Paleo Law

If you’re already terrified about the way things are going these days, please don’t continue reading. There are enemies out to get us that are just now revealing themselves.

For those of you brave enough to stay with me, I turn your attention to an insidious threat: modern technology.

Washing machines have begun to attack mankind.

I know this because a class action suit was filed in Los Angeles Federal Court the other day against Samsung, for selling exploding washers.

And you thought only cellphones could explode.

My first thought was that Samsung, with its multiple exploding devices, was out to get us. It’s a more direct sort of attack than hacking: there are more injuries, and people are naive enough to think these are accidents.

If a head of state were caught in a washing machine explosion, would we realize a foreign power was responsible?

Then I did a little research (aka I used an Internet search engine).

It seems that other company washing machines explode too.

And all sorts of other appliances.

My favorite news report was from Britain’s The Sun, which includes a list of related stories about explosions of an oven, a laptop, a hoverboard and a toilet.

I realize that all these explosions are good for the lawyer business and it’s entirely possible that a cabal of personal injury attorneys is behind the attacks, but I worry all the same.

Think for a moment about all the reports you’ve seen, and the conferences you’ve heard about, encouraging law firms to up their tech game – to use artificial intelligence to analyze and collect data and programs to devise strategy.

Older lawyers have been made to feel inadequate for failing to adapt to technology.

Then a headline like this appears: “Crippling Cyberattack Continues to Spread Around the World.”

If the exploding toilet doesn’t get you, your computers will. You’re not safe from technology anywhere.

So how do you young whippersnappers feel now about the old guys with the yellow legal pads?

Theoretically, there are some interesting issues here. Are you guilty of malpractice if you allow your firm to be hacked? Can you trust any of the legal work done by your computers? Are we using the computers or are the computers using us?

Can you guess what else I ran across next last week?

I opened a letter from the State Bar of California and found an offer for legal malpractice insurance with a brand new benefit: “data breach coverage.”

Getting hacked (whether by human or machine) is so common now that they’re selling insurance to cover it.

There’s one obvious remedy for this state of affairs and I think it will be the next trend in law practice: the paleo law firm.

In a paleo firm, lawyers will avoid computers completely and spend hours in law libraries looking at books. Pleadings will be prepared on manual typewriters and will be walked to court (unless a horse is available).

Yes, paleo lawyering is a lot more work, but consider the billable hours.

It’s safe and it’s lucrative. Just be sure to use an outhouse so you don’t get blown up.


Expressive conduct: If you need any more evidence that our First Amendment rights are under attack, direct your attention to the Ninth Circuit ruling in Brennan v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Apparently, you cannot strip naked in an airport to communicate your innocence.

This is a case that raises so many questions.

The primary one, of course, is how the heck did this get all the way up to the Ninth Circuit?

But there are other more intriguing mysteries. For example, the ruling says that the plaintiff was told by TSA officers that he “needed to undergo additional security screening because he tested positive for explosives.”

How does one test positive for explosives? Is it a breath test? A blood test? Did the TSA think he ate the explosives?

Brennan then took off his clothes, to, I assume, definitively communicate that he was not carrying anything that would blow up (at least not on the outside of his body).

For some reason, the officers did not appreciate this and decided they had to close down the checkpoint and surround the naked guy with bins (either to shield innocent eyes or to protect passersby from the potential exploding body).

Brenna was then fined $500 for interfering with the TSA, even though those officers could have allowed this clearly unarmed person to board his flight and kept their station open.

Is it the nude guy’s fault that the TSA couldn’t see he was unarmed when he was unclothed?

The speech – which should have been free — seemed pretty clear.

I think this needs to go the Supreme Court.

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