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January 2007
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March 2007

"RIM announces Blackberry 8800"

Yay! It's way past time to get a new Blackberry, isn't it?

"Research in Motion (RIM) today announced a new Blackberry smartphone. The new 8800 merges the form factor of the traditional Blackberry with the piano-black design of the 8100. The new phone comes with integrated GPS and a n illuminated 'Pearl' trackball.

"Other than the original 8100 Pearl, the 8800 tries to appeal to traditional Blackberry customers with a security-focused, but enhanced feature set. As the original Blackberry devices, the 8800 is wider than the 8100 and offers a full QWERTY keyboard."

Oh yeah, it's stylish!


"Tell your boss: Naps are good for you"

Really, they are!

"At last, science has come up with proof that naps are good for you. Tell your boss! Tell your spouse!

"People who take at least three daytime naps a week lasting 30 minutes or longer cut their risk of dying from a heart attack by 37 percent, according to a new study by a team of American and Greek researchers.

"Regular siestas apparently lower stress, which is frequently associated with heart disease, the scientists report in Monday's edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a leading medical journal.

"'If you can take a midday nap, do so,' advised co-author Dimitrios Trichopoulos, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston."


New book about the Supremes

Jeffrey Rosen, author of "The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America," made a funny appearance on The Daily Show tonight:

His book also sounded very funny. Of course, that could have mostly been Jon Stewart....

"In this compelling work of character-driven history, Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries on the bench that transformed the law — and by extension, our lives. The story begins with the great Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson, cousins from the Virginia elite whose differing visions of America set the tone for the Court's first hundred years. The tale continues after the Civil War with Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who clashed over the limits of majority rule. Rosen then examines the Warren Court era through the lens of the liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, for whom personality loomed larger than ideology. He concludes with a pairing from our own era, the conservatives William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, only one of whom was able to build majorities in support of his views." [Publisher's description]


Amnesty criticizes Guantanamo abuse investigation

I just hope the paralegal who blew the whistle doesn't have her career damaged:

"A human rights group on Thursday accused the U.S. military of failing to adequately investigate the latest allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay and urged officials to open the detention center to more independent monitors.

"An investigation was launched in October by U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the U.S. naval base in southeastern Cuba, after a Marine paralegal reported guards she met at Guantanamo bragged about beating detainees.

"Amnesty International said the probe was 'flawed' because the chief investigator, Army Col. Richard Bassett, did not interview any detainees before concluding there was no evidence of mistreatment."


"Complicated End of an Ex-Law Firm"

Yeah, law firm breakups spawn messy news. Almost as bad as a divorce:

"At one time, the breakup of a big, prestigious law firm was rare. But since the technology boom and bust, implosions of once highflying firms like Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault have occurred with more frequency.

"Yet the bankruptcy of Coudert Brothers still stands out. Eighteen months after the firm voted to dissolve, its unwinding continues to be a complicated, messy affair.

"Creditors and at least one former partner have filed lawsuits against the firm. Malpractice claims have accrued as well. There are allegations in court filings that three overseas lawyers sequestered money from the firm as it tried to pay off its creditors."


"Why Do Lawyers Need Editors?"

Gosh, there are so many reasons. You can find editing help & more from a new blog (written by an experienced 'wordsmith for law firms'); this post, for example:

"The firm of Vinson & Elkins has a scholarship program for high school students who are interested in 'pursuing a career in law.'

"Great! But take a look at these excerpts from the firm’s overview of the program.

The funds for each student are submitted directly to their school . . . .

In addition to the financial support, V&E provides each scholarship recipient mentors and a summer job opportunities.

Each recipient achieved a score of at least 1100 on the SAT, had a financial need, and provided the Foundation with their application . . . and two letters of recommendation from their high school teachers and/or counselors . . . .

"While the students’ English teachers are teaching them to avoid singular/plural disagreements, the firm is suggesting that those disagreements are OK."


Can you search the Internet anonymously?

Well, no, not without some advance planning. But this article describes how it's done:

"Tor — an acronym for The Onion Router — is a freely available, open-source program developed by the U.S. Navy about a decade ago. A browser plug-in, it thwarts online traffic analysis and related forms of Internet surveillance by sending your data packets through different routers around the world. As each packet moves from one router to the next, it is encoded with encrypted routing information, and the previous layer of such information is peeled away — hence the 'onion' in the name.

"Basically, Tor is a way to surf the Internet anonymously. Someone looking up potentially sensitive information might prefer to use it — like a person who is worried about potential exposure to a sexually transmitted disease and shares a computer with roommates. Abuse survivors might not want anyone else knowing they have visited Web sites for support groups related to rape or incest. Journalists in repressive regimes with state-controlled media use Tor to reach foreign online news sites, chat rooms, blogs, and related venues for information."

Thanks to The Virtual Chase for pointing out the article.


"Princeton paralegal charged with theft"

NOT the kind of news about paralegals I like to read:

"A paralegal here with the Cooper Levenson law firm has been charged with theft by deception and forgery after allegedly ripping off a client’s account of $6,000, police said.

"

Kara Swinney, 35, of Washington Street, Trenton, surrendered at police headquarters Tuesday and was arrested by Detective Sgt. Scott Porreca following an investigation.

"'The law firm uncovered this, and reported it to us,' said Detective Sgt. Ernie Silagyi, Princeton Township Police Department spokesman. 'We understand they discovered it after she left the firm.'"


Mergers a Threat or Opportunity for Law Firm Nonlawyers?

The 'good, bad, & ugly' of law firm mergers is described quite well in this article:

"For top lawyers at big-name firms, a prestigious megamerger can look like the beginning of happily ever after.

"But for professional staff like paralegals, legal secretaries, administrators and law librarians, merger news may prompt a serious case of wedding-night jitters. Largely left out of the loop and fearful of having changes imposed, nonlawyers often view mergers as a threat rather than an opportunity.

"'There's fear of chaos, fear of losing their jobs, fear of dramatic changes that make their jobs no longer desirable,' says Andrea Hunolt, branch director at the Robert Half Legal staffing company's San Francisco office.

"'Mergers are not a good thing for support staff,' adds Hunolt, 'at least in the short run. I know a lot of people who have stuck through it and found great success, but they have to be prepared for a period of uncertainty and the change with that. It's scary.'"


"Surveillance of Soldiers' Blogs Sparks Lawsuit"

This sounds like a serious tug of war (so to speak), over free speech & security:

"The FLAG Project at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Department of Defense today, demanding expedited information on how the Army monitors soldiers' blogs.

"According to news reports, an Army unit called the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC) reviews hundreds of thousands of websites every month, notifying webmasters and bloggers when it sees information it finds inappropriate. Some bloggers have told reporters that they have cut back on their posts or shut down their sites altogether because of the activities of the AWRAC. EFF filed its suit [PDF] after the Department of Defense and Army failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about the blog monitoring program.

"'Soldiers should be free to blog their thoughts at this critical point in the national debate on the war in Iraq,' said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. 'If the Army is coloring or curtailing soldiers' published opinions, Americans need to know about that interference.'"