Thursday, December 18, 2014

Law Schools Behind on Readying Students for Legal Technology

ABA, Student Lawyer, Law Schools 3.0

The American Bar Association recently updated its Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Comment 8 of Rule 1.1 now states that lawyers should “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

 

Those already practicing may have to study up or find someone to tackle the technology end of the work for them. But what are law schools doing to make sure that tomorrow’s lawyer can hit the ground running? ***

 

The legal education community needs to step up. “Schools must address this deficiency,” added Granat, who is also founder and CEO of the virtual law firm platform provider DirectLaw, Inc. and LawMediaLabs, Inc., a digital legal solutions and interactive law apps provider. “The delivery of legal services, especially to consumers and small businesses, is becoming much more dependent on the understanding of legal technology,” he said. “The platform is shifting from one-to-one service to the Internet itself.”***

 

While many schools are behind the eight ball when it comes to teaching legal technology tools, Marc Lauritsen, president of Capstone Practice Systems and Legal Systematics, and an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, said there has been a recent push to catch up.

 

“At least a dozen law schools are offering courses and the numbers are growing,” said Lauritsen, also a cochair of the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force. “However, for the most part, the tools that lawyers are using in practice are not being taught.”

 

He said many students are not prepared for their new competition either. “The marketplace is rapidly changing. Companies like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom are contributing to lawyer underemployment by providing a more cost-effective and consumer-friendly way for people to receive services,” Lauritsen said.

 

December 18, 2014 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Technology May Help in Reporting Sexual Assault

Reporting Sexual Assault is Difficult, but a New Technology May Help

Callisto, an online sexual assault reporting system under development by a nonprofit called Sexual Health Innovations, aims to change this and provide better options for victims of sexual assault on college campuses.

 

The project builds on the idea of “information escrows” proposed by Ian Ayres and Cait Unkovic in a 2012 Michigan Law Review article. Mr. Ayres, an economist at Yale’s law school, and Ms. Unkovic, a graduate student at the University of California-Berkeley, suggest that reporting of misbehavior that is difficult or costly for victims to disclose might be increased if people had the option to report that information to a third party who would make the disclosure only if others also reported misconduct by the same individual.

December 18, 2014 in Technology, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Facebook Threats Case is Really About Domestic Violence

Feminist legal theory "asks the woman question," that is, questions the law from the perspective of the woman in the case, focusing on considerations of gender.  In the Elonis case heard by the US Supreme Court yesterday, then the legal question should ask how did the women in the case understand the threats, and what is the implication of the case for other women's rights. But once again, we get another SCOTUS case with enormous threat to women's rights, but cast in sheep's clothing, this time of free speech.

Here, the defendant threatened to kill his wife, detailing the blood and gore, mocked her protection order, and threatened to kill an FBI agent, also a woman.  Once arrested, he offered "the rap defense," that this online terror was just rap lyrics to his own little song. The question for the Court reads out the gender, framing the issue as whether online words (taking out even the gendered context of domestic violence) should be evaluated from the subjective perspective of what the defendant says he meant by the comments, or by the objective standard of a reasonable person. Why not the standard of a reasonable woman?  Why not ask what would a reasonable woman think sitting in the shoes of the wife here to whom the threats were directed?  

Others including amici in the case, have emphasized the potential damaging implications for domestic violence advocacy by adopting a legal standard that credits the self-serving statements of the stalker or batterer himself as to the intended meaning of his threatening words.  Brief of Amicus Curaie, The National Network to End Domestic ViolenceBrief of Amicus Curiae, National Center for Victims of CrimeNPR, Is a Threat Posted on Facebook Really a Threat?

Justice Alito, the former prosecutor, briefly acknowledged the issue during the oral argument, though it was quickly dismissed:

JUSTICE ALITO: Well, what do you say to the to the amici who say that if your position is adopted,
this is going to have a very grave effect in cases of domestic violence? They're just wrong, they don't
20 understand the situation?

MR. ELWOOD: I mean, it is in their interest to have a standard that requires no mens rea because
it makes it much easier to prove these.

***

 JUSTICE ALITO:  Well, this sounds like a roadmap for threatening a spouse and getting away with
it.  So you ­­ you put it in rhyme and you put some stuff about the Internet on it and you say, I'm an
aspiring rap artist. And so then you are free from prosecution.

 

   

December 1, 2014 in Technology, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gender and Silicon Valley

From the New Yorker:

This summer, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and other Silicon Valley superpowers released demographic reports on their workforces. The reports confirmed what everyone already knew: tech is a man’s world. Men make up sixty to seventy per cent of employees at these companies, and, notwithstanding rock stars like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, senior leadership is even more overwhelmingly male. A recent study by the law firm Fenwick & West found that forty-five per cent of tech companies there didn’t have a single female executive. (The picture is also bleak when it comes to ethnic diversity.) The Valley seems to take the problem seriously—Apple’s Tim Cook recently stated his commitment to “advancing diversity”—but there’s a long way to go.

A familiar explanation for tech’s gender disparity is the so-called pipeline problem: the percentage of female computer-science graduates has almost halved since the nineteen-eighties. But this doesn’t fully explain why there are so few women in senior management or on company boards (where skills other than programming matter). Nor can it explain the high rate of attrition among women in tech. A 2008 study found that more than half of women working in the industry ended up leaving the field. The pipeline isn’t just narrow; it’s tapering.

 

November 24, 2014 in Technology, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Comet Scientist...and His T-Shirt

Dr Matt Taylor

From the Guardian UK:

Well, Ms Rybody, it’s funny that you should ask this for, truly, this has become the biggest fashion question – possibly even the only fashion question – in not just the world, but the entire cosmos. For anyone who might have missed it, last week there was some dinky story about a probe landing on a comet for the first time ever. I know what you’re thinking: “Probe, schmobe, get to the real issue here – what was one of the scientists wearing?!?!?!?” Glad to be of service! The project scientist, Dr Matt Taylor, appeared on TV wearing a shirt patterned with images of semi-clothed women that I assume (not being an expert in either of these fields) reference video games and heavy metal albums. Cue internet rage! Everything that followed was utterly predictable, but not especially edifying. The story went through the five cycles of internet rage: initial amusement; astonishment; outrage; backlash to the outrage; humiliated apology. First, our attention was drawn to the shirt via some sniggering tweets; this was swiftly followed by shock and its usual accompaniment, outrage, with some women suggesting the shirt reflected a sexism at the heart of the science community. As generally happens when a subject takes a feminist turn on the internet, the idiots then turned up, with various lowlifes telling the women who expressed displeasure at the shirt to go kill themselves. (This is not an exaggeration, and there is no need to give these toerags further attention in today’s discussion.)

And: 

Just as a simple error on the part of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s driver led to the start of the first world war, so this stupid shirt sparked the beginning of World War Shirt. The scientist knew he had to respond and so, during what I am told by youngsters is called a “Google Hangout”, Dr Smith issued a tearful apology for his shirt. Rumours that the offending shirt, stiff with dried salty tears, has been spotted in Dr Smith’s local charity shop have yet to be confirmed.

Look, I didn’t especially like his shirt, but I also don’t think one can expect much more of a heavily inked dude with a well-established penchant for bad T-shirts. As a cursory search on Google Images (hard research here, people!) proves, this one, while not in the best of taste, was clearly part of that tendency. Yes, it’s an embarrassing shirt and yes, it was a stupid shirt to wear on international TV. But the man is – classic batty scientist cliche – so absentminded that, according to his sister, he regularly loses his car in car parks. So if Taylor committed any crime, it was a crime of bad taste and stupidity rather than burn-him-at-the-stake sexism.

And, well said conclusion: 

I totally understand why some women were offended by Taylor’s shirt, and I especially understand the frustration felt by female scientists who feel marginalised enough in their profession without high-profile men wearing shirts featuring half-naked women. But I can’t help but feel that outrage would be better spent on complaining about how few women were present in the control room for the probe landing. There are so many signifiers of sexism in the world and – I believe (again, not an expert in this field) – the science world that to attack a man for his shirt feels a little bit like fussing at a leaky tap when the whole house is under a tidal wave. Some people online have suggested that Taylor’s shirt proves he is a misogynist, or that he sees women purely as sex objects, or that he revels in marginalising them. Personally, if I saw a male colleague wearing that shirt, my reaction would be amazement that a grown man has the fashion taste of a 13-year-old. There is a difference – and I concede, the difference may be fuzzy in some cases – between enjoying the weird fantasy-world depiction of women, and seeing actual women as sex objects. Taylor has the right to wear whatever pig-ugly shirt he likes, and people have the right to be outraged by it. But when that outrage leads to a grown man weeping on TV, perhaps we all need to ask if this outrage is proportionate. My God, I’m a fashion bitch and even I don’t want to make anyone cry over my comments about their clothes.

November 19, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Technology, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Sanguine View on Women in Tech From Forbes Magazine

The story:

The diverse and robust pool of female founders and tech execs at Fortune’s 40 under 40 party proves positive for Silicon Valley’s future. Editing Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list is, every year, an education in ambition, disruption and extraordinary achievement. The process takes months of reporting, lots of debate and discussion and a healthy amount of handwringing as our deadline looms.

And then comes the fun. Every year, we hold a giant party for the 40 Under 40 and a few hundred other movers and shakers in the San Francisco area. This is always my favorite part of the process. Because our listers? They show up. This year, we had a record number join us, traveling from as far as India (Rahul Sharma, CEO of Micromax) and as close as upstairs (Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, which hosted us in the lobby of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco’s SoMa district).

There were lots of local, Bay Area-based names, including Lyndon Rive, cofounder of SolarCity SCTY 3.82% , Josh Tetrick of plant-based food engineer Hampton Creek, Tristan Walker of Walker & Co/Bevel, Kabam’s Kevin Chou, Mason Morfit, president of ValueAct Capital (and youngest person on Microsoft’s board MSFT 1.26% ). Many more traveled to be there: SBE Entertainment Group’s Sam Nazarian, from Las Vegas; Nate Morris of waste-management disruptor Rubicon Global, in from Kentucky; Anthony Watson, CIO of Nike NKE 0.88% , who flew in from Beaverton, Ore; and President Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who was able to break away from his boss for a quick trip west. There was, of course, a healthy crew from New York, including VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk, NYSE president Tom Farley, Highbridge Principal Strategies’ Mike Patterson and Blackstone’s Peter Wallace.

October 29, 2014 in Business, Technology, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Crowdsourcing Sexual Objectification"

Carissima Mathen at Ottawa Law has uploaded "Crowdsourcing Sexual Objectification" on SSRN.  The abstract reads: 

This paper analyzes the criminal offence of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images (frequently called “revenge porn”). Focussing on the debate currently underway in Canada surrounding Bill C-13 (Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act), it notes that such an offence would fill a grey area in that country’s criminal law. Arguing, more broadly, that the criminal law has an important expressive function, the paper posits that the offence targets the same general type of wrongdoing — sexual objectification — that undergirds sexual assault. While not all objectification merits criminal sanction, the paper explains why the non-consensual distribution of intimate images does, and why a specific offence is legitimate.

September 12, 2014 in Technology, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why 911 Technology is Important for Domestic Violence Protection

Ms., When 9-1-1 Can't Find You: How Wireless Providers Can Save Women's Lives

Last month, Michelle Miers was shot and stabbed at her home by an attacker. Still breathing but in need of urgent medical care, she picked up her cellphone and dialed 9-1-1. Like most Americans, Miers probably presumed that calling 9-1-1 guaranteed help was on the way. For the 26-year-old mother of two, however, help would come too late—not because Miers was too far away, or because her wounds were already too severe, but because police and paramedics couldn’t figure out where she was.

 

Miers is one of more than an estimated 10,000 Americans who will die this year because wireless companies don’t transmit precise enough location data to 9-1-1 operators, leaving police unable to locate victims. In Miers’ case, responders were left scrambling door-to-door for 20 minutes before they spotted the apartment building with broken glass in the entryway where Miers lay covered in blood.

August 23, 2014 in Technology, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wikipedia as Feminist Activism

From Ms., Writing Her In: Wikipedia as Feminist Activism.  An easy, and immediate way to change and correct history.  Just do it. 

I’m tired of looking for important female artists on Wikipedia and finding no information, while second-rate male artists have pages and pages written about them.

 

The Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon was dedicated to changing this.During the edit-a-thon, Lesperance wrote a Wikipedia entry for Christina Ramberg. “There is no good reason why she wasn’t already on there,” Lesperance told me. “All of her male colleagues of the Chicago Imagists were represented on Wikipedia, and I’m finding this [omission] is typical.”

 

Omissions like this can be easily corrected. Lesperance said she felt an “air of empowerment at the ease with which an addition to that archive—which receives so much readership—takes place.”

May 22, 2014 in Legal History, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)