13 November 2006
The Lawyer's Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week's blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How many lawyers to win an election?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, commentary on the web last week was dominated by the US elections. It had lawyers and legal commentators on both sides of the Atlantic blogging their views and opinions.
One article that caught The Lawyer's eye was from US news service ABC News, headlined 'Here Come The Lawyers' (http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2632261&page=1 ). The article said that more than 10,000 US lawyers had been recruited by the Republican and Democrat parties and assorted interest groups to keep a close eye on proceedings. The number of lawyers involved is the equivalent of combining the global lawyers of Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Lovells - with a few spare.
ABC reported that the Democrats had some 7,000 lawyers across 18 states, many of them volunteers, while the Republican party had around 1,000. The US Justice Department sent some 800 lawyers to more than 65 cities in 20 states to monitor the elections.
Legal Blog Watch (http:// legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/) provided a summary of some of the best election blogs going around, and made the point that no modern day election would be complete without lawyers peering over shoulders at every turn.
"Depending upon your party affiliation, Election Day may serve as a reminder of democracy at work or, alternatively, as a reminder that our nation still hasn't eliminated the types of voter intimidation and other shenanigans that produced the Voting Rights Act," says the blog.
Meanwhile, an article in a Tampa Bay newspaper stated: "As a political strategy, 'lawyering up' for an election first went prime time in 2000, the year the country endured a month of legal challenges to find out who was president. The concept was new, and the Republicans were better at it. But now legal backup is as integral to the Election Day ground war plan as the last-minute, get-out-the-vote phone calls and vans chauffeuring shut-ins to the polls." You can read the full article at www.sptimes.com/2006/11/07/State/Brigades_of_lawyers_g.shtml.
For the latest on the possibilities of, and tatics for, election recount litigation, check out http://electionlawblog.org. It has a sense of inevitability about it really.
Invisible bloggers taken as read
Away from the election, in-house lawyers are slowly starting to find their feet and join the world of legal blogging. Some companies - admittedly mainly in the tech sphere - approve of their general counsels blogging, while some prefer (for perhaps obvious reasons) to do so anonymously.
Microsoft Corporation lawyer David Rudin, who writes the blog Standards Law (www.standardslaw.com) was quoted in a recent article as saying: "My participation in the blogosphere, both as a reader and contributor, helps me be more effective in my role as an attorney. It keeps me up-to-date on the issues the community feels are most pressing."
One general counsel who is blogging anonymously is an avid reader of The Lawyer. The Wired GC (www.wiredgc.com) has been reading our articles on the spate of recent mergers among US law firms, and makes some interesting observations: "What I don't understand is why stronger firms don't just lateral in a partner or two with a strong book of business in the practice areas or regions they covet or feel they lack.
"Certain law firms appear to think that the goal of client companies is to just reduce the number of law firms they deal with as a goal in itself. Clients are polite and don't want to rain on the parade. At the end of the day, however, all that matters to law firm clients is better services that deliver value."
The great US litigation shake-up
Finally, on a lighhearted note, the Wall Street Journal's blog (http://blogs.wsj.com/law/) comments on a New York Post article about a 22-year-old paralegal suing a Manhattan bar after injuring her knee in a 'Shake it like Shakira' contest, and analyses the attorneys behind Britney Spears' divorce.1.Hammonds team quits as departures mount2.General counsel: law firms are failing us3.Brothers set to head rival US firms4.Citigroup legal head scoops NYSE GC job5.Shoosmiths raids rivals for Birmingham push6.CC fills Wrigley gap with new Italy head7.DLA Piper boosts Hong Kong and Tokyo8.Links, Slaughters and RB advise on firstimmunisation bond9.SJ Berwin set to smash targets with 35 per centrevenue boost10.London bags one in Sullivan partnershippromotions