I am not so sure if I would like to serve on a jury.
– A response generated by an artificial linguistic internet computer entity during an interview in response to whether the device, a program that simulates conversation, would ever go to jury duty. This interview was conducted because researchers are currently studying robots’ capability to gauge false testimony.
Next Friday, barring last-minute action from Congress, the series of crippling automatic budget cuts known affectionately as “sequestration” will go into effect, immediately slicing 8.2 percent off non-defense spending for 2013. It’s the continuation of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which was supposed to hit January 1st, but Congress moved this component to March because two potentially disastrous political showdowns are more fun than one.
If you haven’t heard about the sequestration, here’s a good primer, and you’re officially working too hard.
* Lanny Breuer’s resignation from his post as the assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice is neither fast nor furious enough for his critics. [Blog of Legal Times]
* “I don’t reimburse for taxi and car services around Manhattan.” Judge Martin Glenn is none too pleased with costly expenses billed to the Dewey & LeBoeuf bankruptcy estate by Togut, Segal & Segal, and he’s started slashing fees left and right. [Am Law Daily]
* The Florida Space Coast School of Law? This totally necessary school has a name that no one will ever be able to make fun of. Please let there be an equally necessary space law concentration. [Daytona Times]
* “Being rude is not illegal,” but thanks to The Dirty, it might have some damning consequences for CDA § 230. Maybe it’s a good thing the jurors in this sexy teacher’s defamation case were deadlocked last night. [KY Post]
* Julie Taymor settled her suit against the producers of Broadway’s musical adaptation of Spider-Man. It turns out all the judge had to do was schedule a trial date to get the parties to turn off the dark litigation. [Bloomberg]
* Here’s an example of legal Kaepernicking: the NFL got to flex its muscles when it strong-armed a football fan into abandoning his trademarks on “Harbowl” and “Harbaugh Bowl” in anticipation of the Super Bowl. [ESPN]
Back in October, I waded into the rough waters of discussing women’s weight issues, and the discrimination that naturally follows. Again, I know that’s not much of a news flash; in a society that’s obsessed with beauty, of course overweight people, women especially (trust me, I’ve been there many a time), are going to be scrutinized and looked down upon with disgust. From what they wear to what they eat, everything they do is viewed with an eye toward absolute repulsion — because honestly, how dare they believe they’re normal. If you’re an overweight woman, your every waking move is going to be stigmatized.
In fact, rather damning character traits are regularly ascribed to overweight people, without any care as to whether those individuals are actually lazy, greedy, or devoid of self control. Ah, stereotypes. Even when they’re completely untrue, they’re so damn hard to shake.
Is it any surprise that these platitudes follow overweight women into the courtroom?
It’s rare for a lawyer to face criminal charges (even if you might get a different impression based on the content of our pages). It’s rare for a criminal case to go to trial (as opposed to being resolved through a plea agreement). It’s rare for a defendant to take the witness stand at his own trial. And it’s rare for such a defendant to win an acquittal.
But this is exactly what happened in the case of Bryan Brooks, which we covered last month. Brooks went into the courtroom and emerged victorious, but it was not an easy experience. When you’re the defendant as opposed to defense counsel, your life and liberty are on the line. Higher stakes would be hard to imagine.
I recently sat down with Bryan to hear the story of his harrowing journey through the criminal justice system….
“I don’t know…I can’t figure out any differences between these guys.”
Last night, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney squared off in a town hall debate, a format specifically designed to sway undecided voters because the political media seems obsessed with the idea that low information voters are super awesome and totally deserving of their role driving the political discourse of the most powerful nation on the planet.
As I watched it last night, it struck me that this town hall format is the political equivalent of the jury trial. The process is driven by staunchly undecided people culled from the local population with a moderator on hand primarily to facilitate the flow of information to the pool of lay observers.
But the two Harvard Law grads seeking the highest office in the nation failed some of the cardinal rules of jury trials.
Quinn Emanuel, Samsung’s firm, has taken the jury misconduct route as a way to get the $1 billion dollar verdict tossed. How exactly does Samsung argue the jury — which returned a verdict after only two days, and originally tried to award damages on patents that weren’t infringed — screwed up?
Let’s just say loose lips sink ships, and might even scuttle billion-dollar patent verdicts….
The average person is relatively honest. Why do we create rules that force otherwise honest people to lie?
We do this to many people. Think first about physicians.
For some reason, New Mom and Baby should spend one extra night at the hospital. Mom and Baby are doing fine, but the doctor sees a reason for one more night of rest. What does Doc do?
The insurance company won’t pay for, and Mom can’t afford, an extra night at the hospital, so Doc lies: He falsely notes that Baby is “jaundiced,” which justifies the necessary night at the hospital. The rules have turned Doc into a liar.
I’m sure that’s just the start of what the insurance bureaucracy does to turn honest physicians into routine liars. But I’m thinking today of rules that turn perfectly honest lawyers into liars. Once you start thinking about it, you’ll come up with endless examples . . .
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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