ICONIC LITIGATION - Emojis aren’t just a convenient way to communicate with people you don’t actually feel like talking to. As Law.com’s Cedra Mayfield reports, they can also make or break your case. Recently, emoji use has helped to establish liability against landlords and indict politicians. It’s also aided in getting some cases dismissed. In August, for example, emoji-related evidence led to a New York employment discrimination suit getting tossed, and sanctions imposed against plaintiffs counsel. Allegations that the plaintiff’s supervisor sexually harassed and then retaliated against her hinged on screenshots of text messages, which purportedly included the use of the now-well-known “heart eyes” emoji. Trouble was that the version of the emoji the plaintiffs claimed had been used did not even exist on that phone’s operating system at the time of the alleged messages. Still, should you find yourself attempting to similarly dismantle a case involving alleged emoji use, you may find due diligence difficult. “When you’re researching case law, most of the big research services do not have support when searching via emoji or other elements, only text,” said attorney and electronic discovery expert Matthew Verga of Consilio, an e-discovery software company. “There’s no way to even find easily all of the opinions or guidance or attempts in the past to interpret a particular symbol on the record.”

WHERE TO NEXT? - After attracting Dentons, Kirkland & Ellis and Foley & Lardner within the last year, it’s clear that Salt Lake City has emerged as the place to be for Big Law. But the quest for the next hot market never really ends, so law firm leaders and industry watchers are already on the hunt for more strategically synergistic cities (…I know. I’m so sorry for writing that). There is no consensus on which market that may be at the moment, though, as Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, analysts have mentioned Boise, Idaho; Spokane, Washington; Miami; and Detroit in addition to the usual suspects like Raleigh/Durham and Charlotte, North Carolina. Of course, the desirability of a particular locale will (or at least should) depend on a firm’s practice focus, client demand and overall strategy. “What firms who are thinking clearly are doing is they’re aligning geographic priorities with strategic priorities, and they’re going where the money is,” said Kent Zimmermann, of Zeughauser Group. “So you’ve got to get the strategy straight first, then geography … I think for most firms in the U.S., step one is: in what area do you want to be a dominant player? Two, where’s the demand in money?”

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