Cyberlaw: The Law of the Internet and Information Technology
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What is your book about?
Cyberlaw: The Law of the Internet and Information Technology was written mainly as a textbook, but the book has also been used by professionals who want to learn more about information technology law. My favorite case discussed in the book involves a 1964 Ford Galaxie vehicle sold on eBay in the chapter on jurisdiction.
What inspired you to write your book?
I was teaching a Cyberlaw class and grew frustrated with the book I used to teach the class. I talked with a sales representative with Pearson at a conference who asked if I ever thought about writing a book. I said no at the time. After further consideration, I decided to write a book proposal. I wrote the first chapter and sent the proposal to Pearson. I had a publishing agreement within a month.
Can you describe your writing process?
After signing the publishing agreement, I spent one year writing the book. I wrote one chapter per month and stuck to that schedule. I am a strong advocate of using outlines with any writing. I used the basic organization for the different chapters from my book proposal. I then created outlines for each chapter and then filled in the gaps with specific cases and concepts. I conducted a lot of research on Westlaw reviewing cases, statutes, and law review articles.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
I started working as a sports reporter when I was in high school growing up in Southern California where I even covered a Los Angeles Dodgers game. I then went to college and earned my law degree. I worked in the legal publishing and legal information services industry for several years as an indexer, legal editor, and attorney. Thirteen years ago, I started teaching at a local college as an adjunct instructor while working as a lawyer for Thomson-Reuters. After teaching for a few years as an adjunct instructor, I accepted a full-time position at Kaplan University where I teach. Kaplan has now been acquired by Purdue University pending regulatory approval. I also teach online for Brigham Young University-Idaho where I teach a media law class.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
I spend a lot of time on my laptop. When I put on my professor hat, I respond to emails, post in online discussion boards, grade papers, post announcements, and prepare my lectures. I teach most of my classes at night, which frees up my time during the day. I am also a legal writer for Wolters Kluwer, a legal information services provider and publisher. I write summaries of new cases and other new developments in the law directed mostly for other lawyers. For example, I recently covered the San Diego Comic Con trademark case. I really love what I do. Essentially, I work with words. “Words are the tools of the lawyer’s craft.” Hollcroft v. Department of Treasury, I.R.S., 687 F.Supp. 510, 517 (E.D. Cal. 1988).
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
As an online professor, I love being able to work from home and being close with my wife and our four children. If I want to go for a hike by myself or to the park with my children in the middle of the day, I can just go. I also have a passion for the law and how laws change over time. I try to make an impact in the lives of my students.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
I love to read. My wife and I take our four children to the local library at least once a week. John Grisham is my favorite fiction, although I also enjoy reading biographies. Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy influenced me a lot. My favorite books are the Book of Mormon and the Bible. We read scriptures together as a family each day. We encourage a lot of reading in our home.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
I speak Portuguese and Spanish. I served as a Mormon missionary in Brazil for two years. Learning other languages has helped me improve my own English writing skills.
What’s next for you?
I recently finished the manuscript for my second book entitled Latter Day Lawyers. I plan to submit the manuscript to the University of Utah Press for the Juanita Brooks Prize awarded to the best monograph in Mormon Studies related to history, biography, or culture. I sent a copy of the manuscript to Senator Harry Reid and he wrote the foreword. Latter Day Lawyers examines how Mormon lawyers and judges have impacted the American legal system. Latter Day Lawyers includes short portraits and vignettes of legal cases involving lawyers and judges who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) or Mormon faith. I conducted a number of interviews with prominent judges, lawyers, legislators, and church leaders such as Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah).
I have started working on my next book project entitled Stringfellow Acid Pits. Stringfellow Acid Pits describes the history of one of the most contaminated places in the United States and the epic legal battle involving the hazardous waste site in Southern California. The University of Michigan Press is interested in the book and has sent the first two chapters to reviewers. I hope to finish the manuscript by December 2018. I have lots of other book ideas in my mind and hope to continue teaching.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I also index other books as a freelance book indexer. I index books mostly for academic publishers such as Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Routledge. Every nonfiction book should have an index. A quality index can increase sales. Indexing also helps me to improve my own writing skills and gives me the opportunity to learn new things.
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