Sunday, August 21, 2005

Blawg Review #20

Reality TV Edition

I must admit to a slight addiction to reality tv. My addiction is self-limited, however, by the fact that 1) we don't have cable, and 2) we have only one tv, which I share with two preschoolers who would much rather watch Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank Engine. Usually they win.

Nevertheless, I watch when I can. Now we all know that "reality television" is like "professional wrestling". Right? Willing suspension of disbelief, and all that. Granted. So let's have some fun.

Here's something interesting: Prospective reality show cast members campaigning to be cast via blogs.

Note: All of the television shows mentioned below are real, although a couple are still in the casting or production stage and have not yet aired. If you click on the header for each section, you will get a link to the official site, if available, or to a list of links. Thanks to RealityTVLinks for the link directory.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. First up, real lawyers.

The Law Firm

The show "The Law Firm" was cancelled by NBC last week and will move to Bravo. It had already come under scrutiny by lawyers such as Donald Caster of All Deliberate Speed (Is The Firm Already Over the Line), Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground (The Verdict is In), and LawGirl's On Firm Ground (More Blogging About the Law Firm). LawGirl writes:
It occurs to me that NBC may have pulled the plug, not just because of ratings but because of all the legal and ethical concerns that have been raised by critics of the show. Maybe they are concerned about liability.
Could be. Now on to some fake Reality TV (or is that redundant?).

The Apprentice

This week on the Apprentice, Robert L. Shaver from Patent Pending fills in for The Donald and sends two very young contestants out to start their own business in Introduce Your Kids to Entrepreneurship.

Speaking of Trump, recent reports are that a Chinese version of The Apprentice is in the works. How's that for Capitalism?

Norm Pattis of Crime & Federalism reports that a Connecticut church worker has been charged with felony "risk of injury to a minor" for leaving four children to sell cookies, as part of a church fundraiser, outside a grocery store on a day when the temperature rose to 97 degrees (Hot Crime).

A Baby Story

Mother in Law's Law Mom started law school this week. In Labor vs. Law School, she compares law school to childbirth. Having experienced both, I know what she means. Watch out; the Bar Exam is like transition.

Also blogging about the first year of law school is David Giacalone of f/k/a (1L of a decision):
Your decision to attend law school is very likely to be one of the riskiest you will ever make in and for your life. Law school will test your stamina and your sanity, leave you with a mountain of debt, and prepare you (some say rather poorly) for a profession that is universally disliked, and is rife with dissatisfied, self-loathing and depressed individuals, who feel helpless to redeem their lives and selfesteem.

From the law student author of Pelican Barbecue & Buckeye Beer comes this humorous look at Orientation: Briefing a Case.

Law student Abusygirl of the Busy Days blog compares first-year law student to Penguins in March of the one-Ls.

And Christine Hurt of Conglomerate discusses what she would have done differently in law school in Regrets, Anyone?

Battle of the Sexes

Well, not really. When I told him I was working on Blawg Review, my husband asked if anyone had mentioned the NCAA Mascot decision. So here it is, honey. NCAA Looks for Way Out on Mascots by Mark at Sports Biz. He writes:
The NCAA in a rare display of recognition that it has actually made a mistake has put in place a system of appeals for the "branded" universities with unacceptable Native-American mascots and nicknames. In a statement released on Friday, the NCAA said that "namesake" tribal support would be a critical factor in the review process.
And thanks to the hubby for taking over a greater share of the childrearing duties the last couple days. I'll remember this come football playoff season.

Canadian Idol

Walter Olson of Overlawyered mentions the Canadian bar's efforts to spruce up it's image in Canada: "truth and reconciliation" panel for lawyers' image? He writes: "All talk of 'truth commissions' aside, that last bit sure sounds like progress to us -- and a decided improvement over the circle-the-wagons reaction to criticism so often adopted by organized lawyerdom in the U.S."

The Cut

The Cut is a show hosted by Tommy Hilfiger, featuring a group of clothing designers who are sent out to perform design-related tasks, Apprentice style. The couple of times I've watched the show, one thing that has always been emphasized is "protecting the brand", even while ripping TH clothing up and reconstructing it. So here's a little branding blogging:

I wrote this week about FedEx Branding & Trademark Issues, including the FedEx Furniture website. So did Phosita's Melody Wirz (FedEx Fuming Over Boxy Furniture), Copyfight's Alan Wexelblat (Dumb Ideas Never Die), Bill Heinz's I/P Updates (FedEx Frowns on Free Furniture), and of course Stanford's Center for Internet and Society who are the counsel-apparent for the defendant.

Jason Sonenshein of Leave Us Alone! writes that Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones should have used FedEx or UPS, rather than placing a false disclosure statement in the mail, thereby turning a state misdemeanor into a federal felony (Lesson of Jones Plea: Use a Private Courier).

And Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq. writes How Attractive is Your Firm's Brand on the "Supply Side?":
Let's face it: With the first-year associate package apparently frozen at $125,000 plus bonus, with every firm claiming to be "friendly and collegial," and with the reality of 2,000+ hours/year requirements across the board, how is your firm really going to distinguish itself?
Evan Schaeffer discusses The Swingline 390 Heavy Duty Stapler which Infamy or Praise's Colin Samuels picks up on, pointing out that it is Professional Schizophrenia to be blogging about staplers while extolling the virtues of The Paperless Office, a la The Greatest American Lawyer and The Home Office Lawyer.

Fire Me, Please
(or, My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss)

George Lenard of George's Employment Blog discusses Work-life balance lesson from Willie Wonka and Charlie.
In the movie, Willy Wonka offers Charlie the ideal job -- ownership and live-in management of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. Innocently, Charlie asks if he can bring his family -- Mom, Dad, and four elderly grandparents. When Wonka essentially responds "of course not," Charlie promptly declines the offer.

For Love or Money
(or, Who Wants to Marry a Multi-millionaire)

Big news this week was a Texas jury's $ 253 million verdict against Merck for their drug Vioxx. Ted Frank of Point of Law writes:
You might've thought that you needed to marry a billionaire to get $24 million from a one-year marriage, but we now know that that a one-year marriage to a 59-year-old Wal-Mart produce manager with arteriosclerosis is worth $24 million in compensatory damages. Mrs. Ernst is apparently very lucky that her new husband died from a sudden arrhythmia rather than from a brain tumor or lightning strike, because I'll bet a year's salary that she didn't have a $24 million life insurance policy on him to compensate her in the event of a sudden death.
Lots of folks had something to say about this verdict. From Point of Law alone we had comments by Jim Copland, Jonathan Wilson, and Ted Frank. Then there was Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground (The Good Guys Win), Derek Lowe of In the Pipeline (Judgement Day, No More Merk for a Couple Days, and Okay, One More Merk Point),Tom Kirkendall of Houston's Clear Thinkers (Merck Gets Hammered), Professor Bainbridge (Merk), Professor Tom Mayo (Merck's Biggest Hit (So Far): $253 Million), Gordon Smith of Conglomerate (Merk), Howard Bashman's How Appealing, Tom Lamb of Drug (Ernst v. Merck Vioxx Trial: Massive Verdict for Plaintiff; Knock-out Punch for Merck?), and Douglas Sorocco of rethink(ip) with an unusual take, Use of PowerPoint in a Trial.

Thanks to Overlawyered's Walter Olson for many of the above links.

And that's just what the lawyers had to say. If you're interested in a medical perspective, keep an eye on this week's Grand Rounds which is due to be posted Wednesday at Straight From the Doc.

Houston Medical

This week on Houston Medical, the med students get some instructions on making patients feel comfortable, prompted by the recent New York Times article which Elizabeth Malloy of HealthLawProf Blog comments on in Being a Patient - Check Dignity at the Door.

Hospital employees also get guidance on HIPPA security regulations thanks to Bob Coffield of the Health Care Blog Law (CMS Issues New Educational Advice on HIPAA Security Rule).

I'm a Celebrity But I Want to Be a Pop Star

Melody Wirz of Phosita writes about The Artist Formerly Known As P. Diddy:
So, I got to thinking. Has "Diddy" registered all of these trademarks with the USPTO. I was surprised to find that he has applied for at least 27 different registrations, with 7 actually being registered....

Other registered marks include "Puff Daddy," "Puffy," and "Sean John." But my favorite is the dead application requesting registration of "Farnsworth Bently." The USPTO rejected the mark because it is almost identical to the alter-ego of "Diddy's" former assistant, Derek Watkins, a/k/a "Farnsworth Bentley." In the application, "Diddy" claims that he created the character, and controlled Mr. Watkins when he appeared as the character. However, the application was ultimately abandoned, along with the very similar "Fonzworth Bently."

Pimp My Ride

On this week's episode, Ted Frank of Overlawyered brings in a Ford Pinto with an exploding fuel tank and leaves with a Winnebago equipped with autopilot (One more Winnebago thought: the Ford Pinto lawsuit urban legend). Just kidding, Ted. My family actually had one of these "unusually dangerous" Pintos and I managed to survive childhood unscathed.

AutoMuse's E. L. Eversman has been featured in's Best of the Web (PowerBlog and Forbes Best of the Web).

Road Rules 13

The unlucky Road Rules 13 gang gets lost and winds up at the Boston University Blogging Colloquium where they learn about "the legal complexities facing the growing blogging community." Apparently, they got directions from Denise Howell at Between Lawyers.

And they might not have gotten lost in the first place had they been using their Blawg Review Google Guest Map courtesy of The Common Scold Monica Bay.

Rock Star: INXS

John Day, writing a guest post on Evan Schaeffer's Legal Undgerground, explains to clients "I'm sorry, you're just not right for our law firm, Branham & Day" (A Plaintiffs' Lawyers Explains the Economics of Turning Cases Down).

Tom Kane of the Legal Marketing Blog examines the opposite situation in: Lost An Unhappy Client? You'’ve Lost More Than That.

The Greatest American Lawyer has extensive coverage on the topic of Problem Clients.

Rough Science

For those not familiar with the show, Rough Science is a PBS series which puts a group a scientists on a desert island with a bunch of junk and asks them to make things, kind of like the Professor on Gilligan's Island.

Douglas Sorocco of Phosita sets us straight on the Microsoft/Apple/iPod interface patent hype (Microsoft Patents Apple - Don't Believe the Hype).

Ron Coleman of Likelihood of Confusion follows up on the ClearPlay litigation in "Cleaning Up, or Getting Their Clocks Cleaned?" ClearPlay has "developed a unique DVD parental control technology that enables users to skip and mute segments of movies that contain graphic violence, nudity, and profanity." Apparently, Hollywood doesn't like this too much. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.


The Supernanny is called in to help Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage whose little one has tossed her purse (including cell phone, car remote, and camera) into a fountain in I'm Soaking In It. At least Ms. Howell's iPod was not a casualty, as she might need it to listen to her recent Podcast interview with John Furrier.

And the Supernanny puts little Johnny in the naughty chair when he won't share, apparently egged on by J. Craig Williams of May It Please The Court's Property Law As Viewed By A Toddler. Little Johnny's appeal is pending.

Speaking of toddlers, Tom Mighell's Inter Alia turned three years old this week.

Who's Your Daddy?

Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds (or should we call him Instapregnant?) denies responsibility - in advance - if and when Angelina Jolie gets knocked up, er, pregnant.

The Will

Jill Fallon of Legacy Matters writes that an envelope found in the safety deposit box of a recently deceased 73-year old woman marked "Do Not Open Until My Death" may provide the key to solving the disappearance in 1930 of Judge Joseph F. Crater, called "the most missingest man in America".

Gerry W. Beyer of Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blawg writes a two-parter, Ethics Issue in Recent "Dear Abby" Column and More on "Dear Abby" Letter. The letter reads, in part:
My husband, "Girard," and I have been married two years. We both have children from previous marriages. Girard always told me I would have a home if I outlived him, even though his children will eventually inherit the property.... One day I asked Girard if it was in the will, and he said no, but that he and his children "had discussed it." When I asked him to put it on paper, he agreed. His attorney drafted a document for him to sign.... I decided to call the attorney myself. Well, you guessed it. I was told the papers had been executed. When I confronted Girard he admitted he had lied and promised to have the will done over. When I looked at the document he had signed, I saw that Girard was giving me 90 days to get out of the house after his death.
Now, why on earth do people write Dear Abby instead of calling their lawyers? Know what Abby's response was? "Now that you know how your husband thinks, consult an attorney of your own and find out exactly what your rights are as a wife in the state of Louisiana." However, I digress. Prof. Beyer's take on this is to discuss the ethics of the wife's conversation with her husband's lawyer.

Faking It

The unfortunate drawback of blawg reviewing around a "theme" is that there are always a number of good posts which are impossible to fit into the theme. Either that, or I am at the point of having completely run out of creative juices. Here are the remainders (often, the best parts):

Kevin at Cyberlaw Central discuses the move to make attention and attention data a new property right in Attention - Part One and Attention - Part Two. He writes:
From an IP attorney'’s point of view, Attention is interesting because it is an attempt to create a new property right in the aggregate of data. It'’s different from other forms of property that currently can be protected. ... Attention, unlike trade secrets, is public information. It'’s the aggregate of your interactions with third parties like shopping sites. The current state of affairs is that the shopping sites, with Amazon as the best example, are collecting this data for their own commercial advantage. While you might appreciate seeing what others who bought a book also bought, it'’s really in Amazon'’s interest since they are more likely to get an additional sale out of the deal.
Really interesting. By the way, I almost put this under the heading of "Last Comic Standing" before I actually read the links. At first glance, it looked like a slick hoax.

Next, Steve Bainbridge of writes about Air America, the radio station that was pulled off the air only two weeks after its debut:
Did the directors and officers of Air America owe a fiduciary duty to the network's creditors? In short, yes. Would the creditors' complaint alleging self-dealing in breach of that duty survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim? In all probability, yes.
Law Pundit Andis Kaulins writes in Google Library Digitization Project Delayed by Copyright Issues:
[P]lans to digitize university library holdings of Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, Oxford University and the New York Public Library have been put on hold because of copyright issues raised by publishing and library associations, who of course are not interested in authors rights of copyright, but rather fear the new digitally based competition.
On the same topic, Brad Newman's The Law Student's Blog additionally discusses the DMCA's Notice & Takedown provisions (Google Press Pause On Book Scanning).

And I'll end with a marvelous Report From the Trial Court Trenches by William J. Dyer at BeldarBlog. Among other things, he writes:
And to my horror, just as I was sitting back down after the judge had overruled my fourth or fifth (absolutely valid!) objection, the paper-clip accidentally slipped out of my clammy fingers and, propelled by the rubber band, shot across the room, loudly TWACKing the hollow wooden front of the judge's bench.

"And I object to Mr. Dyer shooting his paper-clip across the room when he loses his objections!" thundered my opponent.

"Sustained!" thundered back the judge, glaring at me. Whereupon I pouted, conspicuously, for at least the next ten minutes (but with my hands clenched, empty, under the table).

In Conclusion

That's all for this week's episode of Blawg Review. Thank you to everyone who contributed. The next issue of Blawg Review will be hosted at Carolyn Elefant's My Shingle. Blawg Review has Submission Guidelines for getting your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues. Just a hint, it really helps the host if you include a description or summary of your post in your email. Give the host some idea of why your topic is important or relevant.

Until next week ... keep it real!


George said...

Way to go, Mom. The Blawg Review creativity ante is upped again!

Sean Sirrine said...

Thanks Mommy blogger, you must be exhausted!

SportsBiz said...

Thanks Mommy. I appreciate your finding me.

Jason Sonenshein said...

Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mother, I found your blog through Instapundit. This is a timely thing that you have done (the carnival of legal blogs). I am an attorney although I am running an environmental consulting firm rather than practice law (I was a geologist before I became an attorney). In any case, you have become a great resource for me as I weigh starting a blog. Congratulations on your effort here. Nice job!

The Common Scold said...

verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry clever! blawg review gets more entertaining and creative by the week!


Yankee Mon