Lindsay Lohan, everyone’s favorite train-wreck, sure seems to come up in the world of intellectual property an awful lot. I’m not sure if this is because she has some over-inflated sense of entitlement, or if she’s just the devil-incarnate here to entertain me personally, but she’s gotten angry about being mocked in music, angry about a talking baby being named Lindsay (and being a “milkaholic”), and angry at the invention of the video camera for showing her stealing stuff that didn’t belong to her.
“What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection . . . But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.”
“’But who wants to be watched all the time?’
‘I do. I want to be seen. I want proof I existed [ . . . ] Most people do. Most people would trade everything they know, everyone they know — they’d trade it all to know they’ve been seen, and acknowledged, that they might even be remembered. We all know we die. We all know the world is too big for us to be significant. So all we have is the hope of being seen, or heard, even for a moment.”
– The Circle, by Dave Eggers
The Circle (affiliate link), the latest novel by Dave Eggers, is a work of speculative fiction centering on a hypothetical technology company called the Circle. Eggers sets the story on a glossy, mythical Silicon-Valley internet campus that unapologetically resembles some famous not-so-mythical ones. At the start of the tale, the Circle has recently overtaken Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Its TruYou technology has created unified accounts for its users’ online presences, linking all social media profiles and bank information, tying it to users’ actual offline identities. TruYou is a convenience, a means of better connecting online, but it also changes the tenor of Internet conversation. Since TruYou eliminates pseudonyms and anonymous activity, it also restores real-life accountability to online comments and interactions. People are nicer. Shopping is easier. Communicating is quicker. People send “zings.” They respond with “smiles” or “frowns.” The reader need not decode much in order to recognize this world….
Two weeks ago, I wrote about one of Biglaw’s most pressing issues: the failure of senior partners to pass along clients to younger partners. But that is not the only problem some of Biglaw’s senior partners are causing for their firms and the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, a measurable portion of senior partners, those of the august titles and stratospheric billing rates, are among the worst offenders of one of Biglaw’s most notorious shortcuts to extreme profitability: creative time entry and billing.
While I hate to acknowledge, even though I have seen it firsthand, that partners make up time entries wholesale for work never performed, it is not hard to realize that in this age of the multimillion-dollar partner there exists a tremendous incentive for such behavior. Or at least for partners to “round up” time entries, a tacitly accepted practice within Biglaw.
Incentives matter, and the more richly compensated a senior partner is, the more pressure there is on them to put down a solid four to five hours for “reviewing and revising” a draft brief on Tuesday, only to make a similar entry when they review a more robust version of the same brief a few days later. And because senior partners are frequently responsible for a horde of timekeepers below them, the tone set by the lawyers at the top of the pyramid has an impact on the behavior of those lower on the chain….
* A guy sued the Washington Metro for injuries incurred by slipping in a banana peel. Security camera footage unraveled his story when it revealed he wasn’t a Looney Tunes character. [Washington Post]
* A sports law practice sprung up in Qatar in advance of the 2022 World Cup. Have fun in 2023, folks! [Forbes]
* Courts are starting to employ link shortening for URLs. That should free up some space under the page limits. [The Volokh Conspiracy]
* The feds have a sophisticated spy system at Gitmo that may be used to eavesdrop on defense lawyers, which is a shock to pretty much nobody. [Vocativ]
* Walking out on the law firm life is a bold move. This is pretty much how it goes down for everyone who does it. [Big Law Rebel]
* Cops in Rochester arrested three black kids for waiting at their bus stop. [Gawker]
* As we noted on Friday, the Jackie Chiles Law Society held a mock trial and convicted Harry Potter. “Who told you to put the Butter Beer Balm on!?” Video after the jump (note that the clip plays automatically, so don your headphones if necessary).
Today’s Wall Street Journal reports on the growing new crop of online matchmaking services designed to help small and mid-sized business clients connect with qualified and affordably priced lawyers. The sites profiled include UpCounsel, which allows clients to bid projects, handles payments, and collects feedback (sort of like Elance for legal services); Priori Legal, which provides clients a list of pre-vetted attorneys with 5+ years of experience and negotiates discount rates; and IP SmartUp, which also charges discount rates for patent services.
From what I can tell, in the short term, these sites make money through various ethically permissible transaction fees (read: no referral fees, though some of the models tread dangerously close). My guess is that in the long run, these sites’ greater value will derive from big data gleaned from transactions that may shed insight on the factors that inform lawyer hiring (and in turn may hold value for lawyer marketing operations).
No doubt, from a small business perspective, these sites are golden. With their clean modern look and easy navigation, these platforms give prospective small business clients a far better user experience than any bar referral or local chamber of commerce site I’ve ever seen. Plus, many of the lawyers registered for the sites so far boast stellar credentials. And the price is right — the WSJ piece shares the experience of one happy user who procured legal services at a price of between $100 and $600 per project (though the average cost of a transaction on UpCounsel is around $1000, the story notes).
Still, do these sites work for solos and smalls?
- 2nd Circuit, Fashion, Jury Duty, Law Schools, Non-Sequiturs, Sexual Harassment, Shira Scheindlin, Student Loans, Technology
* Santa Claus arrested for sexually harassing an 18-year-old elfette. She started getting suspicious when he kept looking at her and proclaiming “Here Cums Santa Claus.” [The Smoking Gun]
* Atlanta jury questionnaire lists “slave” as an occupational option. There’s a lot of outrage, but they were just covering their bases — a potential could have just moved there from Mississippi. [11 Alive]
* Speaking of juries, a long-time prosecutor ends up on a jury and sums up the 10 things he learned from his jury experience. [Texas Evidence]
* The Second Circuit’s decision to remove Judge Scheindlin from the stop-and-frisk case was bad enough — especially since it was an unprecedented overreach for a circuit panel when no one requested her removal — but its true cost is in chilling justice down the road, when judges start to look over their shoulders for fear that an activist appellate panel is out to get them. [WiseLawNY]
* Interesting question: what do you wear under a 3/4-sleeved blazer? I’d wear a T-shirt that says, “I give 3/4 of a damn today,” but most lawyers would disagree. [Corporette]
* Apple hired CPA Julie Davis as a damages expert in its case against Samsung. Whatever she was paid, it wasn’t enough — the jury singled out Davis as the reason they awarded Apple $290 million. [The Expert Institute]
* In the spirit of funny flowcharts, here’s a decision tree to help make that decision about going to law school. Image after the jump…
* At MSU Law, a couple of law professors are getting serious about figuring out how to leverage technology in the profession. They envision making legal hiring into “Moneyball” with MSU Law representing Oakland. So they plan to raise false hopes and ultimately fail too? [Lansing State Journal]
* A real estate attorney is hosting a boot camp to train slumlords. Yay? [SF Gate]
* If you never thought electing state judges was a matter of life and death, read this. [Huffington Post]
* The Steubenville rape case is back in the news after a grand jury has indicted four school officials for covering up the school’s infamous rape. [Jezebel]
* A couple of former Harvard Law roommates have a fashion startup called ShopRagHouse that allows customers to design their own clothes. They’re seeking some additional funding for their next collection with a Kickstarter campaign now. [Kickstarter]
* If you’re in New York and interested about legal careers in banking, swing by the Fordham Law amphitheater tonight from 6 to 8 for a free panel discussion featuring representatives from some of the largest banks in the world hosted by the Chinese Business Lawyers Association. [Eventbrite]
* Paramount is flexing its legal muscles to stop producers from making a sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life. Wait, Hollywood is trying to stop a mindless and unnecessary sequel? Where was this Paramount when they greenlit Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? [Indiewire]
* Are you a “young, outgoing lawyer and recent law school grad” looking for your big break? Because it looks like a TV show may want to talk to you. [Get Entry Level Attorney Jobs]
* Remember the woman who accused the Duke Lacrosse team of rape? She was convicted of second degree murder today. Yikes. [The Expert Institute]
* This is an awesome program: a number of lawyers are helping first responders prepare wills for free. [KEZI]
* Overzealous IT guy who tried to keep everyone at work locked out of the system because “he was the only person capable of running the network” is going to jail. If you’ve ever dealt with some form of this guy, this story is like a dream come true. [IT-Lex]
* A majority of students say that a two-year law school program would make them more likely to go to law school. This is the best argument against a two-year program ever. [Valley News Live]
* Full-time jobs will exceed the number of law school grads by 2016. Except this assumes the number of legal jobs holds steady, which is a hell of an assumption when demand for legal services is still in decline. [Tax Prof Blog]
* A company’s lawyer had secret communications with a judge and ultimately secured a multimillion dollar verdict. The Mississippi Supreme Court frowned on that behavior. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
* For the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK by
Fidel Castro the Mafia LBJ ALF Lee Harvey Oswald, here’s a look at just how difficult it is to kill chief executives these days. [Vocativ]
- 9th Circuit, Disasters / Emergencies, Intellectual Property, Jay Bybee, JPMorgan Chase, Jury Duty, Non-Sequiturs, Technology
* CeeLo Green, through his attorney, tells the judge and prosecutors in his criminal case to, um, Forget themselves. He’s miffed that the judge and prosecutors set up cameras during his arraignment and left themselves out of the shot creating a false impression of guilt. This marks the first time this guy didn’t want a camera fixated solely on him. [TMZ]
* Samsung wants a mistrial in its case with Apple because Apple’s attorney, Harold McElhinny, implied in his closing argument that American-made jobs building TV sets moved overseas because companies failed to protect intellectual property. Samsung is arguing that this is racist. [Bloomberg]
* JPMorgan is awfully sorry for making the conscious decision to sell toxic securities that helped destroy the economy. “Our bad, y’all!” [Gawker]
* The justices who penned Bush v. Gore shamelessly admitted how terrible the decision was by trying to claim it had no precedential value. Unfortunately, no one listened to them. [Mother Jones]
* In addition to the many law firms that are contributing to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, several Asian-American lawyer groups are organizing a fundraising event this coming Monday. If you’re in New York, please consider attending! [Facebook; AABANY]
* In sad news, the son of Ninth Circuit Judge Jay Bybee shot and killed himself in the courtyard of the LDS Temple in Henderson, NV. Our thoughts are with Judge Bybee and his family. [Las Vegas Review-Journal (gavel bang: Las Vegas Law Blog)]
The process of looking for a legal job is not a model of efficiency. The unemployed and underemployed desperately comb through hundreds of Craigslist postings. Meanwhile, the relatively privileged denizens of Biglaw get besieged by cold calls from legal recruiters, whether they’re looking for new jobs or not.
There has to be a better way. And one former Biglaw associate, an alumna of two top firms, believes she has the answer.
Finding a legal job: there’s an app — well, not an app, but a website — for that….