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Saturday, March 08, 2003

The Telltales

In the most recent upcropping of a theme here at Bag and Baggage (which someday may factor into an official declaration of weblogs a controlled substance), here are my current Top Ten Signs of a Microcontent Obsession:

  1. If the situation called for a posse, you're reasonably sure one could be assembled.
  2. When travelling to a new city, the people you know there and along the way—but haven't yet met—are prominent in your thoughts.
  3. You suppose you really should try harder. (Note, #1 is—of course—a blogger, wife of a blawger, and either or both may bump into Ernie at SXSW.)
  4. Your weblog's redesign—and redesigner—hail from Leamington Spa.
  5. Your weblog does recruiting, and it's in good company.
  6. Your weblog is an ardent supporter of the arts.
  7. Crazy Eric's got nothing on you.
  8. It may say "Important Document Inside!" but you know better.
  9. It's not uncommon for you to commence a citation in a brief with an angle bracket—then wistfully have to delete.
  10. You're still mourning the passing of an inordinately talented and even-tempered rabbit (with whom you never were personally aquainted).


Top Tens of Yore:

Friday, March 07, 2003


Decnavda: "I have blogged every Tax Court opinion released this year.
At least, for the next two hours."

Rick Klau: "Of course, now they all do."

Law School, To Go

The California Bar Journal reports that the Concord University School of Law is the first and only online law school (in existence since 1998), that its first class of graduates just took the bar exam, and that it is seeking accreditation.

Key Note

The Seventh Circuit's Judge Richard Posner will deliver a keynote address on April 3 at the ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago. Should be fascinating. Who's game to blog it?

Judge Posner's talk will focus on the application of intellectual property law, including copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret law, together with antitrust law, to computer software and Internet services. Among the issues he will discuss are file-sharing, database protection, intellectual property rights in industry standards, the Federal Circuit's monopoly of patent appeals, and the capacity of generalist judges to deal with technical issues.

Full schedule here.


Rory Perry:

Lawyers who can write code, or poetry, or design pages, or tell good stories, are all fastening quickly to the growing rubric of customized, smart and lively knowledge exchange. ... I have little doubt that more lawyers and legal professionals will continue the trend toward participation. And being a loquacious bunch, it's likely that our talking will have a beneficial side product: a deeper and more freely available body of knowledge about the law and its effects on our lives. That, I insist, is a good thing.

Talking among ourselves and opening channels beyond the profession—all good, for all involved.

Virtual "Time Out"

Building on previous thoughts, observations and publications, in World of Ends Doc Searls and David Weinberger point out how those pesky clues about the Net not only can hide in plain sight, but are prone to escape just when you might think you've got them cornered. Excellent resource, equally appropriate for the halls of the marketing department and the halls of government. I also really dig Eric Norlin's points about dynamism and what happens to businesses when they touch the Net. See Doc for more feed/pushback.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Con Queso

The mystery of the really big Chee-to, revealed: divine intervention.

Marvel—won't you?—at the link cosmos the blessed cheesefood has loosed upon the land.
(Not quite "no other," my friends!)

Crash Course

I'm getting a good deal of mail from ABA Journal readers who would like to learn more about starting a weblog and what on earth they might do with it. If you are such a person, here are some worthwhile resources:

[Update] Please add your additional suggestions to the comments!

New Blawgers

I'm guessing Paul Menair is a practicing attorney, although he doesn't come right out and say this. ([Update] Nope, clerking; see the comments.) Randy Tunac believes he has launched the Web's first immigration law blog, and I believe he may be right: The Manifest Border.


The matter I alluded to last week is discussed briefly here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Now That's A Hookup

"The newest kid on the wireless Internet block? Orangeland RV Park." [via The Orange County Register]

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Last year today, I was doing research for what would become an article on legal blogging. Ernie's page was just a few days old. There were some other sites I hadn't found yet, but not too many. When all was said and done and the article went to print, I had added six or so weblogs written by legal professionals to my blogroll and dubbed them "blawgs."

Today, there are well over two hundred of you over there and out there, and my opinion about all this remains much as it was a year ago: blogging could be one of the best things to happen to the legal profession since Dick the Butcher and Jack Cade proved unable to execute their tongue-in-cheek yet utopian vision. (For further context, see Seth Finkelstein.)

Legal professionals on the whole are a savvy lot. They know about the pros and cons of durable records. They know how to leave the house or office and carry on conversations with acquaintances and strangers that comport with their ethical and fiduciary obligations. They know how not to give legal advice when they shouldn't, and yet how to communicate their knowledge, expertise and personality. They know how to experiment, ponder, make mistakes and correct them. Sometimes they know how to be cute, sometimes they know how to be sedate.

I honestly can't predict what looking back a year from March 5, 2004 will be like, but one thing seems clear: weblogs already are changing the legal profession—and legal professionals—for the better, and we barely have arrived at square one. Extraordinary untapped potential remains. Mae West, I think, had it just about right. Too much of a good thing can be by turns wonderful and taxing, but he who hesitates is a damned fool.

(May West quotes nicked from here; see also David Maizenberg's non anti-blogging article, If Bork Had Blogged, via TVC Alert.)

Carry-On Baggage

Matt mentioned recently that Bag and Baggage looked good on his phone. Looks good on mine too.

Everything I Know I Learned From Blogdex

Looks like Sony Ericsson has released a new and nifty. More from Mobile Burn, Gizmodo and Yahoo News.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I Have An FTP Client, And I Just May Know How To Use It

Trying something out. I posted earlier today about two cases in which we submitted amicus briefs on the winning side of the outcomes. I have PDFs of the briefs. I have a Blog*Spot Plus hosted blog. On the off chance you might want to read these things, you might want to read them, y'know, now. (They should be up on the firm site soon, but not as soon—I think—as I can get them up here.) So m'kay Mr. Garrison, here goes:

Lovely, simply lovely.

20 Questions, Turned Around

About time, wouldn't you say? (Well done, The Academy. And before anyone goes getting any bright ideas, I already gave at the Paynter's.)

And The Little Balconettes Shall Lead Them

An important trademark law decision, and vintage undies, are featured here, at Marty Schwimmer's.

Open Access To Juvenile Court Proceedings in PA

In another bit of news that touches on the Reed Smith appellate group, this time on the east coast, in response to an appeal by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette handled by my colleague Tom McGough, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania found last week that juvenile court hearings in Pennsylvania involving abused and neglected children are presumed to be open to the public unless compelling privacy protection concerns are present. In this case the trial court's decision to deny public access was affirmed, because publicity posed too great a threat to the children and proceedings. [In The Interest Of: M.B., Born 10/10/88 J.B., Born 2/14/94 Appeal Of: Pg Publishing Company D/B/A The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PDF] Yahoo News and NEPA News have more.

New CA Unfair Competition And Class Certification Decisions

The California Supreme Court decided two cases yesterday in which my firm submitted amicus briefs consistent with the Court's conclusions.

Korea Supply Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation (PDF) concerned California's unfair competition law (Business & Professions Code §17200). Defendant Lockheed was accused of using unfair business practices to beat out competitor Korea Supply for a contract to provide the Republic of Korea with a radar system. Korea Supply sued under California's unfair competition law, and sought as a remedy the disgorgement of profits Lockheed had obtained from the contract. In its decision yesterday, the California Supreme Court confirmed that nonrestitutionary disgorgement of profits is not available in an individual action brought under §17200. Remedies in such cases are limited instead to injunctive relief and restitution, and restitution only involves the return of something unlawfully taken from the plaintiff (i.e., not profits). The court looked to the plain language of the statute in reaching this result, declining to interpret "restitution" to include disgorgement. It also found that §17200 was not meant to be an "all-purpose substitute for a tort or contract action." My colleagues Jim Martin and Mike Brown briefed these issues on behalf of amici Washington Legal Foundation and National Association of Independent Insurers, arguing the position that was adopted by the Court.

Lockheed Martin Corporation v. Superior Court (PDF; yes, two Lockheed cases on the same day), involved the question of whether a class consisting of 50,000 - 100,000 plaintiffs could be certified for medical monitoring purposes in a case where Lockheed was alleged to have contaminated the drinking water in the city of Redlands, CA. While certification of a medical monitoring class can be proper in appropriate cases, the Court concluded this was not such a case because the differences in each class member's particular circumstances defeated any efficiencies attainable through a class action. Jim Martin and Mike Brown briefed these issues on behalf of Washington Legal Foundation, and again the position they urged was that adopted by the Court.

Meme In The Making (LazyBlawg)

Someone more graphically inclined than I should make Howard a cool button. In the meantime, I can at least offer a Blogsticker:

Just Appeal It
Why not add your affiliation? ("Pahrump Bashmaniacs," etc.)

Patholawgical (Blawgistan)

(It's a fact of life: tweak the template and you just keep tweaking the template.) I figured there are now enough meta guides to law blogs to warrant their own category on the blawgroll. Since these are places blawgers converge in the course of their travels, I've dubbed them "Truckstops."

Higher Blogucation

Say Hi to Chris Holmes, the UnivAtty, blogging of things related to the legal representation of colleges and universities. (Hmm, timely.)

Monday, March 03, 2003

A Down, And Two Ups

Well, I had the wind knocked out of my sails a little by this (the update part), and although there are a number of other things I'd like to bore you with (some goings on in the California courts, and another Top Ten bubbling to the surface), time, at the moment, is short. So I'm closing the day by noting how weird and wonderful it can be to catch—out of the corner of your eye, on the corner of your desk—a bit of jargon you originated right there on the cover of the ABA Journal. I'm also giving Bag and Baggage the delightful gift Matt Round—a man serious about both his code and his fun—gave me this morning (inspired by Gary Turner):

(validate at your own risk)

More From The ABA Journal

My print copy of the ABA Journal arrived today, and, in addition to the article on Lawyers Who Blawg discussed here, Jason Krause did another great piece on the Web and legal research (Netting Information: It's Not All We Promised, But the Web Still Has Plenty to Offer). It includes this pithy observation: "Sometimes ambitious (or over-caffeinated) employees take it upon themselves to create a blog, either for the firm's own internal use or as a service accessible to the general public." (I'd add "visionary" to that litany of adjectives, but hey, that's just me.) Steven Cohen's segment goes a long way toward introducing the (ever diminishing) non-blogging segment of the legal profession to the power of RSS:

Cohen is a proponent of RSS feeds, or the Rich Site Summary format [ed.: or as many including Dave Winer put it, Really Simple Syndication]. Most major news sites and a growing number of legal sites have RSS built in, which means that lawyers can sign up to get news from these sites fed to them through free newsreader software that can be installed on any computer.

RSS feeds are available from many major legal Web sites, major news services like CNN and most legal Web logs. Just look on a site for a link or button that says XML.

To use these services, you will need to download a newsreader program. These programs are like a Web browser and e-mail inbox combined. When you launch the program on your computer, it opens a list of articles found on the Web that meet your criteria. Clicking on one of the headlines brings up the article in a browser window.

Some popular newsreader software includes AmphetaDesk, which is free, and NewzCrawler, which has a free trial version and a full version costing $24.95.

"I'm not going to tell lawyers to subscribe to 200 news feeds and try to make sense of it all," says Cohen. "But three to four feeds that pertain to them, specifically fed to one aggregator, ought to be a manageable level of information." [Links added]

Also featured are blawgers Tom Mighell, Rory Perry, Howard Bashman, the SCOTUSblog and Professor Lessig.

Post Spectrum Posts

Donna links to the New York Times coverage of the recent Cal-Stanford conferences: "'Go back to work and clear up this mess for us,' Professor Demsetz said [after judging a moot court on spectrum property/commons issues]. 'And don't take too long to do it because we're losing ground fast.'"

20 Questions, x2

In the second of what has become a monthly feature at How Appealing, Howard Bashman today posted his 20 Questions with Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. My favorite thing about the interview? The way it begins with a link to Judge O'Scannlain's Federal Judicial Council profile, and then goes on to provide abundantly more textured information about this jurist than could ever be gleaned from the terse official page.

As if that weren't powerful enough: Howard thoughtfully has set up a separate 20 Questions Blog to save you the trouble of keeping the permalinks to, or searching his archives for, these interviews. (Thus illustrating the need for an implementation I feel sure is high on Blogger's agenda: post categories.)

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Motivationally Speaking

Whitman L. Holt knows how to get things done, as well as being a Harvard blawger. [via Howard] (See also this post at Jeneane's.)

[Update] Wow, this is really sad. Apparently Mr. Holt has changed his mind. On the off chance he ever drops by here, I would urge him to reconsider. He seemed a sharp, witty fellow with much to say.

A Day The Web Got Better

Congratulations and happy blog birthday to Ernie the Attorney. And what does Ernie do on his blog's first birthday? He gives us gifts with, among other things, this great post sifting Cory Doctorow's notes for what one of the Ninth Circuit's tech-savviest jurists, Alex Kozinski, had to say at the Stanford Spectrum Policy Conference. (Doc made it there today too, and has many insights about the F.M. band.) Good man Ernie, good men all.

Taking No Prisoners

I'm so tickled by this! If you are a theater fan and have any reason to be in the Mendocino Coast area of Northern California between now and April 5, get your tickets now for Neil Simon's Prisoner of Second Avenue, a production of the Mendocino Theater Company starring, among other worthy cast members, my very own Dad. Only 21 performances left. Oh, and you'll want to stay at The Little River Inn (where Dad helps innkeep and mostly props up the bar), and pick up some light weekend reading while you're at it.

all a-flutter
Renaissance Man

Like That

Futurist Alvin Toffler, on Big Thinkers: "Technology and culture are like this [interlaces fingers]. Technology and social change are like this [again]." (And from an interview with The MJM Entertainment Group, on one of his not so successful preditions: "I still have half a drawer full of paper underwear from those days.")

It's A Good Month To Blawg

Jerry Lawson: "The Netlawtools March update is devoted solely to legal blogging. Some highlights: Blawgistan News is the Site of the Month. The Net Q & A topic is How should a lawyer prepare for starting a blog? The latter piece includes a briefly annotated bibliography of books useful for new lawyer-bloggers."

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