Steve Jobs

Ed. note: Above the Law will have a reduced publishing schedule on Friday, July 4, in observance of the day when Will Smith beat those aliens.

* Two state supreme courts rejected the bids of guns rights advocates to give felons the right to own guns. But if you outlaw guns, only outlaws… wait, that slogan doesn’t work here. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Hobby Lobby fallout. Religious groups are asking President Obama to accommodate their “sincerely held belief” that gay people don’t deserve jobs. [Talking Points Memo]

* On the other hand, Hobby Lobby opens the door to student loan forgiveness. [Tyler Coulson]

* People hated talking to Steve Jobs about their work. Was it because kids these days don’t understand the value of hard work? Or was it because computer geeks are notoriously introverted? [What About Paris?]

* Don’t discriminate against people getting divorces — they’ve got enough to worry about. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Some legal academics think bank executives should be paid in bonds. Here are some arguments against that. [Fortune]

I’ve represented a decent number of people who have been accused of fraud.

Some folks who are accused of fraud are really truly unambiguously guilty. They were presented with an open cookie jar, they thought no one was looking, and they took a cookie (metaphorically). They were presented with a morality test and they just didn’t pass.

Like Glenn Frey teaches us in Smuggler’s Blues, “It’s the lure of easy money; it’s got a very strong appeal.”

Other cases have a lot more nuance.

Most federal prosecutors, I find, tend to see cases as not terribly nuanced. They tend to think that each case is a morality test. Once you get the facts figured out, for the typical AUSA, the moral judgments follow pretty quickly.

My sense, though, is that the world is almost always less clear and clean, even when you have all the facts.

With that background, I read with interest James Surowiecki’s piece — “Do the Hustle” — in the New Yorker a few weeks ago about America and its con men.  (And, yeah, I know, it was a few weeks ago. You finish the New Yorker right when it comes out? I didn’t think so.).

What does the con man tell us about America?

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(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

Ed. note: This is the first installment of “On Remand,” a legal-history column by new writer Samantha Beckett. You can read her full bio at the end of this post.

The statute of limitations never expires on an interesting legal story, so each week “On Remand” will report on legal aspects of a story from the past using a “this day in history” theme. First up, Beatlemania!

Five years before John, Paul, George, and Ringo crossed Abbey Road, they crossed the pond and invaded U.S. living rooms. Fifty years ago last night, the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. The floppy-haired Fab Four were warmly welcomed by shrieking fans and America’s version of royalty – the King himself, Elvis Presley. As Ed Sullivan explained before the Beatles took the stage: “You know something very nice happened and the Beatles got a great kick out of it. We just received a wire – they did – from Elvis Presley . . . wishing them a tremendous success in our country.”

It’s safe to say that Elvis’ wish came true. The Beatles won an Oscar, racked up enough Grammys to collapse a shelf, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

By 1978, both the Beatles and the British Invasion were ancient history. Beatles fans consoled themselves with the music of Wings and the solo careers of John, Ringo, and George. And one Beatles fan in particular, Steve Jobs, was busy with his two-year-old computer company, Apple Computer. But that year, Apple Computer would experience a British invasion of its own when the Beatles’ company, Apple Corps (thank Paul McCartney for that pun), sued Apple Computer in Britain’s High Court. The dispute concerned the companies’ similar apple logos: a Granny Smith for Apple Corps, and an icon of an apple with a byte bite removed for Apple Computer….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “On Remand: Apple Wedges Itself Into The Music Business”

Looking for an epigraph for your departure memo? This man can help.

Writing your law firm departure memo: there’s an app for that? Well, not yet. (But you can certainly download the Above the Law app and read past farewell memos for inspiration.)

For now, the closest you can get is by starting your departure memo with a quotation from the late, great Steve Jobs. Like this one: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers….”

Yes, that’s how one fairly senior associate at a top law firm began his good-bye email. We received it from a few tipsters, one of whom called it “the best departure memo ever.”

Okay, I don’t know if I’d go that far. There are a few I’d rank higher — Shinyung Oh, Tyler Coulson, and maybe the tea bagger. But this one is definitely up there….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Departure Memo of the Day: ‘Here’s To The Crazy Ones’”

This column will be published the day our year-end numbers are made public. Word on the street (and the Street) is that we should beat expectations. If true, that would be a very good thing. This isn’t inside information; it’s been opined and published in several national media outlets, and in any event, I am not on the side of the house that has access to that information. I get the comuniques at the same time as everyone else. Luckily, I’ve been here in times of growth. That said, I have colleagues across town experiencing a very different situation.

The downfall of Eastman Kodak can be attributed to many things, and the failure to exploit its own invention of digital photography is chief among them. However, this isn’t a piece pointing the finger of vision opacity just at Kodak. The statement above this column is attributed to Steve Jobs after he viewed a mock-up graphic user interface (“GUI”) invented in Rochester, New York. The company that invented the prototype failed to capitalize on the invention, and the story goes that Jobs stole/borrowed/utilized the idea. We all know where that led. That same company also invented the computer mouse, and again didn’t capitalize on the invention. Stories like these are legend in the field of technological advancement.

What is it that causes companies, which are often on the cutting edge of technology, to miss opportunities that, in hindsight, seem so obvious?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: They Don’t Realize What They Have”

Last week was a sad time for America. People mourned the loss of a visionary, Steve Jobs. I cannot even tell you how many times I heard people talk about his celebrated 2005 Stanford graduation speech. It is without question that Jobs was a genius and we will never know what he could have created with more time. The depth of people’s reactions, however, suggests that we were mourning something more than the loss of a great man. We are, perhaps, mourning the loss of American innovation.

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, copy ‘em. Or at least that is what I am saying now. And luckily, I came across a blog post by Larry Bodine about what lawyers, particularly small-firm lawyers, can learn from Jobs….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Innovate”

Angelina Pivarnick

* The Westboro Baptist Church has announced — on an iPhone — that it will be picketing Steve Jobs’s funeral. And now I have an Alanis Morissette song stuck in my head. [Los Angeles Times]

* Price check on aisle seven. Price check on aisle seven for a divorce train wreck. People over in England need to be prepared for this now that supermarkets can sell legal services. [BBC News]

* Crowell & Moring has been slapped with an ethics complaint for suggesting that Appalachians suffer birth defects because they have family circles instead of family trees. [Am Law Daily]

* Se habla Español? Necesita un trabajo? Greenberg Traurig is expanding its ginormas practice with its 33rd office located in Mexico City. [Sacramento Bee]

* Doctors in Kentucky delivered a decapitated baby, but apparently did “nothing wrong.” [Insert completely inappropriate dead baby joke here.] [Courier-Journal]

* A former Jersey Shore star is suing over an alleged attack at a Hot Topic last year. This is only acceptable if the “dirty little hamster” was there to look for a Halloween costume. [New York Post]

Rover's last wish was to have his ashes sprinkled over a pile of money.

* Saying your dog ate something isn’t a creative enough excuse these days. Try this instead: “I kept the clients’ missing money in my car, which I left running in the parking lot to keep my dead dog’s ashes from freezing. Someone then stole the car, and now the missing client money is gone forever!” [Canadian Lawyer]

* Oh, to be a lawyer with the ability to tell opposing counsel that his client is a “spoiled, brainless twit.” It’s even better when opposing counsel’s client is Meghan McCain. [Spectacle Blog / American Spectator]

* Next time you feel like kicking the crap out of someone, make sure your twin is there, because there’s a high likelihood that you’ll both get off. [Legal Juice]

* A judge in Louisiana just threw a case out because he didn’t want to catch the flu from a witness. Elie was right: germaphobia is the real contagion! [Lowering the Bar]

* How would Jesus feel about guns in his church? He’d probably change them into dildos and tell the violence-bearers to go f**k themselves. [WSJ Law Blog]

* There’s been a lot of talk about personal branding for lawyers lately. This guy probably has the right idea, but you’ve got to wonder if he really wants to be known as the “Bald Lawyer” for the rest of his life. What happens if he decides to get plugs? [Legal Blog Watch]

* Here’s the best thing written about Steve Jobs today. [The Wirecutter]

* Here’s who the ACS is inviting to speak in Georgia. Take that George Mason Federalist Society. [ACS]

* Are you applying to law school (or do you know someone who is)? Have Lat review the application essay — and support a good cause at the same time. [Kickstarter]

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. And millions of people across the planet learned of the news on devices he invented.

You’ve probably already heard the details. The 56-year-old chairman and co-founder of Apple had been fighting pancreatic cancer since 2004. He ran one of the most successful companies in the world, a company he founded in a suburban garage. He invented the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad; at one point he owned Pixar; and he personally had more than 300 patents to his name, according to The Atlantic.

I am having a hard time thinking of any other human in recent memory who has so widely, tangibly, and positively changed the face of the world.

As Alexis Madrigal wrote, it’s strange to mourn the head of an international corporation as we would a beloved actor, musician, or head of state. But we can’t help it….

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Ribs are delicious, but try not to eat your husband's.

* With about 90 vacancies in the federal court system, the Senate approved six for judgeships, including Judge John Roll’s replacement. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* $400 per wasted hour? That’s not what you’re paying your lawyer. That’s what he’s paying in sanctions for futzing around during depositions. [Daily Business Review]

* Texas Roadhouse: old farts need not apply. Apparently qualifications for working at a chain restaurant now include being young, hot, and chipper. [Los Angeles Times]

* Friendly’s used to be the place where ice cream made the meal, but now it’s the place where ice cream makes you bankrupt. That’s just sad. [Bloomberg]

* Memo to file: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, not yours. A former model is seeking parole after she chopped up, cooked, and ate her husband. [Daily Mail]

* Derrick Bell, law professor and racial advocate, RIP. [New York Times]

* Steve Jobs, creator of the iPhone, one of the most popular tools for lawyers, RIP. [Apple]

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