May It Please The Court

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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 175

Fifth Circuit Figures Out An End Run

We're a step closer to one of the two questions left open by the Supremes in Cooper Industries. That's the case where the Supreme Court decided that if you volunteer to clean up contaminated property, you can't recover your costs to do so.

No kidding. I was surprised, too.

Now, the Fifth Circuit sent the case back to the District Court. The trial court is set to determine whether the Plaintiff, Aviall, can assert a claim under CERCLA section 107(a)(4)(B). Section 107 allows for cost-recovery suits for response costs incurred by the government and certain others, as long as the cleanup is consistent with the National Contingency Plan.

Aviall gets a "do over." A tabular rosa (clean slate). It can assert its claims against Cooper Industries, and Cooper Industries can assert its defenses.

Hopefully, we'll get a more reasoned decision this time around. Maybe one that makes sense, too.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 23:39 Comments (0) |

And Then There Were Seven

As Denise Howell notes, there were six plawdcasts.

And now there are seven. Welcome Professor Lessig, digital voice and all.

Plawdcasting is coming of age. Anyone else game?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at 22:47 Comments (0) |

Insuring Against Mudslides, Floods and Earthquakes

My Mom called this weekend, in a panic. The news featured houses collapsing into sinkholes and sliding off cliffs into the ocean. Even Bruce MacEwen sent a note of concern.

The conventional wisdom has it that California separated from the rest of the United States. While that may be true on an existential plane, we're still here, apparently hanging on by a thread.

It's serious stuff, but there are others who had it worse than we do. Still, with the loss of life and property damage, it's difficult to imagine if you're warm and dry. The question that you want to ask yourself is whether you're covered.

Typical homeowners insurance excludes (check under "Optional Extra Coverage" and then "Additional Liability") floods and earthquakes. Surprise!

You have to buy flood insurance and earthquake insurance separately from the government. If you rush out right now, you can buy flood insurance. It just doesn't take effect for 30 days.

Be careful out there. It's still raining, and won't be fun in the summertime to swim in this pool.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at 20:57 Comments (0) |

Should You Really Be A Lawyer? MIPTC Reviews The Book.

Full disclosure here: I got a free copy of this book to review. But you probably could have guessed that. Mike gets free movies, I get free books. Go figure. I'm a lawyer.

It's called "Should You Really Be A Lawyer?," available at Amazon for $21.95 and Barnes & Noble for 20% less: $17.56. It's subtitled "The Guide to Smart Career Choices Before, During & After Law School."

Should you buy it?

Read the title again. If you need to answer that question, then the answer is a resounding yes. It was hard for me to get into the book, however, because I already know the answer. I love being a lawyer. If you're not so sure and fall into any one of these three categories, it's a must read:

  • prospective law student
  • current law student
  • practicing lawyer
It's written by Deborah Schneider and Gary Belsky. "Deborah," as she calls herself throughout the book, is a law school graduate and used to work in the career development office at Hastings. Gary Belsky is a journalist, and wrote a book on behavioral economics.

Deborah studied with Dick Bolles, which accounts for much of the format of the book. Bolles, as you may know, wrote "What Color Is Your Parachute?," the book that pioneered the concept of "informational interviews" to get jobs, and Schneider and Belsky tip their hat several times to this seminal work on job hunting and career changes.

But don't be fooled. "Should You Really Be A Lawyer?" is written by a lawyer, for lawyers and law students. It covers the gamut from helping you decide whether you should try to get into law school, stay in once you're there and what you really should be doing afterward. It gives solid guidance on how to deal with the cost of law school, and destroys the bubble that everyone who graduates from law school starts at $150,000 or more (the book pegs the actual average at $61,000). But you'll get no other spoilers here. You'll have to read it and go through the exercises.

The authors point out that you're going to spend some 80,000 hours working. Why not invest a few hours figuring out what to do with all that time?

P.S. Read Al Nye The Lawyer Guy's extensive review of this book, and comments from and Ernie the Attorney. Both worthwhile reviews and comments I echo, too.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, February 21, 2005 at 13:36 Comments (1) |

Buzz, buzz, buzz. What Does It Take To Generate The Buzz?

The buzz.

That's what a prominent, online legal channel (Court TV) asked me (and I suspect a number of other legal blawgers) to generate for them. About Dominic Dunne.


That's what I asked. Apparently, he's got a new television show. As a friend of mine says, wieux hieux. They asked to run hyperlinks to his show and banner ads on MIPTC to help them generate the buzz. As you can see, I politely declined.

Apparently, there's a group out there that tries to generate "the buzz." They're the ones who asked to put hyperlinks on MIPTC and run banner ads here. That generates buzz?

I thought that was what happened without trying to make it happen. How naive I am.

P.S. If you want the link to the new TV show, it's in the Comment section below, where the link won't be followed by search engines. If the program is truly worth it, the buzz will take care of itself. That's why this post has no links to Court TV or the new show.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, February 20, 2005 at 21:32 Comments (2) |

Your Opinion Please: Ads In RSS Feeds? What Do You Want?

Bill Gratsch over at posits the question of how to develop an acceptable model to include ads in RSS feeds.

MIPTC is struggling with that issue, too. Wired notes that there are a number of companies and weblogs already using ads in RSS feeds, including Weblogs, Inc., the parent company of Engadget. The Wired article has this quote:

"Jason Calacanis, founder of Weblogs, said in an e-mail that most serious blog readers use RSS regularly and that it makes sense to start advertising on feeds along with blog websites. 'Visiting the website is dating; getting a daily e-mail is going steady -- but subscribing to an RSS feed, well, that is like getting married to a news source," he said. "It's really the highest commitment you can make.' "

Well, hello there all you RSS feed readers. I never knew.

Kidding aside, it's coming. That last link is for a company that will place your ad in an RSS feed. The other end of the spectrum is ready. Or is it? Perhaps it's just as simple as the Delete button.

Here's a short case study, in case you're interested in how RSS ads fared.

The folks are working on the issue, and as I understand it, struggling with how to place those ads so that you're not offended. Frankly, the big ad on the top of this page is a little much, but I've started to get used to it. Not many of you have objected, figuring it comes with the territory these days.

But on one hand, some of you come directly to the page, and for those of you who are repeat readers of this page, you know what you're getting. RSS feed readers, on the other hand, get the content fed to their desktops.

I'm sensitive to the fact that you allow me to visit you. Robin Good offered some good advice, seven points in all, about how to handle ads in RSS feeds.

MIPTC wants your opinion before ads start showing up in our RSS feeds.

Let me give you some parameters, first, though, so you know what we're looking at. At one end of the spectrum are the same, rich-media ads like the one on the top of this page. Frankly, I think that type of an ad is a mistake, but I'm willing to consider them.

The other end of the spectrum is the National Public Radio model (even if they don't want you to link to their site).

You know: "Brought to you by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation"-style advertisement. A simple, text-based note at the end of the RSS feed.

MIPTC would probably even do the same thing at the end of its podcasts and soon-to-return Vlawgcasts (videocasts).

Now it's your turn to vote. Comment below or call 206-833-3088 and leave a message. MIPTC will post your audio comment in the comment section below.

Let me know. I'd rather you tell me now than click the delete button later.

Thanks for your time.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, February 19, 2005 at 11:29 Comments (2) |

Empty Ice, Empty Cup, Empty Season, Empty Hearts

You may have been able to glean from my previous postings that I enjoy sports, so it saddens me greatly that the NHL season appears to be a total loss after Wednesday’s "official" cancellation. For the first time in 86 years there will be no names engraved on Lord Stanley’s cup, the most impressive looking trophy in sports next to the America's Cup (click on "Pictures" and then "The Cup").

Hockey clearly occupies the number four spot out of the big four professional sports in America, which means that the woes of a cancelled season will be even more difficult for the league to overcome. I suppose the good news is that if the players and league can get it together, they may be able to steal some fans from baseball who are disgruntled with the steroid scandal in that sport.

On another sporting note, following up on a piece that I wrote a few weeks ago, regarding the relationship between professional sports and the alcohol industry, the NBA has announced new guidelines regarding beer sales at games. The league cites the measure as an attempt to prevent incidents of fan/player violence like the one that occurred during a Pistons-Pacers game last year. The guidelines are designed to work together with Fan Guidelines which will be posted at each arena in the league.

The policy appears to be intended to protect the league, teams, arenas, and players from litigation that might result from inappropriate player-fan interaction and is also a likely response to the outcome of the Aramark decision.

In light of all this, thank goodness for college basketball. Oops, I forgot, the hometown Iowa Hawkeyes are embroiled in a mess of their own.

"How about a nice game of chess?"

Your move.


Printer friendly page Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Friday, February 18, 2005 at 12:15 Comments (0) |

MIPTC's Friday At The Movie Series: Reel Reviews Looks at: The Conversation

It's Friday again, and time for another installment in the Friday At The Movies series, brought to you by my friend Michael Geoghegan. Here it is:

Reel Review #26: “He’d kill us if he had the chance.” The Conversation turns on this statement. Where the intonation resides has everything to do with what it means. This is a great film from the seventies written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He made this film between productions on the two Godfather films. This is one that should not be missed. “I’m not following you. I’m looking for you – there is a big difference.”

The Conversation DVD at Amazon



Printer friendly page Posted by Michael Geoghegan on Friday, February 18, 2005 at 11:49 Comments (0) |

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