18 August 2016

Deep-Fried Internet Link Sausages

... County Fair Edition. Just regular old link sausages, but this time popping with even more questionable ingredients (and trans fats)!

  • A charmingly naïve piece at Law.com asks "Why Won’t Law Firms Innovate? Clients Don’t Make Them" Good question. Wrong answer, as disclosed by the unstated problem:

    But it is law in particular that seems to have stagnated in the face of disruptive changes in the market. In a survey at the Managing Partner Forum conference, 66% of attendees said that law firm strategy has not changed at all in light of disruptive change. Further, in the Altman Weil 2016 Law Firms in Transition survey, 59% of firm leaders expressed an unwillingness to change because clients do not require it, and 56% said they are not motivated economically to implement any changes.

    (fake paragraphing and hyperlinks omitted) What this does not say is that law firms don't see a professional obligation to provide the best possible service and advice to their clients — that is, that innovation appears, in the eyes of these law-firm leaders, to be completely unrelated to the quality of their counsel.

    Umm, not so much. I've used the "innovative" step of quickly reading the first paragraphs of precedential appellate decisions on a daily basis (on a heavy decision day, that's less than 20 minutes) to alter contract language and even briefs due that very day. And it cost my clients exactly nothing to do so, because I "innovatively" used Teh Internets and free resources officially from the court that are not Wexis (Wexis is inordinately expensive, I might add... and based on free use of databases of older decisions compiled by military typists in the 1970s, but that's an ugly story for another time). A professional doesn't wait for the client to ask for it or make it (more/inordinately) profitable, or for some regulatory organization to tell him (almost always him) that he must do it; a professional does it because it's the right — professional — thing to do.

    No, this is not a veiled accusation that BigLaw leadership is inadequately professional: It's pretty damned explicit.

  • Epicurious.comI found Dory. And she was delicious. OK, so it's not an elegant preparation, but in my condition I'm not up for culinary exertions. Just for the fish. (OK, so cartoon Dory is a Tang, but searching for "tang recipe" can be... disturbing.)
  • The esteemed Linda Greenhouse raises an important point about courts beginning to question legislative purposes, especially regarding controversial rights-related legislation. Personally, I don't think the courts go nearly far enough in doing so; they try too hard to "respect" coordinate branches of government, while ignoring the disrespect for the courts implicit in far too many of the worst instances. Ms Greenhouse cites to the notoriously inept Palmer case as representative, but both she — and the courts — have failed to engage with a problem that is explicitly within the competence of the courts: The distinction between fact and process. Indeed, if courts applied the same standard to legislative "factfinding" as they do to jury verdicts (whether there enough evidence in front of the jury to allow a rational jury to reach that decision, and at a higher level of abstraction whether the evidence in front of the jury was the procedurally proper evidence), courts would have far less need to ever consider motive... precisely because bad motive so often leads to procedural errors that are explicitly within judicial competence. Judges are actually pretty good at spotting someone stacking the deck (even if less so when there's Science involved, they're still better than most people). And yes, kids, it is possible to make judgments about the quality/propriety of the fact-gathering process in a religious-doctrine context... without simultaneously judging the validity of the religious doctrine qua doctrine.
  • Here's what the Arab Spring has to look forward to: illusory postcolonial "democracy" still dominated by dictators. As a disturbing parallel, it's not enough to say shah mat! in the face of the Pahlevi regime's clear abuses — one must pay attention to what might/will follow, which might/will be worse.