Google / Search Engines

Yesterday, Brian Tannebaum wrote about many of the law firm web site marketeers that write dreck for their clients.

The marketeers put this stuff online for the lawyers and call it content. Those with even minimal composition skills use far less charitable words to describe it.

As an example, he writes about the self-linking that takes place in pseudo-blogs and the embarrassing effect it actually has on the lawyer being promoted. He uses the example below — a monstrous keyword smorgasbord you may have stumbled across in the past, and were dumber for having done so….

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DaNae Couch

* The Department of Justice has reached yet another settlement in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case, this time with Transocean Ltd. for $1.4 billion in civil and criminal penalties and fines. [National Law Journal]

* “[W]ith success comes regulatory scrutiny.” Google convinced the FTC to close its ongoing antitrust probe by promising to change its allegedly shady patent usage and purportedly skewed search terms. [Bloomberg]

* According to Littler Mendelson, federal contractors might want to consider sending out sequestration-related layoff notices to employees in order to comply with the WARN Act. America, f**k yeah! [Government Executive]

* Governor Andrew Cuomo will have a major impact on the New York Court of Appeals when appointing new judges. It could be a partisan decision, but his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, insists his son will leave politics at home. [Capital New York]

* When you write in defense of the value proposition of law school, you wind up in the op-ed pages of the NYT. When you tell the truth about it, you wind up in the opinion pages of the WSJ. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Remember Danae Couch, the Texas Tech law student who was crowned as Miss Texas? She’ll compete for the Miss America title next weekend. If you’d like to help her become a finalist, you can vote for her here! [KFYO]

If you’ve ever been in a bookstore (and we hope that you have), you’ve seen the ubiquitous red Zagat guides, often situated right next to the checkout line to encourage impulse purchases. They’re wonderful resources for the restaurant-obsessed (note my avoidance of the f-word). The Zagat guides compile thousands upon thousands of user-generated reviews and distill them into clear, concise, often clever capsule reviews of restaurants in top cities around the world.

Last year, Google purchased Zagat for between $100 million to $200 million. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change — especially for a pair of former lawyers.

Yes, Tim and Nina Zagat are attorneys. Let’s learn about how they got their start….

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I’ll miss you the most, my little cupcake.

* Billable hours in Biglaw are down 1.5 percent, and 15 percent of U.S. firms are planning to reduce their partnership ranks in early 2013. Thanks to Wells Fargo for bringing us the news of all this holiday cheer! [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Hostess may be winding down its business and liquidating its assets, but Biglaw will always be there to clean up the crumbs. Jones Day, Venable, and Stinson Morrison Hecker obviously think money tastes better than Twinkies. [Am Law Daily]

* How’s that “don’t be evil” thing working out for you? Google’s $22.5M proposed privacy settlement with the FTC over tracking cookies planted on Safari browsers was accepted by a federal judge. [Bloomberg]

* Greenberg Traurig and Hunton & Williams face a $7.2B suit from Allen Stanford’s receiver over a former attorney of both firms’ alleged involvement in the ex-knight’s Ponzi scheme. [Houston Business Journal]

* Perhaps the third time will be the charm: ex-Mayer Brown partner Joseph Collins was convicted, again, for helping Refco steal more than $2B from investors by concealing the company’s fraud. [New York Law Journal]

* H. Warren Knight, founder of alternative dispute resolution company JAMS, RIP. [National Law Journal]

‘Really, Gabon? C’mon you guys.’

* Google asked Gregory Sidak and Judge Robert Bork to write a report on its antitrust investigations. [Criterion Economics]

* Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom just caught a tough break, courtesy of the government of… Gabon? [Threat Level / Wired]

* Marco Delgado, lawyer and former trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, is accused of laundering half a billion dollars for a Mexican drug cartel. [Post-Gazette]

* I’m very, very uninterested in getting tangled in racial debates after the election. But this stuff is messed up and scary. [Gawker]

* And this too. Ick. [Jezebel]

* Next time you plan a robbery, maybe plan on taking a nap before you reach the front door of your score. [Legal Juice]

Hey, don’t blame us. We didn’t make this list of the worst law schools in the country.

In the Above the Law Career Center, we just give law schools letter grades, based on user surveys completed by ATL readers. But the Daily Caller has compiled a list of the ten worst ABA-accredited law schools. Mwahaha.

One really strong point about this list is that it’s more outcome-oriented than other rankings. It’s not looking at LSAT scores and GPAs; it’s looking at bar passage rates, cost, and employment data.

So, send your angry emails to the Daily Caller, or your own administrators, if you are unlucky enough to be going to one of these schools…

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A big round of applause for diversity!

* Dewey know when Judge Martin Glenn will issue his ruling on the failed firm’s proposed partner contribution plan? If all goes according to plan, we can expect to learn if the PCP’s been approved or rejected as early as next week. [Am Law Daily]

* Hot on the heels of Google’s digital-book settlement, the company announced that it would be appealing its copyright infringement jury verdict in the Oracle trial. One thing’s for sure: Judge Alsup will be angered terribly by this. [Bloomberg]

* David Askew, formerly the director of Edwards Wildman’s pro bono program, will now lead the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms as CEO and general counsel. [Corporate Counsel]

* The American Bar Association submitted an amicus brief in support of using race as a factor in college admissions, because diversity in college education is a must for diversity in law schools, duh. [ABA Journal]

* Remember the family law judge who got caught beating his daughter in a video that went viral? Now he wants the Texas Supreme Court to reinstate him, over his ex-wife’s objections. Good luck with that. [CNN]

Out west, we’re in the middle of a gold rush. Programmers, marketers, and young business school grads are flocking to the Bay Area all with big dreams of striking start-up gold.

If you wander down Market Street, you’ll hear people mumbling a mantra: “Internet business. Internet business. Internet business.” Or perhaps, “Please let Google buy me. Please let Google buy me.”

Lawyers don’t usually play too much into this equation, except for the unfortunate in-house counsel tasked with explaining to a start-up’s management why playing beer pong in the conference room during work hours may be an unwise decision.

Or are attorneys much more relevant here than the layman might realize? Yesterday, the New York Times profiled a storied Biglaw firm that’s playing quite a part in the current tech bubble boom. It’s not this firm’s first time at the rodeo, but other firms smell dollars in the air, too, and there’s a battle brewing over who will represent the next Google, Facebook, what have you.

Which Biglaw firm is leading the charge?

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‘If there’s one thing America needs, it’s more lawyers!’

* Bank robber tuned jailhouse lawyer turned successful author, Shon Hopwood, is now in law school — on scholarship. Second chances FTW. [Seattle Times]

* As Hopwood transitions from inmate to law student, another would-be lawyer’s career is going the other direction. One of Reema Bajaj’s classmates is headed to the slammer. [Daily Herald]

* Damon Thibodeaux is the 300th person in the U.S. to be exonerated on DNA evidence. The Louisiana death row inmate was exonerated after 15 years behind bars. Oy. [Washington Post]

* Apparently this is the jailhouse edition of Non-Sequiturs, so here’s Judge Richard Posner expounding upon prison rats, damp, dark cells, and the concept of the Bubonic Plague in jail. Heavy s**t, man. [How Appealing]

* Lionel Hutz is a wonderfully terrible cartoon lawyer, but God help the client who ends up with a real-life version. [RocketLawyer]

* A trip down the substantially creepy rabbit hole wherein Chevron’s Ecuador litigation, Google, and concerns about electronic privacy all converge. [Opinio Juris]

* Add Maryland to the list of states sending gay marriage to the ballot box. [Daily Beast]

There are some great perks to working for Google, a company pushing the boundaries of technology. But there’s also a downside to being at the bleeding edge of innovation: some countries might try to hold you back… with handcuffs. This week, police in Sao Paolo detained Brazilian Google chief Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, releasing him only after he promised to appear in court over YouTube videos that violate Brazilian election laws. A judge ordered that the videos in question, which say nasty things about a mayoral candidate, be taken down; Google ignored the order, likely hoping to export American free speech values abroad. Coelho is now in the Brazilian doghouse for the crime of “disobedience.”

The ploy worked. Google caved shortly after Coelho was released.

Google likes to argue that it’s not responsible for the content that its users post, but that argument doesn’t always fly abroad. This is not the first time a Google exec has wound up in trouble over a YouTube posting disliked by local authorities. Three execs became convicts in Italy thanks to a 2006 incident.

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