Wednesday, November 29, 2006
|Legal Blog Watch|
Weil's Big Deal: Women and Flex Time
Last week, law firm Weil Gotshal announced the election of 20 new partners. Not in itself a big deal, but the announcement included this:
Big news, or not? At Counsel to Counsel, Stephen Seckler suggests that Weil's announcement means "large firms are finally getting worried about retaining talent." But at Law Blog, Peter Lattman asks, "Is Weil touting something it should be proud of, or should its 'achievement' be a matter of course these days?" Lattman's question elicited a number of comments to his post, as well as one from Morra Aarons at blogher, who writes that the news is, indeed, a big deal:
Pepper Adds Spice With Podcasts
At his LawMarketing Blog, Larry Bodine opines that the recently launched Pod Center from the 450-lawyer firm Pepper Hamilton "sets a new standard in podcasting by law firms." The podcasts, he writes, are structured as interviews with attorneys who are experts in the subjects covered. Topics of recent podcasts included private-equity dividend recapitalizations, taxation of online software purchases, criminal background checks by employers and workplace smoking policies. Apart from the topics, Bodine is impressed by the setup:
The firm's marketing manager, Brian Dolan, tells Bodine: "We think the new Podcast Center is an innovative program that positions the firm as cutting edge and tech savvy."
'Second Life' Spawns First-Impression Issues
Real-world legal issues involving private property and IP piracy are beginning to arise from the virtual world known as Second Life, as two recent developments illustrate.
At the Fortune magazine blog Legal Pad, Roger Parloff tells of Anshe Chung, Second Life's first virtual millionaire. This is not Monopoly money, Parloff writes, explaining that Chung's Second Life holdings have made her real-world wealthy, "i.e., someone whose holdings in a make-believe world are legally convertible into genuine U.S. currency worth more than $1 million." (Read her announcement of how she parlayed $10 into $1 million.) How does her achievement raise legal issues? Parloff explains:
Meanwhile, in a Business Week article, The Dark Side of Second Life, Catherine Holahan discusses the increasingly vexing problem of piracy within Second Life, in which users copy others' characters, objects and buildings, "potentially eroding the value of people's virtual property." In fact, she writes, piracy is just one aspect of a larger "crime wave" sweeping the virtual world and causing many users to demand "an official system of law and order." The piracy problem, in particular, has Second Life users "plenty worried," she writes:
These virtual disputes may lead to real-world lawsuits, Holahan suggests. But there is also pressure on Second Life's developer, Linden Labs, to come up with its own procedures for dispute resolution. The site's creator, Philip Rosedale, told a recent "town meeting": "Longer term, Second Life is going to have to develop its own law or its own standards of behavior."
At ZDNet's IP Telephony blog, Russell Shaw explores this idea further. What if a clothing designer or a musician uses Second Life to demo creations for real-world clients? he asks. What if those creations are hacked or misappropriated "and my ability to use SL as a demo for real-world aspirations and real-world dollars is compromised?" Shouldn't that be actionable in a real court? he wonders. You can take Shaw's poll, or tell us what you think by adding a comment below.
For now, at least one real-world jurist is making himself available to residents in Second Life, if only as a lecturer -- 7th U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner.
Making Legal History, One Schuss at a Time
Call it one small step for lawyers, one giant slalom for legal podcasting. Evan Schaeffer has, in one fell schuss, made both legal and podcasting history by recording the world's first legal video-podcast made while downhill skiing. No one is likely to argue with Schaeffer's claim that he is the first-ever lawyer and poor skier to take a blue slope while recording a discussion of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He makes the trip with the video camera in his right hand and his podcasting notes and ski poles in his left, narrating the whole time. "Don't watch it for the substance," he writes on his blog. "I was having a hard enough time just keeping myself in an upright position."
Later in the podcast, Shaeffer moves from the FRCP to diet tips. When he first started blogging, he explains, he gained weight, but he has since dropped several pounds through healthier eating and less beer drinking. It is good that Schaeffer told us that he had cut his beer drinking, because otherwise, as we watched this video, we might have wondered about that very question.