Cellphones

Are lawyers and BlackBerry breaking up?

Biglaw used to be the Kingdom of BlackBerry. Every attorney had one. You had to check it every 90 seconds or the world would explode — and you’d get fired.

The last part is still probably true, but many lawyers use other smartphones now. Like iPhones and Droids and technology invented after the Paleolithic era.

The American Lawyer recently published a survey of how far the mighty have fallen. It looks like lawyers have kicked their CrackBerry habit, and moved onto hipper, designer drugs phones….

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Maybe I’m a Luddite for feeling uninterested in letting Instagram know where I took my last photo. Maybe I’m crazy for not geotagging my Facebook updates.

But here’s the thing: your electronic privacy is like handling a bad romantic relationship. If you give yourself away too easily, you might not be surprised if your partner — or in this case, your cell phone carrier — sells your personal information to make money and help other companies sell you more crap.

Case in point: Verizon, which is catching fire from privacy rights advocates for the way it handles (read: sells) its customers’ cellphone data. Amuurica, f**k yeah….

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Along with all the wonders and ease of technology — the world wide web at your fingertips, the ability to send photos of your family vacations from the top of a mountain — there are also some serious accompanying risks. Like the possibility of forgetting to delete a stray picture of your privates and accidentally showing it to a colleague in the middle of a cellphone slideshow of otherwise innocent family and church photos.

Oops.

But that’s what former Philadelphia traffic court judge Willie Singletary did. He resigned several months ago over the blunder, and now he’s been officially called out by the state’s Judicial Discipline Committee…..

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Since we last mentioned the new Above the Law App, sponsored by WestlawNext, more than 3,500 of you have downloaded it. To everyone else, what the heck are you waiting for? Not many things in life are free, but our app is!

With the new app, you can now check Above the Law from anywhere you want. Trapped in a doc review dungeon? Check the ATL app. Bored at a deposition? Check the ATL app. Have no fear, because now you can spend your days reading the pages of Above the Law from the carefree comfort of your own wireless devices without your employer snooping on you.

Download the app today! It’s available here on iTunes and here for Android. Enjoy.

Just as the new iPhone was announced last week, AT&T was making another, significantly less popular announcement. Although Apple will now allow iPhone owners to use FaceTime (a.k.a. the super-futuristic video phone feature) over the cellular network, instead of just WiFi, AT&T will not. Unless, of course, you buy into its new shared-data plan.

But we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it any more!

This morning, Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute announced it would file a complaint with the FCC alleging AT&T has violated net neutrality rules. Let’s see the details of the complaint as well as discuss why AT&T is wrong…

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[UPDATE (9/5/2013, 11:30 p.m.): The charges discussed in this story have been expunged.]

If I may be so bold, I have an idea for a new class to be taught at UVA School of Law. It would be called “Use Your Words,” and it would go over the proper way for lawyers and law students to address police officers.

I’d teach the class at 2:00 a.m. That way the students could get in the habit of addressing people with respect even while they are intoxicated.

They could use the training. A couple of years ago, a UVA law student found herself accused of spitting on the police after a night of drinking (although the charges were ultimately dropped). More recently, a UVA Law alum and DLA Piper partner, Laura Flippin, did use her words about her own intoxication — she just allegedly didn’t use truthful ones, while under oath.

Today, we’ve got another UVA law student who allegedly didn’t use her words with the police; instead, she used her phone. No, not in the way you’re thinking….

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On Friday afternoon, after just under three days of deliberation, the Apple v. Samsung jury came back with a tidy little verdict awarding just over $1 billion to Apple. Meanwhile, Samsung got nothing on its counterclaims.

It was a big win for Apple, and it came surprisingly quickly. As Elie pointed out, it would take many smart people more than three days to even understand all the the terms within the 109 pages of jury instructions. Aside from the jury itself, it seemed no one was ready for the verdict. One attorney for Apple even showed up in a polo shirt.

Let’s have a post-mortem run through of the case (and a quick-and-dirty look at the massive attorneys’ fees incurred by both sides)….

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What. A. Day. Long long ago, in a time before lunch, I again trekked down to San Jose to watch the closing arguments in Patent Super Bowl 2012: Apple v. Samsung. That, and go through the most boring morning of my life, as close to 40 attorneys, dozens of spectators, reporters, and the unseen masses in the overflow room, sat through a reading of 109 pages of jury instructions.

But after lunch, we finally got what we hoped for: four hours of impressive performances from Charles Verhoeven, Bill Lee, and Harold McElhinny. We’ve probably got a year’s worth of Quotes of the Day from this afternoon, but by the end of the day, one phrase, one idea was abundantly clear: “The world is watching.”

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Well, it’s that time. Cue the Gladiator theme. Testimony in Apple v. Samsung is over, and closing statements are tomorrow. Any and all attempts at settlement have failed epically. Assuming I can get a seat, I’ll be down in San Jose watching and tweeeting the proceedings tomorrow. First, let’s take a look at some predictive analysis of how the world could change depending on who wins the jury’s favor.

It’s still anyone’s ball game, so journo-pundits, unleash the hyperbole and high-minded rhetoric!

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Every day it seems the Apple v. Samsung trial couldn’t get any more exciting, but somehow every day, the court proceedings seem to ratchet up the ridiculousness. Samsung has rested its case, and commentators expect closing arguments to happen on Tuesday.

But the trial won’t close out quietly. The vitriol from all sides shows no signs of slowing down — least of all from Judge Lucy Koh, who has quite simply had it up to here with the tech giants’ bickering.

Yesterday she again tried to convince the parties to settle, without much success. Today, the judicial badass inquired as to whether or not counsel was on drugs. Good times!

Can you guess which side received the verbal beating?

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