This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 3L Corey Westfall.
A lawyer wears—what does a lawyer wear? I ask you that question after my roommate professed that “we are going to be lawyers soon, so we should dress like lawyers.”
If the 2017 American Bar Association (“ABA”) annual conference provided an entire session focused solely on fashion, fashion must be a real legal issue! ABA paid for a Brooks Brothers session that provided modeling, lectures, and a pamphlet.
And while Brooks Brothers used that session to advertise their “relatively affordable pieces” (do not be duped; there are more affordable options), Brooks Brothers also provided some useful tips: (1) stick to dark grey and dark blue suits/skirts; and (2) limit shirts to solid blue and solid white, and lightly patterned versions of blue and white. (Number (2) for women may have some slight variations in color, but not much.) Conservative tips, but safe nonetheless.
Yes, the furor over data from millions of Facebook users being used for political purposes is important. But just driving down the street raises important privacy issues also. And whether you can make sense of the Facebook issues, you could and probably should give attention to high-tech monitoring of your daily life.
That was the thrust of an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Thursday in Eckstein Hall featuring Cyrus Farivar, author of a new book, Habeas Data: Privacy vs. the Rise of Surveillance Tech. Farivar is also a regular contributor to Ars Technica, which covers news related to technology.
The following conversation was overheard this morning outside of the entrance to the parking structure in Eckstein Hall:
Parking Attendant: I’m sorry, but you will have to back up your car. The parking structure is full.
Faculty Member: I can see past the gate. There are plenty of empty spots.
Parking Attendant: Those spots are reserved for faculty and students only.
Faculty Member: But I have been on the faculty for 26 years.
Parking Attendant: My apologies. I didn’t recognize you. However, those spots are reserved for today’s On the Issues with Mike Gousha. He is interviewing the author of the book “Trump Bad: How to Sell Your Book By Using Trump’s Name in the Title.”
Faculty Member: I happen to know that that event is tomorrow.
Parking Attendant: My mistake. Today those spots are reserved for people attending Charles Franklin’s press conference. He has new poll results: “Public Support for Cheese Curds Reaches Record Low in Wisconsin.”
Just over fourteen months have passed since I first appeared in a Milwaukee County courtroom as a newly minted (Marquette) lawyer. Rolling the clock back another two and a half years, I recall my first few days as a law student. In all, I’m nearly four years into what I hope will be a long and eventful career in the law.
Over these last four years—this last year, in particular—I’ve found myself often making the same two observations. Though I don’t suspect that either of my observations are especially unique, both are surely the product of spending so many of my days in and around our state’s most active courthouse.
A few weeks ago the 9th Circuit issued its decision in the long-awaited “Blurred Lines” case, Williams v. Gaye, and the reaction has generally ranged between dismay and anger. Here is a quick summary of the decision. The consensus among copyright lawyers, with some exceptions, appears to be that the original jury verdict against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke threatens to make musical styles copyrightable, that the majority on appeal got the law wrong, and that the dissent is correct that the jury verdict should have been reversed.
I disagree with some of that, but I want to take this post in a different direction. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading lately about the development of the test for copyright infringement over the course of the 20th century. Williams v. Gaye is, I believe, merely the predictable outcome of the 9th Circuit’s approach to proving copyright infringement, an approach that copyright scholars have been complaining about for a long time. But it’s worse than that. As Rick Sanders spelled out in a recent post, all of the modern tests for proving infringement by copying are deeply problematic. What is particularly intriguing with the Williams case is that the approach the dissent seems to be recommending actually pre-dates the modern caselaw. It’s the one that the modern test — first spelled out in detail by the Second Circuit in Arnstein v. Porter — was designed to replace. Look at the cases the dissenter, Judge Nguyen, cites—many of them were decided before Arnstein. And although I agree with the Williams majority’s assessment of the lack of support for the dissent’s argument, I think it’s no accident it has resurfaced.
A warning for non-IP-interested readers: this is going to be a long, hard slog through the weeds of copyright law, maybe several long hard slogs. I also have some things to say along the way about the development of the law generally over the last hundred years. But consider yourself warned. Continue reading “Copyright’s Substantial Confusion”
This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 3L Nikki Paterson.
As a student associate in Marquette’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, I see many start-up companies struggle with entity selection. It can be a difficult decision because founders have to consider liability, management structure, employee compensation, formation formalities, future investments, and tax implications, among other things.
As of February 26, 2018, the decision-making process got even harder. That is when 2017 Wisconsin Act 77 took effect, which recognized a new type of entity: benefit corporations. Far from being a trailblazer, Wisconsin was the 34th state to adopt such legislation.
This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Grace Gall.
“How do you spell their last name?”—That is often the question my mother used to ask me when I was a kid and asked to spend the night at a new friend’s house. Like many Wisconsin parents or employers, my mother often would use the public record cite called CCAP to search criminal and civil records of individuals. As a child, I simply got used to my mother’s question and as I grew older and started working in the legal field myself, I became more and more acquainted with CCAP. Recently this year, I heard about changes being made to the CCAP record system. The Director of State Courts voted in March of this year to change the time limits for dismissed or acquitted cases to have them removed from the public record site after two years from the final order. Continue reading “Changes to Wisconsin’s CCAP Shortens the Time that Some Records are Online”
Please join me in welcoming our two guest bloggers for the month of April.
Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Bill Davidson. Bill is a December 2016 graduate of Marquette University Law School and has served as an Assistant District Attorney in Milwaukee County since February 2017. In addition to prosecuting a wide variety of civil and criminal offenses in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Bill has represented the State of Wisconsin in several matters before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. He resides in the Greater Milwaukee Area with his wife and daughter where he enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and cheering for the Chicago Cubs.
Our Student Blogger of the Month is Benjamin James Britton. Benjamin introduces himself as follows: “I am a father to a 6 year old son and currently a 3L at Marquette University Law School graduating in May 2018. Prior to coming to law school I obtained my Bachelor’s in Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin with a Minor in psychology in May of 2007. Upon completing my undergraduate studies, I immediately began working as a paralegal and have continued to do so during my studies at Marquette.”
With spring in the air, I thought the following poem from Emily Dickinson might help us mark the welcome change of seasons. However, Dickinson also provides a cautionary note. The spectacular inspires us, but it also slips by. Spring not only arrives but also departs. Our resulting sense of loss is like “Trade” encroaching “upon a Sacrament.”
Congratulations to the students in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition who have moved on to the inaugural quarterfinal round of the competition. The students will be competing on Saturday, April 14 at 1 p.m. to determine who will be advancing to the semifinal round on April 15 at 1:00 p.m.
The teams will be paired as follows:
Emily Gaertner and Jehona Osmani v. Simone Haugen and Anne O’Meara
Olivia Garman and Sarita Olson v. Katie Bakunowicz and Kelsey Stefka
Claudia Ayala Tabares and Alexander Hensley v. Elizabeth Grabow and Zeinat Hindi
Killian Commers and William Ruffing v. Be’Jan Edmonds and Ian Pomplin
Congratulations to all the participants in the competition. We also very much appreciate the judges who grade briefs and participate in the preliminary rounds. This year we had two Jenkins alums, Attorneys Lindsey Anderson and Averi Niemuth, judging together in the preliminary rounds. One of the great things about moot court is how active our alums and volunteers are, and we appreciate their time and assistance every year.
Dael Orlandersmith says she does not have the right to speak for the people who were affected when a police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, 2014.
But she can speak about them, and she does want people to think about themselves, their own communities, and the issues that were raised by the Ferguson incident and its powerful aftermath. The St. Louis Repertory Theater invited Orlandersmith, a well-known poet, playwright, and performer from New York City, to create a play focused on Ferguson. That led her to interview dozens of people in Ferguson and to write “Until the Flood,” a play that includes eight characters she sees as composites of people she interviewed.