A few months ago, I shared how Judge Richard Wesley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit uses his iPad as part of his day-to-day routine, making him a more efficient and effective jurist. Well, he’s not the only technologically proficient judge. Janet T. Neff, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Michigan, knows her way around technology, too.
Her interest in technology is nothing new. It began nearly 40 years ago and she hasn’t looked back since. “I first became interested in computers in the late 1970s when I was working as a Commissioner at the Michigan Supreme Court. Westlaw and Lexis were just beginning to come out with their services and I was assigned to talk to their representatives. I was intrigued with their services but we didn’t do much with it at that time,” she explains. “Many years later, when I was on the Michigan Court of Appeals, our clerk’s office was very invested in using technology and — almost as an afterthought — they asked if any of the judges were interested in it. I was the only judge who was. I was given a ‘dumb terminal’ and was later part of the committee that addressed the Y2K issue. So it was an evolutionary process and then when I came to the federal court, where the IT resources were even better, I began to utilize technology further.”
* Will we have a nominee for Attorney General Eric Holder’s position “shortly after the election”? Per a White House spokesperson, our lame-duck Congress might just get a chance to confirm America’s next top lawyer. [WSJ Law Blog]
* David Tresch, Mayer Brown’s former chief information officer, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in bilking the firm out of $4.8 million. Hey, it could’ve been worse, says his lawyer, whose client got off relatively easily. [Am Law Daily]
* Thanks to the rise of the “energy phenomenon,” law schools have started to offer various classes focusing on oil and gas law in the hopes of making their graduates employable. Good luck with that. [Times Online]
* If you plan to retake the LSAT, you need to study smarter. Don’t sweat it too much, though — it’s not like you’ve got a lot of competition trying to apply to law school. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
* As the World Series draws to a close, be sure to salute Miami-based lawyer Laurence Leavy, who will be sitting front and center behind home plate tonight wearing a garish Miami Marlins jersey. Troll so hard, buddy! [CBS Sports]
* Speaking of the World Series: Do you think you know the law? How about baseball? Here’s a Law and Baseball trivia competition in the form of a crossword. Act fast because the first one with a completed entry is declared the winner. [Dewey B Strategic]
* Thomas Jefferson School of Law restructures its debt and manages to stay alive! Oh happy day! [TaxProfBlog]
* Selling yourself is important, but NOT selling yourself may be more powerful. [Law and More]
* I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising, but there’s a hefty hiring and pay gap between the sexes in the expert witness industry. [The Expert Institute]
* Donald Trump’s “Trump University” can add “RICO defendant” to its list of accomplishments after a federal judge grants class certifications to students suing the school. [Law 360]
* A discussion of the lack of diversity on the Court cites our list of Supreme Court clerks and notes that Justice Clarence Thomas practices what he preaches about expanding opportunity beyond Harvard and Yale. [Los Angeles Times]
* Elie joined Daniel Gershburg on his podcast to discuss legal education, Vegas, and the phenomenon of Walmart Law, Inc. Podcast embedded below…. [I Am The Law Podcast]
This is going to sound like a simple mistake. This is going to sound like a legal “technicality” that has resulted in a sex offender going free. But when a judge upends a central pillar of American law, even accidentally, there’s no other outcome.
The Los Angeles judge erred during the December 2006 voir dire in the sex-crime trial of Bryant Keith Williams, according to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge said Williams had pleaded guilty to the charges, though he intended to say Williams had pleaded not guilty.
The judge’s error came to light when jurors who had been deliberating for less than an hour sent the judge a note. “As a group,” the note read, “we the jury feel we heard the judge state the defendant pleaded guilty before the trial. Is this true?”
The judge tried to correct his mistake. He said that the defendant pleaded “not” guilty, and asked the jurors if they could still look back on the trial with that in mind. One juror was dismissed. The rest said that they could, and returned a guilty verdict.
They say it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, well, extrapolated to the legal profession: it ain’t over till all appeals have been exhausted. Such is the case of our good friend, contract attorney David Lola. You remember him, he filed suit against Skadden Arps and his staffing agency, Tower Legal, alleging his work as a contract attorney did not rise to the level of the practice of law and as such he was entitled to overtime wages. Last month, his Fair Labor Standards Act case was dismissed by Judge Richard Sullivan finding that the provision of legal services by a lawyer are exempt from federal overtime laws regardless of the nature of the task performed.
Last we heard from Mr. Lola, things were not going well. He’s been blackballed from the industry and living out of his car. Not exactly the result you’d hope for when filing a lawsuit. Well, at least he has his appeal to look forward to.
And what causes lawyers to strike out (via lawsuit) at the law firms that hire them?
* “I thought it was hilarious. And I imagine my colleagues who have seen it would share that view.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has seen John Oliver’s talking Supreme Court dogs, and she totally LOLed about it. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Hey guys, guess who’s excited about a yet-to-occur increase in law school applications? If you guessed law school admissions officers, then you’d be right. Come on, what else are they going to do now, cry? [National Law Journal]
* We suppose some congratulations are in order for Ave Maria Law, because now the school doesn’t have to provide insurance coverage for its employees’ contraceptives. Yay, thanks Hobby Lobby! [LifeNews]
* Manuel Noriega’s “Call of Duty” lawsuit was dismissed earlier this week, and Rudy Giuliani is just glad that “a notorious criminal didn’t win.” Let’s get real here: the dictator’s rep was already damaged. [CNN]
* “Can we talk?” Melissa Rivers called a plaintiffs firm to ask the question made famous by her late mother, Joan Rivers. Her malpractice and wrongful death suit will be coming soon. [Page Six / New York Post]
Last night, in the beautiful D.C. offices of Arnold & Porter, Above the Law held its second annual Supreme Court round-up event. I discussed October Term 2014 with two of the most distinguished advocates practicing before the Court today, Lisa Blatt of Arnold & Porter and Tom Goldstein of Goldstein & Russell (and SCOTUSblog fame too). Although this Term is not the most thrilling Term ever — which could change, based on the cases that get granted certiorari over the next few weeks — Blatt and Goldstein produced a sparkling conversation full of ample insight and laughter.
Thanks to Lisa Blatt and to Tom Goldstein for participating, to our readers for attending, to Arnold & Porter for hosting, and to Special Counsel eQ for sponsoring. Keep reading to check out photos….
On October 9th the SEC brought a settled administrative action against E*Trade Securities and G1 Execution Services (formerly E*Trade Capital Markets) for their part in the unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny stocks between 2007 and 2011. Suffice it to say that they weren’t the only ones. On the same day the Commission also (1) released FAQs on a broker-dealer’s duties on when trying to rely on the reasonable inquiry exemption when executing customer orders; and (2) issued a Risk Alert on broker-dealer controls regarding customer sales of penny stocks. The gist is, broker-dealers cannot turn a blind eye when executing its customers’ sales of securities of dubious or uncertain origin. These documents are all part of the SEC’s larger effort to focus on financial system gatekeepers and thereby save staff resources that would otherwise be spent chasing individual bad actors. What’s most interesting to me about the case and accompanying educational materials is how old the underlying principles are. The SEC has been preaching about broker-dealer oversight of little-known securities for literally half a century. And yet here we are.
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.