October 2014

Ed. note: This post was written by Matt Levine, the new editor on our sister site, Dealbreaker, and Elie Mystal.

Matt here. You might think that Dealbreaker HQ exists only metaphorically in virtual space, or maybe in the fan fiction you’re hiding in your desk, but in fact Bess and I share a real physical garrett both with our sibling sites Fashionista and Above the Law. Occasionally we even talk to each other. “Talk,” in this context, normally means that Above the Law editor Elie Mystal shouts at us about some outrageous political position. In order to quiet him down a bit, we’ve decided to take it to the internet, thus spawning the first – and maybe last! – Above the Law / Dealbreaker Debate Society.

I have been set the task of defending a proposition like “white-collar criminals should not get anything near the jail time they get.” (We are pretty casual with our resolutions here at the Breaking Media Debate Society.)

Fortunately I believe that, so here goes…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Above the Law / Dealbreaker Debate: Insider-Trading Sentencing”

Orange is a nice color on you.

* Being a wise Latina doesn’t appear to be paying off for Sonia Sotomayor. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Isn’t ending tax breaks the same as instituting tax hikes according to standard Republican logic? Well, whatever, if the power to tax is the power to destroy, let’s see if it works on Snooki. [TPM]

* Does the law need to be unlocked? Maybe, but we should still be careful about who gets to have a key. [Truth on the Market]

* Who are you going to believe: the NYPD or your lying eyes? [Dealbreaker]

* If you’ve got stage fright before a court appearance, follow these tips, or just imagine the judge in her underwear. (Although you wouldn’t need to imagine much for a certain judge in Canada.) [Underdog]

* The SEC might sue Standard & Poor’s. In response, the S&P board is considering a name change to “Standard & F**ked.” [WSJ Law Blog]

Kyle McEntee

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar has done a huge disservice to prospective law students, law schools and the legal profession.

The legal employment rate is a basic yet crucial part of informing prospective law students. The failure to require law schools to disclose this rate legitimizes questions about whether the section is a body captured by special interests.

Kyle McEntee, Executive Director of Law School Transparency, commenting on the Section’s removal of queries from its Annual Questionnaire regarding the percentage of 2010 law school graduates employed in jobs requiring bar passage.


Here at Above the Law, there’s been a long-running debate between our editors over the benefits of going to law school. As most of our readers know, Lat is in favor of going to law school, and Elie is usually against it. My own views fall somewhere in the middle.

And regardless of the brand name quality of the law schools we attended, we can each express our opinions about the costs and benefits of going to law school because we’ve been there ourselves.

But what happens when someone who didn’t attend law school — someone who apparently doesn’t even know how long law school lasts — starts giving out career advice to prospective law students?

Ridiculousness, and lots of it….

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I can’t believe that we have to talk about this idiotic Catholic University “controversy” of adopting same-sex dorms, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia talked about it, so now everybody has to talk about it. We can’t get Scalia to talk about executing prisoners in Georgia, and he tells us to “get over it” when we ask him about his role in usurping the power of the American people and appointing a President of the United States, but the smartest justice on the Court has an opinion on the dumbass potential lawsuit by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf about same-sex dorms.

Speaking at Duquesne University School of Law, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports that Scalia said: “I hope this place will not yield — as some Catholic institutions have — to this politically correct insistence upon suppression of moral judgment, to this distorted view of what diversity in America means.” Apparently, this was Scalia’s way of supporting Catholic University’s same-sex dormitories.

Because really, with all of the problems with our system of higher education, it’s whether or not boys and girls reside in the same physical building that’s the pressing issue worthy of supreme comment….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Same-Sex Dorms: The Cure For Pre-Marital Sex OR The Dumbest Controversy This Month?”

Last week, more than a dozen high-profile mass torts attorneys lost a San Francisco jury trial against a small technology company. The jury decided the attorneys had illegally breached a document review contract during the high-profile Chinese drywall class-action litigation.

On September 19, the 14 defendants in Cataphora Inc. v Parker were ordered to pay $317,113 to the technology company in lost profits, plus attorneys’ fees.

“These guys are the worst of hypocrites that you can possibly find,” said Roger Chadderdon, technology counsel at Cataphora. “They claim to be trying to help the little guy, but what they’re doing is trying to put more money in their own pockets. Everybody knows that, but this is a case that illustrates it beyond what I have ever seen.”

Clearly, tempers are still running hot. We’ve got more from both sides of the dispute, and a quick refresher on Chinese drywall, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prominent Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Ordered to Pay Up After Losing Breach of Contract Trial”

Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this explosive photo:

For those of you who are just joining us, this photo was taken across the street from George Mason University School of Law. Let’s have a look at what our readers were able to come up with, and then vote on the finalists….

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The other pics for bipolar disorder were more freaky.

Back when only recent college graduates went to law school, you didn’t have to worry much about law students sneaking into law schools with extensive criminal records. How much trouble can you really get into when you were busy performing well in college, earning a useless liberal arts degree?

But in our day and age, there are enough law schools hanging around that pretty much anybody can get in. Barriers to entry are pretty much at the level where as long as you can fill out a loan application, you can get into law school. Heck, as we reported recently, convicted murderers can get into law school.

But you have to tell the truth. You can get into law school with a criminal record, but you have to tell your law school the truth about your record.

Apparently, telling the truth is a problem that some people are having….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Graduates DENIED Opportunity To Sit For Bar Because They Lied To Law Schools About Their Criminal Records”

I’m fast approaching the two-year anniversary of my move in-house, and I don’t often look back wistfully on my former life as a partner at one of the world’s largest law firms.

But last Tuesday was different. Please bear with me.

For 25 years, I practiced, and tried to develop new business, in the complex litigation space. I worked at a firm that wasn’t interested in defending companies in one-off pharmaceutical product liability or Automobile Dealers’ Day In Court Act cases. Those cases were frequently insured (and the carriers often wouldn’t agree to pay our rates) or otherwise too small to fry. But the moment one of those silly little cases morphed into something real — a mass tort or a Dealers’ Act class action — we were chomping at the bit to get retained.

It’s tricky to market into that niche: “I don’t want your ‘drug caused an injury’ case until you have 1,000 of them. Then, even though I spurned you before, I want you to hire me to displace (or, at a minimum, supplement) your existing counsel on the cases.” The existing lawyer already knows the facts and the law, and ignorant you, who showed no interest before, now wants to butt in. How do you pitch that?

I figured the answer was to develop a reputation at the point where small cases transmogrified into big ones: the filing of a class action, the filing of enough cases that a motion for multidistrict litigation became likely, and advising companies how to respond when “60 Minutes” or “20/20″ called for an interview. I thus spent an awful lot of time writing about those topics and speaking at any conference that would give me a lectern and a worthwhile audience.

Then I moved in-house and changed my focus entirely. Until last Tuesday . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: My Wistful Day”

* Will the DOJ ask the 11th Circuit to reconsider Obamacare before appealing to SCOTUS to get the president reeelected? Does a bear sh*t in the woods? [Los Angeles Times]

* The verdict is in on Elena Kagan’s first year on the bench, and one thing’s for sure: the ladies love her. That’s definitely what she said. Right, RBG? [Washington Post]

* Casey Anthony now owes Florida over $217K. That’s almost as much as it costs to raise a child to age 18. Talk about a bad return on an investment. [CNN]

* Antonin Scalia, the Rock Star of One First Street, banned paparazzi from his Duquesne Law appearance. Tiger Beat had to settle for pictures of Taylor Lautner. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Meth dealer: not a viable career alternative for attorneys. This 2011 law school graduate will be heading to jail after she gets her bar exam results. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

* Never accuse an elderly New Yorker of incest. She might sue, because she “was never that hard up that [she] would tap on family.” You go, girl grandma! [New York Post]

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