Technology

New ATL columnist Brian Tannebaum.

So, looks like I’m going to hang out here for a little while writing weekly about small-firm and solo law practice issues. I’m as shocked as you are that I was asked to type over here – as I actually practice law, in a suit, in an office, with other humans, with a desk, and have real live clients who actually need legal services. I’ve done so for 17 years.

I’m also not the law review type. I wrote one sentence of a law review article in law school and threw it in the garbage. Since that day, no client has asked about my law review experience or cared when they were sitting next to me in a courtroom, so save your writing critique. To those who pay for advice from lawyers practicing 17 months, stop reading now. I can’t predict the future as it pertains to the practice of law, as the people doing that around the internet are mostly unfamiliar with the practice of law, and I can’t tell you how to be rich and famous via Twitter or a Facebook Fan Page.

Not to further disappoint, but I’m not here to play to the pajama-wearing, Starbucks-dwelling, sell-documents-and-pretend-I’m-a-lawyer-and-insist-this-is-how-all-law-will-be-practiced collection of lawyers. And to the resident cheetos-eating basement-dwelling “my law school sucks” whining anonymous commenting crowd here, start typing now – it will help drown out the possibility of you actually learning something….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Practice: Introducing The Contrarian To ‘The Future Of Law’”

Four months ago, you revised your company’s policy on employees’ use of social media. The policy said all the right things: When employees use social media, they should respect the rights of others and treat people with dignity; obey the company’s code of business conduct; maintain corporate confidences; and so on.

Unbelievably, some recent communications from the National Labor Relations Board suggest that each of those provisions (except for the “and so on”) could actually cause your company some labor pains. Why?

Here’s the easy part: The National Labor Relations Act protects employees who engage in “concerted activities” for the employees’ “mutual aid or protection.” Those words apply across the workforce and are not limited to unionized employees. An employee acting solely on his or her own behalf is not engaging in “concerted activities.” On the other hand, consider an individual employee who is working with (or on the authority of) other employees, or is trying to induce a group of employees to act, or is bringing group complaints to the attention of management. The NLRA may protect all of those activities, and an employer may violate the NLRA if it maintains a rule that could reasonably “chill employees in the exercise of their” rights.

What does that mean for the three examples suggested in the opening paragraph of this post?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Why Your Four-Month-Old Social Media Policy Is Obsolete”

Did you know that Above the Law has introduced a Research Corner to the site? In the Research Corner, readers will be able to sign up and obtain access to white papers, reports, and analysis from leading legal technology companies. From resolving in-house e-discovery matters, to comprehensive document review solutions, the Research Corner has something for everyone.

Some of the exciting topics in the Research Corner include:

  • Datacert: Customer Success Story – Walmart
  • Dell DX & Symantec Solution Brief: Store, Manage, and Discover Critical Business Information with a Complete Archiving Solution
  • FTI Consulting: The End of Piecemealing: Improving All-in-One Document Review Offerings
  • Guidance Software: Choosing the Right In-House Electronic Discovery Solution for Your Organization
  • Mitratech: Technology Platform for Legal Department
  • TCDI: Concept Technology for Streamlining Document Review

What are you waiting for? Sign up for the Research Corner today by clicking here.

Those blinking lights are important. Seriously.

I’ve been writing about electronic discovery for almost three years now. I’ve learned that most of the time, it’s not worth trying to interest non-attorneys in the subject. My friends’, family’s, and girlfriend’s eyes glaze over pretty quickly when I started mentioning the EDRM model or document review.

So when I saw the story early this morning about big e-discovery news in the litigation following a tragic plane crash, at first I thought I had misread something.

On February 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, killing 50 people. Later that year, authorities blamed pilot error for the crash. Unsurprisingly, families of the victims have sued the airline for failing to provide trained, capable, and rested pilots. This week, attorneys for the families released internal company e-mails that appear to show Colgan knew the pilot of the doomed flight was having serious problems.

What do the e-mails have to say?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Airline E-mails Could Play a Big Part in Buffalo, NY Plane Crash Lawsuit”

I like the phrase “pie in the sky.” I do not know where it comes from and I do not really understand what it means, but I like pie and I like the sky. Recently, I spoke to a lawyer who was able to turn my favorite catch-phrase into a niche practice area. Well, at least he deals with issues in the sky, and he has the largest slice of that pie.

Fred Hopengarten is an antenna zoning lawyer. What does that mean?

“I represent people who want to put an antenna high in the sky,” Hopengarten explained. “If you run an AM, FM or TV station, if you are a radio ham, or a land owner approached by cellular telephone company, and the neighbors are going to go berserk when they find out you are going to erect an antenna – call me.”

Can you turn that specialty into a twenty-one-year career?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Be the Guy That Writes the Book”

Rapper or criminal mastermind?

I am constantly amazed at how dimwitted some criminals can be. We have covered them in these pages before, from the guy who left evidence of his violent plans open on his desktop, to the robber who reached out to his victim via Facebook.

On Thursday in Pennsylvania, a federal jury convicted Anthony D. Elonis on four counts of threatening his estranged wife, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Berks County Sheriff’s Department, a kindergarten class, and an FBI agent. The vehicle for his litany of threats was none other than Facebook.

The case goes to show that producers of cool heist movies like Ocean’s 11 or The Italian Job have no idea of the context in which your run-of-the-mill petty criminal exists.

What did Elonis threaten to do? Some pretty bad stuff, actually. Keep reading to see why it is lucky he’s no criminal mastermind….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wannabe Rapper Convicted of Making Criminal Threats on Facebook”

Madonna

On Tuesday of this week, I popped over to San Francisco for the Computer Forensics Show. It’s a small tradeshow targeted at attorneys, accountants, IT professionals, and law enforcement.

I sat in on one legal technology-related panel that was particularly entertaining and informative. Many, if not most, of the people in the room were not attorneys. It was interesting to be a part of a non-attorney crowd and a reminder of how many people really don’t understand basic legal technology principles. What I heard underscored was the importance of maintaining a technology dialogue between legal and other parts of the business.

It was also chance to hear some awesome war stories from a veteran partner at a major law firm. Why did Archie Comics threaten to sue a baby? Why doesn’t Madonna like porn? Why aren’t you allowed to have the domain name fcukpenguins.com?

Beam me to the jump, Scotty, and let’s see….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Not to Screw Up on the Internet”

It’s said that it’s rude to ask a woman her age. In fact, it’s only rude to ask women 30 and over about their digits. It’s far worse, however, to ask a woman with decades under her belt for her age and then to publish it for the world to see. An actress in Texas says it wasn’t just rude but financially costly for her when the movie database IMDB publicized her nearly over-the-hill age in 2008. Cue, Robert Murtaugh.

The Hollywood Reporter has a copy of the actress’s complaint against Amazon.com, which owns the Internet Movie Database, in which she alleges that everyone’s favorite website for figuring out who-that-guy-in-that-one-movie-was-and-what-was-that-other-movie-he-was-in-with-that-girl screwed her over after she signed up for a Pro IMDb account. After entering credit card information and personal details, including her birthdate, to start the account, her age all of a sudden appeared on her public profile page, “revealing to the public that Plaintiff is many years older than she looks,” according to her humble complaint.

Age isn’t just a number, says her counsel, “Internet lawyer” John Dozier, but a $1,075,000 number…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Actress To IMDb: ‘I’m Too Old For This Sh*%’”

The big news this morning is bad news for the staff at O’Melveny & Myers. News started leaking out last night that the firm would be laying off 75 support staff members.

The firm has confirmed the news that was first published in The Recorder.

Approximately half the of the laid-off O’Melveny staffers will be cut outright. The other half will have the opportunity to be relocated to scenic West Virginia….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Staff Layoff Watch: O’Melveny & Myers Replaces 75 Humans With Technology”

Did you know that Above the Law has introduced a Research Corner to the site? In the Research Corner, readers will be able to sign up and obtain access to white papers, reports, and analysis from leading legal technology companies. From resolving in-house e-discovery matters, to comprehensive document review solutions, the Research Corner has something for everyone.

Some of the exciting topics in the Research Corner include:

  • Datacert: Customer Success Story – Walmart
  • Dell DX & Symantec Solution Brief: Store, Manage, and Discover Critical Business Information with a Complete Archiving Solution
  • FTI Consulting: The End of Piecemealing: Improving All-in-One Document Review Offerings
  • Guidance Software: Choosing the Right In-House Electronic Discovery Solution for Your Organization
  • Mitratech: Technology Platform for Legal Department
  • TCDI: Concept Technology for Streamlining Document Review

What are you waiting for? Sign up for the Research Corner today by clicking here.

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