Those who took the time and made the effort to nominate their personal recommendations for Blawg Review of the Year 2009 know how daunting a task it is to single out a half dozen outstanding presentations of Blawg Review in 2009. Much more challenging it is, believe me, to recognize only one that is exemplary, from amongst the many deserving presentations of Blawg Review last year. After much consideration, that determination has been made.
Blawg Review of the Year 2009 is Kevin A. Thompson's presentation of Blawg Review #213 at Cyberlaw Central.
Kevin Thompson, at Davis McGrath LLC in Chicago, practices primarily in the area of domestic and international trademarks, copyrights, and internet law issues. At the moment, his blawg is having issues of its own and is inexplicably offline. (Now fixed. All that blog needed was a little respect!)
Notwithstanding technical difficulties, we remember well his Blawg Review #213, an homage to Douglas Adams on Towel Day that inspired others who had hosted Blawg Review to participate in the presentation. For that presentation of Blawg Review, Kevin was awarded a towel by fans of Douglas Adams. If you visit Kevin's law office, he will show you the commemorative towel.
Kevin Thompson is a giant, among hobbits, but that's the subject of another of his creative presentations of Blawg Review -- #144 about the Lord of the Rings. In another presentation, Blawg Review #93, Kevin invoked the Illuminati in search of blawg world domination.
What's intriguing about Kevin Thompson's Blawg Review #213 on Towel Day is how naturally it complements his other presentations. Collectively, they're quite a body of work. Kevin's thoughtful presentations might have received more recognition in previous years, but the bar is so high. This is Kevin's year -- he really nailed it. Blawg Review #213 is all about the community of law bloggers, the tribe, as Seth Godin might call it.
Congratulations, Kevin, for this Blawg Review of the Year 2009.
Blawg Review #213
(Photo credit to Markbult under a Creative Commons license.)
Welcome to the Towel Day edition of Blawg Review! Towel Day began in 2001 as a tribute to Douglas Adams. Some of you may recall that my Blawg Review #42 was also a tribute to Douglas. The first Towel Day was held on May 25, 2001, two weeks after Douglas’s untimely permanent existence failure on May 11, 2001. Today in the United States it is also Memorial Day, a day in which we remember those soldiers who have died in service to our country. While Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May, it only rarely shares the May 25th date with Towel Day. For prior Memorial Day editions of Blawg Review, check out #’s 8, 59, 110, and 161. Interestingly, if you want to know why VFW chapters often give poppies in return for donations, check out this link. Also, Dan Hull at What About Clients has a nice thoughtful piece about looking back, remembering, and embracing life.
Towel Day is also a memorial, but a geeky one. Douglas Adams was a well-loved author of many fine works, but he’s best known as the author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a quirky and funny science fiction comedy classic. Douglas managed to write five novels in the “ever more increasingly misnamed” trilogy before his passing, which first got its start as a radio drama. It later became a successful TV series, and finally a movie in 2005. Douglas had tried for years to get the movie off the ground, but did his death four years earlier keep him from appearing in the movie? No, at one point there is a large statue perfectly shaped like Douglas Adams’ nose, and at several points if you know where to look there are pictures or other references to Douglas.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s lead-in post, savvy hitchhikers always know where their towels are. Why a towel? Because they’re so useful!
As the Guide itself says – “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.)”
1 – I’d thought about posing as Arthur Dent, the hapless Earthling from the series who travels the universe in his bathrobe and towel, but Brett Trout of Blawg IT does it better – he’s even got the hair right:
2 – Our next picture is from Colin Samuels, of Infamy or Praise, this year’s Blawg Review of the Year award winner (OK, he’s won every year so far… but only because he’s *EARNED* it), and also quite the hoopy frood himself:
3 – Jonathan Freiden of the E-Commerce Law blog has a nice post this week discussing Craigslist’s suit against the South Carolina Attorney General over his threats to bring criminal charges against Craigslist and its executives.
4 – Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips has a nice reminder about how to leave a proper “out of office” voice mail message. Just in time for Memorial Day!
5 – David Harlow’s Health Care Law Blog looks at the GOP’s health reform plan. David’s also been kind enough to send a picture. I’m advised that the tuft of hair visible above the towel is David, but could also be from one of Zaphod’s heads. You be the judge:
7 – The Manpower Employment Blawg analyzes the recent “Business Ethics” episode of The Office for employment law issues. Zaphod had quite low ethical standards when he served as President of the Galaxy, so I think the Manpower blog would’ve been quite busy analyzing just one day in his life, especially if it were the day that Zaphod stole the Heart of Gold…
8 – The Big Sky Blog looks at the rights of one parent to move within the same state after being divorced. We know these issues would be much different in the Hitchhiker universe, as after all Zaphod and Ford shared three of the same mothers.
9 – The Connecticut Law blog looks at cat bite law and whether a cat will get a free bite (or not.) I imagine that the Ruler of the Galaxy’s cat from Episode 12 of the radio series would get a free bite regardless of its previous disposition.
10 – Cathy Gellis is a cyber lawyer in California who I have come to know online over the years. Here is a post Cathy wrote about her recent experiences at the INTA conference. As she puts it in her bio, “I care very much about information technology and how it affects people’s lives, but I’m concerned that legal policies and precedents are being very foolishly decided that are ultimately detrimental to society.” She also cared to send us a picture!
11 – Marc Randazza took time out from INTA to post about an interesting decision, holding that a domain privacy service can be contributorily liable for the actions of its customers, at least on these facts…
12 – Venkat Balasubramani also took time out from INTA to post about the fleeting nature of Facebook friendships, and how one court has taken judicial notice of that
13 – Moshe Glickman, author of the Circumlocutions blog, shows us one of the best uses for a towel. As a father of three myself, I really like this picture:
14 – Lynne Marek of Law.com wrote about how Federal Judges wee grousing about Lawyers’ courtroom attire, especially about some women lawyers. A number of others wrote about this as well, including @Musalaw on Twitter, Above the Law, and Deven Desai. Zaphod Beeblebrox, voted the Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe for seven years in a row, need not apply.
15 – Marvin may have a brain the size of a planet, but he’s a little mercurial. Rick Georges considers whether Wolfram Alpha is a reliable, albeit less intelligent, substitute for Marvin or that other paranoid entity, Google. Here’s my post about Wolfram Alpha and what happens when you ask it for “the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.”
16 – Much of Adams’ writing was characterized by absurdity. Had he lived, he might have co-authored the absurd NASCAR substance abuse policy. Gabe Feldman points out that the policy, under which a prominent driver has been indefinitely suspended, does not specify punishments or even a list of banned substances: “First, the policy does not identify the substances that are banned. Any drug—legal or illegal, prescription or over-the-counter—can result in a positive test. Second, the policy does not provide a clear list of penalties for failed tests.”
17 – Hitchhiker’s Guide was adapted, revised, sliced and diced, and rebooted several times to suit the needs of radio, novels, television, and film, as well as the author’s own sensibilities. Adams might be termed the patron saint of today’s remix culture. Ann Bartow highlighted a program on remix culture and Mike Madison discussed the topic in greater depth, considering “best practices” in the fair use claims which underlie remixing.
18 – Victoria Pynchon, of the Settle It Now Negotiation Blog, has sent us her picture, peeking out from behind her towel. Perhaps it is due to the dangers of her profession, as she has written about here.
19 – Lyle Denniston previews the Supreme Court’s pending hearing of a Sarbanes case. Perhaps Sarbanes Oxley is a work of Vogon poetry?
20 – Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog kindly provided a picture of him with his… sarong. He also makes a good case for why a sarong is as functional as a towel is for a galactic hitchhiker. A sarong is:
1. An article of clothing to be whipped out of a daypack and used when modesty says shorts are not appropriate;
2. An emergency bedsheet;
3. A sun shade;
4. A tablecloth
5. A towel.
21 – A recent Note in the Stanford Law Review suggests that legal ethics should prohibit a lawyer representing a party in the Supreme Court from publishing blog posts while the case is under consideration. In this blog post, Beck/Hermann of the Drug and Device Law blog begs to differ — stridently. Eric Turkewitz agrees with them as well.
22 – Brian Cavner of the Family Fairness blog writes about surrogacy agreements for same sex couples.
23 – Ken Adams of Adams Drafting has produced yet another great article, this one about “The Meaning of Draft.”
24 – It’s not the Heart of Gold, but Doug Cornelius is understandably bothered about someone lifting his blog’s content for their own purposes and he engages in a bit of self-help.
26 – Was the theft of the Heart of Gold an act of piracy? It’s not infinitely improbable that some might suggest it was. Peter Leeson discusses the “private law” developed by Somali pirates.
27 – A few legal academics might suggest that the Supreme Court’s Iqbal decision indicates a Vogon-like obsession with bureaucratic detail at the expense of the bigger picture. Jon Siegel and Howard Wasserman weigh in, with Siegel desribing the decision as “icky” and Wasserman calling it a “doozy”. Language, gentlemen! Walter Olson, no fan of broad notice pleading, rounds up other takes on the decision.
28 – In Hitchhikers, savvy people carry towels. Steven DeBerry, as interviewed by Steven Hirsch, recommends a pair of jail-issued orange socks.
29 – What’s in a name? I suppose we could ask Tricia McMillan, but the lawyers who successfully defended the Washington Redskins’ name and trademarks against aggrieved Native American plaintiffs might be able to shed some light as well. Kashmir Hill and Elie Mystal report that one first-year associate at the firm hasn’t quite gotten with the program or learned professional tact. He responded in a companywide e-mail to the announcement of the victory and “shat upon” the win, drawing fire from at least one partner. Shortly thereafter, unsurprisingly enough, he was booted from the firm, although the firm claims that the dismissal was for his failure to pass the bar exam and not for his career-limiting e-mail habits. Into what sort of legal economy has he set himself adrift? It doesn’t look promising, as Jordan Furlong explains for the benefit of recent graduates and short-sighted associates.
30 – The anonymous editor in chief of Blawg Review, known affectionately as “Ed.”, kindly sent us his daring yet still anonymous picture. I love his style, as his towel complements his hat and shoes.
31 – Norm Pattis is on a journey to “heaven”, which for him is a Welsh festival devoted to the used and antique book trade. Good for him, but it’s no Magrathea.
32 – Ford Prefect saved Arthur Dent from certain death; Connecticut’s legislators sought to take a page from Prefect’s book and abolish the death penalty in that state this week. Gideon was supportive of the effort, but predicted a quick veto by the governor. He was, of course, absolutely correct, as of this writing she has vowed to veto the bill.
33 – Patrick discussed the misguided defamation claim filed by a conservative Twitterer and “Tea Party” leader against a critic who referred to him as an “insane douchenozzle”. I don’t know of any Douglas Adams connection here, other than to suggest that a man who originally called his character Slartibartfast “Phartiphukborlz” to enrage BBC censors would’ve probably appreciated the word “douchenozzle.”
34 – On Lawyers and Dolphins. Dietmar Tallroth discuss Towel Day, and the lessons we can learn as lawyers from Hitchhikers.
36 – Lars Kurth discusses Towel Day, which is also the Universal Day of the Jedi. No hokey religions or blasters here, today we prefer babel fish in our ears.
37 – SportsBiz discusses an interesting idea – might a team get sued if they play second or third string players in a “meaningless” game? Three clubs who from their point of view dispute that the game is meaningless have threatened to do just that.
38 – “Is 500 serious crimes worth the freedom of 50,000 offenders?” Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice asks whether that is a fair trade.
39 – Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion discusses the Woody Allen billboard case and its recent settlement for $5 million. So, how much are these Towel Pictures going to be worth on a billboard?
40 – So, what do you do when a cop sends you a cease and desist? “Drop the photo, or I’ll shoot.”
40 – Diane Levin, of the Mediation Channel blog, was kind enough to send us her picture. It’s meant to symbolize the discretion of mediation confidentiality:
41 – So, when someone posts a good idea on Twitter, how fast can it be implemented? Well, when the good idea is a site as a resource for laid off attorneys, and the idea floats past Gwynne Monahan, the answer is very quickly. Gwynne and Victoria Pynchon created Lawyer Connection on the Ning social networking site. I joined, as I am always interested in helping out fellow lawyers when I can. I urge you all to consider joining as well.
42 – Charon QC is next week’s host, and he actually can claim to have met Douglas Adams. Charon knew Douglas’s wife Jane Belsen, a lawyer, quite well before she married Douglas. And, while they met briefly, he reports that Douglas was charming, amusing and interesting. Here’s Charon QC’s towel picture:
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Thanks for reading! So long, and thanks for all the fish!
For those who are new to Blawg Review, as well as those who'd like to revisit Kevin Thompson's previous presentations, we have archived them here for the record.
Blawg Review #42
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Blawgosphere
Welcome to Blawg Review #42, the answer to life, the universe and everything! In his memory, the theme for Blawg Review #42 revolves around the most famous work of the sorely missed Douglas Adams. [1952-2001].
Douglas Adams loved computers. He once said that they completely changed the way he wrote — he went from avoiding writing by finding food to eat, to avoiding writing by reconfiguring his Macintosh’s operating system. Hitchhiker’s has been many things, from a radio serial, a series of books [a trilogy in five books], a TV series, now a movie, but it was also a wildly successful computer game back in the text adventure days. As a kid, I spent many hours figuring out how to hold “Tea” and “No Tea” at the same time. In addition to his science fiction humor writing, Douglas was an outstanding naturalist. His book Last Chance to See is about our disappearing endangered species. In his memory, contributions can still be made to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Save the Rhino.
About the Guide
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a small electronic book that contains the authoritative reference material on the galaxy. I’m not going to give away the entire plot of the books, but essentially an Englishman named Arthur Dent discovers that his best friend, Ford Prefect, is really a space alien from Betelgeuse. Ford’s been sent to Earth to edit the Guide’s entry for Earth. Arthur is disturbed to discover that it merely reads “Harmless.” Ford advises him that space in the guide is at a premium, but he did manage to get his editor to change the listing in the next version. It now reads as “Mostly Harmless.” Arthur discovers this while the Earth is being destroyed by the Vogon Constructor Fleet to make way for an interstellar bypass. Arthur’s adventures have only just begun…
The hero, Arthur Dent, is an everyday man who does his best to deal with having his house, his planet, and his view of his place in the universe all destroyed in a matter of about 15 minutes. Dressed only in his pajamas and bathrobe, he sets forth with his towel on a quest to find some tea. Normal readers of this blog are familiar with Internet issues, so keeping with the theme I’ve put interesting posts on computer and internet law issues here.
The most common problem in Science Fiction is how to get everybody to speak the same language? Douglas’ solution was, shall we say, unique. A fish called the Babel Fish goes into your ear and it translates for you. It’s such an endearing tribute to Douglas that Alta Vista’s free translation service is still called Babel Fish. Turning now to language in the Blawgosphere, there has been a great debate by linguists over the use of the word “Blawg” to describe a legal blog.
Marvin the Paranoid Android
Marvin is the ship’s robot from the Heart of Gold. Despite his name, he isn’t paranoid, he’s really just depressed and bored. Really, really depressed. Marvin has some of the best lines in the books, and certainly is a very popular character. Google is a company that depends on its robots, or bots, to carry out its searching. These bots scour the web for changes in web sites. In the last week, Google has received lots of press, some of it over its bots.
Last Chance to See
As mentioned above, although he joked about destroying the world, Douglas was a naturalist. He’d be interested, though, over the fight J. Craig Williams discussed in his post regarding cell phone towers disguised as trees. (Douglas’s interest would likely be in how to make a good joke out of it.) The city of La Cañada Flintridge in California disapproved some cell phone towers because of their lack of aesthetics. The 9th Circuit reversed, holding that the state law does not allow aesthetics to be taken into account.
Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster
According to the Guide, the best drink in existence is the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, the effect of which is “like having your brain smashed out with a slice of lemon… wrapped ’round a large gold brick.” Speaking of drinks, I was hoping this week to find out more details about Lexthink’s next event, a “Salon in a Saloon,” as Matt Homann has hinted at here. As a happy attendee of Blawgthink 2005, I’m curious to see what’s up next for them.
In the Hitchhikers universe, a good example of branding is the planet Magrathea. Everybody has heard of it, but nobody knows where to find it. Accordingly, I’ve put posts dealing with marketing, client development, and customer service here.
Douglas liked to poke fun at management and bureaucracy wherever he could. The Vogons were a race of the ultimate bureaucrats, refusing to do anything unless the orders were signed in triplicate, cross referenced, returned three times for corrections, and so forth. Oh, and a word of advice – avoid their poetry whenever possible. Keeping with the theme, I’ve put posts relating to management here. Keep in mind that the category name may be silly, but these are seriously great articles.
“Why do law firms find it so hard to understand that a feudal warlord system forcing everyone to work harder is not the height of mankind’s achievement in civilization? I have spent twenty years trying to say all professions look similar and can learn from each other, but I’m finally prepared to concede that lawyers are different – and it has nothing to do with economics.”
Ford is Arthur’s best friend who happens to be from the planet Betelgeuse. He serves as Arthur’s guide to the wacky universe around him. In that vein, there are two great posts by Charley Foster at The State of the Beehive in which he discusses and explains the fourth and the ninth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The Ravenous Bug Blatter Beast of Traal
The Ravenous Bug Blatter Beast of Traal is the most ferocious carnivore in the galaxy, but it’s also the stupidest animal around. It thinks if you can’t see it, then it can’t see you, which is why the smartest hitchhikers carry a towel to wrap around their heads just in case they come across the beast. Our fellow bloggers have found some outstanding examples of stupidity in action this week.
Zaphod Beeblebrox is the coolest, slickest dude in the galaxy. He’s got two heads, three arms, and his title is President of the Galaxy until he steals the ship the Heart of Gold with its infinite improbability drive. He can sweet talk anybody out of anything. Speaking of mouths, the Greatest American Lawyer brags that he can speak faster than he can type in his post called “Leveraging a Lawyers Greatest Asset, Their Mouth.” By his logic, Zaphod would make the ultimate lawyer because he’s got twice as many mouths!
Trillian is the really smart woman that Arthur once met at a costume party, but lost to a mysterious slick talking stranger with a birdcage on one shoulder. (Zaphod’s idea of a good costume.) Arthur is reunited with her on the Heart of Gold. She’s the only one who really understands how to work the ship and its infinite improbability drive.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
A restaurant that can only be visited by means of time travel, guests can watch the universe ending all around them as they finish their meal. Bills are paid by depositing one penny in the diner’s real time, by the time of the meal compound interest will be enough to pay the extremely large bill. Speaking of endings, some miscellaneous entries are listed here as we finish our Review.
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Thanks for reading! So long, and thanks for all the fish!
Blawg Review #93
1993 was an important year for the development of Internet and computer law. A seminal case that led to the creation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (the “EFF“)was decided. That case was Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service and United States of America, Western District of Texas, 1993. The EFF still maintains a case archive here.
In order to understand the case, you need to think pre-modern-Internet. In those days, most computer systems were not wired together. Instead, administrators (known as sysops) operated bulletin board systems (a “BBS”) that users dialed up to over ordinary phone lines using that antiquated device known as a 2400 baud modem. (I remember mine fondly as the “2400 Baud Modem For The Deaf”, as it only had one volume setting, *LOUD*.)
In 1990, the Secret Service believed that two individuals had access to a guide to the 911 phone system, and that document was being disseminated on different BBS’s. These individuals also happened to be sysops on the BBS operated by Steve Jackson Games, a publisher of popular role-playing and game systems. This BBS was called Illuminati, in honor of its popular conspiracy game of the same name, and which this Blawg Review is in tribute to.
The Secret Service obtained a warrant and seized computers and documents from Steve Jackson Games, including the full text of a new game that was within days or weeks of publication. (GURPS Cyberpunk). Even though the agents were advised that Steve Jackson Games was a publisher, it took several months for computers to be returned. In the process of being held, some files and systems were lost and/or damaged. Steve Jackson Games sued the Secret Service for the wrongful seizure of its computer systems.
The district court held for Steve Jackson Games, and proceeded to read the agents the riot act for their failure to perform any sort of rudimentary investigation of Steve Jackson Games prior to obtaining the warrant, and for their resulting failure to return the computers and documents in any sort of a timely fashion.
So, in honor of this case, this Blawg Review is dedicated to Steve Jackson Games and its Illuminati game. Illuminati is a wonderfully fun card game with a wicked sense of humor. Each party plays a different group intent on world domination (like the Illuminati, the UFO’s or the Gnomes of Zurich) that each has a different goal. The players battle for domination of other groups (like the Boy Sprouts, the C.I.A, and the Congressional Wives), using such tools as Orbital Mind Control Lasers, Junk Mail, and Video Games. When one party meets its goal, and thus world domination, the game is over. For more on the game, the rules can be found here.
Gnomes of Zurich
The Gnomes of Zurich are after world domination through cold, hard currency. This is the old nickname of the Swiss bankers. Accordingly, I’ve put posts relating to the billable hour, and the pursuit of the almighty dollar, here.
Eric Turkewitz presents Simpson Thacher First Year Associates To Be Paid Like Federal Judges. It surely is a travesty that first year associates are being paid more than federal judges, and Eric points out that it will be hard to keep good judges on the bench if that remains the case.
Charles H. Green presents his post entitled “Leading Lawyers” posted at Trust Matters. He writes, “How can someone who bills 3,300 hours legitimately be described as managing, much less leading, a 550-lawyer firm? The issue isn’t integrity of billings—it’s seriousness of leadership.” I agree, Charles. Being focused on the almighty billable hour to that extent cannot result in good leadership, IMHO.
Did you know that Judge Judy makes $25 million a year?
That’s more than all of the Supreme Court justices combined.
The Bavarian Illuminati
The Bavarian Illuminati is the prototype of all other subversive groups. Its symbol, a pyramid with an all-seeing eye, later also became a Freemason symbol. Some say the Illuminati infiltrated the Freemasons, which partially explains that quirk. Its goal is simply raw power. Since the symbol appears on our U.S. Currency, I’ve placed posts relating to government and its laws here.
For those doing research on the Internet about the U.S. government, you can stay current by following beSpacific, and reading the articles over at llrx.com. Neil Squillante at TechnoLawyer Blog points to Law Practice Magazine’s profile of Sabrina Pacifici, the hardest working woman in legal research, and the publisher of both sites. I cannot recommend both resources highly enough, I read beSpacific every day. I have also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sabrina on several occasions, and can personally attest to her wonderful spirit and dedication to helping others.
Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUSblog has a great post discussing the recent Supreme Court case that overturned California’s determinate sentencing law.
Professor Bainbridge refutes an argument that a Senate ethics reform bill would treat bloggers as lobbyists.
Walter Olson of the pointoflaw.com blog discusses in this post how employment attorneys nationwide say the FMLA is resulting in mounting litigation and uncertainty.
Jack Balkin analyzes the Attorney General’s position that there is no Constitutionally-guaranteed right to habeas corpus in his post entitled “Habeas Corpus and the Tyranny Gap.”
In his post entitled “Computers, the Fourth Amendment and the Analogy Game”, Orin Kerr discusses the problems with applying the fourth amendment to computers.
David Fischer, of the Antitrust Review, asks a really good question about why interest groups don’t publish their amicus briefs online.
The Servants of Cthulhu
The Servants of Cthulhu are the servants of unspeakable powers (think H.P. Lovecraft aka The Dunwich Horror). They are out to destroy other groups through the exercise of powers that Man was not meant to know. Accordingly, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I’ve placed posts dealing with lawyer advertising and marketing here.
Nate Oman at Concurring Opinions has a great post on the mysterious logic of lawyer advertising, specifically a local lawyer who illogically is using a picture of the lawyer with his big happy family to sell divorce services.
Did you know that 4 of the top 25 Web Celebrities (per a list published at Forbes magazine) are lawyers? Bob Ambrogi discusses the phenomenon here.
Fred Faulkner, publisher of From the 21st Floor, shares a post that originally appeared on llrx.com entitled “BIG in 2007: How the web will continue to change how we do business.”
Bill Gratsch at Blawg’s Blog has a good post entitled “When the World Searches for You, What Do They Find?” His point is that lawyers should be active on the web as well as in other media, as you never know if opposing counsel, or a judge, or a potential client might be searching for you.
Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog writes about the future of lawyers using video for marketing.
For an example of a non-blogger lawyer using video, see Eric Sinrod’s videos here. Kevin was on a roll this week, be sure to also check out his post about the value of linking to your competition. I can’t agree more with his post, I’ve gotten more out of fellowship with fellow bloggers in my practice area than any other tangible benefit of blogging.
The Mummering Blawg Review editor, Ed, discusses the lawyer blogs nominated for the 2007 weblog awards, the Bloggies.
J. Craig Williams of May It Please The Court presents a podcast from the Marketing Partner Forum that sounds like fun to listen to. I’ve added this to my Mp3 player for my commute!
The Discordian Society
The Discordian Society seeks to dominate through sowing discord and strife. They worship Eris, the Roman goddess of Strife and Chaos. Accordingly, I’ve placed posts dealing with politics and other controversies here.
John Balkin at Balkinization has a great post on the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the political future of abortion rights. The debate continues in the comments to that post as well.
David Kopel discusses the stances of the current Presidential candidates on the 2nd amendment here.
Mike at Crime & Federalism discusses Duke President Richard Brodhead and his misunderstanding of the presumption of innocence.
David Maister writes about Client Politics posted at Passion, People and Principles. He writes “Do you have the mediation skills to be a good advisor to you clients? And how do you deal with the ethical issues around client-site politics?” Be sure to also check out his continuing podcast Business Masterclass series here.
Brett Trout discusses clawback procedures under the newly-revised FRCP here.
Stephanie West Allen presents Not on the same legal writing page: George Gopen of Duke responds to Wayne Schiess of University of Texas posted at idealawg. These professors are having an ongoing dialogue on the nature of language. How’s that for a controversy, eh?
So, how do you end discord and strife? Mediation is one solution. Next week’s host is Diane Levin of the Online Guide to Mediation. She has two posts about bridging the gap between lawyers and mediators.
Nobody knows whether The Network consists of a group of computer hackers, or the computers themselves that have become sentient. Either way, they’re powerful, and they know everything about you. I’ve placed posts dealing with Internet, intellectual property, and computer issues here.
20th Century Fox served YouTube with a subpoena last week, asking the site to identify a user who uploaded several episodes of “24″ and “The Simpsons.” Peter Black, an associate lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, discusses that case here.
Peter Black also pointed out a clever “Second Life” parody site and the noteworthy response thereto by the makers of “Second Life” — a “proceed and permitted” letter (rather than a “cease and desist letter).
Nick Holmes of Binary Law talks about one of my favorite authors, Douglas Adams, and his impact on technology. You may recall that my Blawg Review #42 was dedicated to Douglas Adams.
Ann Bartow of the Feminist Law Professors Blog wrote “The Copyrighted Anne Frank”, which explores how copyright law affected a miniseries on Anne Frank, as well as letters written by her father, Otto Frank.
The Patent Baristas wonder whether it is worth it for Generics to challenge Branded Drugs.
The Bermuda Triangle
This group seeks power by collecting groups and adding them to its organization. Sinking ships is just a hobby. Due to this focus on growth through acquisition, I couldn’t help but think of the modern day huge international law firm, so I’ve put posts on law practice management here, as well as quality of life issues.
Bruce Macewen of Adam Smith, Esq. believes that a large law firm issuing an IPO is going to happen sooner than you think.
Susan Cartier Liebel, of Build a Solo Practice LLC, points out how one of her students is graduating with $165,000.00 in debt, yet he still has the entrepreneurial spirit and wants to hang out his own shingle as a solo.
Nicole L. Black, of the Sui Generis blog, writes about the life balance of a woman litigator, between family and litigation itself. Interesting reading. Be sure to also check out her post about the hazards of being a female lawyer in a criminal court.
The Basquette Case blog has an interesting post, entitled “Putting the Lie to Work/Life Balance.”
Mike Dillon, General Counsel of Sun, asks the question “Where do you work?” He doesn’t have an office, perhaps you should think about not having one at all, either.
Nobody knows much about the UFO’s, are they extra-terrestrials, or the result of Air Force experiments in Roswell, NM after World War II? They are the most elusive group, since nobody knows what they are after. I’ve therefore placed posts dealing with the strange, the quirky, the sad and the funny sides of the law here.
At Overlawyered, this post discusses a teacher who has hired the ACLU to protest his firing. The reason? He moonlights as a “butt-printing artist.” And no, I am not making that up!
Did you know that an RFID tattoo has been developed? One of the proposed applications is for soldiers. David T.S. Fraser, a Canadian privacy lawyer, discusses the proposal here, and points out how incredibly stupid (and dangerous!) it is to deploy a technology that could be hacked by the other side to pinpoint just where the soldiers are.
Evan Brown of InternetCases.com discusses a recent case where a 16-year old girl was prosecuted for sending explicit photos of herself to her 17-year old boyfriend. The charge? Trafficking in child pornography. This one is just bizarre enough to be classified here under the UFO’s.
J. Craig Williams brings us the story from here in Chicago of a man who admitted to not being an attorney after filing a pleading to represent a criminal defendant. The judge noted there was no bar number on the pleading, and then he admitted he wasn’t an attorney!
Dustin, at Quizlaw, points out an unusual interpretation of Michigan law that could mean life in prison for the crime of adultery.
Here’s another post from Dustin, this sordid story is way more tangled than any one of my wife’s soap operas.
Here’s a serious story, Eric Muller discusses what it’s like to grieve for someone you only met online.
He calls it e-grieving.
Alan Childress presents Another Gift From the Legal Profession: Bizarre Warning Labels posted at Legal Profession Blog.
And, finally, Steve Nipper at The Invent Blog wrote “Diet Coke, Mentos and Lawyers.”
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this special Illuminati edition.
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Blawg Review #144
Welcome to Blawg Review #144! This review draws its theme from the number, as did my prior reviews, #42 with its Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy theme, and #93 with my tribute to Steve Jackson Games and its Illuminati game. Well, this one proves once again how much of a geek I am at heart.
You see, 144 is the number of guests that Bilbo Baggins invited to his 111th birthday party, as it was the total age combined between him and his heir, Frodo Baggins, who was 33 at the time. This party, of course, is at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, itself being the first book in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo, who discovered the One Ring during The Hobbit, throws a grand party where he gives a grand speech, which ends with:
“I regret to announce that – though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you – this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!”
Bilbo then disappears. Bilbo has actually put on his magic ring and slipped away. Back at his hobbit hole, Bag End, he has a frank talk with Gandalf the wizard before leaving the ring behind for Frodo. This sets up the rest of the three books, which tell of Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring and thereby save Middle Earth.
As an aside, if all you’ve seen are the movies, you’re missing so much. For example, did you know there is a gap of 17 years between this party and Frodo’s discovering that the ring left behind by Bilbo is the One Ring, the one to rule all the other rings of power? That, and much, much, much more. Not to slam the movies, but they had to be trimmed. In the book, it’s an elf named Glorfindel who saves Frodo at the ford before Rivendell – not Arwen. I would’ve paid big bucks to see Glorfindel revealed in all his power as an Elf Lord. As he’s passing out, all Frodo can see is a glowing figure. Alas, it was not to be…
All images used here are copyright by John Howe, frequent illustrator of Tolkien’s works and one of the artists who worked with the filmmakers, and used in accordance with the terms of his site. Visit www.john-howe.com for further details. I’ve always loved his artwork, as it truly brings the word pictures in Tolkien’s works to life. Still, I wanted to focus on Tolkien’s words, so there are quotes interspersed throughout from the books. What an amazing world it is that he labored to create. Tolkien didn’t create many books because he spent so much time creating the worlds in which those stories took place. It always irked him as his friend C.S. Lewis was able to churn out book after book, while he spent years perfecting each one. These books are a testament to his imagination, and they truly stand out as some of the greatest works of the twentieth century.
“Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
I’ll begin the review proper with my take on a recent issue of great interest to regular readers of this blog. A lawyer named Eric Menhart has taken an aggressive stance towards the highly descriptive, if not generic, term “Cyberlaw.” He’s filed a trademark application for the term and has sent a cease and desist letter to another blogger. Here’s the EFF’s take on the issue, written by Corynne McSherry. Others covering the issue include Peter Black, Groklaw, and Professor Eric Goldman.You can read Menhart’s reaction to the controversy here, which appears to prove that he simply does not understand the criticism.
I aim to monitor the situation for my own personal reasons as another blogger with “Cyberlaw” in my blog title, and one who will defend vigorously my right to use the highly descriptive, if not generic term, in the highly descriptive if not generic sense of identifying the general topic area covered by my writings. Stay tuned!
“I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.” — Strider, The Fellowship of the Ring
Evan Brown, of Internet Cases, covers an interesting recent declaratory judgment case filed here in Chicago by BlueAir, Inc. against Apple over the mark AIRPOD. BlueAir’s product is a desktop air cleaner, which they argue is not likely to be confused with Apple’s iPod music player.
Marty Schwimmer of The Trademark Blog advises us that Lulu has settled its trademark case with Hulu.
R. David Donoghue of the Chicago IP Litigation Blog has undertaken an interesting project of statistically analyzing the IP Cases here in the Northern District of Illinois. This week, he looks at the trademark filings and determines that cases are down 9 percent.
Virtually Blind examines the issues raised by the “SLART” trademark application. It has rightfully upset many “Second Life” artists.
“Do not give up hope! Gandalf is greater than you Shire-folk know — as a rule you can only see his jokes and toys. But this business of ours will be his greatest task.” — Strider, The Fellowship of the Ring
Stephen Albainy-Jenei of Patent Baristas examines the issue presented in a Petition for Cert before the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue? It’s whether it’s fair that the State of California can sue for patent infringement on one hand while using sovereign immunity to keep from being sued for patent infringement itself. Dennis Crouch of Patently-O discusses this case here as well.
The Citizen Media Law Project has put together a nice resource, a primer on copyright liability and fair use.
“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.” — The Fellowship of the Ring
Jeremy Phillips of IPKat discusses how Rambus is using its patents to maniupulate the market. I met Jeremy when he was in town for the INTA conference last year, and he was very gracious to spend a few minutes chatting with me. Nice fellow, and brilliant too.
William Patry, another brilliant fellow who was here in Chicago recently to speak, has blogged about a 9th Circuit case discussing the copyright in a few scuptural works of real animals. As he says, the claim “croaks.”
Ken Adams presents What the Heck Does “Best Efforts” Mean? posted at AdamsDrafting. I’ve linked to Ken’s writing before in previous reviews, I recommend adding his feed to your reader if you haven’t already. I always seem to gain some insight into legalese as a result.
How well do you know your grammar? Set in Style examines the “Rule of Agreement.”
The Drug and Device Blog summarizes the facts, and speculates on the outcome, of Wyeth v. Levine, the case in which the Supreme Court will decide the availability of federal preemption as a defense to product liability cases brought against manufacturers of prescription drugs.
So, what happens when lawyers stray from their normal fields of practice? Eric Turkewitz examines what happened when a criminal lawyer tried handling a medical malpractice case.
“Many of those trees were my friends, creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are wastes of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. I have been idle. I have let things slip. It must stop!” — Treebeard, The Two Towers
Ed Poll, at the Law Biz blog, looks at the upcoming revolution in value billing.
Our esteemed Editor ‘N Chef of Blawg Review asks “What makes great blogwriting?”
Kevin O’Keefe asks again the question whether lawyers with blogs should link to each other. He’s posting the question as part of his “Blog Basics” answer series, as I imagine he gets it quite often. As a participant in the Blawg Review project, I guess you can figure out my feelings on the topic. Still, I do like his conference metaphor, so read it.
Likewise, be sure to read Peter Black’s post on what happens to a post after you hit publish.
So, is this a blog?
And, will this Blawg Review be blocked in China? Balkinization was.
“Shadowfax will have no harness. You do not ride Shadowfax: he is willing to carry you — or not. If he is willing, that is enough.” — Gandalf, The Two Towers
Fiona de Londras wonders how we will determine when the “war on terror” is ended and, when that occurs, what we will do with our prisoners of that war.
Diane Levin presents Send lawyers, guns and mediators: what songs would be on your mediation playlist? posted at Mediation Channel.
Similarly, Professor Marc Randazza spares no language when he brands Deborah Taylor Tate of the FCC as “A$$hat of the Week.”
Professor Randazza also had an interesting post discussing copyright in cease and desist letters.
Arnie Herz discusses “the ongoing inquiry into lawyer happiness” at Legal Sanity.
“Then Aragorn led the way, and such was the strength of his will in that hour that all the Dúnedain and their horses followed him.” — The Return of the King
Here’s a good question about assumption of risk. Aragorn led his men down the aptly-named Paths of the Dead, which, oddly enough, led to the dead. Here, Kevin Underhill tells the tale of a man who went into a bar called “Pissed off Pete’s” and get, well, beat up by Pete.
Orin Kerr is critical of a catch-and-release scheme of federal policing seemingly endorsed by some courts.
Steven Erickson highlights a troubling case which illustrates the need for some deep thought about our approach to sex criminal assessment and incapacitation.
“No living man am I! You look upon a woman.” Eowyn, The Return of the King
Cathy Gellis of Statements of Interest writes an interesting post entitled “I Need A Husband.” She discusses the legal privilege that husbands cannot be forced to testify against their wives, which she decides might be prudent at some point in the future.
Deliberations looks at “When Women Judge Women.” It’s an interesting take on how critical women jurors can be of female plaintiffs.
“’I'll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind,’ said Sam. ‘And I’ll carry Mr. Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart.’” — Samwise Gamgee, The Return of the King
I’ve always thought that Sam and Frodo could’ve used a GPS in their quest to find Mt. Doom, especially when traveling through the marshland outside of Mordor. From Spatial Law, here is a look at the liability of manufacturers of GPS devices when the directions are wrong.
Gollum, as shown in the above image, was brought to life in the movie version by Andy Serkis and the artists at WETA, who deserved some mention for their group efforts when award time came around. Biolaw examines another controversy over things brought to life, this time it’s synthetic life.
“It is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.” — The Return of the King
The White Collar Crime Prof Blog compares the different approaches taken in France and the United States to massive financial fraud. It’s truly a study in contrasts.
Jamie Spencer at Austin DWI Lawyer explains how Texas law handles the question of whether the police must disclose that the field sobriety test is optional.
“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” — Gandalf, The Return of the King
Simple Justice reviews Carolyn Elefant’s “Solo By Choice.” The reviewer was blown away, which I am not surprised about. Nobody writes about opening a solo practice like Carolyn.
And, finally, from Human Rights in the Workplace, consider reading this post with thoughts on running a solo or small firm.