Technology

About two years ago, I signed up for Office 365, mainly to host my email. My $8.00 a month plan came with a bunch of things that I didn’t really think were that useful, but put it on my to-do list to look into them later.

One of those things was SharePoint. I had heard a lot about SharePoint, but could not figure out what it was. I knew a lot of the bigger law firms and Fortune 500 companies used it. The Lynda.com explanation only made me more confused – it’s not a program, it’s a whole experience and you can’t understand what SharePoint is until you experience it yourself.

I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what SharePoint is, and I am about to spoil the journey for all of you….

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People are always talking about work/life balance at large law firms as if such a thing truly exists. For some associates, it does. They can go out and have a baby, “have a baby,” and do whatever it is they so please in their limited free time. For others, it’s a completely different story. They’re the first ones at the office and the last ones to leave. When they do go home, it’s to look at their family in passing or check their OKCupid accounts with a sigh, sleep for a few hours, take a shower, and put on a different suit. These associates have no lives, and it’s all thanks to their work.

Now, perhaps for the benefit of associates without lives, in the interest of work/life balance, this Biglaw firm is making it possible for its associates and counsel to do even more work than they already do…

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Over the years we’ve written a few times about lawyers trying to sue Westlaw, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters for aggregating public court legal filings, and then reselling them. As we’ve noted in the past, rulings by the court (or filings by the government) are in the public domain, but filings by lawyers representing other parties likely have some level of copyright protection over them. However, there is an exceptionally strong fair use claim to being able to make use of such public filings. Earlier lawsuits, such as ones we wrote about in 2009 and 2010 appeared to fizzle out, but the one we wrote about in 2012 actually went to a federal court in New York. A little over a year ago, we wrote about how the case was easily dismissed on summary judgment, with a promise to issue a full ruling at a later date.

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As you know, in this column I examine how individual solo and small-firm lawyers are using new technologies in their day-to-day practices. Hopefully, my columns will encourage and help other lawyers to do the same.

In today’s column you will meet Mitch Jackson, a California personal injury attorney, and will learn how he uses the wearable technology Google Glass in his law firm. Mitch founded his law firm, Jackson & Wilson, Inc., with his wife in 1988. Since then they’ve dedicated their practice to representing victims of personal injury and wrongful death.

It’s entirely possible that you’ve already heard of Mitch. Whether on Twitter, LinkedInFacebook, or YouTube, he has an incredibly strong social media presence. Most recently, part of his online focus has been on his use of Google Glass in his law practice. So of course he immediately came to mind when I conceived of the idea for the column. I knew I had to reach out to Mitch and explore how he uses Google Glass in his practice — and whether the technology is actually useful or whether it’s too nascent to be particularly helpful for lawyers.

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We broke up. I dropped the bitch cold. No quarter. No compromises. No regrets.

I left the practice of law. Here’s what happened next….

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* The criminal codes violated in Transformers: Age of Extinction. Violations of the code of good filmmaking not included. [The Legal Geeks]

* Remember the guy who turned Justice Ginsburg’s Hobby Lobby dissent into a song? It turns out he’s been recording a song a day since 2009 and that was his first hit. Congrats! Hopefully next Term Justice Alito can declare suffocating orphans constitutional so this guy can have a follow-up. [Music.mic]

* How to end an internship? The key is drunkenly denouncing all your bosses in public. Oh, how to end an internship positively? Well, then I’m going to need some advice. [Corporette]

* Fracking interests have a new plan to promote the well-being of those living in affected areas: pay them $50,000 to grant universal releases. This doesn’t make fracking sound dangerous at all. [Pro Publica]

* Hey folks taking the New York bar exam at the Javits Center! Order your lunch. [Custom Gourmet]

* Insurance companies are asking American customers to go to Tijuana for medical care. “I know you need heart surgery, but have you considered how awesome it would be to take in a donkey show after your release?” [New Republic]

* Mitchell Epner, who is basically our Donald Sterling beat reporter, has a recap of the first day of the proceedings. [mitchellepner]

* Conviction for multiple sexual assaults “can be the basis of an interim suspension of his law license.” Seems like that should be a little more definite. [Legal Profession Blog]

* One of the underappreciated challenges in state and local governance is the inability to permalink statutes. [Government Executive]

The first question people usually ask me when they find out I am a lawyer is: “What kind of lawyer are you?” My response is usually: “I am a story teller.” A good deal of my practice involves helping lawyers tell stories, because no juror ever said, “Well… I’m not really sure that I understand the plaintiff’s point of view completely. Let’s give him $10 million.” I usually advocate for the cyborg approach: part human and part machine. I think you can tell an effective story without a computer, but from my experience, jurors are a reflective part of the population that consciously moved out of the radio era and into CGI-laden-movies era.

I use neat hardware (sometimes cheap hardware), I use neat software, and I almost always use a whole lot of custom graphics. Talking about how to make a great graphic is almost impossible. Most of the good ones are good for unique reasons. Most of the bad ones are bad because they fall into a few general categories. Here are a couple of those categories:

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Casey Anthony

* Squire Patton Boggs has announced the new leadership structure of its lobbying and public policy practice. It’s really no surprise that the head honchos of the group hail from the Patton Boggs side of the recent merger. [Politico]

* “It’s funny how the Supreme Court reaches down and picks this case.” The most important digital privacy case of our time just happened to be filed by Stanford Law’s SCOTUS Litigation Clinic. Awesome. [San Jose Mercury News]

* If you’re caught on camera sleeping during a Yankees/Red Sox game, you can probably expect abuse from ESPN announcers. If you call someone an “unintelligent fatty” as an announcer, you can probably expect a $10M defamation suit. [New York Post]

* “I’m proud to do my job.” Madonna finally rescheduled her jury duty session in New York City, but she was dismissed early so as not to create a “further distraction for the courthouse.” [New York Daily News]

* It’s been three years since Casey Anthony was acquitted of her daughter’s murder. Let us remember this most amazing voicemail: “CASEY ANTHONY NEEDS TO ROT IN HELL! SHE NEEDS TO DIE!” [CNN]

Lindsay Lohan

And we’re back with another episode of Lindsay Lohan Sues People For Stuff They Didn’t Do. It’s been a while, so you may not remember that Lohan, who has been quite lawsuit-happy in the past, was reportedly discussing filing a likeness-rights suit against the makers of Grand Theft Auto 5, claiming that a character in the game is based on her. That was in December of last year and apparently over six months of her lawyers explaining to her what parody is hasn’t taken, because reports are now coming out that she has indeed filed in a New York court:

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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]

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