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August 03, 2010

Anonymity on the Net: Prof. Friedman Weighs In.

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Case Western's Friedman: A Man in Full

As much as we'd like him back in the saddle for clients, we somehow feel safer that Peter Friedman is teaching. Any more out there like him?

Located in a Midwestern American city that has hatched some of the best, oldest and most enduring law firms ever built, Case Western Reserve's School of Law in Cleveland continues to be a first-rate place. Associate Professor Peter Friedman interests us for that and three additional reasons. In fact, he's commanded our attentions for some months now. By the way, you can read one of his blogs (and our favorite) at Ruling Imagination: Law and Creativity.

First, Peter's an ex-New York City litigation partner at a major firm based in Dallas that was founded, just incidently, by my favorite politician ever. Peter quit Bob Strauss's Akin Gump to teach law after 12 years of practice at that and one other fine firm. During those years, he was in the trenches of planning, strategy and battle for publicly-traded clients.

So this man can help you. He deferred teaching full-time until after more than, say, an 18-month law prof-law firm stint before joining the ranks of a group that, in recent years, has screwed the pooch badly on the education of students.

Which has been a living hell and nightmare for our law firm.

But Peter gets it. He gets it all. So, in a way, we are glad he's teaching what terribly cynical, old and embittered types often refer to as "The Slackoisie". As much as we'd like him back in the saddle for clients, we feel safer. Particularly since we view many of his colleagues as being the chief enablers of law tubbies, the younger folks who decide to be in law school during their prime Cheetos®-inhaling years.

I'd like American law schools to help my firm defray some of the costs of recruiting, developing and paying the delusional and alarmingly helpless young white collar trash, almost always Coif and Law Review stock, who we have fired or--with mixed feelings of relief and self-loathing--have watched quit our firm since 2005.

Don't misunderstand. It is of course our firm's (and yes my) failure, too. But it still "angers" my firm. American law deans and profs--who obviously have bowed to trendy "PC" pressures to coddle mediocrity--have not had the sand, foresight or skill to convey to students that private law practice is very very hard. What goes on during those 6 semesters anyway? You guys took money (students' or their parents') money for that? Whoa.

Second, Peter knows his way around (a) federal courts and (b) an impressive range and array of IP issues. Once again, such a man is useful to higher-end clients. As Julie McGuire and I have gotten to know him a bit more over the last few months, we realize that he's quite a find. Peter is clearly not--due to his past lawyering-life pedigree and current academic gig at a great school--merely the most beautiful maiden in the developing new leper colony of American law academia.

Finally, we like, of course, the fact that overall Peter Freidman supports our view that "Anonymity on the Internet is generally a bad and certainly not a very courageous or exemplary thing". Do see his latest posts in which, frankly, he covers the issues better than we ever did. Do read his fine two back-to-back posts, along with the manic but interesting back-and-forth comments, from last week and yesterday:

"Own your words. Anonymity is cowardice, and cowards aren’t known for their wisdom" (July 22); and

"Anonymous online writing: bad writing that wouldn’t see the light of day if the writer knew readers could match the words to the person" (July 26).

Posted by JD Hull at August 3, 2010 11:59 PM


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