We should all reflect for a moment on the significance of the ruling in Gideon. And, even though it's maybe not an award winning movie, perhaps we should consider renting Gideon's Trumpet, which features Henry Fonda as Clarence Gideon.
Law firms that tout their techno-wizardry - I have had the opportunity recently to check out a few law firm websites and marketing brochures. What fascinates me most is are the firms that engage in mindless bloviating about their technological prowess. One law firm cites (as proof of its commitment to use of technology) the fact that "PCs are on the desk of every lawyer, paralegal, secretary, and staff person." One wonders if, "on some attorneys' desks" the PC functions as an art object rather than a productivity tool.
Another firm, whose website hasn't been updated since it was first created, makes much ado over the fact that the firm has HP printers and uses Word 97.
What's interesting about these public displays of techno-affection is not that they are so pathetically out-of-step with a true vision of what technology can do in a law firm. It's that the firms are obviously touting their prowess as a marketing ploy, which is fine if the commitment to use technology is real. The not-so-subtle message they seek to convey is that they are on the cutting edge of efficiency and state-of-the-art lawyering. In short, they are saying "we are diligent and know how to use technology to help you with your case." Yeah, except when it comes to that very difficult and convoluted task called 'updating your website.'
John Grisham's Book Reviewed by a Plaintiff's lawyer - Instalawyer has a review of the latest John Grisham novel, The King of Torts. He doesn't seem to care much for it, and I can see why. I have tried to like Grisham's work, mostly because Grisham seems like a cool guy (i.e. building a little league park and devoting time to teaching kids baseball seems like a worthwhile thing for a rich author to do).
But I agree with Instalawyer: Grisham's plots are formulaic and ham-handed. I thought The Pelican Brief was one of the most ludicrous plots ever to be made into a major motion picture. A classic deus ex machina construction. Of course, I'd be happy if I could write stuff like that and convince people to pay me lots of money for it. Sheesh, critics. What do they know?
Great Review of CaseMap 4 - by Dennis Kennedy is available here. A Windows only program, but it is outstanding and worth at least trying out for 30 days. I downloaded the free trial version a couple of years ago and used it to chronologize the facts in a TRO matter that was going to a quick hearing. CaseMap helped me so much that I knew right then that I had to buy it. Now our law firm uses it extensively. It's worth at least investigating, especially if you don't currently have any system for organizing cases.
Pretty good web-based E-mail with Outlook interface - Check out Oddpost, which you can try for free for 30 days. It has good spam-filtering, and and Outlook Interface that supports drag & drop folders. Hooks into any POP3 or IMAP4 E-mail system, so you can have it retrieve that mail. It's $30 per year if you want to use it, and it may not be worth the $30. But if you use Hotmail or other web-based mail services that are magnets for spam, you might want to check these guys out.
The three stages of blog-awareness - one of my lawyer friends who is tech-savvy and runs a cool website has recently been made aware of blogs. After a few weeks of studying the blog phenomenon he sends me an E-mail and reports the following:
"OK, a couple of weeks ago I knew nada about the subject of blogs. Here is my take on the 3 stages of blogging:
1) There must be something to blogs because so many people are into it, but I don't have a clue.
2) OK, it does seem kind of cool and there is much, much more to it than I expected. I just don't see any really practical applications.
3) Oh my God, the things I can do with this are coming to me faster than I can keep up with."
Well, looks like another one has been assimilated. We who have already been assimilated know that resistance is futile. Apparently, he's working hard in his laboratory on some new fangled way of doing things that will revolutionize the world. Man, I love it when the complete absence of a plan comes together.
Update: I can now reveal the source of the above quote: Steve Covell, a Baton Rouge attorney who started this blog about Louisiana Supreme Court cases.
'nother update: Joi Ito is picking up this story over in Japan and has a test for determining if you are addicted to blogging. Obviously, I fail.
I dare you to properly pronouce this blawg - Xrlq is the name of this law blawg, and it even has an RSS feed. I'd like to add this person to the law blog outline, but under what category?