October 2014

Kevin Ring in happier times.

Full disclosure: Former Jack Abramoff associate Kevin Ring, whose criminal conviction was recently upheld by the D.C. Circuit, is a friend of mine.  We grew up in the same town and have known one another for decades. In no way is what follows unbiased or objective in any sense.  That said, I know that I’m right and the case against Kevin Ring was simply, unambiguously wrong.  Not to say that there was no ambiguity as to whether he broke a law — there was a tiny bit of that. But under no sane system of justice would Kevin be going to federal prison. Though he almost certainly is, pending a request for en banc rehearing from the D.C. Circuit followed by a Hail Mary filing for a writ of certiorari.

We can all stipulate that Jack Abramoff is one of the sleaziest and most repellent characters to besmirch the legal profession in decades.  (My favorite Abramoff moment: the time he tried convince his rabbi to bestow upon him  a fake, back-datedScholar of Talmudic Studies” award, so he could get in the Cosmos Club.)

Anyway, Abramoff was Kevin’s boss for three and a half years, during the final period of which they were both partners at Greenberg Traurig.  In the words of the judge at his sentencing hearing, Kevin was a “cog” in the Abramoff operation, a “second-tier level” administrator of the firm’s lobbying team.  I won’t try to spin Kevin’s time as a lobbyist as some honorable endeavor.  I couldn’t. Generally speaking, lobbyists are regarded by most of us as only slightly less distasteful than the politicians whose favor they are trying to curry.  But that does not make them criminals….

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* Michigan will assume control of Detroit pursuant to the state’s controversial “Emergency Manager Law.” How controversial? Michigan voters went to the polls to repeal the law last year… and the legislature said no. There’s a fitting symmetry that a law that denies the democratic rights of the people exists only because the legislature trampled on the democratic rights of the people. [WXYZ]

* A Harvard Law grad opens an e-commerce lingerie startup. The hook for her bra business is in-home fittings. Perfect for the cross-dresser who hates prying eyes. [Forbes]

* Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden have announced that they will merge into a single law school named “Rutgers School of Law” effective Fall 2014. The new school accomplishes the important goal of removing the words “Newark” and “Camden” from promotional materials. [TaxProf Blog]

* Professor Eugene Kontorovich explains how Chief Judge Kozinski’s piracy ruling actually advanced the liberal causes of the Law of the Sea and expanding the scope of the Alien Tort Statute. Yeah, but it also doomed us to destruction if Captain Kirk can’t get his act together in this new timeline. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* The producers of The Bachelor may need better lawyers. After they settled a claim with blogger Reality Steve, barring him from contacting cast and crew for spoilers, he’s publishing spoilers again. Reality Steve’s defense? The settlement agreement was silent on the matter of cast and crew contacting him. Touché. Reality Steve wins a one-on-one this week. [IT-Lex.org]

* Sometimes you just need to call the other player’s bluff. Right-wing legislators in Utah loudly parroted talk-radio scripts calling for Utah to reject federal grant money. Democrats in Utah agreed and voted to reject federal grants. Then Republicans started to panic. [Utah Political Report]

* Jon Stewart calls for the drowning of legal journalist Peter Lattman for being a wizard. Video after the jump….

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Yet many professional athletes are speaking up—both to clear the way for any teammates who may be gay and closeted, and from an understandingof how even seemingly minor acts by professional athletes can reverberate with the public. Tolerance is becoming the message in locker rooms and from teams that recognize they cannot countenance use of pointless slurs like “faggot,” “queer,” and “gay.” Regardless the intent with which those terms are spoken, they classify a group and particular people as synonymous with the lesser, and professional athletes are beginning to understand that.

– Minnesota Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (congratulations on the Super Bowl) in an amicus curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, regarding the fate of California’s Proposition 8.

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Last month, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan named a new partner and special counsel. Congratulations to these five worthy lawyers on their promotions.

Alas, not all the news coming out of Stroock is this happy. We’ve just learned that the firm is planning to cut the ranks of its legal secretaries….

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It seems like law professors are constantly trying to trip up students during their Socratic torture sessions, and students have little choice but to sit back and take it. But as soon as a law professor trips, she runs to the courthouse to sue about it.

Somewhat reminiscent of the late Judge Robert Bork’s slip-and-fall at the Yale Club of New York City, apparently speaking on a lecture platform is a little too much work for professors, especially if the platform is “unreasonably small in width and depth.” It seems that even the most prominent of professors can fall prey to a simple lack of coordination.

It just goes to show that even people outside of Cardozo need walking instructions….

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Texas attorney Ray Marchan (Stanford ’82) has leapt from the Queen Isabella Bridge before turning himself in to federal authorities to serve a 3 1/2 year prison term. Marchan was convicted of six counts of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, aiding and abetting extortion, and mail fraud in connection with the bribing of former 404th District Judge Abel C. Limas to the tune of over $11,000

At this time, it’s unknown if Marchan was killed in the fall. Investigators are considering the possibility that he used the fall to escape….

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Professor Paul Campos isn’t going anywhere. But as we mentioned last night, his blog is.

Last night, Campos announced that he is going to stop writing his blog, Inside the Law School Scam. There are a number of so-called “scam blogs” by law school graduates that are devoted to exposing the high cost and low return of going to law school. But Campos is one of the few law school professors who has chosen to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

But after 499 posts, there wasn’t a lot more to say…

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Okay, we can all stop worrying. Lindsay Lohan’s new attorney Mark Heller is pretty sure he knows how to “fix” the actress and he’s written a letter to the prosecutors extolling his power to succeed where all others have failed. And it involves establishing the “Lindsay Lohan Foundation.” I’m eagerly awaiting the mission statement for that organization.

The judge is not pleased with Heller’s letter. The exact term used in reports of the judge’s reaction is “pissed.” Pissing off the judge within the first month on the case. Hey, Lindsay, maybe Heller isn’t the best choice for representation. I mean, who is this guy?

Mark Heller’s decades-long legal career is described by observers as publicity-seeking and erratic.

Oh, wait. So maybe this is actually a match made in Heaven to work with LiLo….

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Ah, UVA Law School. I’ll be the first to admit that we’re often a little harsh on this particular law school, but that’s only because it’s so damn easy to do. When we write about UVA Law, the jokes virtually write themselves.

Some of the very best scandals around have come from this law school — from alleged sodomizers to transcript thieves to racial raconteurs to Confederate celebrants, we’ve literally seen it all from UVA Law.

But let me tell you, it’s a rare day when we’re able to tell students from this school to pop their collars with pride, and we actually mean it without a hint of sarcasm. Today we’re going to congratulate a student from UVA for an accomplishment that everyone with student loan debt wishes they could achieve.

This young woman appeared on live television and was handed thousands of dollars to pay off her loans, just for being a decent human being. How much was she able to walk away with?

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Usually, when we discuss terrible jobs we’re talking about an employer offering a very low salary (or asking for payment), for a low-level, menial job. This time, the hourly rate is actually pretty decent — at least when you can find the work.

It’s one of the requirements that seems totally ridiculous and newsworthy:

Ivy League or comparable only, please.

This is not going to be a post about how contract work is beneath Ivy league (or comparable) attorneys. This is going to be a post about what kind of a giant douchebag you have to be to feel like your collection work can only be completed by Ivy league attorneys….

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