July 2006

Antitrust and the "Single Entity" Doctrine

July 24, 2006

It is axiomatic that an entity cannot “conspire” with itself. For example, the Supreme Court has held that a parent corporation and its subsidiary are not capable of an illegal conspiracy under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Of course, as is true with most legal principles, what looks simple at 30,000 feet altitude becomes more complicated the closer one gets to the ground, and the courts have struggled with the definition of a “single entity” in a variety of contexts. Dean Williamson of the DOJ Antitrust Division has written an interesting and in-depth paper analyzing the law and economics of this issue. The paper, titled Organization, Control and the Single Entity Defense in Antitrust, is published here.

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Supernova 2006: Connecting in Complex World

July 21, 2006

I usually find the Knowledge@Wharton reports and articles interesting. Here is a series of articles summarizing some of the topics discussed at their annual Supernova Conference, which was held in San Francisco in late June. The topics include: What’s the Future of Desktop Software — and How Will It Affect Your Privacy? Kevin Lynch on Adobe‘s Plans for a New Generation of Software The Rise of the ‘Videonet’ Tantek

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The "Anonymous Lawyer" Industry

July 21, 2006

First the blog, then the web site, and finally the book. Jeremy Blachman has quite an operation! Law firms, and especially large law firms, are very strange places. Combine driven, intelligent (mostly), eccentric people, big egos, big money, competition for partnership among associates and for share of income among partners, clients pressures, competition between firms, greed, …. I could go on. Having worked at three of these institutions (the-firm-formally-known-as Hale and Dorr, the-firm-formally-known-as-Howrey & Simon,and the firm still known as Choate, Hall & Stewart), I am not totally unfamiliar with them. Now, Jeremy Blachman, long-time author of the Anonymous Lawyer blog (which is very mordant and a bit humorous if taken in small bites), has written a soon-to-be released book, The Anonymous Lawyer. In the manner of these things, the book is being promoted at an elaborate (and I do mean elaborate) web site which you can view by clicking here. In fact, I hope half as much work went into the book as went into the web site. This is very funny stuff (the web site; I can’t comment on the book). Sadly, the picture it paints is one that many practitioners will find strikes uncomfortably close to home.

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Things Just Ain't Like They Used To Be

July 20, 2006

When a popular blogger/law firm associate gets fired by her firm, in this case mega-firm Reed Smith, she doesn’t just go gentle into that good night, as so many thousands of associates have done before her. Or silently, for that matter. Denise Howell, author of the popular Bag and Baggage blog (and coiner of the term “blawg”), discusses her experiences, motherhood, and her opportunities here.

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A New Twist on Forum Selection: The BLS

July 20, 2006

Business Litigation Session. The July 17, 2006 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has an article suggesting that some attorneys are agreeing in contracts that claims arising from those contracts must be filed in the Suffolk County Business Litigation Session (BLS). The article reports that Judge Allan Van Gestel, the presiding judge of the session, recently made public comments that, assuming the conditions and requirements of the session are satisfied, such clauses are likely to be enforced. This certainly adds a new option to the forum selection issue, and, given some of the difficulties and hazards of litigating outside of the BLS, should be seriously considered by lawyers negotiating business agreements that fall within the rules permitting cases to be heard in that venue. For more details on those requirements, see here and here.

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Lawyers Gone Wild (rated PG 13)

July 12, 2006

I’ve debated with myself whether to post this video of Joe Jamail, the Texas lawyer who won a 10 billion dollar verdict in the infamous (in the 1980s) Penzoil v. Texaco case. Of course, my colleagues, trouble makers that they are, encouraged me to publish this. Click here to see the video. The background of this case, which was a cause celebre of major proportions at the time, is discussed here. Old Joe got a whopping $1 billion contingent fee out of this case (which settled for $3 billion), resulting in much of the University of Texas Law School being beholden to him. In any event, its a long way from the trenches of pre-trial discovery to the glory of a multi-billion dollar settlement. The miracles of the Internet now bring us a videotaped deposition by Mr. Jamail in this case. In most states, this deposition would result in court sanctions all around, but in Texas in the early ’80s, this kind of conduct seems to have been acceptable. Maybe it still is. Up here in Boston, it would be pretty rare to see something like this.  We’re very polite and circumspect here.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  Probably good. Jamail, whose back is to the camera (you can only see his left hand), is deposing an expert witness. The Texaco lawyers appear…

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