Blawg Review #224
After over two and a half years of regular blogging, I have finally reached the giddy heights of being granted permission to host the well-known round-up of the best of the legal blogs (or blawgs) from around the world known as Blawg Review. Given that it covers the week of the launch of my new book BabyBarista and the Art of War (reviewed here), I have taken some of its various themes as a structure.
Wisdom of the ages
My favourite person in chambers is OldRuin and Christian Metcalfe this week passes along the story of a real-life OldRuin in Texas, 101-years-old Jack Borden, who still works full-time at his real estate and probate practice. Borden's secret for longevity? "Not dying." Though neither old nor ruined, Charon QC still has much to teach young lawyers and law students. He did just that this week when he repackaged and posted his contracts outlines, complete with ongoing updates to current news and law and audio files of lectures. Another comprehensive guide is provided by Drug and Device Law if product liability is your thing. On the other hand one person who could perhaps have done with some of OldRuin's wisdom is the man that Colin Samuels reports "found himself on the business end of four angry, jilted women in a motel room". All I will say is that their punishment apparently involved superglue…
The joys of training
No lawyer has more natural charm than TheBusker but he also has a whole armoury of oratorical tricks up his sleeve with which to bamboozle judges. One such might be the so-called false analogy which Diane Levin covers in her "fallacious argument of the month". Another blogger getting pedantic this week is Legally Unbound who explains exactly why he is not simply legally bound. Being a man with interests outside the law, a few blog posts of which TheBusker would have especially approved this week include: Mediator Blah Blah which reports that jazz musicians are training negotiators at Pepperdineâs Straus Institute; my own alter-ego Tim Kevan who reports that his puppy might be the youngest surfing dog in the world; The White Rabbit who gives us a few bars of the Steve Miller Band; Ernie the Attorney who is thinking about the significance of Obama's golf game; and John Bolch on the joys of going freelance. The person who is always most frustrated by TheBusker is TheCreep and it's been a bad week for him and his cohorts. Dan Harris says that if you "wanna be a China lawyer… creeps need not apply" and if that's not bad enough, Dan Hull goes so far as to say that even juries can spot a creep.
Selling your soul
Whether it is the dodgy FakeClaims&Co or the cynical SlipperySlope, there are a number of characters in the book out to make as much money with as little effort as possible. In this vein Brian Tannebaum offers a sarcastic get-rich-quick guide, including "Resist the desire to become a "good" or "great" lawyer. This may make you rich at some point, but not right now. The goal for you is money, now, period." Though Scott Greenfield might have something to say about this as he takes issue with the "cash machine" approach some in the profession have espoused of late and cautions against selling your reputation down the Swannee River for short-term gain. On a whole different level, Geeklawyer looks at another example of the British government having sold its soul as this time it replaces the House of Lords with a shiny, new and very expensive Supreme Court.
Abuse of power
Whether it is undersettling his cases or implicating yours truly in his dishonest scheming, TheBoss is about as bad a boss as you'd care to meet. Though in saying that I certainly wouldn't want to work for the fictional Anonymous Lawyer who reports that his firm will no longer be paying in dollars but instead in "FirmBux" which are redeemable for things like office supplies and old-firm t-shirts. Though real life always being stranger than fiction, it is the impeachment trial of Texas Judge Sharon Keller which is potentially most shocking since as Ashby Jones reports, she allegedly ordered the courthouse doors to be locked tight to prevent a Death Row inmate's attorneys from filing a late appeal and the man was executed later that day. At the other end of the spectrum to TheBoss is the post by Adam Smith Esq which ponders the happiness of lawyers and as foils to Anonymous Lawyer Stephanie West Allen suggests that lawyers overestimate their own powers and Justin Patten discusses avoiding dismissing staff.
Whether it's Facebooking TopFirst or online gaming in court, there's plenty of electronic antics in the book. But it's also a common theme of this week's posts. Robert Ambrogi reports that the Twitter personas of a legal cartoonist's creations carried on some very real conversations with unsuspecting attorneys, including Victoria Pynchon, who finally realized, "I'm tweeting 2 a cartoon character — someone slap a 72 hour hold on me!" In the real world Venkat Balasubramani warns that text-messaging your expert witness whilst he is giving evidence should be avoided at all costs and Law is Cool recommends against uploading videos of yourself doing illegal stuff. I can only assume these must not be obvious across the pond. Jordan Furlong on the other hand sees the benefits of technology and discusses whether the "firm of the future" might be a virtual firm: "So I donât think virtual firms are the future. But I do think theyâre a future. More specifically, theyâre one of a growing number of law firm models that will all be able to flourish in the next couple of decades. Thatâs because what weâre really seeing here is the demise of the traditional cookie-cutter law firm as the default setting for legal service enterprises." Victoria Pynchon herself provides a great example of the power of even a tweet which in this case led to the creation of the Lawyer Connection Network for new and laid-off attorneys. Family Law Week goes further and gives specific suggestions of legal tweeters in their field. However, Kevin O'Keefe takes a more real world focus and suggests that law firms mistakenly focus on social media tactics over strategy. John Flood takes a different tack and discusses how online confusion of identity can arise. Finally, with Twitter down, if you start to worry about the consequences of cyber-attacks then Corporate Insurance Blog says it's a good week to read about insurance coverage in that respect.
As with the book, this Blawg Review has some dedications. The first is a goodbye to The Fat Bigot who has called time on his blog. The second is to the editor of Blawg Review who has finally been unmasked. Finally, there is a heartfelt dedication which comes from Keith Rowley who reports that his co-blogger at the Commercial Law blog, Brooke Overby has died unexpectedly at 49.
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.