From the Interwebs: ALL CAPS, Law Firm Names, and Big Bang Ambiguity

by Brian Rogers on February 11, 2012

in From the Interwebs

Here are a few pieces from the Internet I’ve enjoyed recently. You might want to take a peek.

What’s in a Name? A lot of people were surprised to learn from a Reuters story this week that there’s neither King nor Wood at the Chinese mega-firm King & Wood &mdash nor has there ever been. As I understand it, in the olden days, it was universally considered to be unethical for a law firm to use anything other than real life practicing lawyers in its name (or former real life practicing lawyers who have passed on). Apparently, there was a feeling that law firm clients are easily confused, and that feeling (and rule) still prevails in several states. Fortunately, law firms in Missouri are now free to operate under fictitious names, which paved the way for my favorite: leadfootspeedingticket.com. (Shameless plug.) It also simplifies things when the ten name partners can’t decide who should take one for the team and fall off the masthead.

NO MORE ALL CAPS IN CONTRACTS. Judge Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit wrote in an opinion in 2002, “Lawyers who think their caps lock keys are instant ‘make conspicuous’ buttons are deluded.” That statement, which I discovered a couple of weeks ago in the Teaching Away blog, came to mind this week when I read Three Cheers for the Manicule at IP Draughts. The manicule (a graphic of a bodiless hand with index finger outstretched) was once commonly used to point to important provisions in contracts. Now contract drafters often rely on the counterproductive all caps type, which is difficult to read.

Stuck on You. Bankruptcies caused by student loan debt are on the rise. Unfortunately, as a general rule, not even bankruptcy will make your student loans go away, as Above the Law explains.

Facebook IPO as a Federal Deficit Reduction Strategy. Well, Facebook finally filed its S-1 to get the ball rolling on its IPO, and it surely put a skip in Uncle Sam’s step. A lot of heretofore untaxed income will be recognized as a result of the IPO, and the tax bills will have a lot of zeros. The Conglomerate breaks it down in a surprisingly easy to read piece.

Big Bang Theory and Ambiguity. The ContractsProf Blog linked to a clip from the Big Bang Theory that dabbles in contract interpretation. Leonard’s lawyer girlfriend helps him fend off Sheldon’s charges of breaching the roommate agreement.

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