August 2014

Riding a motorcycle is dangerous for a lot of obvious reasons. Namely, motorcycles, compared to other common modes of transport, come with an above-average risk of crashing and dying.

That said, when young men tell their parents they want to buy a motorcycle, their mothers’ frantic “please don’t buy one” speeches generally don’t include the risk of Motor Boner. One Bay Area bike dude (no, not this bike dude) allegedly has a pretty bad case, though. And that’s why he is suing the maker of his BMW motorcycle. Keep reading to learn more about this extraordinarily sensitive Lawsuit of the Day….

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* Here are some exam tips that don’t involve using the internet to cheat. [Ms. JD]

* Is it possible that the ghost of Eliot Spitzer is actually helping out big banks? [Dealbreaker]

* If these are your favorite thoughts, maybe you’d like a career doing criminal defense. Either that, or some kind of “warlord” profession. Criminal defense or continual war, it’s hard to tell the difference. [Underdog]

* Wait, power is a myth? Surely not for lawyers. [The Trial Warrior Blog via Blawg Review]

* How did lawyers during the Great Depression deal with this kind of economy? Bloomberg Law explores…

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Scott Greenfield aptly summed things up on Twitter: “Mark O’Mara launches website/blog/twitter on behalf of George Zimmerman. http://gzlegalcase.com What could possibly go wrong?”

Indeed. After shutting down George Zimmerman’s website, his attorneys have launched their own that is designed to “provide a voice for Mr. Zimmerman.”

And raise money for his legal defense, of course.

I suppose in today’s world, you hire a lawyer to defend you in a court of law, and in the court of public opinion…

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Friday night, I attended the first ever Innocence Project of Florida dinner. I was invited by a close, personal Twitter follower board member, and upon acceptance, asked by someone in one of my Google+ circles the Incoming Chair of the Innocence of Project of Florida to turn over a fairly large amount of cash to be a co-sponsor. Apparently, while Holland & Knight was receiving an award for their thousands of hours helping to free the wrongfully convicted, money for the dinner wasn’t pouring in from the establishment. Maybe next year.

As lawyer-type dinners go, it was a little different — poor lawyers representing alleged violent criminals mixed with Biglaw lawyers who spent the last decade doing the same, as well as three dozen judges, the elected state attorney, the appointed United States Attorney, and a slew of law students. Also in the crowd were a half-dozen exonerees. The exonerees included James Bain, who served more time than any other exoneree — 35 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He went to jail when I was four years old, and got out as I was planning a trip for my 40th birthday.

The night had its share of speeches and awards. One of the awards went to lawyer Marty McClain, whose client, Juan Melendez, was there among the suits wearing a t-shirt. Juan spent 17 years, eight months, and one day on death row before being exonerated. Marty’s other client, Frank Lee Smith, couldn’t make it because he died of cancer on death row before being exonerated. At his table was Marty’s high school buddy, actor Tony Shalhoub, who looked like a stalking fan taking pictures on his phone when his lawyer-friend was honored for being poor and a hero. While people were asking Shalhoub for pictures and autographs, he was busy being enamored with Marty….

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Carter Phillips

On Sunday, Sidley Austin announced a regime change at the firm. Over the next year, veteran Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips will become co-chair and eventually chair of the firm’s executive committee. In 2013 he will replace the current chair, Thomas Cole.

Currently, Phillips is managing partner of Sidley’s Washington D.C. office. He recently argued his 76th case in front of the Supreme Court. I had the opportunity to ask him about the Obamacare arguments last month.

Keep reading to learn more about the transition and to find out what it takes for an accomplished practicing attorney to take on a crucial business role…

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Depending on which state you’re licensed in, you may have to do a certain number of pro bono service hours in order to keep up with your ethical obligations. In general, doing pro bono work is a great way to get that happy feeling deep down inside.

But one lawyer in Georgia may have a different idea about how to achieve that sense of inner nirvana. He’s allegedly more interested in getting serviced pro boner than offering pro bono services.

That being said, let’s meet our Lawyer of the Day, a man who stands accused of trading contraband for peep shows from prisoners at the local jail….

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Over the weekend, we passed along some good news about Dewey & LeBoeuf. It appears that the firm has been given a new (even if temporary) lease on life by its lenders. Initial reports suggested that the firm was getting one week or maybe two in order to reach a new debt deal with its banks. It now appears, however, that the firm could be getting a more long-term extension, in the range of 90 to 120 days. The deal still needs to be finalized; keep your fingers crossed.

That’s the good news. Now, back to the bad news: more partner defections from Dewey….

Multiple UPDATES, after the jump.

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Brother, can you spare a dime? This year’s spring bonuses from Sullivan & Cromwell made legions of attorneys feel like they were hustling for spare change instead of living the Biglaw high life. With the bar on bonuses set so low, Cravath now has the opportunity to blow S&C out of the water.

And truth be told, many lawyers are hoping that the former market leader on spring bonuses will leave SullCrom all wet. Aww, don’t worry, we’ll get you a towel.

Here’s the photo for our latest caption contest….

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It’s finals period at many law schools around the country. Here at Above the Law, that means we can expect our inbox to get very entertaining. Pressure + law students + internet = loads of fun.

Well, it’s not just “pressure” that makes some law students wilt during finals period. There is no accounting for plumb stupid.

But today, we’ve got a story that is both stupid and unethical. A student at a top 14 law school reportedly posted a question from his Constitutional Law exam on a message board. He apparently posted it during the take home.

Yes, Virginia, it’s still cheating even if you do it online.

Or should I say: “Yes, Durham”???

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Last week we covered a controversy down in south Florida involving Greenberg Traurig. The firm was replaced as counsel in a particular case by its client, TD Bank, after a partner at the firm denied the existence of a document that, it turned out, actually does exist. The partner who allegedly made the statement is no longer with the firm, and next month, Judge Marcia Cooke (S.D. Fla.) will hold a hearing to determine whether the bank should be held in contempt of court as a result of this apparent screw-up.

This does not sound good, to be sure. But subsequent developments, as well as a closer examination of the situation, suggest that GT’s culpability may be overstated….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More About the TD Bank To-Do: In Defense of Greenberg Traurig”

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