August 2014

Last week, Geraldo Rivera said something stupid even by Geraldo Rivera standards. I don’t want to be accused of “mischaracterizing” his words, so here’s what he said:

Speaking on Friday’s “Fox and Friends,” Rivera said, “”I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”…

Rivera argued that avoiding certain types of attire was a necessary deterrent against racial profiling. “It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie,” Rivera said. “You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangster, you’re gonna be a gangster wannabe? Well, people are gonna perceive you as a menace.”

So, white kids get to wear hoodies without being racially profiled while black kids are stylizing themselves as gangsters if they wear one? Great. That’s fair. I have a Harvard hoodie — am I asking to be racially profiled as a 7-11 stick-up boy when I go out with Harvard emblazoned across my chest?

Sorry, you know what I’m doing? I’m getting into an argument with Geraldo Rivera. Arguing with Geraldo is like trying to convince your dog to stop licking its butt; it hears you, but it doesn’t understand your concerns about propriety.

Students at Harvard Law and Yale Law had a more effective response to all the people who think wearing a hoodie makes you look like a criminal. Tell me if these kids would scare you into gunning them down in the middle of the street….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hoodie Law? Law Students Around the Country Stand Against Profiling.”

* It’s Obamacare week at the Supreme Court, and people have been waiting in line since Friday morning to see the oral arguments. It’s kind of like Black Friday, except more people care about affordable TVs than affordable health care. [New York Times]

* Growth in the NLJ 250 increased by 1.7 percent in 2011. That’s fantastic for Biglaw, but associates at these firms care more about the growth of their bank accounts. Seriously… where are the spring bonuses already? [National Law Journal]

* George Zimmerman’s lawyer says he doesn’t think the “stand your ground” law applies to Trayvon Martin’s shooting. This was just self-defense — against Skittles. [MSNBC]

* The finalists for deanship at Baltimore Law include a Patton Boggs partner, an assistant attorney general, a law school dean, and two law professors. But which will be able to stand up to Bogomolny? [Baltimore Sun]

* Since blogging allows “big personalities” to run free, does the prosecommenter, Sal Perricone, have a bright future ahead of him here at Above the Law? Let’s see what David Lat has to say about that. [Times-Picayune]

* Millionaire John Goodman has been convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges, and now he’s facing 11.5 to 30 years in prison. Boy is his girlfriend-slash-daughter going to miss him. [CNN]

A lot of words come to mind when you think of attorneys. Opinionated. Educated. Argumentative. Risk-averse. Well-dressed.

But “kick ass”? Mmm. Not so much.

That’s why you have to be a special breed of attorney to land a job at this firm, which posted an ad on the University of Chicago Law School’s career services system….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Calling All ‘Kick Ass’ Attorneys”


* You know you love bracketology, so why not fill this one out and start an office pool with your nerdiest lawyer friends before Obamacare hits SCOTUS. [March Madness - Healthcare Edition]

* But speaking of SCOTUS, maybe you should give this a read before you fill out your Obamacare bracket. Do the justices even care about the law here? [Slate]

* Snitches get stitches, even alleged ones, especially when they’re tight ends in the NFL. [Fox Sports]

* Facebook tells employers to back off with the big brother BS. [CNN]

* Philip Morris execs probably started singing the chorus from one of Billy Joel’s most popular songs when they got the verdict on this case. [Abnormal Use]

* This is kind of like that episode of Family Guy where Brian and Stewie get drunk and crash a car. Except this is real life, so it’s less entertaining when a dog gets drunk. [Legal Juice]

I swear to faithfully fulfill the sacred mission of legal workers in socialism with Chinese characteristics. I swear my loyalty to the motherland, to the people, to uphold the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system, and to protect the dignity of the Constitution and laws.

– A new oath of loyalty Chinese lawyers must swear to the Communist party. The vow is not sitting right with, well, pretty much anyone.

Companies are doing more business internationally and dragging their lawyers along with them. As you can imagine, doing international work has obvious challenges — foreign law, culture and language, time zone issues, cardboard that airlines call “food,” etc. These next couple of Moonlighting posts are going to delve into some of the nitty gritty of practicing in a global arena by examining one very basic, but essential, part of the in-house practice that I’ve discussed before — a meeting.

But first, a clarification of terms. People often use the terms “international” and “global” interchangeably. However, in-house lawyers who practice in these areas may disagree. Assuming the terms are used by Americans, an “international” U.S. business refers to a business that is headquartered in the United States and operates individual businesses in other countries that focus on the market in each of those countries. In this structure, each business in each country focuses on its own business and does not often coordinate with the others — communicating primarily with the U.S. headquarters in a hub and spoke kind of structure.

On the other hand, a “global” U.S. business is one that’s headquartered in the United States and builds businesses in other countries that focus on how the market in those countries could support cross-border business growth. In the global model, businesses in the other countries often work directly with each other. For the sake of simplicity though, I’ll use the term “global” for the rest of this post to refer to both international and global work. Now that you’re sufficiently confused, we can move on….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Moonlighting: If You Think Domestic Pow-Wows Are Challenging…”

Looking back on this week’s legal developments, it seems like the world at large has finally gotten a clue about the realities of going to law school in a post-recession world.

Sure, you could read the New York Times to find out that LSAT administrations are in a steep decline. But why go such a hoity-toity route when the same information is now available on gossip blogs like Gawker, with headlines like, “It Is Now Completely Clear to Everyone That Law School Is for Suckers.”

These days, law school is a sucker’s bet, and it’s even clear to judges. Just look at what happened with the class action lawsuit that was filed against New York Law School. That thing got dismissed faster than a recent law school graduate turned barista can ask how you’d like your coffee.

Indeed, it’s clear to everyone except prospective and current law students that law school is for suckers….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “You Should Have Known Better Than to Go to Law School”

It’s probably the Harvard in me that makes me want to subconsciously disparage the accomplishments of Stanford Law School whenever it bubbles up to number 2 in the U.S. News Law School Rankings.

But maybe we’ve got evidence on just how Stanford was able to jump ahead of HLS this year. A tipster reports that there’s an Adderall epidemic at Stanford Law. He says there might be an “Adderall ring” at the law school.

Maybe. Or maybe one pill fell on the ground…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adderall Abuse At Stanford Law School? Only If You Look Really Close.”

The war on internet piracy currently being waged by entertainment industry lobbyists the U.S. Justice Department seriously puts me in an ideological bind. On one hand, I am a creative person. I understand the need for content creators to be compensated for their work. Whether that means movie producers, musicians, or journalists, the internet has deeply screwed with the compensation structure for “artists.”

On the other hand, that should not be the internet’s problem. The entertainment industry needs to figure out a way to update its outdated business model. Going after every 23-year-old with a few personal servers and high-speed internet is never going to fix the piracy problem.

But that would take a lot of actual work and planning and compromise. In the meantime, it’s business as usual. And that means extraditing a 23-year-old software engineering student from the U.K. who ran the website TVShack, a site which linked to streaming video files.

The kid has never been to the U.S. He did not even break any British laws, but OMG piracy, and woe to all who get caught anywhere near the crosshairs of the American entertainment industry….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Since When Is Merely Linking to Copyrighted Content an Extraditable Offense?”

I think that law schools should focus more on making sure their students are able to get jobs after graduation. But emphasizing career services doesn’t help anybody if students can’t pass the bar. Making sure that students can pass the bar is perhaps the first goal of a competent law school.

Unlike Thomas Jefferson Law, where apparently they think an atrocious bar passage rate doesn’t have anything to do with the faculty, most law schools try to make sure that their students can pass the bar. Except perhaps for elite schools. At top schools, the faculty assumes the strong academic record of their entering students will result in dutiful bar preparation with a test prep company. The elite law school curriculum instead focuses on theory.

But if you don’t attract the very best students, then your law school needs to focus a little more on the nuts and bolts of passing a state bar exam. A law professor at a lower ranked school made that point to the rest of the faculty and students during a debate about a change to the school’s curriculum. But some of the students are getting a little butthurt after being called “average”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Professor Calls Entering Class ‘Overall Average Students’ While Advocating for a Bar Exam Focused Curriculum”

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