Friday, November 6, 2015

From the work blog: Taylor Swift Sued for Allegedly Stealing Song Lyrics…And Why She’ll Win

*I blog for my law firm, and occasionally take some of the more interesting pieces to feature here.*

Taylor don't need no haters
Taylor Swift on her 1989 Tour. Photo by GabboT used under the
Creative Commons, Attribution Share Alike License.
Several media outlets report that Jesse Braham (real name Jesse Graham), an out of work and seemingly unknown musician, has filed a federal lawsuit Taylor Swift alleging that she stole the lyrics for her hit song “Shake It Off” from his song “Haters Gonna Hate.” In his complaint, Braham asserts “if Jessie Braham did not write the song ‘Haters Gone Hate,’ then Taylor Swift would not have written the song ‘Shake It Off.'”

Maybe it’s because I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan, but I believe that’s a very bold statement for Mr. Braham to make.  Ms. Swift, while recycling heartbreak, her manic-pixie-dreamgirl persona, and those faces she makes whenever she wins an award, (you know it– the “I-can’t-believe-I-won-how-shocking!” look) probably didn’t need a huge deal of inspiration in rearranging five words to get her point across.  Our job as attorneys, however, isn’t to chatter about the original songwriting prowess of our favorite blonde twenty-something, but to break down the legal argument behind the claim.

The lyrics at the root of the claim are as follows:

Swift's version:

"'Cause the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate / and the players gonna play, play, play, play, play" followed by "Heartbreakers gonna break break break break break/ and the fakers gonna fake fake fake fake fake."

Braham's version:

"Haters gone hate, playas gone play / watch out for them fakers, they'll fake you everyday"

Continue reading...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The CAN-SPAM Act: What a small business needs to know

Check out my post on our firm blog about the CAN-SPAM act. This act applies EVERY TIME you send a commercial email.  Commercial emails include newsletters, promo codes, or anything related to your business.  If you're a blog, it can include subscription messages as well.  Fines can be steep-- up to $1600 per violation.  Add a listserv of 100 people, and that's $16,000 for one email blast!  Read on to find out how you can keep in compliance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Connie Britton's Hair Secret


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Best Door Mat I've Ever Encountered

Perfect for those days when you're too lazy to get out of bed when the police come knocking.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I support Planned Parenthood.

I am a successful woman.

At least I'm on my way there.

I'm a college and law school graduate.  I'm an attorney.  I've won awards, started my own law practice, moved on to work with an amazing law firm, and I work very, very hard. I'm a Christian, even though I don't attend Church as much as I should.  I save money and dream about the day when I will be done paying off student loans. I enjoy a little bit of trash TV, a lot of NPR, and believe you can never stop learning.

And I support Planned Parenthood.

I'll admit that I am disturbed over the recent videos regarding the sale of aborted babies' body parts.  At first, I really hoped I'd read a article about how the footage was made up by some right-wing crazy conservative anti-abortion group. But that article didn't come.  And I still stand by my decision to support Planned Parenthood.

When it comes to abortions, we need to do better for both the women undergoing abortions and the lives that won't come into being because of the procedure.  What we can't do is allow the misguided activities of one center to negate the immense amount of good Planned Parenthood does for society. Planned Parenthood isn't just a place women go for abortions; it's a place we go for medicine, gynecological exams, breast exams, and help when we're at the most terrifying point in our lives.  It's a place where women learn about and take care of their bodies, which-- in my opinion-- are pretty amazing.  And now, with the calls for #defundplannedparenthood, #StoPP, and especially #womenbetrayed I think it's time I shared the story of how they helped me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Courtroom Yoga

Those folks over at the Bitter Lawyer have created one of my favorite new infographics: COURTROOM YOGA.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Recap: Presenting at Wedding Wire World

It's been a whirlwind week already, and it's only Wednesday!

Action shot courtesy of @WeddingWireEdu
I was blessed with the opportunity to present at Wedding Wire World 2015, Wedding Wire's annual national conference.  Held at the Gaylord National Harbor in DC, it was 2 days of networking, amazing presentations, and fantastic resources.  The Wedding Wire staff were FANTASTIC To work with, and the venue was simply gorgeous.  I was lucky enough to stay overnight at the Gaylord, and I can tell you that it's the closest thing to a cruise ship on dry land!  Between the glass-encased atrium, the top-of-the-line service, and fantastic food, I will definitely be back.

I was asked to present on "The Legalities of Small Business."  I shoved as much substantive content as I could into a 30-minute timeslot (while disclaiming that this was NOT LEGAL ADVICE, as any good attorney would....) and was delighted by the packed house!

Friday, March 13, 2015

What I've Learned from 7 Months in Solo Practice

Starting a solo practice, especially as a young attorney, is terrifying.  There is so much to do, every single decision is yours, and on top of practicing law, you're running a business.  It feels like malpractice suits are around every corner, and you've got the Bar Ethics Hotline on speed dial.  

I started my practice in August, and haven't looked back.  Some days are definitely harder than others, and some weeks are less-lucrative than others.  However, I am truly happy doing what I do.

I'm by no means an expert at running a solo practice. However, I've learned a lot and can say that I'm doing alright.  I've compiled a list of some helpful things I've learned in my first 7 months of practice.  I hope these little tidbits can help some other "SmallLaw" practitioners.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Who is Pumps & Gavels, and Where is Socially Caroline?

If you're one of the 45,000 people who has visited my blog over the past 5 years, you might be wondering "who or what is 'Pumps & Gavels?!'"

I'm here to tell you that it will all be ok.

I started Socially Caroline in 2010 as a way to record the "Sights, Sounds, and Sociability of a Law Student."  During that time, I recorded my thoughts and experiences in law school, during internships, and while studying for the Bar Exam.

I kept blogging while I conquered New York City as a young professional.  But something felt... off.  I wanted to run my blog differently, and in a more mature (read: less spastic) way.  I wanted it to reflect my professional life while adding a bit of flavor to my online work image.  But I wasn't sure how.  In the end, I walked away from blogging and from Socially Caroline because I couldn't figure out how to make those two worlds-- professional and social-- mix on the internet without tarnishing my reputation as a strong and trustworthy attorney.

But I missed it.

This was my first header. I still dig the "Read. Brief. Craft. Repeat." tagline!

After taking almost a year of a break and really figuring out my life, career, and the path I want to take, I've decided that I'm ready to get back into the blogging world. But I didn't want to start over-- I had such great followers and had already put such hard work into making Socially Caroline a great blog.

So I've decided that it's time for Socially Caroline to grow up with me.

I've renamed this blog "Pumps & Gavels" to showcase my life as a solo female attorney who embraces femininity.  I want to break that "mahogany-black-suit-old-white-guy" stigma that pervades lawyer imagery.  I want to run a practice that makes me HAPPY!

This blog will follow my journey as I work to build a practice, explore life as a Lady Boss, and balance work with life.  I want to entertain, share, and even make people laugh.

Yet another image from the past...
So for those of you who have been with Socially Caroline since the beginning-- I cannot thank you enough.  Your page visits are what has kept me posting!  Make sure you update your browser links to

And for those of you who are just joining this ride-- check out the archives (but don't hate for the formatting issues.... it's been a long road!).

THANK YOU to everyone who reads, replies, and subscribes-- you all mean more to me than you know!

Welcome to the rebrand.

xoxo CJF