October 2006

Microsoft Network Schematic

The best aspect of law school is the subordination of math. Anon
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The schematic displayed above (click for a blow up in pdf format) is a simplified illustration of a corporate network which Microsoft provided to the Federal Rules Committee in connection with proceedings on electronic evidence. It was intended to illustrate a generic corporate computer network.

If you are a lawyer and this seems like an alien concept that no lawyer should ever be required to understand, you’re not alone. Lets face it – like most stereotypes, the old joke that lawyers go to law school to avoid math and technology contains a large element of truth.

So, it’s not hard to sense the anxiety emanating from the hallways of the nation’s law offices as the electronic discovery tsunami picks up speed. Yes, there’s a new technology boom, but it’s not the kind that sent clients flocking to their lawyers for legal representation in the 1990s.… Read the full article

Recent Cases (or, Lawyers Behaving Badly)

by Lee Gesmer on October 25, 2006

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing, nothing, against leasing companies. But it seems that some people do, so it grabs my attention when a leasing company sues for breach of a lease and not only loses its case but gets hit with a counterclaim that results in a judgment for violation of M.G.L. c. 93A (the Massachusetts “unfair and deceptive acts and practices” statute). This was the outcome in General Electric Capital v. MHPG, Inc. Following default on the lease GE sued not only its lessee, MHPG, but (since MHPG was insolvent), the next best thing, the company’s stockholders and directors. After all, you’ve got to go where the money is, right?

After Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy (no stranger to controversy himself) rejected GE’s attempt to “pierce the corporate veil” he ruled that GE’s suit against the shareholders/directors was a violation of c. 93A (the Massachusetts statute prohibiting “unfair or deceptive acts or practices”).… Read the full article

Technorati Profile

If you’re curious, this process is explained here.… Read the full article

Jury Trials In Massachusetts – "Not"

by Lee Gesmer on October 19, 2006

In the strange heat all litigation brings to bear on things, the very process of litigation fosters the most profound misunderstandings in the world. Renata Adler

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The Boston Bar Association (BBA) today issued a report entitled Report of the Boston Bar Association – Task Force on the Vanishing Jury Trial. The subtitle is “Jury Trial Trends in Massachusetts: The Need to Ensure Jury Trial Competency among Practicing Attorneys as a Result of the Vanishing Jury Trial Phenomenon.”

Lawyers may be forgetting how to try cases, but they haven’t forgotten how to write. Apart from the 37 words in the title, the full report is 38 pages long. It provides convincing evidence of the long-term trend toward a decline in jury trials (in both federal and state courts), and bemoans the fact that lawyers are experiencing this legal epiphany less often than in the past.

While I’m as “up” for a good old rollicking jury trial as the next guy or gal — with its enormous expense, unpredictability, risk of jury nullification, ignorance or disinterest, and stress on all concerned (mostly the clients) — I’m not sure that fewer jury trials is a “bad thing.” I would liken it to dentists bemoaning the lost opportunity to fill cavities.… Read the full article