Benchslaps

You are so beautiful, I just want to take you to the airport and x-ray you.

* Nothing beats a calm, collected, religion-based benchslap of religious hypocrisy. [Tex Parte Blog]

* If our parents hadn’t gotten us vaccinated, we’d fire them, too. Jenny McCarthy should jump into a freakin’ volcano. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* It must be so hard to write fake news when it all starts coming true. [The Onion]

* Guys at Staci’s high school shot fireworks out of their butts all the time. It wasn’t… quite this big of a deal. [Legal Juice]

* TSA employees are taking advantage of their power to look at semi-naked x-ray pictures of pretty girls? I’m shocked. Just shocked. [Wired Threat Level]

* An optimistic look at how unemployment can help your career. Frankly, we’re both skeptical. But we also have paychecks, so there’s that. [Ms. JD]

* You should be our next intern! (We will even give you some money.) Applications are due on Monday, February 20. [Above the Law]

Of all the routines in judicial gymnastics, few have a higher degree of difficulty than the reverse benchslap, and we’re trying for a combination double with our Opinion today.

– Judge Mark V. Holmes of the United States Tax Court, dissenting in Tigers Eye Trading, LLC v. Commissioner.

(The background behind this judicial invocation of the term “reverse benchslap,” after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: It Makes the Arabian Double-Pike Mandamus Look Easy”

Maybe it’s because I come from a writing background, as opposed to a legal background, but there’s almost nothing better about my job than reading legal opinions where a judge drops the usual formality and format. To my mind, judicial opinions are best when they include passion or empathy or even simple frustration.

And once in a wonderful blue moon, I stumble across something even better: an opinion that reads like a the product of too much whiskey and night terrors.

We have come across a recent Midwestern state court opinion that reads more like Hunter Thompson than Learned Hand. It doesn’t hurt the metaphor that the defendant, convicted of multiple theft charges, is also a long-term abuser of methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol.

I would call this a benchslap, but that might be too nice a word…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: Cornhusker Judge Shucks Druggie Defendant”

Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook: do not mess with this man.

Aficionados of appellate law are familiar with the Seventh Circuit’s reputation for procedural punctiliousness. The court has a track record of benchslapping lawyers who fail to follow rules, lawyers who seek to deviate from rules without justification, lawyers who engage in substandard advocacy, and lawyers who are “menace[s]” to their clients.

Lately the Seventh Circuit has been laying down its pimp hand. Last Friday, for example, Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook declared one Bridget Boyle-Saxton, who allegedly blew deadlines and ignored multiple orders to show cause, “unfit to practice law in this court.” Ouch.

Now, snobs might think, “Sure, Boyle-Saxton might be a well-known Milwaukee lawyer — but she works at a small law firm, apparently with two relatives of hers. What can you expect from such an outfit? This is why people hire the large white-shoe law firms. You pay through the nose, but you expect (and receive) perfection.”

If that’s your attitude, think again. Biglaw just got a big benchslap — from none other than Chief Judge Easterbrook.

Which firm incurred His Honor’s wrath, and for what alleged infraction?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: Judge Easterbrook Benchslaps Biglaw”

Touchdown Biglaw!

* New York is considering allowing nonlawyer ownership of equity in law firms. If that somehow means we’ll see less Jacoby & Meyers commercials on television, then I’m definitely all for it. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Football’s labor lockout legal fees: which Biglaw firms scored huge touchdowns thanks to their collective bargaining work? The three top billers included Latham, Dewey & LeBoeuf, and Patton Boggs. [Am Law Daily]

* The sanctions for filing a 9/11 conspiracy claim cost $15K, but forever being remembered as the lawyers who got benchslapped for drafting “a product of cynical delusion and fantasy” is priceless. [Reuters]

* Jared Loughner is still incompetent to stand trial, and he’ll remain in the loony bin for another four months. You know what that means? Time to make this kid swallow some more pills. [Arizona Republic]

* A panel of law professors over at Harvard thinks that while law schools have problems, but they’re certainly not in crisis mode yet. Not yet? You hear that Team Strauss/Anziska? Needs moar lawsuits! [Harvard Crimson]

* Well, that was a short-lived victory. Heather Peters, the former lawyer who beat Honda in small claims court, is preparing to do battle with the car company in Superior Court. [Los Angeles Times]

Outgoing NYLS Dean Rick Matasar

Even at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the criticism of the legal education business just flowed. Everybody, it seems, has an opinion on what is wrong with law schools these days.

While many of the law school deans and other administrators at the conference acknowledged problems with the system, most of the actual critiquing came from people with no power to change it. Media members (ahem) criticized law schools, judges criticized law schools, outgoing deans of law schools that shamelessly profiteered off of unwitting law students criticized — and the people who could actually change their systems dutifully listened.

But despite all of the critiques, there weren’t a lot of schools that seemed ready to institute sweeping change to the business of educating lawyers. And why should they? Change won’t come from above, and right now prospective law students are not demanding change from below…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Outsiders Criticize Law Schools, But Will Change Ever Come?”

Landing a huge case is what all lawyers dream about. For most lawyers, the planets never align, and that dream never becomes a reality. But for one lawyer — a lawyer who was admitted to the bar when the legal job market began its downward spiral — that dream came true, just a few years after having graduated from law school.

Sometimes, however, dreams turn into nightmares. When you’re representing a notorious client like Rod Blagojevich, your successes might soon turn into failures.

Who is the (rather attractive) class of 2007 lawyer representing Blago, and why did a judge characterize her recent courtroom stylings as “harebrained”?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Blago’s Class of 2007 Lawyer: A ‘Harebrained’ Hottie?”

Of course not! But the headline got your attention, didn’t it? The notion of Judge Richard Posner as being anything other than a genius will certainly make people sit up and take notice. There’s a reason why there’s a Facebook group called Richard Posner for Philosopher King (of which I am a proud member).

It should be noted, however, that Judge Posner’s opinion in Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Co. was not 100 percent perfect. It initially contained some infelicitous wording — which has since been fixed.

Let’s look at the language that was perhaps imprecise….

UPDATE (4 PM): Additional comment from Judge Posner, added after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Was Judge Posner a Dodo in His Ostrich Opinion?”

Judge Matz

[T]his Court is compelled to find that the Government team allowed a key FBI agent to testify untruthfully before the grand jury, inserted material falsehoods into affidavits submitted to magistrate judges in support of applications for search warrants and seizure warrants, improperly reviewed e-mail communications between one Defendant and her lawyer, recklessly failed to comply with its discovery obligations, posed questions to certain witnesses in violation of the Court’s rulings, engaged in questionable behavior during closing argument and even made misrepresentations to the Court.

– Judge A. Howard Matz of the Central District of California, benchslapping federal prosecutors — and vacating the convictions, and dismissing the indictment — in a high-profile Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecution. (Gavel bang: Daniel Fisher.)

(Additional links and information about this case — if you do FCPA or white-collar criminal work, this may be of interest to you — after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: What Not To Do If You’re A Prosecutor”

On Thanksgiving Day, while you were enjoying your turkey (or tofurkey), we wrote about a different bird: namely, the ostrich. In a somewhat snarky opinion, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit compared a lawyer appearing before him to an ostrich: “The ostrich is a noble animal, but not a proper model for an appellate advocate. The ‘ostrich-like tactic of pretending that potentially dispositive authority against a litigant’s contention does not exist is as unprofessional as it is pointless.’”

Ouch. Judge Posner even included a photo (above right) of a man in a suit burying his head in the sand.

What did the lawyer in question, David “Mac” McKeand of Houston, have to say for himself? And what did McKeand have to say about Judge Posner?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Reverse Benchslap? Chastised Lawyer Lashes Out at Judge Posner”

Page 12 of 241...8910111213141516...24