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                             Inside Legal Blogs
                             [By Jeff]
                             This week’s biggest infotainment news item, the Brangelina baby, may have legal ramifications for some bloggers. For
                             unknown reasons, the news that the celebrity couple had a baby sparked a major media event. There was nothing note-
                             worthy about the baby itself, other than having two Golden Globe nominees as parents. The baby had such prenatal buzz
                             that People cut a multimillion-dollar deal to be the exclusive distributor of the official baby pictures in the U.S. It wasn’t
                             long before starry-eyed bloggers got ahold of the photographs and plastered them across the blogosphere. Baby-crazy Web
                             surfers could save the $4 and just check out the baby pics for free at the LiveJournal gossip blog. So, of course, legal action
                             was threatened, this time by Hello! magazine, the exclusive distributor of the baby photos in Europe. And, of course, this
                             will only increase the profile of the blogs who posted the pictures. The real victim in all this is Wilford Brimley, who sold
                             the exclusive rights for the photos of his bunion-removal surgery to Us Weekly, only to have the story dropped in favor of
                             another Brangelina baby headline.

In other bloggish news, the 9th Circuit Court         This week, Tales of a Public Defender                 now-defunct law blog formerly known as
recently cited a blog post by one Sean Sirrine, a     Investigator offered up a blog post about             Formerly Known as F/K/A claims the system
first-year law student, in a dissenting opinion.      using MySpace, blogs, and other websites              will allow attorneys to bilk clients who don’t
You can see the blog post that the court cited        to conduct investigations into witnesses and          understand how to assess the worth of a
here. While some have claimed that blogs              victims. Tales of a Public Defender Investigator      lawyer’s service. Carolyn Elefant of Inside
aren’t scholarly enough to merit citation from        analyzes the ethical implications of culling          Opinions finds the whole thing too complicated.
a judge, law blogger Eugene Volokh has said           investigatory info from the MySpace pages             For now, the biggest advocate of value billing
that it is about time that law blogs receive the      of adults and juveniles. While investigators          is Ronald J. Baker, who claims that one-third
credit they are due. Volokh, however, has some        owe it to their clients to conduct the most           of small firms have already implemented the
reservations about the practice of judges citing      thorough investigations possible, attorneys           system.
online sources. This particular citation refers       must adhere to the code of ethics. In defense of
to Sirrine as a member of the bar, though he          using personal websites to gather investigatory       Police in Los Angeles County have violated
is a law student. This sort of slipshod fact-         info, the PDI blog mentions the case of the           the attorney-client privilege by recording
checking is problematic with these types of           Woodland, CA, teacher who was arrested for            attorney-client consultations and handing the
citations, as people tend to get lazy when            having sex with an underage male student              tapes over to opposing counsel, according to
dealing with online resources.                        and how the teacher’s MySpace page led to             Public Defender Dude’s blog. The blog relates
                                                      her apprehension. The NSA also utilizes such          the tale of the Pasadena police, who recorded
Mega-firm Baker & McKenzie has egg on its
                                                      resources, monitoring the information people          a conversation between two co-defendants
face after an incident involving a preemptive
                                                      post about themselves on the Internet. With the       and their lawyer in which one co-defendant
cease and desist letter and a popular weblog.
                                                      blogosphere growing exponentially, there is no        implores the other to take a plea bargain
Attorneys from Baker & McKenzie fired off
                                                      limit to the amount of info people are willing to     deal. The tape was damning evidence in
an aggressive cease and desist letter to the
                                                      reveal about themselves online.                       their trial. Public Defender Dude sees this
website Boing Boing on behalf of firm client
                                                                                                            as another example of eroding civil liberties.
Infront Sports and Media, copyright holder for
                                                      Several law bloggers and business analysts            Another public defender blog, Defending Those
FIFA World Cup soccer matches. The letter
                                                      have come out in support of a new mode                People featured another story involving cops
said that the firm would be monitoring the
                                                      of billing clients known as value bidding.            seemingly overstepping their boundaries.
site for unauthorized broadcasts of soccer
                                                      Proponents of value billing say it’s fair and         Check the link to see video of a prosecutor’s
matches. Boing Boing posted the letter on
                                                      preferred by clients. Rather than billing a           daughter being manhandled by police after
its site, responding that it had no intention
                                                      standard rate for billable hours, under the           being hauled in on a noise disturbance charge.
of broadcasting soccer matches. The faux
                                                      value billing system, clients pay more for
pas prompted many other bloggers, such as
                                                      positive outcomes and less for other results.         And finally, you can click here for exclusive
LexBlog and Human Law, to hold Baker &                Supporters of the new system claim it is a            photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s baby.
McKenzie to ridicule. Though some praise
                                                      more sound economic structure than the
the firm for actively protecting its copyright
                                                      contingency-fee system. Value billing has its
clients, others see the letter as a major public
                                                      detractors, however. David Gialcone of the
relations blunder.


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