Bankruptcy

Regular readers of this blog know that you cannot discharge student loan obligations through bankruptcy absent a showing of undue hardship. If you go broke borrowing money for expensive cars, houses, and monkeys/butlers, no problem, file for bankruptcy and start over. But if you go broke trying to better yourself through education, the government will make you beg and prove that you are sad and hopeless. Wonderful system we’ve got here.

We’ve also talked about how many people who might be eligible for undue hardship on their student debts don’t even try. The system is daunting and complicated, and I’ve argued that prostrating yourself in front of a bankruptcy court and letting them invade your life to the point of telling you how much you should be spending on your cell phone is not something that comes naturally to people with pride and dignity. This might be hard to understand for people who have never been in this situation, but I’d much rather be a “deadbeat” and have my wages garnished with the discretion on how I spend the rest than have some old judge tell me how much money I should be spending on breakfast.

When trying to get your debts discharged through bankruptcy, there seems to be no limit to what a judge can take into account to see if you are really desperate. But a recent Ninth Circuit opinion upholding a discharge by reversing the district court put one boundary on what a court can look at to determine if you’ve tried to pay your debts in “good faith.”

The court can’t look at your household and suggest that you pimp out your wife. So at least that’s something…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Ruling on Undue Hardship, Court Is Not Allowed To Come Into Your House and Repurpose Your Wife”

Casey Anthony

* Right about now, the Second Circuit is wondering why authors are suing Google and crying infringement over the Internet company’s e-book project, especially since digitization could benefit so many of them. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* This is the end of an era of legal battles: Jeffrey Skilling, Enron’s former chief executive officer, is getting a little shaved off the top of his 24-year prison sentence thanks to a deal with the Department of Justice. He’ll be out in 2017. [CNBC]

* Biglaw expected to have a slow start in 2013, but no one expected it to be this slow. The latest Citi report wasn’t exactly encouraging; on average, firms saw a 0.2% increase in revenue during the first quarter. [Am Law Daily]

* In the past decade, the American Bar Association has created six task forces to explore changing the face of legal education as we know it. Funny… nothing’s really changed. [National Law Journal]

* Bail for Ariel Castro, the accused Cleveland kidnapper, has been set at $8 million. “Just think of how many ribs and salsa albums could be bought with that, bro,” said Charles Ramsey. [Chicago Tribune]

* Casey Anthony had a bankruptcy hearing yesterday, but that news was overshadowed because everyone cared more about the girl who wasn’t going to get away with murder. [Orlando Sentinel]

* Professor Alfred Brophy wonders if The Great Gatsby (affiliate link) provides an early preview of product placement. In any event, I’m willing to bet the new movie will provide a stellar latter day view of product placement. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Brooklyn Law School will begin offering a two-year JD program. This makes too much sense. [Brooklyn Law School]

* Former Dora the Explorer star rebuffed in effort to unwind settlement, in part over claims that she overpaid for her lawyer. He charged $755/hour plus a 37.5% “success fee.” [UPDATE: According to her former lawyer, the hourly rate was replaced by the contingency fee arrangement.] This is the sort of thing that happens if a monkey is your most trusted confidant. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Oreck files for bankruptcy. Not Orrick, Oreck. They make vacuum cleaners that suck. Figuratively. [USA Today]

* Urinating on police stations? Detroit sounds like such a charming place. [Legal Juice]

* If you don’t mind spoilers, here are the answers to all your Iron Man 3 legal queries. Not answered: why was the post-credits scene so lame? [Law and the Multiverse]

* While created for short-sighted criminal defendants, this applies equally to the hubris of civil defendants who are just SURE they’re going to win. [What the Public Defender?]

* Caroline Kennedy just paid up her lapsed bar admission. Just in time for a Senate confirmation hearing… you know if she were to get nominated for something. [WiseLawNY]

Casey Anthony

* “Is there a public interest in unwanted pregnancies … that can often result in abortions?” The judge who ordered that Plan B be made available to all women regardless of age is pissed at the DOJ. [The Caucus / New York Times]

* Mary Jo White, the littlest litigatrix, will “review” the Securities and Exchange Commission’s policy of allowing financial firms to settle civil suits without affirming or denying culpability, but for now, she’s defending it. [Reuters]

* Dewey know what this failed firm is supposed to pay its advisers for work done during the first nine months of its bankruptcy proceedings? We certainly do, and it’s quite the pretty penny. [Am Law Daily]

* In a round of musical chairs that started at Weil Gotshal, Cadwalader just lost the co-chairs of its bankruptcy practice and another bankruptcy partner to O’Melveny. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Another day, another law school comparison website. Take a look at Law Jobs: By the Numbers, which includes a formula from the laughable National Jurist rankings system. [National Law Journal]

* In a move that shocked absolutely no one, attorneys for Colorado movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes announced they will enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for their client. [CNN]

* From the “hindsight is 20/20″ file: the judge who presided over the Casey Anthony trial thinks there was enough evidence to convict the ex-MILF. He also likened Jose Baez to a used car salesman. [AP]

* Check out Logan Beirne’s book (affiliate link). Even when sensationalizing George Washington’s rise from general to president, attention must be paid to the rule of law. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* The justices of the Supreme Court gave a thumbs down to hearing a challenge to New York’s “de facto ban” on carrying guns in public, prompting members of the National Rifle Association to poop their pants. [New York Times]

* Now that Mary Jo White is the chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Debevoise has picked her successor to act as co-chair of the litigation department. Congratulations go out to Mary Beth Hogan. [DealBook / New York Times]

* In its latest court filings, Ropes & Gray explains why failing to give its “token black associate” a recommendation letter wasn’t an act of retaliation. That’ll surely be an interesting read. [Am Law Daily]

* A former client sues a major law firm, raising fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims. [Bailey & Glasser (press release and complaint)]

* Boston Biglaw firms — like Dechert, Edwards Wildman, and Foley & Lardner — were “really shaken” by yesterday’s blasts, but report that all employees are safe and accounted for. [National Law Journal]

* Six out of 10 of the 4,967 class of 2012 graduates from New York’s law schools were able to find full-time, long-term positions as lawyers nine months after graduation. Yay? [New York Law Journal]

* Secrets, secrets are no fun; secrets, secrets hurt… someone’s wallet. Sorry, Jamie McCourt, but all of the secret MLB documents concerning the Dodgers’ $2 billion sale will remain secret. [Bloomberg]

* The Dukes of Hazzard and Braveheart cited in the Eleventh Circuit. Other circuits, the gauntlet has been thrown down. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Dave’s not here, man. Probably not the smartest stoner on the planet. [Lowering the Bar]

* Former Skadden attorney loses her appeal claiming that insomnia constituted a disability. It’s a setback for her, but nothing worth losing sleep over. [National Law Journal]

* The Second Circuit agreed with every other court that heard the motion and denied the effort to recuse Magistrate Judge Peck from the Da Silva Moore predictive coding case. [IT-Lex]

* Maybe it’s time for law professors to get off their duffs and try helping out their unemployed students directly. [Concurring Opinions]

* Chief Judge Easterbrook allows a $25K student-loan discharge for a “destitute” paralegal. The educational-industrial complex is not going to sit still for this. [ABA Journal]

* Saira Rao, of Chambermaid (affiliate link) fame, has a new publishing venture — check it out. [Kickstarter]

* Oh, BARBRI. What’s the Matter with Kansas, indeed (after the jump)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 04.12.13″

If you follow the world of large law firms, then you are probably familiar with the incisive and candid commentary of Steven J. Harper. Over at his blog, The Belly of the Beast, Harper offers excellent insights into the world of Biglaw.

Harper knows so much about that world because he spent his entire legal career in it. He joined Kirkland & Ellis after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1979. He practiced litigation at the firm for about 30 years, until his retirement in 2008, at the early age of 54 (which you can afford to do when you’re an equity partner at a firm as lucrative as K&E).

In addition to blogging, Harper has written four books. I spoke last week with Harper about his latest book, The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis (affiliate link), and about his views on the worlds of Biglaw and legal education….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Interview with Steven Harper, Former Kirkland Partner and Author of ‘The Lawyer Bubble’”

J.D. = Just the Dark Roast?

* President Obama apologized to Kamala Harris after referring to her as the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” We’re guessing the First Lady was none too pleased with her husband’s behavior. [New York Times]

* If you’re unemployed (or were the victim of a recent layoff), try to keep your head up, because there’s still hope for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector added 2,000 jobs last month. [Am Law Daily]

* The 10 percent vacancy rate on the nation’s federal courts is unacceptable and the New York Times is ON IT. Perhaps D.C. Circuit hopeful Sri Srinivasan will have some luck at this week’s judicial confirmation hearing. [New York Times]

* Shine bright like A. Diamond: Howrey’s bankruptcy trustee is still trying to get “unfinished business” settlements from several Biglaw firms, but managed to secure funds from ALAS. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* Contrary to what law deans tell you in the op-ed pages, if you want to work as a real lawyer, it actually matters where you go to law school. We’ll probably have more on this later today. [National Law Journal]

* Cooley Law took a hard hit in the appeal of its defamation case against Rockstar05, and now the disgruntled blogger may seek a dismissal. Score one for anonymous online speech! [Ars Technica]

* Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister, RIP. [CNN]

* If an armed society is a polite society, then Nelson, Georgia has the most polite motherf**kers in the country. [Constitutional Daily]

* Professor X is breaking the law? You know, he really should have seen that coming… [Law and the Multiverse]

* Speaking of people who should have seen it coming, Dionne Warwick, former spokesperson for the Psychic Friends Network, has filed for bankruptcy. [Celeb Legal Issues]

* Incest is best when kept in the family. So go ahead and adopt your girlfriend. [Lowering the Bar]

* “Your Honor, I’d like my dong stricken from the record.” [OC Weekly]

* A slick recap of how completely screwed the legal industry is right now, by Axiom Law (via Bruce MacEwen). [Adam Smith, Esq.]

* On a personal note, as a debate coach myself, congratulations to everyone involved with the Emporia State debate team for becoming the first team ever to win both national championship tournaments (by way of analogy the “U.S. Open” and “The Masters”) for the same year. [Associated Press]

‘You may take our false hopes for employment, but you will never take our right to sue!’

* Many have compared the possible outcome of the gay marriage cases to the Roe v. Wade decision, saying that constitutionalizing the right to gay marriage will create a similar culture war. Relax, bro, your bigotry is showing. You won’t be any less married if everyone has equal rights, promise. [New York Times]

* Everyone thought Justice Kennedy was going to be the deciding voice in the Obamacare case, and that didn’t happen, but when it comes to the future of gay marriage, in the words of RuPaul, Kennedy’s got the right amount of “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent” to save the day (at least as far as California’s Proposition 8 is concerned). [Sacramento Bee]

* Meanwhile, people waiting in line outside of the Supreme Court in the hopes of grabbing one of the 50 seats reserved for the public like it’s a Black Friday sale outside of Walmart. Unemployed law grads, just think, you could be getting paid to sleep outside in a tent right now! [The Caucus / New York Times]

* Modern-day legal education is a “failure” in the eyes of this Supreme Court justice. Now don’t get it twisted, Scalia wasn’t referring to the post-graduate employment crisis that we’ve all come know and loathe — he just thinks we need fewer “law and [insert bullsh*t here]“ classes. [Portsmouth Herald]

* Dewey know when we’ll be able to retire this punny phrasing? Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight because more than a dozen former partners (including John Altorelli of spy-shagging fame) are still clinging to their claims that the failed firm’s estate owes them money. [Am Law Daily]

* Seeing as Widener’s motion to dismiss as to its allegedly deceptive job statistics was denied, it looks like there’s still time to rally behind the law school litigation cause. Someone on Team Strauss/Anziska needs to go all William Wallace and inspire more would-be plaintiffs to sue. [Law 360 (sub. req.)]

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