Category: Administrative Announcements


Introducing Guest Blogger Laura Heymann

heymann1a.jpgWe are delighted that Laura Heymann will be joining us as a guest for the next few weeks. Laura is currently a law professor at the College of William & Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she joined the faculty in 2005 and teaches in the fields of intellectual property and torts. Before joining the W&M faculty, she was the inaugural Frank H. Marks Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Administrative Fellow in the Intellectual Property Law Program at The George Washington University Law School. She’s also served as an assistant general counsel at America Online, Inc.; as an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C.; and as a law clerk to the Hon. Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Some of Laura’s publications include: Inducement as Contributory Copyright Infringement: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 37 International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law 31 (2006) and The Birth of the Authornym: Authorship, Pseudonymity, and Trademark Law, 80 Notre Dame Law Review 1377 (2005).

A Fond Farewell

I just wanted to thank the ConOp crew–the Dans, Kaimi, & Dave–for letting me guest-blog here. It’s been great trying to write for a wider audience. I admire how the “wisdom of crowds” in the comment section can lead to some real synergies–either via correcting errors (thanks to Maryland Conservatarian for challenging all progressive shibboleths!) or just aggregating knowledge (and here I’ll highlight the many commenters on my post on publishing student work…their opinions may well be more valuable than the post itself). I should also thank Alfredo Perez of Political Theory Daily Review, an absolute must-read metablog , which often led me to the stories I commented on over the past month.

Leaving is somewhat sweet (no more pressure to say something unconventional!), but also bitter (given that there’s so much more to say!). I wish I’d had time to comment on the literary form of blogging (a topic suggested by Clay Shirky’s insightful commentary on Elizabeth Spiers’ pioneering work in the genre here), blogging as social science, improving law teaching (there certainly should be great wisdom in crowds here, as Peter Schuck suggests), and Eric Goldman’s and James Grimmelmann’s work on search engines (a topic that’s fascinated me for some time). But that just sets the agenda for my visit to PrawfsBlawg in May. Hopefully I’ll see you then!


Introducing Guest Blogger Melissa Waters

waters-melissa.jpgWe are delighted to have Melissa Waters join us as a guest blogger over the next several weeks. Melissa is a law professor at Washington & Lee Law School, where she teaches international law, foreign relations law, civil procedure, and conflicts of law. She received both her J.D. and her B.A. from Yale University, and did graduate work at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. Prior to entering law teaching, Professor Waters was a law clerk to Judge Morris S. Arnold on the Eighth Circuit, and a litigator at Williams & Connolly in Washington, DC.

From 2000-2001, she worked at the U.S. Department of State as Senior Advisor to Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor. She also served as a consultant to the Soros Foundation Open Society Institute, and as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve Law School.

Her current research focuses on the role of domestic courts as mediators between the domestic and international legal regimes, and on the impact of transnational judicial dialogue on the development of international legal norms. She also consults on human rights training and rule of law programs worldwide, focusing most recently on human rights training programs for judges from Iraq and from Central Asia.

Her recent publications include: Mediating Norms and Identity: The Role of Transnational Judicial Dialogue in Creating and Enforcing International Law, 93 Georgetown Law Journal 487 (2005); Justice Scalia on the Use of Foreign Law in Constitutional Interpretation: Undirectional Monologue or Co-Constructive Dialogue, 12 Tulsa J. Comp. & Int’l L. 149 (2004) (symposium); Common Law Courts in an Age of Equity Procedure: Redefining Appellate Review for the Mass Tort Era, 80 N.C. L. Rev. 527 (2002).


Adieu and Thanks

Its been a pleasure guest-blogging for the past month, and an honor to get to write on a site whose posts I’ve been reading since the beginning. All good things must come to an end, though. Or at least, sort an end: this guest-blogging is apparently addictive! In a week or two, you will find me at the international law blog Opinio Juris, which is the kind of thing you might like, if, as they say, you like that kind of thing. And after that, having hit for the guest-blogger cycle, I will look forward to returning to a consumption-based, rather than provision-based, approach to digital content.


Happy Birthday To Us: A Comment Thread

birthday.jpgToday (April 4) is our sixth month anniversary as a blog. Go us!

Other folks may be writing celebratory or nostalgic entries throughout the day. I’ll let this post serve as an open comment thread for readers who: (1) want to identify themselves as regulars; and/or (2) tell us a little bit about what they’ve liked/disliked about the blog over the last six months. It is my guess that we’ve somewhere between 1000-1500 regular visitors a day. Who are you and what do you do? Do you want more privacy posts? Or, being normal, do you want more posting on corporate, securities, and the like? How did you discover us? Do you wish we had moderated comments? No comments? Open comment threads?


Introducing Guest Blogger David Zaring

zaring2.jpgWe are very happy to announce that David Zaring will be joining us as a guest these next few weeks. David is a professor of law at Washington & Lee University School of Law. Prior to joining Washington & Lee, David was a professor in New York University School of Law’s lawyering program. He worked at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division, was Special Counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and clerked for Hon. Judith Rogers, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Hon. Wm. Matthew Byrne, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

David teaches administrative law and international trade, and he writes in domestic and international administrative law. Recent publications include: Best Practices, 81 NYU L. Rev. (forthcoming 2006); Informal Procedure, Hard and Soft, in International Administration, 5 Chi. Int’l L.J. 547 (2005); National Rulemaking Through Trial Courts: The Big Case and Institutional Reform, 51 UCLA L. Rev. 1015 (2004). Additionally, David has two more forthcoming works: The Use of Foreign Decisions by Federal Courts: An Empirical Analysis, 3 J. Emp. Leg. Stud. (forthcoming 2006); What’s Next for Networks, 2 Ann. Rev. of L. & Soc. Sci. (forthcoming 2006) (with Anne-Marie Slaughter).

Please give David a warm welcome!


Introducing Guest Blogger Frank Pasquale

pasquale.jpgWe are delighted that Frank Pasquale will be joining us for a guest stint over the next several weeks. Frank is a professor of law at Seton Hall Law School. He holds a BA from Harvard, an M.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University (as a Marshall Scholar), and a JD from Yale Law School. Prior to joining the Seton Hall faculty, Frank clerked for the Honorable Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, served as a fellow at the Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property in Lima, Peru, and was an attorney at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC. Frank focuses his scholarship on intellectual property and health law, and he has a broad-ranging interdisciplinary approach that draws from economics, philosophy, and social science.

His recent scholarship includes, Toward an Ecology of Intellectual Property, forthcoming in the Yale J. Law & Tech. (Fall 2005); Breaking the Vicious Circularity: Sony’s Contribution to the Fair Use Doctrine, 55 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 777 (2005); Beyond Napster: Using Antitrust Law to Advance and Enhance Online Music Distribution, 8 B.U. J. Sci. & Tech. L. 451 (2002) (with Kimberlee Weatherall and Matthew Fagin); and Two Concepts of Immortality: Reframing Public Debate on Stem Cell Research, 14 Yale J.L. & Human. 73 (2002). His recent works-in-progress include Rankings, Reductionism, and Responsibility (about search engine regulation) and The Law and Economics of Information Overload Externalities.

We’re very excited to have Frank join us as a guest!


Dan Filler Signs on the Dotted Line

I’m delighted to report that Dan Filler has agreed to stay on permanently here at Concurring Opinions. He probably doesn’t fully appreciate the fact that he has just signed away his life for nearly nothing in return. He’ll spend eons of time producing content for the blog and get no financial rewards or otherwise.

But his loss is our gain. We think that Dan is a terrific blogger, and he’ll continue to add greatly to this site. We couldn’t be more pleased. Welcome aboard, Dan!


Shameless Plug

blow.jpgAs multiple teasers in this space have hinted, I’ve been working on an article about vivid commercial lies and boasts. That article is now out to the law reviews, under the heading: The Best Puffery Article Ever. Given the title,further description seems sort of unwise, but for the curious, perhaps an abstract would be in order:

This Article provides the first extensive legal treatment of an important defense in the law of fraud and contracts: “puffery.” Legal authorities commonly say they make decisions about whether defendants should be able to utter exaggerated, optimistic, lies based on conclusions about buyer behavior, concluding that consumers do not rely on such speech. However, as the Article shows, such conclusions are proxies for a deeper analytical question: does the speech encourage or discourage a type of consumption activity that the court deems welfare maximizing.

The Article presents a novel constitutional analysis of puffery doctrine that focuses on the meaning of “misleading” speech, a term of art at the heart of the Supreme Court’s contested and still evolving commercial speech jurisprudence. Missing from that jurisprudence is a satisfactory account of how consumers and investors react to speech that is not literally false but which has false implications. I present such an account, focused on the incentives and capabilities of sellers to exploit buyers’ cognitive vulnerabilities. I draw on economic, marketing, psychology and consumption literatures.

I conclude by offering a novel liability proposal. Because legal authorities are incapable of satisfactorily drawing a line between harmful and innocuous puffery, the law should make sellers presumptively liable if their speech contains exaggerated, but vague boasts. This approach would place the onus on sellers to balance the costs and benefits of puffery, and thus lead both to more satisfying doctrine and a more optimal level of fraud.

I’ll be putting a draft up on SSRN shortly. And, now, I can return to my regular quota of blogging!