Walter Olson

[T]he dislike [for legal academics] is a result of law professors being too much in the world. You see, law professors — and I should disclose here that I am one — very nearly run the world, or at least certain parts of the U.S. government. When you include Justice Anthony Kennedy, who taught nights, they make up the majority of the Supreme Court.

– Professor Noah Feldman, in an interesting and provocative Bloomberg opinion piece (via Overlawyered), responding in part to David Segal’s latest New York Times piece criticizing legal education.

(Additional excerpts and discussion, after the jump.)

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* You’d think the following would go without saying, but the kids these days need it spelled out, so here goes: If you are Facebook friends with a hostage taker, DO NOT send him status updates alerting him to SWAT team movements during a standoff. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Excellent interview with Mark Cuban’s lawyer, Thomas Melsheimer of Fish & Richardson. [Deadspin]

* Illegal immigrants are everywhere. And… and… it’s no BFD! It hasn’t ruined the country. In fact, Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer-winning journalist. [New York Times Magazine]

* How lawyers want you to handle it when they send you letters. [Popehat]

* My father used to say: If old white ladies are yelling at you, you must be doing something right. Or something like that. [Althouse]

* I only skimmed through Kash’s thoughts on Anthony Weiner, but I think she just said that if you are not tweeting your boner at people, you are leading a repressed and boring life. Unfortunately, Kash was never molested. [Room for Debate / New York Times]

* Maurizio Levi-Minzi, hiring partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, says that the firm is looking for people who are passionate about something, not necessarily the law. I can, like, vouch for that and stuff. [The Careerist]

* Unlike that Stanford guy, Walter Olson eschews sensational headlines, even though editors can sometimes overrule him. Oh, but as a blogger, I’m required to write this blurb this way: Walter Olson, establishment lapdog, defends the evil Wal-Mart and other enemies of galactic peace. [Overlawyered]

* Sullivan & Cromwell is going before the Supreme Court — but not in a good way. SCOTUS grants cert to examine S&C’s mailroom of death. [ABA Journal]

* In happier news for S&C, they are working on AT&T’s $39 billion bid for T-Mobile — a deal that should generate massive fees for the many Am Law 100 firms involved. [Am Law Daily]

* Do you want to negotiate big-time deals? This Loyola law student has discovered the best way to land a big client. [Chicago Tribune]

* Professor John O. McGinnis reviews Walter Olson’s new book, Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America. [Wall Street Journal via Instapundit]

* “Can Tim Wu save the internet?” The prominent professor, author of The Master Switch, is now advising the FTC. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* “When are knowingly false statements of fact constitutionally unprotected?” Professor Eugene Volokh tackles this interesting issue. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Wondering if Libya will get democratic presidential elections before Puerto Rico? [Blawg Review]


* Here’s a list of America’s Worst Bosses for 2010. Shocker: some of them are lawyers. [eBossWatch]

* Is this a legal and/or fair way to get a flaking eBay auction winner to pay up? Maybe all is fair in love and war e-commerce — although that approach didn’t work out well for Vitaly Borker. [Reddit via Consumerist]

* Remember the Syracuse Law satirical blog controversy? Well, now the administration is playing with FIRE. [Foundation for Individual Rights in Education]

* Filing a lawsuit against McDonald’s over Happy Meals makes me sad — and Walter Olson mad. (Disclosure: I once worked at McDonald’s.) [New York Daily News]

* Speaking of delicious things — and readers, please note my use of “delicious” to refer to food — how do you overcome the “cupcake challenge”? A panel of experts, including my law school classmate, Georgia state legislator Stacey Abrams, tackled this question in a panel discussion at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [The ChamberPost]

* Single D.C. lawyers, there’s still time to entrust your love life to Kashmir Hill. We have many responses, but there’s gender imbalance right now. Kash needs men — please help! [Above the Law]

Writing About the Law New York Law School NYLS Above the Law.jpgWe had a blast at last week’s Writing About the Law conference, at New York Law School. And we weren’t the only ones. Here’s a (rather belated) round-up of conference coverage from the blogosophere:
1. Social life of a blawger [Overlawyered]
As you can see from his post, Walter Olson was a social butterfly at the conference. We enjoyed sitting next to him at lunch, where we talked about — what else? — his famous neighbor in Chappaqua, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Let the conversation begin!
2. Blawgers are Dirty Swingers [QuizLaw]
Dustin wasn’t even at the conference, but he used Walter Olson’s post as the jumping-off point for this entertaining write-up. Even Ann Althouse was amused — despite being the subject of the line, “One night with Ann Althouse is all I ask, man. It’s all I ask.
(Back off, Dustin — she’s with us.)
3. At the “Writing About the Law” conference [Althouse]
Speaking of Professor Althouse, here’s her account of the proceedings. It’s a multimedia extravaganza. In addition to several photos, it includes an amusingly awkward video. Technology is swell!
4. “Writing About the Law: From Bluebook to Blogs and Beyond” at NYLS, Part I
“Writing About the Law: From Bluebook to Blogs and Beyond” at NYLS, Part II
“Writing About the Law: From Bluebook to Blogs and Beyond” at NYLS, Part III
A trio of substantive write-ups of various panels, from Lawrence Solum of Legal Theory Blog.
Despite his brilliance, the lanky Professor Solum shares our tendency towards typos. Is referring to the Duke lacrosse team rape case as “the Dukie case” a Freudian slip?
5. Ripped From The Headlines [Soloway]
Photographs from the conference (including a profile shot of us typing away on our laptop).
6. Live-Blogging the NYLS Symposium on Writing About the Law [TaxProf Blog]
A linkwrap by Professor Paul Caron (who has duly noted our comments on his shirt selection).
7. Is John McCain’s website suggestive of NAZI iconography? [Volokh Conspiracy]
Professors Jim Lindgren and Randy Barnett of the Volokh Conspiracy both spoke at the conference, but haven’t really blogged about it. This VC post, from Professor Lindgren, includes a brief shout-out to Professor Althouse: “It was a pleasure to see Ann Althouse at the New York Law School conference yesterday.”
Here’s a picture we took of these two professors, mugging for the camera:
NYLS 1 James Lindgren Jim Lindgren Ann Althouse.jpg

breast implant breasts Above the Law.jpgLast Friday, something happened that made Walter Olson, the distinguished scholar and “intellectual guru of tort reform,” a very happy man:

“The government on Friday rescinded a 14-year ban on silicone gel implants for cosmetic breast enhancement, a decision praised by some for providing women with a better product but criticized by others who still question their safety. … After rigorous review, the [Food and Drug Administration] can offer a ‘reasonable assurance’ that silicone implants are ‘safe and effective,’ said Donna-Bea Tillman, director of the FDA Office of Device Evaluation.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Daniel Costello, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 18).

Silicone breast implants, available to consumers in most other countries, were driven from the market after a campaign of speculation and misinformation by trial lawyers and allied “consumer” groups, particularly Dr. Sidney Wolfe’s Public Citizen Health Research Group. The campaign resulted in billions in legal settlements over nonexistent autoimmune effects from the devices, none of which had to be repaid even after more careful scientific studies dispelled the early alarms.

We suspect Mr. Olson isn’t the only American male who was gladdened by this news.
FDA ends ban on silicone breast implants [Overlawyered]
F.D.A. Will Allow Breast Implants Made of Silicone [New York Times]
Memorable Quotes from Seinfeld (1990) [IMDb]