Friday, April 27, 2012

Episode 079 – Conversation with Colin Hedrick

Episode 079 – Conversation with Colin Hedrick, Class of 2013.mp3
Newly elected Brooklyn Law School Student Bar Association President Colin Hedrick talks about his experience with the SBA at BLS and his upcoming year as SBA President. The new team of SBA board members has already had an impact as they lobbied to have the library extend the 2am closing during the reading and exam periods to the cellar area. Colin also talks about plans for next year for the SBA, the umbrella organization for all student organizations at Brooklyn Law School. As SBA President, Colin and his fellow SBA officers plan to work with all departments within the Law School, especially the IT Department, to help better serve the student body. He also looks forward to working with new Law School Dean Nicholas Allard.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Finding Missing Persons

A Brooklyn Daily Eagle article, Lost and Found: Investigative Attorneys Specialize in Finding the Missing, features two Brooklyn Law School alumni, Charles-Eric Gordon, Class of 1979, and James Renken, Class of 2007. Gordon serves the legal profession and the business community as "investigative counsel", concentrating in locating missing heirs, beneficiaries, shareholders, witnesses, defendants and other absentees, especially those missing for an extended period of time and/or about whom little information is known. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Professional Investigators and is a member of the World Association of Detectives, the National Law Enforcement Associates and other investigative organizations. Renken has been working as a Systems Engineer at Brooklyn Law School since February 2008 and has received recognition from the Brooklyn Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association‘s Empire State Counsel program for his pro bono service for indigent clients in Brooklyn.

Earlier this month, they teamed up to teach a Continuing Legal Education class “Tracing Missing Persons” which the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project sponsored. The summary of the session said that in the course of practicing law, many attorneys encounter situations in which necessary parties to an action or witness cannot readily be located, even through the use of common databases. The session had a "Question and Answer" period during which actual missing person situations were discussed and for which Gordon and Renken offered guidance on how these particular problems may be solved. The BLS Library has in its collection How to Find Anyone Anywhere by Ralph D. Thomas (Call # HV6762.U6 T36 2001), an encyclopedia on locating missing persons with little known techniques usually known only by the pros with years of experience and a highly valuable manual for any type of skip tracing or people locating.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tips for Summer Associates

Jill Backer, Associate Director for Employer Relations - Private Sector of Brooklyn Law School has an article called Avoid the Summer Associate Pitfalls in today’s NY Law Journal. Jill, who joined the Career Center in 2002 after five years in marketing to the legal community, received her J.D. from Quinnipiac University and practiced criminal defense law in Chicago. She offers summer associates few things to keep in mind including that the summer associate program is almost never without a social component. She also offers tips on prioritizing and finding mentors which are well worth reading.
SARA, the BLS Library catalog has a link to How to be a Successful Summer Associate, Law Clerk, Judicial Intern, a one hour video from 2005 with BLS graduates sharing their experiences as summer associates.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Law Students on Law School Reform

Brooklyn Law School students who want to have a voice in legal education and law school reform have a new place to post their concerns. Law Schooled, a new blog, allows students to learn from other students and connect to faculty, so that students can work together to shape the future of legal education and help each other survive three grueling years with a bit of advice and a bit of humor. Its mission statement says “Law Schooled is an open forum for students to discuss legal education and law school reform. This blog and network aims to include all members of the law school community in a substantive discussion about how students can play a role in shaping the future of legal education.”

Recent posts have covered law school reform, curriculum, bar preparation, and thinking like a lawyer. Law students are encouraged to submit a post to the blog. This experiment may work if students can find the time to speak out and take action. Consider becoming a contributor to the blog by submitting posts and establishing a law school reform organization to discuss financial and employment data and lobby for student interests.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Episode 078 – Conversation with Prof. Maryellen Fullerton

Episode 078 – Conversation with Prof. Maryellen Fullerton.mp3

In this podcast, Brooklyn Law School Professor Maryellen Fullerton talks about her second Fulbright Award which will bring her to Italy during 2012-2013 with her appointment to the Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Trento. In the conversation, Prof. Fullerton looks back on her first Fulbright Award and how it transformed her legal scholarship and her teaching career at Brooklyn Law School. She also discusses other sabbaticals which brought her to other parts of Europe to research and study comparative law in the area of asylum and forced migration. Prof. Fullerton’s extensive scholarship on comparative asylum and refugee law can be found at this link.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

BLS Students Hack the Act

The Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy (BLIP) Clinic’s first ever NYC Legal Hack-a-thon took place this Sunday. It was a great success with about 260 registrants coming together in person and online to hear lawyers, advocates, and technologists discuss how to address the evolving needs of governments, entrepreneurs, and advocacy groups in today’s technologically convergent world.

The morning session featured two panels and two keynote speakers and a team from Docracy which students used in a Hack the Act competition. The first panel, Gov 2.0: A Primer on Crowdsourced Policymaking and Fostering Civic Engagement through Technology, had Art Chang, Founder & CEO of Tipping Point Partners, Sherwin Siy, Deputy Legal Director and Fellow at Public Knowledge, John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge, Jed Alpert, Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Commons, and Benjamin Kallos, Executive Director of the New Roosevelt Initiative and candidate for New York for City Council. The first keynote speaker was Andrew Rasiej, entrepreneur, technology strategist and founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, whose address was titled “From e-Gov to WeGov, The Internet’s New Political Power”.

Hacking the Act: Why Do SOPA/PIPA Matter? was the second panel with Brooklyn Law School Adjunct Professor of Law Lawrence "Lon" A. Jacobs, who was the Chief Legal Officer of News Corporation, technology attorney Amyt Eckstein, artist, designer, scholar and CUNY Associate Professor Michael Mandiberg, and Matt Wood, Policy Director of Free Press. Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu gave the second keynote address. See below.

The afternoon session had nine workshops run by BLS faculty, staff students and others. They were Hacking Contracts with Docracy; The PriView Project: Hacking an Assessment Standard for Privacy Policies; Crowdsourcing Legal Knowledge; Crowdsourcing the Mayor with WhyNot; The Calyx Institute: Hacking a Model Privacy Policy for ISPs and SaaS; Law Mob NYC: Porn Trolls which discussed how pornography copyright holders have been suing "John Does" for IP address caught downloading their copyrighted material (See Judge Howard R. Lloyd's recent Order in the case of Hard Drive Productions, LLC v. Does 1-33.) and Crowdsourcing Legal Resources for Nonprofit Missions; Creating a Legal Framework for Socially Responsible Digital Products; Creative Rights Education; and This Legal Hackathon is Being Mapped Here and Now!

At the end of the Hackathon, teams of students agreed to present concepts for ways to improve IP law. Teams will submit their finalized implementation to compete for prizes for the best presentation. First prize is lunch with Bloomberg Executives and second prize is a Kindle Fire. The Huffington Post article Legal Hackathon Challenges Lawyers to Think like Hackers has more on the event.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hollywood in Brooklyn Heights

In February, after strong public opposition to the proposed Stop Online Piracy and PROTECT IP Acts, Paramount Pictures sent letters to schools throughout the country seeking an exchange of ideas with students about content theft and possible ways to address it. Brooklyn Law School took them up on the offer hosting Movies, the Internet, and Copyright on Tuesday, April 10. The featured speaker was Paramount Pictures Vice President Alfred Perry presenting the movie industry's perspective on the problems of online copyright infringement, the recent debates over the proposed laws, and the future of regulation of IP on the internet. BLS Prof. Derek Bambauer in a post entitled Hollywood Comes to Brooklyn on INFO/LAW wrote an excellent summary of the event where Mr. Perry faced a skeptical audience as he focused on enforcement and the risk which the industry sees in infringement.

Perry argued that Hollywood faces "content theft" and that something must be done. BLS Professor Jason Mazzone, author of Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law (Call # KF2994 .M399 2011), responded to Perry’s position, saying that he was being disingenuous using the word "theft" which unfairly biases the discussion and ignores both the realities of copyright which is not absolute. Students were skeptical of the claims of Mr. Perry who seemed unable to grasp their perspective. Prof. Bambauer observed:

The discussion was impressively thoughtful and civil. The students evinced skepticism about the movie industry’s good faith and bona fides, particularly given the drafting of SOPA / PROTECT IP, and also given the recording industry’s history of suing its users. Perry pointed out that Paramount is trying hard to make content available widely, cheaply, and easily, and that the only other way of altering the reward calculus to users is to engage in enforcement against end consumers, which no one likes. He was repeatedly puzzled by the attitude of law students that infringement isn’t a big deal (since it’s unlawful), particularly when this attitude is justified by reference to movie industry profits. He kindly stuck around afterwards to talk with students individually.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Episode 077 – Conversation with Shawna MacLeod, Class of 2012

Episode 077 – Conversation with Shawna MacLeod, Class of 2012.mp3

In this podcast, Shawna MacLeod, Brooklyn Law School Class of 2012 and Editor-in-Chief of the Brooklyn Law Review, talks about her experience at the Law Review which published four issues of Volume 76 last year and the first two issues of Volume 77 this year. Shawna discusses her own student note One Man, Six Votes, and Many Unanswered Questions: Cumulative Voting as a Remedial Measure for Section 2 Violations in Port Chester and Beyond, 76 Brook. L. Rev. 1669 (Summer 2011), where she provided an overview of the relevant Voting Rights Act provisions and the system of cumulative voting in the case of United States v. Village of Port Chester, 704 F.Supp.2d 411 (2010). Shawna also offers suggestions for 1Ls considering joining one of the law journals at Brooklyn Law School.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Immigration and Same-Sex Marriage

In Brooklyn’s US District Court for the Eastern District of New York this week, Immigration Equality filed a complaint on behalf of several married gay couples, including New York residents Heather Morgan and Maria del Mar Verdugo, who were married last year. The suit alleges a violation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights by preventing them from sponsoring their spouses for green cards. The five couples named as plaintiffs are seeking to obtain US citizenship for a foreign-born spouse. At issue is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and denies federal benefits to married gay couples. The US federal government does not recognize lesbian and gay couples for immigration purposes. The plaintiffs were married in states permitting gay marriage. For heterosexual married couples, the US government would recognize the foreign spouse as an immediate relative of the American citizen and allow for citizenship. The named defendants are Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and the Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and others. The complaint alleges that DOMA violates the constitutional right to equal protection.

SARA, the Brooklyn Law School Library catalog, has an item in electronic format Hearing on "S.598, the Respect for Marriage Act, Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families" dated July 20, 2011written testimony of the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law which has statistical analysis of the effects of the Defense of Marriage Act on same-sex couples in the United States. See also Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Couples in Europe edited by Katharina Boele-Woelki and Angelika Fuchs (Call # KJC1159 .L34 2003). A preview of this book is available here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2012 Commencement Speakers at NY Area Law Schools

The 2012 commencement season is coming up and this list shows the names of those announced so far to deliver addresses to the graduates of New York area law schools.

New York

Albany Law School – Judge Victoria A. Graffeo, New York Court of Appeals
Brooklyn Law School — Judge Carol Bagley Amon, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Buffalo Law School – Kirsten E. Gillibrand, United States Senate
Cardozo School of Law — Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, New York Court of Appeals
New York Law School — Kenneth R. Feinberg, Founder & Managing Partner of Feinberg Rozen, LLP
New York University School of Law — Justice Sonia Sotomayor, US Supreme Court
Pace University School of Law — Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr., United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Syracuse University College of Law – Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter, producer and playwright

New Jersey

Rutgers University School of Law at Newark — Paul J. Fishman, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey


Quinnipiac University School of Law — Justice Lubbie Harper Jr., Connecticut Supreme Court
Yale University Law School — Class Day speaker is journalist Barbara Walters