Technology

The innocuous-looking email to a new law associate seemed harmless enough. The heading in the inbox simply read, “Are you around? I need some help.”At first glance, the address appeared to come from the firm’s managing partner, though one of the letters in the boss’s name was misspelled. But the opportunity for the eager associate to look smart and dependable in front of a superior was just too overwhelming–so he clicked it. It’s not everyday that a brand new lawyer is asked to purchase $200 worth of Amazon gift cards as “client gifts” using the firm’s expense account. But the…
A federal judge on Tuesday denied a group of internet service providers’ request for a preliminary injunction of California’s net neutrality law, clearing the way for the state to enforce the landmark legislation. California adopted SB 822 in 2018, requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all web communications equally, prohibiting them from prioritizing or discriminating against traffic and from intentionally speeding up or slowing down certain websites. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced the legislation after the Federal Communications Commission repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules in 2017. The Trump administration, joined by a group of ISP trade associations,…
A gross oversimplification of the English common law system is that the law aims to punish evil and protect property. More often than not this gets shunted into the categories of criminal and civil law. In the age of monarchy and feudal obligations, the legal profession was relegated to an even smaller minority of literate people. Often times this minority was composed of clerics from which we get the word “clerk.1” The legal system was extremely formalized and even minor derivations from the prescribed form may result in a case being tossed out. The power of the law…
A California federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a suit alleging that YouTube and its parent company Google discriminate against LGBTQ content creators, holding that a recent Ninth Circuit ruling precludes the plaintiffs’ claims that the companies unconstitutionally restrict speech. U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia DeMarchi held that the plaintiffs’ claims under the First Amendment can’t survive after Prager University v. Google LLC (9th Cir. 2020) 951 F.3d, 991. In that case, the Ninth Circuit held that despite YouTube’s role as a public-facing platform, it’s still a private forum and thus not subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment. Judge…
Evan Walker, a Southern California personal injury attorney, is still paying the rent on his law office in La Jolla, but he hasn’t been there since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States. His wife is an infectious disease physician, and they have two young boys, so he isn’t taking any chances. Working from home was an adjustment at first, especially with young kids at home. But eight months into the pandemic, Walker, who’s a solo practitioner, thinks he might be getting a lot more done than when he was going into the office every day. “That’s one…
Examining the etymology of a word can reveal a lot about the relationships it has with other ideas. If you’re in a relationship, a significant milestone is meeting the parents of your romantic partner. As you get to know your partner’s parents you learn more about your partner. Likewise, a word is born from a specific cultural and historical context. How a word has been shaped and changed over time can also give clues about the values and ideas informing the context we currently inhabit. The word equity (n.), like most of our legal words, comes to us from Latin…
I. Introduction There is a crisis of attention according to Matthew Crawford. Today, it’s a well-worn cliche that we are in an age of ever-increasing distraction. Many, if not most of us start on tasks only to be interrupted by a series of distracting notifications or internal itches to look at social media or other digital enticements. Those of us in the legal profession have a special obligation to make sure we pay attention to what is relevant. The purpose of this blog is to understand this new digital beast we find ourselves on. Ultimately, the food of this…
Environmental Law is predicated on the assumption that the government can effectively motivate its citizens to perform or abstain from certain activities. The question is how incentives and punishments should be used to achieve and ensure the greatest effect. There is evidence to suggest that excessive reliance on the threat of punishment alone is not only insufficient but counterproductive. Furthermore, without having clear metrics, it is unreliable to use any mixture of deterrent or incentive. This is especially true for the transportation sector. The US EPA and other state and local regulatory agencies do not have sufficient resources to thoroughly…
This is a summary of the 5G conference that took place on February 28, 2020, at the USD school of law. What is 5G? 5G is the next generation of wireless communication technology systems or “ecosystem.” It promises three improvements: (1) Speed (2) Bandwidth (3) Latency. What is the difference between speed, bandwidth, and latency? If you imagine the internet as a series of interconnected highways you can think of the connections in terms of roads. The bandwidth or density is akin to the number of lanes. It is the measurement of how many cars can fit on the highway…
The idea of “virtual law practice” is more relevant than ever in the age of the Coronavirus.” Virtual law practice could become the new normal. What is a “Virtual Law Practice”? The idea of virtual lawyering can be traced to the early days of the Internet new law firm Web sites such as http://www.visalaw.com and http://www.mdfamilylawyer.com first appeared. In January 2000, William Paul, then president of the American Bar Association, created the ABA eLawyering, Task Force. President Paul’s vision was that lawyers would be able to use the power of the Internet to serve clients of moderate means who have…