Blawg Review #118
Do you like to make people laugh? Do you enjoy early Woody Allen movies, especially Sleeper? Have you often heard people praising your wit? And do you like everything about practicing law except for the clients, the judges, and your colleagues, particularly that partner who never fails to give you the creeps?
If so, welcome to Blawg Review #118. Blawgletter has the honor to host Blawg Review this week. We will cover many topics but will strive to throw in something funny every now and then. Blawgletter: Business trial law with a sense of humor.
Anne Reed covers juries and jury trials on her terrific Deliberations blawg. This week, she asks Is the Jury System Dying? But she warns against going overboard with laments about the rarity of civil trial by jury. As she notes in Clients, Choices, and the Jury System, "our first responsibility is to the client, not to the jury, and that often means we choose another path."
Scott Greenfield takes up the vanishing jury trial in Simple Justice. Speaking from a criminal defense lawyer’s perspective, Scott wonders Trials; Where Have You Gone? He offers a thought-provoking answer — that "the disease [of declining jury trials] was a conservative shift in political sentiment, elevating the desire for personal security over the promise of individual freedom."
Earlier this year, Blawgletter wrote about the Lone Star State’s 55 percent drop-off in civil jury trials since 1996. We supposed that growing hostility to civil lawsuits in the Texas legislature, governor’s office, and judiciary helps explain the drop. And we chuckle when we hear Supreme Court justices blaming everyone but themselves.
Should we care about marginalization of our most democratic institution, weakening of the strongest bulwark against arbitrary government action, silencing our greatest teacher of civic values? Eh, we guess.
Michael "Voldemort" Vick
Have you already read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which came out this Saturday? If not, you needn’t bother. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick delivers just as much evil in far fewer than 759 pages. Or so federal prosecutors would have you believe.
Sports Law Blog describes the criminal charges against Mr. Vick (a/k/a "Ookie") and three buddies (including "P-Funk") for horrific treatment of fighting dogs. The post includes links to other sources and the indictment itself.
Professor Stephen Bainbridge supplies a scholarly explanation of the Vick case, pointing out that the libertarian Edmund Burke would consider dog fighting way past his limit on government’s proper role.
Speaking of Pets
We also have videos — one of West Virginina Senator Robert Byrd rhapsodizing on canine critters (thanks to Althouse) and another of Will Ferrell advertising his dog-suing law practice (hat tip to Seth at QuizLaw).
Professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit warns that "IT’S A BAD IDEA TO BURGLARIZE a place marked ‘K-9 Training Facility.’" Res ipsa loquitur.
Plus J.D. Hull balances things a bit with an appreciation of cats. Mr. Hull composes What About Clients? — even during his vacation. Yo, dawg, get some R&R.
Finally, What the Funny . . . Patents describes a patent on one of those "invisible pet" leashes (above). This variety issues "a plurality of animal sounds" from a speaker on the collar.
The Disassociate, a column in NLJ.com and a blog, writes:
I cannot believe we are returning to formal business attire. I was sure that armpit-yellowed golf shirts and high-water seersucker pants were totally acceptable. Boy did I misread those second looks.
Mad Kane’s Humor Blog includes an ode about bloggers’ obsession with Google page-ranking. We’ve never checked our page rank before, but we now we can’t wait to!
Professor Eric Goldman discusses our firm’s contingent fee agreement in patent cases — or at least Steve Susman’s description of it — on his Technology & Marketing Law Blog. Reacting to Steve’s statement that he’d file suit before starting peace talks in order to avoid a bad forum, Professor Goldman suggests that limits on venue choices in new patent legislation could encourage pre-litigation settlement discussions. (Go here for our view on how recent court decisions force plaintiffs to sue before talking settlement.)
The Invent Blog, per Stephen Nipper, gives a Miller High Life-like tribute to "Mr. et al." in this post.
Walter Olson provides an obit for a lawsuit against "Extreme Makeover" in Overlawyered; Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground offers links to classic (and scary) posts by The Machiavellian Lawyer; and Charon QC describes a striking instance of judicial disdain.
What About Clients expresses lack of sympathy for those who pulled an all-nighter last week on debate about Iraq:
In olden days (circa 96th and 97th Cong.), when WAC? worked for Congress during those pointless posturing all-nighters, we (a) stayed up for 4 or 5 nights in a row with no cots, (b) ate nothing but the cheapest pharmaceutical "Crank", and (c) drank only coffee, whiskey, Tune Inn beer and Jolt cola, all out of dirty Mason jars. Spartan. Tireless. And just as lame.
Over at Balkinization, Sandy Levinson — who taught Blawgletter a thing or two about writing — lays out constitutional amendments that he’d like to see. One would limit presidential veto power, and others would relate to the office that John Nance Garner described as "not worth a bucket of warm" bodily excretion.
Wired GC fusses about the costs versus benefits of the patent system. The post cites an article, in The New York Times, about a law professor’s study, which concludes that costs outweigh benefits because patent litigation expenses — presumably including defense costs — exceed profits from patents. But we wonder. Doesn’t having profits mean that you got more revenue than you paid to get it?
Jurorial love birds. Homicide brought
And who can resist the tale of two Queens jury venire members who married after the groom voted to convict a murderer? Not Peter Lattman, who writes The Wall Street Journal’s marvelous Law Blog.
Above the Law points out that the three people who sat for the Guam bar examination failed. A fourth didn’t show up.
Scott Felsenthal and Jonathan Louis May, at The Legal Scoop, give us top 10 negotiation skills for a lawyer, answer should I go to law school, and demystify working in-house.