Read the latest on Legal Mechanics projects
Oct. 2, 2015 - Bluebooking the Bluebook
Attention to detail and bluebooking are important to any legal scholarship. Only the most detail-oriented editors can find bluebooking errors in the Bluebook--or the most detail-oriented Legal Mechanics. For more on the discovery, see the article on Above the Law, WTF Bluebook?! Even More Bluebooking Errors in the Bluebook (credited as @LawBlarg).
Sep. 25, 2015 - Legal Mechanics Celebrates Two Years in Business
It is hard to believe how quickly time can pass while still moving so slow. Two years ago, Legal Mechanics opened, shortly after I became a lawyer. I always insisted I would rather be a writer than a lawyer, and this company has allowed me to do that. Not only have I been able to write a ton, I have been able to work with a number of truly incredible professors and attorneys. Much gratitude to all those who have supported me and this company when such an idea seemed so far-fetched. I look forward to what the future holds in store.
Sep. 19, 2015 - Published Article: Supreme Soup Strainers: Top 10 Supreme Court Mustaches
Informative and humorous article rating the Supreme Court justices by the quality of their mustaches. Published in The Green Bag: An Entertaining Journal of Law as part of their Micro-Symposium, Supreme Court Top Tens. Download on SSRN here or access the entire Green Bag issue here.
Aug. 9, 2015 - Published Blargicle: Scaling Back Marijuana Law: Hallandale Beach
A series of questions and answers addressing Hallandale Beach's new ordinance instituting a civil citation system for marijuana possession under 20 grams. The piece examines the pros and cons of the new approach and predicts how the law will progress as more cities, counties, and states seek responsible marijuana reform. Get your questions answered here.
July 14, 2015 - Published Blargicle: Innovative Punctuation for Innovative Legal Writing‽
Article looks at some of the lesser-known punctuation marks that have not made it into mainstream writing, such as the interrobang, the acclamation point, and the snark mark. The author then creates numerous symbols and punctuation marks that lawyers can use to spruce up their legal writing. Is the world ready for semiperiods and rough quotation marks‽ Judge for yourself here.
May 5, 2015 - Quoted/Photo Credits in New Times Investigation: SWAT City
Quoted discussing the discriminatory use of force by the Hallandale Beach Police Department in the wake of the shooting of the unarmed Howard Bowe during an HBPD pre-dawn SWAT raid. The article notes that of the 38 SWAT raids in Hallandale since 2006, all were carried out in predominantly black communities and none resulted in any substantial drug busts. Read the whole story here.
Mar. 15, 2015 - Book Contract: Carolina Academic Press
Executed a Publication Agreement with Carolina Academic Press to co-author an innovative hornbook for Trusts and Estates students and practitioners. The book, Practice and Proficiency: Wills, Trusts, and Estates is being co-authored by Reid K. Weisbord and Stephen K. Urice. The book will feature a brief, pointed discussion on the most important wills, trusts, and estates issues, followed by numerous short multiple-choice hypotheticals to illustrate the concepts. Expected publication date Spring 2016.
Feb. 27, 2015 - Published Blargicle: The Pink & Yellow Duplex Part II: Peace Talks
Article discusses efforts to improve community-police relations in Hallandale Beach as concerns over the HBPD's use of force continue to mount. Provides an overview of the Hallandale Beach Town Hall on Feb. 26, 2015 which brought together numerous stakeholders to address police use of force generally. Unfortunately, the issue of police use of force specifically in Hallandale Beach was downplayed significantly. Read about the topics covered and the things left unmentioned here.
Feb. 26, 2015 - Panelist: Let's Talk Town Hall, Hallandale Beach Cultural Center
Sat on a panel of eight guests brought together to discuss police use of force issues. Fellow panelists included representatives from the Florida House of Representatives, Broward Public Defender's Office, Department of Justice, Florida State University, and the Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, and Sanford Police Departments. Talk was moderated by Willard Shephard of NBC 6 South Florida.
Jan. 27, 2015 - Published Blargicle: Supreme Unanimity on Same-Sex Marriage: It's About Time
Article analyzed all available case law on same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court's review of the issue. Concluded that the Supreme Court could not uphold same-sex marriage bans based on the overwhelming opinions from the lower courts. Also argued for the importance of the Supreme Court to decide the case unanimously and the importance of unanimity in prior Supreme Court civil rights cases. For a breakdown of the case law leading up to Obergefell, read all about it here.
Jan. 12, 2015 - Credited for Research Assistance on Published Article
Credited for research assistance for work on Beverley Earle & Marianne Delpo Kulow, The "Deeply Toxic" Damage Caused by the Abolition of Mandatory Retirement and Its Collision with Tenure in Higher Education: A Proposal for Statutory Repair, 24 So. Cal. Interdisc. l. J. 369 (2015). The article proposes a new approach to tenure that would allow universities to reevaluate and restructure a professor's tenure once the professor reaches seventy years old. Article available here.
Jan. 6, 2015 - Published Blargicle: Florida's New Normal: Marriage Equality
After attending a mass same-sex wedding at the Broward County Courthouse the night Florida's same-sex marriage ban ended, I reflect on the journey Florida LGBTQ couples had to take to achieve equality. Includes photos from the ceremony and impressions from participants. To celebrate this achievement and the love of the hundreds of men and women who got married that evening, read about it here.
Dec. 19, 2014 - Major Updates to @LawBlarg Make it More User-Friendly
Running a blawg is not an easy task; running a blarg is even harder. @LawBlarg seeks not only to present entertaining and informative content, but to push the boundaries of how legal scholarship could and should be presented. Building upon some of the other innovative features, @LawBlarg now makes it easier to subscribe, download articles, find related posts, and learn more about the authors. @LawBlarg has come a long way in a little under a year. Looking forward to continuing to develop this model. As always, you can visit or subcribe to @LawBlarg at http://blarg.legalmechanics.us.
Dec. 18, 2014 - Quoted in Sun Sentinel re: Police Use of Force
In the summer of 2014, Law Blarg began investigating numerous instances of police shootings and excessive force accusations in the small city of Hallandale Beach, FL. The City Commission (partially) acknowledged their need to address police use of force issues and hired an outside consulting firm to review the HBPD's actions. Questions abound re: who these consultants are and how they will approach problems particular to the community. Article available here.
Nov. 21, 2014 - Published Blargicle: What is Legal Scholarship Worth?
An analysis of the value of works of legal scholarship, particularly law review articles. The article incorporates works collected for the JOTWELL (The Journal of Things We Like (Lots)) Fifth Anniversary Conference, Legal Scholarship We Like and Why It Matters. Ultimately, I determine that the best way to measure the worth of online legal scholarship is to read it. To measure the worth of that conclusion, read my argument here.
Nov. 7, 2014 - Credited for "Invaluable Assistance" on Published Article
Providing legal research is particularly rewarding when authors you work with get published. In The Penumbra of the United States' Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Brazil's Clean Companies Act and Implications for the Pharmaceutical Industry, 13 Richmond J. Global L. & Bus. 439 (2014), Beverley Earle and Anita Cava evaluate Brazil's attempts to combat corruption through the lens of international experience with similar laws. Download the article from SSRN here.
Oct. 15, 2014 - Winner: Green Bag's Lunchtime Law Quiz
Each week, Green Bag presents a difficult legal research question for their readers. The prize is a rare Supreme Court bobblehead. This week, Legal Mechanics added a Justice James Iredell bobblehead to its legal memorabilia collection by paying close attention to the litigants involved in a 1951 British case in which a woman was hit in the head with a cricket ball.
Sep. 10, 2014 - Published Blargicle: The Pink and Yellow Duplex: Howard Bowe and Police Militarization
In May 2014, Howard Bowe and his dog, Tank, were shot and killed by police during a pre-dawn SWAT raid designed to execute a drug warrant. In the months that followed, few details were made available to the public. Bowe became merely a statistic; one more unarmed black man killed by police. After collecting the available information, many questions remain unanswered, but reform is needed to address dangerous police tactics that lead to preventable tragedies. Read about Howard Bowe here.
Aug. 18, 2014 - Published Blargicle: Bullets Can't Discriminate: A Poem
A slam poem designed to pay homage to Michael Brown, but ultimately an indictment of the lack of sensible gun control in America by imagining an indictment of the bullets involved in shooting deaths. To read why bullets are always innocent, read the poem here.
July 31, 2014 - Published Blargicle: The Sarah Palin Channel: Boilerplagiarism and the Lanham Act
Sarah Palin has launched her own paid-subscription channel for those who simply cannot get enough of the former Alaskan governor. However, her website looks suspiciously like the New Life TV website, raising questions both of trademark infringement and false advertising. Did Palin violate the Lanham Act? Judge for yourself here.
July 24, 2014 - Published Blargicle: Giving Lethal Injection the Axe
Following the botched execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona, questions continue to be raised regarding whether the current methods of lethal injection should be considered cruel and unusual under the 8th Amendment. This author suggests a more humane form of capital punishment: the guillotine. While unusual, a quick beheading is not cruel, nor is there much risk of something going wrong. This sharp, pointed argument is available here.
July 22, 2014 - Credited for "Invaluable Research Assistance" on Published Article
A set of authors gets published in their target journal and Legal Mechanics gets a nod of gratitude. Congratulations to Don Mayer, Anita Cava, and Catharyn Baird on their publication in the American Business Law Journal. Their article, Crime and Punishment (or the Lack Thereof) for Financial Fraud in the Subprime Mortgage Meltdown: Reasons and Remedies for Legal and Ethical Lapses, 51 Am. Bus. L. J. 515 (2014) addresses why there have been so few high-level prosecutions for financial fraud around the subprime mortgage crisis. Access the article through the Wiley Online Library here.
July 2, 2014 - Published Blargicle: No Rational Basis for Defending Florida's Same-Sex Marriage Bans
Florida Attorney General Pam Bond filed a brief defending Florida's same-sex marriage ban by arguing that such bans bear a rational relationship to "responsible procreation and childrearing." The brief disingenuously omits the majority of case law that has found such arguments to be laughable. Bondi's brief misunderstands and misrepresents the law. The brief, and Florida's same-sex marriage bans, will inevitably fail. To see why, read more here.
June 23, 2014 - Published Blargicle: Florida's Pop-Tart Gun Bill is as Dumb as it Gets
In Florida, no NRA-approved gun bill is too ridiculous for the legislature. Take for example, the Pop-Tart Gun Bill, a reactionary, ill-conceived piece of legislation passed in reaction to the suspension of a Maryland elementary school student for chewing his toaster pastry into the shape of a gun. Fearful that Florida children's Second Amendment rights might get infringed, the Florida government quickly passed a bill protecting children's rights to simulate weapons. Or something. To read why this new law is stupid and useless, read about it here.
May 20, 2014 - Published Article: Before the Smoke Cleared: Decision-Making in the Immediate Aftermath of 9/11
This article, published in The University of Miami Law Review, examines the major decisions made in the four-day perios between September 11, 2001 and September 14, 2001. The article discusses the biases and heuristics that affect decision-making in the wake of a terrorist attack and demonstrates how leaders failed to account for those biases when initially responding to the 9/11 attacks. Read the article here or download it on SSRN here.
May 15, 2014 - Grand Opening of the Legal Mechanics Law Library
The Legal Mechanics’ Law Library is designed to promote access to all of the scholarly literature on legal scholarship. The goal is to further the craft of legal scholarship by tracing the history of legal scholarship. What makes for a good law review article? What makes for a good law review? Many have tried to answer such questions over the years. Rather than try to answer this question myself, I instead provide the materials for anyone interested in cultivating a better understanding of the role legal scholarship has played over the past century.
The Library opens with an initial collection of more than 400 works from four countries. All titles link to PDF copies of the work, if available. Wherever possible, the link will take the reader to a free copy of the work (e.g., Digital Commons, SSRN). If a work is not publicly available, the link will take the reader to a commercially available version of the work (e.g., HeinOnline, JSTOR). Most works are available to the general public. All should be easily accessible for law students and faculty. Due to the size of the collection, the Library is divided into various wings. Each wing is named in honor of an author who contributed greatly to the understanding and advancement of the legal written word.
The Rodell Wing: Journal articles from 1930 to 1979.
The Cramton Wing: Journal articles from 1980 to 1989.
The Harry T. Edwards Wing: Journal articles from 1991 to 1993.
The Hibbitts Wing: Journal article from 1994 to 1996.
The Landes Wing: Journal articles from 1997 to 2000.
The Posner Wing: Journal articles from 2001 to 2006.
The Linda H. Edwards Wing: Journal articles from 2007 to 2014.
Apr. 9, 2014 - Published Blargicle: The Case of the Pawlographic Will
A tribute to my amazing, loyal dog, Fuzz, who passed away. To deal with the loss, I imagined what Fuzz's Last Will and Testament might look like and what legal issues might arise if trying to probate such a will. Although I still do not believe that a dog can form a valid will, I do believe I was able to honor Fuzz's testamentary wishes. Form your own belief by reading Fuzz's will here.
March 23, 2014 - Published Blargicle: The Emperors' New "Clothes": Exposing Collar Bias in the Federal Judiciary
Discussing the Supreme Court's decision in Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., 134 S. Ct. 870 (2014). The Court decided unanimously that time steelworkers spent putting on and taking off protective gear was noncompensable. This case raises the question of whether there is "collar bias" in the federal courts when blue collar workers face off against white collar workers. This may also be important because most federal judges come from white collar backgrounds and may insufficiently understand the nature of steelwork or pipefitting. Determine if collar bias exists by reading about it here.
Feb. 12, 2014 - Published Article: Lives Revisited: Drawing the Line Between History and Hollywood
This case note discusses Tyne v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., 204 F. Supp. 2d 1338 (M.D. Fla. 2002), which dealt with the legal issues surrounding the movie The Perfect Storm. This article was published in The Florida Historical Quarterly as part of a symposium celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida.
Jan. 13, 2014 - Published Blargicle: Honest Services Fraud and the Christie Bridge Scandal
The extent of "Bridgegate" is yet to be known, but the extent of the Honest Services Fraud statute following the Supreme Court decision in Skilling v. United States is yet to be known, either. The Skilling decision limited the application of the honest services fraud statute to cases involving bribes or kickbacks, but did little to define what constitutes the "intangible right to honest services." This piece argues that the behavior involved--purposefully harming the public for political payback--was a deprivation of honest services. If bribes or kickbacks could be tied to those actions, those involved could be prosecuted under this theory. Federal prosecutors and curious readers can track this theory here.
Jan. 4, 2014 - Legal Mechanics Launches @LawBlarg, the World's First Law Blarg
More scholarly than a blawg, less serious than a journal, @LawBlarg seeks to create a middle ground that permits legal scholars to publish short, well-written, well-cited research pieces in non-traditional formats. @LawBlarg encourages the use of elements not typically seen in legal research to maximize the capabilities of the digital realm. @LawBlarg's inaugural blargicle, Unreasonable Seizures on the Interstate asks whether police stopping traffic to provide escorts to sports teams and celebrities can constitute unreasonable seizures under the Fourth Amendment. While such stops are often considered de minimis, the piece raises questions about police power, preferential treatment, and questionable expenditures. Read about these intrusions here.