Saturday, May 05, 2007

fron legal watch blog

Legal Blog Watch

Patent Law Podcast: KSR and Microsoft

With two important Supreme Court patent rulings this week -- KSR International v. Teleflex and Microsoft v. AT&T -- the legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer pulls together a panel of legal experts to discuss their implications for practitioners and businesses. Joining my co-host, J. Craig Williams, and me as guests on the program are:

Download or listen to the full program at the Legal Talk Network.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 4, 2007 at 02:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Britain: A Libel Tourist's Paradise

To my knowledge, the U.K. visitors' bureau has yet to print up glossy brochures touting the fact, but Britain -- long a popular destination for libel plaintiffs -- is becoming even more so as courts carve out new protections for personal privacy. In a column published yesterday, Madonna's Nanny Diaries, lawyer Kai Falkenberg, editorial counsel for Forbes, describes how celebrities are using U.K. legal developments to their own advantage.

While the United Kingdom has long been known for plaintiff-friendly libel laws, there were no equivalent protections for privacy, Falkenberg writes.

"But that may soon change. Several recent cases brought by celebrities have effectively created a new privacy law in the U.K. And recently, the House of Lords upheld a landmark ruling barring the friend of a well-known folk singer from publishing certain passages of a tell-all book about the celebrity."

The folk singer, Canadian Loreena McKennitt, successfully challenged publication of a book revealing details about her personal life. The House of Lords upheld the decision, in what Falkenberg calls "the most important privacy decision in 20 years." That comes on the heels of successful privacy suits by Prince Charles  and Princess Caroline of Monaco. These developments lead Falkenberg to conclude:

"Loose-lipped Brits should beware. Revealing a confidant's secrets might not just lose you a friend -- it may affect your pocketbook as well. The real impact, of course, of this de facto new privacy law will be on book publishers and the tabloids. And the repercussions will be felt far beyond the British Isle. Courts in the former commonwealth countries and others often give weight to U.K. precedents."

All of which does wonders for U.K. tourism, at least when the tourists are U.S. celebrities.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 4, 2007 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ethics of Offshoring, Redux

At Strategic Legal Technology, Ron Friedmann brings news of another bar opinion on the ethics of offshoring legal work. He summarizes:

"[T]he San Diego County Bar Association has issued Ethics Opinon 2007-1, which analyzes in detail a factual scenario of a California lawyer who outsources significant substantive aspects of legal analysis to lawyers in India. It's a long opinion that answers three questions. In my reading (and - remember - I don't practice law), subject to some reasonable caveats, offshoring is permissible."

Friedmann wrote in October about an opinion on offshoring from The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, which likewise concluded that the practice was ethically permissible. The complete San Diego opinion is here. Further analysis of it is available from The National Law Journal and from Mark Ross at the blog Legal Process Outsourcing.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 4, 2007 at 02:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should Women Lawyers Stage Job Action?

After our post yesterday about the MIT Workplace Center report, Women Lawyers and Obstacles to Leadership, reaction continued to come in from around the blogosphere. Among the responses were two somewhat radical ideas for addressing the female partnership problem.

The first came from Bruce MacEwen at Adam Smith, Esq. Addressing the inherent conflict between women's roles as mothers and as potential partners, his self-described radical suggestion is to "decouple" a women's prime child-bearing years from her prime partnership-track years. His idea is that firms would allow women to take off from the firm for as long as seven or eight years to start their families. When these women return to the firm, "they would jump right back on the partnership track ladder." He adds:

"Those who return will be highly motivated, and they will also have gained a level of maturity and picked up skills that will be of genuine value to the firm and its clients."

Meanwhile, via Stephen Seckler at Counsel to Counsel comes what is, perhaps, an even more radical suggestion than MacEwen's. Seckler attended Wednesday's Boston reception presenting the MIT report. Later, he received an e-mail from another attendee, Sheila Statlender, a clinical psychologist in Newton, Mass., who sits with Seckler on the Boston Bar Association's Standing Committee on Work/Life Balance. Statlender's e-mail conveyed a number of her "musings" about the report, then concluded with this idea:

"I fantasized about a walk out of female attorneys, hopefully accompanied by their male supporters -- perhaps only an hour or two in length, to protest current conditions and to express support for the ideas/strategies proposed at yesterday's briefing. Or an all day conference, a sort of pre-planned walkout, filled with workshops on getting better assignments, business development, the work-life continuum, ... self-care, etc. -- not held on the weekend, but pointedly during the workday."

Women lawyers of the world, unite? Why not? Imagine the impact if women lawyers throughout the United States walked off their jobs for a single, organized day of workshops and events. Even better, imagine if their male supporters joined them. Would the business of law grind to a halt? You bet it would. Would progress be made? No doubt.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 4, 2007 at 02:32

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