Thursday, January 29, 2009


During my period of unemployment, I went to a party one night where I met a bunch of new people. In conversation, I struggled a bit when they asked me what I did - not wanting to spill out my sob story and all that. But after a few people I had an epiphany, and said, with real comfort, "I'm an attorney." It's nice knowing that no matter where I go or what I'm doing, I'm still that.

So my first week at work. The training has been extensive; learning the acronyms alone could be a career path. I'm really, really excited about a 40-page manual they gave me. It's the playbook for one of our most frequently negotiated agreements. It breaks down the agreement line by line, and explains the legal significance of it, where we can make changes, what those changes mean, why we push back, alternative language if they push back, what to say when they push back. You get the point. I can't describe how awesome I think that is! I always wished for something like that at the firm. At the firm it was like trying to learn a language as an adult without taking any classes. They drop you in and you pick it up where you can.

When I described this to a friend of mine, he said, "Oh! Just like what telemarketers use!"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've been meeting with some attorneys (friends of friends) to talk about the industry. One of them is at a big corporate law firm, and he knew I had a blog. (He informed me that he writes Blogging Policies for his clients, and that he was coming around to the belief that an employee's blog posts should be attributed to the company for Securities law purposes.)

He asked me at one point, wasn't I mad at my law firm for doing this to me? It's odd, but that question upset me a little. I'm not mad. What's the point? Having that anger inside me would only be hurting myself. When I let myself get heated up about it, it does hurt. It hurts me, not them. Somehow his assumption that I'd be pissed made me wonder if I was naive for not being angry.

As we shook hands, he added, "You're not going to attribute what I say to my law firm on your blog, are you?"

I wouldn't dream of it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Birthday Present

So, good news! I've been hired, though it's not a salaried position. It's a contract position, but it's for a very big, very badass software/hardware company. I'm not going to name it, but if you've read this blog the following will probably let you figure it out. Nevertheless, I have to give credit where credit is due.

I met the in-house counsel of this company while I was in law school. We connected on LinkedIn, and my blog link is on my LinkedIn profile. As it happens, this person was also a blogger, so we stayed in touch. People are always talking about whether blogging pays. My answer is that it can be a networking tool.

Anyway I'm pretty excited. They told me I'm free to keep looking for something more permanent, but when I asked they said it wasn't impossible for a contract attorney to get hired in...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Privacy Tweaking

I went to the first Tech Policy Summit of the year on Tuesday, a talk about privacy sponsored by Facebook. The speakers were my supervisor Jim Dempsey of CDT, Chris Hoofnagle of the Berkeley Law and Technology Center, and Chris Kelly, CPO of Facebook.

I was especially interested when Kelly talked about how many users tweak their privacy settings. I think Facebook's privacy settings are fantastic, very finely grained; they should be market. But I'm not exactly the average user, so I've often wondered if other people utilize it.

Kelly reported that they'd run a survey and found that about 25-30% of the general population tweaks their settings. Interestingly, he noted that approximately 60% of teen users change their settings! (I direct a stern look towards those claiming young people don't care about privacy.) Is it perhaps because teens are more savvy?

In attendance was California PUC Commissioner Rachelle Chong, who offered this with a shrug: "They change their privacy settings to avoid their parents."

Of course.