chain of causation

a series of events in the life of a lawyer

Short Quips: August 11, 2009

Less than two weeks from now and it’s back to law school with me – this time as a Tax LL.M. student. The new game plan gives me an academic and experience edge over others in the market and buys me a year to ride out the less-than-stellar marketplace.

The New York exam wasn’t nearly as horrifying as I have been told but it was no walk in the park either. It’ll be until half way through November until the results come out but at least I am already licensed and not in that same rushing-to-wait situation as the 2009 graduates.

Odds and ends:

On vacation starting this weekend, will return around the 24th.


Written by Vincent Kan

August 11, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Random

Short Quips: July 25, 2009

4 more days left before the New York Bar Exam and yeah… not feeling overwhelming confidence. Perhaps if I channel the power of WhatDoYouMeanItsNotAwesome I’ll blow out the curve? Yeah, not going to happen. Anyway odds and ends for the last two and change weeks:

  • Any lawyer who tells you something is absolutely certain has never met a jury. Gives new meaning to the common financial world legal boilerplate: “past performance is not indicative of future results.” Star Attorney in $8 Million Bungle: Gamble Backfires for Tragic Li Family. [New York Post]
  • This motion warrants a place in my folder of epic filings. Lots of competitors have superstitions that help channel their physical and mental energies to maximum performance. Lucky number, lucky shirt, lucky shoes, heck I myself have a lucky charm which although I have not been religious about it does seem to have some subconscious magic of its own. Apparently now we have a Motion to Compel Defense Counsel to Wear Appropriate Shoes because having shoes with holes in them constitutes some form of unfair prejudice. [Lowering the Bar]
  • A follow up to the Shoes motion resulted in a mistrial when jurors disregarded instructions on reading outside information about the case. It did validate the lucky shoes by dodging a 2.2 million judgment that the jury was allowed to come to an advisory verdict on. Appropriate-Shoe-Motion Case Ends in Mistrial After Jurors Read About Motion. [Lowering the Bar]
  • Kindle users were greeted with a delightfully ironic twist when what was revealed to be unauthorized copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm were remotely deleted and refunded. Alot of people including myself were initially surprised at that course of action seeing that in the real life context Amazon couldn’t exactly reach into my house and retrieve an unauthorized copy of a physical book. However, it does turn out that under 17 USC 503 and 509 that a court could authorize the destruction of all copies made in violation of a copyright including those already sold to third party bona fide purchasers for value. Although perhaps the legally correct and properly advised by Amazon’s counsel, Public Relations could have done a much smoother job of communicating why those actions were taken. Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others. [NY Times]
  • Many jokes have been had about the lengths certain lawyers go to find clients. Although I find it better to have clients come to you than the other way around, this isn’t quite what I had in mind: Truck smashes into auto accident law office. [via Overlawyered]
  • A poster child for why you should not volunteer information and exercise your right to stay silent: Man pulled over for not using blinker admits to sex with teen. [via Overlawyered]
  • Contempt of court is a coercion tool but in civil matters, if it is apparent that continued detention is not going to coerce the contemnor to comply, he must either face due process for criminal contempt or be released. 14 years seems to be a safe number now. Lawyer Jailed for Contempt Is Freed After 14 Years. [Lowering the Bar]
  • Disclaimers I like: “OF COURSE IT’S HOT!” [Overlawyered]
  • When making copyright claims on behalf of your client, ensure that you are not suing your very own client (or at least one with less propensity to flame out on Twitter). Musician angry after BPI forces YouTube to pull his video. [Ars Technica]

Due to the New York Bar Exam, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (although I have a previous score it wasn’t high enough for New York but was sufficient for Illinois and New Jersey), and a short family vacation to Yellowstone I will be on limited availability for about the next month. See everyone on the flipside.

Written by Vincent Kan

July 25, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Random

Short Quips: July 9, 2009

First doc review project is over and although I got an offer for another project lasting one month from the same place, I had to decline it due to the upcoming NY bar exam (yes, I am slightly nuts for attempting a third bar). On to the speedlinking:

Written by Vincent Kan

July 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Short Quips: June 29, 2009

It’s been a week in since starting this doc review project and my brain is overflowing with the odds and ends of X Corporation. 55 hours later, the first week is done and it looks like we’ll actually finish this project on time provided we don’t have any more surprises from hiring counsel. In the meantime:

Written by Vincent Kan

June 29, 2009 at 10:22 pm

The Great Job Hunt: June 2009 Edition

It’s taken a long while but I’ve finally caught a little break in the job search process. I’m scheduled to start at a temporary staffing place on Monday @ 9AM. Sure, it’s document review but these days I’m thankful for just that much. Also, everyone’s got to start somewhere. As a reminder of what I’ve been staring down since about 9 months ago:

Written by Vincent Kan

June 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Random

Short Quips: June 18, 2009

  • Last I checked, I’m fairly certain the Commerce Clause (and in particular the Dormant Commerce Clause) would stop Massachusetts from requiring a New Hampshire business to collect MA sales tax from customers coming over the border to purchase goods to be brought back to MA. Although MA would be perfectly fine to tax its own residents (and nominally does in the form of a “use” tax) it seems a bit of a reach to presume that all purchasers with MA identification will be consuming their goods in MA. There’s also the logistical nightmare of every vendor across the nation having to track 50+ state jurisdictions for sales tax plus the innumerable local jurisdictions imposing a local sales tax. Interstate Confiscation Clause.
  • Given that newspapers are less than solvent these days this might not be quite the perfect analogy but I believe it is fair to say that newspapers haven’t been driven into the ground by lawsuits alleging that they should have policed their classified sections better to prohibit the sale of a gun to a party who subsequently commits a crime with it. Apparently someone thought Craigslist should get special treatment (and it does, but in the form of Section 230 immunity): CraigsList Not Liable for Shooting That Used a Gun Sold Via a Craigslist Ad [via The Volokh Conspiracy]
  • If title insurance companies are paid to search the chain of title on a property and issue insurance based on their search, then A: why would they sue an attorney who relied on the title report when it turns out that there was a defect in the chain of title not found during the search and B: if it’s the attorney’s job to verify the chain of title, why are attorneys paying the title insurance companies to verify chain of title? Chicago Title Suit Warns Lawyers About Relying on Title Reports [via ABA Journal]

Written by Vincent Kan

June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Reclaiming SRJC from the Internet

A certain Santa Rosa Junior College is claiming that using the letters ‘SRJC’ or the name of the school in an email address. The school has threatened legal action against those using email addresses in violation of the policy. Quite predictably, there has been substantial backlash from not only students but professors at the school in claiming that no reasonable person would accept as legitimate official communication from outside the domain and that the action is simply bureaucratic and a waste of resources to enforce.

While the administrations actions are not without merit in that they do not want unauthorized use of their trademark, they key evaluation here is the likelihood of confusion. Will consumers be confused as to the source-identification of email addresses containing SJRC not based out of the domain? Without a study there is no definitive answer but emprically the answer would appear to be no. Many financial institutions have had to deal with falsified emails purporting to be from them and as such have promulgated best practices to users as to identifying whether emails received are legitimate or fake. These practices have been around for several years now and hopefully by now most users are accustomed to verifying the authenticity of emails.

There is also the issue of fair use and free speech. Even though ‘Santa Rosa Junior College’ may be a trademark, I am permitted to use it in this context because it is impermissably difficult to constantly refer to it as ‘the educational institution of higher learning located in Santa Rosa.’ Furthermore, even though trademark provides protection against infringement it is not allowed to provide protection that supercedes First Amendment freedom of expression protections.

Ultimately, I believe the Santa Rosa Junior College is going to have a difficult time exacting compliance with its newly enforced policy in that SRJC may be used outside the college context (Santa Rosa Juggling Club perhaps). In addition, the lack of confusion amongst Internet users, and the defenses of fair use and freedom of expression will probably reduce the policy to going after those who truly intend to ride on the goodwill of the SRJC trademark for nefarious purposes.

Written by Vincent Kan

May 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Random