October 2014

The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgEd. note: ATL has teamed up with the 10th Justice to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases. CNN has called FantasySCOTUS the “hottest new fantasy-league game.”
Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down Citizens United v. FEC, one of the most anticipated cases of the year. The Hillary Movie case was a showdown between free speech and campaign finance laws. In 2008, the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the FEC that Hillary: The Movie could not be shown on television right before the 2008 Democratic primaries under the McCain-Feingold Act. SCOTUSBlog has a fantastic round-up of coverage of this landmark case, which will send shock waves through the 2010 election season.
This is the first blockbuster case of the term, and the first real yardstick for the accuracy of the wisdom of the crowds. Were our 3,500 members able to accurately predict this outcome? How valid is the wisdom of our crowds?
On November 20, 2009, based on 286 predictions, 67% of our members predicted that the Supreme Court would reverse the lower court. Of these 286 predictions, 136 members predicted that the outcome would be a 5-4 reversal. This constituted 70% of all reversal predictions.
But since November, the league acquired over 2,000 new members, who made 600 additional predictions for this case. How did they do? And how did these predictions compare to the Supreme Court’s final opinion?
Also, we update the FantasySCOTUS.net leaderboard. Who is in the top 10?
Read on.

tax headaches tax evasion taxation tax crimes.JPG‘Tis the season for… W-2s. When you get that handy-dandy form from your employer, we suggest that you file it with your federal income tax return — in timely fashion. [FN1]
And don’t forget to file any applicable state and local tax returns, too. Otherwise you could find yourself in deep doo-doo. From the Long Island Press:

Three attorneys, an accountant and a doctor were arrested Tuesday for failing to file a combined total of more than $365,000 in state personal income taxes, Nassau prosecutors said. The arrests were part of a statewide sweep by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF).

Arresting someone on a failure-to-file charge? Seems a bit extreme. But if the authorities wanted to send a message about how seriously they take tax crimes, they succeeded.

The attorneys who were charged with failure to file a personal income tax return include 47-year-old David Mollon of Great Neck, 50-year-old Kelly Talcott of Sea Cliff and Dennis O’Leary, 57, of Westbury. Facing the same charge is 53-year-old Gerald Gartner of Lawrence, a certified public accountant, and 62-year-old Avelino Rosales of Cedarhurst, a physician.

O’Leary is a personal injury lawyer — res ipsa loquitur. But Mollon and Talcott are (or were) partners at large law firms, places whose names you’d recognize.
Find out which firms, as well as how much Mollon and Talcott earned during the tax years in question, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers of the Week: A Trio of Tax Suspects”

cast-of-the-deep-end.jpgLast night, Marin liveblogged ABC’s new legal series, The Deep End. Over 2,000 ATL readers joined her for the series premiere. From the sound of it, doing doc review would have been a more enjoyable way to spend a Thursday evening. Marin declared:

this is why I only watch reality tv…. too painful to see how our nation’s brightest script writers can’t approximate real dialogue and human experience

The show was created by Biglaw refugee David Hemingson, a ’90 Columbia law grad who summered at Milbank and worked for a few years at Loeb & Loeb in LA before turning to script-writing. Hemingson told the WSJ Law Blog:

How’d you go about making it real? Did you visit law firms?
I’d really stayed on the periphery of the legal world, and checked in with a lot of former colleagues and friends who are partners now. In addition I got in touch with a lot of people in their 20s and 30s. Everyone seemed to say the same thing about life as a young associate: you’re overworked and underfed in terms of guidance. You’re constantly overmatched and outgunned. You love the life and career, but constantly feel a bit in over your head.

Apparently, he stayed very far on the periphery. Says Marin:

Folks, I don’t even know what to say. This show is worse that I thought. It’s too ridiculous for words.

But lots of words have been written about it. Reviews from around the Web suggest that this group of fake lawyers can expect layoffs in the near future.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Dissolution Watch: The Deep End”

Justice Stevens Retirement Possible.jpg* Justice John Paul Stevens read an impassioned dissent on Citizens United. But was it a last hurrah for the 89-year-old justice? [USA Today]
* John Michael Farren, the former Bush lawyer charged with the attempted murder of his Skadden counsel wife, pleads not guilty. [Washington Post]
* Mike Leach’s lawsuit against Texas Tech is being taken off the field. [Campus Rivalry/USA Today]
* Not another pretty face. [Chicago Tribune]
* Child cruelty and animal cruelty all wrapped up in one disgusting package. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* A whole bunch of fake lawyers could be laid off soon. [Zap2it; ABC News]
* You can carry as much marijuana as you want with a doctor’s note in California. [Courthouse News Service]
* R.I.P., Daniel J. Freed. [New York Times]

UPDATE: Marin’s liveblog of The Deep End has concluded.
But if you’d like to see what she (and assorted ATL readers) thought of the show, click on the box below.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Liveblogging ABC’s The Deep End”

David Beckham balls.jpgEditor’s note: Go off the Deep End with Marin tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST.
* Freedom of the press or sexual assault? An Italian journalist plays ball with David Beckham. [TMZ]
* Today marks the first appearance of the word “blog” in a SCOTUS opinion. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* The Declaration of Independents. [Instapundit]
* Lawrence Lessig skimmed the Citizens United ruling and weighs in via video before a flight to Boston. Congress needs prompting and a baby in the background needs soothing. [Change Congress]
* TSA worker plays joke, makes woman cry, gets fired. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
* Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: “There are some cases even we can’t win.” [Lowering the Bar]
* Cindy McCain goes rogue on Prop 8. [True/Slant]

Cooley Godward logo.JPGThere’s good news at Cooley Godward Kronish. The firm was among the many that froze salaries last year. This month, Cooley announced it’s more of a hottie.
The good news is that the firm is taking salaries out of the freezer. The bad news is that the salaries have suffered some freezer burn.
The firm’s new base salary scale reflects some chipping away.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cooley Godward Unfreezes
(But New Salaries Are Still Chilly)”

Fortune Best Companies to Work For 2010.jpgOnce again, Fortune magazine is out with its annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. And once again, a number of law firms have made the cut. (We’ve covered which law firms made the Fortune list in prior years: 2009, 2008, and 2007.)
This year the list has six big law firms, up from five in 2009. All of the 2009 firms remained on the list, although some went up and some went down in the rankings. They were joined by one newcomer, Baker Donelson (#77).
So which firms made the cut, and how high did they rank?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fortune Recognizes Six Firms as Least Worst Best Companies to Work For”

What do you say to a recent law-school graduate?

“A skinny double-shot latte to go, please.”

The Economist

uncle sam needs help.jpgLast year, government lawyers were crucified for their prosecution of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. The DOJ prosecutors’ questionable handling of the case led to its dismissal and some problems for the DOJ’s public integrity unit.
This week marks another big f***-up by government lawyers. But in a different building. The Washington Post reports that the F.B.I. has been busted for breaking the law for years in its collection of Americans’ phone records from Verizon and AT&T:

The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.

Among those whose records were searched were reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post. The searches became public when FBI director Mueller called the journalists to apologize. Whoops?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “F.B.I. Lawyer FAIL”

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