It’s 2:30 am on the morning of World Oceans Day, as I sit here drowning in a sea of submissions for Blawg Review #215. Buoy, I’m in trouble, with a sinking feeling about all I have yet to do. But before I sail into the heart of this post, let me share with you why I accepted Ed.’s invitation to host this particular issue of Blawg Review.
Today, June 8 marks the first official World Oceans Day, which has been unofficially celebrated since 2009 when the concept was first propsed by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero. The United Nations’ World Ocean Day Resolution explains that “The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.”
But what’s the connection between MyShingle — a blog that inspires solos, small firms and aspiring solos — and Oceans Day? Well, for those of you who don’t know me outside of my life as a splashy, celebrity blogger, turns out that I actually have a rather pedestrian day job paddling along as a practicing lawyer. One of my areas of expertise is marine renewable energy development, a specialization that I developed as a baby solo because no one else was doing it (fittingly, that’s called a Blue Ocean Strategy – the process of identifying uncontested market space so that competition is irrelevant).
Having blogged about marine renewables for nearly six years, I know that the marine terrain offer all kinds of swell puns that could help me structure Blawg Review #215. (Can you count how many I’ve floated already?) So without further ado, let’s plunge in and explore the treasures of this week’s blogosphere.
Let me first caution you to hang on – I’m way behind schedule now, so you’re in for a choppy ride. We’ll start with some of the current posts ocean related law, such as this summary of Mineral Managements Service regulations for issuing leases for renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf, what the Waxman Markey Energy Bill means for marine renewable energy and efforts to protect oceans from increased acidification. There’s also an interesting post at Hawaii Ocean Law blog on Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor’s decisions on maritime law.
I don’t expect that we’ll be fighting off any pirates today, at least the run of the mill kind from Somalia who terrorized the high seas last month. But over at Sonya Smith Valentine’s Consumer Law Blog, we’ll pass three other varieties of pirates: fraudulent charity-telemarketers who are now under attack by the FTC, aggressive debt collectors (now shut down by the state of New York) and those villanous credit card companies who may have to reform their usurious ways under proposed federal legislation. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in preventing mutiny on deck by your summer work force, be sure to comply with the laws governing unpaid interns, highlighted at Joseph Dang’s San Diego Small Business Law Blog.
As we head further out, we’ll hit the deep sea, where little or no light penetrates. There’s little known about the deep sea because of the difficulty of exploring this zone of the ocean, but many scientists would love to expand knowledge of this unknown area. By contrast, when it comes to bloggers whose identities are unknown, there’s been recent debate in the blogosphere about the propriety of a great reveal. In this instance, the recent outing of John Blevins of Obsidian Wings by National Review’s Ed Whelan (purportedly in retaliation for Blevins’ critique of Whelan here) set off the debate. James Joyner at Outside the Beltway says outing is OK in some circumstances, Ron Coleman doesn’t have much sympathy for those who blog under cover (“And I say if you’re prepared to shoot out someone else’s lights, whether or not he is “blogging for a living,” then be prepared to have your’n popped, too.”) and Instapundit rounds up more posts on both sides.
Out here in the ocean, we’ll pass some whales – or at least by Wales, where one school is banning goggle from swim class, according to Cathy Gellis. And don’t miss the sea cows, which may reshare early origins with the elephant (not to be confused, as some have with the Elefant). But that kind of evolutionary process will probably never occur in literature, where Marc Randazza points out that existing copyright law severely restricts derivative works – for example, the recent “sequel” by JD California to JD Salinger’s original work, Catcher in the Rye. And be careful if you choose to snap pictures of the Loch Ness Monster – because the images that you obtain may not reflect reality – a problem that some law firms are encountering when associates depart the firm, but their image links linger on the website.
Of course, we’ll pass some reefs (or more accurately, reefer) at Legal Juice, where a student was arrested for drug possession after pulling out a joint and smoking it following his recitation of an essay on why marijuana should be legalized. There’s a shipwreck at Adam Smith Esq. – that would be Bruce Macewen’s lengthy analysis of the demise of GM and what it means for law firms (“the challenge facing 21st Century law firm leaders is how to reconcile sophisticated business side management with a culture of professional excellence and innovation in legal practice and client service.”) If you’re interested in salvage, you can learn more about the bankruptcy issues and government rescue attempts concerning GM at the Ohio Practical Business Law Blog, The Congomerate and Concurring Opinions.
At this point, I can see shore and what looks like berries (though they’re just artificial). No girls gone wild in sight, just Courts Gone Mild. And I hear what sounds like a whole lot of Twittering – so lawyers and mediators may want to tread carefully in these parts. And speaking of treading, though some lawyer may feel as if they’re treading water these days, dissatisfied with careers, some are buoyed by the opportunities over the horizon as they embark on the solo practice journey later in life. Still others cling to pieces of driftwood, like the occasional telephone interview that could lead to new employment.
Fortunately, the law of the C didn’t have much applicability at my law school (or I might have been completely sunk!). But seems like some judges might rate a C these days – Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor for her possible ethics violations as using a law firm name that included “and associates” when she didn’t have any (H/T to Eric Turkewitz) and other New York appellate judges for the grammatical errors identified by Lisa Solomon at Legal Resarch and Writing Pro.
Anyway, we need to take care now, as there’s a recent maelstorm brewing over the recent Total Attorneys Get A Life Conference. Adrian Dayton celebrates the party-like atmosphere while Niki Black is feeling a little sea sick (well, depressed, but that’s off theme) that there’s such a need for conferences that reinforce the importance of getting a life. Meanwhile, Scott Greenfield accepts the decidedly unglamourous role of the Old Man and the Sea, reminding attendees that some lawyers are too busy representing clients and earning a living to attend these conferences – and that constant travel to conferences that don’t bear directly on one’s practice can compromise (rather than enhance) lawyers’ work life balance.
Stormy weather also predominates in biglaw land, where layoffs persist. But are the legal secondments that law firms like Mayer Brown are offering a safe harbor. Or are law firms’ pay-for-play offers just a temporary life boat, as Jordan Furlong suggests – in which associates will drift until someone builds a better vessel, beginning in law schools.
We’re making our way back to port now, only to be tossed back out to sea. And on that topic, Drug and Device Law Blog analyzes Carlsbad Technoloogy Inc. v. HIF Bio, a recent Supreme Court case holding that appellate courts can review remands in those situations where a federal court dismisses claims under federal law and tosses the case back to state court for consideration of the remaining state claims under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1367(c)(3).
In spite of the push back, we’re back in port – and I wanted to end on a positive note by reminding you that there’s still time to register for the FREE Going Solo in the New Economy (click the link to register) presented by Susan Cartier Liebel and me tomorrow (June 9) at noon EDT. Though the legal profession is embarking on troubled waters, we hope to show lawyers that by becoming the captain of your ship, you can chart a course for open seas or exciting adventure just over the horizon. So Carpe Diem – or, as we marine renewables lawyers like say, SEAS THE DAY!