Sound Bites From a Legal Marketing and BD Conference

Law firm marketers and business development leaders congregated this week at the University Club of New York to discuss how to land new business by mapping out and executing firm strategy, maintaining a digital media presence and working collaboratively with practicing lawyers…Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Fellow and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School: “The word I hate is ‘cross-selling.’ Clients hate to be cross-sold. If I’m a tax partner and I talk to a client and say, ‘Hey, can I bring my real estate partner along?’ Clients tell me that they think it’s demeaning and condescending. They say, ‘What, do you think I’m stupid and don’t have someone looking over my real estate contracts for me?’ Cross selling is the equivalent of, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ Loyalty is another word I don’t like…. Clients say, ‘Like it or not, I’m kind of stuck with my firm that gives me this cross-disciplinary services, because no other firm is going to match that.’ It’s grudging loyalty.

In brief: capsule reviews of four recent nonfiction titles

Did you know that there actually is a correlation between the incidents of shark attacks and tornados? It’s a decently strong one (77.4 percent), if you graph the numbers over the years 2002-2010. It’s also, like most of the correlations plotted by Harvard Law student Tyler Vigen [`16], more or less total coincidence, just like the correlation between “US supply of shrimp” and “People killed by sharp glass,” (90.4 percent) or “Physical retail sales of video games” and “UFO sightings in Massachusetts” (91.6 percent). Although it is often funny, Vigen adds that “this book has a serious side. Graphs can lie, and not all correlations are indicative of an underlying causal connection.” We may love to contemplate the data that seem to connect sharks and tornados (who wouldn’t?), but Vigen’s reminder is important when we’re faced with spurious correlations in the wild, played not for laughs but to mislead.

Why China’s OK With North Korea’s Nuclear Nuttiness

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Asia has gone nuts for nukes this week. On the heels of a Pentagon report that China is loading multiple warheads onto its intercontinental missiles, North Korea announced Wednesday that it has developed warheads of its own, making the transition from a nuclear-capable power to a nuclear-loaded one. The North Koreans may be lying or exaggerating, of course. But even so, the announcement augurs a new stage in the complex relationship between China and North Korea.

Why a French Court Could Disrupt Facebook’s Global Ambitions

Companies fear that if its users, like the French teacher, win cases against them, it could require them to tailor-make their sites for each specific country’s laws — an expensive task even in the E.U., which has 28 member states. That makes the issue of jurisdiction key to many cases. “This question that is on everyone’s minds right now, not only for Facebook but also Google and Twitter, because all these entities have international scope and reach,” says Adam Holland, project coordinator for the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. “We don’t want to let local laws dictate global policy, because where will that end?”…Companies fear that if its users, like the French teacher, win cases against them, it could require them to tailor-make their sites for each specific country’s laws — an expensive task even in the E.U., which has 28 member states. That makes the issue of jurisdiction key to many cases. “This question that is on everyone’s minds right now, not only for Facebook but also Google and Twitter, because all these entities have international scope and reach,” says Adam Holland, project coordinator for the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. “We don’t want to let local laws dictate global policy, because where will that end?”

Warren was paid up to $90,000 as witness in 2000 trade case

Elizabeth Warren is trying to kill President Barack Obama’s trade agenda by raising the specter that foreign companies could use an investor-friendly arbitration system to circumvent the U.S. court system…In the 2000 case, Loewen Group filed its dispute against the U.S. government after suffering an expensive legal setback in a business lawsuit in Mississippi. Loewen brought in some big legal guns, including Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, an Obama mentor who is now siding with Warren against the president’s trade deal…Meanwhile, Tribe submitted testimony on Loewen’s behalf calling the Mississippi court decisions a travesty and arguing that an ISDS tribunal should decide the claim because no other avenues were available. Tribe’s participation is notable because of a letter he cosigned last month to House and Senate leaders expressing “grave concern about a document we have not been able to see,” referring to the possibility that the Asia-Pacific trade deal still under negotiation could include ISDS provisions.

China’s Cold War Nostalgia

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. “Mad Men” may be over, but no one told Xi Jinping. China’s decision to put multiple warheads into its intercontinental ballistic missiles, an approach traditionally associated with a first-strike threat, is projecting China’s stance back into a Cold War mindset. The development is symbolically significant, because China has had multiple warhead technology, known as MIRV, for years, but has never before chosen to deploy it. The decision puts the U.S. on notice that China won’t react passively to increasing containment efforts in the Pacific. And it also tells a domestic audience that President Xi’s vision of the “Chinese dream” isn’t simply economic but also deeply nationalistic and even militaristic.

It’s Time to Bring Edward Snowden Home

…During his speech against the Patriot Act, [Rand] Paul leaned heavily on the information that Snowden brought to light. That’s because Snowden has transformed the debate in this country—and in the world—over surveillance. Given that fact, it’s more than a little strange that the most famous whistleblower in recent U.S. history shouldn’t be here to speak up as we consider the results of his handiwork. Which is why it is time to bring Edward Snowden home to America and let him make the case for his freedom in front of a jury of his peers…The courts can settle this matter, but only if they are allowed to consider the legality of the secrets Snowden disclosed. USC-Berkeley Journalism Dean Edward Wasserman and Harvard Law School Professor Yochai Benkler believe there should be a public interest defense to protect whistleblowers in cases like Snowden’s.

Grounded gyrocopter pilot won’t end protests

Doug Hughes, the Florida postal worker who landed a gyrocopter on the U.S. Capitol grounds last month and set off alarms about airspace security, made a lower-key return to the nation’s capital Wednesday. He arrived by car, wearing a GPS-enabled ankle bracelet that transmits his every move to federal authorities. He’s no less passionate, however, about the cause that could cost him his job and freedom — overhauling the nation’s campaign-finance system and ending what he sees as the rampant corruption on Capitol Hill…Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor and a leading voice on campaign reform, emailed Hughes after his arrest and “thanked him for his service,” Lessig told USA Today. Sometimes, Lessig said, “you need outrageous behavior to draw attention to the outrageousness of the existing system.”

Is the stock market safe for average investors? Yes and no

Americans have missed out on investment gains, discouraged by an uneven playing field created by Wall Street. U.S. stocks have more than tripled since bottoming out in March 2009 during the Great Recession, rising in value by a staggering $12.8 trillion. But the average American household has been left behind. Most of the gains went to the wealthy and institutional investors including investment banks and hedge funds. Fewer than half of U.S. households own stocks either directly or indirectly, down from a peak of more than 53% in 2007…A paper by Harvard Law School professor Lucian Bebchuk found that CEOs who earn more than the average “pay slice” of 35% of a firm’s total compensation for its top five executives significantly underperform their peers. That is because such companies make poor acquisition decisions, reward their CEOs for “luck” when industry conditions improve, fail to hold CEOs accountable for poor performance, and grant options that are timed “opportunistically,” Bebchuk found.