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Not all blogs are created equal.

The number of active blogs on law grows every day. By one estimate, there are over 5,300 active blogs, podcasts, and newsfeeds on lawyers and the practice of law.

In BlogSay, we cull content from the blogosphere on legal culture, recent legal decisions, the practice of law, and the life of the lawyer.

In BlogSay we share news-that-can-amuse, as well as educate, irritate, outrage, and maybe even inspire. Have you read a noteworthy blog post and want to share it with your colleagues? Send us an email.

PAC (Pooch Action Committee)

With just about 430,000 registered voters in the City of Boston, the dismal 68,829 voters who went to the polls on primary day two weeks ago reminds us of this election story that hit the legal blogosphere during the dog days of August.

Washington State’s Whatcom County’s four-legged, would-be prosecutor is not the first non-human (in this case, canine) trailblazer in the political history of the Evergreen State.

On September 26, 1938, Time magazine reported that 51 voters in a Tacoma suburb voted for Boston Curtis, “a Republican candidate for precinct committeeman” who happened to be “a large brown mule.”

The rich get rich and the poor get children (and a less stylish lobby)

With our credit to composer Richard Whiting and lyricists Ray Egan and Gus Kahn’s ‘Roaring Twenties’ fox trot, real estate blogger at Naked Law Lisa Bloom offers her take on 21st century Manhattan, “the billionaire’s playground and income inequality capital of America.”

Actually, New York ranks 13th in the United States, with the Athens of America and her smarty-pants cousin on the other side of the Charles River ranking a respectful (ahem) 11th and 12th  in income inequality.

For a less hyperbolic point-of-view on what the media has dubbed ‘the poor door,’ check out Pat Regnier’s report at Money magazine online and the blog of the New York Daily News.

AirBnB: Watch me pull a landlord out of my hat!

More ‘sorta-kinda’ real estate news from blogger Elie Mystal, commenting on why “people in business over the internet like to act like what they are doing is so new and exciting and technologically advanced that the ‘old rules’ no longer apply.”

Drunk and Drunker and Other Stories

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay writes on his website that “communicating directly with the citizens of our county is of utmost importance to me.”

Ramsay and his officer/bloggers first came to our attention last year, when the tale of two sisters, one car, and two failed-sobriety tests made it to the Legal Juice blog this past July.

As Juice’s John Masirow writes, “you’d have to be drunk to try something this stupid.”

Monroe County’s seat is the city of Key West. The city has a proud literary heritage. At one time or another it was the home of John Hersey, Elizabeth Bishop, Nancy Friday, and Shel Silverstein.

And while Ernest Hemingway tops the list of Key West’s literary lights, we think the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction Miami New Times bloggers will earn their rightful place in the modern social media literary canon for their chronicle of the Keys.

In Monroe County, deer are never ‘caught in headlights’ but occasionally they do get their heads stuck in a bag of corn chips. A guy by the name of ‘Chaotic Huang’ is clocked travelling at speeds of 116 mph. If you hide your roommate’s vodka, said roommate might be inclined to pull a gun on you. And if you give the cops the go-ahead to look for your marijuana stash, it’s not a legal defense to say you were shocked when they actually looked.

So grab your ninja sword and baseball bat, but beware the Taser (true story).

Girls Gone Bust; Caddy Gone South

The good news from the United States Bankruptcy Courts is that the number of business and non-business bankruptcies for the 12 month period ending June 30, 2014 (1,000,083, to be exact) continues trending downward.

The bad news for Judge Sandra Klein this past July was having to preside over the bankruptcy of Joe Francis, Girls Gone Wild founder who allegedly owes casino mogul Steve Wynn some $30 million dollars in gambling debts,  according to the Wall Street Journal.

This summer, Klein slapped Francis with a daily fine of $5,000 for his failure to return a 2007 Cadillac and a 2012 Bentley owned by GWG Productions, Francis’s porn business, which in its heyday ruined Florida for the entire month of March for thousands of senior citizens across the nation.

Judge Klein was not inclined to believe Francis’s explanation that he couldn’t return the automobiles because they were in the possession of an angry Mexican strip club owner.

As blogger Kevin Underhill writes, Judge Klein’s disbelief “would apply to pretty much any explanation Joe Francis has ever given a judge, and probably to any explanation he’s ever given, period.”

Well I’ll be a Monkey’s Lawyer

Back in April the New York Times Magazine profiled lawyer and animal rights activist Steven Wise in an article titled, “Should a Chimp Be Able to Sue It’s Owner?”

Last month, Kevin Underhill revisited a story he reported in 2011 and 2013 about an intellectual property dispute between Wikimedia and photographer David Slater, resulting after an enterprising macaque on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi  swiped Slater’s camera off its tripod and proceeded to take hundreds of selfies.

No problem until Slater and Caters News Agency, claiming ownership of one of the photos, posted it online.

Not so fast, as techdirt reports.

First Monday in October Surprise: Fantasy Stare Decisis

Fantasy Football has a new meaning as of late, from attorney Adam Banner blogging on Huff Post to anecdotal complaints from virtual owners and general managers of teams that Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension by the NFL has messed up their fantasy rosters.

If only there were a better fantasy game in town, something with more satisfaction than real Buffalo wings and Monday-morning quarterbacking and a virtual weird-looking trophy and gaudy championship ring.

Well there is. And it’s just for you!

When Vox.com’s Dylan Matthews interviewed Daniel Katz, Josh Blackman, and Michael Bommarito about their computer program that “correctly identifies 69.7% of the Supreme Court’s overall affirm and reverse decisions and correctly forecasts 70.9% of the votes of individual justices across 7,700 cases and more than 68,000 justice votes” we (like everyone else) were intrigued by their use of big data.

Imagine our surprise (and now yours) when Blackman mentioned a five-year-old Supreme Court prediction model, Fantasy SCOTUS.

 


Not all blogs are created equal.

The number of active blogs on law grows every day. By one estimate, there are over 5,300 active blogs, podcasts, and newsfeeds on lawyers and the practice of law.

In BlogSay, we cull content from the blogosphere on legal culture, recent legal decisions, the practice of law, and the life of the lawyer.

In BlogSay we share news-that-can-amuse, as well as educate, irritate, outrage, and maybe even inspire.

Have you read a noteworthy blog and want to share it with your colleagues? Send us an email.

With this, our fourth issue of Amicus Advocati, we direct you to our Google+ page, where we’ve gathered together blog content since issue three.

This summer we’ll return to BlogSay as our place to gather together stuff that’s fun and informative as we make our Google+ page the place to read legal news from across the United States.


Not all blogs are created equal. The number of active blogs on law grows every day.

By one estimate, there are over 5,300 active blogs, podcasts, and newsfeeds on lawyers and the practice of law. 

In BlogSay, we cull content from the blogosphere on legal culture, recent legal decisions, the practice of law, and the life of the lawyer. In BlogSay we share news-that-can-amuse, as well as educate, irritate, outrage, and maybe even inspire. 

Have you read a noteworthy blog and want to share it with your colleagues? Send us an email.

Shred Carpet.

Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society blogger Philip Greenspun’s review of the documentary film, Divorce Corp. shows that while Greenspun might not want to give up his day job as a computer scientist and internet entrepreneur, his account of the post-screening conversation among Massachusetts divorce litigators, mediators, and battle-scarred petitioners and respondents is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall response to the film’s criticism of the $50 billion dollar-a-year “divorce industry”.

That said, in this isssue of Amicus Advocati our Lawyer’s on the Silver Screen reviews a screwball comedy about divorce, Intolerable Cruelty (See Below).

Beauty is a beast.

Online dating is a 2 billion dollar-plus industry with room to grow. This Freakonomics Radio podcast covers such topics as “I wanted to see if there was a lower limit to how awful a person could be before men would stop messaging her”, and what can a Stanford labor economist recommend to improve your profile.

As for the first topic, a stunningly good-looking 25-year-old woman who is a money-grubbing racist can count on about 1,000 replies to her profile, and in case you’re wondering about topic number two, the Stanford economist points out that all things considered, being a lawyer, a doctor, or a firefighter improves your response rate. 

For the dark(er) side of online dating, GigaLaw blogger Doug Isenberg links us to a Wall Street Journal article detailing some online dating stories about bank accounts drained in the name of love.

Sturm und Drang and Love and Taxes.

The blog of the American Constitution Society reported on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s call “to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages.”

Holder’s announcement comes about six months after the Internal Revenue Service announced new rules on the filing status of same-sex couples.

And for those contemplating untying the tie that binds, Forbes blogger Cameron Keng adds: “divorce causes tax audits”.

With friend requests like that, who needs frenemies?

Wall Street Journal law blogger Jacob Gersham brought this case to our attention. It seems that hell hath no fury like an ex parte social-media communication from a circuit-judge-in-a-divorce-proceeding scorned. 

And not to be outdone in the “What-God-has-brought-together-let-not-Facebook-put-asunder” category of how social media is changing our lives, GigaLaw blogger Doug Isenberg linked us to this story from ABC News reporting that “a third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word ‘Facebook’”.

You don’t get what you might have to pay for. 

From Kirk C. Jenkins and the Appellate Strategist blog, a recent case before the Illinois Supreme Court asks, “Does voluntarily dismissing a custody petition mean you get hit with the psychologist’s fees?” Here is a link to the Illinois Appellate Court judgement filed in 2013 in re Marriage of Robert N. Tiballi, Petitioner-Appellant, and Sheila J.Ilagan Tiballi, Respondent-Appellee.

Can’t we all just get along (and agree on banning the chicken dance from wedding receptions)? 

Concurring Opinions guest blogger and law professor Aníbal Rosario Lebrón writes about his own research and advocacy on the topic of “marriage deregulation” in light of Oklahoma legislator Mike Turner’s introduction of legislation to abolish marriage in the Sooner State. Turner’s proposal comes in response to a federal judge’s ruling that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Telling Tales 1.

From Josh Hoch at the MWI Divorce Mediation blog, a list of 10 helpful books about divorce for parents and children that any family lawyer might want to share with their client. 

Telling Tales 2.

From Attorney Jonathan Fields a link to a Huffington Post blurb on weird divorce stories from around the world.


Not all blogs are created equal. The number of active blogs on law grows every day. By one estimate, there are over 5,300 active blogs, podcasts, and newsfeeds on lawyers and the practice of law.

In BlogSay, we cull content from the blogosphere on legal culture, recent legal decisions, the practice of law, and the life of the lawyer. In BlogSay we share news-that-can-amuse, as well as educate, irritate, outrage, and maybe even inspire.

Have you read a noteworthy blog and want to share it with your colleagues? Send us an email.

One man’s trash is one woman’s treasure.

The Center for Computer Assisted Legal Education (CALI), “advances global legal education through computer technology, employs research, collaboration, and leadership to assist a diverse audience in the effective use of this technology in legal education, and promotes access to justice through the use of computer technology.”  Sarah Glassmeyer, Director of Content Development at CALI “ would like to start collecting our shared legal technology history before it all ends up in dumpsters.” Contact her if you have “things like old Lexis/Westlaw manuals, instructions on how to use antiquated systems, old UBIQ terminals” et cetera.

Homework

US News and World Report is just one of many sources that over the last few years have reported on the economic bottom-line benefits of telecommuting.

Still, old habits die hard and many folks remain under the impression that being “at work” means “working.” But as this graphic shows, “work” the noun and “work” the verb are not one-in-the-same, especially around the water cooler, a.k.a. the original social network.

And for current and future telecommuting lawyers whose virtual office might include a local java hut, Loyola Law New Orleans Professor Dane Ciolino offers a recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the ethics of public Wi-Fi.

What Say Ye (Not)

Founder and CEO of A2L Consulting, blogger Ken Lopez is a guy who likes numbers. And why shouldn’t he? With litigation consulting, jury consulting, trial graphics, and trial technology services translating into “favorable decisions in cases worth cumulatively more than $2 trillion,” Lopez’s 7 Things You Never Want to Say in Court and 21 Ingenious Ways to Research Your Judge are worth the read.

Pop! Goes the Legal

Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the state-by-state loss leaders for the decline in the number of practicing lawyers in the United States. That’s the bad news. And what’s the worse news? Well, at least for law schools the worse news is that they continue lose money as enrollments decline. 

For potential law students, blogger Vivia Chen puts her usual spin on the situation, making lemonade out of the withering legal lemons, and Alan Dershowitz (and others) offer-up their own fixes to the changing legal landscape. 

When the Bite is Worse than the Bark 

Does it ever rain cats and dogs? Sometimes. Is dog bite litigation a rainmaker worth exploring? Definitely. “People can suffer serious injuries from dog bites, leaving children and adults with physical and even emotional trauma.”Legaltalknetwork.com presents a podcast on dog bite injuries and the use of structured settlements in dog bite injury cases.

He’s not Gonna like the Way You Look, Especially if you Don’t Dry Clean it…

From Bloomberg Law via YouTube comes 10 Tips on Business Casual Attire. “After seeing his colleagues roll their eyes at some of the business casual outfits associates wore, the office managing partner of a major national law took matters into his own hands. He provided a list of tips to the male attorneys in his office about what business casual really means.”

As Not Seen on TV

Harvard Law graduate and current doctoral candidate in English literature Seth Abramson offers some thoughtful commentary on the imagined and real criminal justice system in America.

Pledge Now, Or Another Downton Abbey Character Dies!

“Hollywood Reporter” blogger Eriq Gardner brought this Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to our attention. In sum writes Gardner, the court “ruled that Congress didn’t cross the First Amendment line in adopting a ban on for-profit goods and services advertising on public television.” For all of you who can’t get enough of Hollywood but yearn for a take on tinsel town that appeals to your lawyerly interests, Gardner Tweets at @eriqgardner.

Studies in Evil

The court artist Arthur Lien has “been sketching the courts since 1976.” The drawings, Victims Speaking at Bulger Sentencing are available for purchase.

For our readers who represent victims of violence, these drawings are a reminder of why it is you do what you do.

A picture says a thousand words, but with drawings titled “We feel robbed everyday” and “The healing can begin. The nightmare is over. The pain stops here” we get a lot more. 


Not all blogs are created equal. The number of active blogs on law grows everyday. By one estimate, there are over 5,300 active blogs, podcasts, and newsfeeds on lawyers and the practice of law.

In BlogSay, we cull content from the blogosphere on legal culture, recent legal decisions, the practice of law, and the life of the lawyer. In BlogSay we share news-that-can-amuse, as well as educate, irritate, outrage, and maybe even inspire.

Have you read a noteworthy blog and want to share it with your colleagues? Send us an email.

Beware of Michelin Chefs bearing gifts…

is one way to sum up Napa County Superior Court Judge Diane Price’s ruling that La Toque Restaurant was in violation of California Health and Safety Code § 25982. No matter how you slice it, foie gras is not an expression of free speech in California. The new late summer menu item to replace the cruelly delicious and indisputably illegal fattened duck liver? May we suggest egg (on the face)? We offer you a link to the press announcement on the decision from California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund

Dr. Harold FeelGood…

meets the “conga line of stupid.” At least that’s what one blogger wrote when 23 Attorneys General (including Massachusetts) voiced their collective displeasure with the congenitally cool retailer Urban Outfitters. What could Urban Outfitters’s CEO and Chairman Richard A. Hayne do but pull their “Lightweight ceramic mug topped with a clever coffee prescription” off the shelves? Our source for this story is The Volokh Conspiracy

The Expert Witness (made simple)…

in “ten practical tips” from blogger and general counsel to the Harris County (Texas) Toll Road Authority Clarrisa Kay Bauer. We like Bauer not only because she shows how “you can effectivley manage experts with a few simple strategies,” but also because she uses examples from Hollywood movies to illustrate a good and a bad expert, something we appreciate not only because of our own expert witness column (The Expert Witness), but our own take on Hollywood and the legal profession (Lawyers on the Silver Screen).  

Going, going, gone? 

Among the premier museums of fine arts in the country, the Detroit Institute of Arts is the second largest municipally-owned museum in the United States, with an art collection valued at over $1 billion. While Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s recent formal opinion that the collection cannot be sold by the city to settle its estimated $18+ billion in debt, federal bancruptcy law might say otherwise. Our source for this story is the New York Times, but we link you to Schuette’s decision – a much more interesting read.

“It’s a little iffy to me”…

was the assessment of Rhode Island native Olivia Culpo, the woman whose head currently wears the Miss Universe crown after Pennsylvania’s Shenna Monnin resigned her Keystone State title in protest, following Monnin’s allegation that Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant was rigged. Whatever the reasons behind Monnin’s resignation, the former 2012 Miss Pennsylvania is in the hole for a cool $5 million after an arbitrator awarded Trump’s organization that amount to settle its defamation claim against Monnin.  

Happy Birthday, Gideon v. Wainwright!

Ohio State University Professor of Law Douglas Berman recommends adding the June 2013 Yale Law Journal to your summer reading list for its “500+ pages of Gideon reading.”


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