Patents

Biglaw associates are used to the “black hole” effect when it comes to their assignments. Sure the work is important and valuable, but because of the disconnect between a typical Biglaw attorney and an actual client, it can feel like any given assignment is destined for a “black hole,” rather than serving as a building block for solving a client’s problem. The further removed the lawyer is from the client, the more pronounced the effect. It can be a morale drainer, especially if it looks like the lawyer will never get the chance to work directly with a client on a matter of significance.

Working at a boutique or smaller firm, where there is more direct client contact by necessity, presents a different challenge to a lawyer’s motivation than the “black hole” effect. Because at a smaller firm, or even for partners in Biglaw firm lucky enough to make the adjustment from service partner to a true “counselor,” the lawyer in close contact with a client must confront the inherent limits in the attorney-client relationship. Yes, it can be much more rewarding to have a practice where you feel like you are partnering with your client to get things done. But it becomes all the more frustrating when you give advice, even good advice, that goes unheeded by that same client….

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We’ve seen this many times before, how patents can hold back very useful developments. Notice how 3D printing is suddenly a big thing? It’s not because of any new miraculous breakthroughs, but because some key patents finally started expiring, allowing real innovation to move forward. We saw something similar in the field of infrared grills, which were put on the… uh… back burner (sorry) until key patents expired. Derek now points us to a similar example.

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* In case you missed this piece of news amid yesterday’s Supreme Court madness, the Tenth Circuit found Utah’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. It’s the first federal appeals court to make such a ruling. Hooray! [New York Times]

* “Just about everyone he came in contact with, he managed to corrupt.” Paul Daugerdas, formerly of Jenkins & Gilchrist, was sentenced to 15 years for his role in an $8B fraud scheme. [Businessweek]

* Despite what you may have been led to believe, not all patent awards are as high as those you see in media headlines. Fewer than 2% of infringement cases even result in damages. [National Law Journal]

* When is it okay to turn down a Biglaw offer and head to a plaintiffs firm? Probably when you’re planning to file a massive class-action suit against the MLB on behalf of minor leaguers. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* William Mitchell Law’s new J.D. program is the first of its kind to be approved by the ABA. It’s half online, half on-site (does 9 times count as half?), and we see more like this coming down the line. [U.S. News]

‘Would you like fries with that, Your Honor?’

* With OT 2013 drawing to a close, here’s a nifty chart that shows which Supreme Court justices vote together most and least often. The division is real, people. [The Upshot / New York Times]

* “Not only do they have unique interpretations of the Constitution but they can’t even agree on how to pronounce words.” Listen to our SCOTUS justices flub the word “certiorari.” [Legal Times]

* Quinn Emanuel and Samsung must now pay more than $2M in sanctions to Nokia and Apple after leaking confidential, “attorneys’ eyes only” information in a discovery blunder. Oopsie! [Legal Week]

* “Why can’t you get a real job?” This judge — the same one who sentenced a rapist to just 30 days in prison — told a fast-food worker to get a better job to pay off his restitution more quickly. [Billings Gazette]

* If you think you’ve seen the best of the “Law and ______” classes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Say hello to some newcomers, like Video Game Law and Law of Robots. Justice Scalia is pissed. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The intellectual property history of dog leashes. How long is a patent in dog years? [Slate]

* Trinity Western University, the new law school that bans gay people, just earned a thumbs down vote from thousands of area lawyers objecting to its accreditation. [CBC]

* 10 real-life laws that regulate the supernatural world. [io9]

* There’s a new bill of rights in this country and it comes from the IRS. The right to basically avoid taxes is only on the form for rich people. [TaxProf Blog]

* Mass incarceration in this country degrades citizenship. Sadly, this statement needed to be made. [Boston Review]

* After receiving an award, a young lawyer blasts legal aid cuts. [Legal Cheek]

* The Daily Show examines the ongoing effort to unionize college football with commentary by Dee Dee Benkie. She’s wrong of course — college football unions would work like professional sports unions representing players who face exactly the same workplace hazards, instead of stereotypical longshoremen — but it’s good to see even an anti-union advocate agreeing that players deserve something more than what they currently get. Video below…. [The Daily Show]

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Since Lat tweeted this past weekend about my UpCounsel profile, I thought I would share some thoughts about my experience with the service to date. First off, compared to leaving a Biglaw partnership to open a new firm, trying out a new legal platform was easy. I first heard about UpCounsel from a former in-house client who had struck out on his own. He happens to now be back in-house, but at the time we discussed UpCounsel, he was very enthusiastic about his experience using the site. Since I happen to like trying out new things, signing up once I left Biglaw was an easy decision.

Notice how I did not join UpCounsel while a Biglaw partner. Such things are simply not done. For all of Biglaw’s talk about encouraging partners to be “entrepreneurial” or to “try new marketing ideas,” there is a lot of resistance to using “new ways” to reach potential new clients. Couple that inertia with a general distaste towards marketing individual lawyers at the expense of “firm branding” (aside from a select group of key current rainmakers), and platforms like UpCounsel face a Tough Mudder-level set of obstacles to overcome if they want to break into the Biglaw firm marketing rotation. But I don’t think UpCounsel and their “evolution of legal services”-oriented kin want to….

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Johnny Manziel (By: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)

* Sad day for Jonathan Lee Riches. His lawsuit over Johnny Manziel’s penis has been thrown out of court. [Black Sports Online]

* Hot on the heels of yesterday’s item about SCOTUS porn parties, Professor Tribe guest blogs about his new book (affiliate link) and coercion, bribery, and influence. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Former Brooklyn DA and aspiring TV star Charles Hynes is staring down larceny accusations. [Gothamist]

* Texas basically assigns a cop to actively discourage investigate indigent parties seeking assigned counsel. [Socialist Gumshoe]

* The Supreme Court doesn’t like talking about patents — its opinions on the subject are getting shorter and shorter. [Patently-O]

* A lawyer is in hot water for allowing underaged drinking at a post prom party. The point was to keep the kids from driving. But no good deed goes unpunished. [Turn to 10]

* An interesting profile of one of my favorite professors, Ken Feinberg, labeling him “the lawyer who decides what a life is worth.” Yikes. [KDVR]

* The business strategy of just telling clients what they want to hear deflates. [Dealbreaker]

* Who says no one reads law reviews? The porn industry does and they really like this student Note. [XBiz]

* This is why we can’t have nice things. Second Circuit explains that if a revolving door agency of sycophants says it’s OK, it’s OK. Full opinion below…. [New York Times]

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Maiko Maya King

* The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been operating without a director for almost a year and a half, and Sen. Orrin Hatch is calling it “inexcusable.” Here’s his politely pissed off letter to President Barack Obama. [Corporate Counsel]

* The chief judge of Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit Court wants you to know Judge John “I’ll Just Beat Your Ass” Murphy’s behavior “in no way reflects the typical manner that courtrooms are managed … in this circuit.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Weed has been legal and free flowing in Colorado for months, but now the state is starting to see its dark side. It seems morons who get too high are accidentally killing themselves and others. [New York Times]

* InfiLaw’s bid to purchase Charleston Law reached the pages of the NYT, with a shout-out to one “scrappy website” that referred to the company by its one true name: “diploma mill.” [DealBook / New York Times]

* “Why would you bring black people into the world?” An ex-lover/employee of Donald Sterling is suing him for racial and sexual harassment over lovely comments like this. She’s repped by Gloria Allred. [CNN]

* In sad news, Judge Harold Baer Jr. died last night. A giant of the Southern District of New York, Judge Baer will be remembered for his sound judicial temperament and his biting wit. [New York Law Journal]

* Paris Hilton hit with $2 million lawsuit for breaching a footwear deal. Does anyone still care enough about Paris Hilton to sign her to multi-million dollar sponsorship deals? [Radar Online]

* Kamala Harris may have a bright future, but her present has some issues. She started a task force to go after foreclosure consultant fraud and managed to pursue only 10 cases, fewer than her colleagues in other states despite California’s foreclosure crisis. Part of having a prestigious job is actually doing it. [East Bay Express]

* A Texas woman has filed suit claiming she was forced to give birth in solitary confinement, begging for — and not receiving — medical care. The baby died. But, hey, the baby came out of her, so it’s not a problem whether it lives any more in conservative Texas. [Feministing]

* Judge allows Bank of America to continue foreclosing on the home of Burt Reynolds. And somewhere Alex Trebek smiles. [WPEC]

* More on the female brain drain at law firms and how to fix it. [She Negotiates]

* 5 awesome charts that prove that patent litigation is officially out of hand. [Vox]

* Ray Rice’s lawyer offers a hypothetical of the videotaped altercation between Rice and his now-wife. This is why lawyers shouldn’t use hypotheticals. [Sports World News]

* Is there really a “third way” when it comes to Net Neutrality? This article makes a good case for rules allowing providers to take reasonable actions to address the different needs of Skype vs. email. [The Hill]

* Law firms are starting to think like media companies. Next thing you know, Biglaw will be all Hollywood. Video after the jump…. [Mimesis Law]

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Mahbod Moghadam, formerly of Rap Genius

* Supreme Court justices are “basically rewriting the law,” sometimes years after the fact. As it turns out they’ve been quietly “changing the wording of opinions” — sometimes, even our legal idols make mistakes. [New York Times]

* Many law school deans at leading law schools are pretty pissed off about Justice Antonin Scalia’s latest criticisms of the legal academy. Please, continue taking “Law and Unicorns.” It’s a real class, we promise! [National Law Journal]

* Judge Randall Rader, who recently resigned as the Federal Circuit’s chief judge, released a memo to his colleagues apologizing for his scandalous recusals in a pair of patent cases. Poor guy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Peter Alexander, Indiana Tech Law’s dean, has resigned less than a year after opening the school’s doors. The school’s interim dean doesn’t use capital letters in his name. That’s cute. [Journal Gazette]

* Très, très déclassé: Mahbod Moghadam, formerly of Dewey & LeBoeuf, was fired from Rap Genius after he inappropriately annotated suspected Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodgers’s manifesto. [Re/code]

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