Noon-Thirty News 08/03/10

Posted in News on August 3rd, 2010 by bl1y

Bike Stealing Burglar Sues Victim

[St. Petersburg Times]

For those of you suffering Bar Exam Withdrawal:

One October day in 2007, a homeless man broke into a car and stole a bike. He didn’t get very far. Within minutes, that man, Michael Dupree, was caught trying to sell the bike down the street.

[...] Anthony McKoy and the other men jumped him, pointed a gun at him, placed a knee painfully on his spine and handcuffed him. Dupree claims in his suit, which he filed without a lawyer, that the take-down “resulted in permanent disabilities and psychological disorders which the Plaintiff continues to suffer.”

Discuss.

100% Offer Rates, 0% Reliable Good News

[Above the Law]

ATL is reporting that 5 big law firms have given 100% offer rates to their summer classes.  Sounds like good news, but I wouldn’t be jumping up and down just yet.

First, the 5 firms represent only a total of 150 offers, with most of them coming from a single firm, Ropes and Gray, which gave 82 offers.  It’s really no surprise that offer rates are so high; law firms scaled back their summer programs in anticipation of not having many spots available.  All this means is that firms believe they have scaled back to the right amount, or possibly less than what they need.

But, the bigger reason to not break out the bubbly just yet is remembering what happened the last time law firms gave out offers in the 90-100% range.  They ended up rescinding offers, deferring incoming associates, and laying people off in their first year.  Law firm managers are not particularly great at predicting economic trends, and there’s little reason to think optimistic law firm hiring will really mean there’s more legal work on the horizon.  Douple dip recession and those 100% offer rates will mean bubkes.

FBI vs. Wikipedia

[New York Times]

The FBI sent a letter to Wikipedia demanding that it take down the image of the FBI logo that appears on the FBI wiki entry.  The FBI cited a law that prohibits the use of the the seal, but Wikipedia contends that the law is aimed only at preventing people from committing fraud or impersonating an FBI officer.  The use of the image on the Wikipedia article is clearly not intended to make it look like the page is endorsed by the FBI or an official FBI website.

The New York times agrees, displaying the image alongside their coverage of the story, and I think they’re right.  If you’re bored, feel free to discuss whether the FBI could bring a copyright infringement suit for use of the official government logo.

You Know When It’s Steal

[St. Louis Today via Dumb as a Blog]

Robbing a fast food restaurant through the drive-thru seems like a pretty decent plan, as far as robberies go.  You’re already in the get away vehicle.

But, calling back to complain about your measly haul ($586) is pretty dumb.  Especially when you call to complain twice.  The article didn’t specify if the man was caught (and no name appears, so he probably wasn’t), but hasn’t this guy ever heard of caller ID?  Even if he used a payphone or other untraceable number, do you really want to make sure the employees know exactly what your voice sounds like?  Take your $586, buy yourself 2930 cripsy chicken nuggets, and call it a day.

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The Dark Side of Flash Mobs

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25th, 2010 by bl1y

The FBI will now be monitoring social media networks in an effort to crack down on flash mobs.

The practice of using social media as a means to create instant crowds began about seven years ago.  Back then the mobs were simply pranks or performance art (if you have a very loose definition of art).  Mobs would stand perfectly still for a pre-set period of time, clap in unison, disrobe, or engage in other activities which while perhaps distracting, were not really harmful to anyone.  Even the more disruptive mobs never intended themselves to last more than a few minutes.  Pillow FightFor instance, while a pillow fight in downtown Toronto (pictured right) might clog the sidewalk for a short while, it’s unlikely (and certainly not the intention) that anyone would be hurt.

But, in Philadelphia, flash mobs have taken a more violent turn.  Thousands of teens have gathered, blocking streets, vandalizing property, and assaulting bystanders (and other members of the mob).

Something about jumping on cars and roughing up complete strangers seems a little bit darker than impromptu snowball fights or rounds of applause.  I can’t quite put my finger on what it is though.Philly Mob

PS: To those of you unaware of the hilarious origins of flash mobs…they were created by Bill Wasik, an editor at Harper’s Magazine.  Mr. Wasik was a guest in my CyberLaw class one day and explained his motivation behind creating the first flash mob.  He wanted to demonstrate the confirmity of hipsters and other anti-conformity types, knowing that they would rush to anything that was billed as innovate, edgy, or running against mainstream culture.

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FBI Warning: Lawyers Are Stupid

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23rd, 2010 by bl1y

Two law firms in Honolulu lost a combined $500,000 in an obvious scam that is extremely easy to protect against.  Here’s how the scam works:

Scammer sends a cashier’s check to a firm in an amount that far exceeds the firm’s retainer rate.  The firm then contacts the purported client to say they have over paid, and the client asks the firm to wire a refund.  The firm obliges and then finds out that the cashier’s check is a fake.  D’oh!

So here’s how you defeat this scam: deposit the check before wiring a refund.  You then discover the check is fake and never wire the money.  Easy peasy.

What’s more surprising than the fact that two law firms fell for this is that it appears the scammers only targeted 6 firms.  A full third of the law firms targeted fell for the scam.

[Note: There is a pdf of an FBI warning that has been released, but it is not loading at the moment.  When it becomes available I will update this post with the names of the firms if the FBI report lists them.]

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