Adoption

On Monday, a jury convicted Larry Williams of first-degree manslaughter and his wife Carri of both manslaughter and homicide by abuse. Both now face possible life in prison.

Larry and Carri Williams were typical suburban parents who approached every parenting decision by asking, “WWJD?”

Except Larry and Carri were convinced that what Jesus would do is mercilessly beat and ultimately kill a defenseless girl.

While, obviously, the actual scripture is open to interpretation, what I take away from it is that Jesus would actually not do any of these things.

Unfortunately, Larry and Carri are not alone in their screwball religious interpretation, and while the media (to the extent it has covered the case at all) is focused on the verdict and looming sentence, the unasked legal question this case raises is how people like this are allowed to adopt children in the first place…

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A ‘beauty culturist’ at work.

* The latest update on the law school litigation front represents good news for New York Law School. [National Law Journal]

* Should summarizing a one-day deposition transcript really cost $90,000? Even DLA Piper might blush at such a bill. [Point of Law]

* Ropes & Gray isn’t backing down in the discrimination lawsuit brought by former partner Patricia Martone. (We’ll have more on this later.) [Am Law Daily]

* No, silly polo mogul, you can’t adopt your 42-year-old girlfriend to shield your fortune from litigation. [ABA Journal]

* Replacing “barbers” with “beauty culturists”? This is Indiana and not California, right? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Court rules that overlapping elements between romance novels do not amount to infringement. I mean, there’s only so many ways to phrase “throbbing member.” [Courthouse News Service]

* Pinellas County, Florida (Tampa Bay area) returns to using fluoridated water after a governmental sea change brought on by the issue. Don’t they understand the Communist plot to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids? [Tampa Bay Times]

* In fairness, I think pro se litigants generally have a pretty good ineffective assistance claim. [Lowering the Bar]

* The D.C. Circuit managed to irritate both environmentalists and industry by affirming Fish and Wildlife’s designation of polar bears as “threatened.” It’s a nice middle ground. You know who else would appreciate some middle ground? A polar bear clinging to a shrinking ice floe. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor thinks kids need a healthier respect for the American democratic process. It would be unfortunate if the will of a democratic majority could get hijacked by five partisan hacks. [Courthouse News Service]

* Following up on yesterday’s profile of Lindsay Lohan’s attorney Mark Heller, the judge declared him “incompetent.” Fair enough. [TMZ]

* Oh, but trust him, he’s a doctor (of law). [The Economist]

* To quote the inimitable Spencer Hall, “Fine, here, cry.” [New York Times]


When it comes to the employee benefit known as “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits” (aka the “gay gross-up”), maybe the pertinent question should be which firms don’t offer it. Since our recent write-up, we’ve heard about more leading law firms that offer this perk, taking the total number of firms that have it to more than 40. (The new firms are mentioned below.)

So let’s move on to the next front, which we also alluded to in our prior post: adoption and surrogacy-related benefits. They’re not nearly as common as tax equalization for same-sex health benefits, but a handful of firms appear to offer them.

Let’s find out which ones, shall we?

UPDATE (2/8/2013, 1:00 AM): A noteworthy update about the legal status of surrogacy, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Adoption Benefits
(Plus an update on the gay gross-up.)

Pamela Levinson

You know what’s the mark of a good lawsuit against a law firm? The ability to polarize. Sure, it’s fun to laugh at the wacky ones, like Berry v. Kasowitz Benson or Morisseau v. DLA Piper. But the true classics are cases in which half the people think the plaintiff is a crusader for justice, and half the people think the plaintiff is an extortionist.

Take the 2007 lawsuit of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, brought by a young M&A lawyer claiming anti-gay discrimination. That was a great lawsuit. Some readers saw it as a Philadelphia for the 21st century, while others saw it as a shameless shakedown of a top law firm.

By this standard, Levinson v. WilmerHale is a good lawsuit. Readers can’t seem to agree on this one. Let’s check out the sharply divided opinions — and also hear more about Pamela Levinson, from former colleagues at the firm….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day Update: More About Levinson v. WilmerHale”

Back in December, we wrote about a major employment discrimination case filed against Greenberg Traurig. That suit contained some salacious allegations, including claims that women lawyers had to sleep with superiors to get ahead.

Today brings news of another employment discrimination lawsuit filed against another top law firm. It’s being filed by the litigation boutique of Sanford Heisler LLP, which seems to be carving out a nice little niche in plaintiff-side Biglaw employment litigation.

Which firm is being sued this time, and what are the plaintiff’s allegations?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: A $5 Million Discrimination Suit Against a Top Law Firm”

Billable-hour requirements are generally like the price of gas: they just keep going up. A law professor might compare it to a one-way ratchet. As law firms try to increase their profitability — by doing more work with less manpower, thanks to recessionary layoffs that haven’t been completely reversed — they ask more and more of their lawyers. Right?

Well, not necessarily. One Biglaw firm recently lowered its hours requirement — and instituted some other perks worth noting.

Might other firms follow suit? Perhaps yours?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Biglaw Firm Institutes A Smaller Hours Requirement”

* How would you describe the mainstream media’s recent reporting on Citizens United? Not true, not true — and Dan Abrams explains why. [Mediaite via The Corner / Ramesh Ponnuru]

* Whether the U.S. Constitution requires marriage equality can be debated as a matter of constitutional law. But as a policy matter, is this still an open question? Even Professor John Yoo, the bane of liberals’ existence, supports same-sex marriage as a policy matter. [Ricochet]

* I support marriage equality, but I do not support glitter bombing. It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye (and files a lawsuit over it). [Althouse]

* If you adopt your 42-year-old girlfriend, does that turn your sexual relationship with her into incest? Professor Terry Turnipseed — yes, that’s his real name — is on the case. [Slate]

* Professor Mark Fenster writes an interesting post in defense of boredom (triggered by Adminlawgate at Yale Law School). [PrawfsBlawg]

* Speaking of boredom and frustration, let’s talk about… e-discovery! [Inside Counsel]

* What’s a hot practice area for 2012? [Going Concern]

* Speaking of hot practice areas, are you an intellectual property or technology lawyer? If so, this development might interest you. [MarketWatch]

* How many friend requests did these firms just get? Fenwick & West and Simpson Thacher are the Biglaw stars of Facebook’s S-1 filing for its $5B initial public offering. Like. [Am Law Daily]

* The prosecution is expected to make its arguments today in Julian Assange’s appeal of his extradition from the U.K. to Sweden. Hope it won’t affect his role on The Simpsons. [CNN]

* Adventures in fourth-tier second-tier law school marketing: go to the University of Dayton School of Law, take a tour, and get your first-year textbooks for free. Mmm, the sweet smell of bribery. [National Law Journal]

* The little hybrid that could: Heather Peters, the former lawyer who decided to sue Honda in small claims court, has won her case. Maybe she should reconsider her career options? [Los Angeles Times]

* Looking for a way to shield your assets during a wrongful death suit? Just adopt your adult girlfriend. It has “nothing to do with the lawsuit” — dude just wants to bang his daughter. No big deal. [Palm Beach Post]

* Unpaid internships are so last season. A former intern for fashion mag Harper’s Bazaar wants class action certification for a lawsuit claiming that her free labor violated wage and hour laws. [New York Times]

Would you force your kid to eat this?

Sometimes kids can be really annoying and behave really badly. Luckily for my parents, I was a little bit of both when I was younger. After throwing a spare rib at someone’s head in a Chinese restaurant, my parents didn’t take me out to dinner with them for months. After throwing a puzzle at the wall and making a huge hole in it, my parents didn’t allow me to have playdates for a while. Apparently, I was a big fan of throwing things when I was a little girl.

But my parents never hit me, and they certainly never abused me. They just took things away, and made me see that there were consequences for my actions. My parents are awesome. And look at what a fine specimen I turned out to be! Now I make fun of people on the internet for a living. They’re so proud.

Now, I don’t have kids, but from what I see happening around me, I feel like parents just don’t know how to be parents anymore. But they do know how to be drama queens. Case in point: an Alaska mother was so desperate to get on the Dr. Phil show that she filmed herself forcing her child to hold hot sauce in his mouth and shoving him into a cold shower.

Is this child abuse? You bet your ass it is, and this bad mommy might be going to jail for it….

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