Blawg Review #10

[What is Blawg Review?]

There has been a lot of interesting legal news this past week, and the members of the blogosphere have been there to report and comment. Let’s get right to it.

For convenience, you can click on any of the links below to take you directly to discussion of that topic:

Legal ethics
Patent reform
Copyright reform
Tort reform
Medical marijuana
The practice of law
Employment law
Attorney fees
Evidence
Blogging basics
Podcasting
First Amendment
File sharing litigation
Trademarks
Reparations

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Free Ben Cowgill

. . . as Robert Ambrogi so aptly encourages in light of this controversy.

Loyal readers of Ben Cowgill’s Legal Ethics Blog might have noticed that he didn’t post much druing the month of May. On June 7th we learned the reason for the absence through Ben’s “I’m Back” posting. As Ben explains, a question raised by the Kentucky Attorney’s Adversiting Commission is whether an attorney’s weblog constitutes advertising. If it does, Kentucky blawggers would be required to submit to the Commission a copy of each blog posting and pay a $50 filing fee. After Ben announced the controversy, lively debate ensued. Here’s a wrap up of links to various commentators:

Kentucky says every blawg post is an ad (David Giacalone)

Blogging as Advertising? (Professor Bainbridge)

prof. bainbridge should concur, not dissent over ads (David Giacalone again)

KY Lawyers Welcome Here (Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground)

Blawgers As Advertisers? No More So Than The Kentucky Bar Association. (Craig Williams at May it Please the Court)

Ben Cowgill posted an update on his situation on June 10, which provides links to many other informative commentary on this subject.

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Patent Reform

Looks like the times they are a-changin’. Lots of folks talking about reform (e.g., copyright reform, tort reform, below). Dennis Crouch at the Patently-O: Patent Law Blog has this rundown of some important patent legislation introduced in the House on June 8. For more on patent reform, be sure to visit Matt Buchanan’s Patent Reform Library.

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Copyright Reform

Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage and Between Lawyers, has likened the present state of copyright law to an “aging house” with “infrastructure and plumbing [that] have reached the end of their useful lives.” With word pictures like that, you can imagine there’s some interesting discusison. Links on the topic are aggregated here.

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Tort Reform

Clay Conrad at jurygeek has developed a thesis that tort reformers want to eliminate the civil jury system. See if you agree by checking out
Tort Reform or Jury Elimination Part I and Part II.

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No More High Hopes for Medical Marijuana

Naturally there was plenty of talk this week of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Raich which essentially stikes down the states’ ability to permit the medical use of marijuana. Where else would one turn for commentary but the SCOTUSblog? As you’d expect, it’s hard to find postings there from the past week that do not deal with the case.

Indianapolis lawyer Stephen Terrell, who writes the new and witty Hoosier Lawyer blog, comments on an interesting choice of words by one Congressman in light of the Raich decision.

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Law Practice Management

E-mail for the simplest things

Respected for his experience, judgment, and wisdom, Ernie the Attorney provides a simple and useful account of using technology to run an efficient law practice.

Little firm, big firm

Marketing expert Seth Godin recently touted the virtues and benefits of the smaller-sized enterprise, and its ability to serve its clientele.

The Patent Baristas have an insightful analysis and critique of Godin’s proposition, and bring it into the law firm context, defending the big firm perspective. Kevin O’Keefe joins the debate on the side of the small firm.

Well-caffeinated lawyering

George Lenard reports that while engaging in his new pastime of viewing photos posted to Flickr (some of which, by the way, he says he uses for his blawg if under Creative Commons license permitting such use), he discovered an intriguing concept for a law office. Read his post to find out what it’s all about.

Electronic Discovery

Evan Schaeffer at The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog remarks how amazing it is that information as useful as Dennis Kennedy’s recent article on electronic discovery is available for free over the Internet. Dennis Kennedy has a whole lot more about electronic discovery here.

A Lawyer’s Life (and the Quality Thereof)

The Dark Goddess of Replevin points us to this attorney work/life balance calculator. If you think you hate your job now, just wait until you’ve tried this.

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You’ve Got to be Careful at Work

Your Life or Your Job — Literally

David Kopel writing at The Volokh Conspiracy discusses a wacky recent case where a 7-11 employee had been fired for acting in self-defense against a store robber.

Employment Agencies and Discrimination

Michael Harris, one of the co-bloggers at George’s Employment Blawg discusses a press release from the New York State Attorney General’s Office to formulate the warning Employment Agencies Beware! Discrimination Laws Apply To You, Too

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Getting the Scoop

Richard Radcliffe, an attorney in Newport Beach, California, writes lawreligionculturereview, and in this post, he has an interesting first-hand account of proceedings in which a court really hammered Home Depot on the issue of attorney fees.

Radcliffe’s weblog is an interesting read. Be sure to check out this post on the horror of receiving one’s bar exam results.

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Evidence

The Dark Goddess of Replevin strikes again and mulls over the evidentiary issues surrounding the “creepy” weblog entry of Simon Ng before his murder last month.

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Back to Basics

It’s 2005, but you still probably get the question, “What’s a blog?” Al Nye the Lawyer Guy gives us a link to an article he wrote for the Spring 2005 Maine Law Journal that lays it all out from A to Z. It’s a bit of work getting to the article (you’ve got to download a PDF file and scroll to page 39), but it’s worth the effort. And the Star Wars theme to the article makes it even easier to bring others over to the dark side of blogging. The article even has a glossary that defines “podcast.”

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Podcasting Lawyers

Speaking of podcasts, does anyone have an answer yet to the question of “Where have all the podcasts gone?” The boys over at rethink(ip) have chimed in with the rethink(ip) aloud podcast #4, an interview with The Invent Blog’s Stephen Nipper.

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Utah and Porn

. . . are not two subjects you often think of together, but those concepts are joined in the lawsuit reported on by Professor Eric Goldman, as he takes a look at how the ACLU is “leading a charge against Utah for their latest anti-porn initiative.”

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While We’re Waiting for Grokster

Professor Michael Geist examines the recent Canadian Federal Court of Appeal’s decision involving the recording industry’s attempt to identify 29 alleged file sharers.

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Trademark Law and the Philosophy of Language

If you ever find yourself interested in the doings of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, be sure to visit John Welch’s TTABlog. His case summaries are frequent and pithy, and his blog is inherently interesting due to the very particular niche on which it focuses. And speaking of inherent meanings, Welch goes off topic a bit this week with a clever little riddle which will elicit groans from many and laughter from those with a dry sense of humor.

While on the topic of niche blogs, attorney Patrick Jones maintains the UDRPLaw blog which tracks decisions over domain names under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. This past week, Patrick discusses how the clothing store American Eagle Outfitters lost a proceeding over the domain name americaneaglestores.com.

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Perspectives on Reparations

Large banks like Wachovia and J.P. Morgan Chase, which in many cases have rolled together the business of hundreds of smaller banks across the country, have been issuing public apologies for their predecessor institutions’ involvement with slavery.

At Overlawyered, Ted Frank and correspondent John Steele Gordon are critical of the trend, while editor Walter Olson wonders whether momentum is building for courtroom challenges to Southern land titles that could result in unprecedented legal battles. Their three posts at Overlawyered on the topic are here, here and here.

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And That’s the Way it is

. . . for the “blawgosphere” during the week of June 6, 2005.

This week, Bora Zivkovic of Science And Politics has a guest post on the Blawg Review weblog.

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.