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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
About this blog
Between Lawyers provides just-in-time group commentary on the issues
raised when technology, culture and the law intersect. We take you
behind the firewalls and conference room doors to show you how
experienced lawyers deal with these issues and help you prepare for
the new challenges we all face. For more, see our introductory post.
Microsoft Provides a Good Illustration of the Metadata Exposure Problem
Ed Botts offers up a great example of how tricky the hidden data, or metadata, issue can be in Microsoft Office. The victim this time is Microsoft. Irony aside, it's important to understand the example and be attuned to the potential problems.
Ed's recent post "What's Hidden in Your Word Documents?" also is an eye-opener on the topic for those who are not familiar with the workings of the default settings in Office 2007 (that may include some bar regulators in the US).
Stealth Legal Start-up Gets $10,000,000 of VC Investment
Kevin O'Keefe spots a VERY interesting development in what might be the future of legal services for consumers. Kevin's take on this is eye-opening. Avvo is definitely something to watch for those interested in Law 2.0.
Doc Searls has a very good introduction to the increasingly important notion of the Live Web.
The money quote:
Blogs are not just sites. They are also journals — live ones, to be exact. (Significantly, Brad Fitzpatrick named his blog system LiveJournal.) When you save a blog post, Technorati knows about it and indexes it in as little as 60 seconds or less. I assume Google Blogsearch does the same. Meanwhile Google's main Static Web search engine indexes the entire Web at a less than live pace. This isn't a bad thing at all; just a different thing. This difference is so sharp that Google Blogsearch gives you a choice between "Search Blogs" and "Search the Web".
As Tom Mighell says, "knowing the right questions to ask in an electronic discovery deposition is crucial, and I'd wager most lawyers haven't had the opportunity to ask many questions along those lines."
Denise Howell's notes from her recent talk called "Law That Works" will one day be seen as one of the important theoretical steps toward what will become Law 2.0.
The reinvented law of reinvented TV is built — route-around by route-around — on the damage of things like byzantine music licensing rules, nonexistent Hollywood film licensing alternatives, antiquated procedural niceties, and the inability of our undeniably glorious (when compared with other alternatives) legal system to deliver certainty on a host of business-critical and livelihood-critical issues.
The Open Culture blog has amazing lists of and links to educational podcasts, such as this useful list of links to podcasts from top U.S. law schools. It's nice to see my law school alma mater, Georgetown, among the leaders in these efforts as well as Georgetown returning to historic basketball form in the NCAA tournament.
Blog carnivals are an interesting blog phenomenon, with a long history. Dave Winer has referred to a blog as "the unedited voice of a person," and blog carnivals turn that notion on its head, being "voices of many different people in many different places." However, that's what makes the blogosphere so rich - there are so many ways to create compelling blogs and blog content. In that respect, it's even more amazing to keep a blog carnival going for 100 editions (and even more in the case of some blog carnivals), especially as blog search tools improve and people increasingly consume information through RSS feeds and newsreaders rather than individually visiting blogs.
This is an opportunity for the blawgosphere to assume a leadership position. It can be more than a compendium of firm brochures. Practitioner blogs can provide cool-headed legal analysis of issues such as the Niger Documents, Plame Affair, Torture Memos, NSA issues and Signing Statements, to a broader audience than the prof blogs can reach.
Is it a poison for a practitioner to discuss politics? Partisan politics, yes.
However I don't see a downside in arguing for equal application of and respect for the law. That may even be one of those civic duties they may have mentioned at the bar admission ceremony.
I would hope that there is a centrist bloc of practitioner bloggers who simply want the truth to come out. Jack Nicholson is wrong, we can handle the truth.
So let's continually ask whether our Government is acting lawfully.
Tom Mighell and Dennis Kennedy provide a great list of resources for learning more about Word's Track Changes feature and redlining in their article, "Staying on Track with Track Changes," in the March issue of the ABA's Law Practice Today webzine.
Internet radio is a canary in the coal mine of an insane Net-hostile Regulatorium that stretches from the cableco/telco duopoly to the copyright oligarchs who are strangling what Professor Lessig calls Free Culture. That Regulatorium should be the enemy of every free-market Republican and every free-speech Democrat. It's slowing down the U.S. and its businesses as competitors in the World Wide Marketplace we call the Net.
Will this decision to execute the Internet radio canary motivate us to do what we should have been doing more of for the past ten years? That's up to you and me.
Between Lawyers' own Dennis Kennedy has identified seven legal technology trends lawyers, law firms and law departments (and those who sell products and services to them) should be considering in 2007.
The money quote:
By the end of 2007, we will be talking about a clear and growing digital divide between technology-forward and technology-backward lawyers and firms and a subtle restructuring of the practice of law.
David Lat, on the New York Post's Lawyers, Fun, & Money piece (about midlevel attorneys leaving large firms): "As the Book of Revelation teaches, when Fortune 500 document dumps are being reviewed by Cardozo rather than Columbia grads, the end is near."
Unless you're our colleague Ernie, that is: "I don't want to put any disclaimers on my blog," said Ernest Svenson, a blogger better know as Ernie the Attorney. "It's a buy-in to a mindset that I want to go away." Well said, as to what should by rights be able to remain unsaid.
Bruce Marcus, one of the most-respected voices in legal marketing, has a very thoughtful analysis of the problems raised by New York's proposed regulation (or is it micromanagement?) of lawyer communications. His historical perspective is a welcome addition to this discussion and I hope that regulators will read and consider it, as will you.
The money quote:
To consider legal blogs as mere promotional devices is to ignore the significant contributions the legal bloggers make to the practice. And if, in the course of dissemination of information and informed opinion somebody gets the idea that one lawyer’s blog indicates that the blogger’s view of law is more thoughtful than the firm currently being used, there’s more benefit than harm – to both the profession and the clients.
Kevin O'Keefe reports that "FTC staffers, with the backing of commissioners, say they are concerned the changes are not specifically tailored to prevent deception and could instead suppress truthful, nonmisleading advertising."
The New York efforts are one more round in the continuing state-by-state trend of vague, micro-managing restraints on lawyers' speech which are all-but-impossible to understand, let alone comply with, and directed at "problems" that existing rules should cover and have many unintended consequences, the most unintended of which may be to bring the FTC or some other Federal inititatives into the regulation of lawyers. In the current environment, national rules promulgated by the FTC might well be better than the crazy-quilt of state regulations we are now seeing.
Food for thought: As Kevin O'Keefe says, "Strange that the FTC may have to protect consumers from lawyers passing restrictions supposedly to protect consumers. Looks to me like 'well entrenched lawyers' are passing restrictions to prevent younger lawyers from taking some of their legal work through education based marketing that helps consumers."
More details and comments on the proposed rules can be found here and here and here and here. My comments from a few months ago can be found here.
Let's discuss, because the expansive definitions in the New York rules mean, on their face, that the rules may apply to any lawyer anywhere with a web page, let alone a blog.
If we do say so ourselves, the course will be unlike any that has ever been taught. It is a course in persuasive, empathic argument in the Internet space. Throughout the course we will be studying many different media technologies to understand how their inherent characteristics and modes of distribution affect the arguments that are made using them. Students will be immersed in this study through project-based assignments in which they will be using these technologies to make their own arguments.
The course site has an introductory video to pique your interest.
WisBlawg's Bonnie Shucha reports that LexisNexis is now including a lengthy list of blogs (including this one) in its Newstex database. Yet another example of the paid online legal database companies tying their business models to the location of relevant information that already is online for free. Makes me wonder how long it will take before a well designed, ad-supported free legal search competitor comes in and seriously syphons off subscribers. Google undoubtedly does this already, even though it doesn't (yet) do vertical search.
History in the making and participatory law in action — behold LawClinic.TV. From the press release: "Fordham University School of Law today became the first academic institution to launch a video blog or 'vlog.' The vlog, LawClinic.TV, features one-to-two minute videos of clinical law professors and students sharing their thoughts on clinical law education and written commentary from Fordham’s director of clinical education, Professor Ian Weinstein."
This is cool. Legal technology wizard Ross Kodner has debuted his new blog, Ross Ipsa Loquitur. I know that it will be a source of great info. I've learned a lot from Ross and had a lot of fun presenting with him on legal tech topics. Welcome to the Land of Blog, Ross.
On February 26, 2003, Robert Scoble penned (keyboarded?) his Corporate Weblog Manifesto, possibly the single most important thing business people can read (other than, of course, Robert's book) to understand what it takes to navigate and thrive in the blogosphere. Over time there have been a couple of addendums (I may be missing some), which also are key reading. Today, Robert has more in the same vein with Rule #1: Don’t pull down posts — a real world cautionary tale that warrants taking to heart.
Will the New Electronic Discovery Rules Changes Affect You Sooner Than You Expect?
Rob Robinson points to an article indicating that the new electronic discovery amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that have been so much in the news may impact lawyers in some states in a few weeks rather than a few months. Do you know if your state is an early bird?
Nobody is covering current developments in electronic discovery, especially in e-discovery technology, better than Rob Robinson is on his information governance blog. The blog has pointers to great info on a daily basis.
CFO.com, When Talk Isn't Cheap: "It's not always employees whose online postings put companies in a tough spot."
Also, here's Tom Keating'srundown of the referenced June '06 survey: "2006 Proofpoint Survey Finds that 7.1% of Large US Companies Fired Employees for Blogging and Message Board Infractions In Last 12 Months."
Indianapolis Star columnist Dana Knight has a thorough and balanced piece on employee blogging: Words of caution. There's a little bit of everything there, including approaches of different companies, blogs and marketing, recent Pew blogging survey results, and do's and don'ts for employers and employees.
A fascinating result of court decisions being published on the Internet and made freely available is that many people other than lawyers are reading and analyzing court decisions, in some cases more rigorously and insightfully than some lawyers. In other cases, however, you see people not quite getting the hang of reading opinions or misinterpreting elements of cases.
I've been thinking about disclaimers and blogging today and thought it would be good to update my disclaimers with respect to this blog.
Please pardon the administrative interruption.
REQUIRED STATEMENTS UNDER MISSOURI SUPREME COURT RULES IF THIS BLOG OR ANY PORTION OF IT IS DEEMED TO BE AN ADVERTISEMENT OR SOLICITATION FOR DENNIS KENNEDY. This website is not intended to be an advertisement or solicitation for my legal services. However, under recent changes in Missouri Rules, it may be deemed to be so, despite my intention. Therefore, the following statements may be required on this website and I have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation. You may wish to consult your lawyer or another lawyer instead of me. The exact nature of your legal situation will depend on many facts not known to me at this time. You should understand that the advice and information in this solicitation is general and that your own situation may vary. This statement is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri.
DISCLAIMER: The posts and opinions expressed on this blog and this website are solely the personal opinions of Dennis Kennedy. They do not represent or reflect (nor are they intended to represent or reflect) the positions, opinions, viewpoints, policies and/or statements of any entity in which I have any ownership interest, with which I have any contractual or other legal relationship, or which is, was or might be my client or customer.
Dennis Kennedy is licensed to practice law in Missouri.
Looking for something to read this weekend? Look no further -- check out Nexus, a "Journal of Opinion" from Chapman University School of Law. The current issue is titled How are Blogs Affecting the Legal World?, and it contains 12 articles from law professors and law blog lumiaries alike. Included is Blog You (PDF File), an article from BL's very own Denise Howell.
The Yale Law Journal is looking for submissions on topics "both contentious and suitable to thorough and engaging discussion." If you have something in mind you'd better get a move on, the deadline is August 1.
While that bit of information is interesting in its own right, perhaps more interesting is the way I know about it: YLJ went out of its way to thank blawger Sean Sirrine, and ask him once again to help get the word out about the opportunity (which he did). Just another example of blawgs throwing a courtyard bazaar at the ivory tower and fostering a culture of participatory law. I can't think of a more effective way to engage those who might have something intriguing to say.
Just out this week, Socialtext Open: "Socialtext Open is released under a standard open source license, and contains all of Socialtext's enterprise grade code aside from enterprise management and enterprise integration tools."
Wikis at work,
BEA, IBM, Oracle, SAP Ramp SOA Spec Efforts: "The group also has setup what they call a 'vendor-neutral Web site, designed as a wiki' they will use to collaborate, communicate and gain feedback from developers. There's a place for news, white papers, public specifications and access to information on early deployments."
Must-read (and Must-Think-About) Blogging from Denise Howell
"Have Aeron Will Travel" is a must-read blog post from Between Lawyers' own Denise Howell. I don't think you'll find a better-written and more savvy post on the practice of law this year, making its subject especially ironic. Let me say simply and clearly that there is no one more respected in the world of law-related blogging than Denise Howell (see lifetime achievement award comments here).
I'll have more to say on this subject later after I give it some more thought, but I'm simply flummoxed by the decision Denise discusses in the post. Jeaneane Sessum has some comments that represent a good starting point to think about the issues raised in Denise's post.
A firm cannot prosper without keeping its best people and the best people will always have choices which they will exercise based on their drive for self actualization. The Managing Partners who understand this and manage accordingly will be judged as our profession's greatest heroes.
I'll simply echo Steve Nipper's question about the consequences, especially the unintended ones, of continuing to apply Law 1.0 concepts in an evolving Law 2.0 world, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. How many law students interviewing with Reed Smith this fall will ask a question about Denise? How many of them will be satisfied with the answers they get?
As I said, I'm flummoxed by Reed Smith's decision-making process. After 20+ years of practicing law, however, I do have my own ways to read the tea leaves in this decision and it definitely raises some interesting questions and speculation that will probably be discussed at the firm in the coming days. I'll probably talk about those on my own blog at some point soon.
It will be our pleasure to hold down the fort at the Between Lawyers blog while Denise takes a well-earned break. Buon viaggio, Denise.
The United States Copyright Code (Rappable Rhyming Version)
U.S. statutes often lack any rhythm and meter, making them difficult to read, let alone understand or memorize. Yehuda Berlinger's The United States Copyright Code, in Verse addresses the problem and might give you an enjoyable way to learn about the basics of copyright law.
A little caveat, however:
You can do a lot worse
than learning copyright by verse,
but please be sure to think twice
before acting without a lawyer's advice
Illustrating the approaches toward blogging policies should be context-specific and not cookie cutter:
Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz: "Our blogging policy is 'Be authentic. Period.'" (It's been awhile since I was showing up bright eyed and bushy tailed for Larry Sonsini's Securities Regs class in law school, but I'd be willing to bet Sun's securities lawyers might want a qualifier or two.)
Summer camps, with camper identities to protect and other considerations, might understandably go a different route. That article also highlights, and Dennis pointed out (by pointing here) on our mailing list, the camps' attempts to police bloggy uses of their trademarks. I'll have to defer to Marty on this but what they're concerned about sounds like nominative fair use.
Rob Robinson takes us on a nice pictorial, perhaps even pastoral, tour of the blawgosphere. It's interesting to see the geographical component of blawgging. Nicely done and a pleasant diversion form the work of the day.
The dog days of summer have already hit St. Louis. You begin to look for any way to get a break from the heat. And those high-heat notebook computers are no picnic.
In potenitlally good news, scientists from IBM and the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a semiconductor approximately 100 times faster than chips commonly used today by freezing ithe chips at 451 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (close to absolute zero).
A friend of mine once joked that he made Jiffy Pop popcorn on his notebook computer because it got so hot. At least I think he was joking. With these new chips perhaps we'll be able to keep drinks chilled or even make a little home-made ice cream while typing away.
Alas, no prospects of the chips coming into production in the near future.
Corporate blogging aficionista Debbie Weil is poised to unleash her Corporate Blogging Book on August 3. In the meantime she's offering freebies to tease and entice &mdash the complete first chapter, called "Top 20 Questions About Corporate Blogging," and, if you preorder at Amazon, the book's chart highlights — which you can check out at the book's site.
He also mentioned the war for talent, and warned that firms that stick to the timesheet method will have a difficult time recruiting young talent. "The young kids should be given the chance to shake things up and ask 'why are we doing this?'" he said. "These kids are knowledge workers and understand the value that they bring. Yet we're treating them like union employees, making them worry about being paid by the hour."
Gawker, re posting (and substituting) thumbnails of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt to illustrate coverage of how "exclusive" magazine photos had leaked to the Web: "[W]e can’t even keep track of what we are and aren’t allowed to do anymore." (The Gawker "Legal" tag is worth following.)
Dahlia Lithwick, Blawgs on a Roll: "The blogosphere thrives precisely because it exists at the interstices of the ivory tower and pop culture. As a result, it's the most fertile ground for cutting-edge law talk. " [via Bob Ambrogi]
Be sure not to miss the Memorial Day edition of Blawg Review this week, and get ready for next week's #60, to be hosted by our own Marty Schwimmer. (I picked a fine week to slack off on my blogging activity.* And WTF am I doing driving more traffic to Marty? Ah well.)
From the Frontier of Privacy and Tracking Technology
The Glue Gun and Other Sticky Stories: Fascinating article from CIO Insider highlights some recent and wacky develpments in the world of tracking technology. You might be wondering how our laws can keep up with all of this. It's a good thing to be wondering about.
Legal publishing conglomerate Thomson West is venturing into the podcasting arena with Westcast. I don't know what it says about West's perceptions of this endeavor that at the moment the podcast doesn't have its own page, but instead lives in the sidebar of West's News Room. The show does, however, have a feed, and three episodes in the can — covering bankruptcy reform, technology trends, and the Supreme Court's Kelo (eminent domain) decision, respectively.
Spherepromises not only excellent blog search but a bookmarklet that will "change your life " ("Note that the Sphere It! Bookmarklet finds blog posts related to the content of the page you're reading, instead of just using links...").
Looking for another unique, technologically attuned way to market yourself, firm, and/or practice? You could always try gaming MySpace. Or Digg, for that matter. (Please know I'm just kidding, and think those who game social networking sites are a life form on the same sub-primate order as spammers.)
Here's an interesting development: the latest version of Microsoft Office will allow you to create blog posts from within Word. That would be pretty cool if it's true -- the feature would allow users familiar with Word formatting to easily create and publish blog posts without having to learn a lot about HTML coding and the like. More to come on this, I'm sure.
Wired Magazine has a concise, pragmatic, and I daresay super-effective guide to producing and distributing online video. (VOD = video podcast/video on demand.) If you've been thinking about how cool it would be to do a firm or practice-oriented videocast, this is a great quick-start guide (with the added bonus it presumes you want to do this on a shoestring, which is no problem a-tall).
The Wiki-Law concept is pretty cool on all fronts, but among its nicest features is its "Digg-for-law-types" aspect. In other words, users submit articles, readers vote. Those with the most votes and comments get sorted to the front page. Still obviously very much a work in process, but I like the idea.
Dennis Kennedy will be one of the presenters for the May 18 teleseminar "Technology Primer for Solos and Small Firms." Attendee who register on or before May 12 have the chance to win a copy of the Fourth Edition of the excellent book, Flying Solo.
This teleseminar may be of special interest to big firm lawyers thinking about a solo career because you won't have the risk of running into one of your colleagues in the seminar room. ;-)
Podcasting for Lawyers Presentation - A New Episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Tom and I (Dennis) hrecently gave a presentation on "Podcasting for Lawyers" at the ABA TECHSHOW. I was able to capture a decent recording of it and we've turned it into Episode 2 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, our new podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus.
In the session, we covered most of the podcasting basics for lawyers from what they are and how you might use them to finding and listening to them to creating your own podcasts. We had a great audience and had a lot of fun doing the presentation.
There are a host of reasons (and probably a host of laws) why you wouldn't expect a prosecutor in a criminal case to blog tacky comments about opposing counsel and potentially inadmissible and prejudicial information about a defendant. Notwithstanding, some recent events have prompted the San Francisco D.A.'s office to specify "that criminal cases and office business should not be mentioned on the Internet."
I grow weary of the stereotypical myth-riddled responses of the power people in many major law firms giving excuse after excuse as to why keeping women engaged is next to impossible. I do not believe it and neither should you. This challenge will be met by some firms who will gain enormous competitive advantage.
It does make sense. If you are hiring a lawyer for his or her advocacy skills, wouldn't you ideally like to hear (or see) some examples of the lawyer in action? Event planners routinely ask for samples from prospective speakers.
Might a podcast be a way to create that kind of "sample of work" for prospective clients?
The Korea Times reports on efforts in South Korea to use blogs or other Internet tools as an alternative to physical appearances in courts.
The money quote:
"Korean courts are now experimenting whether they could operate court trials and hearings just through Internet postings, saving everybody the trouble of actually entering the courtroom," the Korea Times reports. "The Seoul Administration Court recently designated one of its court units,which rules on labor-management relations and industrial accidents,to develop a prototype model for Internet-based trial models by the end of this month. Although the court has not yet decided on a detailed framework, it plans to allow the parties in lawsuits to submit their list of evidence, legal documents and other data on Weblogs or Internet message boards to be operated by the court."
Evan Schaeffer on the Internet Making the World Smaller
I love Internet stories like the one Evan Schaeffer tells about finding, losing and finding in a different way a grade school penpal from New Zealand. I think you'll like it too. And you'll see why Evan is one of my favorite writers among the law-related bloggers.
But whose? "YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley says in some cases, the same company is both uploading video and ordering YouTube to take it down. 'There's been a few examples of marketing departments uploading content directly to the site, while on the other side of the company their attorney is demanding we remove this content.'" From Cory Bergman, via Boing Boing.
Kevin O'Keefe considers the growing volume of content on law-related blogs and says:
It's very possible, if not probable, that the depth of law content being published on law blogs is greater than that being published by the largest legal media company, American Lawyer Media (ALM). Sure, ALM publishes The National Law Journal, numerous state law journals, and newsletters, but for law from practicing lawyers, law blogs have it all over ALM's content.
Kevin goes on to reflect on this:
This is not to slight the value of ALM. But it's amazing to think that the aggregate power of personal publishing platforms run by lawyers has in only a couple years equaled a major publisher that's been around for decades.
The key point here is not whether,empirically, when can determine whether blawgs or ALM have more content, but instead to marvel at what a huge information resource blawgs have become in such a short time.
Dennis has also written a new article on his top ten tips for law firm technology committees that will only be available to attendees of the video webinar. This seminar is geared toward members of a law firm technology committees, managing partners and IT directors. Register here.
We at Between Lawyers are fans of Sabrina Pacifici (BeSpacific.com; LLRX.com) and we are not the only ones. The new article on Sabrina in the Library Journal shows why she is one the most-respected of all law-related bloggers and one of the most-repected law librarians in the world. Congratulations to Sabrina on the well-deserved recognition.
Sabrina will be speaking with Tom Mighell of Betwen Lawyers in a session called "Advanced Searching: Beyond Google and Yahoo!" at the ABA TECHSHOW on April 21.
Danny Sullivan has this thorough and link rich post describing Google's new program that enables its Book Search partners to sell works online. (Note the messages in BOLD CAPS, and read all the links.)
From SmartPros.com: A recent study indicates that accountants rank significantly higher than lawyers in the important category of "germiness." Teachers rank highest, but that's understandable given the rate of illness among school children. The study suggests teating lunch at their desks is a contributing factor. Like many lawyers, we at Between Lawyers like to go out for lunch, surely part of the reason that lawyers ranked 9th in germiness, soundly defeating the accountants in the this phase of the ongoing rivalry between the two professions.
Lately, I've seen inconclusive results on whether lawyers or accountants are later adopters when it comes to technology, with the general feeling that lawyers are generally later adopters. So, the win by lawyers in the germiness category is an important one in the rivalry.
However, we will not start celebrating until the results are in on the studies of "who would you least like to meet at a party?" and "who is most likely to interrupt you and proceed to dominate a conversation?"
We at Between Lawyers have long been fans of our fellow group bloggers at RethinkIP. They're great guys and they're always trying new things and re-energizing old ways of doing things. And they're not like all the other lawyers you know.
Today, they took an expansive interpretation of the rules for the carnival of legal blogs called Blawg Review and completely reinvented the standard approach to "carnival blogs."
Once you read the following quote from early in Blawg Review #48, you know that you are in for something a little different (watch out for some potentially non-workplace-safe language):
"We think that several popular carnivals, including Blawg Review, have become bloated, link-whore-optimized versions of the original vision for what a carnival should be - an edited review of relevant blog posts presented in a manner that contributes to thought-provoking conversation."
Something tells me that things won't quite be the same again at Blawg Review - in a good way. It's good to shake things up and try new stuff every now and then.
They got our attention and we definitely read this issue of Blawg Review from beginning to end, which, among other things, was probably what the RethinkIP guys had in mind.
We'll have to see whether they are interested in a "swap day" for our blogs in which we could turn over the keys to our blogs for a day and then write parodies of the posts on each of our blogs. Now that would be something that hasn't been done in the world of law-related blogs.
Congratulations to one of our favorite blogger pals, Doug Sorocco, on the birth of his son, Karl. Karl's got himself a heckuva a good dad. We're pleased to hear that Mom, baby and Dad are all doing well.
I just tried to email a document to Marty, but of course sent the email without the document, as we all inevitably do. (Please tell me it's not just me.) In response, Marty offered a would-be — correction, would be HUGE — t-shirt slogan: THIS TIME WITH ATTACHMENT
Do you write a blog that falls somewhere along the broad continuum between "personal" and "business?" If you sometimes write about personal things on your business blog, or business things on your personal blog, or you're not sure you can cubby-hole whatever it is you do into one category or ther other, the answer is "yes." In that case, you should go take the BlogHersurvey on Blogging Naked at Work. (Po Bronson would approve.) I for one am interested to see what sort of mores, norms, and expectations are developing, and this is a great way to begin to get a handle on it. All genders welcome.
Dave Pollard has a great post called "That's Not What I Meant" about the importance of communication, context, tone and other cues in a world where some say that the tone, and often the intent, of half of all e-mail is misconstrued by readers. That also happens every now and then with blog posts. ;-)
Thomson West has a new tool, Westlaw Watch, that sounds like a subscription based aggregator for materials available from West. From the press release: "The new clipping functionality provides a way to target relevant legal and business information and distribute it in a timely manner. . . . Users can access their Westlaw Watch results in a variety of ways including e-mail, personal digital assistants (PDAs), RSS, intranet/portal, and XML."
From what I can tell (I kicked the tires for about 5 minutes) the idea is good but the implementation could use some work work. Curious to know if anyone else is more impressed. Curious to know what it costs.
(Also interesting, at least to me: that Thomson West has my personal/blogging email address on its press release distribution list.)
David Lat, on the recent blog-occasioned sacking of Senate staffer Stormie Janzen: "Merely working for the government should not prevent you from expressing yourself on matters not directly related to your employment (with direct relation construed narrowly). To adopt a contrary rule would exert an unwanted chilling effect, deterring anyone remotely interesting, creative, witty, or fun from entering government service — which, if the current Congress is any indication, has already happened." Much more, at Wonkette.
Another Way to Look at the Intersection of Web 2.0 and Law 2.0
The Infectious Greed blog has a post called "Web 2.0 as Law 2.0" in which Paul Kedrosky's notes his growing discomfort with the way Web 2.0 company names can be combined in ways that sound like names of law firms.
Austin American-Statesman, Judge takes Congress to task in bankruptcy case. Among the interesting aspects of the article is its mention of the role of the blawgosphere in propagating the discussion. Though I came up fairly empty with related — "monroe bankruptcy" — searches in Technorati and Feedster, I did find more from Steve Jakubowski.
Interestingly, I noticed in the post that legal blogs are apparently being called "blawgs" around the world, using the term that Between Lawyers' own Denise Howell coined several years ago. The genie is out of the bottle and I have strong doubts that current efforts to stifle the use of the term "blawg" will be successful, although I too marvel at the tenacity and passion people seem to have about the issue.
Genie Tyburski: "Perhaps more disturbing than the request itself is that we learned about it because Google refused to comply." Today Genie's TVC Alert also supplies a primer in the form of a definitve collection of links.
Steve Nipper's post called "Comment Policy for this Blog" both highlights a practical (and friendly) approach to some of the legal issues involved with comments on blogs and points out some useful resources about those issues. Of special note is the EFF's FAQ on Section 230 Protections for Bloggers, which is required reading for all bloggers who allow comments and highly recommended reading for people who leave comments on blogs.
A teaser from the FAQ:
Your readers' comments, entries written by guest bloggers, tips sent by email, and information provided to you through an RSS feed would all likely be considered information provided by another content provider. This would mean that you would not be held liable for defamatory statements contained in it. However . . . .
Draft of New Version 3 of General Public License Now Available
The biggest news in the world of Open Source licenses these days is that, after 15 years, the GNU General Public License is being revised from version 2 to version 3. THIS IS IMPORTANT. The current draft, more information, rationales for changes and areas to comment and discuss the changes are all available at the GPLv3 site.
From the home page:
The core legal mechanism of the GNU GPL is that of copyleft, which requires modified versions of GPL'd software to be GPL'd themselves. Copyleft is essential for preventing the enclosure of the free software commons, today as it was in 1991. But today's environment is more complex and diverse; thus, a fully effective copyleft calls for additional legal measures. Devising these measures is complicated by another aspect of our success: the worldwide adoption of free software principles. We hope and expect that contributors to GPLv3 will come from all over the globe, and from every developer, distributor, and user constituency.
Bookmark the site and follow and/or join the discussion.
Shelley "Burningbird" Powers in her post called "That Old Copyright Song" is asking all the right questions about how full text RSS feeds may be "repurposed" by other sites and whether and to what extent the copyright rules limit this usage or even apply in this context.
I noticed that Denise Howell, among others has added some comments to Shelley's post (and posted about the issue on Bag & Baggage).
I encourage our intellectual property lawyer audience to consider participating in the conversation in Shelley's comments section.
I've been intrigued by these questions, for which I have not found good answers, since I first saw my full text posts appearing on pages at Bloglines in a way that someone could have easily considered to have been my actual blog.
What I've found that interests me most is that there is an technological argument that "repurposing" full text RSS feeds involves a form of linking rather than a reproduction of the type classically associated with the current copyright law. If that is the case, then it may be that the early web page framing cases, rather than the copyright laws, provide the legal framework for analyzing these issues. To the extent that we call can learn more specifically what is actually happening when feed items are aggregated or repurposed, the discussion of the legal issues will become more focused and more helpful.
At this point, I think it's safe to say that most authors will have at least a visceral reaction to seeing someone making money, by ads or otherwise, by repurposing or publicly aggregating their feed content. On the other hand, most bloggers would probably give permission if asked.
Unfortunately, as Denise noted in her comments to Shelley's post, resolution of these issues in the courts could take years and still leave us with open questions. In the meantime, we all still need to make decisions about how to address these issues. In a nutshell, that points out one of the growing problems with a legal system 1.0 in a web 2.0 world.
Dahlia Lithwick, Revenge Of The Nerd:
"He is like a very, very smart rock."
Also: "Anyone can manage to be boring on boring subjects; Alito has seemingly perfected the art of being boring on controversial ones."
Howard Rheingold at Smart Mobs points to the Peer to Patent Project Blog. According to the site, "Sponsored by IBM, the Community Patent Project seeks to create a peer review system for patents that exploits network technology to enable innovation experts to inform the patent examination procedure."
Here's why I put it in the Law 2.0 category
The Community Patent Project aims to design and pilot an online system for peer review of patents. The Community Patent system will support a network of experts to advise the Patent Office on prior art as well as to assist with patentability determinations. By using social software, such as social reputation, collaborative filtering and information visualization tools, we can apply the “wisdom of the crowd” – or, more accurately the wisdom of the experts – to complex social and scientific problems. This could make it easier to protect the inventor’s investment while safeguarding the marketplace of ideas.
Actually, I have lots, some admittedly more lofty than others. One is that law firms and their clients will find ways to spend less on IT without sacrificing performance or convenience. Robin "Roblimo" Miller's book Point & Click OpenOffice.org seems like one of many excellent possible starting points.
Let's discuss rethinking the role of big law firms, says Dennis, suggesting (via the quoted article) that "for the really tough problems" small and elite is more effective than big and swarmlike. Seems to me this may be missing the Wisdom of the Crowd effect. No, I haven't (yet) read the book, and I heard author James Surowiecki's caveat yesterday on CBS News Sunday Morning about how a "herd mentality" or other influences can skew the results, but as I understand the premise Surowiecki's findings suggest the elite strike force works better when its actions are informed by the big swarm. In the legal context, this could be a firm, or a loosely joined, socially networked grouping coming together with the aid of online or other tools, or both.
Lamb concludes his excellent discussion with this:
For me, I believe that the best answer is better explained using a military metaphor. Sometimes the number of boots on the ground matter. That's why we have the Army and Marines. Sometimes, and almost always for the really tough problems, you're better off with an elite Navy Seal Team or the Delta Force. Small and elite is where you get the best of the best.
The 2005 Annual Report from the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, which "gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their law school experience" (and is the basis for the article Dennis linked earlier), is here. (Via Genie Tyburski) "[T]hird-year students look similar to first- and second-year students in areas such as critical thinking, effective writing, and work-related knowledge or skills." If you were to survey practicing lawyers, you'd find resounding agreement on two points: very little about law school prepared them for for the bar exam, and even less prepared them for the actual practice of law. So why not just axe the third year? (My response: 'cause when else for the ensuing 40-odd years do former law students get to goof off?)
If you have been looking for another good excuse to put off for another day, or until next year, something that you'd rather avoid, this one might be just the ticket.
Note that some experts are considering the 60 km Ethiopian rift simply the birth of a future ocean and not the splitting of the earth in half. However, experts may not yet have had the opportunity to put the two pieces of the puzzle together as Steve has done. Make your decisions accordingly.
"Last December and this January, the online community came together as never before to help in the aid efforts in South-East Asia. The lessons learned there were put to use, and improved upon, when the other tragic events of the year unfolded.
Can we harness that goodwill, that togetherness, that willingness to help once more?
There's still time to make tax-deductible charitable gifts for 2005.
Mining the Value of Metadata in Electronic Discovery
"Mining the Value of Metadata" is the new Thinking E-Discovery column from Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighell and Evan Schaeffer over at DiscoveryResources.org. It's a wide-ranging discussion with quite a few practical pointers that may save you some future embarrassment.
Practical Domestic Surveillance and Wiretapping Primer
I must confess that I find the legal analysis I've read on FISA, the NSA and the recent wiretapping news to be hard slogging indeed. Here's an example: "This is meant as an exceedingly tentative analysis, with the purposes of disaggregating the issues and of suggesting that there are several unresolved questions here." I guess so.
Definitely worth a read, as is every post from AKMA. It's almost like a magician revealing how magic tricks are done to non-magicians. ;-) By the way, this post just barely missed the number AKMA mentioned.
If you are interested in reading one of the best blogging about legal blogging pieces I've seen in a while, check out Professor James Maule's The Whys of Blawgs. His blog is another favorite of mine.
Be sure to check out the new Corante hubs and networks. My experience with Corante goes back to the early days of the Corante email newsletters. I see the hubs as a return to those roots, in the best sense, and welcome all the new members to the Corante family of blogs.
It'll make your day. Great graphic, too, Doug. Combining humor, graphics, a sound file, a great title and barnyard language into a single post about the practice of law, Doug has established himself as the frontrunner for the blawg post of the year award. Well done!
A most interesting development that bears watching and thinking about:
For many, many years,Cornell's Legal Information Institute has been one of the best legal resouces on the Internet. They've now moved into the new era of wikis and other collaborative tools by announcing their WEX project - an online collaborative legal encyclopedia. It's like the Wikipedia concept, but with some constraints on who may contribute to WEX.
There's no doubt that this will become a premier legal resource.
However, I mention it also because it touches on a topic that has interested us at Between Lawyers for a long time - can something like an "open source" law be created and, if so, what will it look like? WEX strikes me as one model that fits into the concept of open source law. I invite you to discuss this topic.
Dennis Kennedy in the New York Times today on metadata, Beware Your Trail of Digital Fingerprints: "If you take the time to educate yourself a little and know the issues, you can avoid problems pretty easily." (I'm less sanguine about that for the nonbusiness or small business user, whose document distribution habits aren't being scrutinized by a department of minions dedicated to avoiding these sorts of snafus. How many users do you know, for example, who have the time or inclination to make heads or tails of these search results?)
Congratulations to our friend Jim Calloway who was recently inducted as a fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. Check out Jim's blog and you'll see why he is so highly-respected and a favorite legal blogger for so many.
Here's the Supreme Court Watch Podcast from Alliance for Justice, featuring (per its press release) "live blogging [of the Roberts confirmation hearings] to provide response and commentary in real time, as well as daily wrap-up podcasts to provide further in-depth discussion and analysis available to listeners at any time, anywhere."
Here's FindLaw's lawyer marketing page, launched this week, including this article mentioning BL, quoting Tom, and weighing in on the "are blogs advertising" issue: "Do lawyers need to be concerned about the ethics rules on lawyer marketing when they blog? Well, yes. But no more so than in any other forum in which a lawyer writes or speaks."
Windows SharePoint Services Applications Template: Legal Document Review: "This application for Windows SharePoint Services is for company legal departments to post legal documents and templates, communicate requirements and processes, and provide contact information. It also features a legal document review tool for managing, prioritizing, and tracking employee requests to review contracts and documents." (Thanks, Steve!)
The Inquirer reports that "According to an NOP World survey, 50% of law firms in the UK are missing basic security measures and just under half have no budget dedicated to digital security..." (Thanks, Steve!)
Tom Mighell and Dennis Kennedy of Between Lawyers recently presented a webcast with Raza Hasan of Thomson FindLaw called "Blogs for Lawyers: Building an Audience to Build Your Practice." A free replay of the webcast is available here.
Doug Soroccounpacks the Microsoft/Apple/iPod interface patent hype: "[F]olks need to do their research and understand the issues. If the claims don't cover it - it doesn't infringe." Ahh, that's better!
Here's a survey worth spending a few minutes to take: Amy Gahran is conducting an online survey on the "Professional/Personal Overlap" on blogs. I'm in favor of most things that tend to make us more human, but I know that others like their blog reading without the injection of anything personal in nature. The final survey results should be quite interesting, but I suspect that the personal will ultimately push its way into even the most dedicatedly professional blogs over the long haul.
I originally posted about this on the LexThink blog, but I can't get the "Not Insane To Do List" off my mind and wanted to share it with the Between Lawyers audience. It seems so, well, not insane. See what you think.
NY Lawyer: : Firm can sue former associate for allegedly jumping the gun as to soliciting clients for her new firm, however firm didn't plead defamation with particularity with regard to alleged comments by associate that her former boss was abusive, nasty and difficult.
IBM has released a trial enterprise blogging tool that will integrate with its Workplace Collaboration Services: "Weblog Preview provides the basic functionality usually expected of personal weblogs. For instance, Weblog Preview supports the posting of content in a journal format, emphasizing a personal point of view. The weblogs are public by default; that is, any authenticated Workplace user can read the blog. In addition, all authenticated users can comment on or link to the posts via 'permalinks.' The weblog owners, however, can restrict access to their blogs via the Workplace membership portlet, just as with any Workplace component." I don't know much about "portlets," but this strikes me as a positive and useful step in encouraging weblog use by businesses. Via Techworld, which has this quote from IBM's Ed Brill: "By putting that into Workplace, we are saying that we expect everybody in an organisation to be able to be a publisher, not just a consumer of information." Mr. Brill's blog looks like an excellent related resource.
I don't have anything to add to Dennis on the parallels (or desired parallels) between tax and copyright policy, except that I enjoyed it (and I assume his concluding sentence is either rhetorical or hoping to prompt a discussion). In somewhat similar vein, don't miss Marty's post on blogs, print, and trademarks.
This blog account of jury duty begins with this passage: "Oftentimes people will watch news coverage of trials and react with bewilderment when the defendant is found not guilty. They ask 'How could any jury possibly find that person innocent? How stupid can these people be?' When you actually take part in the process you come to realize how complicated finding someone guilty actually is, and you start to understand some of what may have been going on in the deliberations of those newsworthy trials that led the jury not to convict. The fact of the matter is you dont find someone innocent: you have to find someone guilty..."
For cutting edge and up to the minute discussion and analysis of the today's Grokster decision, check out the Wall Street Journal's Grokster Roundtable, which includes Denise Howell of Between Lawyers among its imposing list of expert panelists.
SF Gate has a good article today on Writing the codes on blogs: "Jeff Sandquist, a Microsoft manager, said blogging has become so commonplace at the Redmond, Wash., firm that employees conversing about specific topics typically ask each other: 'Are you planning on blogging that?'"
My nominee for clueful thought of the day from Bruce MacEwen: "Too flaky for your firm? If that's your reaction, are 'pens and paper' flaky? Email? Blogs and wikis are among the new tools in the technological arms race. Are you going to let your competitors steal a march?"
Law Tech Guru post on Attention Deficit Trait (as opposed to Attention Deficit Disorder), where is the window with the url? why are there so many windows open on my desktop, oh great, another email from them, hey, CNN Breaking News, oh, big deal, he pled guily, who cares, there's the phone, I have to get a new phone, I'll let that go to voice mail, I didn't return Dennis' call, now he's going to think I'm angry at him, more email, I should turn off that feature, I wonder how to turn it off, spam seems to be creeping back up, oh, another email from her, clients, can't live with them . . ., what's up with the news reader, what was I doing? Oh, there's a Law Tech Guru post on attention deficit trait.
In San Francsico, Alameda and Santa Clara counties in California, plaintiffs in civil jury trials prevail 60% of the time. In Solano county, plaintiffs prevail only 33% of the time. Via DailyRepublic.com.
Futher to our discussion here that blogging is not necessarily all that different from technological waters companies have been navigating for some time: Evan Brown has a write-up of a recent federal trial court decision that stands behind an employer's ability to fire those who violate its email policy.
Well, this explains a lot. A UK researcher found that the IQ of those who tried to juggle messages and work fell by 10 points -- the equivalent to missing a whole night's sleep and more than double the 4-point fall seen after smoking marijuana." More on the bad effects of email here.
Today brings news that a group of bloggers has submitted an amicus brief in the writ proceedings concerning Apple's efforts to discover the sources of certain rumor site stories. As far as I know this is the first time bloggers have banded together to use the legal process to weigh in on a pending legal issue — in addition to blogging about it, of course.
[Update] Thanks to xrlq for pointing out this may be the first case, but (by a few days) not the first time: Bloggers speak up in Apple case