In the News

David Boies’ dual roles at Theranos set up conflict

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, Feb. 2, 2016

That Mr. Boies is representing an embattled client is nothing new. But this time, the lawyer has raised the ante by becoming a director of Theranos.

Killings down 45% in January in NYC, NYPD Commissioner Bratton says

Franklin Zimring quoted by Newsday, Feb. 2, 2016

“What is important about January is what is not happening,” said Professor Franklin Zimring of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, referring to the low crime numbers. “To the extent there is any news, it is good.”

UC-Berkeley students sue Google, alleging their emails were illegally scanned

Christopher Jay Hoofnagle quoted by The Washington Post, Feb. 1, 2016

“Google could use information it gleans from the messages for its own purposes – purposes it does not have to disclose to us,” Hoofnagle said. “In effect, Google could act as an intelligence agency, deeply mining relationships and ideas among groups of people,” such as new inventions students and staff at Berkeley are developing.

Feds launching ‘comprehensive review’ of S.F. Police Department

Franklin Zimring interviewed by, Feb. 1, 2016

“COPS is going to be helping out the Police Department in two ways: It takes them off the hook from doing something — a lot better than either firing the chief or putting out bold new guidelines,” Zimring said.

How to boost L.A.’s sinking transit ridership

Ethan Elkind writes for Los Angeles Times, Feb. 1, 2016

If transit leaders want to improve ridership, they need to find ways to reduce fares and make them more equitable, such as by accounting for distance traveled and providing universal passes for students.

What you need to know about the amended Defend Trade Secrets Act

Peter Menell paper cited in Patently-O, Jan. 31, 2016

“The same routine non-disclosure agreements that are essential to safeguarding trade secrets can be and are used to chill those in the best position to reveal illegal activity.”

UC Berkeley students file lawsuit against Google alleging illegal scanning of emails

Christopher Hoofnagle quoted in The Daily Californian, Jan. 31, 2016

“(The data mining) would allow Google to understand the meaning of all of our communications: the identities of the people with whom we collaborate, the compounds of drugs we are testing, the next big thing we are inventing,” Hoofnagle wrote. “Imagine the creative product of all of Berkeley combined, scanned by a single company’s ‘free’ email system.”

Death-row inmate’s case targets Georgia’s strict secrecy law

Megan McCracken quoted by San Francisco Chronicle Jan. 29, 2016

“There are certainly secrecy laws in other states, and some of them create extraordinary secrecy, but nothing reaches the level of Georgia,” said Megan McCracken.

Tech pipeline to Texas: Tax money, people flow out of Bay Area

Alan Auerbach quoted by San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 29, 2016

“If you’re in an industry where being in California isn’t important, then California probably isn’t a good place to operate,” said Alan Auerbach. … “One reason the state’s economy does well is because of the strong (geographic) advantages some industries have.”

How populists like Bernie Sanders should talk about racism

Ian Haney López and Heather McGhee write for The Nation, Jan. 28, 2016

By exposing how the political manipulation of racial anxiety has hollowed out of the middle class, Sanders can elevate a simple message: When racism wins, everyone loses.

More people were murdered last year than in 2014, and no one’s sure why

Franklin Zimring interviewed by The Washington Post, Jan. 27, 2016

Nonetheless, last year’s interruption in the decline in homicides has experts concerned. They say it’s too early to know what caused the change, or whether it will endure. … “There’s no national pattern,” said Franklin Zimring.

Lyft drivers to remain contractors in lawsuit settlement

Steven Davidoff Solomon quoted by San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 27, 2016

“The arbitration claim is really the key to the Uber case,” said Steven Davidoff Solomon, a law professor at UC Berkeley. “If the arbitration agreement is upheld, the case is just a multimillion-dollar case. If it is not upheld, you‘re talking hundreds of millions, if not more.”

Why I joined the women lawyers’ brief

Claudia Polsky writes for The Recorder (registration required), Jan. 27, 2016

The case outcome will likely advance or limit abortion-restriction measures nationwide, defining reproductive options for my daughters’ generation. How, under the circumstances, could I say “no”?

Activist investors may have met their match: A down market

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, Jan. 26, 2016

In a down market, this exuberance has come tumbling back to earth. What was volatile on the upside is now shooting downward. And although the downturn is recent, takeover activity — if it follows past patterns — will certainly slow.

FTC’s PrivacyCon highlights consumer privacy perceptions and targeting

Christopher Hoofnagle interviewed by Technology Law Dispatch, Jan. 25, 2016

“If you look at today’s Commission actions, their false advertising theories are much more in line with how consumers really understand ads and how consumers really act,” said Chris Jay Hoofnagle. … “That has not come over to the privacy side.”

Fox Lake cop’s death sheds light on aggressive approach taught to Explorers

Franklin Zimring interviewed by Chicago Tribune, Jan. 25, 2016

“It’s giving all the wrong people the wrong idea about what municipal policing should be,” said Franklin Zimring.

Beijing’s war on rights lawyers and activists continues

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, China RealTime blog, Jan. 23, 2016

The current crackdown appears to be a continuation of relentless pressure by Beijing to expand its authoritarian rule, which makes any of its invocations of the rule of law a travesty.

Oakland’s privacy commission could lead nation on surveillance oversight

Catherine Crump interviewed by KQED News, Jan. 22, 2016

“It’s an example of a community trying to grasp hold of how technology is changing, and actually exert some control over the degree which people are going to be subject to surveillance and then in what ways,” she said. … “Oakland has the capacity to really be a model here.”

Why the surge in merger litigation fizzled

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2016

For years, companies have complained that nearly every acquisition attracts a flurry of lawsuits. Nearly 95 percent of all deals in 2014 had a lawsuit. But a new study … finds that this all changed in 2015. A Delaware court crackdown on takeover litigation has driven the litigation rate to less than 22 percent.

Critics question California’s single-drug execution plan

Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno interviewed by San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2016

The proposal by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation “is not based on sound research and amounts to experimentation” on human beings, said Megan McCracken.


State prison officials haven’t specified “how they will choose the pharmacy, what guidelines the pharmacy will use, what testing will be done, if any,” Moreno said. “They haven’t given any information about doses, concentration” and other critical details, she said.