Category Archives: Law: Practice

Britt Blaser Wins ‘Law Day’

The attempted rebranding of May Day as ‘Law Day‘ by anti-communist Cold War legislators never took off. I think the idea of a ‘Law Day’ isn’t bad (although isn’t every day law day?), but as a piece of counter-programming it has always been both too half-hearted and rather tone-deaf.

But in the true spirit of the occasion here’s a vaguely law-related May 1st post from Britt Blaser: Hooray, Hooray, The First of May!.

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How to Make Your Point in a Five-Page Amicus Brief

Bob Kohn opposes the DOJ’s proposed ebook pricing settlement with three book publishers. District Judge Denise Cote granted him leave to intervene as an amicus — but wouldn’t take his a 55-page brief. She gave him leave to file only five pages.

Kohn responded with the most unusual amicus brief I’ve ever seen: a comic strip. And it makes his point.

Here, if the embedding works, is the full text.

Kohn Amicus

(Spotted via EFF’s James S. Tyre’s posting to a mailing list.)

Posted in Law: Practice | 3 Comments

Congratulations Law Graduates

On the occasion of your graduation, I offer you these Ten Tips for a Successful Transition from Law School to Law Practice, from Business Law Today.

(But first, pass the bar.)

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Breaking: Lawyers Only SECOND Most Sleep-Deprived Profession

Home health aides are #1 by a full three minutes.

NYT, America’s 10 Most Sleep-Deprived Jobs.

Spotted via Slashdot, which totally missed the story: Computer Programmers Only the 5th Most Sleep Deprived Profession.

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Could This Be the Best Argument for Taking Drugs?

I don’t know exactly what the Great Grimmelmann’s “inner stoner” has been smoking, but I think we could all do with a hit of it.

Here are two cute ideas for law reform:

Stoner Law Reform: Fee-Shifting. I think it’s interesting. Because the marginal utility of money is not linear, I’m still not sure about it, but it’s still interesting.

Stoner Law Reform: Trial by DVD. I really like this one.

He promises more to come. (I hope he has a prescription for that stuff. It does seem to be what the doctor ordered.)

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Do People Really Do This Stuff?

Two items from today’s news raise similar questions about whether people — even lawyers — really are ready to exercise their legal rights in socially awkward situations. (And if even lawyers are not, do those rights mean anything?)

First, this from the NYT “Haggler” column, the New York Times’s consumer meta-advocate. The column, Restaurant Bill Shock? Some Readers Say ‘Au Contraire’, is a followup to an earlier one about someone going to a very fancy restaurant, ordering the daily special — pasta with truffles, price not mentioned by waiter — and being shocked by the dish’s $275 price tag.

Readers wrote in with suggestions, including this one from Franklin Synder, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan:

“You might be interested in letting your readers know that a restaurant meal is a ‘sale of goods’ under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code,” he wrote. “The code provides that where the buyer and seller have agreed to a contract but have not agreed on the price, the price is not what the seller subsequently demands. It’s a reasonable price for the goods at issue. Thus a customer has no obligation to pay for anything more than the reasonable price of a pasta meal at a trendy restaurant.”

He continued: “In this circumstance, a customer should make a reasonable offer for the value of the meal, then walk out and wait to be sued for breach of contract. Be sure to leave the restaurant full contact information so they can’t claim that you’re trying to steal something.”

I confess I may know one or two people who might actually try this if sufficiently provoked, but I do not think I am part of that tiny minority.

Similarly, there is this piece of advice in today’s Miami Herald about what to do when boarding a cruise, offered by one Gabrielle D’Alemberte, who is identified a senior trial attorney at the Law Offices of Robert L. Parks, P.L., a Coral Gables-based plaintiff’s litigation firm:

For those of us in South Florida who travel outside the United States, it’s important to understand that many other countries in Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America have similar laws that make it difficult to file lawsuits in negligence-related cases. If the unthinkable occurs — a child’s drowning in a hotel pool, a crippling watercraft accident at a Caribbean resort or an outbreak of a dangerous virus on a cruise ship — the choice of forum makes a huge difference in the legal outcome.

Therefore, you have to be sure to read the fine print before signing your passenger ticket for a cruise. If you purchase your ticket through a travel agent, be sure you see the actual documents prior to departure — and send an email to the agent to document that request.

When you come to the choice of forum clause in your ticket, take out your pen and cross out a few words, such as “I agree to…” and hand the documents back to the boarding agent. While the agent has the right to deny you from boarding, most likely you will still be ushered aboard.

Likely? Likely? Let me tell you that if I were to persuade my wife to go on a cruise and then attempted to pull this stunt, I would probably be disowned. And if it resulted in our being denied boarding, I don’t even want to think of the consequences. Has Ms. D’Alemberte, or anyone in Parks firm actually tried this stunt? I’m dubious, even if she is Sandy D’Alemberte’s daughter. Admittedly it would be easier to recover from this stunt if you are sailing from a port where you live, since you can turn around and get home easily, but I think it might put a serious damper on your vacation, not to mention your relationship.

I’m not even certain whether the cruise line would be obligated to refund your money in these circumstances. I suppose it depends on at what point you are said to have accepted the language in the ticket – when they send it to you or when you hand it over to board. Is there a contracts lawyer in the house?

More generally, and more importantly, who lives like this? (And why should we have to?) No one I know does this, and I hang around lawyers all the time.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, Law: Practice | 5 Comments

Not the Smartest Thing to Wear to Court

A man accused of drug trafficking showed up for court Friday in Fort Lauderdale sporting a jacket that bore a cartoon-style recipe for cooking crack cocaine.

The man’s white jacket looked like a how-to guide for making crack cocaine, with a series of little pictures of a white substance with a spoon, a carton of baking soda and a little pot over a fire. The end product was a "rock," slang for the drug.

via, Man wears ‘crack jacket’ to court.

My question is whether this sort of thing is common only in Broweird, as we so fondly call it, or is this more common? I sort of fear it might be national.

Posted in Florida, Law: Criminal Law, Law: Practice | Leave a comment