Privacy

Over the course of the past few years, law school personnel have found it especially difficult to keep their students’ personal information private. In April 2012, someone at Baylor Law School sent out an email containing a trove of admissions data — from names, to grades, to LSAT scores — to every student admitted to the Class of 2015. In March 2014, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles sent out an email with a heap of financial information for the entire graduating class — up to and including Social Security numbers and loan amounts — to some members of the Class of 2014.

Today, we’ve got another email screw-up for you, and this is one of the juiciest and most prestigious accidental data dumps we’ve seen yet. Someone at a T14 law school “inadvertently” sent out every piece of vital information possible about its clerkship applicants — from GPA, to class rank, to work experience, to recommenders, right down to where their girlfriends live — to everyone on its clerkship listserv.

If you’d like to see how you stack up against elite law students, now you can. We’ve got all the data…

Please note the UPDATES at the end of this post.

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Edward Snowden returned to the news this week when NBC aired an hour-long interview with him, the first on American TV. Anchor Brian Williams met with Snowden in a Moscow hotel. The 30-year-old former computer systems administrator described his motives for releasing an unprecedented payload of classified information about NSA surveillance.

Snowden is vexing. As a person, he seems a mix of likeable and unlikeable traits. He appears earnest, convinced of the rectitude of his choices even if, as he told NBC, “Sometimes, to do the right thing you have to break the law.” Yet he bristles at Obama Administration characterizations of him as a low-level employee, a high-school dropout. (For example, the president told reporters last year, “No, I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”) Even if Snowden is right to resist the connotations of those labels, listening to him defend himself in the interview can be painful. He insists he was “trained as a spy” who lived under an assumed identity and was a powerful operator. He sounds like a young man with a bruised ego. The last thing one wants to have to worry about in a situation of this great national and international importance, though, is one young man’s ego.

Snowden’s case is more important and more vexing. NSA’s surveillance programs are deeply troubling….

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* Justice Kagan received a Supreme Court fact check when she confused the site of the nation’s oldest standing synagogue with the home of the nation’s first Jewish community. At least she didn’t make a mistake about the actual law that she actually wrote. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Justice Scalia may not understand how cell phones work, but even he gets net neutrality — because it’s a lot like pizza. [The Atlantic]

* Marc Randazza describes the need for a right to be forgotten online. Getting forgotten online? Hey, we found a new job for Jill Abramson. [CNN]

* A woman threatened to shoot up a South Carolina Burger King over a stale roll. Don’t tell her what “pink slime” is. [New York Daily News]

* Cops arrest upwards of 40 people while trying to catch a bank robber. When you read the whole history, it’s actually surprising they weren’t limiting their search to people in stripes carrying bags with dollar signs on them. [Slate]

* Corporate lawyer fits right into the rising phenomenon of “Bulls**t Jobs.” [Strike! Magazine]

* Earlier today we wrote about a possible crowdfunded lawsuit. Here’s a discussion of legal issues involved in crowdfunding generally. [IT-Lex]

* Sen. Rand Paul has a stupid idea, so he’ll probably convince a bunch of liberals to go along with it. And that would be bad news for Professor David Barron’s nomination to the First Circuit. [New Republic]

* Led Zeppelin is getting sued over allegedly stealing the opening riff from Stairway to Heaven. It turns out there’s some band out there who’s sure that all that glitters is gold and they want some of it. A clip of the alleged original below…. [The Guardian]

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Who is this fellow, and how long will he starve for?

Social media has opened many new doors in terms of people’s ability to be fired from their jobs, especially in extremely conservative businesses like law. In order to maintain your appearance as a professional, you’re expected to be on the clock all day, every day. Kiss your keg stand pictures goodbye and turn your Facebook privacy settings all the way up, lest you face undesired consequences.

Not to worry, Americans, because one lawyer has got your back. Likely unemployed due to his own social media antics, this fellow is going to forgo life-sustaining food and water in an effort to bring greater attention to how we as a society can mitigate the risks of social media — by demanding that employers stop “searching the social media accounts of their employees and firing [them] because of unpopular opinions or lifestyle choices.”

Who is the man who intends to starve himself on the steps of America’s highest court for this cause?

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Ed. note: This post was written by Parker Higgins and posted at ParkerHiggins.net and republished on Techdirt

I spent a lot of the last week shaking my head at the commentary on the Supreme Court and its (lack of) technical expertise. Much of the criticism came in response to the oral arguments inAereo, and broke down in two areas: it either misunderstood the nature of Supreme Court oral arguments and their transcripts, or mistook familiarity with a handful of Silicon Valley products with actual tech savviness.

But in a series of cases this week about law enforcement searches of cell phones, we caught a glimpse of the Supreme Court’s real technology problem. Here’s what it comes down to: it’s not essential that the Court knows specifics about how technology itself works—and as Timothy Lee argues, that might even tempt them to make technology-based decisions that don’t generalize well. However, it is essential that the Court understands how people use technology, especially in areas where they’re trying to elaborate a standard of what expectations are “reasonable.”

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In the wake of the Heartbleed incident, everyone is understandably concerned about their online privacy.

If you’ve applied to law school with the assistance of the good folks at LSAC, you probably appreciated the opportunity to have your law school application process entirely automated. But you also placed your personal information at risk, up to and including your Social Security number, due to some serious (but easily remedied) security flaws.

Thankfully, they know about the problem and are working on it.

Maybe. Eventually. It’s not really clear.

Which, considering the gravity of the risk, is just as discomforting an answer as blowing it off completely….

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If I spend time reminiscing about the wayback times — all the way back to when I was a summer associate — I am reminded that one of the benefits of litigation (at least as described to me by an older associate nearly a decade ago) was supposed to be that it was recession proof. Meaning that just when the deals that characterize good economic times were slowing down that was when the real litigation would begin. So you’d be busy with new cases created by deals gone bad while your friends that joined corporate departments would find themselves without work to do at the same time a firm might be looking to make some cuts.

Now that didn’t prove quite true — when it’s time for Biglaw to do layoffs, litigation personnel find themselves as much at risk as every other department. But it is accurate that we do see an uptick in litigation after bad economic events. After all, it was only about two years ago when nearly every document reviewer or contract attorney found themselves on cases dealing with residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS). Yes, those same deals that nearly crippled the economy spawned massive litigation that kept food on my table. It didn’t matter what firm, agency or even city you worked for/in all the big document review projects seemed to be about RMBS. Now that that boom is nearly over we are left to wonder — what questionable business practice will lead to tomorrow’s doc review boom?

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Christina Gagnier

Joan Jett’s line from her famous song is apropos this week: “I don’t give a damn ‘bout my bad reputation.” Now, this attitude towards your reputation may have been all well and good pre the 24/7 media and social media cycle. Yet, in today’s world, what you do and post on the Internet is part of a permanent digital dossier. I caution any lawyer using social media to take pause and think before you post…

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* In consideration of Africa’s “growing economic prowess,” Biglaw firms like Dentons and Baker & McKenzie are opening up shop. Don’t make DLA’s mistake: Africa isn’t a country. [Am Law Daily]

* Stopped like traffic: Two of Gov. Chris Christie’s former aides properly asserted their Fifth Amendment rights and won’t have to give up docs relating to the Bridgegate scandal. [Bloomberg]

* Armed with a privacy curriculum developed at Fordham, several law schools are trying to teach middle-schoolers how to manage their online reputations. Selfies and the Law should be fun. [Associated Press]

* Alex Hribal, the suspect in the Pennsylvania stabbing, was charged as an adult on four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. Our thoughts remain with those injured. [CNN]

* A Texas woman was convicted of murdering her boyfriend by bludgeoning him in the head with the 5-inch stiletto heel of a pair of blue suede pumps. The true crime is that they weren’t peep-toes. [ABC News]

Could this be the bar exam bandit?

Bar exam applications suck (believe me, I know — I’ve had to fill out quite a few of them). Bar applicants need to supply every single piece of personal information imaginable, from their birthday and Social Security number to their 10-year work history. If anyone with criminal intent ever got their hands on that information, we can’t even begin to describe how screwed those poor bar applicants would be.

As it turns out, some bar applicants are getting a taste of what it feels like to be violated by a state bar outside of a timed test-taking situation.

Which state bar just exposed an untold number of exam applicants to identity theft due to a break-in?

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