California

This week the Supreme Court, via a one-line order by Justice Anthony Kennedy, dismissed an appeal in Brown v. Plata for want of jurisdiction. Thousands of law students enrolled in Fed Jur and Fed Courts classes this semester may argue that there’s nothing sexy about jurisdiction, even by law’s substantially reduced standards for “sexiness.” The dismissal of Plata, though, has some significant effects for millions of people.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Kennedy that overcrowding in California prisons caused continuing violations of prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights to adequate health care and that the overcrowding problem required a population limit. (Justice Scalia dissented, joined by Justice Thomas. Justice Alito also dissented, joined by the Chief.) As a result, California Governor Jerry Brown needed to drastically improve prison conditions or drastically reduce the state’s prison population by releasing inmates.

A flurry of state appeals and motions to change the original order ensued. Then, on September 24 of this year, a three-judge panel gave Brown until the end of January to meet its original order to remove more than 9,600 inmates from California prisons by the end of the year, absent successful negotiations with the plaintiffs. In an attempt to sufficiently improve prison conditions, Governor Brown negotiated a deal with legislators to spend $400 million on improvement of health care services to California prisoners, but he believed he needed more time in order to fully comply by the panel’s deadline. He filed an an appeal for a stay with SCOTUS….

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Fashion law is a quickly growing specialty practice area — a place where IP and corporate junkies alike can aspire to dress stylishly while honing their legal skills in the glamorous world of haute couture law. If you’d like to get in on the ground floor of this $250 billion dollar industry, or if you’re an experienced practitioner interested in learning best practices, then we hope you will attend our fashion law forum.

We are pleased to invite you to an evening of cocktails, canapés, and conversation focusing on the many ins and outs of fashion law. The event will take place in Los Angeles, California on November 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This event will be a great opportunity for attendees to hear legal leaders share their insights on success, meet members of the Above the Law team, and network with peers.

Our esteemed panelists confirmed for the event include:

  • Staci Riordan, Chair of the Fox Rothschild Fashion Law Practice Group
  • Jane Wald, Chair of Irell & Manella’s Trademark Practice Group
  • Deborah Greaves, Secretary and General Counsel of True Religion Brand Jeans
  • Erica Alterwitz, Assistant General Counsel of BCBG Max Azria Group Inc.

There is no charge for this event. Thanks to our friends at Recommind for their generous sponsorship.

Please RSVP below. We look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles!

How’s this for a crim law issue-spotter:

Laura Law Student is ejected from a bar late one night. As she passes a nearby public library, Laura witnesses a group of people that she suspects of painting graffiti on the library. Laura confronts the vandals and they punch her, steal her phone, and tag her car. After the attack, Laura gets in her freshly tagged car and tries to run down the vandals.

Unfortunately, Laura’s car strikes a bystander during the chase, and Laura attempts to leave the scene of the accident.

It sounds absurd, but this is actually an account of what police claim a real-life law student did on Saturday morning….

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Scalia’s buddy?

* The Supreme Court’s Term opens today, and the conservative justices may have the opportunity to shift the law even further to the right when it comes to today’s social issues. [Los Angeles Times]

* In his Biglaw days, Chief Justice Roberts “gave his adversaries heartburn.” Now, his litigation skills serve the same purpose for those giving oral arguments before SCOTUS. [National Law Journal]

* It seems that in the end, Justice Ginsburg’s career choices have been whittled down to the lyrics found in one of The Clash’s catchiest songs: Should she stay or should she go now? [Washington Post]

* In other news, in case you were wondering, Justice Antonin Scalia, a firm believer in the Devil, is just as scary in real life as he is when he haunts your dreams (which is impressive!). [New York Magazine]

* “If this continues, it’s going to be very problematic.” Clients are very annoyed, and some Biglaw firms continue to worry about how the government shutdown will affect their bottom line. [New York Law Journal]

* The defections at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas: Weil Gotshal’s Houston office is still leaking partners like a sieve. We’ll have more on these developments later today. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

* President Obama continues to comment on the important issues of the day. He’d “think about changing” the Redskins team name if he were its owner — just like this fired Quinn Emanuel associate. [CNN]

* Viva la raza! The federal government is too slow for California, so the governor signed a bill into law that will allow illegal immigrants to become licensed as lawyers. Congratulations to Sergio Garcia. [Reuters]

* No, we won’t remove that embarrassing story we wrote about you — but at least we’re not trying to charge you hundreds of dollars for its removal like those pesky mug shot websites. [New York Times]

Earlier this week, we warned you about the layoff train. It’s coming down the track at breakneck speed, and there’s just no stopping it. We told you to watch out if you wanted to survive, but you didn’t believe us, and now yet another firm is facing significant cuts.

Which California-based Biglaw firm is slashing its headcount to “better position the firm for the future”?

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Sergio Garcia (not the racist golfer) has lived in California most of his life. He worked his way through law school and then took and passed the California bar exam on the first try.

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court heard argument on whether Garcia could be admitted to practice law.

Sergio Garcia was brought to the United States when he was 17 months old. The California justices must decide whether an undocumented immigrant can be admitted. The State of California says yes. The Obama Administration says no.

The news coverage of the case implies that California has the equities on its side while the Obama Administration has the law.

It’s a tidy narrative for a story, but the media hasn’t really focused on the briefs, because when you actually unpack the statute the administration cites, it requires tortured mental gymnastics to support rejecting Garcia’s application….

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* The Department of Justice won’t be harshing anyone’s mellow in Washington and Colorado just yet, because Eric Holder has more important things to do than to get involved in people’s pot. [CNN]

* The IRS will now treat all legal gay marriages the same as straight marriages for tax purposes, no matter where the couples live. That’s absolutely fabulous! [Federal Eye / Washington Post]

* Howrey going to deal with all of Allan Diamond’s unfinished business claims made as trustee on behalf of this failed firm? By claiming as a united front that “[c]lients are not property,” even if we secretly think they are. [Am Law Daily]

* In this wonderful post-Windsor world, the parents of a deceased Cozen O’Connor attorney are appealing a judge’s ruling as to the dispensation of their daughter’s death benefits to her wife. [Legal Intelligencer]

* Reduce, re-use, and recycle: environmentally friendly words used to reduce a Biglaw firm’s carbon footprint, not the number of its lawyers. Say hello to the Law Firm Sustainability Network. [Daily Report]

* Disability rights groups are coming forward to defend California’s LSAT anti-flagging law because the amount of extra testing time you receive should be between you and your doctor. [National Law Journal]

* If you thought Charleston School of Law was going to be sold to the InfiLaw System, then think again. The law school is up for grabs on Craigslist. Alas, the “[s]tudent body has been used.” [Red Alert Politics]

If you’re interested in purchasing Charleston School of Law, keep reading to see the ad (click to enlarge)…

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The eyes of the law in Idaho.

* If Biglaw firms wants to get back into a financial sweet spot like in their days of yore, they had better get in on these billion-dollar international arbitrations while the getting is good. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Women lawyers, please take note: your future depends on it. Apparently the key to making partner in Biglaw is to get the backing of general counsel at big money corporate clients as a gender. [Corporate Counsel]

* ¡Ay dios mío! ¡Escándalo! Holland & Knight yoinked 10 attorneys, including three partners, right out from under Chadbourne & Parke’s nose to open up its new Mexico City office. [South Florida Business Journal]

* “If we actually got another million dollars going forward to spend on something, is the highest and best use to produce attorneys?” Even in a flyover state like Idaho, the answer to that question is a resounding yes when it comes to law school expansion. [Spokesman-Review]

* “A jurisprudence of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ does not properly safeguard [a defendant's rights].” California Justice Goodwin Liu is raging against policies on race-based peremptory jury challenges. [The Recorder]

* “I’ve been doing Paula Deen in a strongly metaphorical sense.” The magnate of marmalade’s case may be settled, but that doesn’t mean sanctions have been taken off the table. [Courthouse News Service]

* The hefty price of killing? Following his acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman is now asking Florida to pay for his legal expenses, to the tune of $200,000 – $300,000. [Orlando Sentinel]

* President Obama says he’s not changing his mind on the legality of marijuana “at this time.” I guess we need Biden to go on Face the Nation this time around to get some movement on the drug war. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* California lawmakers are looking to retool its “revenge porn” — the act of posting embarrassing sex pics/videos of a significant other who screwed you over — bill. Now California won’t be able to post all those amateur vids of the organizers behind Prop 13. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* New York just boasted the largest seizure of illegal guns in NYC history because a rapper used Instagram to show the world a whole mess of illegal guns. Sometimes you have to avoid that “pics or it didn’t happen” tweet. [ABA Journal]

* Michael Jackson’s estate is battling the IRS. The article coyly suggests that the estate has told the IRS to “Beat It.” What they don’t understand is the IRS, as a general rule “Don’t Stop ‘Til [They] Get Enough.” [TaxProf Blog]

* Inspired by our recent post on the 15 Reasons to Date a Lawyer, Going Concern has found eHarmony’s “15 Reasons to Date an Accountant” and given it a similar beatdown. [Going Concern]

* Congratulations to the M&A Advisor’s “40 Under 40″ award winners. Your families would be so proud if they remembered what you looked like. [The M&A Advisor]

* I was quoted in this week’s episode of This American Life. Host Ira Glass interviewed Sharon Snyder, the court clerk fired for helping free an innocent man. [This American Life]

* Bruce MacEwen explains the mid-year results for Biglaw as reported by Wells Fargo and Citi respectively. Video after the jump…

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[O]n its face, the [bar passage] information is factual and uncontroversial. Prospective students are free to draw their own conclusions about its relevance. That [Southern California Institute of Law] may not like those conclusions is irrelevant.

– Judge James V. Selna (C.D. Cal.), in a tentative order dismissing the Southern California Institute of Law’s (SCIL) free speech suit against state bar officials, with prejudice. SCIL argued that having to share information on its website about its bar exam passage rates would force the school to adopt an “ideological belief that a law school should be judged by the passage rates of its graduates.” In the past five years, SCIL’s graduates have passed the state bar exam just 7 percent of the time.

(Keep reading to see Judge Selna’s full First Amendment smackdown.)

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