Privacy

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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With all of the recent advances in technology, even doing the simplest of things can be quite difficult for law school personnel. How hard is it to send an email to prospective students without cursing in the subject line? Very. How hard is it to send an email without attaching the admissions data for a law school’s entire admitted class? Extremely.

We’ve got yet another email screw-up for you, and we think you’re going to like it. When the good folks at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles aren’t busy telling women not to dress like whores, they’re emailing students with very private personal information about everyone in the graduating class.

Sorry Loyola, but we don’t think “law school transparency” means what you think it means….

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CIA Logo* The CIA official at the heart of accusations of intimidation made by Senator Feinstein is a lawyer. This marks the first time this guy has been called intimidating. [Al Jazeera]

* Check out these awesome graphs showing the change in the USNWR rankings of the top 50 law schools over the last six years. [LawyerWrit]

* Justin Bieber’s lawyer says his behavior in his video deposition is our fault. Of course it is. [New Day / CNN]

* “Dear Texas courthouse… We’ve been tapping your phones. Love, FBI” [San Antonio Express-News]

* Google’s getting sued for pushing addictive games with in-app purchases. [IT-Lex]

* The prosecution of Zachary Warren, who was 24 and only a few months into his job, for Dewey’s fall seems to be taking it a bit too far. [Belly of the Beast]

* A pair of lawyers are accused of tax credit fraud for going a bit too Hollywood. [The Times-Picayune]

* Lee Pacchia talks with Kent Zimmermann about the warning sent to struggling firms by the Dewey charges. Embedded after the jump… [Mimesis Law]

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Just recently, we wrote about how the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has been increasingly detaining and harassing people at the border (or near the border) under highly questionable circumstances — and then refusing to comment on any of it. Instead, CBP has relied on a cloak of secrecy to live outside the law, acting out what we’ve come to expect from authoritarian police states. Recently, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman, Christine Von Der Haar, who is a senior lecturer at Indiana University, after CBP detained her at the airport….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Homeland Security Detained US Citizen Inside The US, Used Intercepted Emails To Quiz Her About Her Sex Life”

I am on record as an optimist when it comes to the internet. The free flow of information on the web, including but not limited to websites like Above the Law, helps people make better decisions about their lives and careers (and also entertains, a value that shouldn’t be ignored).

At the same time, as we’ve discussed before, the web has its dark side….

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* We’re getting closer to being able to unlock our phones legally. Soon you can accidentally brick an iPhone without fear of reprisal. [The Guardian]

* The Wall Street Journal thinks law student résumés are nearly identical (?) and recommends cultivating “quirky interests” like serving as a college mascot. Because national law firms just feel safer with Furries on staff. [The Legal Watchdog]

* A judge who already faces overlapping ethics proceedings is about to add a couple more to his plate. This time the allegations include sleeping with a law student, not disclosing when she appeared before him, and “misappropriating” marijuana evidence. He doesn’t seem to get that the whole “What happens in Vegas” thing only works if you’re not living there. [Las Vegas Law Blog]

* Someone tries to fight Larry Lessig on copyright. They lose. [IT-Lex]

* An applicant withdraws his application to a law school because they do not allow gay or lesbian wedding ceremonies on campus. While that’s a noble decision, did he really think a Catholic school was going to be having gay and lesbian weddings? [The Ivy Coach]

* Professors Chris Sprigman and Barry Friedman employed a cool tool called ReplyAll to have a public discussion about the NSA. [Just Security]

* Redeployment (affiliate link) is a new collection of stories by Phil Klay focusing on the transition of Iraq veterans to stateside living. One story focuses on a Marine going to law school. Apparently he wanted to trade one brand of PTSD for another. [New York Times]

* Wow, it looks like San Diego has a real problem policing its police. [Voice of San Diego]

* If you’re in the Boston area next week, check out Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services, a cool symposium on March 6. [Harvard Law]

* Baseball is trying to ban home plate collisions, because why have any aspect of the sport be exciting? Here’s an exercise in statutory interpretation featuring the new rule. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Former judge forced to resign at age 40 under a gathering cloud of sexual harassment allegations now collects $65,000 a year in pension. And it looks like he may be claiming “sex addiction” as a disability. Bravo. [WDSU]

* Should legal writing professors be treated like nurses? [Dorf on Law]

* The world’s top Bitcoin exchange, Mt.Gox, just shut down, and millions of real dollars worth of fake money is missing. I’m excited to see the bevy of Libertarian Bitcoin fanatics who praise the decentralized “new Gold standard” and publicly trash its critics explain this one. [Valleywag]

* Are bar associations moving online? [Law Sites]

* Forget your cell phone, the feds have been spending millions to warrantlessly collect your very breath. [IT-Lex]

* Our own David Lat did some speculating about who the next Supreme Court justice might be. [Ozy]

* That hope that the government would deport Justin Bieber? Here’s why that just isn’t legally going to happen. Video after the jump… [Bloomberg Law]

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