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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thinkers and Doers: March 20, 2014

Professors Joan Williams, Robin Feldman, David Levine, Joel Paul, Eumi Lee, Research Fellow Brian Pascal, Michael Kelly '76, Eugene Ryu '00.
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In a rare public rebuke of American prosecutors’ request on accessing a person’s e-mail, a federal magistrate judge in the District of Columbia has denied a government warrant request to search an unnamed user’s @mac.com e-mail address, citing the request as being over broad. See story below. Photo credit: Eric Constantineau, Montreal.

Joan Williams

Joan WilliamsToday, women are leading the legal departments at 21 percent of Fortune 500 companies, compared with 17 percent in 2009 and only 15 percent a decade ago. And one of them, Karen Roberts at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., heads the legal team at the nation's largest corporation. In fact, there are four women GCs in the top 17 companies—nearly 25 percent.

Women lawyers have been moving in-house for a variety of reasons. Professor Joan C. Williams (@JoanCWilliams), founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law, says that many women who entered law firms and wanted to have children found a better work-life balance at corporations that offered eight-hour workdays. Also, she says, 20 years ago, going in-house was seen as less prestigious than being in private practice. "It was seen as a second choice, and therefore open to women," Williams explains.

But times have changed, Williams notes, and today a quest for diversity can push a company to seek a woman GC. Read more from Corporate Counsel here.

Robin Feldman

Professor Robin Feldman’s research was cited in a San Jose Mercury News editorial, “Patent Trolls Finally Are in the Cross Hairs.” The editorial reads: Patent trolls are Robin Feldmancreatures that prey on Silicon Valley. They're so evil, they give other trolls a bad name.

It isn't just an issue for Silicon Valley stalwarts. According to a study by Feldman (@RobinCFeldman), 1 in 3 startup companies and 70 percent of venture capitalists are hit with patent challenges, many of them bogus. Read the full editorial here.

David Levine

Professor David Levine weighed in on allegations of sexual harassment made by a San Francisco tech employee who says she was bullied and harassed by her CEO.

David Levine"I’ve been harassed by leadership at Github for two years and I’m the first development to quit. I regret defending Github's culture to feminists for the last two years," Julie Horvath tweeted.

"The idea is an employer has an obligation to maintain an environment where everybody's comfortable," Levine told KTVU.

Levine says workplace harassment on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation and other protected classes is a violation of federal law. "It is an issue that is all-too-prevalent, that is pretty wide spread," Levine said.

He says there are steps victims can take if they feel that they’re experiencing workplace harassment.

"Complaining to the supervisor, documenting it, going to your human resources department, these are all things that are important to do," he said. Read the full story here.

Brian Pascal

Research Fellow Brian Pascal (@bhpascal) spoke with Ars Technica about a rare denial by a magistrate judge to the government’s request for a warrant to search a @mac.com email address, calling it overbroad.

Brian PascalLegal scholars note that this case is the latest example of increasing judicial scrutiny in recent years against the government’s overreach in its attempt to gather digital data in criminal investigations.

“I think it reflects a growing recognition that we can't treat e-mail as a separate, less-protected form of communication, either as a matter of law or as a matter of practice,” Pascal, who is with the Institute for Innovation’s Privacy and Technology Project told Ars. “It's just how we talk these days.” Read more (and check out the great Lego illustration) here.

Joel Paul

Joel PaulProfessor Joel Paul has a cameo in the upcoming documentary “Anita,” from Academy-award winning director Frieda Mock.
In 1991, Paul was the first to corroborate Anita Hill’s allegations that she was sexually harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Paul testified for five hours on national television before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearings were riveting, and sparked a renewed surge of feminist outrage over workplace harassment in America.

Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Hill is now a law professor at Brandeis University.

Paul hosted an opening of the film in San Francisco, and spoke in a Q&A after the film. Read more about to the film here.

Eumi Lee

Eumi LeeProfessor Eumi Lee has been voted President-Elect/Vice President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Bay Area.

AABA is one of the oldest and largest Asian American and Pacific Islander bar associations in the nation and one of the largest minority bar associations in the State of California. Through the work of over a dozen active committees, ranging from Judiciary, Civil Rights, and Community Services, to In-House Counsel, Mentorship, and Public Service, our members are actively involved in our communities and in advocating for the advancement of minority lawyers and judges.

Lee is a Clinical Professor of Law. She teaches the Criminal Practice Clinic and the Individual Representation Clinic, which serves low-income clients in employment, clean slate, and benefits cases, as well as seminars on professional responsibility. She has developed and taught training programs on legal ethics in a variety of contexts.

George Bisharat

Professor George Bisharat has recorded his first CD of blues and jazz. He sings and plays harmonica on 12 tracks (six covers, six original works). He is joined by top blues artists such as Little Charlie Baty (guitar), Kid Andersen (bass, standup bass, guitar), Chis Burns on keyboards, and others.

Michael Kelly

Michael A. Kelly '76 of San Francisco has been selected as the CAL-ABOTA 2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year.

Recognized as the highest honor a California trial lawyer can receive, the CAL-ABOTA TLOY is awarded annually to a recipient who exhibits the best traits of a trial lawyer – excellence in advocacy, a distinguished career and a reputation for civility, ethics and fair play. Kelly is name partner of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. Read more here.

Eugene Ryu

Eugene RyuEugene Ryu ’00 was profiled in Hyphen magazine for his work as a director on the board of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California, where he leads the pro bono committee that organizes free law clinics twice a year.

“It’s not just for our parents’ generation that we [KABANC] spend so much time doing this stuff,” says Ryu. “It’s also for our kids, to show them, ‘Look, you can do anything, you can be active in the community, you can be Asian and do whatever you want to do. You don’t have to adhere to any kind of preconceptions, stereotypes, or misconceptions.”

Ryu is a partner at Littler Mendelson. You can read the full interview here.

Read more Thinkers & Doers here.

--March 20, 2014

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