Environment / Environmental Law

The other day, President Obama announced a “new” plan to help ease the burden of student debts, except it wasn’t really new, and it didn’t really help.

The mainstream media parroted the administration’s spin on the proposal, but it makes sense that the White House would want to find some students who were also excited about the plan to reduce the Income Based Repayment percentage to 10% in 2012.

Well, they found one. And he’s a law student.

President Obama is tweeting about this new support….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If This Is the Kind of Law Student Who Supports Obama’s Debt Relief Plans, the President Is in Trouble”

* The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit asking courts to force major companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking attorneys how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [New York Times]

* Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who can be seen every Thursday night on 30 Rock playing Kenneth the Page, shares none of Jan Brewer’s qualms about a “birther bill.” [Politico]

* The Ecuadorean Slapfight (also the name of my ska band in high school) between Patton Boggs, Gibson Dunn, and Chevron was squashed by a judge yesterday. [Reuters]

* Baker Hostetler is balling out of control on L’Affaire Madoff. [WSJ Law Blog]

Judge Vaughn Walker

* Tiger Blogger Vivia Chen wants white guys to be hunted like animals. [The Careerist]

* A copyright troll has found a way to exact a toll without actually owning any copyrights. No word yet on whether anyone has gained entrance into the boy’s hole. [Wired via ABA Journal]

* Alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning is being transferred to another prison. Julian Assange celebrated the news by going dancing. [Fox News]

* Sponsors of Proposition 8 are mad that retired judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over Prop 8′s defeat in court, is giving lectures around the country that feature a three-minute clip of the trial. They say the video should remain in the closet. Or a desk drawer of some sort. [Los Angeles Times]

* I’m doing Non-Sequiturs today, since Elie is too busy marching on City Hall. [Reuters]

* A round-up of lawyer moves inside the Beltway — including another defection from Howrey (patent litigatrix Jennifer Dzwonczyk, to Venable). [Capital Comment / Washingtonian]

* Speaking of Howrey, Professor Larry Ribstein, a partnership law guru, has some questions about the handling of Howrey liabilities. [Truth on the Market]

* Apparently Cardozo Law ladies need sex as well as walking instructions. [Cardozo Jurist]

* RICO suave: Chevron turns the tables on those Ecuadorian environmental plaintiffs. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Congratulations to Orrick’s eight new partners. [Orrick]

* Larry Bodine offers some marketing advice to United Airlines — after a rather unpleasant interaction at LaGuardia Airport. [Larry Bodine's Law Marketing Blog]

* This week in A Round Tuit: the latest Obamacare ruling, the Egyptian uprising, and the shortcomings of the British legal media. [Infamy or Praise]

Ed. note: This post is by “Juggalo Law,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

I have a confession to make. I don’t care at all about the environment. It’s true. Since I was in short pants, I’ve been aggressively indifferent to climate change, rainforests, oil spills and the plight of the Duck-Billed Platypus (“has feet like a duck…but it’s furry!”). This despite my parents’ solid liberal bona fides. This despite my presence at one Young Democrats meeting in 1998 (Earnest Goes to College).

And yet, guys? The Cooch is tripping. That’d be Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia. Yesterday, a state judge blocked his request to subpoena documents from a college professor studying climate change. Take it away, BLT:

Cuccinelli, a Republican, said he wanted the records in order to investigate whether the researcher, Michael Mann, made false claims in connection with state grant funding. Cuccinelli is a skeptic of human causes of global warming, an area that Mann has studied at the University of Virginia and elsewhere. Mann is now a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

This caps a rather newsworthy couple of weeks for The Cooch. He’s managed to raise the hackles of many an interest group in protecting the rights of Baby Jesus and all unborn critters not named Jesus. In doing so, he’s undoubtedly established himself as a rising star in conservative circles.

But what of his latest…err crusade?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Virginia State Judge Screws the Cooch”

Ed. note: This is a guest post from our sister site, AltTransport. They recently interviewed Vermont Law grad Jack Jacobs, entrepreneurial founder of a firm specializing in green law.

Attorney Jack Jacobs started his career at a boutique environmental law firm in Boston, but grew frustrated that his work seemed to be about finding ways to avoid tackling environmental issues rather than protecting the environment. He went back to school to get an LLM from Portland’s Lewis and Clark Law School. (If you can’t decide whether Vermont Law School or L&C is the best law school for environmental law, you can be like Jacobs and just go to both.)

He then founded Cleantech Law Partners to deal with the specific challenges that face cleantech firms, biofuel startups, and electric vehicle makers — such as Tesla — in today’s regulatory and policy environment. With offices in California, New York, D.C., Oregon and Germany, Cleantech Law Partners works with clients engaged in renewable energy and cleantech projects — mainly incorporating new entities, finalizing contracts and lobbying for the passage of industry-specific legislation.

AltTransport spoke with Jacobs about the legal challenges facing today’s cleantech startups, and what the government can do to make life easier for them. Check out the Q and A with Jacobs, and comment, over at AltTransport.

Article II, meet Article III. Hope you enjoy the pwnage. CNN reports:

A federal judge has blocked a six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Several dozen plaintiffs had sued the Obama administration, arguing the ban would create long-term economic harm to their businesses.

Well, think of it this way: the chances of another one of these rigs exploding and creating an environmental catastrophe that is beyond our ability to fix is like really, really small…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Deep-Water Drilling Is Back on the Table”

BP: 'Make us!'

Obama: 'Plug the damn hole.'

Not many people are happy about the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — with the possible exceptions of (1) Elena Kagan, whose confirmation to the Supreme Court is all but guaranteed (since everyone’s too distracted to oppose her); (2) the lawyers who are getting work out of this disaster (as discussed below); and (3) whoever is behind the fake BP Twitter account, which currently has over 167,000 followers.

But today brings some news that might make some people a little less angry at BP. Even though the government probably couldn’t have forced the oil giant to set up a $20 billion fund to pay oil spill claims, for the reasons explained by Professor David Zaring, BP is setting up such a fund voluntarily. The New York Times reports:

The White House and BP agreed on Wednesday that the oil giant would create an independent $20 billion fund to pay claims arising from the worst oil spill in American history.

Bowing to pressure from the Obama administration, the company also said it would suspend paying dividends to its shareholders for the rest of the year and would compensate oil field workers for lost wages.

There are actually several legal angles to the BP drama. For example, who will administer this massive fund? And which firms are getting a piece of all the defense-side action?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A BP Potpourri: Legal Links and Updates”

Over the past few weeks we’ve lightly touched on the fight between Maryland State Legislators and Maryland Law School. To bring you up to speed: the Perdue Chicken corporation was annoyed by a lawsuit filed with the aid of Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic. So, like all good corporations, the bigwigs at Perdue reached into their back pocket and unleashed the Maryland State Senate upon the University. The spineless state politicians ostensibly did what they were told and threatened to withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars from the University unless various conditions were met, including disclosure of privileged information.

I guess it’s nice to know that the American oligarchy is still going strong.

But thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. After weeks of intense public pressure, it appears that the Maryland legislators backed down…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Maryland State and Perdue v. Maryland Law and Reason: An Uneasy Compromise”

Steven Donzinger has been working on behalf of Ecuadorian natives for seventeen years, representing them in a lawsuit against Chevron alleging the oil company has destroyed their rainforest. It’s a much-covered case, and Harvard Law grad Donzinger has usually been cast as the hero fighting the big bad oil company.

But it looks like Donzinger’s legal team may have done something a little dastardly.

From the Wall Street Journal:

In 2004, the plaintiffs hired Mr. Calmbacher, a Georgia-based biologist and environmental scientist, to help oversee soil and water tests in Ecuador.

Reports signed by Mr. Calmbacher, which were submitted to an Ecuadorean court in 2005, showed high levels of toxins at two sites and estimated the contamination would cost more than $40 million to clean up at these sites alone.

Gibson Dunn lawyers representing Chevron Corp. discovered a typo in those reports: the spelling of Charles Calmbacher’s name. When Gibson lawyer Andrea Neuman (who looks a little like Kristin Davis with short hair) deposed him, she discovered the toxin reports were a bit polluted…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gibson Dunn Discovers a Typo”

law firm swag treasure chest.jpgOur inaugural Law Firm Swag Contest was about quality rather than quantity. We had just four entries, but they were goodies.
Eschewing trinkets and baubles, K&L Gates took the high road, urging recruits to change their world through an innovative website. Perkins Coie went green, arranging for trees to be planted in honor of interviewees. And who doesn’t like a customized iPod, the swag doled out by Dobrowski LLP, the Texas litigation boutique?
But in the end, dear readers, you voted with your feet. Following in the footsteps of the “Sex and the City” gals, or maybe Imelda Marcos, you made it all about the shoes. The customized Nike footwear doled out by Mayer Brown scored a runaway victory, with over 55 percent of the 2,100 votes.
Props to the person in the Mayer recruiting office who came up with the brilliant idea for this Niketown summer associate event. If you’re looking for new running shoes — or, for that matter, the opportunity to do appellate litigation in New York — then sprint in the direction of Mayer Brown!
Earlier: Law Firm Swag Contest: The Finalists
ATL Contest: Best Law Firm Swag of 2009

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