BP

Does your law school ROI look like this?

* Victoria Espinel, chief IP counsel to the White House (better known as the “copyright czar”), has stepped down. A tech or trade company will snap her up in 3… 2… [Corporate Counsel]

* Child custody train wreck alert: Baby Veronica of SCOTUS fame was in the news after her father was arrested for refusing to return his child to her adoptive parents. [ABC News]

* Rather than watching people pump gas, BP is watching people pump out lawsuits against the company at a rather alarming rate as a result of its 2010 oil spill. [Businessweek]

* Cynthia Brim, the Illinois judge who was reelected despite the fact that she was legally insane, finally had a complaint filed against her by the state’s judicial board for being just a little bit too kooky for court. [Chicago Tribune]

* Your degree might not be worth a million dollars, but if you went to one of these schools, you probably got a good bank for your buck. We’ll have more on this later. [The Short List / U.S. News & World Report]

* The fight over attorneys’ fees in the antitrust lawsuits filed against BARBRI continues rage on, and class members still haven’t received a penny — which is all they’d really get, anyway. [National Law Journal]

* Congratulations to Newark Mayor and Yale Law alumnus Cory Booker! Last night, he handily won the New Jersey Democratic primary election for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat. [CBS News]

A potpourri that’s been thrown away.

It’s a bit of a slow news day around here. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people who have been tornadoed.

I was on the Huckabee show trying to explain the IRS scandal to rabid conservatives. It was like a “road game.” I don’t really feel like providing the considered, rational counter-argument to all the people who are more interested in blaming people than fixing things.

Some of the few legal stories floating around today that don’t involve “OMG OBAMA IS LIKE NIXON (minus all the lying and paranoia)” are things that have been overturned by higher authorities. Like all media outlets, we’re pretty good at covering new laws or lawsuits or convictions as they happen, but less good when a higher court quietly says “GTFO.”

So let’s take this opportunity to breeze through three things that were happening and are now probably not going to happen. We’ve got some abortion news, some BP oil spill news (remember that?), but let’s start with a murdering bastard in Guatemala who looks like he’ll escape justice again…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Things That Have Been Thrown Out Potpourri”

* Enjoy your Biglaw bonuses now, because according to managing partners, layoffs and de-equitizations may soon be making their return. Oh, only in Pennsylvania? Woohoo, break out the bubbly! Just kidding, that really sucks if it’s true. [Legal Intelligencer]

* The Environmental Protection Agency has temporarily banned BP from entering into future U.S. government contracts because of the company’s “lack of business integrity,” aka the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Ouch, super sick burn, EPA! [National Law Journal]

* Considering going to law school? Then you should also take into consideration the fact that you’ll have to become a lawyer if you want to stand a remote chance of ever being able to pay off your loans. [Fox Business]

* Paul Ceglia pleaded not guilty to fraud charges yesterday in federal court. If only he actually owned half of Facebook as he claims, he probably wouldn’t have a court-appointed attorney representing him. [Bloomberg]

* “No matter how many high-priced lawyers and publicists she employs, she has been exposed for what she is.” Jill Kelley’s lawyer is on the offensive, and his targets are none too pleased about it. [Associated Press]

* Avvo has decided to sell its health business to focus entirely on providing services to lawyers and legal customers. Now the company will be able to do the law justice. (SWIDT?) [Puget Sound Business Journal]

Do you remember the BP oil spill? Environmental disaster, engineering fail, news media miss… except for Aaron Sorkin and his amazing hindsight reporting. You know, the BP oil spill.

Yesterday, BP accepted criminal responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon explosion and agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and restitution. That’s a record. And, sure, that $4.5 billion is less than a quarter’s worth of profits at BP, but what are you going to do?

And BP isn’t done paying for this. Civil penalties will be coming to a theater near you.

But is all this too much? BP has been selling assets and firing staff to pay for these penalties. On the other hand, something tells me that they’re still going to aggressively drill for oil wherever they’re legally allowed to do so….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “BP Oil Spill Penalties: Too Much, Just Right, Or We Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

* BP agreed to plead guilty to 14 charges and pay $4.5B in fines, but before going through with it, several Biglaw firms helped the company sell off assets to fund litigation- and spill-related costs. [Am Law Daily]

* According to HBR Consulting, compensation for in-house attorneys has risen over the past year — including bonuses, which went up to $62,500. Sorry, but Biglaw isn’t following suit. [Corporate Counsel]

* It’s better to leave well enough alone: Pryor Cashman was ordered to pay more than $21K in legal fees for filing a frivolous motion over its repeated attempts to dismiss a case. [New York Law Journal]

* Judge Susan McDunn, who claimed that her “life [was] being ruined” by the secret lawsuits of many powerful Chicagoans, has resigned. Looks like her $182K salary wasn’t enough to buy crazy pills. [Chicago Tribune]

* James T. Hayes Jr., the ICE agent who accused his superior of subjecting male employees to her “sexually offensive behavior,” settled his discrimination lawsuit against the government for $175,000. [Washington Post]

Deidre Dare

Last month, we reported on the latest adventures of Deidre Dare, the sexy expat lawyer who once worked in the Moscow office of Allen & Overy. Her London lawsuit against the firm was dismissed, but Dare is now suing A&O here in New York, seeking $35 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

In the same post, we mentioned that Dare was seeking to raise $25,000 to publish Expat, a book based on her time in Allen & Overy’s Moscow office. Dare described it as “a novel about a group of Westerners living and working in Moscow, Russia and their extravagant but dangerous lifestyle,” with a plot “inspired by a British Petroleum scandal that happened when I was there.”

Dare was trying to raise the $25K on Kickstarter, the popular website that serves as a fundraising platform for creative types with a surplus of ideas and a shortage of cash. Did she succeed?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Update on Deidre Dare, Allen & Overy Associate Turned Aspiring Authoress”

* BP has its granny panties in a bunch over Transocean’s liability for the oil spill. So they’re suing. [Bloomberg]

* Major League Baseball sought to take over the Dodgers from Frank McCourt yesterday. Your move, Wilpon. [Los Angeles Times]

* Tax Lady Roni DEUTCH may be thrown in jail. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in this video, but definitely wait for the thrown dog. [ABA Journal]

* Juvenile killers are hoping to reach the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn their life sentences. If their cases make it that far, they’ll undoubtedly find a certain justice who only cares about inferior MP3 players and Emilio Estefan. [New York Times]

* Something called the Second Amendment Foundation has sued Massachusetts over their law forbidding legal immigrants from owning handguns. Crocodile Dundee didn’t need a handgun. [Fox News Latino]

Yesterday, after whining about law schools on NPR, I motored over to the Fox headquarters on Sixth Avenue. They wanted me on to to talk about a post I did a couple of weeks ago, encouraging oil-spill victims to take their BP money from the $20 billion fund being administered by Ken Feinberg, instead of pursuing private lawsuits against BP. For the debate, they brought on a plaintiff’s lawyer.

I thought it was a good segment, and I do believe the BP fund will be better for the victims (and the justice system) than a slew of plaintiff’s lawyers jumping on BP — and taking a sizable cut out of whatever damages a judge (most likely) reduces.

But a commenter noted something that a few people have told me privately:

Ellie [sic], I think you are on the brink of finally embracing the fallacy of prudential regulation and the idea that government or semi-government programs are ever going to be able to take care of someone who refuses to take the most basic steps of self-preservation. I saw you on Fox News and I bet you vote Republican this November.

I don’t think I was accessing my inner elephant. But check out the clip and tell me what you think…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elie on Fox Business: Do I Sound Republican to You?”

As we mentioned this weekend, the BP oil spill has been capped (for the time being), and now we can fully focus on who needs to get paid. As with so many things, it’s Ken Feinberg’s world and we’re just living in it. Bloomberg reports:

Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing a $20 billion fund to pay damage claims from BP Plc’s oil spill, pledged to create a system “more generous and more beneficial” to spill victims than taking the company to court.

More generous than court? Ooohh, judicial system, Czar Feinberg is calling you out. You gonna just take that?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ken Feinberg Offers Better Deals than Lawsuits”

Jamie Gorelick is a Washington D.C. power lawyer. She’s a former Deputy Attorney General, former general counsel to the Defense Department, and current partner at WilmerHale, where she chairs the national security and public policy practice groups. She’s had — and continues to have — an amazing career.

But does she really want to be the legal face of the BP disaster?

Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick will head the legal team for British oil giant BP PLC as it prepares to respond to legal challenges related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Greenwire reported Wednesday.

“We have been retained to help the company respond to the numerous congressional inquiries that are underway,” Gorelick, now of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, said in an e-mail to Greenwire. “We have not been retained to advocate for any position.”

Does WilmerHale really want this? Yesterday, the Daily News called BP’s CEO Tony Hayward the most hated man in America — and the headline was probably an understatement. There’s a new Facebook group entitled I vote we plug the Gulf oil leak with BP executives.

Do Gorelick and WilmerHale really want to be the lawyers for his company? Isn’t there some white-baby-killing, terrorist Nazi out there who would make for a more sympathetic client right now?

Oh, but the fees, the fees…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Can Jamie Gorelick Clean Up BP’s Mess?”