Category Archives: Zombie Posts

Can Lawyers Hire Folks to Pose As Law Students to Get Links to the Firm’s Web Site?

Here’s a real-life event that might make a good short-answer problem for a Professional Responsibility final exam.

Today I received an email purporting to be from a law student. The sender’s email address was [common-first-name]@edu-student-mail.org. The subject line was “Suggestion for your page [URL]” with the URL being a fairly obscure page from an Internet law seminar I gave in 1998.

Here’s the text:

Hi!

I came across your site today while doing some research on intellectual property for one of my law classes. You provide some really great resources, but on your page http://www.law.miami.edu/~froomkin/sem98/sem11.htm I tried to click on your link to http://www.eff.org/pub/Intellectual_property and it doesn’t seem to be working. I also found this page in my research which could provide similar information if you wanted to check it out 🙂 [here followed a URL to a site advertising personal injury lawyers that I’ve cut out to avoid rewarding this behavior].

Best,

[First-Name Last-Name]

I responded with an email asking what law school she attended. Haven’t gotten an answer.

Suppose, just hypothetically (we have no reason to believe this at present), that the name is a fake and this was in fact an advertising message for the California PI firm sponsoring the website in the message.

Is this (hypothetical) duplicity banned by the California legal ethics code? I’m not a member of the California Bar, so I don’t know the answer to this one. A cursory glance at Rule 1-400. Advertising and Solicitation. makes me wonder if there isn’t maybe a gap in the rules.

The California ethics rules prohibit making false statements to potential clients, actual clients, opposing parties, and the courts. They also prohibit false statements to third parties about cases in which the lawyer is involved. But there doesn’t seem to be anything about hiring an agent to make a false statement to a third party (me) designed to get (let us hypothesize) accurate publicity for the lawyer, that is a link to the firm’s site.

The rules do say, among other things, that

A communication [defined as: “any message or offer made by or on behalf of a member concerning the availability for professional employment of a member or a law firm directed to any former, present, or prospective client”] or a solicitation [“any communication: (1) Concerning the availability for professional employment of a member or a law firm in which a significant motive is pecuniary gain;”] (as defined herein) shall not:

(1) Contain any untrue statement; or

(2) Contain any matter, or present or arrange any matter in a manner or format which is false, deceptive, or which tends to confuse, deceive, or mislead the public

It doesn’t seem to me that, true or false, the email I quoted above qualifies as either a “communication” or a “solicitation” under these rules. So I have to think it is not covered.

But shouldn’t sleazy lying marketing designed to promote a website be as unethical as a lie to a potential client or lies on that website?

Maybe the person who sent that email was real. But even if she is, the gap in the rules this email made me think about may be real too.

(I’d welcome enlightenment from anyone more familiar with the California rules.)

[Original draft 2/2/10.  In preparation for my blog redesign, I’ve been going through draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

12/12/2010: Never did get an answer to my email.

Posted in Law: Ethics, Zombie Posts | Leave a comment

Elves are from Europe, Mortals from Cleveland

ElfpunkEurope and Faerie [Update: link fixed] suggests that “the entire genre of elfpunk is really about the way intelligent and sympathetic Europeans and Americans view each other today.”

There’s at least enough truth in this proposed metaphor about modern fantasy with elves and cities to make a very entertaining blog entry, even if I’m not 100% certain — well, not even 50% certain — as to which of the elves-at-the-gates books I’ve read for which this sort of works qualify as elfpunk.

(spotted via 0xDECAFBAD).

[Original draft 3/29/2004. As part of my blog redesign, I’ve been going through draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

2010: I should have deleted this one, but I love the title.

Posted in Readings, Zombie Posts | 1 Comment

For Those Who Hate and Fear US ‘Socialism’

YouTube – REGULATION VACATION CELEBRATION!

[Original draft 5/28/2009.   In preparation for my blog redesign, I’ve been going through draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

2010: Still relevant, but the whole things seems a little quaint now that Obama has decided to govern as a Reagan Republican; that may be saner than a DeMint Republican, but are those the only choices?

Posted in Politics: Tinfoil, Zombie Posts | 1 Comment

Units of Measure

As coined by Atrios, a “Friedman” or “Friedman unit” is famously six months — the amount of time that the columnist keeps telling us it will take before we know whether Iraq turns the corner, finds the lights at the end of the tunnel….but when the time passes, we just get the same prediction again and again.

Is it time to define a new unit of measure, “the DeLong” — as the five years he predicts the Washington Post has before it craters (unless it changes)?

Admittedly, what makes the Friedman a Friedman is that we’ve had so many of them since he first made that ill-fated prediction. And as far as I know, the first sighting of Brad’s prediction may be March 7, 2007, which is pretty recent. So it’s not quite the same thing.

But I bet the Post lasts longer than five years despite all its dreadful editorial flaws. It has a lock on the local classified ad market, and its web site is a category killer that will smother local competitors. That’s going to be monetizable some day and will help keep the print paper afloat.

[Original draft 4/18/2007.  In preparation for my blog redesign, I found draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

2010: As a prediction, I think it’s looking good. As a newspaper, though, the Post really is looking awful.

Posted in The Media, Zombie Posts | Leave a comment

Zero Hour is Tuesdays Around 5 AM EST

In case you were wondering, the optimal time to roll out new network software is Tuesday some time around 00:00 UTC to 02:00 UTC.

As seen on the namedroppers list:

I’ve always found it best to roll out changes on Tuesday, as it gives plenty of customer feedback time during the week. Mondays are often consumed with catching up on any operational problems over the weekend. Tuesday is better. 02:00 UTC is my favorite, although anytime after 00:00 UTC usually works OK.

(post by William Allen Simpson)

[Original draft: 8/9/2009.  In preparation for my blog redesign, I found draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

Posted in Software, Zombie Posts | 2 Comments

James Tobin – Herman Woulk Connection

In the course of an interesting article on the resurgent influence of neo-Keynsian James Tobin, Yale’s Tobin Guides Obama From Grave as Friedman Is Eclipsed , the authors give us this fact:

While training to be an officer, he served with Herman Wouk, who later wrote “The Caine Mutiny.” Tobin was Wouk’s model for a character called Tobit, a “mandarin-like midshipman” who had “a domed forehead, measured quiet speech and a mind like a sponge.”

Amazing.

[Original draft 2/27/2009. In preparation for my blog redesign, I found draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them.]

2010:  It’s still an amazing fact about James Tobin, but I don’t find nearly enough Tobin in Obama’s economic policies.

Posted in Econ & Money, Zombie Posts | Leave a comment