Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Now that I’ve graduated and passed that whole bar exam thing, I’m gainfully employed at a law school. Part of my job involves taking traditional (“analog”) classes and adapting them to take advantage of that whole internet thing. I encounter a good amount of enthusiasm from the handful of law professors I work with, but I inevitably, someone insists that “that whole internet thing” is for playtime and education is fine the way it is (in meatspace). I found this quote puts things in the proper perspective:

About 85 institutions in the Western world established by 1500 still exist in recognizable forms, with similar functions and unbroken histories, including the Catholic church, the Parliaments of the Isle of Man, of Iceland, and of Great Britain, several Swiss cantons, and 70 universities. Kings that rule, feudal lords with vassals, and guilds with monopolies are all gone.

These seventy universities, however, are still in the same locations with some of the same buildings, with professors and students doing much the same things, and with governance carried on in much the same ways.

– Clark Kerr, The Uses of the University

You could argue that universities have persisted in their ways, and higher education has remained unchanged because it is perfect; nature is rife with animals that have remained unchanged for tens or even hundreds of millions of years. That only holds up so long as you can stay at the top of the food chain. I don’t think it’s a terrible stretch to imagine “that whole internet thing” as the new apex predator.

I mean, come on. How’s the traditional learning model supposed to compete with this?

Filed on under A Day in the Life

If you’re not familiar with the legal challenge of a California law, the New York Times has a nice summary of both the law and last week’s oral argument. I prefer the Ars Technica commentary, if for no other reason than it features a section titled “The Vulcan Defense.”

But if words not-in-bubbles are not your forte, try The Escapist’s Critical Miss: Trolling for Justice.

When Justice Scalia is the voice of reason, and you’re invoking the Vulcan defense, I think you should have just stayed in bed.

Filed on under The News

I know for a fact that I’m not the only person in the legal field using a Mac. Until today, whenever I got email from my colleagues using Outlook, the text was so small that I had to strain to read it. It turns out there’s a problem with HTML emails sent from Outlook and read in Mail.app — one of the two programs is failing to read/set a minimum font size.

I’m not optimistic on a fix from either side. Microsoft probably has more important things to do than update Outlook to add a minimum font size for the benefit of Mac users, and Apple is probable too busy trying to eliminate the buttons on their cardigans. (Zing!)

Fortunately, Mail.app has a setting to force a minimum font size for HTML emails, which can be changed in Terminal.app. The command is found in this post from HawkWings.net:

defaults write com.apple.mail MinimumHTMLFontSize 13

I can happily report that although the HawkWings.net post is from five years ago, the command still works. Now I can spare my eyes the strain from trying to read tiny HTML, and reserve their limited ocular powers for far more pressing matters.

Filed on under The News

A quick congratulations to The IT Law Wiki on reaching 10,000 articles. I really like this project, and I think they’re as ambitious as they are overlooked by the web at large. In their own words:

The IT Law Wiki is a web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Its goal is to catalog all of the legal issues, cases, statutes, events, people, organizations and publications that make up the global field of information technology law (often referred to as computer law).

The IT Law Wiki is written collaboratively by volunteers from around the world. With rare exceptions, its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link.

The IT Law Wiki is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on topical events possible within seconds, minutes or hours, rather than months or years for traditional printed publications. This way, theinformation here can be as up-to-date as possible, instead of having to wait for a small group of people to update the information as the world changes. The more people that use the IT Law Wiki, the more up-to-date theinformation will be.

Filed on under The News

Filed on under A Day in the Life

In my third year of law school, I helped launch a legal reporting blog at my school; Legal As She Is Spoke gives students a chance to practice writing (and thinking) about the law.  The stories principally correct the mangled or absent legal analysis in the news.  I do a bit of that here, but I think these folks do a better job than I do most of the time.

My new favorite is “Judge Throws (Face)Book at Juror” — we all know it’s a bad thing for a juror to be eager to convict someone before the end of the trial.  But why exactly is it such a bad thing?  The answers can be surprising sometimes.

During a trial in Massachusetts, a juror fired off an e-mail to 800 of his closest friends saying, “[j]ust say he’s guilty and lets [sic] get on with our lives!” The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the defendant’s claim that he was prejudiced by the juror misconduct.

The court reasoned that the jurors were not exposed to any extraneous information that would have compromised the fairness of the trial. Similarly, Ms. Jons’s Facebook post is not a search for information related to the case, but a communication with her friends about the case.

Read the rest at Legal as She is Spoke.

Filed on under The News