Joe Patrice

Posts by Joe Patrice

Judges are people too. Usually older people apt to complain that everyone should keep it down and get off their lawn. And in the interest of getting people to quiet down, older people love writing rules. As Jerry Seinfeld said of Florida, older folks “work hard their entire lives just so they can move down there, sit in the heat, pretend it’s not hot, and enforce these rules.”

So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise when we get our hands on this over-the-top “Best Practices” guide sent out by a county judge for every lawyer, staff member, and litigant who crosses the courthouse threshold.

And it’s even less of a surprise when it reads like it was written by a grumpy grandparent….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cranky Judge Wants Some Damn Peace And Quiet In The Courtroom”

Litigators get away with a lot of obnoxious stuff during discovery. For better or worse, the pre-trial discovery phase of civil litigation is every lawyer’s opportunity to relive those times when parents leave kids alone for the first time: every slight, disagreement, and jealousy on a slow boil explodes into anarchic back-biting once there’s no authority figure around to enforce civility. Bring on the mean-spirited letters and smack-talking RFAs.

When it comes to depositions, it doesn’t always reach “fatboy” levels, but a federal deposition isn’t a deposition until someone threatens to call the magistrate — though never does.

Which is why this benchslap, where a federal judge levies a sanction straight out of elementary school, is so appropriate….

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* Court needed a Chinese language interpreter. Rather than find a professional legal interpreter, the judge just told the lawyer to head down to the local Chinese restaurant and grab somebody. [Legal Cheek]

* News from former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s trial. As one tipster summed up the story: “Hon, I think I dropped my keys under that bus. Would you take a look?” [Slate]

* Everyone concedes Ted Cruz is smart. Why exactly? [Salon]

* A follow-up from a previous story: Connolly, Geaney, Ablitt & Willard shuts down after the foreclosure market that made them turned on them. [Mass Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.)]

* Interesting look at the volume of patent cases throughout history. Check out the troll phenomenon with charts! [Patently-O]

* More folks wasting time complaining about blog posts. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Clint Eastwood talks with Chief Judge Kozinski and Judge Fisher at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. These days it’s exciting whenever Clint isn’t talking to an empty chair. Video embedded below… [YouTube]

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And you’d think it would be Justice Scalia. But you’d be wrong!

So what darkened this legal luminary?

If you guessed “shadowy intelligence services,” you’re right. Congratulations! ATL would like to send you your prize! You win ███████. Remember to ask for it by name.

Opinions get redacted or sealed all the time, but the latest from the Seventh Circuit is a doozy….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Someone Really Wants To Shut Up Judge Posner”

Welcome back!

Last week, we kicked off The ATL Lawyer Letter Bracket by letting you choose your favorite piece of lawyer writing from the annals of ATL. Day 1 pitted No. 4, The Greatest Response To A Cease And Desist Letter, Probably Written While Drunk, against No. 13, This May Be The Best Cease And Desist Letter Ever Written, and No. 5, This May Be An Even Greater Response To A Cease And Desist Letter, against No. 12, Scathing Letter Suggests Smart Lawyer A Dumb [Expletive].

Today we have the next four teams in our competition looking for your vote….

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* The NRA’s general counsel was once convicted of murder. What’s the phrase? If you outlaw guns, only general counsel will have guns… [Mother Jones]

* Seattle is looking for people donating skulls to Goodwill. Wow, if Jeffrey Dahmer had only known there was a charitable tax write-off available. [Lowering the Bar]

* “A domestic helper has appeared in court accused of trying to injure her employer by mixing her menstrual blood in a pot of vegetables she was cooking.” Eww. [Legal Juice]

* Can Congress sue the president? Here are multiple takes. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* As the confirmation of Pamela Harris to the Fourth Circuit reminds us, “that whole nuclear option has really worked out.” So far. [Huffington Post]

* Money magazine is looking to create a ranking of undergraduate schools heavy on outcome-based factors. If you need any hints on how to do it, let us know. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Donald Sterling has lost, which is something he knows a lot about from his years of owning the Clippers. Here’s Mitchell Epner’s review of the ruling and its appealability. [CNBC]

As a law professor, if a judge issues a ruling that you don’t entirely embrace, there’s a couple ways to deal with it. You could limit yourself to carefully explaining your well-thought-out objections to the judge’s reasoning. Or you could spice up your arguments by baselessly asserting that state judges who went to “non-elite” schools are just biased against smart people like you.

This guy opted for the latter.

Last week I got denounced for disrespecting state judges and I didn’t even say they weren’t competent. So to all the bar associations out there, if you want to flex your outrage, let me offer this law professor as the real target….

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Rarely are the stakes of a benchslap elevated to the level of life and death.

And yet, a federal judge made just such a life and death call recently in swatting down an annoying lawyer wasting the court’s time with a litany of discovery disputes.

Thankfully, despite the stakes it’s a pretty funny benchslap….

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* Have you heard that Staci invited Justice Ginsburg to her wedding? [TIME]

* The Fourth Circuit welcomes Virginia to the fold of marriage equality. [National Law Journal]

* What might be the biggest insider trading case ever hinges on Greenberg Traurig. [New York Post]

* Most exciting of all is that we may never need to hear the depressing “copyright-free” Happy Birthday song ever again. [boingboing]

* With all the fire-breathing over the humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border, Texas Judge Clay Jenkins stands out for being reasonable. “I don’t feel like we have to solve the border crisis for a terrified child to be shown some compassion.” Why don’t we hear about more people like Judge Jenkins? This article suggests there’s a deeper problem with the media. [Dallas Observer]

* I’ve been beating the drum that the Obamacare cases aren’t bound for SCOTUS because the D.C. Circuit will reverse Halbig en banc. The contrary view is that the Supreme Court may not let the lack of a real circuit split stand in its way. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Outrage over the government’s school lunch health standards have Republicans fighting back at the state level. Remember, we need fatass kids because… freedom! [National Journal]

* The Second Circuit approved antibiotics in animal feed for animals that aren’t even sick. Enjoy your superbugs! [Kitchenette / Jezebel]

* Judge allegedly fell asleep during a child rape case. It’s not like it’s an important case or anything. [Gawker]

* Gaming the rankings — not just for law schools any more. [The Kansas City Star]

* Karen Mantler can’t afford her lawyer. And she’s singing about it. After the jump…. [WNYC Spinning On Air]

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The Constitution of the United States is a flawed document… [its] thinly veiled language… basically reaffirmed the legality of slavery.

– Justice Anthony Kennedy, explaining something historically accurate and entirely obvious to anyone with a third-grade education. But that hasn’t stopped right-wing commentators from freakingthe hellout, decrying Kennedy for suggesting that human bondage may undermine their totemic reliance on “original intent.” Because when the only justification for your preferred jurisprudence is that the Framers farted laser beams, a nuanced view of the Constitution isn’t in the cards.

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