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									INSIDE LEGAL BLOGS AND CHAT BOARDS                                                                                                 1. 800. 973.1177

                              Inside Legal Blogs
                              [By Jeff]
                              This week’s legal blog roundup comes to you from the former-Soviet state of Blogovenia, a sovereign nation that exists
                              solely online. Based on my expertise in matters both legal and online, I have been invited by the nation’s Council of Elders
                              to assist in drafting a Constitution/Terms of Service Agreement. In the meantime, chew on this assortment of news from
                              the law blogosphere.

In an update on a blogworthy news story from          a convincing argument in support of corporate        Elefant of MyShingle points out that this is not
a few weeks ago, the judge in the Google case         blogging on Between Lawyers. She argues that         the first time Lerner has run afoul with the
is forcing the company to hand over search-           corporate blogophobia is virtually baseless.         State Bar of Nevada. He previously got into
query records to the U.S. government, but the         While bosses fear a public airing of grievances      trouble over a TV ad where a novelty oversized
government has announced a compromise,                on blogs and the legal risks associated with         telephone falls on a person. The Bar feared
requesting less data from Google. Rick                confidential information being dispersed on the      that this could create anxiety relating to novelty
Georges at Futurelawyer asks if giving up a           Internet, Howell asserts that interoffice gossip     oversized telephones. Lerner claims to be
little privacy is like being a little pregnant.       is the greater danger. Bloggers are aware            challenging the Bar’s recent ruling. Another
                                                      that their forum is public and tailor their posts    interesting development in the story involves a
Last week’s developments in the blogtastic            accordingly. If bosses establish the necessary       seemingly unrelated ad for a Kentucky attorney
Zacarias Moussaoui case gave law bloggers             blogging protocol, there is little to fear. In       who not only calls himself “the Heavy Hitter,”
a lot to ponder. The prosecution botched              private, however, employees feel freer to bash       but uses the exact same logo as Lerner.
its death-penalty case against alleged 9/           the company or give out corporate secrets.           Kentuckian Cowgill raises several interesting
co-conspirator Moussaoui by inappropriately           Ten or fifteen years ago, the use of corporate       questions about this conundrum here.
coaching witnesses, including emailing a              email was limited compared to today. Now, it
witness transcripts of the opening statements         is recognized as an indispensable business           Another ridiculous item from last week comes
and other witnesses’ testimonies. This caused         tool. Though there are always risks that go          to us from an unlikely source: bankruptcy
the government to basically forfeit the death         with enabling easy and free communication,           court. San Antonio bankruptcy judge Leif Clark
penalty for Moussaoui and may result in jail          Howell puts corporate blogging low on the list       saw fit to cite the classic Adam Sandler film
time for a TSA attorney. My favorite analysis         of threats to the corporate world.                   Billy Madison in response to a defendant’s
of this prickly issue came from David Zarang                                                               motion. The Bankruptcy Litigation Blog posted
at Concurring Opinions. Zarang has sympathy           Speaking of harmless activities, a few weeks         the judge’s text, which seems better suited
for the TSA attorney, saying she was just             ago, a news item about Nevada attorney Glen          for the case Dean Wormer v. Animal House.
trying to keep her witnesses informed. Other          Lerner was passed around the blogosphere.            Reproduced below is the relevant text.
bloggers disagreed, but few could muster              Poor Glen’s law practice was dealt a blow by
much sympathy for Moussaoui himself, who              the State Bar of Nevada when it ruled that             “Before the court is a motion entitled
has turned his trial into a circus by repeatedly,     his ads were false and misleading. While               ‘Defendant’s Motion to Discharge Response
and loudly, declaring his loyalty to Osama bin        monitoring attorneys for inappropriate                 to Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s
Laden in the courtroom.                               advertising is an important function of state          Response Opposing Objection to Discharge.’
                                                      bars, this case seems a little extreme. Ben            As background, this adversary was
In the past few years, corporations have begun        Cowgill’s blog, Ben Cowgill on Legal Ethics,           commenced on December 4, 2005, with the
to exploit blogs for their potential as marketing     offered a thorough editorial analysis of the           filing of the plaintiff’s complaint objecting to
tools. Given their low cost of maintenance,           matter. Lerner’s Las Vegas-based TV ads                the debtor’s discharge. Defendant answered
blogs would seem to be ideal for the business         boasted that he was “the Heavy Hitter.” The            the complaint on January 2, 2006. Plaintiff
world. Many companies, however, have shied            Nevada Bar decided that this was misleading            responded to the Defendant’s answer on
away from the blogosphere, fearing the                because Lerner is not the only Heavy Hitter in         January 26, 2006. On February 3, 2006,
uncensored diatribes of bloggers. According           Nevada. Presumably, Lerner would be allowed            Defendant filed the above entitled motion.
to Socialtext, only 24 Fortune 500 companies          to advertise himself as “a Heavy Hitter” or “one       The court cannot determine the substance,
are currently blogging. Denise Howell penned          of many Heavy Hitters in the area.” Carolyn            if any, of the Defendant’s legal argument,

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INSIDE LEGAL BLOGS AND CHAT BOARDS                                                                                        1.800. 973. 1177

  nor can the court even ascertain the relief    “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one      It defies plausibility, but it does show that
  that the Defendant is requesting. The          of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve        bankruptcy judges have a better sense of
  Defendant’s motion is accordingly denied for   ever heard. At no point in your rambling,       humor than we all imagined. Next week, the
  being incomprehensible.”                       incoherent response was there anything that     judge in the Enron case will reveal his favorite
                                                 could even be considered a rational thought.    quotes from Police Academy 5: Assignment
  Or, in the words of the competition judge      Everyone in this room is now dumber for         Miami Beach. Be there!
  to Adam Sandler’s character of the same        having listened to it. I award you no points,
  name in the movie Billy Madison, after         and may God have mercy on your soul.”           Jeff is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
  Billy Madison had responded to a question                                                      Currently, he is the moderator of the
                                                 Deciphering motions like the one presented
  with an answer that sounded superficially                                                      message boards at, the largest
                                                 here wastes valuable chamber staff time
  reasonable, but lacked any substance:                                                          insider source of law firm information.
                                                 and invites this sort of footnote.


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