Welcome to Blawg Review #102, the official 102nd Edition of Blawg Review, the traveling "blog carnival for everyone interested in law." This Edition follows hard on the heels of this year's April Fool's Blawg Review Prequel, which appeared yesterday at my more whimsical personal and cultural weblog, a fool in the forest.
This year both the Prequel and this official Blawg Review edition are constructed around illustrations from Stultifera Navis, the 1497 Latin translation of Sebastian Brant's 1494 satirical German text, Das Narrenschiff, or, The Ship of Fools. These woodcuts come courtesy of Sebastian Brant's Stultifera Navis, The Ship of Fools, maintained by the University of Houston, Copyright © 2000, University of Houston Libraries, and are reproduced pursuant to a Creative Commons license.
Now, please enjoy a rambling and unsystematic stroll through the labyrinths of the law as we look at a small sample of the legal weblogs posted this week:
When is it unethical for a lawyer to be helpful? Apparently, when the lawyer drafts a document for use by a pro se litigant, at least in the courtroom of one Federal Magistrate Judge in New Jersey. Mike Cernovich of Crime & Federalism jumped on the story this week, decrying it as a case of "Slamming the Courthouse Doors Shut." Mike links another report at Aaron Larson's The Stopped Clock: "Unbundled Legal Services And Ghastly Legal Opinions."
As one might expect, David Giacalone had wind of this story last week, and offered his own ghostwriter update at shlep. [He also announced the laudable shlep's dormancy, moving his principal online activities back to f/k/a/.]
In yesterday's Prequel, I noted several posts relating to dubious regulation of lawyer advertising. Here comes another, again courtesy of the overweening self-importance of the powers behind the New York Bar: Randy Braun of Juz the Fax asks, under New York's regulations,"Is A Business Card An Advertisement?" [Earn bonus points by answering Randy's follow-up question: "What IS it with those awful and ubiquitous 'scales of justice' logos anyway?"]
At Sui Generis, Nicole Black offers Tips for Teens: Have All The Sex You Want . . . but don't take pictures.
At Overlawyered, Walter Olson reported a case of "no good deed goes unpunished" ("California Good Samaritan out of luck") and David Nieporent pointed to an Ohio attorney whose profitable "creative" construction of a consumer protection statute finally wore out the patience of the appellate court ("Quitting while you're behind").
New horizons in government surveillance: Scott Greenfield of Simple Justice suggests you're never alone with a cellular phone because the FBI may be there, too.
Returned to active posting after an extended hiatus, Blawg Review #54 host Brandy Karl of bk! begs leave to explain why you need to use Zotero right now!. Zotero is a highly-useful reference manager plug-in for the Firefox browser, and Brandy is simply wild for it, so much so that she posted about it twice over this past week.
Denise Howell has been pondering the dynamics of group blogs, freedom of expression, and who should bear responsibility for despicable threats in "a big, scary world . . . populated in part by a tragically high proportion of psycho- and sociopaths" on Lawgarithms. Part 1 is here; Part 2 -- in which Denise is misquoted by the BBC (*sigh*) -- is here.
Des Moines patent lawyer Brett Trout of Blawg IT asks a good practical question: "Got Cyber Insurance?."
Doug Simpson's Unintended Consequences weblog focuses "on the collision of law, networks and disruptive technologies." In practical terms, that means that his focus over the last year or more has turned increasingly to issues surrounding climate change. This week he reported on congressional testimony by the chair of the Catastrophe Insurance Working Group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners [NAIC] on National Disaster Insurance.
In traveling the highways and byways of the law, I learned early that there are two groups of people you really want to have on your side: court clerks and legal secretaries. Members of these groups who are on your side are indispensably useful; unhappy members of those same groups can throw stones in your passway till the proverbial cows come home, step on your toes and make a mess of the carpet. PT-LawMom, who is "constantly amazed at the hubris of young associates," offers tips on currying favor with the curmudgeonly legal secretary.
Freedom! Stephanie West Allen of idealawg advises lawyers to "take a close look at those stone cold habits" because "[t]he difference between conscious autonomy and groping enslavement is our power of choice." As a lifestyle choice, "groping enslavement" sounds pretty icky to me, but chacun a son gout, eh?
A fresh example of lawyers behaving badly comes from Prof. Shaun Martin's California Appellate Report: Here, the 9th Circuit sussed out that counsel had falsified a critical date by the simple expedient of photocopying the docket sheet so that part of the left side did not copy. Voila! Suddenly an entry dated "3/17/00" becomes an entry dated "7/00," elegantly solving counsel's timing problem until the court catches on. Professor Martin Predicts:
"I have little doubt that [lawyer] Roy's looking at a suspension from the practice of law -- if not disbarment -- up the road. We tend not to like deliberate efforts to defraud the court, dontchaknow."
Regular as clockwork and twice as likely to tick you off: it's Tax Time! April 15 [April 16 this year, actually] is nipping at all our heels, and the pseudonymous Taxgirl! is here to help, with posts on the tax consequences of home sales and advice on positions you really shouldn't oughta be trying to take in your dealings with the gentle souls at the Internal Revenue Service.
Taxes aren't pretty, but witnesses sometimes are. John Keats was such a sensitive soul he thought the crockery spoke to him: one Grecian Urn in particular advised "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty." But does the same principle apply in court? At Deliberations, Milwaukee-based attorney/jury consultant Anne Reed thinks it does, and offers her thoughts on Beauty and the Juror: Part I, Part II.
Fool: If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I'ld have thee beaten for being old before thy time.
LEAR: How's that?
Fool: Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
which I offer as an excuse to break with protocol and to link for a second time a post already linked in last week's fine and equine Blawg Review #101: I mean, of course, David Giacalone's very long, very thoughtful, very wise and very important discussion at f/k/a/ of The Graying Bar. It's a post for, you should pardon the expression, The Ages.
That said, I thank each of you for joining me for this week's double-dipped edition of Blawg Review.
It has been a pleasure doing justice with you.
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.