October 2014

Remember when the Discovery Channel was for smart people?

* BAR/BRI fees get slashed! Unfortunately, these aren’t the fees that law students care about in the grand scheme of things. [National Law Journal]

* The Phoebe Prince case has sparked some First Amendment litigation in Massachusetts. [Boston Globe]

* U.S. funding for stem cell research will continue… for now. This on-again, off-again situation is lamer than Juggalo Law’s clown makeup. [Bloomberg]

* The DOJ and Congress are making nice to come up with a new way to go after self-dealing fraudsters. Circumventing the Supreme Court is fun! [New York Times]

* Following a constitutional challenge, Canadian women are now free to do ho activities with ho tendencies in the comfort of their own bawdy homes. [CNN International]

* People are still texting while driving despite laws. WaPo thinks this is breaking news. Did they forget that real crimes are still being committed despite laws? [Washington Post]

* Deadliest Lawsuit: your favorite sea captains will no longer fish in the Discovery Channel’s troubled legal waters. [Hollywood Reporter]

Big Oil companies think they can be better at protecting your job — and the environment — than the government. This is why they oppose California’s AB 32.

Forget what happened when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April. Forget that our carbon emission levels are second only to China due to our dependence on oil. Even ignore the fact that most clean tech innovation these days is coming out of Asia, or that we’re losing manufacturing jobs to them because of our resistance to change. Big Oil is on your side.


AB 32, which was passed in 2006 through bipartisan support in the California legislature, calls for reducing California’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020, and further cutting these emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Among other things, it will require the California Air Resources Board to create a limit on carbon emissions. To get there California would have mandate cleaner cars, and focus on renewable energy and more efficient buildings powered by wind and solar.

Unfortunately, oil isn’t part of the equation.

Continue reading and commenting on our sister site, Alt Transport…

How did Malcolm Gladwell become so damn famous? He looks like he's going to try to murder Bart Simpson for God's sake.

* The situation at UT appears to be under control. [Texas Lawyer]

* Another accountant is taking on a lawyer for a U.S. Senate seat. In both cases, the accountant is a Republican while the lawyer is a Democrat. [Going Concern]

* Lady Gaga’s ex-boyfriend, Rob Fusari, is a hetrosexual male over the age of 30 — so I can see why he and Gaga didn’t get along. [Forbes]

* If you thought POM juice would cure your penis problems, you’re dumber than you look. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Yale Law grad and Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller applied for an “indigent” hunting and fishing license when he moved to Alaska after law school. He apparently wasn’t indigent, but I wouldn’t call him rich. [Anchorage Daily News]

* The police have no expectation of privacy when performing their public duties, so tape away. [BL1Y]

* Malcolm Gladwell has thoughts on Twitter. Wake me up when he steals his research from loads of other people, oversimplifies it, and puts it together in another condescending little book that everybody fawns over. [Marketing Strategy and the Law]

Anna Nicole Smith: her candle burned out long before her legend ever did. And the great beauty’s legend continues to grow, over three years after her untimely death in February 2007, as litigation involving her estate contributes to the development of a rich body of law regarding bankruptcy and probate law — in a tribunal no less distinguished than the Supreme Court of the United States.

Over at USA Today, Joan Biskupic has this report:

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear an appeal from the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, the late Playboy model and TV reality-show star, in the decades-old dispute over an inheritance from her tycoon husband.

The action, involving a sensational set of characters in an otherwise dry case at the intersection of probate and bankruptcy law, came on a day of varied court business that included acceptance of 14 new cases for the 2010-2011 term that officially begins Monday.

Sounds scintillating. Let’s get all up in Anna Nicole’s business, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Estate of Ms. Smith Goes to Washington (Again)”

Last month, we reported on the Best Value Law School Rankings produced by National Jurist. The initial list just mentioned the publication’s “honorees,” with a promise of numerical rankings later. That day has arrived, and the magazine is ready to tell us which is the very best value for law school in 2010.

I’ve already highlighted the many problems with this list. Click here for my take.

The National Jurist attempted to address some of these concerns (I think) with the publication of its numerical rankings and grades. You tell me if its arguments are convincing…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “National Jurist’s ‘Best Value’ Law School Numerical Rankings and Grades Are Out”

Last week we started to hear rumors of a possible merger between Akin Gump and Orrick. One tipster offered this unenthusiastic take: “Suddenly, the firm that is known for professionalism and California-style collegiality courts the firm whose softball team is named ‘The Cheatahs?'”

Meow! Well, it appears that the rumors are true. Spokespersons for each firm just confirmed to Am Law Daily and the WSJ Law Blog that Orrick and Akin are in “preliminary,” “exploratory” discussions about a merger.

What would a combined firm look like?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Merger Mania: Akin Gump and Orrick Are Talking”

There’s nothing like cheating on the LSAT to start off your legal career. Sure, even if you manage to get into and graduate from law school, you’re going to have serious problems when it comes to the MPRE. Or the Character and Fitness interview. Or the “following the law” part of being a lawyer. But you know what they say: if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.

So it is for one would-be law student. The kid tried to give his career a jump start by hiring someone else to take the LSAT is his place. And, even more stupidly, he posted his request for an “LSAT Stand-In” on Craigslist.

Of course, now that we’ve contacted him about the “questionable ethics” of his Craigslist post, he claims that it was all a joke. We’ve heard that before.

Let’s take a look at the ad, and you can decide for yourself what to make of it.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Would-Be LSAT Cheat Places Craigslist Ad for ‘LSAT Stand-In’”

Tough kitten

Your Facebook profile photo should look like this if you file a personal injury lawsuit.

Kash here. Now that I’ve departed for Forbes, I see that Elie has to take care of the hand jobs around here. I hope you’re all satisfied with his treatment.

Meanwhile, I’m bringing you news of a less salacious sort — a tale of two lawsuits. One involves an artist who wants to get paid for his work and is suing a clothing company for breach of contract. The other features a university employee who wants to get paid for falling out of her allegedly defective chair and has filed a personal injury suit against the chair manufacturer (for breach of contact?).

The former gets to keep his Facebook and MySpace communications private, and the latter has to turn them over. Old electronic communications laws mixed with cutting-edge electronic communication on social networking sites translates into a confusing set of precedents around the country.

The two cases might leave you scratching your head over what’s discoverable in a civil suit, but personal injury lawyers can take away a concrete lesson. In addition to advising your clients to wear a neck brace to court, advise them to always slap one on for Facebook profile photos…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A California Judge and a New York Justice Make Different Discoveries”

Breaking this morning, there’s been a shooting at the Perry-Castaneda Library on the University of Texas – Austin campus. The Houston Chronicle reports:

A man opened fire with an automatic weapon on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library early Tuesday, UT police spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said.

“He subsequently shot himself. He is deceased,” she said, adding that no one else was injured.

Police and university officials urged students to stay indoors.

“A suspected shooter in PCL library is dead. Police are searching for possible second shooter. Lock doors, do not leave your building,” the alert said.

Based on reports we’ve received from students at the UT Law School, the potential second shooter might still be at large…


double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shooting at UT Austin: Law Professor Shot At But Unharmed”

Alan Pomerantz

Many real estate lawyers are also real estate investors. It makes perfect sense: they know the market, they know the intricacies of complex transactions, and they see a lot of deals in the course of their practice. For example, Jonathan Mechanic, the renowned real estate lawyer who heads the practice at Fried Frank, owns retail and office space in Bergen County, New Jersey (where I grew up).

Over the weekend, the New York Times documented the successful real estate investing of another top New York real estate attorney: Alan J. Pomerantz, currently a senior counsel at Orrick, and before that the co-CEO of a real estate investment fund and a longtime partner at Weil Gotshal. In 1994, Pomerantz and his wife, Carol Pomerantz, a psychotherapist, bought a fabulous Upper East Side apartment for $1.6 million. Now, “because they now spend most of their time with family in Northern California and are building a house in the Napa Valley” — sounds like a nice life, doesn’t it? — they are selling the apartment.

The asking price: $5.7 million. Even accounting for inflation and the costs of their renovation, it seems that the Pomerantzes made a wise investment (assuming the co-op sells at or near the asking price, as places are starting to do again here in NYC).

So what do you get for almost $6 million?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Pomerantz’s Palatial Park Avenue Pad”

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