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Denise Howell is a seasoned appellate and intellectual property litigator based in Los Angeles. Denise writes one of the first and most popular law-related blogs, Bag and Baggage, coined the term "blawg" and helped pioneer podcasting for lawyers. Microcontent obsessed since 2001, she is frequently quoted in the media on legal issues involving intellectual property and technology law. "Sound Policy" is Denise's show at IT Conversations, and it's also what she hopes results from the briefs she submits to court. Email Denise at

Dennis Kennedy is a computer lawyer and legal technology expert based in St. Louis, Missouri. An award-winning author, a frequent speaker and a widely-read blogger, he has more than 300 publications on legal, technology and Internet topics, many of which are collected in his e-books. Dennis has been described as someone who knows almost every rock song in existence and, more importantly, how they apply to technology and law. Email Dennis at his gmail address.

Tom Mighell is Senior Counsel and Litigation Technology Support Coordinator at Cowles & Thompson in Dallas. He has published the Internet Legal Research Weekly newsletter since 2000 and blogged about the Internet and legal technology at Inter Alia since August of 2002. With Tom's singing, Ernie on guitar and Dennis' encylopedic knowledge of rock music, we may have the beginnings of a good band, if this whole blog thing doesn't work out. Email Tom at

Marty Schwimmer left a partnership in the largest trademark practice in the world and founded Schwimmer Mitchell, a full-service IP micro-boutique in Westchester County, New York, where he represents owners of famous and not yet famous trademarks. He founded The Trademark Blog, the first IP law blog and the one with the most pictures. He is the first to come in and the last to leave in his firm. Email Marty at

Ernest Svenson practices law with a mid-sized law firm in New Orleans, specializing in business-related lawsuits. Most of his practice takes place in federal court, especially the Eastern District. He is best known for his weblog Ernie the Attorney, which he started as an experiment. Like many experiments it got out of control. Nevertheless, he continues to practice law and, occasionally, to seek enlightenment. Email Ernest at
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June 21, 2006

One more law...

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Posted by Ernest Svenson

"Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them," H.L. Mencken said derisively. What kind of scorn would he heap upon the legal system if he were around today?

Average citizens are presumed to know the law, which makes it easier for us to punish or fine them. Obviously, we all know that no one could possibly know even a tenth of the law. Meanwhile Congress and various state legislatures spew out new laws the way an out-of-control popcorn machine spits out fluffy white kernels. And when these laws are drafted (in labored verbiage that only a prim bespeckled encyclopedia editor would enjoy dissecting) are they grouped together in coherent categories? No, for the sake of politcial expediency (read: "you scratch my constituents' backs and I'll scratch yours") these laws are mushed together. Yes, let's put that new missle defense treaty in with the funding package for education. That makes perfect sense to me, how about you Bob?

So what can we do about this situation? Sadly, not very much. Let's use a drug analogy just to grab for something far-fetched. When you have a guy who's hooked on heroin there are clear steps you can take: you schedule an intervention and then put him in rehab. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't but at least it's feasible. Our legal system went off the rails at least twenty or thirty years ago, maybe more. But a lot of people (many of them in Washington D.C.) are perfectly comfortable with our legal system. Sure we have problems, but we know exactly what to do when we discover one. Just pass that one more law and glom it together with that other law that Bob just pulled out of the oven. And soon it will all be okay.

Ain't delusion grand?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Law 2.0


1. Thomason on June 29, 2006 12:06 PM writes...

Thus spawned was the remark,
No one's property or liberty is safe so long as the Legislature is in session.

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