Contracts

* 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]

Today is Valentine’s Day, and lawyers as Type-A creatures are wont to plan every aspect of their date in advance down to the very last detail. Mmm, what a mood killer. Some lawyers may take their planning to the extreme, and offer their dates the opportunity to become contractually obligated valentines.

And now there’s a solution for even the most uptight of legal eagles: you can go one step further and draft a memorandum of understanding as to each party’s obligations — before the date, during the date, and after the date, up to and including the shaving of “appropriate areas” (wink wink, nudge nudge).

If that’s not a total panty dropper, we don’t know what is….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Slaying Romance, Lawyer Style: A Romantic Valentine’s Day Memorandum of Understanding”

Bill Maher

The legal system in this country, it’s not a joke. It’s not a toy for rich idiots to play with.

Bill Maher, commenting on the $5 million lawsuit filed against him by Donald Trump after the comedian failed to make good on his “offer” to pay Trump if the real estate mogul could prove that he wasn’t the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”

(Maher dedicated an entire segment of his show on Friday night to dissect this absurd lawsuit, and he made some pretty great jokes about Trump’s lawyer from Cooley LLP. Let’s check it out, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bill Maher Goes Apesh*t on Donald Trump’s Lawyer”


The Internet naturally devolves to Hitler references. Call it Godwin’s Law. Call it reductio ad hitlerum if you’re into the whole unnecessary use of Latin thing (and you’re lawyers, so you totally are). But with the advent of the Internet, Downfall video became inevitable.

And with bored lawyers seeking Internet-based distractions at their desks (or law library carrels), the legal Downfall video was even more inevitable.

Above the Law has linked to some of these before (for example here and here), but I figured I’d treat the readers to a collection of some of the finer videos here as part of my role as the editor covering the tech beat.

If you have others, link them in the comments. I’m sure someone out there in the middle of a two-week document review somewhere will appreciate it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Children’s Treasury of Hitler Reacting To Legal Stuff”

Donald Trump, commenting on the Biglaw firm he chose to represent him in his absurd contractual suit filed against comedian Bill Maher.

(More information on the suit, and why Trump is likely to lose, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: Trump’s Lawyers May Be ‘FIRED!’ Over This”

* Is this contract for sex based on Facebook likes enforceable? [Gawker]

* Speaking of unenforceable contracts, what in the hell does Bilbo sign before his unexpectedly long journey? [Wired]

* And Jesus, you certainly can’t barter legal services for sex! I think everybody needs to go home and read the Second Restatement. [Indianapolis Star]

* Now you can hear for yourself the three words that Clarence Thomas spoke. It’s at the 41-minute mark. [The Supreme Court]

* Ms. JD is offering lawyers and law students the chance to submit questions to ABA President Laurel Bellows that will be answered at an event on January 31 (with viewing parties around the country). [Ms. JD]

* How to answer a question when an interviewer asks you something that you don’t have to answer. [Lawyers.com]

* Litigation can be a good excuse to get your client to do things they should have been doing all along. [What About Clients?]

* North Carolina dean claims she was forced to underreport sexual assaults at the college. When reached for comment, the Duke Lacrosse team said, “We kind of have the opposite problem.” [Salon]

I love it when my job requires me to put ‘stripper’ into an image search box.

* They should teach “defending strippers” in law school. I feel like people could have a thriving practice just representing strippers against the various perils in their lives. [The Smoking Gun]

* And of course, that class should be taught by Marc Randazza. [The Legal Satyricon]

* Bill Maher v. Donald Trump. Offer v. Consideration. Comedian v. D-bag. This will make for a fun issue spotter for any spring term contracts classes. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Can you prove that a getting a legal aid lawyer actually helps? Are you sure? [Boston Globe]

* Birthers are now coming after Chief Justice Roberts. You know what they’re not coming after? Book learning! (zing) [Huffington Post]

* Here’s a formal job application, I think, to be the new Clerk of the Supreme Court. [Prawfsblawg]

* In the state of nature, this is how pizza places were kept down to the level of the rest of us. [Legal Juice]

Sheena Monnin

As a law blog, we write about beauty queens far more than you’d expect, but that’s only because so many of them have gone to law school (DaNae Couch, Texas Tech law student recently crowned as Miss Texas; Adrielle Churchill, Arkansas law student crowned as Miss Arkansas in 2010), enrolled in LL.M. programs (Vasuki Sunkavalli, crowned as Miss India in 2011), or gotten themselves into some serious legal hot water (like Kumari Fulbright, Arizona law student and convicted felon).

Today, we bring you the story of Sheena Monnin, the former holder of the Miss Pennsylvania title. Monnin never went to law school, but she recently had the (dis)pleasure of being schooled in the law by none other than Donald Trump after making some scandalous remarks about the Miss USA pageant on her Facebook page (e.g., that the competition was “fraudulent” and “trashy”). Monnin’s no Miss Congeniality, that’s for sure.

As can be expected, this Janice Dickinson look-alike knew that she wasn’t going to have a very merry Christmas when she found out that she owed The Donald $5 million….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Donald Trump Teaches a Disgruntled Beauty Queen an ‘Expensive Lesson’ in Arbitration”

I often tell the story of my first assignment as a summer associate, to draft a one-page complaint. Two hours later, the assigning partner checked on me and saw that I was still stuck trying to get the index box to align. Shaking his head, he showed me the magic of the firm document library, and the “secret” of cutting and pasting necessary language. Chastened beyond belief, I vowed to avoid reinventing the well-worn wheels of documents. However, once in a while, reinvention becomes a necessity, as the “same old same old” becomes vestigial, and if you cannot coherently answer “why” you are utilizing some form or other, maybe it is time to examine the wheel treads for wear.

Look at the following indemnity clause and decide for yourself how many changes you might make:

[***] at its expense, will defend indemnify, and hold harmless Customer, its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates and their respective members, partners, shareholders, employees, officers, directors, managers, agents and representatives against any and all claims, damages, liabilities, losses, actions, government proceedings and costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and disbursements and court costs (collectively, “Losses”) arising out of, resulting from or relating to [***].

I would remove “hold harmless” and “shareholders,” and limit “any and all claims” to “any and all third party claims”; let me tell you why….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: Reinventing the Wheel”

Don’t be fooled by her smile; Justice Kagan knows how to benchslap.

Don’t be fooled by her smile; Justice Kagan knows how to benchslap.

* Kagan, J., benchslapping. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* I think I’d get this if I understood gymnastics. [Associate's Mind]

* Some people think IBR is pointless, but if you disagree, check out this petition. [We the People: Your Voice in Government]

* Partner readers, check out this new podcast (featuring law firm consultant Ed Wesemann and yours truly). [Attorney Search Group]

* Our annual Law Revue Video Contest is still a few months away, but if you like making legally themed videos, keep an eye on this contest (more details forthcoming, including info on the prizes). [Federal Bar Association]

* Speaking of contests, we welcome your votes in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (under “News/Analysis”). [ABA Journal]

* And speaking of Above the Law, the deadline for applying for our writer/editor position and our internship is tomorrow — so act now if interested! [Above the Law]

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