* “I think we have to be concerned that almost all of us are from two law schools.” Justice Clarence Thomas thinks that the Supreme Court bench ought to be more diverse. [New York Times]
* The DoJ expanded its recognition of gay marriage by adding six states to its roster of those newly entitled to federal benefits — now more than half the country. Yay! [Bloomberg]
* Former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has withdrawn from consideration as a nominee for Eric Holder’s job as AG. She and her shoe collection will remain at Latham. [WSJ Law Blog]
* [I]t’s profound that we have not made much progress on that front in the legal profession.” There’s still an income gap between men and women in the law, and it gets worse over time. [National Law Journal]
* Come sail away, come sail away, come parasail away with me. This former Biglaw associate found that life slaving away at a law firm wasn’t her paradise, so she decided to move to the beach. [Am Law Daily]
* When asked what his favorite SCOTUS decision was during his POTUS tenure, Obama said it was the high court’s cert denials on the gay marriage cases. Well played, sir. [Wall Street Journal]
* “Leverage has started to shift away from law firms.” Despite the fact that their headcounts are rising, Biglaw firms are downsizing office space as rents keep climbing higher. [Am Law Daily]
* Schools are trying to slap lipstick on the pig that legal education has become amid an “anemic job market.” We bet your law school has some shiny new innovations too. [News Observer]
* Citing the fact that “the courts do not exist to win popularity contests,” a judge sentenced Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison. Serious question: Will he be allowed to bring his prosthetic legs? [New York Times]
* Nancy Grace and her friends have pitchforks at the ready because Jodi Arias’s penalty phase retrial begins today, and another jury will decide if she deserves to die for murdering her boyfriend. [Reuters]
Or at least between one group of plaintiffs and one group of defendants. A Missouri judge was hearing a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. Then the plaintiffs filed for summary judgment and sought a permanent injunction directing county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. All pretty standard.
But then the Missouri Family Policy Council filed a brief in support of the defendants. Which was jarring for the Judge Ortrie D. Smith since the Missouri Family Policy Council was not a party to the case and had sought no permission to file anything with the court.
* A blistering dissent from that usual suspects: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. [The Atlantic]
* Same-sex marriage opponents in Nevada suggest liberal bias in the selection of the Ninth Circuit panels hearing gay rights cases. They demand en banc review after noting that “two of the Ninth Circuit’s more liberal judges wind up most often on panels deciding cases involving gay rights.” Let me peruse that roster of Ninth Circuit judges… yeah, good luck with that en banc review, guys. [SCOTUS Blog]
* A Toledo Law student was arrested on a child sex charge. [NBC24]
* Kesha is suing producer Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery. [TMZ]
* Can you guess which states lead the way on transgender rights? The answer will… actually not surprise you much at all. [Vocativ]
* The travails of Albany Law School continue. President and Dean Penny Andrews announces that she is stepping down. [Albany Law School]
* As if police departments weren’t militarized enough, they’re using cash seizures to fuel even more ridiculous spending. [Washington Post]
* Staci profiled some legal cosplayers, and when I saw the Judge Dredd costumes, all I could think about is one of the greatest Onion videos about SCOTUS ever. “I am the law!” [The Onion]
* Katie Couric sits down with Susan Mellen, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 17 years. [Yahoo! News]
Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), Above the Law will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full force tomorrow.
* The Supreme Court’s new Term is off to a great start: Thanks to a copy machine’s error, we almost missed the surprise cert denials in the gay marriage cases. What kind of screw-ups will this week bring us? [National Law Journal]
* On the other hand, in what’s considered an unsurprising move following its cert denials en masse, the Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage to begin in Idaho. Congrats to the Gem State. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Jenner & Block’s data privacy practice is making waves in an “uncharted but lucrative field,” and its leader thinks that the “Internet of Things” will help heat up her work soon. [Capital Business / Washington Post]
* A future Law & Order: SVU episode? Sanford Rubenstein, a personal injury and civil rights lawyer who’s been described as “[f]lashy, brash and always camera-ready,” is now being accused of rape. [ABC News]
* Yale Law’s most interesting student goes to all of his classes, but never has to study or take any of his finals. It’s not because he’s lucky — it’s because he’s a 93-year-old course auditor. [New Haven Register]
After the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petitions for certiorari in several leading same-sex marriage cases this week, media coverage exploded with headlines like “Legal Argument Over Gay Marriage Is All But Over.” Advocates of LGBT rights seemed to view all future court action as a mere victory lap. Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, told the press, “It’s really hard to imagine the Supreme Court would have allowed thousands of same-sex couples to get married, including in some very conservative areas like Utah, and then turn around and say, ‘Just kidding, there’s nothing wrong with state bans.'”
Warbelow deserves some slack for her sanguine interpretation of this week’s news. After all, she has a cause to promote. And as a general rule, when SCOTUS declines to hear a case on a particular question, one might reasonably assume that they aren’t concerned with correcting the lower court’s treatment of the issue. But this is hardly a routine legal matter. Nothing emanating from First Street this week made the fate of same-sex marriage in America certain. So, why are so many other observers acting as though the Court just handed the LGBT community a gift box of equal rights, neatly wrapped in denied cert petitions? Why is there so much denial about what these cert denials mean?
Social acceptance of gay marriage in the United States is often compared to social acceptance of interracial marriage. However, while interracial marriage was completely legal by 1967, majority approval of interracial marriage did not take hold until the 1990s. How does popular opinion of gay marriage today compare with the current legal status of gay marriage?
The genius at xkcd demonstrates how popular approval and legal status don’t always neatly track one another…
* Some marriage equality enthusiasts applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to stay out of the way and let the circuits do their thing. But the history of miscegenation in America suggests the Supreme Court had a moral obligation to interject. [USA Today]
* On this subject, Professor Dorf presents a fascinating hypothetical: is it in the strategic interest of an anti-gay marriage conservative lower court judge to strike down same-sex marriage bans in light of the Supreme Court’s cert denials? [Dorf on Law]
* One more story while we’re at it, after the Ninth Circuit struck down bans on same-sex marriages, District Judge Robert C. Jones of Nevada, who upheld the ban in the first place, recused himself rather that be forced to issue an opinion in accordance with Ninth Circuit precedent. [BuzzFeed]
* If you’ve ever wondered how Islamic State manages to recruit Western youth to the cause, the answer is a “Disney-like” social media campaign. It’s like a Biglaw summer program, but for murder. [Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy]
* “Better Hold Off Sexting With High School Students” in Indiana. The Indiana Supreme Court finally weighed in last week after the lower court had okayed a teacher texting a 16-year-old to sneak out of the house for sex. Wait, this required the Supreme Court to weigh in? What is wrong with you Indiana? [Valpo Law Blog]
* Looking professional with a pixie cut. [Corporette]
* Enter for a chance to win a Chief Judge Randall Rader bobblehead! Yes, these exist. [Santa Clara Law]
* New Orleans taxpayers spent around $75K traveling judges to conferences and resorts last year. Quoth the tipster: “I could make a joke about New Orleans judges going to the third world to learn how to run their courtrooms, but I think I already did.” [The Times-Picayune]
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.