GC Cheat Sheet: The Hottest Corporate News Of The Week

The U.S. Senate will soon consider an antitrust bill aimed at restricting Big Tech’s search practices, and the clash between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Cooley LLP leads to ethical questions about when a law firm is duty-bound to ignore a big corporate client’s wishes. These are some of the stories in corporate legal news you may have missed in the past week. … Law professor David Wilkins, director of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, said based on the story’s facts that such a request was “absolutely outrageous.” Clients can ask to remove an attorney they don’t like from working on the clients’ matters, Wilkins told Law360 Pulse, but they have no right to ask a firm to fire the lawyer.

The Boston Police gang database gets overdue attention

For years, the Boston Police Department’s notorious gang database has troubled local elected officials and civil rights advocates, who have raised serious concerns about the list of suspected associates of criminal street gangs: What makes someone land in the database? How exactly it is being used by police and other law enforcement agencies? How effective is the list overall in preventing crime? … But the changes haven’t satisfied critics. “To be honest, in terms of the what exactly [BPD] has changed and how effective that’s been, it’s still a little opaque,” said Phillip Torrey, director of the Crimmigration Clinic at Harvard Law School. The clinic offered expertise in the recently won case in the Appeals Court. “And to my knowledge, they still use this arbitrary point system where I’ve seen cases of people who get X amount of points for talking to somebody who BPD thinks is a gang affiliate. And then another person does the exact same thing and they get Y amount of points. So, I haven’t seen consistency within that sort of arbitrary point system.”

Upcycled Certified™ Products Projected to Prevent Millions of Pounds of Annual Food Waste

New data from the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) shows upcycled products are having an unprecedented and growing impact on the ability to prevent food waste. The organization predicts that the 141 Upcycled Certified™ products and ingredients they have certified will have the ability to prevent more than 703 million pounds of food waste per year. “Upcycled foods use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment,” according to an official definition co-authored by Harvard Law School [Food Law and Policy Clinic], Drexel University, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), ReFED, and other experts.

Harvard Clinic Helps Prisoners with Religion at Supreme Court

Religion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Supreme Court’s latest criminal-sentencing dispute. But it’s “lurking in the background,” Joshua McDaniel said on Bloomberg Law’s Cases and Controversies podcast. Harvard Law’s religious-freedom clinic director explained what the new clinic does and how it got involved in that sentencing case, Concepcion v. United States. The clinic’s amicus brief highlighted spiritual growth and conversion as powerful evidence of rehabilitation for prisoners seeking resentencing under the First Step Act.

Unilever ‘may be unable to offload ice cream’, lawyers warn

Unilever faces an uphill battle to sell Ben & Jerry’s, with lawyers warning that the ice-cream brand’s Left-wing political activism could pose problems for any prospective buyer. The consumer goods giant unveiled ambitions last week to offload parts of its business, including lower-growth food brands, in an effort to supercharge a push into health and hygiene. … Jesse Fried, Dane Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, said any new buyer for Ben & Jerry’s would “step into the shoes of Unilever and inherit the current board arrangement, as the merger agreement binds Unilever as well as any successors”. He said a new owner could decide to litigate against the issue – and in his view, they would win the right to override Ben & Jerry’s board decisions.

What the Joe Rogan podcast controversy says about the online misinformation ecosystem

An open letter urging Spotify to crack down on COVID-19 misinformation has gained the signatures of more than a thousand doctors, scientists and health professionals spurred by growing concerns over anti-vaccine rhetoric on the audio app’s hit podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. … “Wherever you have users generating content, you’re going to have all of the same content moderation issues and controversies that you have in any other space,” said Evelyn Douek, a research fellow at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute.

Fla. Appellate Judge Scolds Atty For Misgendering Her

A Florida appellate judge used her dissenting opinion in a parental rights case to call out a Miami-based attorney for misgendering her twice in a court filing, saying it “does not appear to be a typographical error.” … But Kendra Albert, a technology lawyer and clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic who uses plural pronouns, shared a different take on the judge’s opinion, saying, “Perhaps next time this judge can try and make her point without what absolutely reads as weird dig at trans people? ‘Granted, gendered pronouns are tricky in this day and age…'”

DC Circ. Is Told Digital Copyright Law Chills Free Speech

Advocates for the disabled, public libraries and documentary filmmakers have urged the D.C. Circuit to rule that a law making it a crime to circumvent technical features controlling access to copyrighted works violates the First Amendment. … Copyright scholars Pamela Samuelson of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and Rebecca Tushnet of Harvard Law School also filed an amicus brief Wednesday, arguing that the provisions “disregard and override traditional mechanisms within the Copyright Act that struck the balance between copyright protection and First Amendment interests.”

‘The Situation Is Dire’: California’s Tule Elk Face Biggest Threat Yet

Over 25 percent of the tule elk herd held behind a fence in California’s Point Reyes National Seashore have died this summer. The loss of 72 elk, who faced slow, agonizing deaths from thirst and starvation, brings the population to its lowest since 1993. While the tule elk herd dwindles, an ongoing court battle is being fought over how the National Park Service is managing them. … According to Kate Barnekow, lead attorney on the Harvard Law lawsuit, the National Park Service announced in December their intention to revise the General Management Plan over the next three years. Tellingly, this announcement came one day before the Park Service was due to respond to the lawsuit in court. Barnekow is concerned that this is an attempt by the Park Service to avoid being told by the court to update the plan, calling it “just another move in a decades-long history to avoid taking actions that they are legally required–as well as ethically obligated–to take.”

Gov. Baker responds to Gov. Sununu letter accusing Massachusetts judge in case of missing Harmony Montgomery

Gov. Charlie Baker weighed in on the outrage and questions surrounding the disappearance of 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s accusations against a Massachusetts judge in the case. … “I do not think it’s the appropriate response,” said Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard child welfare expert. Bartholet said Baker and the legislature know enough already to change current state policy, which she said too often gives unfit biological parents the benefit of the doubt.