October 2014

Last night, a dramatic scene unfolded in the parking lot of a movie theater. A suspected drunk driver allegedly took off without his headlights on, hit two police cruisers, terrified several witnesses, and then slammed his car into a tree. The driver was killed.

“It was coming straight towards us and I didn’t know if he was going to stop or what he was doing,” said one witness. “He was going 70, 80 miles an hour. It was scary.”

The driver of the vehicle was a young lawyer, an associate at a law firm. He graduated not too long ago from a leading law school….

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I won’t say whether I actually heard these conversations or I just dreamt them.

First: The head of the business unit confronted with a new litigation matter:

“This is an outrage! How could they have accused us of this? We want to fight! Fight! Fight!”

“The defense costs will be charged to your business unit, which will reduce your bonus pool.”

“Settle!”

Second: One partner at a law firm — who wants to visit a client, make a presentation, and take the client to dinner — to a second partner — who is the relationship lawyer for the client:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Creating The Wrong Incentives”

* It’s hard to get a mortgage if you have a lot of student debt, even if you make a lot of money. Who needs a house anyway? Your advanced degree will keep you warm. [BusinessWeek]

* A civil trial over BP’s Gulf Oil spill was supposed to start today, but it was postponed at the last minute. Is it just me or does it smell like settlement in here? [New York Times]

* As if anyone needed another reason to never take a Carnival Cruise…. [CNN]

* The Catholic Church just couldn’t handle sharing its ignominious spotlight with Penn State any longer. Attorneys allege that the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, former Archbishop of Philadelphia, destroyed a list of 35 active priests accused of child sexual abuse. [Washington Post]

* Some movie with no sound, color, explosions, or giant robots won a bunch of Academy Awards last night. I can’t say I care too much. Here’s a rundown of some classic cine con lawyers instead. [ABA Journal]

* Advice for art collectors: CHECK YOU PROVENANCE. [New York Times]

* Michael Rothenberg, executive director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, RIP. [New York Law Journal]


While most of America has been going gaga for God’s new chosen athlete, Jeremy Lin, I’ve been quietly lamenting the fact that my own hometown TTT excuse for an NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, were the ones who gave him up.

it seems like everyone wants a piece of the Linsanity, even on a legal level. Last week we wrote about a man with no actual connection to Jeremy Lin who tried to trademark “Linsanity.” That guy simply, “wanted to be part of the excitement.” Sure, by making money off of someone else’s name, whatever. Since then several more people have attempted the same absurd bandwagoning.

But finally, Jeremy himself has filed an application to trademark his own catchphrase. Shocking, right?

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Let's hope nobody you make fun of ever decides to kill themselves. Otherwise you might end up like Ravi.

* So, your colleague or family member dies, suddenly, after allegedly being worked into the ground. But it’s my blog post about it that “turned the sad situation into a nightmare”? I think instead of lamenting for a fluff piece in a local paper, the media geniuses at Dinsmore should respond to a legitimate press inquiry. [West Virginia Record]

* The Dharun Ravi trial is under way. I’ll be calling it the Ravi trial, not the Tyler Clementi trial. Because Tyler Clementi is the kid that tragically killed himself, while Dharun Ravi is the very much alive person who has already had his life ruined even thought he didn’t kill anybody. [Metropolis]

* Are law firms finally starting to make money off of their investments in social media? [Legal Blog Watch]

* HoLove is getting a Brazilian. [Legal Week]

* Mmm… Section 230. [Paid Content.org]

* Does pot make you less productive, or does lack of productivity make you smoke pot? Or, man, have you ever thought that, like, maybe the pot was smoking you, or something? [What About Clients?]

* If you go to the second hour of this show, at about the 33-minute mark, you’ll hear me start to absolutely lose my mind over the Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert in Fisher. [WBEZ]

Judge Tonya Parker is taking a stand.

I hate reading about pharmacists and doctors (and politicians named Rick Santorum) who actively cause people harm by not prescribing treatment because of their religious beliefs. It’s worse when they’re called out and get all self-righteous about it. Hearing those stories makes me so angry that I start gnashing my teeth and crossing my eyes uncontrollably.

But sometimes I get news that makes me think, “maybe it will all be ok.” Like the story I heard today about a Texas judge turning the tables on the pricks conscientious objectors who use religion to curtail the rights and health of other people. This judge has an ax to grind about the inability of gays to get married.

If you will, please imagine a world where straight people could not get married either…

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Not to be all on Catherine Rampell’s jock today, but the other thing I read in the Economix while I was catching up on the internet seemed far more interesting than imagining Shearman & Sterling partners bitch about how flat profits per partner left them with only $1.56 million, on average, to play around with in 2011.

On the one hand, it’s an obvious point: a study about the most “sleep-deprived” professions found lawyers to average only 7 hours of sleep a night. Only “home health aides” received less sleep.

It doesn’t come as a galloping shock to anybody that lawyers average less sleep than almost anybody else. What did surprise me was the figure. What the hell kind of lazy lawyer is getting seven entire hours of sleep every day?

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In the last installment of Moonlighting, we examined the importance of understanding the big picture at work. This week, we’ll consider one method of finding out more about the big picture: asking questions. Not the dumb ones. The good ones. So what are some good questions that can help us to see the bigger picture?

I solicited input from several general counsels, assistant GCs, etc., in different industries and here’s what they came up with. I know, I was surprised they got back to me too. I don’t know whether it had anything to do with the teeny white lie I told them — that they would be compensated for their answers with untold riches and fame — it’s a mystery. But here is what they said…

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It reads like a true, Jerry Maguire-style “mission statement.”

Emory Law Professor Howard Abrams submitted an application to become the next Dean of Emory Law School, and boy did he call out the school and legal academia for the whole backwards process of choosing deans and running law schools. Emory Law has had a rocky relationship with its students over the past few years, and Professor Abrams wants it to stop. He wants Emory to get better. He wants law schools to get back to providing value to the students instead of just taking their money.

And, as a result, he probably has no chance of actually getting the deanship…

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Did this young soldier aid the enemy?

Bradley Manning, the American traitor or human rights champion depending on your perspective, was back in court yesterday. His court-martial officially began, and he now faces 22 serious charges that could carry a life sentence, if he is convicted.

The 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst allegedly gave more than 700,000 classified documents to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Manning deferred his plea, so he and his attorneys have more time to strategize. Both sides are still working to set a date for trial, but is getting close to do-or-die time for the embattled Manning.

Let’s see the newest details about his case…

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