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Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

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Solo Practitioner: Lone lawyer wins Post Hunt

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The Washington Post Hunt is an annual tradition that is part scavenger hunt, part riddle, part trivia competition. Mostly riddle though (and smartphones make the trivia a bit easier to manage, once you know what to look for).

Some 12,000 people competed, typically in teams, either to combine efforts on cracking the riddles, or to spread out across the city and gain an advantage in reaching the sites of physical clues.

This year for the first time a single individual won -- Sean Memon, a 2008 JD/MBA grad of Duke, and now an associate at Sullivan and Cromwell in DC. Congratulations, and good luck trying to deposit your oversized $2000 check. [WaPo]

For those of you unfamiliar with the competition (so ...probably all of you), some of the riddles are very challenging, and the final clue was particularly tough. After solving the previous five riddles, hunters were directed to a stage to receive the final clue at 3:00pm. The clue was as follows:

1.The final clue begins at three-oh-one.

2.GWUYMASL

3.TLWUYRGM

4.FMSWGTDP

5.LGBIEFYA

So what happened at the stage at 3:01?

Nothing.

That was a clue. We'll give you a minute to work on it...

 

Did you come up with dialing 301-668-4464? (301-NOTHING) Yeah, probably not.

And that was just the start of the clue. A pre-recorded message left another clue, which once understood told hunters to use the four sets of letters to decipher a message hidden within an earlier puzzle which then turned into directions to the end point of the game, and those directions were themselves more riddles. Turn west at green mountains? Hope you're an Americana buff and know which is the Green Mountain State. [See all the puzzles and solutions here.]

It's a challenging enough competition when you have a team of folks who've studied all the past years' clues to get a feel for how they work. For an individual to win is pretty impressive, so congratulations once again to Sean Memon, and we'll leave you with these words of wisdom from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

Well, you know, two chiefs ago, Chief Justice Burger, used to complain about the low quality of counsel. I used to have just the opposite reaction. I used to be disappointed that so many of the best minds in the country were being devoted to this enterprise.

I mean there’d be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?

I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.

And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. I’m usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who’s not so good. But, no, by and large I don’t have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we’re wasting some of our best minds.

WCL Schmos Say No Go Koh

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In an op/ed published in the American University student paper, graduating 3L Nicholas Devyatkin voiced his dismay at having Harold Koh speak at the school's commencement ceremony. He's begun circulating a petition to disinvite Koh, and while the link is broken, he writes in his op/ed that he does have at least two allies on the issue.

And then he names them.

We're not going to repeat the names here, because good God man, how big of an idiot do you have to be to write an opinion piece and insert the line "So-and-So and What's-Her-Face feel the same way"? It's fine for them to agree, but you don't go slapping other people's names on your opinion piece, lest they be marred by anything idiotic you say and have their Google footprints be forever tarnished by their association with you, as your "friend and ally"

The meat of the complaint is that Koh defended Obama's use of targeted killings with drones. Devyatkin doesn't have a problem with inviting a divisive political figure. Not at all. In response to Koh calling President Bush "Torturer in Chief," Devy writes "Sounds good."

No, the problem with Koh is that Devypaleo thinks he's on the wrong side of the issue. Drones kill folks, and American University is a hippy liberal institution:

WCL is the "hippy-dippy, liberal school." Yea, we are those people. The human rights advocates, anti-death penalty advocates, the defenders of the indigent and the youth, the environmentalists, the warriors for the underpaid, the exploited and the oppressed. Many of us came to WCL specifically to work with some of the finest human rights advocates in the world, including Grossman, chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture.

Lets first spend a moment snickering at the people who came to WCL (Washington College of Law, American's other name) specifically to work. Jokes on you, suckas! 29th worst school for producing working lawyers, 24th worst school for producing under-employed grads. At least you're getting a new campus. Maybe you can convert the old building into a homeless shelter for all your unemployed students.

Now that we have that out of the way, every freaking law school in the country thinks its the hippy institution that cares about the little guy and the environment and human rights. You're not special.

You're also not very smart, no matter how much you want to sing the praises of your law school:

Some have said that, as a government official, he probably felt obligated to take such a stance. Great message to send to a group of graduating law students: feel free to fudge the law to suit political ends and to satisfy your boss.

Since American grads aren't likely to ever represent clients, it's understandable that you wouldn't get this, but it is actually your job to represent your clients and to serve as an advocate for their positions. When the client says "find a theory that works" you do that, even if it's a weak theory. You can counsel your client on the weaknesses of the theory, but it's not your job to set your client's policy positions.

An attorney who can talk about the realities of practice and the moral and ethical stresses of legal work is exactly the type of person you should want speaking at graduation. You should be taking this as an opportunity to learn from someone who has achieved one of the highest offices a lawyer can aspire to. If you disagree with his policies or the policies of the administration he serves, by all means write an op/ed explaining why he's wrong. His presence for commencement would make the article timely and relevant. But what you shouldn't be doing is trying to block him from speaking just because you think he's wrong. You're going to deal with a lot of people you think are wrong in the future, and it's going to be your job to hear them out, and many times those people will be your clients, so even after you agree to disagree on the issues, you're still going to have to find a way to represent their interests, not your own.

PS: Your headline, "Koh does not represent WCL" is idiotic in the extreme. No one thinks a commencement speaker represents the school. And your placement in the Eagle is even worse. You've got a local law school that some people still think is prestigious and a major political figure. If you wanted to discuss why he's a bad choice, you could find a mainstream media outlet to run your op/ed.

[Read the op/ed here]

Tweet L For Lawyer

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Have you ever been on Instagram liking your friends’ photos of their mediocre lunch and been thinking “hmm, really wish I could find a lawyer on here?” Ever been on Pinterest pinning clothes for your dream closet and wished you could pin potential attorneys to a board for later use? We’d ask about Facebook, but if you haven’t been on Facebook and thought at least once, “that guy needs the help of a legal professional,” then congratulations on having well-behaved, law-abiding friends and this example not applying to you.

We’d like to introduce you to RSVPLaw. According to the WSJ, RSVPLaw just made attorney-client connections “infinitely easier.” It’s a no cost service to potential clients that “boasts a novel 21st century approach” using social media as the primary contact means to connect clients and attorneys. Feel free to tweet your way to a new attorney-relationship. If you tweet at RSVPLaw, they will respond with a “direct message asking what type of lawyer is needed, what happened, and where you are located.” Enjoy condensing your explanation of “what happened” into 140 character messages. Then they’ll find you someone who practices the kind of law you need in your area.

Don’t fret if twitter isn’t your scene. You can also find them on facebook, instagram, pinterest, tumblr, vine, their own website, and via email. (As a courtesy to our readers, we should probably warn you that grammar and sentence structure were clearly not at the forefront of the RSVPLaw website designers’ minds). They combine “the best of technology and human interaction to provide a warm and efficient service that’s both convenient and compassionate.” How charming.

“But guys, this sounds basically just like the yellow pages in my phonebook!” you might be saying. And you would be basically right. But with RSVPLaw, there’s a human element. So it’s  more like if a bunch of lawyers hired someone to read the yellow pages to you. Don’t you feel connected now?

Who is even using RSVPLaw? What client demographic could this possibly appeal to? People who don’t have phonebooks but do have internet but can’t find the yellow pages online? People who don’t have google? So, no one?

More importantly, what legal professional is using RSVPLaw? We say “more importantly” because the lawyers are the ones who will be paying for RSVPLaw, and therefore perpetuating its inane existence.  So who’s interested in this? RSVPLaw sounds like they’re rounding up a client list and then charging lawyers for access to that list. Clients who would have gone to some lawyer anyways, but now another middleman is taking a slice of an already shrinking pie.

They’re hoping there are lawyers out there desperate enough for clients that they buy into the RSVPLaw service, hoping that just one client will make the service pay for itself.  And maybe it will. With a $6-10 referral fee, IF you meet that client, and IF they retain you and IF they pay you, you’ll get that money back. But what about all the other clients you were matched with that didn’t pick you in that time? Is this really any more cost-efficient than the yellow pages?

Hell, why are we even talking about this, since it’s so obviously awful? Well, we’re talking about it because the WSJ was talking about it. But actually, they were just running a press release from Business Wire.  So how much did RSVPLaw pay to get that press release? Probably close to $500, if we had to guesstimate. BusinessWire starts its pricing at $340 for a 400 word press release with higher charges for every 100 words. The RSVPLaw press release was 587 words, not including any contact information.

So we’ve got lawyers who are desperate for any method of bringing in new clients, and a company willing to prey on that desperation to take an unearned cut of the fee. And really, if all you’re doing is collecting names of clients and names of lawyers who you’ve never met and have no basis for recommending, then your cut really is unearned. And as far as we can tell, no one is actually using the service yet. So, we’ve also got this startup legal connection company giving money to a PR firm in hopes that PR firm will generate enough buzz to get it some clients. And that PR firm is almost certainly paying to have its ads placed in the WSJ, probably under the hope that people who come across it will see the WSJ logo, not notice that it’s a press release, and mistakenly think this is a real story, and thus the company being discussed has actually done something noteworthy.

And it has done something noteworthy. It has caused money to spin in a downward spiral so fast that it gives Greece and Spain goosebumps.

Waaahooooshaaah!

This is how you get GoT

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Spoiler Alert

This post deals with the events in last night's episode of A Game of Thrones, and A Storm of Swords.

 

In the third book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, Danyrs (Dany) is in search of an army she can use to reclaim her crown. She comes across a slaver with 8000 slave soldier for sale. The Unsullied are noted most of all for their intense discipline, to the point where they will stand night and day without food or water, or fall on their own swords if so ordered. Lacking money, Dany agrees to trade one of her three dragons for all of the slaver's Unsullied. This is of course a boneheaded move for the slaver, because duh, Dany can just kill the slaver and steal the dragon back by using her big shiny new army.

That's not quite how it goes down though. Instead she has her dragon kill the slaver. Here's the relevant text:

Dany handed the slaver the end of Drogon's chain. In return he presented her with the whip. The handle was black dragonbone, elaborates carved and inlaid with gold. Nine long thin leather lashes trailed from it, each one tipped by a gilded claw. [...]

Dany turned the whipe in her hand. [...] "Is it done then? Do they belong to me?"

"It is done," he agreed, giving the chain a sharp pull to bring Drogon down from the litter."

[...] Though the Astapori yanked and tugged, Drogon would not budge off the litter. Smoke rose grey from his open jaws, and his long neck curled and straightened as he snapped at the slaver's face.

[...] "He will not come," Kraznys said.

"There is a reason. A dragon is no slave." And Dany swept the lash down as hard as she could across the slaver's face. Kraznys screamed and staggered back, the blood running red down his cheeks into his perfused beard. The harpy's fingers had torn his features half to pieces with one slash, but she did not pause to contemplate the ruin. "Drogon," she sang out loudly, sweetly, all her fear forgotton, "Dracarys."

The black dragon spread his wings and roared.

A lance of swirling dark flame took Kraznys full in the face. His eyes melted and ran down his cheeks, and the oil in his hair and beard burst so fiercely into fire that for an instant the slaver wore a burning crown twice as tall as his head. The sudden stench of charred meat overwhelmed even his perfume, and his wail seemed to drown all other sound.

Had Dany simply used the Unsullied to kill Kraznys, and then took her dragon back, we'd say fine. Kraznys is an idiot, and Dany is a cutthroat bitch, but all's fair in love and stupidly selling your entire army.

Instead, Dany has Drogon kill Kraznys, giving rise to the arguments that either no contract was formed, or that Dany breached.

The argument that there was no contract rests on the idea that a dragon is not an alienable chattel. Were Drogon a mere pet, he could be handed over, and tough shit for the new owner if he doesn't obey. But, Drogon is a very special type of creature. He follows Dany, even obeys his commands, but it's not clear that she necessarily owns him. He may be more Jorah Mormont. He follows her and obeys her commands, but as a free man, she cannot trade him (without first enslaving him).

So, if Drogon is more like a free person than a pet, no contract was formed due to mistake or lack of consideration.

In the alternative, if Drogon did legally pass to Kraznys, Dany can be argued to have breached by interfering with his taking possession of the dragon. Dany is under no obligation to make Drogon behave, just as someone selling a dog doesn't have to follow along with the new owner and give it commands. But, if a dog seller takes the cash, hands over the leash, and then immediately orders the dog to come, and has it run away from its master and back to the seller, that's a breach. Having the dog breath fire and melt the buyer's eyeballs is a bigger breach.

The Unsullied unanimously accept Dany's rule, with none of them questioning their legal status, and maybe Astapor law doesn't care about these objections, but rest assured that in Winds of Winter there will be Westerosi maesters sitting high in their ivory towers doing the important work of debating the legality of this transaction, and deriding the work of those members of the order who actually work as physicians and medical advisers.

Page 9 of 337

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