Justice for all... even online.

Novojustice Users should be able to efficiently and fairly resolve any problems they encounter online, especially when they have done nothing wrong. This blog discusses best practices for building online systems to do that.

27 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Thanks to my friend Mike Lind for sharing this article… lots of items to chew on, especially some inside perspective on GE’s early dispute resolution programs.

“GE’s EDR initiative implied a collaborative and systemic dispute resolution process designed to facilitate early (including pre-lawsuit) assessment or resolution of disputes. It encouraged early and informal dispute resolution techniques and mediation in particular. The GE process was a rational one. It required:

- Firstly, identifying the right people connected to the dispute, business owners, stakeholders, and experts.
- Secondly, conducting an Early Case Assessment (ECA), analysing the best case/worst case scenarios, identifying the best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
- Thirdly, involving the business owner/business operative in the process and agree on a strategy.
- Fourthly, executing the strategy and considering mediation.

The systematic use of mediation is an essential element in the rationalization of disputes. It may help pin-point the conflict that has led to the dispute.”

“Corporate Counsel in the Era of Dispute Management 2.0,” by Jean-Claude Najar, Business Law International, vol. 15, no. 3, p 237 (2014).

17 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Simpsons Nails Legal Disruption

Lionel Hutz on negotiation:

31 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Lawyer: 51st best job in America

Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal:

“Being a lawyer isn’t the best job in America. It’s not one of the 10 top jobs, or even among the top 50 jobs.

According to U.S. News, being a lawyer is the 51st best job in America. Above the Law notes some of the jobs that outranked lawyer, including nail technician, maintenance/repair worker, esthetician, and massage therapist.

“Being a lawyer is now a second-tier career,” the blog says. “How embarrassing.” Last year, lawyer was ranked No. 35 on the U.S. News list.

According to U.S. News, lawyers earned a median salary of $113,530 in 2012. They face a job market that has improved in recent years, U.S. News says, though projected job growth through 2022 is slightly below the average for all other professions. On the downside, the publication ranks upward mobility as below average, stress level as high, and flexibility as below average.

U.S. News ranks lawyers seventh on a separate list of the best social-service jobs in American. Outranking lawyers on that list are school psychologist, maintenance and repair worker, speech-language pathologist, high-school teacher, nail technician, and middle-school teacher. Ranked eight through 10 are child and family social worker, exterminator and elementary school teacher.

The top five jobs overall are software developer, computer systems analyst, dentist, nurse practitioner and pharmacist. The publication ranks jobs based on projected job growth, median salary, job prospects, employment rate, stress level and work-life balance, according to this story. Much of the information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the publication uses interviews and other research to determine stress levels and work-life balance.”

Ouch.  Looks like we should advise our kids to be nail technicians.

22 October 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Technology and legal education

Oliver Goodenough: “A technology driven revolution is overturning how American practices law, runs its government, and dispenses justice.  The revolution has so far gone almost completely unnoticed by the people who teach aspiring lawyers.  This has to change.”


27 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

International Disputes Growing…

King & Spalding is handling arbitration in the legal feud between Chevron and Ecuador over environmental damage in the Amazon.

Elizabeth Olson, NYT, 8/26/13:

“Those who favor international forums for settling disputes — where arbitrations are presided over by one arbitrator or a panel of three — say that such tribunals avoid local courts, which can tilt in favor of parochial interests.

“It’s a big improvement from historical gunboat diplomacy,” said Edna Sussman, an arbitrator and mediator with experience in more than 100 international and other arbitrations. She helped spearhead the opening of the New York International Arbitration Center in Manhattan to encourage holding such proceedings in the city.

Such “arbitration will definitely grow as international commerce grows,” she said, adding that some question whether secretive arbitration bodies should be deciding cases with billions of dollars on the line that can impinge on a government’s regulatory powers…”


05 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

The first lab-grown burger taste test

Henry Fountain, NYT:

“A hamburger made from cow muscle grown in a laboratory was fried, served and eaten in London on Monday in an odd demonstration of one view of the future of food.

According to the three people who ate it, the burger, which contained no fat or salt, was dry and a bit lacking in flavor. One taster, Josh Schonwald, a Chicago-based author, said “the bite feels like a conventional hamburger” but that the meat tasted “like an animal-protein cake.”

But taste and texture were largely beside the point: The event, arranged by a public relations firm and broadcast live on the Web, was meant to make a case that so-called in-vitro, or cultured, meat deserves additional financing and research. Proponents of the idea, including Mark Post, the Dutch researcher who created the hamburger at the University of Maastricht, say that lab-made meat could provide high-quality protein for the world’s growing population while avoiding most of the environmental and animal-welfare issues related to conventional livestock production.

Neil Stephens, a social scientist at Cardiff University in Wales who has studied the development of cultured meat and who attended the tasting, said the event generated a lot of interest. “The exciting thing will be to see the response,” he said.

Dr. Post, one of a handful of scientists working in the field, said there was still much research to be done and that it would probably take 10 years or more before cultured meat was commercially viable. Reducing costs is one major issue — he estimated that if production could be scaled up, cultured beef made as this one burger was made would cost more than $30 a pound.

The two-year project to make the one burger, plus extra tissue for testing, cost $325,000. On Monday it was revealed that Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, paid for the project. Dr. Post said Mr. Brin got involved because “he basically shares the same concerns about the sustainability of meat production and animal welfare.”

The meat was produced using stem cells — basic cells that can turn into tissue-specific cells — from cow shoulder muscle from a slaughterhouse. The cells were multiplied in a nutrient solution and put into small petri dishes, where they became muscle cells and formed tiny strips of muscle fiber. About 20,000 strips were used to make the 5-ounce burger, which contained breadcrumbs, salt, and some natural colorings as well.

The hamburger was fried — in a pan with copious amounts of butter — by an English chef and presented on a plate with a bun, lettuce and tomato slices to Dr. Post, Mr. Schonwald and Hanni Rützler, an Austrian food scientist. Pleas from the journalists and others in the audience for a bite were dismissed by Dr. Post, who said he did not have enough to go around…”


I am excited for the era of lab grown meat.  I think it will be a huge breakthrough in ending cruelty and feeding a growing population.  Kudos for Sergey to think forward enough to fund this experiment.  I’ll be one of the first in line when this becomes more widely available.

As to the “ick factor” as they say – for me, much much less “ick” than the meat we currently eat.

Update: http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2013/aug/05/google-burger-sergey-brin-lab-grown-hamburger

26 July 2013 ~ 0 Comments

The Last Days of BigLaw

Noam Scheiber, The New Republic:

“Of all the occupational golden ages to come and go in the twentieth century—for doctors, journalists, ad-men, autoworkers—none lasted longer, felt cushier, and was all in all more golden than the reign of the law partner.

There was the generous salary, the esteem of one’s neighbors, work that was more intellectual than purely commercial. Since clients of white-shoe firms typically knocked on their doors and stayed put for decades—one lawyer told me his ex-firm had a committee to decide which clients to accept—the partner rarely had to hustle for business. He could focus his energy on the legal pursuits that excited his analytical mind.

Above all, there was stability. The firms practiced a benevolent paternalism. They paid for partners to join lunch and dinner clubs and loaned them money to buy houses. When a lawyer had a drinking problem, the firm sent him off for treatment at its own expense. Layoffs were unheard of.

Perhaps more importantly, the security of the legal profession lodged itself inside our cultural imagination. For generations, the law functioned as a kind of psychological safety net for the ambitious and upwardly mobile. If you wanted to be a writer or an actor or a businessman, you could rest assured that law school would be there if your plans fell through. However much you’d maxed out your credit card, however late you were on your rent, you were never more than an admissions test and six semesters away from upper-middle-class respectability.

“Stable” is not the way anyone would describe a legal career today. In the past decade, twelve major firms with more than 1,000 partners between them have collapsed entirely. The surviving lawyers live in fear of suffering a similar fate, driving them to ever-more humiliating lengths to edge out rivals for business. “They were cold-calling,” says the lawyer whose firm once turned down no-name clients. And the competition isn’t just external. Partners routinely make pitches behind the backs of colleagues with ties to a client. They hoard work for themselves even when it requires the expertise of a fellow partner. They seize credit for business that younger colleagues bring in.

And then there are the indignities inflicted on new lawyers, known as associates. The odds are increasingly long that a recent law-school grad will find a job. Five years ago, during a recession, American law schools produced 43,600 graduates and 75 percent had positions as lawyers within nine months. Last year, the numbers were 46,500 and 64 percent. In addition to the emotional toll unemployment exacts, it is often financially ruinous. The average law student graduates $100,000 in debt…”

Very interesting article, for which the author is getting some heat.  Does seem in line with other publications that have said similar things, such as http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-02/howreys-bankruptcy-and-big-law-firms-small-future.

15 May 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Is compromise possible?

Charles Wheelan on Salon:

“Any serious talk of pragmatism and compromise in American politics usually ends with some nettlesome questions: What about the social issues? What about abortion? What about gun control? These are issues on which reasonable people disagree passionately. Anyone who tells you that there is a “right” answer on abortion has not spent much time thinking about the issue or lacks the empathy to appreciate how other people think about it. Americans’ views on these issues tend to be theological — literally in many cases. No amount of arguing or data gathering is going to change anyone’s core values; we’ve dug our intellectual trenches and hunkered down.

So how can a party built around the idea of pragmatism and compromise deal with issues whose defining feature is a deep and conflicting vision of what is right and wrong?

With pragmatism and compromise. Here is the fundamental insight: Reasonable people disagree about whether or not abortion should be illegal; but no reasonable person thinks that abortion is a good thing.

Reasonable people disagree about how readily guns should be available and what the requirements for purchase ought to be; but no reasonable person wants guns to fall into the hands of criminals or those who are dangerously mentally ill.

There are plenty of other social issues: drug policy, stem cell research, flag burning, the death penalty, and so on. In time, the Centrist Party will have to wrestle with them all. For now, abortion and guns will do a fine job of illustrating how the Centrist Party can bring people together on issues that normally drive them apart. The key to diffusing these ideologically charged social issues is refocusing them on two more pragmatic questions: 1) What is the real harm to society associated with this activity? 2) How can we minimize that harm? The answers to those questions will dictate Centrist policy. Is that going to make everybody happy? Of course not. But the purpose of the Centrist Party is not to make everybody happy, particularly the political poles. The purpose of the Centrist Party is to craft an agenda that a large swathe of underrepresented moderate American voters can get behind. On the major social issues, that’s entirely possible.”

09 May 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Final Text of the EU ODR Reg now online

Great reading for anyone excited about ODR: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/12/pe00/pe00080.en12.pdf

It reads, in part:

"The internal market is a reality for consumers in their daily lives, when they travel, make purchases and make payments. Consumers are key players in the internal market and should therefore be at its heart. The digital dimension of the internal market is becoming vital for both consumers and traders. Consumers increasingly make purchases online and an increasing number of traders sell online. Consumers and traders should feel confident in carrying out transactions online so it is essential to dismantle existing barriers and to boost consumer confidence. The availability of reliable and efficient online dispute resolution (ODR) could greatly help achieve this goal.

Being able to seek easy and low-cost dispute resolution can boost consumers’ and traders’ confidence in the digital Single Market. Consumers and traders, however, still face barriers to finding out-of-court solutions in particular to their disputes arising from cross-border online transactions. Thus, such disputes currently are often left unresolved.

ODR offers a simple, efficient, fast and low-cost out-of-court solution to disputes arising from online transactions. However, there is currently a lack of mechanisms which allow consumers and traders to resolve such disputes through electronic means; this leads to consumer detriment, acts as a barrier, in particular, to cross-border online transactions, and creates an uneven playing field for traders, and thus hampers the overall development of online commerce.

This Regulation should apply to the out-of-court resolution of disputes initiated by consumers resident in the Union against traders established in the Union which are covered by Directive 2013/…/EU+ of the European Parliament and of the Council of …++ on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes (Directive on consumer ADR)

In order to ensure that the ODR platform can also be used for ADR procedures which allow traders to submit complaints against consumers, this Regulation should also apply to the out-of-court resolution of disputes initiated by traders against consumers where the relevant ADR procedures are offered by ADR entities listed in accordance with Article 20(2) of Directive 2013/…/EU+. The application of this Regulation to such disputes should not impose any obligation on Member States to ensure that the ADR entities offer such procedures.

Although in particular consumers and traders carrying out cross-border online transactions will benefit from the ODR platform, this Regulation should also apply to domestic online transactions in order to allow for a true level playing field in the area of online commerce."


01 May 2013 ~ 0 Comments

“The Process is the Punishment”

William Glaberson, NYT:

“Court delays of as long as five years in felony cases have pushed the Bronx criminal courts into the bottom ranks of courts nationally, reaching what even the judges call crisis levels.

But that backlog has a less-noted companion. The courts are so dysfunctional that those accused of minor offenses — misdemeanors like trespassing or driving with a suspended license — have all but lost the fundamental guarantee of the American legal system: the right to a trial.

The case of Mr. Zapata would usually be overlooked in the flood of 50,000 Bronx misdemeanor filings a year. But he was part of a special legal-defense effort led by the Bronx Defenders, which provides legal representation to poor Bronx residents charged with crimes. That effort tested the borough’s courts by trying to bring 54 misdemeanor marijuana possession cases to trial for clients who had been arrested as part of New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk program and wanted to fight the charges.

Instead, these defendants got a through-the-looking glass criminal justice system where charges that were punishable by a maximum sentence of three months in jail could take many times that just winding toward an always elusive trial. And when the increasingly elastic speedy-trial rules of the Bronx were finally stretched too far by delay after delay, prosecutors would sometimes drop the cases as if they were never quite worth their time anyway…”