LinkedIn for lawyers
By Erin Geiger Smith
A former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton attorney hopes to
make your social media experience a little more lawyer-focused,
and to make a little money in the process.
Matthew Tollin is launching WireLawyers Inc, a site that
sounds like a cross between LinkedIn, the professional
networking destination, and LegalZoom, which offers legal tools
for small businesses and families, Law Technology News reports.
On WireLawyers Inc, attorneys will be able to discuss legal
industry challenges and share contract templates. The site will
seek to make money through a point plan: Users will be able to
acquire points by posting certain content to the site, such as
contract templates, and then use those points to purchase other
documents or answers to certain questions. If they don't have
points, they can buy them. Users will also be paid for making
attorney referrals and will have to hand over a 10 percent cut
of referral transaction fees to WireLawyer.
The service is currently in beta but scheduled for full
roll-out in summer 2013.
On the menu
By Erin Geiger Smith
If you are what you eat, it looks like lawyers might be
Seamless Corporate Accounts, a division of the online
restaurant-ordering service, Seamless.com, counts 153 of the
AmLaw 200 firms as clients. That gives the operation a pretty
good handle on what lawyers are eating when they're in the
office. According to Seamless, whose founders are two attorneys,
the hands-down most popular food ordered by law firms for 2012
was Japanese food, including sushi.
Ordering habits also depended on location. While raw fish
lovers dominated in New York City and Boston, Seamless said,
Chicagoans were more about "American" foods, like burgers and
fries. Washingtonians opted for more casual fare -- soup, salad
or sandwich. Pizza was the top choice in image-centric Los
Angeles, while in San Francisco locals were most likely to order
selections classified as "healthy."
And what do lawyers' food-ordering habits say about whether
they'll be dining with their families during the holidays or
under their office's fluorescent lights? Between Christmas and
New Year's Eve 2011, lawyers from 24 percent of firms that have
Seamless accounts placed orders. They were just behind the
financial services industry, which stood at 28 percent.
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
In a case that highlights the Obama administration's efforts
to crack down on classified document leaking, a federal judge on
Wednesday ordered the release of a former U.S. Navy contractor
who has been awaiting trial on espionage charges, Josh Gerstein reports in Politico. James Hitselberger, who had worked as an
Arabic translator for a Naval Special Warfare Group in Bahrain,
was fired from his job in April after allegedly being found with
unauthorized classified documents. Hitselberger embarked on an
extended trip abroad at the same time he was charged with
espionage, and the U.S. wasn't able to have him extradited until
he arrived in Kuwait in October. Once back on U.S. soil, he was
arrested and ordered to be held in custody without bail by a
Now District of Columbia District Judge Rudolph Contreras
has reversed the magistrate, ruling that until the trial,
Hitselberger can be placed in home detention at his aunt's
residence in Arlington, Virginia, and wear a GPS device. The
judge noted that many of Hitselberger's explanations for
possessing the classified documents seemed "absurd" but said
that his actions between April and October, when he was
traveling abroad, did not amount to a flight under the law.
This is the seventh Espionage Act case brought by the Obama
administration where there are no clear signs of espionage,
according to Gerstein. It has prompted interest because some of
the documents that Hitselberger obtained apparently landed up in
a collection donated to Stanford University's Hoover
Making light of it
By Caitlin Tremblay
A neighborhood dispute in Louisiana has ended just in time
for the holidays, reports the Associated Press. A federal judge
has ruled that Louisiana resident Sarah Childs can keep up the
Christmas lights she's arranged in the shape of a hand making an
Childs hung the lights on her Denham Springs home, near
Baton Rouge, after getting in a spat with some neighbors.
According to the AP, she wanted "to send a message with her
decorations." The neighbors complained to the local police, who
threatened to arrest Childs and told her she could be fined for
the display. In response, Childs and the ACLU of Louisiana sued
Denham Springs, claiming that the police said she was violating
the city's "obscenity statute" when, in fact, it does not have
such a measure.
In a two-page order, U.S. District Judge James Brady
temporarily barred the city from interfering with the display
and said its actions violated Childs's rights to free speech and
due process. He also scheduled a Jan. 7 hearing, which means
Childs gets to keep her decorations up for the Christmas season.
The city said it plans to comply with the judge's order but
wouldn't comment on the lawsuit.
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Tuesday proposed new
legislation in the House of Representatives that would place
limits on the use of non-military drones, The Hill reports. The Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act is an effort to
amend a 2012 law that authorized the Federal Aviation
Administration Act to integrate drones, which are unmanned
aircraft systems, into U.S. airspace. Domestic, non-military
drones can be used for aerial surveillance, and while they are
uncommon today, the FAA predicts that within 20 years 30,000 of
these aircraft could be buzzing around our skies.
Markey's bill seeks to correct some of the privacy issues
that current laws don't address. For example, the law would
ensure that the FAA cannot issue a license to a drone operator
without soliciting information on how the operator wishes to
collect and use data. It would also require law enforcement
officials to obtain a warrant before conducting surveillance,
except in special circumstances, such as "an imminent danger of
death" or "a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific
individual or organization."
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