On the day the iPhone 5 became available to the public, I wrote a post asking if the new smartphone might be a sign of the IP apocalypse. I’m not the only one, apparently.
Finally, the rumblings of discontent within the tech and legal industries haved boiled over into the mainstream. The New York Times wrote an extensive front-page story yesterday, chronicling the intellectual property arms race gripping the industry.
A lot of the subjects in the piece may be familiar to Above the Law’s readers. We’ve covered Apple’s schizophrenic attitude towards patents and the America Invents Act (and how it could affect one’s ability to patent bedroom gymnastics).
But let’s take a closer look and put it all in context…
In a few hours, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will meet in Denver, Colorado, for the first of three presidential debates (though the second is a town hall debate; are those really “debates?”). As lawyers, you likely possess more than a passing interest in the events of the evening.
You are also Above the Law readers, which means you likely possess more than a passing interest in reckless self-destruction through the massive consumption of alcohol.
As a lawyer, drinker, and college debate coach who gets way too into these things, I have constructed a drinking game to shepherd you through the process of viewing tonight’s debate….
‘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]
* Someone was finally able to liken the Scalia v. Posner debate to a suitable situation: bitchy mean girls fighting each other in a middle school cafeteria. Seriously, only the inclusion of “like” throughout the entirety of the dialogue could’ve made it better. [lawprofblawg]
* Who pays your law professors’ salary? The obvious answer is law students, since professorial wallets are padded by tuition dollars. But what happens when IBR comes into play and loan debts are forgiven? Then the answer shifts to the taxpayers. [PrawfsBlawg]
* When Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers died, everyone was expecting that a lawsuit would be filed, but no one really thought that it would be one based on contract law. [New York Law and Legal Analysis Blog]
* What kind of case “really turn[s] on” everyone’s favorite First Amendment lawyer? Free speech cases that are riddled with challenges, of course, and questions about what does and doesn’t constitute porn. [Vegas Inc]
* You must be wondering where Above the Law fell on this ranking of the 15 Most Influential Law Blogs. We won’t give it away, but let’s just say that we now share something in common with Cooley. [Business Insider]
* “[S]ome dude with the munchies is getting a little legal education.” That’s what we thought when one of our top searches last week was “pictures of tacos” — and not even “duck tacos,” but regular ones. [Search Party]
* You can kiss your dreams of seeing Prop 8 being taken up by the Supreme Court goodbye if the justices decide to proceed with “more cautious DOMA challenges.” [Slate]
* Well, at least one person is getting annoyed by the endless back and forth between Posner and Scalia. But that’s just one person. We’ll continue to beat that horse until it’s extra dead. [Althouse]
* Is this like the new WebMD, but for law? With prompts like, “Can that crazy neighbor buy a gun?,” it looks like a suitable place for legal hypochondriacs to call home. [myRight]
* Oh yay, I don’t like to get into election law and politics, so it’s a good thing that The Simpsons did all my work for me on this one: “Stopping all Americans from voting is for the protection of all Americans.” [PrawfsBlawg]
* Kat over at Corporette wants to know what your top five tailoring alterations are — because after all, it’s pretty hard to dress for success in Biglaw if your pants are dragging on the floor. [Corporette]
* You’d have to be super-dee-duper high to think that disguising your pot plants as Christmas trees in the middle of the desert to throw the police off your tracks would actually work. [Legally Weird / FindLaw]
(We attended Scalia’s talk, which took place this afternoon and was sponsored by the New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. Additional highlights from the eminently quotable justice’s remarks, after the jump.)
Over the past few months, Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Richard Posner have been trading benchslaps. The most recent clash got going a few weeks ago, when Judge Posner wrote a harsh review for the New Republic of Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner’s new book, Reading Law (affiliate link).
You know what would have been awesome? 1996-Bill Clinton versus 1980-Ronald Reagan in 2008. I’m not saying Slick Willy would have beaten the Great Communicator, but it’s always a bad idea to bet against Bill.
* David Lat has a new project that you might want to check out. They’re calling it “clerk lit”; it’s a serialized novel entitled Supreme Ambitions. [FindLaw]
* Since a lot of smart kids are not taking the LSAT and applying to law school, maybe this is an opportunity for kids who are not so great at standardized testing to get into a better school than they would have under normal circumstances. Of course, that’s not what I would do. If a bunch of people suddenly start running in one direction, I’m the kind of brother who starts running with them and figures out later what all the fuss is about. [The Careerist]
* Ohio rescinds its early voting directive and asks Sixth Circuit for a stay. [Election Law Blog]
* Charlotte bankers survive the Democratic National Convention. Somehow. [Dealbreaker]
* The problem with owning a gun is that eventually, you are going to give yourself a reason to use it. [NY Daily News]
* Former tennis star ready to return serve at Columbia law school. Obviously, I’m using “star” a little bit broadly since I’m talking about a man who finds himself in the drunken class of 2015. [Dealbook]
* You have to think that Bill Clinton would have made the best trial lawyer ever. “Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. [bites lip.] Now imagine she’s white.” [What About Clients?]
Professor Garner is not happy with Judge Posner’s treatment of the book. Let’s hear what he has to say — and also speculate on how the Posner/Scalia tiff might affect Posner’s feeding of law clerks to Scalia….
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, 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.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…