* It would probably be good if I had heard of more than a handful of the 34 most influential lawyers in the United States. Now this is going to turn into a Pokémon-esque game for me. [National Law Journal]
* Instead of fighting over App Stores, BigLaw, and SmallLaw, shouldn’t tech innovators be innovating instead? Because seriously, who fights over generic trademarks? That’s so SmallLaw. [New York Times]
* Bret Michaels suffered the horrors of the STD-laden Rock of Love Bus without injury, yet Broadway gave him a brain hemorrhage. Go figure. I guess every rose really does have its thorn. [Reuters]
* Speaking of buses, lawsuits seeking a total of $220 million have been filed in the wake of the World Wide Tours crash. On the bright side, the odds here will likely be better than playing the Mohegan Sun slots. [Sify News]
* A severely disabled mother was granted visitation time with her kids. If Terri Schiavo was alive today, she would have blinked with happiness after learning about this precedential decision. [Huffington Post]
* Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. Oops! McDonald’s, you forgot the public masturbation — but I guess that’s the special sauce. [Orlando Sentinel]
* Some “real housewives” of New Jersey are suing Campbell’s over salty soup. Let’s get real here: New Jersey housewives don’t know how to cook. Using the microwave doesn’t count. [Star-Ledger]
Today is a sad day for businesses established by lawyer-entrepreneurs. First we learned that David J. Stern, the South Texas Law grad who went on to become “Florida’s Foreclosure King,” will be relinquishing his crown and closing his once-thriving practice. And now we hear that Lev Ekster, the New York Law School alum who founded a popular mobile-cupcake business called Cupcake Stop, has decided to call it quits.
Longtime readers of Above the Law will recall Ekster and his business selling cupcakes out of a truck that roved around Manhattan. We first wrote about him in May 2009, when we were charmed by the NYLS grad’s creative response to being unable to obtain a law firm job. Spring 2009 wasn’t the best time to be looking for a Biglaw gig, as you might remember.
A few days after our first post, we got to taste Ekster’s cupcakes (and interview him). The cupcakes were delicious (not as amazing as my cousin’s, but pretty darn good).
In the months that followed, Ekster’s cupcake truck picked up momentum, literally and figuratively. On Twitter, @CupcakeStop acquired almost 16,000 followers.
And then today it all came to a screeching halt. What happened?
Earlier this week, we told you about a class action lawsuit filed against Taco Bell over its taco fillings. The lawsuit alleges that Taco Bell inaccurately claims to be selling “seasoned beef” when in fact it is selling “taco meat filling.”
We didn’t think Taco Bell would take these allegations lying down. The WSJ Law Blog tells us that Taco Bell lawyers are thinking outside the bun box and contemplating a countersuit.
But today brings news of a more traditional response from the fast food giant: an all-out media blitz to assure customers about the quality of its food.
Taco Bell is issuing press releases, taking out full-page ads in newspapers, and even has their president talking about the Taco Bell “seasoned beef” recipe on YouTube. Sadly, Taco Bell isn’t available on SeamlessWeb here at the office — so I can talk about the ad campaign, but can’t experience it in my belly…
I’m not going to lie: I love Taco Bell. It’s my favorite fast food. One of the most consistently annoying aspects of my life is that I’ve never lived near a Taco Bell. I always have to go out of my way to get it.
Now, generally my wife and I learn how to cook things that we like but don’t have easy access to. I can turn my kitchen into a lobster holocaust zone. We buy beef and grind it ourselves to make Shake Shack burgers. I’ve even once had a chef from a restaurant in Vegas email me a recipe of a dish I particularly enjoyed.
But I’ve never, ever come close to recreating the taste of a Taco Bell taco. Oh, I can make tacos, and they are tasty, but I can’t get the Taco Bell thing right.
Now I know why. I’m using real beef. Taco Bell is apparently using… something else…
As previously covered in these pages, earlier this week a D.C. Superior Court judge ordered Rogue States Burgers to cease grilling operations at its Dupont Circle location. This news was met with sadness by burger lovers in the nation’s capital, but by relief from the employees of Steptoe & Johnson. Steptoe had sued Rogue States, claiming that fumes and smells from the burger purveyor were a nuisance requiring abatement.
Rogue States complied with Judge John Mott’s order. But this may not be the final act in the drama….
This afternoon brings some major news for hamburger lovers in the nation’s capital. In the lawsuit brought by Steptoe & Johnson against Rogue States Burgers, in an effort to stop Rogue States’ rogue smells from infiltrating law firm airspace, Big Law has triumped over big beef patties. Judge John M. Mott of D.C. Superior Court just ruled that the burger fumes from Rogue States must be abated immediately.
Judge Mott ordered Rogue States to stop its grilling operations by the end of today. Due to the unavailability of easy solutions to the smell problem — an alternate ventilation plan has been nixed by the building landlord — Judge Mott “effectively issued a death sentence for the Dupont Circle burger joint,” as noted by Tim Carman of the Washington City Paper.
A disconsolate reader emailed this reaction to us: “sad. i am pleading to obama, burger lover president, to intervene.”
It would be easy to snark on a large white-shoe law firm — represented by another large law firm, Pillsbury Winthrop — going to court to beat up on a local burger joint. But Steptoe might be a more sympathetic plaintiff than some might think….
* Hans Bader of CEI is fine with the bar exam — congrats to everyone who just finished, by the way — but wants to ditch the requirement of graduating from law school. After all, “[e]ven students who seldom studied, and reputedly were on drugs, managed to graduate from my alma mater, Harvard Law School.” [DC SCOTUS Examiner]
* For people who profess to hate law school, they sometimes act like they’re still in it: anti-law-school bloggers get caught up in a catfight. [Confessions of a Laid-Off Lawyer]
* A collection of entertaining legal opinions. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski appears multiple times, of course. [Google Scholar Blog]
* Chipotle is delicious — but does it violate the ADA? [Cato @ Liberty]
Tremayne Durham has some serious food issues. In 2006, he decided he wanted to enter the ice cream business, so he ordered an $18,000 ice cream truck from a company in Oregon.
When he changed his mind about selling popsicles, the company refused to give him a refund. Durham traveled from New York to Oregon to confront the company. Apparently, he has anger issues as well — he shot and killed an employee.
Now he’s making headlines for his unusual plea bargain. From the Guardian:
His craving for a decent bit of nosh was so intense that he agreed to pay a high price – a life sentence.
Durham, 33, struck a plea bargain last month in which he was guaranteed a meal of KFC chicken, Popeye’s chicken, mashed potato, coleslaw, carrot cake and ice cream – in return for pleading guilty to murder.
As part of the deal, and after receiving a life sentence this week in court in Portland, Oregon, Durham will also get a second feast, this time on an Italian theme, with calzone, lasagne, pizza and ice cream.
The judge, Eric Bergstrom, is understood to have accepted the bargain because it would save the state of Oregon thousands of dollars in hosting a trial and possible subsequent appeals.
One of the tipsters who sent this story our way was inspired:
The next plea deal I negotiate will contain a heart wrenching narrative about my client’s woeful circumstances, a § 3553 analysis, and a demand for a footlong sub, a sack of White Castle, and a Fudgie the Whale cake. I can’t wait for Durham’s habeas petition, based on the Government’s impermissible substitution of pizza bagels and chicken fingers, in violation of the plea agreement.
We thought the whole point of Ave Maria Law School, founded by Domino’s pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, was that with enough money, you can do whatever you want. E.g., establish a very conservative, Catholic law school, and not care if the liberal legal academy raises its eyebrows — ’cause you could buy and sell them, several times over.
So doesn’t it defeat the whole point if Ave Maria requires funding from sources beyond Monaghan’s pile of pizza dough? From Julie Kay’s article in the National Law Journal:
Got $20 million? If so, you could have a law school building named after you.
Ave Maria School of Law is selling naming rights to the new law school facility it’s building in southwest Florida.
“We’d like to find someone who would want the opportunity to have their name associated with the school, to help us with the construction costs,” said Dean Bernard Dobranski. He said the school is rapidly moving forward with its controversial plan to relocate from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Ave Maria, Fla., and has even obtained architectural renderings of the new school.
Ave Maria is already in turmoil: controversy over its move from Michigan to Florida, lawsuits filed by three professors who claim they were wrongfully terminated, an ongoing investigation by the American Bar Association. A suggestion that Tom Monaghan’s coffers are not infinite could not come at a worse time.
Meanwhile, in other Domino’s news, they’re trying to return to the glory days of their 30-minute delivery guarantee — without getting sued. Delivering delicious pizza in under half an hour is a noble mission. We wish them the best of luck.
P.S. Tom Monaghan no longer owns the pizza chain. He sold his controlling interest to Bain Capital in 1998 for about a billion dollars, which he plowed into launching Ave Maria University. Ave Maria still looks to move, puts name on block [National Law Journal] Domino’s Pizza and the Law [WSJ Law Blog] Will a Twist on an Old Vow Deliver for Domino’s Pizza? [Wall Street Journal]
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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