Blawg Review #155

National Poetry MonthImage by DML East Branch via Flickr

There once was a blogger named May
Who thought he had something to say
Then he signed up to host
A serial post
Blawg Review one five five is today!

April is National Poetry Month! Which, in conjunction with hosting Blawg Review #155, makes it Bad Poetry Day here at The California Blog of Appeal. Here’s a haiku version of that introduction:

after a weekend
considering submissions
Blawg Review is here!

Ouch. If you’re still reading, allow me to welcome you to Blawg Review #155. Asking me to improve on Blawg Review numbers 1 through 154 is a pretty tall order, and not one that I’ll claim to accomplish. But I have tried to put together an interesting set of links for those who follow the legal blogosphere, and I hope I make them look tempting enough for you to check out. Recite the following haiku to yourself before getting started:

links to law blog posts
so tempting, drawing me in
read them all I must

OK, now you’re in the right frame of mind to get started. (Update: I’m being lambasted I was unaware that people have complained about desecrating the haiku genre in blog carnivals like this one. No offense meant, of course. My point isn’t to make fun of the haiku – it’s to make fun of my pathetic “poetry” skills. Hopefully, my prefatory comments to each poem avoid the second complaint about haikus — that they don’t communicate enough about the linked post to make it worthwhile to click through.)

(Note: in this post, blog names are linked to the home pages of their respective blogs; click on linked narrative text to go to the referenced post. Oh, and full disclosure: a number of these links are to blogs I follow regularly, and I may know the authors of some of these blogs personally.)


At least one law blogger beat me to it on the poetry theme. At Convictions, Kenji Yoshino notes tension between “serious” judicial writing and the injection of literature into same.

Other than that, I haven’t seen much poetic on the law blogs this week. So, in order to continue with the theme, I’ll have to provide the poetry for you with this series of totally unrelated blog posts.

Does a wedding photographer have to take a job to photograph a “commitment” ceremony? Professor Volokh has several related posts prompted by a real life case:

Need wedding photos?
Sure I can do it for you
same sex? then never mind!

Overview of Wal Mart supercenter -Plateros- Store in Mexico City. Before Wal Mart entered Mexico, this was an Aurrera store.Image via Wikipedia

In the internet age, you really have to be careful what you write, because sooner or later, someone is going to dig it up. But Wal-Mart is having trouble with pre-internet technology coming back to haunt it, according to Kraig Baker at Technology, e-Business & Digital Media Law Blog:

A retail giant named Wal-Mart
for some reason thought it would be smart
to tape all its meetings
now lawyers are feeding
on leaked tapes that give them a head start!

Jonathan Frieden thinks there’s another internet service that should probably keep an eye on the case, in which the Ninth Circuit held that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act did not confer immunity on an internet-based roommate matching service from liability for potentially discriminatory advertisements for roommates:

A person who wanted a roommate
Thought he’d say with whom he would associate
Then the Ninth said two-thirty
Cannot make less dirty
An ad that might discriminate

The BigLaw blogging duo at Drug & Device Law discusses the California Supreme Court’s adoption of the “sophisticated user” doctrine in product liability cases:

don’t you know better?
yes, sayeth the supreme court
no money for you, buster

Justice Scalia has been quoted in the course of promoting his new book with Bryan Garner, as noted by Civil Procedure Prof Blog:

Justice Scalia
promoting book with Garner
says he is no nut

Craig Ball at EDD Update takes on a data recovery urban legend:

the hard drive turning
data overwritten, safe?
more than you might think

Wow, this poetry writing is time-consuming. Thank goodness I have a second theme to move on to.

This version, executed in tempera on cardboard, was stolen from the Munch Museum in 2004, and recovered in 2006.Image via Wikipedia


From goofy poems to something more serious; it also happens to be National Stress Awareness Month. So lets take a look at how the blawgosphere has addressed some of the stressors in our profession in the last week.

If you’re a law student or possible lateral move stressing out over that job interview, just concentrate on the high points. That’s all that seems to matter, according to Law 21‘s Jordan Furlong, who writes from the Great White North but says that law firm recruiting practices across North America utilize shallow evaluations of candidates and that law firms could learn a thing or two from Major League Baseball.

At Concurring Opinions, William & Mary law professor and young curmudgeon Nate Oman suggests that law professors could shed some stress by shedding some guilt over the accusation that law schools don’t prepare students for the practice of law.

The constant demand to bring in new business is also stressful, whether you’re a solo or an ambitious member of a large firm. The Greatest American Lawyer suggests you let the client generation take care of itself while you worry about something else instead. Carolyn Elefant at My Shingle suggests off-hours practice as a way to get a jump on practice while not giving up your day job. Tom Kane at Legal Marketing says you’re making a big mistake if you’re not interviewing your clients. David Swanner at South Carolina Trial Law Blog advises not to succumb automatically to the temptation of a good case.

How about some high level stress? How do you hold onto your key partners? Who are they? And what about the other partners? Victoria Pynchon of the Settle it Now! Negotiation Blog sorts it out in a guest post at Connecticut Employment Law Blog offering suggestions for determining a partnership compensation model that satisfies the largest possible number of partners and is good for the firm, to boot. As if that’s not enough, American BigLaw management has to worry about being overtaken by London’s “Magic Circle” law firms, says Holden Oliver at What About Clients? — with a link to the Lawyer 2 Lawyer podcast on the subject. Also at What About Clients?, JD Hull points out that bigger BigLaw is not better BigLaw. More for BigLaw management to stress over.

Work/life balance is a constant, stressful struggle for man of us, and Atlanta Injury Law and Civil Litigation Blog responded to a study from the New York State Bar on the topic, including . Tami Cowden at Appealing in Nevada notes a recent study finding that lawyer productivity goes up after the lawyer has a child . . . provided the lawyer is the right parent. And with 24/7/365 communication, might you not be relieved if your firm banned Blackberries, at least some of the time, as Mitch Rubinstein at Adjunct Law Prof Blog tells us one New York firm has done?

It seems consumers want to avoid stress as much as lawyers. That’s at least one conclusion that might be drawn from their overwhelming preference for arbitration over litigation, a preference questioned by Barry Barnett at Blawgletter. Why go to court when only 2% of filed civil cases ever make it to a jury? (Profanity warning for that last link, which Florida Arbitration cleans up as best it can while still getting the point across.)

Litigation is stressful for attorneys, too. And aren’t depositions stressful enough without the witness dropping the F-bomb more than four times as often as he references the contract at issue? And do we really need to paper each other so badly that the court refuses to award costs, as Ray Ward of the (new) legal writer tells us happened in one tenth circuit case? Then again, maybe litigation isn’t so stressful if you’ve got what it takes to be a great trial lawyer per John Day of Day on Torts. Speaking of trial skills, here’s some pointers on PowerPoint for trial presentation, from Winning Trial Advocacy Techniques.

Actually, I wonder if we (that’s lawyers in general) don’t complain too much about stress. Imagine having a seizure disorder brought about by a brain injury. Gordon Johnson at Brain Damage Blog gives us a glimpse into the amazing world of seizure dogs and discrimination issues related to service dogs generally.

There’s nothing to relieve stress like a great motorcycle ride. Great for clearing your head. Norman Gregory Fernandez of the Biker Law Blog — who also happens to have the best blog portrait I’ve ever seen — offers some springtime riding safety tips. Geez, do I miss my motorcycle.

Maybe if we could work off more stress, we’d avoid incidents like these — rude hand gestures in court, racial segregation in the courtroom, fistfights on the courthouse steps, and more — described by John Browning at Arguments. And with all we’ve got on our minds, a little accidental shoplifting now and then is to be expected, and for Jamie Spencer at Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer, it puts his own advice to clients in a whole new perspective. We may be stressed, and it may affect our behavior from time to time, but we’re certainly not a bunch of “evil, malevolent people,” as Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice takes pains to point out in response to some nasty commenters who have lately come out of the woodwork.


Even if I were capable of writing something witty about the posts in this next section, I wouldn’t. No goofy poems. No stress jokes.

There’s nothing funny about interrogation. It’s deadly serious business. Eric Posner and Marty Lederman go back and forth on torture-related issues at Convictions. Professor Bainbridge raises what he calls “the elephant in the room” of that debate. Jack Balkin at Balkinization takes a close look at the issue of whether “torture memo” author John Yoo violated canons of professional ethics, and Brad Wendel at Legal Ethics Forum weighs in on the debate over whether Yoo should be fired from his Berkeley professorship. Mike Rappaport at The Right Coast wonders why, in a nation fixated on the torture debate, so little attention is paid to prison rape. (That last post may be a day too early for inclusion in this week’s review, but it’s too on point to ignore.)

And in closing:

my brain exhausted
poetry too hard for me
Blawg Review is done

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.