Category Archives: Law: Practice

If You Read One Thing Today

…make it Getting Out (the print title; online it’s the much wordier, “Could an Ex-Convict Become an Attorney? I Intended to Find Out”) by poet, father, Yale Law grad (and ex-con), Reginald Dwayne Betts.

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This Could Happen to You

…if you are a litigator taking a deposition (dramatization via NYT, ‘Verbatim: What Is a Photocopier?’).

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Naming Files

Just modified my writing tips for students to add “A Few Words About File Names”:

Most of our students will spend at least some part of their careers working in large organizations where they share electronic documents. Students should get in the habit of giving their documents good file names. Thus “paper draft” is always bad — imagine if everyone calls their documents that!

Some organizations have naming conventions, but if not, be sure the file name has three things: your surname (if the primary author, so you get the credit), something substantive (not “paper” or “motion” but “Jones-dismiss-motion” or whatever), and a version number. You usually do not need a date, the software will do that automatically. For papers it’s probably a good idea to put your surname first, then a summary form of the paper title, as that way over the course of time all your submissions to your professor will be grouped together and easy to find.

It is good a habit to avoid spaces in file names (use – or _) so that files translate well to UNIX systems if they ever touch one. Do not use any other odd non-alphanumeric characters as it can mess up some older file systems.

All fairly obvious, but you would be amazed how many files I get from students called “paper”.

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Slides from Toronto Big Data Talk

This morning I presented a short talk on the tensions between Big Data and privacy at the University of Toronto’s conference on The Future Frontiers of Online Privacy.

Here, in case you care–and for the record–are my slides from the talk entitled Big Data / Privacy: Pick One?

P.S. My phone said it was 17° (-8°C) this morning when I walked over. I believe it.

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Great Opening

Even if for some reason you don’t buy the merits, you must admit that this motion to dismiss starts with a bang:

A monkey, an animal-rights organization and a primatologist walk into federal court to sue for infringement of the monkey’s claimed copyright. What seems like the setup for a punchline is really happening. It should not be happening. Under Cetacean Community v. Bush, 386 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2004), dismissal of this action is required for lack of standing and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Monkey see, monkey sue is not good law – at least not in the Ninth Circuit.

For background, and a reproduction of what might be the world’s most famous selfie, see David Post.

Posted in Law: Copyright and DMCA, Law: Practice | 2 Comments

I Did

Andrew Rudalevige, writing in the Monkey Cage, asks King v. Burwell: Who knew administrative law could be so much fun?

As a long-time teacher of Administrative Law I’m continually amazed that people say Ad Law is dull. It may be complicated and sometimes verging on incoherent, but it’s not dull. And it really matters.

Only about 50% of law students nationally take Administrative Law (it is not on the bar exam in most states, although New York just added it), yet Administrative Law (and Accounting) are routinely among the courses that lawyers later say they regret not taking. Somehow this never comes up in ABA reform movements, perhaps because they are so dominated by litigators.

Posted in Law: Administrative Law, Law: Practice | 7 Comments