|Legal Blog Watch|
Via TortsProf Blog comes word of a new study of outcomes in state court civil appeals. Authors Theodore Eisenberg and Michael Heise of Cornell University Law School conclude that two findings dominate: first, appeals courts are more likely to disrupt jury verdicts than bench decisions, and second, trial defendants fare better than plaintiffs on appeal.
These outcomes, on their face, are not so startling, given that prior studies of federal civil appeals have reached the same conclusion. But the authors find that the reversal rate in favor of defendants and against juries is much higher in state courts.
The authors say that the study, "Plaintiphobia in State Court? An Empirical Study of State Court Trials on Appeal," provides "the first statistical models of the appeals process for a comprehensive set of state court civil trials." It draws on data from 46 large counties consisting of 8,038 trials and 549 concluded appeals.
It all started, as best as I can tell, with a post by University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse, Stemming the Red Tide, in which she noted the FDA's approval of a birth-control pill that stops menstruation. UCLA School of Law professor Eugene Volokh picked up on Althouse's post, taking issue with one commenter who contended that it is not "right to sidestep" something that is "part of being a woman." Countered Volokh: "Why on earth should we want to accept natural but painful or unpleasant things?"
Volokh's remark elicited a comment from a male med student who equated menstruation for women with the types of "shared experiences" from which "humanity derives meaning." This commenter asserted: "Deleting one of the most universal and central of all female experiences can subtract perceived meaning from people's lives." To that, Volokh responded that, yes, humanity can derive meaning from some shared experiences, but others -- hangnails, nearsightedness and tooth decay, for example -- we can get by just fine without. Menstruation, Volokh conjectured, falls in this second group. But, acknowledging no firsthand experience, he issued an invitation:
With me so far? I hope so, because we're just getting started.
Althouse -- the one whose post started this ball rolling -- took Volokh's invitation as ludicrous. Writing at Feminist Law Professors, she promised to send Volokh a Judy Blume book describing a teen's first menstruation.
For his part, Volokh labeled Bartow's response as patronizing. He wrote:
Meanwhile, some women bloggers took Volokh's invitation seriously and offered answers. At Conglomerate, for instance, Christine Hurt equated pregnancy and childbirth for women to "sports for men, or Dungeons and Dragons." And, back over in the male camp, one commentator called Volokh's invitation "an entirely reasonable response."
Having now read this exchange between these two noted legal scholars, my conclusion is this: Law professors have way too much time on their hands.
I've never bought the arguments against televising Supreme Court proceedings. Cameras enhance public understanding and confidence and the justices and litigants will quickly forget they are there. But with legislation pending in Congress that would require the court to televise its proceedings, the topic takes on renewed urgency. For this reason, a symposium published this week, discussed at the blog Concurring Opinions, is well worth reading.
Published by the Michigan Law Review's online journal First Impressions, the symposium features a diverse group of authors exploring the implications of the prospective legislation and the potential risks and benefits of televising the court's proceedings. The contributors:
To download a PDF of the entire symposium, click here.
Which books do the nation's top legal marketers consider to be the best on marketing, sales and strategy? Marketing consultant Amy Campbell put that question to a "select group" of law firm marketers and marketing consultants. While their responses named many different books, two authors' names came up again and again: Malcolm Gladwell for his business books The Tipping Point and Blink, and David Maister for The Trusted Advisor (co-authored with Charles Green and Robert Galford) and Managing the Professional Service Firm.
Based on her admittedly "quick-and-dirty" survey, here are Campbell's top 10 books picked by legal marketers:
That last one must be good; it made the top-10 list even though it will not be published until June. So read and prosper.
rodrigo gonzalez fernandez
Renato Sánchez 3586 of 10