Around the Blawgosphere

Should napping at work be encouraged? | Federal judge returns to popular blog with an announcement

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U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf announced in January that he would stop posting at Hercules and the Umpire.

But the judge logged back on a week ago and told readers that he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “Because I made such a fuss about legal realism and transparency while this blog was active, remaining silent seemed dishonest,” he wrote, adding that he expects to start treatment next week.

Kopf managed to blend legal musings with personal health updates in two subsequent posts:

Tuesday, he said he hoped to learn more about his chemotherapy regiment, so he “can start planning on how to balance my caseload with the demands of treatment. … I can’t make any firm plans until I have a better insight into what may be ahead. In this regard, I am very sensitive to the fact that lawyers need to know where they stand, but feel awkward inquiring. (‘Say Judge, I know you have cancer and all, but are you going to be able to try my fucking case that you continued twice already?’)”

Thursday, he said he discussed Colorado’s marijuana legalization with the doctor as his chemotherapy port was installed. “The doc told me that in Colorado the ‘black’ market for weed remains strong. Pot heads go to the local ‘dispensary’ and buy the legal pot. In turn, they get a receipt that proves the weed is legal. After that, they buy illegal, but high-grade, dope on the streets at far cheaper prices than can be obtained from the regulated dispensaries. The stoner carries the receipt from the previous purchase of legal pot to fake out the police regarding the illicit pot purchase.”

We wish Judge Kopf luck with his treatment, and welcome the return of his blog.

Encouraging sleeping at work?

At Employment Law Blog, Texas lawyer Monica Velazquez heard a radio story about sleep deprivation and the installation of sleep pods at universities at offices with the aim of enhancing health and productivity. This had Velazquez wondering whether sleep pods or nap rooms belong in the workplace.

“As an employment lawyer and weary of legal traps, the answer is no,” Velazquez wrote.”While sleep pods are generally designed to hold only one person (thankfully, not designed for hanky-panky), what if the employee is assaulted or inappropriately touched by another employee while they are in deep sleep? Is the time break time spent in the sleep pod compensable time under the [Fair Labor Standards Act] which must be paid to the employee? Can you deduct such sleep time so that you don’t have to pay overtime?” And her list of questions went on.

‘More evolved’ in London

Law firm consultant Bruce MacEwen has been attending meetings in London and shared some observations at Adam Smith, Esq.

“Overall, the market here strikes me as a few years beyond—more evolved—than the U.S. market,” MacEwen wrote.”Why this is so I have no theory, but firms in general talk more crisply, with more precision and resolution, about the need for a clearly articulated and distinctive strategy, and more importantly, can do a credible job of explaining why that strategy and positioning will offer the a distinction that clients can benefit from and understand in ways that are self-evident.”

In London, globalization is on everyone’s mind, MacEwen wrote. “When you’re a 243-thousand square mile nation of 63 million people (the U.K.) and not a 3,718-thousand square mile nation of 318 million people (the US), any large ambitions will soon have you looking abroad. … The resulting attitudinal distinction is crystal clear; talk in the U.K. takes the prospect, if not the necessity of extraterritorial expansion as a given.”

Still, MacEwen thinks that “New York, and by extension US, law firms, are more than amply capable competitors to London and U.K. firms. You should not be surprised to read on a publication invoking the name of the godfather of capitalism that my default and preferred attitude towards competition is, ‘bring it on.’ “

Bankruptcy brackets

Men’s NCAA basketball brackets won’t come out until Sunday, but Weil’s Bankruptcy Blog has already started its own March Madness. The blog announced last month that it was creating “brackets of the greatest quotes from bankruptcy-related decisions: think Ron Artest style (pre-Metta World Peace) brawling with fans, only instead of watching it on ESPN, we want to read about it in a decision.”

Quotes from opinions are matched up head-to-head, and readers can vote for their favorites via a survey mechanism. Voting in the “Sweet Sixteen” only continues through 12 p.m. ET Friday, March 14, Bankruptcy Blog noted. But tournament play will continue in coming weeks, so stay tuned.

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