Law firm advertising is expensive and certain methods may be cost-prohibitive for small firms. For instance, a small firm may not be able to afford a television or print campaign. Enter online marketing including, among other things, Google AdWords and sponsored links. In 2009, a law firm filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin state court challenging certain marketing strategies as an invasion of privacy, as defined in the Wisconsin privacy statute. Luckily for consumers and small firms, the court disagreed.
The case involved the two most prominent personal injury firms in Wisconsin. One of them, Cannon & Dunphy, used a Google AdWords PPC (price-per-click) strategy (and other search engines) to bid on the name of the state’s largest personal injury firm, Habush, Habush & Rottier. In other words, when a user would search the terms Habush or Rottier, a Cannon & Dunphy link would show up in the shaded section as a Sponsored Link.
Habush sued Cannon, alleging that Cannon’s online marketing campaign violated Wis. Stat. §995.50. That statute prohibits “the use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name . . . of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person,” and provides a cause of action where such an invasion of privacy was unreasonable.
Google announced yesterday that hackers in China had gotten access to hundreds of Gmail accounts. And it wasn’t just anyone’s email. The attack targeted senior government officials in the United States, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel, and journalists.
I have a feeling we will hear a lot more about this over the next few days. For the moment, let’s take a look at the details we know so far….
* It looks like Jonathan Lee Riches has some competition. Check out this crazy lawsuit filed against Apple (and many other defendants), by one David Louis Whitehead. Why do the wackos always have three names? [Apple Insider]
* Check out Professor Glenn Reynolds’s interesting argument against a federally-mandated drinking age of 21. “If you get shot at, you can have a shot.” [Wall Street Journal via Instapundit]
* The FTC is holding Google’s balls feet to the fire over its privacy practices. Want to turn up the heat a few degrees? [EPIC]
Do you heart boobies? I do -- for aesthetic reasons, and as symbols of female seductive power.
* Speaking of body parts, would this lawsuit have turned out differently if the bracelets, instead of promoting breast cancer awareness by declaring “I ♥ Boobies,” promoted testicular cancer awareness and read “I ♥ Balls”? [Philadelphia Inquirer via WSJ Law Blog]
* And speaking of free speech and schools, Congress should proceed with caution when passing anti-harassment legislation. [Chronicle of Higher Education]
* Biglaw partners team up with a former federal prosecutor to launch a new litigation boutique. Say hello to Levine Lee LLP. [Am Law Daily]
The satirical Onion News Network recently reported on new government funding for that “massive online surveillance program run by the CIA,” known as Facebook — dreamed up by “secret C.I.A. agent Mark Zuckerberg.” The report made light of how much information we’re willing to make available to a third party — information that we would never consider freely handing over to the feds. While funny, the report speaks to serious concerns about privacy. Civil liberties advocates like Christopher Soghoian and Nicholas Merrill worry about the ease with which the government can get access to the digital information we store with third-parties like Facebook, Yahoo!, and Google, as well as to the rich databases that our mobile phone providers have.
Should we call it the Tech.B.I. or the Dot.Com.I.A.?
* Did Malcolm Gladwell’s endorsement lead to an increase in Colorado Law applicants? Malcolm Gladwell, a man whose book Blink was described by Richard Posner as “written like a book intended for people who do not read books.” [Law Week Colorado]
* A litany of legal challenges faces the Obama administration now that they’ve backtracked on Khalid Sheikh and the boys. [msnbc.com]
* The Supremes ruled against Arizona taxpayers who claimed a tax credit for religious school donations was unconstitutional. Justice Kagan popped her dissent cherry on this one. [NPR]
* Connecticut looks to “add teeth” to a law that attempts to determine whether racial profiling exists in the state. Sorry, I don’t find anything funny about racism. Unless, of course, we’re talking about the basketball scene in Soul Man. [Hartford Courant]
* Google has bid $900 million on a whole bunch of patents. Meanwhile, the patent to Google Wave is being peddled for two dollars and a box of envelopes. [Financial Times]
* What’s the secret to lawyer happiness? And no, it doesn’t involve illegal drugs or porn stars (Charlie Sheen isn’t a lawyer). [Slaw via Legal Blog Watch]
* Want to start your own law blog? Read this interesting interview with BL1Y (a regular in the ATL comments section). [Lawyerist]
* Superstar criminal defense lawyer John Dowd, the Akin Gump partner who successfully got Monica Goodling (among many other clients) out of legal trouble, offered a rousing defense of Raj Rajaratnam today. [Dealbreaker]
* Congratulations to a 3L at NYU Law and future S.D.N.Y. law clerk, Eli Northrup, who belongs to a hip-hop band called Pants Velour — which has, in the words of our tipster, “captured the magic of Charlie Sheen as only music can.” [YouTube]
* Musical chairs: Donald M. Remy leaves Latham to become the new general counsel for the NCAA. No offense, but I hope he’s terrible at his job. The NCAA needs to be sued by all comers until they stop profiteering off the sweat of poor young athletes so that old, rich university presidents can make even more money. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]
* Anything you Google can and will be used against you. [Forbes]
* Did sanitation workers really make the blizzard worse by protesting proposed wage cuts through a “slowdown”? Somewhere there’s a union official freezing his ass off and smiling. [NY1]
* Some people say law school is a waste of time, some people say getting a Ph.D is a waste of time — is anyone starting to feel like “education” is a waste of time? Snooki is rich, famous, and has a book coming out; Sarah Palin might become president. Maybe stupid and uninformed is a perfectly acceptable way to go through life? [Economist]
* Here’s something interesting. Harvard Law School is doing some research on legal mentoring (or lack thereof). They need people (including non-HLS people, of course) to take their survey. [Harvard Law School]
* I wish Princeton had a law school. I bet it would be loads of fun to cover, since their college alums are already so good at getting embroiled in sex-contest scandals. [Jezebel]
You may want to download a class action tracking app to your iPhone
It’s always sad when two people give you the same present for Christmas — especially if it’s not a present you want. That’s the situation Apple is in this holiday season, hit with two lawsuits in federal court last week, both seeking class action certification, for helping advertisers create profiles of iPhone and iPad users.
Lalo v. Apple, first reported by Businessweek, and Freeman v. Apple, first reported by Wired, were both filed on Thursday, Dec. 23, in the Northern District of California. The first was filed by Kamber Law, the team behind the $2.4 million Quantcast “zombie cookie” settlement, and the second by three law firms, including the one that recently sued YouPorn over its “history sniffing.”
Both lawsuits are essentially copy-and-paste jobs of a recent Wall Street Journal article about how smartphones spy on their users. The WSJ report detailed how apps on iPhones and Android phones gather personal information, including location, gender, age, contacts, and a phone’s unique identifier, and then pass that information along to advertisers. The suits focus on Apple’s disclosing iPhone and iPad users’ Unique Device ID (UDID) — basically a mobile device’s social security number, which, when disclosed, can be used to profile a Machead.
Re-gifting alert: since this occurs on the Android as well, Google may want to look out for a belated class action present. “We usually take the most meritorious action first and then work our way down,” says Majed Nachawati, one of the class action attorneys in the Freeman complaint. “Google is on the radar, but we haven’t taken any action against them yet.”
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: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.