from Katherine Jackson: she doesn’t wanna see your face, you better disappear. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Listen, Frank, Bingham might be trying to “defend conduct that is indefensible,” but you were thinking about trading Chad Billingsley. Give me a break. [NBC Sports]

* Google v. Government. The DOJ isn’t buying what Google’s selling because Microsoft is a little bit less evil, and a little bit more FISMA compliant. [Los Angeles Times]

* Nothing says corporate equality for women lawyers like a picture of a woman in a fugly suit trapped inside of a dog cage. [The Careerist]

I was explaining to new Above the Law helper Natasha Lydon how things work in the ATL, and I said: “Basically, from now until finals, we’ll be able to run a ‘stupid law student story’ every day. The kids are stressed, and it’s starting to show.” On cue, I received an email from a law student tipster, with the following subject heading: “Bozo the Clown.” Hilarity ensued.

Above the Law has a long and proud history of documenting the thievery of law students. Who can forget the Tulane Law student who stole a piece of Americana, a shoe worn by Mr. Rogers, from the Louisiana Children’s Museum? Going even further back, there was the Michigan Law student who liked to go around stealing other people’s sandwiches.

Today we’re going to add to that tradition by telling you about the apparent theft — or liberation, depending on how you look at it — of Bozo the Law Library Clown…

UPDATE: Bozo has been found! Read more below…

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