* Earlier this week, after some political wrangling, Senator Chuck Grassley proposed the Court Efficiency Act in the hope of paring down the D.C. Circuit. But really, come on, what are the odds of that happening… again? [National Law Journal]
* Biglaw partners, rejoice, for it seems that your legal secretaries will be unable to sue you for defamation over emails written to your wives. Spousal privilege, baby! (N.B. This doesn’t apply to your girlfriends.) [New York Law Journal]
* Which law schools placed the highest percentage of grads in federal clerkships? This info comes from the rankings guru himself. We may have more on this later. [Morse Code / U.S. News & World Report]
* The Rutgers basketball scandal claimed another scalp yesterday after the school’s former general counsel resigned. Rutgers Law dean John Farmer will be stepping in for a brief assist. [Star-Ledger]
* So, do you remember that environmental report Steven Donziger allegedly had made up in the Chevron case? Yeah, the consulting firm just disavowed all of the evidence in the report. Oops! [Businessweek]
* Say so long to your retirement money, sweetie: Junie Hoang, the actress who sued IMDb for revealing the fact that she was over the hill, received a less than favorable jury verdict. [Houston Chronicle]
* Louisville coach Rick Pitino promised his players that he’d get a tattoo if they won the NCAA tournament. I’m hoping Peter Kalis makes the same pledge if K&L Gates makes its projected annual profits. [Huffington Post]
* Hey, Houston readers! Since I’m in town for our event tonight, I wanted to give a plug for the OKRA Charity Saloon. I visited last night and it was great — a beautiful space and all the profits go to a charity that you get to vote on (one ballot for each drink you get). An all-around great idea. So if you’re looking for a location for your next happy hour… [OKRA Charity Saloon]
* James Poulos makes a good point: it may put you horribly, horribly in debt, but education is still a good thing. [Forbes]
* Tomorrow check out our newest series: Unofficial Orientation to Law School. We will be video chatting with students, professors, and hiring managers about how 0Ls can successfully launch their legal careers. This series is presented by LexisNexis, BARBRI, and Law Preview, a BARBRI Company. [Above the Law]
* Have you ever wanted to see puppets set to the L.A. Law theme song? No? Well, after the jump you can see it anyway….
* Roger Ebert has died at the age of 70. A great critic (his audio commentary track on the Citizen Kane DVD is amazing), whose work with the late Gene Siskel basically defined film criticism for a generation. At least now we know how we will be judged when we die — a simple thumbs up, thumbs down from Gene and Roger. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* Exploring the link between baseball’s antitrust exemption and Roe v. Wade. It’s more than just saying the Royals are an abortion of a team. [Concurring Opinions]
* “Bring me the head of the person who did this”: the best closing to a C & D letter ever. [Popehat]
* A Rutgers-Camden 3L breaks down the looming sh*tstorm at Rutgers over basketball coach Mike Rice’s treatment of players. [The Legal Blitz]
* If you’ve pulled off a successful robbery, don’t taunt the victim from a traceable phone. I mean, act like you’ve been there before, man. [Legal Juice]
* It is a little funny to say that a city is looking for weaker swimmers to serve as lifeguards, but ultimately this represents the simplistic nature of the anti-affirmative-action argument: no one is saying lifeguards shouldn’t be qualified, just that a system that only privileges a strong swimming résumé will always result in affluent white kids with 10 years of swim classes getting these jobs. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Lawyers are often jerks, but this is a new twist. Help out a lawyer trying to make it in the small-batch, artisan jerky business.[Kickstarter]
* Maybe there aren’t actual Commies at Harvard Law School, but the ratio of liberals to conservatives/libertarians on the faculty is still extremely high. [Nick Rosenkranz]
* A Big Ten Commissioner filed a declaration claiming that the Big Ten will stop competitive collegiate athletics if Ed O’Bannon wins his lawsuit. This level of disingenuous blackmail is why we invented sanctions, people. [Sports Illustrated]
* On the heels of a federal judge allowing service through Facebook, a Texas lawmaker wants to make service of process over Facebook the rule rather than the exception. [IT-Lex]
* The next time you feel embarrassed by a U.S. politician, note that this Japanese city council member refuses to remove his wrestling mask. America doesn’t have anyone that clownish in office… she resigned the governorship in 2009. [Lowering the Bar]
* Everyone always talks about plain language contracts. Here’s how someone actually wrote “Terms and Conditions” that a user might actually read. [Associate's Mind]
* Once again, the Supreme Court comes down to the Breyer-Thomas coalition against the Scalia-Ginsburg coalition. [ABA Journal]
Another day, another paternity suit for a basketball legend, and this time, it’s some regular old baby mama drama (not this delusional “LeBromination” business). Apparently Michael Jordan is the latest NBA star to fall prey to a scandalous request for a paternity test. Of course, this is nothing new for His Airness — he’s had to deal with several such allegations from women claiming they dribbled his balls.
But in this iteration of what would likely be the most-watched Maury Povich episode of all time, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’ve got a teenager with a video message plea for more Twitter followers, and also for his alleged father to take a more active role in his life….
* What to do when your federal agency’s website has been hacked by Anonymous and you’re unable to post a major report online for public dissemination? Well, just ask a law professor to do it for you on his blog; that’s not embarrassing, not at all. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The many victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster can now rejoice, because yesterday, Transocean pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, and will pay the second-largest environmental fine in United States history to the tune of $400 million. [CNN]
* Money takes flight: eleventy billion Biglaw firms are behind the beast that is this awful airline merger, but taking the lead are lawyers from Weil Gotshal for AMR and Latham & Watkins for US Airways. [Am Law Daily]
* After questioning the validity of one of the NBA players union’s contracts, Paul Weiss is withholding details about it thanks to the government’s intrusion. Way to block nepotism’s alleged slam dunk. [New York Times]
* “When is the last time you took the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street to trial?” Elizabeth Warren took the Socratic method to the Senate Banking Committee and she was applauded for it. [National Law Journal]
* If you liked it, then perhaps you should’ve put a ring on it, but not a Tiffany’s diamond engagement ring that you’ve purchased from Costco, because according to this trademark lawsuit, it may be a knockoff. [Bloomberg]
* “We feel very badly for Megan Thode.” A Pennsylvania judge ruled against the Lehigh student who sued over her grade of C+ because let’s be serious, did ANYONE AT ALL really think he wouldn’t do that?! [Morning Call]
When I decided to attend the University of Kansas (cheerfully described in its promotional material as the “UMass of the Midwest”), there was very little fanfare. There was no signing ceremony, no stage, no cameras. I dropped the envelope containing my application into the mailbox, raised the little red flag, and went back inside to find my bong or watch Saved by the Bell or just eat Cool Ranch Doritos. Such was the life of a mediocre do-nothing 17-year-old during the twilight of the 20th century.
This week, a whole passel of athletic teenagers decided on a college and their decisions were met with great applause or anger. Across this great land of ours, cameras were trained on these freaks of nature as they thanked their mommas or their daddies or Jesus Christ hisself. And then a hat was chosen, its bill purposefully unbent. The South, still butthurt about the War of Northern Aggression, greedily laid claim to every great athlete this nation has to offer. Then, after the children had signed their letters of intent, the machine built to follow and track the movements of teenage football players sighed momentarily, then trained its sights on the next crop of 6th graders who show potential.
But before we leave this year’s celebration of purely innocent amateurism, let us take stock of one young soul who had it worst of all. His name is Alex Collins and all he wanted to do was play football for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Today, his mother hired Johnny Cochran’s ghost to represent her.
I don’t particularly like the NCAA and I enjoy their legal difficulties as much as the next guy. As a devout college sports fan, the usually arbitrary and always backward business side of the NCAA (including the affiliated schools and “non-profit” bowl associations) causes me great consternation.
Apparently, the incomparable Charles P. Pierce shares my disdain for the lumbering excuse for a fair and credible sanctioning body that currently governs collegiate athletics.
In a sharp Grantland piece, Pierce revisits the Ed O’Bannon-led class-action case against the NCAA and video game manufacturer EA over their combined efforts to profit in perpetuity from the likenesses of unpaid “student ath-o-letes.” (Take it away Eric Cartman!) But I think Pierce is overselling the extent to which a possible O’Bannon victory would really change the college sports landscape….
I’m trying to figure out whether Lance Armstrong is relieved that Manti Te’o upstaged him this week. On one hand, all of the mean, finger-wagging columns on Lance’s lying, like this typically flatulent effort by Rick Reilly, have been pushed to the second page of the Internet by Te’o's (I’m not entirely sure I’m using the apostrophe correctly here) fake dead girlfriend. Although the internet defies all attempts to ascribe a finite supply of oxygen to any news story, there is a finite amount of attention that can be paid. And even though every news organization has dutifully assigned a writer (or moron) to cover the Lance debacle, no one much cares about it anymore. What happens to a scandal deferred? Does it dry up, like a craisin in this pun?
I think the overshadowing of the Lance Armstrong saga probably doesn’t help Armstrong at all. The vast majority of people who will have opinions about him have already formed them and those who may be swayed by a teary confession in front of Oprah now may not even be paying attention. But that’s all public opinion, which is the least of Lance’s worries at this point. And yet, public opinion is almost exclusively Manti Te’o's (seriously, these apostrophes are bothering me) worry at this point. Almost.
‘If they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire…’
* “It’s very hard to copyright a story about an individual growing up in the ghetto and getting involved in crime.” Go Third Circuit, it’s your birthday, we gon’ affirm that like it’s your birthday. [New Jersey Law Journal (reg. req.)]
* I believe you have my stapler? A former Fried Frank staffer has been accused of stealing more than $376K worth of copy machine ink from the firm and selling it on the black market for office supplies. [Am Law Daily]
* Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Jenny Rivera, a CUNY School of Law professor, to fill a vacant New York Court of Appeals seat. If confirmed, she’ll be the second Hispanic to sit on the court. [New York Law Journal]
* This’ll please the gun nuts: Governor Cuomo’s gun-control bill was passed by the legislature and signed into law, officially making New York the state with the toughest gun restrictions in the nation. [New York Times]
* And this right here is the lawsuit equivalent of half-court heave. A lawyer is suing the San Antonio Spurs because the team’s coach sent all of its best players home to rest without the fans’ prior knowledge. [ESPN]
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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