Monday, October 15, 2007

Blawg Review #130

Northern Hemisphere edition of Blawg Review #130Welcome to Blawg Review #130 -- the Northern Hemisphere edition! This is Part 2 of a globe-trotting edition of Blawg Review, the weekly review of legal blogging hosted each week by a different law blog.

This week's Blawg Review has two hosts, both mediators, and one for each hemisphere. My co-host, Geoff Sharp, in Wellington, New Zealand, is covering the Southern Hemisphere in his own edition of Blawg Review. And I'm covering the other half of the globe from Boston.

Blawg Review #130 - The Southern Hemisphere Edition went live at 12:01 a.m. Wellington time -- 17 hours before this edition was published. As Geoff points out, New Zealand is among the first places in the world that greet the new day.

It seems fitting that this double edition of Blawg Review began with my co-host in the Southern Hemisphere. After all, traditional globes and world maps reflect a Eurocentric view of earth's geography and of sources of geopolitical power and economic influence. North America and Europe are typically depicted on top. Why not the reverse?

Upside down map shows southern hemisphere on topSo, before plunging into this edition of Blawg Review, consider this upside down map that invites you to see the world anew.

A brief word about how this presentation of Blawg Review is organized. I'll begin with posts relating to International Conflict Resolution Day, celebrated this Thursday, October 18. Then I'll take a look at environmental issues -- after all, this is Blog Action Day which encourages bloggers to tackle issues relating to the environment. Then I'll wrap up with "the best of the rest" -- a week's worth of noteworthy posts from legal bloggers.

Incidentally, this is by no means the first time that mediators have hosted Blawg Review. Past mediator hosts have included:

And now, let's get started.

Northern and Southern Hemisphere editions of Blawg Review1. Conflict Resolution Day: Mediation and Dispute Resolution Related Posts

International Conflict Resolution Day is observed each year on the third Thursday of October. In recognition of this celebration, here are links to posts relating to mediation, negotiation, and dispute resolution or which are penned by mediators, both current and former.

Starting off in my own backyard, on Thursday, October 18, from noon to 2 p.m. ET, Robert Ambrogi will be hosting a panel on Online Dispute Resolution for the Massachusetts Bar Association. Having heard Bob, a vastly knowledgeable and engaging speaker, present on numerous occasions, I can assure you that this will be an event worth attending if you're lucky enough to be in the neighborhood.

Speaking of online dispute resolution, another event held this week is ODR Cyberweek 2007, a free online conference with real-time events, asynchronous discussions, and web-based demonstrations of ODR tools planned. These events include "Taking Peacemaking Public", a panel discussion organized by blogger and mediator Gini Nelson, held on Friday, October 19, 20.00 GMT, in which Victoria Pynchon and I will be among those participating. And on Wednesday, October 17, 19.00 GMT, Geoff Sharp will present an encore presentation of "40 ADR Sites in 40 Minutes" with a little help from some of his blogging friends -- including Robert Ambrogi, Gini Nelson, and me. All program information is available at the Cyberweek 2007 web site.

Phyllis Pollack at PGP Mediation Blog warns of the risks of overconfidence of parties preparing to negotiate at the mediation table in "Facing Danger Calmly".

Kristina Haymes declares death to the billable hour for mediators.

Stephanie West Allen, the brilliant mind behind Idealawg and the recently launched Brains on Purpose, lets her imagination roam in "Video teleconferencing, online dispute resolution, and even teleporting".

Attorney-mediator Arnie Herz, who inspires lawyers to transform their every day practice to achieve greater satisfaction and find meaning in their work at Legal Sanity, defines law firm leadership and thinks about what it takes to lead and inspire your workforce.

At the National Arbitration Forum Blog, "A Former Litigator Speaks Up" about the benefits of mediation for litigants.

Chris Annunziata, who blogs at CKA Mediation & Arbitration, has harsh words for the appropriation of the word "mediation" by a debt collection agency for the name of its business.

From the Tax Prof Blog, Jim Freund's Advice for Erwin Chemerinsky: Teach Students How To Resolve Disputes.

Here's a reminder from TechCrunch that "Being Stupid and Litigious Is No Way to Go Through Life". Amen to that.

Colin Rule , director of online dispute resolution at eBay and Paypal, links to news that disputes are growing in virtual worlds.

Indisputably, a new ADR blog, addresses fraud in mediated settlement agreements. And Diana Skaggs of Divorce Law Journal looks at "What family lawyers are really doing when they negotiate".

Negotiating by Mikkel Gudsøe, a Danish blog in both English and Danish, is sharing, in installments, a thesis on Third Party Intervention in International Conflicts.

Speaking of globe-trotting, two blogging attorney-mediators, Victoria Pynchon (U.S.) of Negotiation Law Blog and Justin Patten (England) of Human Law Mediation, were spotted having lunch together in London.

With respect to the environment, a topic I'm about to take up in just a few paragraphs, Tammy Lenski, who publishes Mediator Tech, has tips for Blog Action Day on greening your ADR practice. This is not the first time that Tammy has given this issue her attention: last spring she gave her readers a roundup of "green" ADR resources, and also pointed to contributions to the greening of ADR by mediators Victoria Pynchon, Dina Beach Lynch, and Geoff Sharp. (Geoff's own links on going green may not produce the desired effect to reduce greenhouse gases; Exhibit 1 is the recipe for "Mediator's Special Green Chili Enchilada".)

To wrap up my look at mediation blogs, I'd like to introduce you to my ongoing project, the World Directory of ADR Blogs, where I've been tracking and cataloging blogs that relate to conflict resolution, mediation, and innovations in the practice of law. Although many of the blogs listed there are in English, an increasing number reflect the diversity of the world and are published in a variety of languages. I am limited in discovering more by my own lack of fluency in the world's languages (knowing Russian, French, Latin, and a smattering of German, Spanish, and Attic Greek, not to mention some Yiddish curse words, will only get you so far) and am dependent upon my polyglot informers to stay abreast of the emergence of new mediation blogs.

I'd like, though, to introduce you to a few of these non-English-language blogs (in keeping with the scope of this edition of Blawg Review #130, those located in the Northern Hemisphere): Medieria from Romania; Associação de Mediadores de Conflitos and Conflito: uma oportunidade!, from Portugal; todomediacion.com and Blog Solomediacion.com, both from Spain; and a host of German mediation blogs, includingADR-Blog, DiaBlog, Institute Sikor Blog, Konfliktblog, and Master of Mediation. You can find them all, listed by country, with many others, at the World Directory of ADR Blogs web site.

Blog Action Day calls attention to environmental issues
2. Blog Action Day and the Environment

Today is Blog Action Day which intends to invite global reflection on a topic that is growing, both literally and figuratively, hotter: the environment. Bloggers are encouraged to show their support by blogging about the environment or by donating their day's advertising earnings to an environmental charity. Over 14,000 blogs have already signed on.

Not everyone, however, has warm, fuzzy feelings for a web event like this: Peter Black of Freedom to Differ points to a commenter who is unimpressed with Blog Action Day and who concludes his comments with some colorful horticultural advice for bloggers. (I've heard of cherry trees and Japanese maple trees, but I have to admit, the species the commenter suggests planting is definitely not available at my local garden center.) (However, no fan of memes myself, I had a similar though more mediator-like reaction to "One Day Blog Silence".)

Whether you support Blog Action Day or not, what follows are some environmentally-themed posts:

Charon QC in England reports on the greening of the Law Society (the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales) and its plans to go carbon neutral. International man of mystery Dan Hull ponders "Climate change, nuclear power and the NRC". (Dan, incidentally, maintains a comprehensive list at What About Clients of law blogs throughout the world -- right there on the home page.)

A blogger who discusses both conflict resolution and the environment in a single post would be remiss not to mention one of the big news stories of the week -- the decision of the Nobel Committee to award the 2007 Nobel Peace prize to two recipients: Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on on Climate Change.

The blogosphere has responded with its usual alacrity and wit. Kottke.org notes gleefully that Gore won for what is essentially a PowerPoint presentation. TaxProf Blog considers the "inconvenient truth" of the tax implications of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Stephen Holzer at Environmental Legal Blogs has another "inconvenient truth for Al Gore - Judge orders corrections to climate-change film". And the Environmental Law Prof Blog considers "Reactions to the Nobel Prize Award".

Finally, Boing Boing reports that SimCity, the digital city-building game, will be adding global warming as a variable in its next installment.


Blawg Review #130 Northern Hemisphere edition
3. The Best of the Rest in Legal Blogging

Matt Homann, who used to be a lawyer and mediator before he got into the breakthrough ideas business, offers "15 Thoughts for Law Students: A Mini-Manifesto". My favorite is #14:

There are plenty of things you don't know, and even more things you'll never know. Get used to it. Use your ignorance to your benefit. The most significant advantage you possess over those who've come before you is that you don't believe what they do.


Also showing support for law students is Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground, posting Weekly Law School Roundup #91. And to round out this discussion of law students, Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession have gotten some media coverage from the American Bar Association in their efforts to produce cultural change in big law firms.

Make mine a double: IPKat, which covers intellectual property news and developments from a UK and European perspective, discusses measures that are being taken to ensure the integrity of scotch whiskey in "Whisky: counterfeiters scotched".

Ruthie's Law (another British law blog) asks a compelling question: "Who advises the advisors, who counsels the counsellors" when lawyers need support services.

The Atlantic Review, which comments on the United States and transatlantic relations and is edited by two German Fulbright Alumni, Jörg Wolf (Berlin) and Sonja Bonin (Shanghai), has some thoughts about America's cultural superiority, following a recent Pew Global Attitudes Survey (in PDF) .

Most people want to try to stay out of court -- which accounts in part for mediation's popularity. Sometimes though going to court may be a good thing. Eric Turkewitz reports that Public Citizen wants to get sued. Really. As part of an ongoing trend in which companies seek to curb public online commentary about their services or products, it seems that some lawyer sent Public Citizen a cease-and-desist letter on behalf of his client, which included the warning not to publish the letter or risk a copyright violation. In a defiant move, Public Citizen has taken the fight to the web and published the letter (in pdf).

Brett Trout at Blawg IT has advice on keeping your blog out of court. And he links to the playlist of the century following the verdict in the RIAA downloads trial.

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta, considered by many to be the most important securities law case before the Supreme Court in years. Analysis comes from SCOTUSBlog; and Stephen Bainbridge who considers decisionmaking heuristics and asks, "Why the SCOTUS Gets Securities Cases Wrong so Often" seeking the answer in 2002 article, " How do Judges Maximize? (The Same Way Everybody Else Does—Boundedly): Rules of Thumb in Securities Fraud Opinions". Meanwhile, Jonathan Adler offers a roundup.

Speaking of decisionmaking, Law Dawg Blawg's featured book of the week is Judges and Their Audiences: A Perspective on Judicial Behavior, which looks at the degree to which audiences influence a judge's choices.

In "Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies", Supreme Dicta reports on the recent decision of the Washington Supreme Court to uphold a politician's First Amendment right to lie to voters, while Eugene Volokh and Frank Pasquale offer their own views on the decision.

The Bush administration is pushing for Congress to grant retroactive immunity under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the administration in its domestic surveillance programs. Jack Balkin discusses the reasons why in "It's the Secrecy, Stupid: Why the FISA Immunity Debate is Important".

In USA PATRIOT Act Violates Fourth Amendment, Emphemerallaw discusses the significance of the Mayfield v. US decision, in which a federal district judge has ruled that two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow surveillance without probable cause, a victory (although perhaps a short-lived one depending upon what happens on appeal) for privacy advocates.

While we're on the subject of privacy, the Canadian Privacy Law Blog (which I discovered thanks to a blog I read regularly, Thoughts from a Management Lawyer, published by Canadian attorney Michael Fitzgibbon) reports that the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication ("SWIFT") is moving its data centre to Switzerland to avoid long arm of the US law.

And Simple Justice laments the "End of Redress: State Secrets Doctrine" on the heels of the Supreme Court's failure to muster sufficient votes to grant review in the Khaled el-Masri case in which an innocent German citizen was renditioned, detained, and tortured as the result of Bush administration anti-terrorism efforts.

In the aftermath of the Romney-Giuliani smackdown, Mad Kane ponders the GOP's revolving policy on lawyers.

Ilya Somin writing for the Volokh Conspiracy entertains a healthy skepticism about a new study which concludes that academia is more politically moderate than is widely assumed. Somin suggests that the self-reported politics of those "moderates" is moderate only as compared to other academics, which are more left-wing than the population generally

Legal Scoop - Law Students' Perspectives on the Law discusses how social networking is spreading into the legal profession and includes a graphic description of how tasers work (in case you were wondering).

Professor Howard Wasserman at Sports Law Blog takes aim at a pet peeve: the confusion that the media generate in their coverage of trials over the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence in "It's all a bunch of circumstantial evidence" -- Actually, no it isn't". This is a post that should be required reading for every journalist who covers the judicial system.

Jillian Weiss at Transgender Workplace Diversity takes the gloves off and convincingly weighs in on both the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would protect Americans from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, together with another version of the bill which would strike gender identity from the proposed law's reach, in the eloquently argued "SPLENDA: Representative Frank and Professor Carpenter and Lewis Carroll".

BeldarBlog explains "What the public needs to know in forming an opinion on whether U.S. District Judge Sam Kent ought to be impeached". (You've got to love a blog that is willing to tell the world right in the masthead that it's the "online journal of a crusty, longwinded trial attorney".)

According to the Drug and Device Law Blog, drug companies' sales representatives have increasingly been named as defendants in product liability cases in an effort by plaintiffs' counsel to defeat diversity jurisdiction. In "Promoting Diversity" Mark Herrmann and Jim Beck propose one way that drug companies could organize their sales practices to reduce this type of gamesmanship.

Professor Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy has issued readers a challenge: "help me "come off the fence" concerning the death penalty!"

Adam Smith Esq. tells us why we should pay attention to networks at the office in "Social Networks and Partners' Desks".

In a look at poorly drafted statutory language (and confusion at the news desk), Language Log asks, "Who is stupider, an Arkansas legislator or an AP reporter?" in "Not Pregnant - a case of overnegation?"

Deliberations delivers a message from Erin -- a blogger who reminds the bar loud and clear that if you strike every young person with an internet presence off a jury, you'll have nobody left in the jury pool -- and also reflects on the secrets that jurors never tell.

In "Highlights from the 2007 Aspen Health Forum" SharpBrains makes the case that legal professionals need to follow health and science trends closely, now that a growing number of companies are taking over health and wellness issues.

With so many law professors blogging these days, it's not surprise that tenure comes up for discussion. Peter Lattman as the Wall Street Journal Law Blog asks, "Should Law Schools Abolish Tenure?" Brian Tamanaha at Balkinization says, "The Tenure Issue: How You View it Depends Upon Where You Sit". And Lawrence Solum at Legal Theory Blog rounds up advice offered new UC-Irvine law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky at the TaxProf Blog.

Speaking of professors, Professor James Maule gives us Reason #2939 I Want to Teach Property Law: a recent legal dispute over a human leg found stored in a barbecue smoker. (Hey, I volunteer to mediate that one!)

Although this blog post comes a few weeks late for "Talk Like a Pirate Day", SoxFirst discusses the shortcomings of Sarbanes-Oxley Act (a U.S. law enacted to restore public confidence in business reporting and accounting practices) as effective deterrent in "Buried treasure, corporate pirates and Sarbanes-Oxley".

For those of you who prefer your patent law dark-roasted, the Patent Baristas brew "Patent Wars Episode II: GSK Strikes Back".

AdamsDrafting has thoughtful advice on "how not to incorporate virtual documents" when it comes to drafting agreements. While we're on the subject of contracts, Dave Hoffman (not to be confused with collaborative lawyer and mediator David Hoffman) has suggestions on "Drafting a Group Blog Operating Agreement".

Following a recall of tainted meat, George Lenard feels sick to his stomach -- it's not something he ate, it's his reaction to the lawyers who claimed credit for driving out of business a meat packer which had operated largely without incident for 67 years, as George explains in "Attorneys Brag of Shutting Down Company". And, since the subject of food poisoning has come up, check out "Nasty Nosh Niche" from the Canadian legal research weblog, Slaw, which starts with thoughts on a niche law firm that specializes in food poisoning cases, and ends with a link to the unappetizingly titled Slate.com article, "Eat crap: why Americans should ingest more excrement", which provides, ahem, food for thought by arguing that one of civilization's greatest triumphs -- indoor plumbing -- may have weakened our immune systems.

It's one of the strangest cases to come along since a Nebraska state senator sued God. Lowering the Bar reports on a "Surprising Court Loss for Woman Who Challenged State's Authority to Require Driver's License". The woman and her partner are evidently members of a group called the "Freedom Flag Fellowship," which claim that "the federal government has no valid authority but is instead a foreign corporation that has invaded America."

Lawsagna, published by lawyer and linguist Anastasia Pryanikova, has posted Step 13 in an ongoing series, "21 Steps to Becoming a Better Learner". Her advice includes the reminder to "Develop a curious mind."

Finally, do you have a favorite law blog? Blawg Review's diligent editor tells you where to go to nominate your choice for the category of "Best Law Blog" in the 2007 Weblog Awards. Or, instead, you can join the meme that the editor of Blawg Review began and name your top ten law blogs.

I'd like to end by a link to one more mediator, now retired -- our profession's loss but blogging's gain. Among those named as a Blawg Review best is the blog f/k/a, written by David Giacalone, who has been described by Carolyn Elefant as "the conscience of the blogosphere". Bob Ambrogi said it best: "Some bloggers shoot from the hip, but never David Giacalone -- his posts are always thoughtful and, like the poet he is, he finds universal truths in daily events." Indeed. For evidence of David's craft, read "internment camp haikuist remembered" or "EQ quickie: email and emoticons".

Next week's Blawg Review host is David Maister, so please be sure to submit your best posts for his consideration.

World Edition of Blawg ReviewWhich brings us to the end of this edition of Blawg Review. My gratitude to those of you who have taken the time to visit and to those of you who contributed. And my thanks to Blawg Review's anonymous editor (who, I was relieved to learn, is not me) for trusting Blawg Review to my co-host and me, to the Blawg Review sherpas who guided our steps along the way, and especially to my co-host and friend Geoff Sharp, who reminds me that there is always a place for humor in this world.


Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.