* The cop who became a global internet meme for pepper spraying protesters at Berkeley Davis is now appealing for worker’s comp, arguing that he suffered psychiatric injury. Pray for him. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]
* Ariel Castro has pleaded guilty. Professor Douglas Berman suggests that the death penalty may have made this possible. An alternative theory is that Castro doesn’t think being locked up in a tiny space for years on end is all that bad. [Sentencing Law and Policy]
* Lawyer arrested for bringing meth into a courthouse. I’d say “better call Saul,” but this sounds more like something Saul would do. [Press Democrat]
* An Akin Gump partner, James Meggesto, is in hot water for Tweeting his disdain for a congressman and a Native American chief. For the record, when a tweet opens with “Resisting urge to tweet…”, you’ve failed. [Politico]
* This story actually reminds me of the plot to the new BSG series — a networked house can easily be hacked by cylons. Or in this case, Kashmir Hill. [Forbes]
* New York’s energy regulations are increasing demand for energy-efficient solutions. The most efficient thing about my apartment is finally getting a break in the heat. [Breaking Energy]
* Want to know another thing that’s causing Biglaw to implode? All of these huge partner compensation spreads we’ve told you about are creating a “star culture,” and even law firm partners are capable of jealousy. [Am Law Daily]
* It looks like Charleston School of Law is the latest institution of legal education to be enticed and swallowed up into the for-profit InfiLaw System. Will a sale be next? We’ll have more info on these developments later today. [Post and Courier]
* Sorry, but in Pennsylvania, you cannot represent clients on a quid pro blow basis. You could get suspended for a year, like this guy. Wonder what his retainer agreement looked like. [Legal Intelligencer]
* The sole minority juror from the George Zimmerman trial — the one who was liable to allow the jury to be hung — is now telling the world she thought the acquitted “got away with murder.” [ABC News]
* Lawyers for accused kidnapper Ariel Castro are considering a deal offered by prosecutors that takes the death penalty off the table. He might be able to enjoy some ribs in prison if he’s there for life. [CNN]
[L]et’s try to help the person, she obviously had a bad night, and we don’t need to continue to hurt her dignity about this issue. So let the court do what the court’s supposed to do, and please, we don’t need to have theatrics around this issue.
– Alderman Tom Tunney of Chicago’s 44th Ward, in a voicemail message left for the owner of an adult sex shop about assistant state’s attorney Sarah Naughton, the “apparently intoxicated” prosecutrix who allegedly bit the leg of one of the porn purveyor’s employees, while the scandalous case was still pending.
* The hottest barristers in London. Meh. Holding out for the hottest solicitors countdown. [Legal Cheek]
* A lawyer should get suspended for smuggling stuff out of prison for a client. But shouldn’t the punishment be a tad more severe for smuggling a HIT LIST out of prison for a client? [Mercury News]
* The Ten Competencies that law schools should teach. I’d add “understanding how to order from Seamless at 4AM,” but otherwise it’s a solid list. [Associate's Mind]
* Penn State has approved a $60 million settlement in the Sandusky cases. Which is less than the football program makes in a year. [Deadspin]
* Apparently, the laws and other conditions surrounding America’s oil industry make it only the fifth friendliest place to extract petroleum in the world. Thanks a bunch you granola-eating socialists. [Breaking Energy]
A while back, someone wrote a book accusing a prominent former Karl Rove aide and conservative commentator of being a scheming, intellectually dishonest shell of a person, with nothing more to commend her than her beauty-queen good looks.
Once you recover from the shock, the wrinkle in this kerfuffle is that the book was written by her long-time friend and attorney, and draws upon what he learned over his years of representing the woman in various legal scrapes from divorce to criminal activity.
If you think writing a book divulging the confidences of a former client sounds suspect, well, the Indiana Supreme Court agrees with you…
UPDATE (1/7/14): Dee Dee Benkie reached out to us and noted that she never spoke to the Indiana Supreme Court, so the details in its decision represent only the former attorney’s side of the story and Benkie was not able to go on the record to defend herself.
* Since summer’s start, Patton Boggs has been leaking lawyers like a sieve. Thus far, 22 partners and 11 associates have defected from the firm to Holland & Knight, Jackson Lewis, Arent Fox, and WilmerHale. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Considering the deadly force choke American health care reform legislation has supposedly put on employers, perhaps more lawyers ought to consider becoming Jedi masters of the Affordable Care Act. [Daily Business Review]
* The new normal for the ivory tower: Law schools are tackling falling applications by “voluntarily” decreasing their class sizes, or by “voluntarily” offering faculty and staff buyouts. [Wall Street Journal]
* But look on the bright side, professors, the ABA wants to amend its accreditation standards to save your jobs and offer greater protections. Too bad its unwilling to do the same for students. [ABA Journal]
* If you’ve been swindling clients for long enough, the law school you donated money to will try to scrub your name off its walls. That is what’s happening now at IU-McKinney Law. [National Law Journal]
As if the Rodney Dangerfields of the professional world weren’t reviled enough, Americans have stepped forward to slap lawyers in the face yet again. Please, take your law degree and wipe your ass with it, because in the court of public opinion, you’ve contributed nothing to society…
Last year, we covered the mystery departure of Lee Smolen — the prominent real estate lawyer, not the famed theoretical physicist — from Sidley Austin. It may have been related to the ethics charges filed against Smolen, accusing him of conversion and breach of fiduciary duty through alleged filing of false expense claims.
In order to deliver to DLA’s bottom line, Smolen will need to avoid suspension or disbarment. So he has filed a response to the Illinois ethics charges against him. What does Smolen have to say for himself, and is it persuasive?
* The Obama administration has decided to delay the employer health care mandate until 2015. What does that mean for you? Well, since you’re not a business, you still have to purchase health insurance by 2014. Yay. [Economix / New York Times]
* Untying the knot is harder than it looks: Gay couples stuck in loveless marriages they’ve been unable to dissolve due to changing state residency may be able to find new hope in the Supreme Court’s recent DOMA decision. [New York Times]
* Clinical professors are pushing the ABA to amend its accreditation standards to require practical skills coursework. Amid faculty purges, they’re committed to do whatever it takes for additional job security. [National Law Journal]
* If you’re heading to a law school recruitment forum and want to get ahead in the applications process, make your mark by acting professionally, not by dressing like a d-bag. [U.S. News & World Report]
* “As a parent we’re not always proud of everything they do.” Of course there’s a prosecution inquiry being made into the Don West ice cream cone picture that ended up on Instagram. [Orlando Sentinel]
Last September, we wrote about the mysterious departure of Lee Smolen from Sidley Austin. Smolen, former head of Sidley’s real estate practice in Chicago and a member of the firm’s executive committee, departed without comment or a known destination. When that happens, something interesting is usually afoot.
Earlier this month, the other white shoe dropped. A lawyer ethics commission in Illinois leveled charges against Smolen arising out of his time at Sidley.
What has he been accused of? And what does his new law firm have to say about it?
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