Each weekend, I will be rounding up the best law blog posts I find lying around the blawgosphere. You can help by sending me links using our contact form, starting discussions in the Lab, or tweeting the link to @lawyerist.
Quick Takes from the Lawyerist Sites Network
These posts come from the legal blogs hosted by Lawyerist Sites.
- Did you know co-signers can be released from liability for student loans? Me neither. [Consumerlawyer.MN]
- Plan ahead to keep your website from going down. [Online Marketing Tips]
- The federal government is collecting debts from the 1960s — presumably along with 50+ years of accrued interest. [Caveat Emptor]
Should LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling have been punished for being a terrible human being on his own time? What about short-lived Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, whose tenure was just 10 days due to his $1,000 donation towards the cause to outlaw same-sex marriage in California?
According to employment lawyer Robin Shea, nobody should be under the misconception that off-duty behavior is off-limits when it comes to employment decisions. Spreading unpopular views around is not a great career plan, but above all, she says, don’t go viral. [Employment & Labor Insider]
File Bankruptcy, Update Facebook, Land in Jail
Facebook is not private, contrary to the belief of many clients. At a minimum, your “friends” can see what you post. But not very many people know who can see what they post on Facebook, and sometimes that might be a problem. Like when you post a picture of the classic car you “neglected” to include in your bankruptcy petition.
North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer Damon Duncan observes that — Surprise! — trustees know how to use Facebook, too. [Duncan Law]
The Productization of Law
I don’t argue with Marty Smith’s characterization of some legal services as basically products. Plenty of legal services can be product-ish. But when he starts talking about how great this is, I’ve got a problem. Justice is not served by mediocre legal forms, whether or not they are products. “[B]roader distribution of general legal knowledge” is not a good thing if that legal knowledge is wrong. And many of the stock legal forms peddled in office-supply stores and by consumer websites are mediocre at best, if not outright wrong.
That’s the problem with law as a product. Marty is on the right track when he wishes for “standardization of common legal documents.” To the extent we can standardize, we should. But not if the result is a collection of legal documents that serve nobody’s needs. [Legal Refresh]
Revenge Porn and a Pervert Blogger
Let’s see if I can bring you up to speed on the whole revenge porn thing in a few words.
Terrible human beings like Hunter Moore created websites for posting naked pictures of exes. Porn as a vehicle for revenge, in other words.
Soon, the websites turned into places to post naked pictures of anyone — women, mostly — without their consent. Moore wound up in jail for the sort-of-related crime of paying a hacker to steal naked pictures, and actual revenge porn ceded the spotlight to the crusade to criminalize revenge porn, led by University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks, who was profiled in the Daily Dot.
Now revenge porn goes to Washington, and at Simple Justice, “pervert blogger” (according to Franks, due to a provocatively-titled post) Scott Greenfield points out that the proposed law is surprisingly overbroad, and may reach well beyond its intended purpose. Mark Bennett did the same thing a while back, in quite a bit of detail.
— Mary Anne Franks (@ma_franks) May 7, 2014
Update: After I published this post, Professor Franks emailed me with some context. The point Greenfield was making in his provocatively-titled blog post, as I understand it, was that the proposed revenge porn laws could criminalize the publishing of newsworthy photos like Anthony Weiner’s selfie, since Weiner obviously did not consent to its publication. Or, as explicitly suggested by Greenfield’s title, selfies of Franks.
It turns out that people actually are threatening Franks with Photoshopped “selfies.” They are also threatening her with rape, murder, kidnapping, and more. In this context, it makes Greenfield’s title more than provocative, regardless what he intended. It’s certainly possible that Greenfield’s title is even inspiring some of that conduct. It is definitely getting in the way of a substantive discussion. At the risk of sounding like Glenn Beck interviewing Keith Ellison, I don’t think Greenfield intended for Franks to receive such threats, but given the similarity between some of those threats and his title, I would think Greenfield would want to condemn that behavior.
I hope he will. Maybe then everyone will stop the name-calling and finger-pointing so we can figure out if Greenfield’s point is valid.
The World Needs More Poor Lawyers
Elie Mystal succinctly sums up the state of legal education, the legal job market, and access to justice:
We don’t have too many lawyers, we have too many clients who can’t pay.
And the problem isn’t that all these lawyers out there are “greedy.” The problem is that all of these lawyers have massive educational debts that can’t be serviced through poor clients.
Accord. [Above the Law Redline]
Featured image: “Kansas Longhorn Cattle Trail Drive” from Shutterstock.