I have said time and time again that electronic privacy is, at best, quickly slipping out of existence, and at worst, already an illusion. That might be overly cynical, but it makes life easier if you can expect that whatever information you post online could realistically, unexpectedly, and embarrassingly, be published and seen by many people. Same goes for your personal consumer information. Advertisers figure out your consumer preferences, the music you like, the food you eat, etc. and so on.
That said, at least some public officials are not yet ready to let privacy fade quietly into the night. The Attorney General of California has created a new organization — a start-up, if you will — specifically to protect individual citizens from “those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others.” Ooh, methinks that ain’t a bad idea…
It’s been quite a while since we checked in on the ongoing military prosecution of Private Bradley Manning, the United States serviceman accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential documents to Wikileaks.
This week, as the court-martial is still crawling forward, Manning’s attorneys raised the point that it will be pretty hard (read: freaking impossible) to find a military jury that isn’t seriously familiar with his case.
That isn’t totally surprising. When you are the face of the biggest leak of classified information an American history, it’s going to be hard to find “peers” who don’t know who you are or what you’ve allegedly done. So what are you gonna do about it?
Sometimes attorneys are desperate to find a way out of the legal profession. Sometimes that desperation will lead them down a strange road to an entirely new career — and not just a new career, but a new way of life.
Meet Erika Frick, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School. After graduating from HLS, Frick worked for the antitrust division of the Department of Justice and for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. But if you’re a member of the pickup artist community, you know Frick better as Erika Awakening, a New Age life coach and self-proclaimed guru of the seduction community. How frickin’ fabulous is that?
What would cause a Harvard-educated attorney on a rather prestigious career track to turn her focus to the Law of Attraction? Let’s find out….
Ed. note: Your Above the Law editors are busy celebrating their freedom today (and we hope that you are, too). We will return to our regular publication schedule on Thursday, July 5.
* At this point, the Supreme Court’s dramatic deliberations on the Affordable Care Act are like a leaking sieve. Now we’ve got dueling narratives on Chief Justice Roberts’s behind-the-scenes flip-flopping. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Life, liberty, and the pursuit of fabulosity! The Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to grant cert on two DOMA cases, contending that Section 3 of the statute is unconstitutional. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]
* A famous fabulist: according to California’s State Bar, disgraced journalist Stephen Glass is a “pervasive and documented liar,” but that’s not stopping him from trying to get his license to practice law. [Los Angeles Times]
* Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue pilot who had an epic mid-flight nutty and started ranting about religion and terrorists, was found not guilty by reason of insanity by a federal judge during a bench trial. [New York Post]
* After a month of bizarre legal filings, Charles Carreon has dropped his lawsuit against Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. We’re hoping that there will be an awesome victory cartoon drawn up soon. [Digital Life / Today]
* Northwestern Law is the only American law school to have joined a 17-member global justice league geared toward legal teaching and research collaborations. But do they get cool costumes? [National Law Journal]
* UNC Law received two charitable gifts totaling $2.7M that will be used to fund tuition scholarships for current and future students. Maybe their students won’t have to create tuition donation sites anymore. [Herald-Sun]
* This law is for the birds (literally and figuratively). California’s ban on the sale of foie gras had only been in effect for one day before the first lawsuit was filed to overturn it as unconstitutional. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce recently announced that mermaids do not exist. Not to worry — it’s still legal to believe that Ariel is a babe. [New York Daily News]
* Obama’s win for health care reform didn’t result in a polling bump for him, but it did result in an even higher disapproval rating for SCOTUS, at least as far as Republicans are concerned… [POLITCO; CBS News]
* … which may be why Chief Justice John Roberts escaped to “an impregnable island fortress” to avoid the Right’s fury, criticism, and scorn as soon as he could after the ACA opinion dropped. [New York Times]
* “[W]e have learned from the mistakes that were made.” That lesson only cost a few billion dollars. GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3B in the largest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history. [Wall Street Journal]
* After losing a bid to quash a subpoena, Twitter has to turn over info about an #OWS protester’s tweets. OMG, please respond to that thing in 140 characters or less. [Bloomberg]
* Unlike most recent law school grads, Yale Law’s Vanessa Selbst hasn’t been hedging her bets in bar prep classes. Instead, she went all in, played her cards right, and won $244K at the World Series of Poker. [ESPN]
* Divorce really does bring out the best in people. Alec Baldwin says that if given the chance, he would murder his ex-wife Kim Basinger’s lawyer “with a baseball bat.” Gee, tell us how you really feel. [New York Post]
* As it’s told, the Supreme Court never leaks, but two sources who were close to the Affordable Care Act deliberations thought this tidbit was worth sharing with the public. Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts isn’t so noble after all, because he was originally batting for the conservatives. [CBS News]
* The Department of Justice will not be filing a criminal contempt case against Attorney General Eric Holder, despite Congress’s seal of approval. Alas, if looks like you need to do a little bit more than piss off a few legislators to get prosecuted for a criminal offense. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Is fear of accidental spittle from a close talker enough to warrant slapping a Biglaw partner in the face? Yup, and it seems it’s even cause to file a lawsuit with allegations of slander and assault. [Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]
* A judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a new law that could have shut down the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. It’s refreshing to know the judicial system is willing to bring out the kid in you. [Washington Post]
* “It was an accident, it was an accident, it was an accident.” That may be the case, but much like your law school loan debt, you can’t take it back. Jason Bohn was arraigned for murder. [New York Post]
Earlier today, the Obama administration “won” the health care decision. This afternoon, they “lost” a partisan struggle. Congress voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Holder becomes the first attorney general, and really, the first cabinet member, to be held in contempt.
Two hundred and fifty five Congresspeople voted to hold Holder in contempt. Twenty Democrats joined the vote. Shockingly, the National Rifle Association decided to “score” the vote as part of the Representatives report card on gun laws. Voting for contempt gets a “good score” from the powerful lobbying group, and many believe that explains the 20 chicken s*** Democrats who voted for contempt.
Holder is being accused of not cooperating with Congress’s ongoing investigation into the Fast and Furious program. It’s not clear that Holder even knew about the program. But, you know, Republicans are in the majority in Congress so they don’t really have to explain why they’re going after the Attorney General….
A New Zealand court made another ruling today, and it’s another sledgehammer to the government’s case against the formerly massive cyber locker. Keep reading to see what once was a slamdunk case continue crumbling before our eyes….
* Today’s court session is business as usual for SCOTUS, because the justices always seem to save the “best” for last. And now I’ll have that stupid Vanessa Williams song stuck in my head all day. Sorry if I got it stuck in yours, too. [National Law Journal (reg. req.)]
* Meanwhile, over at the White House, the air was thick with the sound of silence on the eve of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. More than willing to bet that President Obama probably didn’t sleep too well last night. [Los Angeles Times]
* “If she dies and Romney wins, the Supreme Court will be the most conservative in history.” Oh, please. Stop giving Ruth Bader Ginsburg flak for being too old, and learn to respect your elders — she’ll quit (or she’ll croak) when she damn well feels like it. [New York Times]
* Peter Madoff will plead guilty to two federal charges at the end of the week. He’ll probably serve ten years in prison. In the long run, that’s nothing compared to big brother Bernie’s 150-year sentence. [Bloomberg]
* Reason #11ty-billion why we <3 Flori-duh: a judge rejected the DOJ's request to block Florida's voter purge, and Governor Rick Scott, of course, was pleased as punch, calling it a "common-sense decision." [POLITICO]
* Megaupload wins again: a New Zealand court ruled that the search warrants used to raid Kim Dotcom’s mansion were illegal because they failed to “adequately describe the offenses to which they related.” [Reuters]
* Loan debt will allegedly make you do some pretty crazy sh*t. Jason Bohn, the law school grad featured in an NYT article about the perils of law school, now stands accused of murdering his girlfriend. [New York Post]
* The ABA Journal wants to know if you think your law school’s name and reputation affected your career path. Well, the first comment on my first post was “the what what school of where now,” so you tell me. [ABA Journal]
As part of our continuing coverage of Maximus, err, Kim Dotcom, the charismatic, renegade technology leader of Megaupload who appears to be in the process of defying an entertainment empire, let’s take a quick look at the most recent filings in his copyright fight with United States government.
Plus, more importantly, we have a look at Dotcom’s awesome new Twitter feed. Spoiler alert: the account includes photographic evidence of money “laundering,” “racketeering,” and a guest appearance by the Woz…
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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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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