Around the Blawgosphere: How Firms Boost Their Bills; Blogger Service Breakdown; Tracking Laterals

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Bill, Baby, Bill

Daniel Fisher writes at the Forbes blog Full Disclosure about ways that law firms inflate their legal bills. A slideshow of nine different methods is provided. Fisher got his answers from David Paige, who spent 18 years litigating legal bills for insurance companies before starting Sterling Analytics. Now companies hire Sterling to go through their legal bills. Fisher starts the post by noting that Baker & Hostetler, in its bill for its work untangling the Madoff Ponzi scheme, has charged the Securities Investor Protection Corp. $2,000 for photocopying, $13,000 for stationery and $50,000 for preparing its bill. Paige told Fisher he would have fought all of the charges; Baker & Hostetler declined to comment to Fisher.

Paige told Fisher he’s noted many firms form separate LLCs to rent out conference rooms and pass those expenses on to clients. The SIPC told Fisher it refused to pay one of its law firms $16,000 in conference room charges.

Blogger Blowup

At the end of last week, Google’s Blogger service went offline, disrupting legal blogs it hosts to varying degrees. Althouse, a blawg by University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse, was hit fairly hard. It was offline for 24 hours, prompting Althouse to start posting at her backup blog and prompting a Save Ann Althouse’s Blog page to spring up on Facebook. Her blog’s archive of more than 23,000 posts was MIA until Tuesday. By Thursday, she wrote that she is working to move the blog out of Blogger and was mulling over URLs. Who knows how many other Blogger users will do the same.

See Where They Went

The Lateral Tracker at LawShucks has been around for well over a year, but the blog’s anonymous author announced this week that he is paying to outsource the data entry, and progress is being made in a long backlog, and hundreds of new entries have recently just been added. At the time of this post, the searchable database seems to have been updated through moves announced May 5.

The Post-Wapner Era

Adam Chandler, a soon-to-be Harvard Law School graduate blogging at Just Enrichment did an informal survey on the Internet Movie Database in an attempt to confirm his suspicion that few white males are cast as judges in scripted TV and film dramas as well as on daytime courtroom shows. The reality is much less diverse, Chandler writes, citing a report (PDF) stating that as of August 2009, 70 percent of federal judges are white men and a study (PDF) stating that as of 2004, 78.4 percent of state judges are male.

Why might this be? “By casting nonwhite actors and women in the judge roles, the directors may simply be trying to obscure the homogeneity of their principal casts by adding a dose of diversity,” Chandler suggests.

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