June 02, 2005

Summer Long-term Hiatus

Law & Entrepreneurship News will be taking a break for the summer, but we plan to be back in the fall with a new cast of editors and perhaps some other changes. A long break.

We had high hopes in the beginning, and we enjoyed the experiment. But our model was not sustainable. We might stage a comeback someday, but for now the site is dormant.

Thanks to all of our readers. We appreciate your support and the many wonderful comments that we have received via email.

Posted by Gordon Smith at 11:21 PM in Administration | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2005

Indiana Gives Small Businesses A Voice In The Regulatory Process

Inc.com is reporting that Indiana is the third state to pass a law requiring state agencies to analyze the economic impact to small businesses when proposing rules and regulations. The other two states to pass such legislation are New Mexico and Virginia.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Nick Infusino at 10:33 AM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Pros And Cons Of Franchising

The May edition of the SBA's Solutions newsletter focuses on the pros and cons of franchising. It is a must read for any entrepreneur looking to buy a franchise.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 10:04 AM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (3)

May 06, 2005

Court of Appeals Strikes Down the Broadcast Flag

In American Library Association v. Federal Communications Commission, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled today that the FCC lacked authority to mandate the Broadcast Flag.   The Broadcast Flag provision of the FCC rules adopted in November of 2003 would have required that every device capable of receiving a digital video transmission also recognize an encoding within the transmission that would control the manner in which the content could be used.   The American Library Association and several individual consumers challenged the provision alleging that 1. The FCC lacked authority to enact the provision. 2. The provision directly conflicted with existing copyright laws.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Marjorie Sterne at 08:35 PM in Patents & Technology | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

May 02, 2005

Blawg Review #4


Welcome to Law & Entrepreneurship News for Blawg Review #4. This blog is powered by law students at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Things have been a bit slow around here lately, as the students are immersed in final examinations, so we are thrilled to have the Blawg Review this week.

Let me begin with a question: Do a disproportionate number of blawgers use Blogger? Having recently hosted the Carnival of the Capitalists, I can tell you that those business folks have mostly hopped off the Blogger train. I suspect that lack of funds (law students) and lack of technical prowess (some of the rest) explains the difference, though I am just speculating.

Ok, I know you're anxious, so let's get to the posts ...

Law Schools

Jeremy Blachman, on the eve of his graduation from Harvard Law School, confesses the dirty little secret of all new law school graduates -- law school teaches you nothing about the law. Colin Samuels, ten years removed from law school, consoles Jeremy: "You know more than you think you know." and "Much of what you know is useless in the real world, but will be impossible to forget."

My co-blogger Christine Hurt at Conglomerate asks, "Are Law Schools Family Friendly?" So how about this for irony: in her post, Christine observes, "Outside of class time, I am available whenever a child ... has a dentist appointment...." Then, look what happened this morning!

Robert Ambrogi suggests that at least two law professors would not have made the Legal Affairs list of "Top 20 Legal Thinkers in America" had is not been for their famous blogs. Another, Larry Lessig, would have made the list without his blog, but not without the internet. (Did anyone else notice the heavy University of Chicago representation on this list?)

Arthur Andersen

The Dark Goddess of Replevin -- who wins the award for coolest blawg name -- has learned this from the Arthur Andersen and Enron prosecutions: shred early and often.

For those who are interested in the Arthur Andersen case before the Supreme Court, I have a short primer on the legal issues (albeit with a horrible prognostication about the Supreme Court ... criminal law isn't my thing) and an update on the oral argument, with thoughts on SOX.

Intellectual Property Law

Stephen Albainy-Jenei of Patent Baristas -- which would get my vote in any blawg design contest -- discusses the proposed Bioshield II bill in a post entitled "Bioshield Bill Would Provide Drug Patent Term Extension". That bill as originally drafted would have added a wild card provision that could add up to two years to the exclusive patent term for a drug. For a major drug, those two years could be worth billions of dollar in revenue. The draft language in the new bill has now been changed to require the winner of a contract to name the designated drug within 180 days of receiving the contract.

Bloggers have been noticing Wal-mart's efforts to stop online criticism, and Evan Brown of InternetCases.com describes a recent arbitration victory for Wal-mart in his post, "Wal-mart on the Domain Name War Path".

War Stuff

Publius at Ex Post offers another in a series of posts about the debate between John Yoo and Jeremy Waldron on torture. In Power of the Presidency, Marbury, and Torture, Publius wonders about the framework for the constitutionality of presidential action. Professor Yoo noted in the debate that there can be situations where Congress not only has failed to regulate, but could not regulate the President. This post, and the discussion in the comments is aimed at fleshing out this very important idea that has seen shorter shrift in the debate.

Last week seems to have been the week for things believed extinct to resurface. On Thursday, it was the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, but two days earlier heralded a rare Supreme Court sighting of the Curtiss-Wright doctrine of presidential supremacy in foreign affairs.  As explained by Julian Ku at Opinio Juris, the Court's return  to the doctrine after two decades, in an opinion written by Justice Thomas, may indicate the depth of Court support for deference in foreign policy matters to the Executive Branch and may point to the Court's future direction in cases involving enforcement of international court judgements and conduct of military tribunals. (Thanks to Colin Samuels for submitting this post.)

The Centrist -- a UCLA law student who gets big kudos from me for having participated in the Whad'ya Know Quiz -- is writing on Jag Central about the death sentence handed out by a military panel against double murderer Army SGT Hasan Akbar. The Centrist is also an Army Captain, and he helpfully explains the next steps in Akbar's appeals process.


You can make of this heading what you will, but here are two posts about the California legislature, which seems to have a lot of time on its hands.

So Cal Lawyer describes efforts to ban "pay per view" hunting.

E. L. Eversman at AutoMuse provides an "Update on California Crash Parts Bill." Now, I will confess that I needed more than an update, because I had never heard of this bill, but this is interesting. According to E. L.,  "The Certified Aftermarket Parts Association and insurers seek to create an “affirmative action” program to force consumers to accept inferior imitation crash parts in their vehicles’ repairs rather than providing and paying for original equipment manufacture (Ford, GM, Toyota, etc.) parts." E.L. even finds a way to squeeze in the debate about Social Security!

Canon Law

Two entries here, neither about canon law per se, but both about things Catholic. (We could have had another post in this category had Steve Bainbridge submitted this week. See here and here and here and here, for example.)

In a guest post at Notes from the (Legal) Underground, Abnu (a former altar boy) describes the ancient doctrine known as "benefit of clergy" and its relation to the priest sex-abuse scandals. He concludes: "As long as the Church views sexual abuse of children by clergy as a moral failure, a breach of the vow of chastity, even a cardinal sin, it is a matter for confession, penitence, forgiveness and absolution."

Meanwhile, KipEsquire at Stitch in Haste follows up with this question: "Should the U.S. Indict the Pope?" Why not? The prosecutors of Martha Stewart and Arthur Andersen probably have some free time.

Speaking of abortion ... (I realize that we weren't speaking of abortion, but I couldn't find another more appropriate category for this post), Sean Sirrine at Objective Justice describes that Florida case in which the Florida Department of Children and Families is claiming that they have the authority to require a court to decide if a 13 year-old may have an abortion. According to Sean, a juvenile court that delayed the abortion and ordered a psychological evaluation will be overturned by the higher Florida courts.

Legal Research Services

Yes, we actually have two posts about legal research services, and in my book, that merits a separate category.

Nivine Zakhari at Tech Law Geek asks "How long before clients catch on to the fact that online legal research is supported by offshore resources that hardly charge the hourly rates many lawyers dream of collecting? Could this be what Tom DeLay found to be so 'incredibly outrageous'?"

Our friend Denise Howell at Bag and Baggage follows up on the story about Supreme Court justices doing their own internet research, linking to a story about HighBeam's gift of reasearch services to the high court. Denise wonders whether there are any ethical constraints on the acceptance of complimentary memberships by the judiciary.

Law Practice

Evan Schaeffer at Notes from the (Legal) Underground offers some advice to young lawyers, expressing his frustrations with underhanded litigation tactics and suggesting that the U.S. model of adversarial litigation should be "transformed from the ground up." Evan is so hot under the collar that contract murder is not out of the question. Here is my advice to Evan and his correspondent: become a transactional lawyer. Or better yet, a law professor. You will still have frustrations, but nothing that will drive you to murder.

I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Law Day until reading David Giacalone's informative post at f/k/a. David not only teaches about the creation of Law Day by President Eisenhower, but offers some commentary on lawyers. Read the whole post, and get some haiku as a bonus.

Raffi Melkonian praises apprenticeship (not the Donald Trump way) over at Crescat Sententia: "If I was opening a restaurant, I'd go apprentice for five or six years in a classical french restaurant. A good lawyer ought to cut his or her teeth on the work of better lawyers for at least that amount of time."

The self-proclaimed Greatest American Lawyer -- who is formally anonymous, but gives plenty of tips as to his identity -- suggests that the "billable hour obsession" and unhappiness are joined at the hip, and "unhappiness is a function of lack of purpose.."

Carolyn Elefant blogs as  My Shingle, and last week she compared marketing by large firms (McMarketing) with marketing by small firms or solo lawyers. Here is the teaser: "It's pretty clear that law marketing has invaded large firm practice - and guess what?  They're all doing the same thing."

Anthony Cerminaro at BizzBangBuzz describes "How to Buy a Business in 10 [not so] Easy Steps."

Ron Friedmann at Prism Legal Consulting suggests that corporate counsel should use blogs as "legal radar."

Lawyers are famously mathphobic, but George at his eponymous blog is using some math skills he learned in grade school to debunk the EEOC's sexual harrassment statistics against Burger King. If you ask me, Burger King should be charged with "human harrassment" for that so-called food they sell, but that's another post.


Jeremy Richey offers a satire about tort reformers and plaintiff's law.

Dwayne at Law School tells the strange tale of a misdirected email and Reinder Eekhof's quest to rule the world. (Ok, I made that last part up)

Administrative Stuff

Thanks to Felix the Cat on Flickr for the original photo of the United States Supreme Court, a modification of which appears at the top of this post.

Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Posted by Gordon Smith at 10:18 AM in Around the Blogs | Permalink | TrackBack (15)

April 29, 2005

Small Business Update 4/29/05

I am going to post stories from the past three days. Small Business Week has opened the floodgates to small business articles so here is a sampling:

- House Committee passes Small Business Checking Act which would allow small businesses to earn interest on checking accounts (NFIB)

- How women can enhance their bargaining skills (Business Week)

- The reasons why many startups collapse (Business Week)

- Tips on where to find funding (Business Week)

- The San Francisco Bay Guardian is calling on politicians to fight President Bush's SBA budget cuts

- An American Express survey shows that small business owners are optimistic about their growth prospects over the next six months (Inc.com)

- SBA Office of Advocacy testifies in front of Congress in an effort to eliminate the tax gaps between small business treatment compared to its big business counterparts (Press release here)

- Entrepreneur.com reports on why small businesses are vital to America

- SBA Office of Advocacy testifies in favor of regulatory reform

- Sen. John Kerry calls out the Bush administration and the SBA on its treatment of women owned businesses

Posted by Nick Infusino at 08:41 AM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

April 27, 2005

IRS to Offer Free Tax Help to Small Businesses

In recognition of National Small Business Week, the Internal Revenue Service has announced an abundance of free resources available to assist the nation’s 45 million small business and self-employed taxpayers with their tax responsibilities. And, they are all just a mouse-click away.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Gerry Torres at 07:35 AM in Taxation | Permalink | TrackBack (3)

April 26, 2005

Small Business Brief 4/26/05

- Tips for small business owners on delegating responsibility

- Pittsburgh Tribune Review has a nice article on financing startups and small businesses

- The Salt Lake Tribune has a nice story on how microloans have helped Utah entrepreneurs and how the Utah microloan program works

Posted by Nick Infusino at 02:13 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

April 25, 2005

Happy Small Business Week

With finals taking up a majority of my time for the next couple of weeks, I am going to be providing quick hits (with links) for what is going on in the small business world instead of longer articles.

Yahoo.com is reporting that President Bush has declared this week small business week with programs and ceremonies to celebrate America's small businesses

Inc.com is reporting on the fastest growing counties in terms of job growth (interpreting a recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics report).

A Wal-Mart survey is indicating that small business economic confidence is waning.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that spending on technology will be slow for small businesses this year.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:35 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

April 22, 2005

House Passes Energy Bill with $8 Billion in Tax Breaks

The House of Representatives passed a new bill yesterday with $8 Billion of targeted tax incentives. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes provisions that would shorten recovery periods for natural gas pipelines and air pollution control facilities, ease restrictions for deductible contributions to nuclear decommissioning funds, exempt from tax-exempt bond arbitrage rules some prepayments for natural gas, and increase the limitation for the oil depletion deduction for small refiners.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Gerry Torres at 06:21 AM in Taxation | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

April 21, 2005

Rising Interest Rates Sneaking Up On Small Businesses

The AP is reporting that the realities of the interest rate hikes over the past ten months are starting to creep into the small business consciousness due to increased capital needs because of inflation and skyrocketing energy costs.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 03:38 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

April 20, 2005

Family Entertainment and Copyright Act Passes House

The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, passed last year by the Senate, has passed the House and is now in President Bush's hands.

The Washington Post reports:

The bill would protect technology that lets people automatically skip or mute sections of commercial movies that contain foul language, violence or nudity. The bill would assure manufacturers of DVD players and other devices that use the technology that they would not be violating Hollywood copyrights. The bill also would make it a federal crime to use video cameras to record films in movie theaters, and it would set penalties of up to 10 years in prison for anyone caught distributing a movie or song before its commercial release.

Posted by tRJ at 08:56 PM in Copyright & Trademark | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Bush Signs Bankruptcy Bill

President Bush signed legislation today that marks the biggest overhaul of our bankruptcy system in a quarter century.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Mandy Gibbs at 06:34 PM in Bankruptcy & Debtor/Creditor | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Innovation And Entrepreneurship Study

The SBA Office of Advocacy has released an excellent study that statistically analyzes the connection between entrepreneurship and innovation in 394 areas in the country. Please click here for the full report. Please click here for the research summary.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:35 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

April 15, 2005

House Passes Bankruptcy Bill

The bankruptcy bill passed in the House of Representatives yesterday by a 302-126 vote.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Mandy Gibbs at 09:08 PM in Bankruptcy & Debtor/Creditor | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

The Small Business Counsel Of America Is Against The Estate Tax Repeal

Citing the loss of step-up basis upon death, The Small Business Counsel of America (SBCA) believes that the bill repealing the estate tax beyond 2010 is a bad thing for many small businesses. The SBCA is calling for immediate tax reform to aid small business owners.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Nick Infusino at 11:58 AM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

April 14, 2005

House Votes For Permanent Repeal Of The Federal Estate Tax

The AP (via Forbes.com)is reporting that the House approved a permanent repeal of the federal estate tax beyond 2010 by a vote of 272-162. It now moves to the Senate where similar bills have failed to gather enough support to become law in the past.  The repeal of the estate tax is strongly supported by small business advocacy groups.  One reason for such support is that estate taxe makes it very costly to pass down successful family businesses to the next generation. 

Posted by Nick Infusino at 03:15 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (3)

Small Business Bill Of Rights Awaits House Vote

The NSBA is reporting that the House Small Business Committee recently approved a Bill (H.R. 22) that would form a "Small Business Bill of Rights." It is now up to the House to vote on the bill.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Nick Infusino at 03:00 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Snowe Introduces The Small Business Compliance Assistance Enhancement Act Of 2005

The NFIB is reporting that Senator Olympia Snowe has proposed the Small Business Compliance Assistance Enhancement Act of 2005 (SBCAEA), a bill meant to make regulatory compliance easier for small businesses. The Bill would amend the 1996 Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. Under the Bill, federal agencies would be required to simplify the compliance process for small businesses by forcing these agencies to put out compliance guides explaining the complex rules and regulations.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 02:44 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

April 13, 2005

Alleviating Stress Leads To Small Business Success

Azcentral.com has a nice article about the positive effects that reducing stress on both small business owners and employees can have on the business' success. The article also provides tips for reducing office stress.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:49 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Nice Explanation Of Microloans

Fortune.com has a great article describing the microloan market and providing information on where a small business can obtain these loans. Microloans are loans that normally do not exceed a few thousand dollars.  They are meant to provide an alternative form of financing for high credit risk small businesses that need a few thousand dollars.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:43 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (3)

Tips For Marketing A Small Business

The Washington Times has a nice article that provides marketing tips for small businesses with limited marketing budgets.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:36 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

Small Business Optimism Index Dips

The NFIB is reporting that its small business optimism index dipped 1.2 points in March due primarily to a six-point decline in job creation plans among American small businesses. The index is now at 102.5, which is still above its 30-year historic average of 100. NFIB's Chief Economist William Dunkelberg believes the dip in March's figures can be partially attributed to bad weather in certain regions. Please click the link for the complete NFIB story.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:30 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (4)

California: A Small Business Contracting Success Story

With all the problems surfacing over small businesses' involvement in the federal contract procurement process, it is refreshing to see California achieving phenomenal success in its ability to award state contracts to small businesses. The California Department of General Services is reporting that a record 30.21% of the total eligible state contracts were awarded to small businesses. This totaled $2.3 billion in state contracting dollars for small businesses. These figures far exceeded California's goals of 25% of all state contracts being awarded to small businesses.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:22 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (3)

April 11, 2005

Legislation Introduced To Enable Small Businesses To Participate In Cafeteria Plans

The NSBA is reporting that Sen. Olympia Snowe introduced a bill (S. 723) that would create SIMPLE Cafeteria Plans for small businesses. Cafeteria Plans allow employees to pay for fringe benefits with pre-tax wages.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:33 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

DOL Makes Employee Recruiting Easy

The NIFB is reporting that the Department of Labor has implemented a new program called the Employer Assistance and Recruiting Network (EARN) which matches employer job openings with skilled employees with disabilities. The program is free for both employers and disabled employees.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 12:21 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

April 07, 2005

Overview Of The Small Business Federal Contracting Procurement Fiasco

The Startup Journal has an excellent article outlining the current fight between small businesses and the SBA in regards to federal contracts. For more information on this topic please see my posts from 4/5, 12/28, 12/21, 12/12, 10/20, 10/7 and 9/30.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 02:19 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

South Carolina Senate Approves Small Business Tax Cut

As a follow up on my post from 3/30, the South Carolina Senate has approved a bill that would cut the State's small business income tax rate from 7% to 5% (via Myrtlebeachonline.com). This bill now moves to the House where a heated debate is likely to ensue since the House will pit the Senate's bill against Gov. Mark Sanford's proposal for a broad tax cut which would benefit small businesses and anyone in the state's top income bracket.

Posted by Nick Infusino at 02:07 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

IRS Targeting Small Businesses

Financial-Planning.com is reporting that the IRS is targeting small businesses for noncompliance with employment tax rules. The IRS is hoping that the new simplified form for filing employment taxes (introduced in February) will make it easier to spot questionable reporting.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Nick Infusino at 01:56 PM in Small Businesses | Permalink | TrackBack (5)

No more tax breaks for Augusta National?

The NY Times is reporting that two members of Congress reintroduced a bill Wednesday that would cut off tax breaks for businesses that used clubs that discriminated and specifically named Augusta National, where the Master's golf tournament is hosted, as one such club. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) stated that the bill was modeled after a California statute that states, "a discriminatory club must print receipts, 'Not Deductible for California Income Tax Purposes.' "

Continue reading ...

Posted by Gerry Torres at 07:14 AM in Taxation | Permalink | TrackBack (3)