Free Speech

The most tragically stupid decision was greenlighting a reality show about lawyers. No one cares about watching real-life lawyering. That’s why Nancy Grace exists — to boil salacious cases down to sound bites so viewers don’t have to watch real lawyers.

But almost as stupid was greenlighting a show about a district attorney on the eve of an election and not expecting to run afoul of campaign finance laws.

Imagine running against an incumbent armed with a glossy, major network reality show constantly hyping his effectiveness in office. In the context of a district attorney election, imagine having to run against Adam Schiff after everyone watched a Law & Order marathon.

If that seems unfair, one challenger agrees with you…

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‘Oh my God! My career! Nooooooooooo!’

A few weeks ago, we learned that when it comes to failed professional endeavors, hell hath no fury like a patent attorney scorned. Now we know the same sentiment applies to their failed romantic wranglings.

What would a patent partner do if a summer associate turned away his sexual advances? He’d do what any dork would: in the hopes of ruining her budding career, he’d obtain a movie clip of the girl in a state of undress and pass it around via email to more than 50 Biglaw attorneys.

Of course, this led to a disciplinary action in which the brokenhearted patent practitioner employed some pretty wild defenses, the most entertaining one being that his slut-shaming was beyond ethical reproach because it was constitutionally protected speech….

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* A senior litigation associate at Paul Hastings, Ryan Nier, has decided to participate in something called the Death Race, and it has nothing to do with the drive for partnership. This Death Race is 50-mile mountain endurance/obstacle race that takes somewhere between 24 and 48 straight hours to finish. Only a handful complete the race every year, and Nier is determined to be one of them. From what we’re told, Paul Hastings has been entirely supportive of Nier, which is cool because he’s using it as an opportunity to raise money for charity. But who knows how supportive they’ll be when they realize he won’t have Blackberry access on top of the mountain for 48 hours. For more information about the Death Race, check out the website. [The Death Race]

* Law student golfing across the U.S. So, I take it summer associate gigs are still scarce? [Golf.com]

* “Guess What the Air Force’s Chief of Sexual Assault Prevention Was Just Arrested For…” Hard to top that headline. [Lowering the Bar]

* Harper Lee suing over “To Kill a Mockingbird” (affiliate link), alleging that the son-in-law of her literary agent botched the copyright. *Insert cheap Atticus Finch joke here* [Washington Post]

* Gigi Jordan case gets even uglier with misconduct charges flying around. [Thompson Reuters News & Insight]

* Dr. Phil is suing Gawker alleging that the website posted a video of the pop psychologist’s interview with Manti Te’o, stifling ratings. So Dr. Phil thinks his audience strongly overlaps with Gawker’s. I’m incredulous. [Yahoo! Sports]

* This is why an over-aggressive cease and desist letter can get you into more trouble. Enter the world of the “miniature war-gaming community.” [Popehat]

* A guide to the questions applicants need to be able to answer at OCI. The best? “Describe a situation when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.” This provides insight into how the applicant will deal with virtually every situation that ever comes up in Biglaw. [Ms. JD]


Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of hearing words of wisdom from the Wise Latina herself. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, author of an acclaimed memoir, My Beloved World (affiliate link), delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the PEN World Voices Festival here in New York.

After Justice Sotomayor’s speech, she engaged in conversation with an eminent literary scholar, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. And after that, she signed books and met fans (including yours truly).

What did Her Honor have to say? Here are some highlights from Justice Sotomayor’s remarks, as well as photographs….

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* Eugene Volokh analyzes the free-speech issues raised by the prosecution of Anya Bargh, the UConn law student accused of sending anti-Semitic and racist emails. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Lawyerist thinks you suck, not the gunners. Discuss. [Lawyerist]

* Law and the Multiverse now has CLE courses about comic books. Maintaining this license just got that much easier. [Law and the Multiverse]

* Some new developments in the Ed O’Bannon case against the NCAA. Basically, discovery has not been kind to the NCAA. [Bloomberg]

* All the editors-in-chief at Michigan Law are women. Now, if another 90 or so journals follow suit, Staci’s article will seem outdated. [Michigan Law]

* Ruh-roh. Did David Boies blow the lid off campaign spending limits last cycle? [Huffington Post]

* No, Mike Bloomberg was not denied a slice of pizza yesterday. [Gawker]

* WARNING: If you understand math, the latest from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will annoy the hell out of you. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Man injured in a drunken fight sues the bar that he says should have cut him off. [Overlawyered]

Should the parties choose to string this case out to trial on the merits, the Court encourages reasonable discovery intercourse as they navigate the peaks and valleys of litigation, perhaps to reach a happy ending.

– Chief Judge Fred Biery of the Western District of Texas, denying a preliminary injunction sought by strip club owners in San Antonio who are challenging city regulations that would require bikini tops instead of pasties to avoid stringent licensing requirements.

(The Chief Judge produced over seven pages of genius double entendre. Check out the full opinion, which he entitled “THE CASE OF THE ITSY BITSY TEENY WEENY BIKINI TOP V. THE (MORE) ITSY BITSY TEENY WEENY PASTIE,” after the jump….)

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Hey, we’re talking about Hulk Hogan here, so I figure a 20-year-old reference like “Talk to the Hand” is entirely appropriate.

A judge in Florida has ordered Gawker to take down a sex tape it acquired showing wrestler Hulk Hogan putting the “Legdrop of Doom” into his friend’s ex-wife, along with Gawker’s accompanying commentary and all the comments made to the post.

Gawker has taken down the video.

But in lieu of taking down the post and the comments, Gawker penned a stirring defense of the First Amendment that will also serve as Exhibit 1 in the eventual contempt hearing….

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Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

At times, there’s no one in a more unenviable position than the chairman of the FCC. When not dealing with larger issues like net neutrality and wireless competition, you’re at the beck and call of every member of an Overly Concerned Citizens’ Group that feels the need to start a letter-writing campaign any time an expletive hits the airwaves.

Bono fired off an f-bomb at the Grammys and someone let Nicole Richie make the most of her what-am-I-for fame by giving her a microphone and allowing her to explain how difficult removing cow shit from a Prada purse is. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has twice found the FCC’s rules on so-called “fleeting expletives” to be a violation of the First Amendment. That, of course, matters little to angry letter writers who somehow believe The Children will be encouraged to swear by potty-mouthed celebs…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Red Sox’ David Ortiz Unleashes An Expletive During Televised Speech; FCC Says ‘F**k It’”

The title is phrased like a joke, because this whole story plays like a joke: full of misunderstandings and dumb decisions. Hm. Typing that out made me realize that also describes most of the weekends of my adult life if you just add the phrase, “I’ll have another Manhattan.”

We set the stage for this joke in my home town of Portland, Oregon, and the campus of the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College. Last week, Chief Justice John Roberts visited the school to judge a moot court competition.

But the real controversy began after the Chief skipped town and the Dean started monkeying with the press coverage of the event — and blaming his actions on the Supreme Court…

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J.D. = Just the Dark Roast?

* President Obama apologized to Kamala Harris after referring to her as the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” We’re guessing the First Lady was none too pleased with her husband’s behavior. [New York Times]

* If you’re unemployed (or were the victim of a recent layoff), try to keep your head up, because there’s still hope for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector added 2,000 jobs last month. [Am Law Daily]

* The 10 percent vacancy rate on the nation’s federal courts is unacceptable and the New York Times is ON IT. Perhaps D.C. Circuit hopeful Sri Srinivasan will have some luck at this week’s judicial confirmation hearing. [New York Times]

* Shine bright like A. Diamond: Howrey’s bankruptcy trustee is still trying to get “unfinished business” settlements from several Biglaw firms, but managed to secure funds from ALAS. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* Contrary to what law deans tell you in the op-ed pages, if you want to work as a real lawyer, it actually matters where you go to law school. We’ll probably have more on this later today. [National Law Journal]

* Cooley Law took a hard hit in the appeal of its defamation case against Rockstar05, and now the disgruntled blogger may seek a dismissal. Score one for anonymous online speech! [Ars Technica]

* Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister, RIP. [CNN]

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