July 10, 2006
Blawg Review # 65
We live in a world that never sleeps. Most mornings, lawyers at my firm get e-mails from people in all manner of time zones: Hanjo in Bonn, Michael in London, Giulio in Rome, Paul in Cardiff, Angel in Madrid, Claudia in Pretoria, Ed in Beijing, Christian in Taipei, Greg in Sydney and finally Eric, a DC trial lawyer. Two or three times a year, I see Eric, a partner in an international litigation boutique of 35 lawyers. But I've never seen him in the US. Ever. In the eight years I've known him, Eric has had a plate full of international arbitrations. He could be anywhere when he e-mails--just probably not in this hemisphere. His client could be German with a claim against a Dutch company at a Brussels arbitration venue applying English or American law.
Lawyers sell services--and services are increasingly sold across international borders. In fact, services generally are becoming the new game. In 2004, services, sold alone or as support features to the sale of good and products, accounted for over 65% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the US, 50% of the United Kingdom's GDP and 90% of Hong Kong's. Our clients sell both goods and services. The growing "global economy", the expansion of the services sector, the Internet and the resulting ability to partner with people and entities all over the world permit our smallest clients to do business abroad. And lawyers in all jurisdictions can act for interests outside their borders. You, me, our clients and our partners are now international players. Every day we meet new ideas, new markets, new regulatory schemes, new traders and new customs. Our new world may not be exactly "flat" yet. But it's certainly become busier and smaller very quickly.
In Blawg Review #65, we'd like to introduce you to some people we've met. All of them are listed on the left-hand side of our site if you scroll down a bit on a directory we first published on our May 26 post The Legal World Outside America: Non-US Blawgs. The blogs on your left fall into 2 overall categories: (1) legal weblogs which originate outside of the United States and (2) blogs from all over which comment on international law generally, or on a particular subject matter, jurisdiction or region of the world. You can't meet all these people in one day. But here's a few:
Meet first Delia Venables, a well-known consultant in East Sussex, in the southeastern corner of England. "Delia central" is Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland. Our favorite is Blogs, News Feeds, Podcasts, Video Blogs and Wikis with UK and Irish Content. Delia also offers an Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. My friend Justin Patten at Human Law, subtitled "Law, Technology and People" combines, in a novel and interesting way, IP and Employment Law. This is an active, well-written and often provocative blog by a lawyer in Hertfordshire, just north of Greater London. Justin is one of the few non-American members of Law.com's Legal Blog Watch. See his recent post "How Interactive Do You Want to Go?", musing whether blogging lawyers can help create new terms, conditions and billing policies in the legal services market by using the blogosphere to assess and scrutinize them. And Nick Holmes's Binary Law, previously "What’s New on the UK Legal Web?", is consistently excellent and alert to new developments. See Nick's post "Sincere flattery or blatant affrontery?" on copy theft. For fun, charm and wit, also see Charon QC...the Blawg, who is the product of the imagination of Mike Semple Piggot.
Brits Who Love Tech. How can you not love a people who prize eccentricity, love poetry and words and still--judging from their number of Nobel Prize winners over the past 50 years--excel at science and technology? Meet Geeklawyer, an IP lawyer who once did R&D in the US for a company in the "evil American empire" and who blogs about IP, civil liberties, the UK legal system, and "angry liberal" things. He's got a motorcycle called The Terrible and Inexorable Wrath of God, a co-writer named "Ruthie" and--well, just go his site. Words fail me--but never Geeklawyer. A wonderful combination of the substantive and the absurd. See especially his and/or "Ruthie's" recent posts "Darling we're all working class now" or "You Cannot Fucking Swear in Dover". And TechnoLlama, published by Andres Guadamuz in Edinburgh, Scotland, will be blogging this week from Australia, where Andres is attending a conference on "Unlocking IP". Department of I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke--or a Pepsi--Whatever: British blogger Jeremy Phillips, who is popular on more than one continent, turns his eye toward Atlanta and weighs in on the Great Coke Heist in last week's last news at his IPKat-fishing for IP stories for YOU. His post is It's Not The Secret, Silly!
France, my second favorite country, and which in my view has more in common with the US than any other nation, had a bad day yesterday at the World Cup in Berlin at the hands of Italy. We'll start by going to straight to Ca’Paxatagore, with its permanent home-page and truly spectacular view of...the Grand Canal in Venice, of all places. So beautiful though that it's got to cheer anyone up. But blog-wise, the French have lots to be happy about other than the fact that all of the French blogs we've listed to your left are beautiful to look at even though you don't read French anymore. The French still have attitude, too. They wait patiently while we Yanks and Brits either learn or re-learn our French, which is still an official United Nations language. We, for our part, wait patiently while they translate more things into English. In the meantime, we must be happy with Droit en Enfer, with another great title page, and the quote:
God Bless Law
“Law is the ultimate backstage pass. There are more students in law schools than there are lawyers walking the Earth.”
– John Milton/Satan (L’Associé du Diable)
Three German Fulbright Scholarship alums in Hamburg, Berlin and Seattle publish the Atlantic Review, a press digest on trans-Atlantic affairs which won the 2006 award for the Best German Blog in the 2nd Annual European Weblogs Awards sponsored by none other than A Fistful of Euros. AR was founded in July 2003 out of a concern for the deterioration of the US-German relationship. Note the last two posts: German-American Relations on the Eve of President Bush's Visit and What? Germans Sing Nazi Anthem in World Cup Stadium?. There are other fine German blogs, many available in English. One favorite is Transblawg, by Margaret Marks, a British solicitor and translator who lives in Bavaria. Another is the German-American Law Journal, published by a consortium of mainly German lawyer-writers. See last month's post "Forum Shopping in Germany", which in discussing "Internet torts" likens the issue to the one faced by American courts. Nanotechnology Law, by Mohamad Mova Al 'Afghani, in Goettingen, assesses "legal implications of nanoscale technologies and the emerging molecular nanotechnology". Hey, no problem.
Bellissimo! Nice going in Berlin! The fourth World Cup belongs to Italy: Italy Beats France for Title on Penalty Kicks. Enough said. Harvard publishes the Harvard International Review, which for its 100th post ever brings us Why the FIFA World Cup Is and Should Be a Big Deal. It begins:
In an increasingly integrated world with few platforms for international engagement other than war, trade, tourism and sterile political unions, it is understandable that the quadrennial FIFA World Cup has become a major avenue for countries to display their national pride, project their “national character” if there is such a thing, and to unify their diverse populations around a cause.
There are several sites, some listed on your left, which cover the European Union and European law and politics generally. The TransAtlantic Assembly covers an interesting mix of European and American international and constitutional law subjects, with an emphasis on the new European constitution. Recently TAA opined a little on "Election Year Politics, American Style", which is an interesting read. Also worth visiting is ECJBlog, by Allard Knook in the Netherlands, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Utrecht who covers the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
We've tried to find Iraqi law sites--even American military justice or State Department ones. No luck. The University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Jurist Legal News and Research did post "Senior US Iraq general finds Marine commanders at fault in Haditha probe". And then there's Baghdad's Salam Pax, of The Daily Absurdity Report (previously, "Shut Up You Fat Whiner"). Salam Pax has had several blogs since 2002. See his "Democracy Day" post earlier this year on the anniversary of Iraq's first voting experience on January 31, 2005. See his latest post in early June. He says he's working on two video blogs, trying to blog about what's going on in Iraq these days. Excerpts:
A friend of mine, after seeing how desperate and frustrated I was getting trying to get someone to talk on camera, said that I should go to the Kadhimiya district. People will talk there he said. Right. I haven’t been there for ages and I had no reason to believe that it will be different there, but I was getting desperate. I decided to go there the day after a bomb exploded by a bus in that neighbourhood and killed 13 people.
In case you didn’t know Kadhimiya is a Shia district, I have a Sunni family name. The knot in my stomach was getting tighter the closer we got to the check point through which we get into the market area near the Kadhimiya Shrine. What if they ask me for my Iraqi ID? They had an explosion here yesterday and I have a Sunni family name? No this is not paranoia. I have the wrong name and I need to get myself a new forged ID with a Shia name. Anyway, I was lucky they were happy with my NUJ card (the first time I was really happy I had it on me, I usually fear that if people see it they think I’m a foreign journalist).
Once inside I had the biggest eye opener. I saw the future of Iraq, or at least Baghdad. Inside the barricade and past the checkpoint was a piece of the old Baghdad. Shops full of people, all relaxed and smiling. Everybody wants to talk and tell me how their lives are and I even got invited to have tea and accepted the invitation without thinking that this man saw my camera and he is just delaying me until the kidnappers arrive.
Just for fun, try e-mailing Salam Pax like we did and see if afterwards you get funny little clicks on your phone every time you talk to your Mom in Cincinnati.
Visit Seattle-based Dan Harris's China Law Blog--China Law for Business. Just do it. Dan's already an old China hand--and no one does a better job of day-in day-out reporting and commenting about business, government and culture in this incredibly powerful, important and exceedingly complex part of the world. And see Rich Kuslan's Asia Business Intelligence. The focus here is on China, but Rich covers most of Asia. For an interesting primer on multi-cultural manners and a clue why you need real experts in Asia, see Rich's post Sino-British Joint-Venture Dissolved for Rudeness? Similarly, Asia Business Law, based in San Francisco, is another fine resource, which featured on July 4 the post North Korea Intentionally Provokes USA While Iran is Waiting in the Wings--What is China's Role? and a follow-up on July 6 Prognosticating About The North Korean Missile Situation. For some time now, this blog has linked to another fine resource, Chinese Law Prof Blog, edited by GW Law professor Donald Clarke.
We can find just one, Singapore Law Blog, but it's very nicely done. Frequent and to-the-point coverage of legal news and developments in this very old center of trade. Note the recent posts on a free trade agreement with Korea and proposed rules addressing lawyers who defraud clients.
Australia and New Zealand
Next week's Blawg Review host, David Jacobson, is an experienced Australian commercial lawyer who founded Jacobson Consulting. David now publishes David Jacobson's External Insights, which focuses on helping businesses plan and develop policies and tackle complex projects, with a special emphasis on dealing with the ever-expanding maze of government regulations with which all businesses in developed nations must deal. This is a first-rate site from a broad-gauged lawyer. He writes on everything from customer service subjects to the risk of bad publicity in litigation and venture capital models. Oikos, by David Jeffreys, an environmental lawyer, is a blog about ecology, environmental law and related economic issues. If you are interested in fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and in the global warming "hoax", do see Climate Change Litigation in Australia. On client service and relations, Liz Harris has a new blog called Allocatur. In "Are You Defaming Your Client?", she points out that's it's bad enough to have an adversary relationship with your client--and even worse when that comes out in litigation during e-discovery. Finally, Wellington, New Zealand's Geoff Sharp has a blog you'll just have to experience yourself. It's called mediator blah..blah. Great graphics, too. See Geoff's post last month "Meet the Fockers".
One of the most comprehensive resources for client service ideas and education anywhere in the world can be found at the Canadian Bar Association’s CBA Practice Link. And American-lawyer bloggers are familiar with Gerry Riskin's well-known Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices and Toronto-based technology lawyer Rob Hyndman technology. Rob has a terrific recent post entitled Now Bloggers Really Can Be Journalists. Academic blogging is also strong in Canada, too. The University of Toronto Law Faculty Blog is an active and often provocative one. Recently, three UT professors wrote three different commentaries in three different newspapers on a recent Canadian "spousal misconduct" decision you can pick up on here. And Canadian lawyers are batting around the same issues which occupy American legal debate--see "Too Much 'Truthiness' in Judicial Activism Debate". Blawg Review's precocious editors also have introduced us to Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, who focuses almost entirely on IT privacy issues, such as monitoring by ISPs of customer communications. There are quite a few substantive specialty blogs, for example, Michael Fitzgibbon's Thoughts From a Management Lawyer, David Fraser's Canadian Privacy Law Blog, Simon Fodden's popular Slaw, "a co-operative weblog about Canadian legal research and IT" and Christine Mingie's interesting Gaming Law International, a subject which has received increasing coverage at International Bar Association meetings over the past three years.
Other Resources: International Law, Economics and Policy
The American Society of International Law has publishes the "ERG", known formally as the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law. Around since 1997, ASIL's "ERG" is a fabulous site which escaped us--thanks to the Blawg Review editors for pointing it out.
Independence Day in the US last week prompted the usual range of commentary from patriotic to highly critical of American policies here and abroad. On balance, we are happy with and therefore reprise here last year's highly respected July 4th Jeffersonian Blawg Review (#13), by the Editor of Blawg Review. This year, on July 5th, ex-Enron chief Ken Lay died. No shortage of commentary here either, but some of the best was in Peter Lattman's WSJ Law Blog in Lay's Death: Questions and Answers and a later collection of reactions to Lay's demise and its effect on Enron litigation. Another very fine and thoughtful post belonged to Tom Kirkendall at Houston's Clear Thinkers entitled Ken Lay and the Enron Myth. Peter Henning, at his well-respected White Collar Crime Prof Blog, explained the quite-dispositive legal effect of Lay's passing on the criminal proceedings against him in Ken Lay Dies of a Heart Attack, also referred to in Lattman's posts. Larry Ribstein, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, at Ideoblog, prompted a stir by treating Lay insightfully but somewhat sympathetically, as reflected here and here. Do crimes in the "foolish" category really support, in Lay's case, a life sentence in prison? Dave Hoffman at Concurring Opinions came to Ribstein's defense in The Academic Business Judgment Rule. And last week another interesting "event" occurred--it went unnoticed by nearly everyone but the Secrecy News from the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the US statute presumptively requiring release of public record to petitioning citizens, turned 40 on July 4. FOIA is still about as "American" as a statute can get--and it has been replicated by nations all over the globe since Lyndon Johnson signed it into law on July 4, 1966.
"International" Lawyers? Say what?
What's an international lawyer, anyway? A lawyer who knows certain aspects of international law? Or a lawyer, as one joke used to go, "who is just an international kind of person"? Well, maybe both definitions apply these days. It's changing. In America, there's still a longstanding, relatively small, elite and irreplaceable bar of "real" international lawyers. These are your partners down the hall who represent domestic and foreign interests before several US agencies and forums responsible for tariff, trade and customs laws: the Department of Commerce, the International Trade Commission, the Trade Representative's Office, the Court of International Trade, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Customs Service. You may hear them talking about antidumping and countervailing duty law, export controls and unfair trade practices. Another segment of this group does complex transactions involving treaties and laws of jurisdictions abroad. Some have always worked abroad. Others somehow mix diplomacy and business. More recently, many lobby before and/or litigate against foreign governments, and some do commercial arbitrations. Todd Weiler, historically one of the real deals, asks "Am I Still An International Trade Lawyer?" one week ago in International Law and Economic Policy Blog. Excerpt: "I run in two circles: (1) historically and academically, I know a lot of trade law types (trade remedy lawyers, WTO scholars and enthusiasts, etc.); but (2) currently I spend my time with international commercial arbitration lawyers." Todd, to answer your question, your hybrid status in the future may be the rule.
Final Notes and Blawg Review #66.
We hope Blawg Review #65 was interesting--or at least gave you an idea or two. In recent years, "international law" has become a fluid concept that changes even as we were writing this. There are lots of ways to learn more. For starters, the London-based International Bar Association's annual meeting this year will be held 17-22 September 2006 in Chicago, USA. Details are here.
At this blog, we'd like to help "expand the digital conversation" afforded by the blogosphere and keep it full, fresh, inclusive, useful and reflective of our new world. Right now, though, the conversation remains lopsided. Not enough people in the conversation. What About Clients? would love to hear about legal or "international" (you decide) weblogs you can recommend in any language from or about Latin American, eastern European, Africa and Mideastern jurisdictions, and Russia. And we claim no turf here. So start including your own favorite non-US blawgs or blogs about non-US subjects on your blogrolls. Spread the word a little.
With that important request, we conclude Blawg Review #65. We thank the editors of Blawg Review and the creative if mysterious anonymous Editor 'n' Chef for asking us to do this, even if at the last minute. It was an honor. All errors or omissions are due to this hosting blog alone. If you have a site or post you recommend, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll attend to it as quickly as we can.
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Posted by JD Hull at July 10, 2006 10:15 PM
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