Miscellaneous

Project Posner

October 13, 2006

Tim Wu and Stuart Sierra, a Columbia Law School professor and web designer respectively, have launched Project Posner, a web site offering unheard of access to Judge Richard A. Posner‘s legal opinions, in searchable format. And yes, the creators — who are certainly not alone in this view — pronounce that “Richard Posner is probably the greatest living American jurist.” If, however, you still find yourself wondering: why should I care?, Project Posner has you covered. Project Posner offers the following explanation for its existence: … While Posner’s books and popular writings are easily available to the public, his opinions are difficult or expensive for the public to access, let alone search. This site, for the first time, collects almost all of his opinions in a single searchable and easily readable database. For lawyers and those interested in law, Posner’s opinions have a particular substantive value. One thing that distinguishes the opinions is the effort to try and get at why a given law actually exists, and an effort to try and make sense of the law. That can make them more useful than most case reports. In addition, the opinions often develop the American general and state common law. Posner is among the judges who feels free to take the rule of Erie as more suggestion than injunction. Finally, some of the opinions are funny. If you’re still not…

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Larry Reece

October 4, 2006

Laurence H. Reece, III, was a partner at our firm for two years at the end of the 1990s. Following that, he started his own firm in 2000. Larry died of cancer in August 2004. Larry was the “Dean of the Bar” in Massachusetts when it came to the law of trade secrets and covenants not to compete. He was a nationally recognized expert in these practice areas and a prolific author, writing seminal articles on these topics. Life moves on, and out of concern that these articles would turn to dust on the bookshelves and in the libraries of Massachusetts attorneys, I asked Larry’s wife, Patricia Manson, for permission to publish some of Larry’s best articles on this blog. She agreed enthusiastically. While the copyrights to these articles belong to the publishers, I believe that this nonprofit, educational publication falls well within fair use. (Warning: these are lengthy PDF files). Trade Secret Misappropriation: A Review and Analysis of Massachusetts Law, published in 71 Massachusetts Law Review 171 (December 1986). This was, and remains, the seminal article on trade secret law in Massachusetts. Employee Non-Competition Agreements and Related Restricted Covenants: A Review and Analysis of Massachusetts Law, published in the March 1991 issue of the Massachusetts Law Review. This is the counterpart to the 1986 article. Noncompetition Agreements: An Overview of Massachusetts Law, published by MCLE in 1998. An update…

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Fremont-Smith and Zobel Recalled to Superior Court Bench

October 3, 2006

Courts. Although Allan van Gestel’s recall to the Suffolk County Business Litigation Session received moderate publicity last year, both Thayer Fremont-Smith (bio) and Hiller Zobel’s recall this year has received almost no attention at all. If these recalls were reported by Mass Lawyers Weekly, I can’t find it. Both judges are sitting in Middlesex for now.

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A Discussion with Pam Woodall, Asian Economics Editor of The Economist

September 27, 2006

This interview, which can be accessed here, provides some fascinating observations on emerging markets and their impact on the world economy. Ms. Woodall notes that emerging markets now represent one-half of world output and world energy consumption. She states: The integration of China, India and other emerging economies are providing the biggest economic boost in world history, bigger than the industrial revolution. The first decade of 21st century will see the fastest growth ever in average world income. An extensive series of articles from the September 16, 2006 issue of The Economist, titled A Survey of the World Economy and focusing on emerging markets, can be accessed from this page (lengthy PDF file).

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Mix One Cup of Law, a Tablespoon of People Magazine, and You Get …

September 19, 2006

Low Brow Lawyer Gossip! Yes, it astounds me that there can even be such a thing. When I graduated from law school all those many years ago, if you had been able to explain to me what the Internet would be, and what a blog would be, and told me that someday there would be a blog devoted solely to lawyer gossip (things like what law students have been selected as Supreme Court clerks, lawyer weddings, lawyer sex, lawyers coming out of the closet, summer associate faux pas, interview faux pas, judges’ vacation haunts, rich lawyers, ugly lawyers, obnoxious lawyers, and more, seemingly ad infinitum … ), I would have thought you were barking, drooling mad. Sadly, I would have been wrong. There is such a thing, at a blog called Above The Law, A Legal Tabloid. Jump at your own risk.

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Geeks on the Beach

September 6, 2006

Ok, my family is a little geeky, I admit it.  We watch documentaries together more than we watch family friendly movies.  What do I discuss with my beautiful wife and exceptional 12 year old daughter as we walk along the beaches of Cape Cod?  They both love astronomy, and every year I remind my lovely daughter that there are more stars in the Universe than grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. However, I’ve always had a nagging doubt about this – is it true? It seems just, well, inconceivable. This year, upon returning to civilization (and a computer) I googled “are there more stars in the Universe than grains of sand on all the beaches of earth?” It turns out that scientists think about this stuff too. The first hit is an authoritative appearing article from North American Skies which reads – In my astronomy classes I have often used the claim that there are “more stars in the heavens than all the grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth.” The claim is certainly not original with me, but I had always accepted it without question. Then one day began to wonder if it is really true. After all, there must be a really big number of sand grains on all the planet’s beaches! The discussion concludes, after much mathematical calculation and many “to the…

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An Update on Google Book Search

August 14, 2006

University of California joins in. The University of California is joining Google’s book-scanning project, throwing the weight of another 100 academic libraries behind an ambitious venture that’s under legal attack for alleged copyright infringement. Link here for full story. For an earlier and in depth discussion of this issue click here.

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"Fantasy Baseball" Decision

August 10, 2006

[Update:] Matt Mattari sent me a link to his article on this topic, which was published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology before the publication of the decision. Click here to read the article (pdf file). Here is a link (pdf file) to the federal district court decision in the C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing Inc. v. Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Major League Baseball Players’ Association case, issued on August 8, 2006. Quoting from the decision: The court finds that the undisputed facts establish that the players do not have a right of publicity in their names and playing records as used in CBC’s fantasy games and that CBC has not violated the players’ claimed right of publicity. The court further finds, alternatively, that even if the players have a claimed right of publicity, the First Amendment takes precedence over such a right. The court further finds that the undisputed facts establish that the names and playing records of Major League baseball players as used in CBC’s fantasy games are not copyrightable and, therefore, federal copyright law does not preempt the players’ claimed right of publicity. Additionally, the court finds that the no-challenge provision of the 2002 Agreement between CBC and the Players’ Association and the provision of this Agreement which prohibits CBC from using players’ names and playing records after the expiration of the Agreement are…

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Long-Awaited Rambus FTC Decision

August 2, 2006

Here is a link to the FTC decision, which is adverse to Rambus. More to come …. [Link] Update: Andy Updegrove discusses the background of this case and the implications of the decision on Consortiuminfo.com: In what can only be called a stunning development in a high profile standards case, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously reversed the earlier decision of one of its own Administrative Law Judges and ruled that semiconductor technology company Rambus, Inc. had “unlawfully monopolized the markets for four computer memory technologies that have been incorporated into industry standards for dynamic random access memory,” or DRAM. The FTC will deliberate further before announcing the penalties to be levied against Rambus. continue . . .

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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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