…if you are a litigator taking a deposition (dramatization via NYT, ‘Verbatim: What Is a Photocopier?’).
Category Archives: Law: Practice
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”.
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.
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.
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.
Justice R. Fred Lewis, a very loyal alumnus, swore in students from the class of 2014 this evening — recent graduates who learned only yesterday that the passed the bar. They looked pretty happy about it.
The Justice told the graduates that they were starting a new life, “24/7 you’re going to be a lawyer.” He extolled the value of civility in personal and professional life. He reminded the graduates that they had achieved their law license with the help of many others, friends and family. That license he told them, permits many things, but “not to be an ass.”
There was more good advice: keep some perspective, don’t let anyone suck the joy out of your life, do good works, think of life balance.
Then he administered Florida’s highly aspirational oath:
I do solemnly swear:
“I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida;
“I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers;
“I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceedings which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land;
“I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law;
“I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my clients, and will accept no compensation in connection with their business except from them or with their knowledge and approval;
“To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications;
“I will abstain from all offensive personality and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged;
“I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay anyone’s cause for lucre or malice. So help me God.”1
It was a very happy event, but I couldn’t help but think about the almost 18.8% of our Florida test-takers who didn’t pass the bar. Florida overall had an almost 30% failure rate, which is substantially higher than in recent years; FSU’s pass rate was about half a percent higher than ours this year, U.Florida had a 10% better rate. Other law schools in the state did worse, or much worse, than we did. Our results were not by that measure embarrassing, indeed the pass percentage was higher than last year, but I still wish it was better. The administration will crunch the numbers, but we’ve not in the past been able to spot many predictors other than being right near the bottom of the class, and that itself is very imperfect. Oh yes, and some small part of the 18.8% will be long-ago graduates who retired to Florida and decided to take the bar. The Florida Bar counts them as our graduates for this purpose.
- I didn’t hear anything about a chance to affirm the oath. I hope this option was made clear to the graduates before the event. [↩]