Well, this is not going to make Bingham McCutchen partners happy. A judge today ruled that the marital agreement between Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and wife Jamie McCourt is invalid — and therefore Frank might not have sole ownership of the Dodgers.
We wrote about Bingham’s boo-boo back in September. Some copies of the postnuptial agreement use the word “inclusive” in a way that would have given Frank sole ownership, while others use the word “exclusive,” which would have made Jamie a co-owner.
Bingham’s agreement may have been thrown out by the court, but don’t think for a second that Frank McCourt is done fighting for sole control of the team…
We’ve seen lawyers request continuances because of major sporting events before. There was a great continuance motion last year, when the Alabama Crimson Tide played in the BCS Championship game. Obviously, the entire state of Louisiana lost its collective mind during the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Run.
Notice how we’re talking about football? Football is “America’s Passion,” while baseball is “America’s Pastime” — which is a nice way of saying, “Baseball is something cool to have on the television while you take an afternoon nap.” (Full Disclosure: I’m a Mets fan, so baseball has been dead to me for many months.)
But we’re seeing unusual passion from Texas Rangers fans. Maybe it’s because the team had never won a playoff series until this postseason. Maybe it’s because Cliff Lee really is a witch.
Lawyers who are Texas Rangers fans appear to have gone all the way around the bend…
It’s actually not the divorce of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the divorce of real estate mogul Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie. Some call it the Dodger Divorce, however, since this bitter litigation could determine the fate of the storied baseball team — an asset worth hundreds of millions.
The couple is fighting over ownership of the Dodgers in a Los Angeles courtroom, aided by a long list of leading litigators. Frank McCourt is represented by Stephen Susman of Susman Godfrey, among others, and Jamie McCourt’s legal team is led by David Boies of Boies Schiller. (For a more complete listing of the lawyers involved, see here.)
But right now Susman and Boies aren’t the lawyers in the limelight. Rather, all eyes are focused on attorneys from Bingham McCutchen. The Boston Globe reports:
The high-powered firm is suddenly at the center of the drama because of work done by its lawyers. At issue is the wording of a document signed by both McCourts six years ago. According to media reports, three copies of the marital property agreement use the word “inclusive,” which would make Frank McCourt the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and three copies say “exclusive,” which would make Jamie McCourt the co-owner of the venerable Major League Baseball franchise.
This is not the first time we’ve covered how a tiny difference in language — just two little characters, “in” as opposed to “ex” — could mean millions. Remember the single-digit error that could cost a real estate company tens of millions? See also the $900,000 comma and the $40,000 missing “L.”
Yikes. This is such stuff as lawyers’ bad dreams are made of. Law truly is a game of inches. (When bloggers make typos, commenters make fun of us; when lawyers make typos, people die lose money — sometimes lots and lots of it.)
The lead lawyer from Bingham McCutchen, Larry Silverstein — no relation to the World Trade Center real estate developer, as far as we know — admits that he messed up in preparing the marital property agreement (MPA)….
I can’t remember the last time I was this happy about an indictment. From NPR (gavel bang: Going Concern):
Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, who testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2008, with his former trainer, Brian McNamee, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C.
According to the Department of Justice, he has been “charged with one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury.”
Go get him, feds. You go get that bloated, shady, suspicious, bat-throwing antichrist. Get ‘em all, I say; you lie to Congress, you get the horns!
* Lawyer of the Day: Chicago attorney Matthew Campobasso (pictured) catches a foul ball in one hand — while holding his seven-month-old son in the other. [Hammervision]
* Speaking of foul things in Chicago, guess how much Rod Blagojevich spent on clothes over a six-year period. [Chicago News Cooperative]
* A Colorado woman by the name of Jan Schill has set up a website to oppose the bid of her father, John Mantooth, for an Oklahoma judgeship. The website’s catchy title: Do Not Vote for My Dad. [KOCO.com]
* Are CEOs obligated to maximize shareholder value? Professor Todd Henderson explains why this is a myth. [Truth on the Market]
Last night, I was momentarily distracted from watching the Mets blow another Johan Santana start by the game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. As most sports fans already know, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game last night — only he didn’t get credit for it, because umpire Jim Joyce blew the call on the 27th and final out. Joyce called Indians featherweight hitter Jason Donald safe at first. Replays later showed conclusively that Donald was out.
This morning, the sports world is buzzing about what (if anything) can be done about this terrible miscarriage of justice. The legal world is buzzing too. Baseball and the law work so perfectly together because they are both rules-oriented systems where the rules are designed to promote justice and fair play. People care deeply about the rules of law, and the rules of baseball, so it’s really not that surprising to see lawyers weigh in about Galarraga’s should-have-been perfect game.
The WSJ Law Blog did a good job of collecting some of the reaction to Joyce’s blown call. Most of the talk centers around forcing the resistant-to-change game of baseball to adopt instant replay.
But there are other rules-oriented ways to handle the situation. An Above the Law reader has started a Facebook petition to get Major League Baseball to adopt “The Galarraga Rule” …
Let’s take a brief break from covering people leaving the Supreme Court and potential replacements, and focus on somebody who is not going anywhere any time soon. In a sports-centric interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Justice Samuel Alito goes into some depth about his love for the game of baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies.
You know it’s a good interview if I’m covering a right-leaning Justice who likes the Phillies. It’s not easy to write with tears in your eyes. But Alito makes it worthwhile by showing us a little bit of his personal life:
On the shelves are a Phillies cap, several framed pictures depicting various Phillies players, autographed baseballs, a book on the 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids and other Phillies-related memorabilia.
Justice Alito’s work couldn’t be more serious. The decisions he participates in have an enormous impact on the country. Baseball is his escape. And the Phillies have always been his favorite team.
We’ve noted that baseball is such a natural fit with the judicial process. Alito also gives us the scoop on the favorite teams of other SCOTUS Justices:
Unfortunately I had a bet with Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor about the outcome of the World Series. She’s a Yankees fan. Justice [Antonin] Scalia is a Yankees fan. So we had a bet, cheesesteaks vs. Nathan’s hot dogs, and I had to provide Nathan’s hot dogs.
Justice [Stephen] Breyer is a Red Sox fan and Justice [John Paul] Stevens is a Cubs fan. He claims to have been present when Babe Ruth called his shot [in the 1932 World Series] at Wrigley Field. [Smiling] Although about 200,000 people claim to have been in attendance at that game, I trust him that he actually was.
What about John “The Umpire” Roberts? Meh, he probably just roots for a well-played game.
Alito also has some thoughts on the great baseball debates on our time. What would he do if he had a Hall of Fame vote?
The Major League Baseball Season started last night and gets underway in earnest today. Football might be the biggest sport on the American landscape, but baseball is still America’s pastime. It’s a favorite of lawyers and judges — and according to a recent poll, baseball is the sport that draws a nearly equal percentage of liberal and conservative fans.
If you’ve actually been to a baseball game in the past decade, you know that the experience is ridiculously expensive. My first baseball game cost my dad $55 all-in (Mets/Padres, 1987, Straw hit one out). My last game cost my wife and I upwards of $200 — and we saw the pitiful Nationals in bad seats.
Duke law professor Richard Schmalbeck and Rutgers business professor Jay Soled think they know why the price of attending a baseball game has skyrocketed. They blame the tax code and the money generated from corporate ticket buyers. Have you ever gone to a game on your firm’s dime? If so, you are part of the problem …
Okay, the legal economy is in the tank. Recent law graduates are having a tough time finding jobs. Graduates from lower tier law schools are getting squeezed as top tier law students and deferred associates compete for jobs and opportunities. You get the picture.
Now enter Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The school that’s ranked 12th by Thomas M. Cooley Law School and is considered fourth tier by everyone else. With over 3,500 full- and part-time students, Cooley gives new meaning to the term “diploma mill.” Despite the terrible economy the school is expanding, ensuring that even more law students will know what it feels like to pay off post graduate educational debts with extra shifts at McDonalds.
What is Cooley Law School doing to improve the lot of the students suckered into a 4th tier law school? It’s buying the naming rights to a minor league baseball stadium. I’m not joking. Cooley is taking the tuition dollars of its students and buying naming rights. Naming rights. I guess replacing all the desks and lecterns with steaming piles of dung was just a little bit too expensive for the bigwigs at Cooley. Buying naming rights gets the same message across to students.
More details on Thomas M. Cooley’s new glory project, after the jump.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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