Law Blog Week In Review: School Lunches, Ted Olson’s Hourly Rate, and Free Speech for Robots

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Testing Access to Justice

Bob Ambrogi reports that Massachusetts will be the first state with a bar exam that includes questions in the “field of Access to Justice.” The new questions will cover legal problems like this sample essay question:

In a real estate transaction the contract calls for delivery of the property free of tenants, but a tenant reports that there are conditions in need of repair in her apartment and she has a rent subsidy to assist her with the rent.

[LawSites]

Social Media Hype

The PR Lawyer seems a bit surprised that corporations pay attention to what people say about them on social media. What that means, though, is that right now, you are apparently more likely to get what you want by making a stink on Twitter than by just calling customer service. It reminds me of this Vox piece explaining that reruns of Big Bang Theory are roughly twice as popular as the most-watched episode of Game of Thrones, despite the impression you might get from social media. [The PR Lawyer]

The Politics of Tomato Sauce

Congress getting involved in school lunch reform is a terrifying thought, especially when you add lobbyists to the mix. I assume that’s how tomato sauce gets classified as a “vegetable,” as reported by the Ag & Food Law Blog. (1. Tomato is a fruit. 2. Tomato sauce is usually loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.) [Ag & Food Law Blog]

How Long Would it Take 280 Billion Ted Olsons to Bill $2 Undecillion?

Forever, basically, even if Ted Olson were immortal or a zombie. What If?‘s Randall Munro tried to put the ridiculous lawsuit against Au Bon Pain in perspective, and tried to answer Underhill’s question:

If Au Bon Pain hired every Ted Olson in the galaxy to defend them in this case, and had them all work 80-hour weeks, 52 weeks a year, for a thousand generations … it would still cost them less than if they lost.

Two great blogs teaming up to answer life’s great questions. [Lowering the Bar]

Breaking the Silence About Depression

When Dan Lukasik told his law partners about depression, they weren’t particularly understanding. When he decided he wanted to go public with it, a judge told him it was a bad idea because “there are also a lot of other lawyers out there who will try to hurt you with this.” When he published an article about it, one of his partners asked him “Who is going to hire you now, Dan? A mentally ill lawyer?”

Lawyers suffer from alcoholism and drug abuse and depression in greater numbers than the population at large, and it’s no wonder if this is how we treat colleagues who admit it. [Everyday Health]

Free Speech for C-3PO

At Slate, John Weaver writes that robots and AIs are entitled to free speech:

A literal reading of the text of the First Amendment suggests that it does: It simply states that the government “shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Nothing there specifically suggests freedom of speech is limited to people. (In contrast, U.S. copyright and patent laws clearly indicate that only human beings qualify as authors and inventors.)

Does this matter? Well, it might. People are starting to build robots that create art. Art has a tendency to offend people, and the sort of people who are offended by art have a tendency to shout at local legislators until things get banned. What about drones operated by news media — do they have a First Amendment right to transmit their signal, or can the government jam their transmissions? What if AIs are writing articles instead of human reporters? [Future Tense]

Featured image from What If?

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