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.”
“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…”
“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.
“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.
“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.”
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."
“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…”
‘Using the same methodology, CareerBliss also compiled a gloomier list: The Unhappiest Jobs in America.
If you happen to be a customer service associate, marketing coordinator or legal assistant and you’re constantly down in the dumps—you’re not alone.
These are three of the nation’s unhappiest professions, according to CareerBliss.
But associate attorney is the unhappiest of all, with an index score of 2.89 out of 5.
“Associate attorneys stated they felt most unhappy with their company culture,” Golledge says. “In many cases, law firms are conducted in a structured environment that is heavily centered on billable hours. It may take several years for an associate attorney to rise to the rank of partner. People in this position rated the way they work and the rewards they receive lower than any other industry.”’
Ouch. I think I can see why law school applications are dropping.
“Professor Richard Susskind, the Lord Chief Justice’s IT adviser, has attacked the Civil Justice Council for “failing to even look into” the potential of online dispute resolution schemes.
Speaking at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum this morning, Susskind said while many judges were outstanding, they were let down by “antediluvian” court processes.
“We have to think whether, when dealing with disputes, we need to physically converge in courts,” he said.
“We should at least be exploring the use of technology in dispute resolution.”
He gave as an example of "irrational rejectionism" the Civil Justice Council’s failure to agree with him that it should "even look into the potential" of online dispute resolution.
Susskind said that of the millions of disputes arising out of transactions on ebay, only a tiny number were not resolved through online dispute resolution. He mentioned California-based online dispute resolution site Modria as one example of what could be done…”
“The Law School Admission Council recently reported that applications were heading toward a 30-year low, reflecting, as a New York Times article put it, "increased concern over soaring tuition, crushing student debt, and diminishing prospects of lucrative employment upon graduation." Since 2004 the number of law-school applicants has dropped from almost 100,000 to 54,000.
Good thing, too. That loud pop you’re hearing is the bursting of the law bubble—firms, schools, and disillusioned lawyers paying for decades of greed and grandiosity. The bubble grew from a combination ofU.S. News-driven ranking mania, law schools’ insatiable hunger for growth, and huge law firms’ obsession with profit above all else. Like the dot-com, real-estate, and financial bubbles that preceded it, the law bubble is bursting painfully. But now is the time to consider the causes, take steps to soften the impact, and figure out how to keep it from happening again.
The popular explanation for the recent application plummet is that information about the profession’s darker side, including the recession’s exacerbation of the attorney glut, has finally started reaching prospective law students. Let’s hope so. Marginal candidates and those choosing law school by default might be opting out, and the law-school market may finally be heading toward self-correction.
Still, the bubble has been huge, and the correction will need to be, too. There were 68,000 applicants to the fall of 2012 entering class, while the total number of new, full-time jobs requiring a law degree is 25,000 a year and falling. The onset of the recession drove more students to consider law school as a place to wait out the economic collapse. The number of June 2009 and 2010 admissions tests had surged to almost 33,000. To put that in historical perspective, the June 1987 testing session drew just under 19,000 students. The reduction in the number of LSAT takers in the summer of 2011 to 27,000 merely brought it back to 2008 levels.
For full-time, long-term jobs that require passing the bar, only a dozen law schools out of 200 reported employment rates exceeding 80 percent nine months after graduation. Considering the investment in money, time, and brainpower that law school requires (not to mention the promises that law schools make to prospective students), something’s gotta give, and maybe it finally has…
Along with their degrees and dubious job prospects, 85 percent of 2010 graduates from American Bar Association-accredited law schools carried an average debt load of almost $100,000. Average law-school debt for the Class of 2011 broke six figures, and that number has been growing in tandem with unemployment rates for new graduates. Even if a career in law turns out to be the right path, the financial burden can be staggering. If the law ends up being the wrong path, then debt becomes a lifelong Sisyphean burden.
If prospective lawyers allow themselves to be dazzled by headlines about the wealthiest attorneys, like the partner who recently left one big firm to join another where he’d earn a reported $5-million a year, they’re making a mistake. Nine months after graduation, members of the law-school Class of 2009 fortunate enough to have any full-time job had a median salary of $72,000, comparable in buying power to the $50,000 median salary for new lawyers in 1990.
That may not sound bad, but even that number is misleadingly high, as it masks a skewed income distribution. Each year 10- to 15-percent of graduates get jobs in big law firms, where the starting salary can be as high as $160,000. But those firms constitute only a tiny, and shrinking, slice of the profession…
At a moment when psychologists, sociologists, and even national leaders are beginning to recognize the importance of well-being and morale to health, worker productivity, and society as a whole, lawyers suffer from disproportionately high rates of depression, alcoholism, and substance abuse. Recent surveys report that six out of 10 lawyers who have been practicing for 10 years or more say they advise young people to avoid law school. As new lawyers scramble for spots in the nation’s premier firms, some of those venerable legal establishments are failing, and many others have more problems than they realize or are willing to admit.”