Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sometimes ethics really suck . . .

Rule 5.4 Professional Independence of a Lawyer (CA rule 1-310)
(b) A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a nonlawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.

A good (law school) friend of mine had on her gmail chat signature "If you could do one thing and were guaranteed not to fail...?" and I decided to answer her: "write the greatest post punk album of all time." I then asked what she wanted to do. She said "launch a startup" and I brought up rule 5.4 above. It got me to thinking about all the side projects I had wanted to do once I got myself established after law school, where having a bar card could be a real benefit. Rule 5.4 seems like a real wet blanket on that one. C'est la vie.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nader: Democrats have an illegal monopoly on their voters

Apparently Ralph Nader feels that the DNC and Democrat 527 organizations conspired to keep him of certain ballots around the country back in 2004. Can't wait to see the complaint once it gets out there.

Nader Sues DNC - AP

Am I getting even more liberal in my old age, or has my iPod brainwashed me?

So for my antitrust class I am finally getting around to reading the, more or less, complete decision in US v. Microsoft, 253 F.3d 34. I recall when this decision came out in 2001, I thought it was utter garbage. I found it patently offensive that Netscape, who owed its entire existence to MS, was attempting to dictate via a lawsuit, the manner in which its benefactor provided them with their existence. (I also must note that I had substantial holdings of MS stock and, while the company I worked for tended to use the Linux kernel in their products, much of our customer base was driven by business travelers using MS products.)

Jump 6 years forward and I am writing this blog on my iBook, listening to my iPod, having checked my calendar on my iPhone, via a Firefox browser. As I run through the Court of appeals decision I'm ticking off the elements of acts one and two of the Sherman act and it makes complete sense. (BTW - I still have the MS stock, but it is worth significantly less than when the case was being heard.) The odd thing is that I wrote a defense of Apple's use of DRM on music it sells through the iTunes Music Store. So I sort of wonder if the effect is from (a) a better understanding of the law or (b) in 2001 I was brainwashed by MS and by 2007 I was brainwashed again by Apple.



Thursday, October 25, 2007

A little off topic - wild new uses for your ink jet printer - building organs

Maybe this is nothing new to the bio-geeks out there, but I was amazed to see that scientists have now found a way to take an old HP inkjet printer and build functioning internal organs. Absolutely amazing and slightly creepy.



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Membership" has its privleges?

I lost my license a while back. There was a hold on getting a new one because I had an outstanding permit to get a motorcycle license. I had decided to no longer pursue the MC endorsement so I let it lapse. At any rate, I went into the DMV last week to get a new real license (I had been relying on a paper one for ages). According to the signs on the wall, the wait for a new license was 4-6 weeks.

I got to talking to one of the people that was handling my application and I asked if there was a way to get an expedited copy since I need it to take the MPRE in November. Invariably the conversation turned to the law. Apparently he had a safety issue with his new car. As luck would have it I knew a bit about how to help him get the car company to sit up and listen to his complaint. The conversation lasted all of 10 minutes and all I gave him was a few web addresses and some phone numbers. I check my mail on Monday and there is my new regular license.

Coincidence? I wonder. Karma - probably.


To tell the truth . . .

Presently I am involved in two disagreements that involve telling the truth and the consequences that follow. The first is a formal lawsuit that I am working on as a law clerk/paralegal/ fall associate (my job title seems to change by the day at work) that has a long procedural history. There have been numerous rounds of discovery including depositions and arbitration testimony - yet it appears that there may be evidence floating about that some of the defendants perjured themselves. The other case involves a dispute I am involved in, that is not a formal law suit yet, but may become one soon. In this case circumstantial evidence may prove that the other party involved is not telling the truth and has committed to a set of facts through a series of e-mails. Both cases have financial consequences to varying degrees if they are found out.

I've taken a sociology course or two about a decade or so ago, so here are my quasi-sociological observations on the matter. An event occurs that may be potentially embarrassing or have financial consequences if the truth comes to light. Information is either offered or requested about the event and a story is told. The story may have factual assertions or omissions that amount to something less than the whole truth, if not a complete fabrication. The underlying motivation is the hope that the other party will just take the story as fact and the issue dies.

To state the obvious, things get interesting when the other party pushes back with evidence to the contrary. A choice has to be made, if you are the "storyteller" - you can either throw up your hands and say "mea culpa" or dig in on your position and see what happens. If the process continues, the financial and, at the very least, emotional consequences escalate at every round. In the case of a lawsuit, the end result may be that the storyteller has to either backtrack on their previous assertions or perjure themselves and hope the other side does not have enough evidence to nail them for it.

The thing I often wonder is whether there is a way to shortcut the process. When a financial interest is at issue, the answer seems somewhat obvious - an offer to settle and no fault is admitted. If it is a more emotional issue (or the financial interest is tied to an emotional issue), the answer becomes much more difficult - at least to me. Each side has to do a cost/benefit analysis on "the truth" coming out. If the analysis is performed at a gut/emotional level, pride might get the best of either or both sides. If the analysis is done on a more analytical level the number of variables that one might have to consider could result in an unwieldy dataset. I suppose it really depends on the parties involved.

Maybe this is a question better left to the authors of books like "Getting to Yes," but to the extent that anyone who intends to do litigation (like me) is going to have to deal with the issue at some point, I'm interested to hear any of your thoughts on the matter. A third party mediator comes to mind, where anything discussed cannot be used in court (settlement negotiations), but how do you overcome the pride element? Anyone got a good approach they wouldn't mind sharing?


Better late than never . . .

Never really thought I'd ever get around to starting a blog, but after regularly checking my friend's blog (www.abovesupra.blogspot.com) on a pretty regular basis and often sending her stuff to put up on her blog in hopes that I "made the cut" for that week, I finally decided to do it myself.

Why late you ask? Well, I am a 3L, so I'm not posting about the existential torment of my first year in law school, or being worked to death my second year (and freaking out about finding summer employment). I just have the bar to look forward to and hope that the job I have now is still there post test day.

So, generally, this blog will be about my observations as my law school is winding to a close and my new life as an attorney begins.

The title of my blog was taken from an antitrust mnemonic for the Sherman act: Section one takes two (conspiracy) and section two takes one (monopoly). It seemed appropriate considering I have a job at a plaintiff's side consumer protection class action firm, and I was in section one (during my first year in law school) and I snagged the idea to start blogging from "Supra" who was in section two.

Well . . . I thought it was clever.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by - hope to see you again.