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September 05, 2005

Blawg Review #22

Hello, class! Welcome to the Back-to-School edition of Blawg Review! I know last week was an incredibly rough week and you've all got a lot on your minds, but we have a lot of material to cover today so if I may borrow my contracts professor's trademark phrase: Ok, let's get started!

Hurricane!Killer Katrina: Hurricane Katrina has reshaped many many lives, including those of lawyers and law students. For example, New Orleans appellate lawyer Raymond P. Ward wondered last week if he should stay or go; he made what appears to have been a wise choice and decided to go. Ernie the Attorney tried to leave but couldn't, then eventually did make it out. Both Ernie and Raymond have lots of links to more first-person and on-the-scene sources of information about the storm and its aftermath, including a few photos.

Like everyone with family and other loved ones in the Gulf Coast area, Joey of Yayarolly goes to law school spent a tense week watching the news and worrying about his her family. He She finally got some good news but he's she's now forced to start 1L a little behind on his her reading. Similarly, Jaybeas Corpus, a 2L at Washington College of Law at American University in D.C., worried about his family ahead of the storm, then learned they'd made it through ok. Jay also links to this terrific video of Anderson Cooper giving Senator Mary Landrieu (D, LA) hell for mouthing platitudes in the face of catastrophe.

Professor Yin summarized Katrina's big-picture impact on lawyers and law students: 1/3 of the lawyers in Lousiana (including the one Evan Schaeffer recently spoke to in a bar) have lost their offices, papers, computers—possibly their clients—and the state supreme court is under water. As Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle notes, the impact may be greatest on solos and small firms.

On the law school front, Katrina shut down Tulane University Law School (temporary website), as well as Loyola's New Orleans campus (temporary website). Both are using blogs as a way to communicate (Tulane blog, Loyola blog). To help minimize the impact this will have on law students, other law schools around the country have offered admission to the displaced students for a semester at least to give Tulane and Loyola time to clean up and get back in operation. This might just give 50 lucky students the chance to learn from Instapundit Glenn Reynolds at the University of Tennessee. Some Tulane 3Ls have posted online updates of their reactions to Katrina, including C.G. Moore's account at Overlawyered, and Asian Provocateur's thoughts on her own site. (AP: Please let me know if I'm mistaken and you're not really a Tulane 3L!) Meanwhile, some law professors are discussing postponing or moving the next Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, which is currently scheduled for January in New Orleans.

Not surprisingly, the hurricane also prompted many other conversations in the blawgosphere, including Professor Vic Fleischer's consideration of whether it's true that what we've seen was actually a “naturally disaster.” The looting was a concern for many, prompting some to ponder whether looters should be shot on sight. Professor Orin Kerr says no, but Professor Bainbridge says there's no clear answer. Funny, I thought I learned in crimlaw, torts, and property that you can never legally (or morally) use deadly force merely to protect property. Perhaps I missed a memo somewhere? But the looters are a temporary problem; Professor Ribstein considers another, much larger issue: What kind of city will New Orleans be once it's rebuilt—an amusement park of the past or an economic engine? The answer to that will likely be a long time coming; meanwhile, at Between Lawyers Denise Howell is talking about how lawyers can help other lawyers make it through these difficult times. She also offers a few more related links on Bag and Baggage. The ABA is also linking up Katrina-help resources, including some specifically for law students.

The court, sort of.SCOTUS: The other major headline dominating all else is the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, followed closely by coverage of what this might mean for the Court and the country. SCOTUSblog continues to update with excellent commentary and also points to commentary by Howard Bashman at How Appealing and this roundup of reactions from Chris Geitner's Law Dork.

Hearings for John Roberts, Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor (and now apparently for Chief Justice, as well), are due to start tomorrow and Massachusetts corporate collections attorney Jane T. Woodworth says the fact that he's a man nominated to replace a woman shouldn't be an issue. “True equality means appointing the best person for the job regardless of gender (or anything else).” In addition to gender, Roberts is being critiqued on many other angles. For example, the comment section to what started out as a light-hearted self-congratulatory post on Professor Bainbridge's blog morphed into a fairly serious (and still going) discussion of the extent to which SCOTUS nominee John Roberts' Catholicism would be an appropriate subject of inquiry during his up-coming confirmation hearings. For still more angles on Roberts and the SCOTUS, the Scoplaw has extensive notes from a recent panel discussion at Georgetown about the Roberts' nomination.

Meanwhile, a large number of law professors oppose Roberts' nomination. Could this have anything to do with a recently-renewed interest in the old question: Are American Law Profs Too Liberal? Professor Bainbridge (who would certainly say the answer to the question is “Yes!”) collects many links on the subject and concludes that conservative law professors need to insist that the pool of candidates for new faculty positions include conservatives. Professor Gordon Smith also commented on the political bent of law faculties in his very first first Office Hour Podcast. The good professor hopes to continue the podcast with weekly episodes dealing with a wide variety of topics, including business law, sports, and, of course, cheese.

Nutshells! Practice Area Bits: Of Course, Katrina and the SCOTUS were not the only topics of conversation in the blawgosphere last week—far from it! Lawyers in a variety of practice areas were busy pumping out excellent coverage of their corners of the law, including:

Litigating Lawyers:
David Giacalone reminds us that August 31 was Love Litigating Lawyers Day. He celebrated with some of his favorite positive quotations about lawyers, just in case you were about to forget that “the houses of lawyers are roofed with the skins of litigants.” George's Employment Blawg celebrated with a great t-shirt and a little haiku. How did you celebrate?

Johnathan B. Wilson celebrated by critiquing California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's :lawsuit against a number of national fast-food chains, alleging that their sale of french fries endangers public health.“ (Also here.) Maybe Mr. Lockyer just needs to learn how to match a good wine with those french fries—Professor Bainbridge has some advice on how to do just that!

Crimlaw:
Scott Henson, a Texas ACLU writer and research and author of the exceptionally terrific Grits for Breakfast blog, lists and summarizes a few new Texas laws that he actually likes.

Labor Law:
George's Employment Law Blawg features a regular weekly roundup of hot topics in labor as well as the occasional joke featuring ”a young man in an Armani suit, Ferragamo shoes, the latest Polarized sunglasses and a tightly knotted power tie“ poking his head out of a silver BMW. There's another great joke in the comments—it's funny and it's not even a lawyer joke.

IP Law:
Evan Brown of Internet Cases notes that the Fourt Circuit has reversed a decision of the district court which had found in favor of Rev. Jerry Falwell in a trademark infringement and ”typosquatting“ case.  The court's decision places the domain name ”fallwell.com“ back into the hands of outspoken Falwell critic Christopher Lamparello.

That Back-to-School Thing: Since this is the Back-to-School edition of Blawg Review, it would most certainly not be complete without a few highlights from the student corners of the blawgosphere.

New 1L Kim Plaintive quickly realized that law students can be ”serious dorks.“ She also already had her first sitting-in-class-and-couldn't-care-less moment and although this made her wonder if she's really cut out for law school, I'd say it means she's a natural. How else is she going to make it through three years of this?

Another 1L, Kristine of Divine Angst, offers her thoughts on starting law school after being out in the working world for a few years. 1L CM of Magic Cookie shares her first experience being called on in class. Her lesson is either, a) that the answer in torts, contracts, and corporations (among other classes) is almost always ”money,“ or b) that getting called on makes you stupid.

Janine at Very Unnecessary is also just starting her law school career and it sounds like she's having a great time.

But while most 1Ls are still figuring out how to balance classes and social lives, Mother In Law is figuring out how to be a non-traditional student who must balance class and family life. She's also got a harrowing account of trying to make her books more user-friendly.

For many students, the law school balancing act continues into 2L, and that's especially true for Transmogriflaw, a 2L and a new mother who is figuring out how to balance classes and motherhood. It's not always easy, but she seems to be coping remarkably well!

As for 3Ls, most of us, like Ditzy Genius, are thinking a lot about work and jobs and being done with the whole thing. Yeah, we're kind of boring like that.

But no matter what stage they're at, law students can always use more advice on how to make their time in law school better. In that vein, following up on his piece 1L of a Decision, Prof. Yabut advises all law students that: "only a stupid a$$ doesn't self-assess. Frankly, there are enough lost, unhappy souls practicing law as it is, without you — yes, you! — adding to the numbers by blindly careening toward a career.“ Although it sounds a little harsh when put that way, this is similar to the message Deborah Schneider is trying to get across in her book, Should You Really Be A Lawyer? If you haven't had a chance to check out that book, you can now get a sample of what it has to offer by listening to an interview with Deborah in the 16th episode of my very own Ambivalent Voices podcast. It's really a must-listen for law students—especially 1Ls. Keep your eye (ear?) on Ambivalent Voices in the next few days to hear many more back-to-school interviews with law students from around the country!

Elsewhere, Harvard law grad and Anonymous Lawyer author Jeremy Blachman offers some advice about law school from the perspective of hindsight.

Law students eventually have to get jobs, but will their blawgs affect that process? Related to that subject, Jeremy also recently penned an op-ed for the New York Times in which he suggested bloggers need legal protection from being fired from their jobs for blogging. Fellow Harvard Law grad Bamber was not impressed with the piece, while Anthony Rickey, a 3L at Columbia Law, says ”don't worry.“ Anthony believes a market truce will develop between bloggers and employers because employers will realize that the bad publicity they get from firing a blogger is worse than whatever minimal damage the blogger's posts might do to the employer. This is obviously a concern for many 3Ls and recent graduates who blog: Will my blog hurt my employment chances or is it going to get me in trouble once I have a job?

Finally, going back a few weeks in Anthony's archives is a brief critique of the 18th edition of the Blue Book, particularly its suggested method for citing to a particular blog post. Since the Blue Book potentially plays such a large role in the lives of most law students, and especially in this case, those who read blogs and, to some extent, depend on them for research and commentary, the topic seems relevant to this special edition of Blawg Review. For the record, I agree with Anthony: The suggested blawg citation method is ridiculous and shows that the editors of the Blue Book need to read more blawgs and learn what permalinks are. No wonder law school sucks so much sometimes—it's all the Blue Book's fault!

Well, that's going to do it for Blawg Review #22. Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions for how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

And for more immediate blog-carnival-goodness, be sure to check out the Carnival of the Capitalists hosted this week at Rethink(ip). Rethink(ip) is a group blawg by three intellectual property attorneys from three different firms; learn more about it in the Blawg Review review!

Posted by mowabb at September 5, 2005 09:05 AM

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Comments

Awesome! This is a great roundup of a very eventful period.

One note: Joey of Yayarolly is female.

Posted by: Janine at September 5, 2005 01:40 PM

Thanks, Janine! And my sincere apologies to Joey on the pronoun snafus.

Posted by: ambimb at September 5, 2005 06:16 PM

not sure about la., but texans view the general rule about the use of deadly force to protect property a little differently. see 9.42

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/PE/content/htm/pe.002.00.000009.00.htm

great blawg review by the way.
mmk

Posted by: mmk at September 5, 2005 06:17 PM

Great roundup as usual, AI.

Posted by: transmogriflaw at September 6, 2005 12:05 AM

A few years ago, James Gilligan of Harvard published an analysis of the Hammurabic Method of Social Regulation that reveals it to be hopelessly dysfunctional, causing a net increase in the social ills that it seeks to diminish.

Professor Gilligan's analysis is found here:

Punishment and Violence: Is the Criminal Law Based on One Huge Mistake?

His empirical analysis is consistent with other research suggesting that rule-based regulatory systems are inherently and irredemiably erratic, dysfunctional, and counter-productive, producing over time a chaotically rising tide of conflict, violence, oppression, injustice, corruption, poverty, ignorance, alienation, suffering, and terrorism.

Posted by: Moulton at September 12, 2005 12:14 AM