Health Care / Medicine

* Palestinian prisoners are smuggling spooge out of prison to make babies on the outside. The article raises some fascinating legal and ethical questions, but thankfully fails to explain the logistics of the scheme. [Bill of Health / Harvard Law Petrie-Flom Center]

* Florida is looking into the question of whether judges and attorneys can be Facebook friends. But it’s so useful to have real-time feedback of which arguments that judge is going to “Like.” [IT-Lex]

* The government has indicted a lawyer on charges of bankrolling a synthetic marijuana operation. So real-life Kentucky is just like Justified Kentucky. [USA Today]

* The defense of Oscar Pistorius springs back and has a good day. [Deadspin]

* This article about KU Law Professor Stephen Ware’s arrest on domestic abuse charges sounds bad, but he’s actually a hero for putting together an elaborate and interactive issue-spotting exam for his final. [6 News Lawrence]

* This will be fun. What are the weirdest constitutional arguments ever asserted in court? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Former Senator Pete Dominici admits that he’s the father of Vegas lawyer Adam Laxalt of Lewis and Roca. While a Senator for New Mexico, Dominici was nailing the daughter of Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt… just to be neighborly. [Reno Gazette-Journal]

When it comes to the employee benefit known as “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits” (aka the “gay gross-up”), maybe the pertinent question should be which firms don’t offer it. Since our recent write-up, we’ve heard about more leading law firms that offer this perk, taking the total number of firms that have it to more than 40. (The new firms are mentioned below.)

So let’s move on to the next front, which we also alluded to in our prior post: adoption and surrogacy-related benefits. They’re not nearly as common as tax equalization for same-sex health benefits, but a handful of firms appear to offer them.

Let’s find out which ones, shall we?

UPDATE (2/8/2013, 1:00 AM): A noteworthy update about the legal status of surrogacy, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Adoption Benefits
(Plus an update on the gay gross-up.)

Chickenpox does not discriminate.

Diane Webb, a registered nurse specialist, commenting on the likelihood of student infection after news of a chickenpox outbreak at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.


It has been a long time since our last listing of the major law firms that offer the “tax offset for domestic partner health benefits” or the “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits.” (If you’re not familiar with this benefit, also known as the “gay gross-up,” see this explanation.)

As we’ve explained before, this benefit is necessary because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Let’s hope that this benefit is no longer necessary in the near future. This Term, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of DOMA (assuming they don’t dodge the issue on jurisdictional grounds). If SCOTUS goes the way of the lower courts, DOMA will go down, and the gay gross-up won’t be needed.

In the meantime, though, the benefit is needed. Let’s take a look at which firms should be added to our list….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Tax Equalization for Same-Sex Health Benefits”

Dude, why don’t you just stay your ass home then?

We live in a culture that praises people for “playing hurt.” In sports, we like it when stars act like tough guys and put themselves at long term risk when they play with injuries (until they re-injure themselves, as fans of Robert Griffin III or Rob Gronkowski have learned in the past two weeks). In normal life, we value people who show up to do their job no matter what, and we are suspicious of people who take a lot of “sick days.”

Unless there is a FLU EPIDEMIC OMFG IT’S LIKE THAT MOVIE CONTAGION. Then, and only then, we start telling people to “stay home” instead of infecting the entire workplace.

This flu season has gotten so out of hand that some are starting to wonder if forcing people to have flu shots is something that employers can legally do. That’s right folks, in a country that cannot guarantee health care for all of its citizens, we can probably force at-will employees to get flu shots….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Forced Flu Shots? Can’t Sick People Just Stay Home?”

Above the Law’s 2012 Lawyer of the Year contest is now over. Thanks to everyone who nominated a lawyer; thanks to our finalists, for being such accomplished and interesting individuals; and thanks to all our readers, who picked our victor after two weeks of voting over the holiday season.

Here are ATL’s past Lawyers of the Year:

For 2012, who will join their distinguished ranks? Let’s find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above the Law’s 2012 Lawyer of the Year Competition: The Winner!”

* Justice Sonia Sotomayor just ruined Hobby Lobby’s new year by refusing to block the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptives mandate. All of the members of the company’s legal team will have to scrapbook and crochet for hours to get over this loss. [Reuters]

* Harvard Law graduate Barack Obama is being feted as CNN’s “Most Intriguing Person of 2012,” but he’s currently trailing in fourth place in the most important year-end poll of all: Above the Law’s Lawyer of the Year competition. Get out there and vote! [CNN]

* Federal district court judges aren’t being confirmed as quickly as they once were, and it’s partly because our president isn’t submitting nominees as quickly as those who came before him. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* But even if the president nominated judges more quickly, he’d continue to face harsh opposition from the NRA, which matters because the gun group has an entire party in its pocket. [Opinionator / New York Times]

* A legal problem and a journalism problem wrapped up in a little pretty bow: David Gregory of NBC’s “Meet the Press” is being investigated for displaying an alleged 30-round magazine on the air. [Washington Post]

* One of New York’s most prestigious private schools agreed to settle the sex abuse suit brought against it by former students. Simpson Thacher partner Phil Culhane must be doing a victory dance. [New York Daily News]

* You got a fast car, and now this case will pay all our bills. Toyota settled a class action suit over unintended acceleration, and it’s touted as one of the largest product-liability settlements in history. [New York Times]

* Ay dios mio! You know that you’re never going to enjoy another vacation when you catch a hotel employee spreading his seed all over your clothes. But what did you expect? It’s Mexico. [Courthouse News Service]

The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. Come on, people, we still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2012.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations, in the comments or via email. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of nine (although you’ll see only eight options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above the Law’s 2012 Lawyer of the Year Competition: The Finalists!”

Justice RBG rocking her doily.

* As soon as Mary Schapiro announced she was stepping down as chairwoman of the SEC, Obama nominated another woman to take her place. Congrats to SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter! [WSJ Law Blog]

* In other breaking news that no one will care about now that bonus season is upon us, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg swapped out her neck doily for a blingy necklace from Glamour. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* You know what the ancient Romans would’ve hated more than watching the fall of the Roman empire? The Citizens United decision. Cato, Cicero, and Julius Caesar wouldn’t have been impressed with this. [Slate]

* Why go to law school if you’re already doing well financially? Perhaps you’re just another prestige hunter. If you are, then all the better for you, because that seems to be what all of the law schools are selling these days. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* Don’t cry for Argentina: they may be in the middle of a billion-dollar bond dispute, but the uber-prestigious lawyers on either side of the case (Boies; Olson) are enough to make you forget about their troubles. [Reuters]

* A Biglaw attorney from Alston & Bird with a rare sleep disorder confronts Big Pharma and… doesn’t win. At least not yet. But on the bright side, she’s not sleeping for 18 hours anymore. [The Last Word on Nothing]

* We’re honored to announce that Above the Law was named as one of the ten law blogs in the ABA Journal’s inaugural Blawg 100 Hall of Fame. Please click here if you’d like to help us win again this year. [ABA Journal]

* After the jump, Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia speaks with Bill Lawlor, a Dechert partner, who claims “hope springs eternal for M&A attorneys.” Will the mergers and acquisitions market begin to boom once again?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 11.26.12″

‘Should I stay or should I go now?’

* Since Obamacare’s here to stay, states are scurrying to meet the health care law’s deadlines. Better hurry up, they’ve only got a week left to make a decision on insurance exchanges. [New York Times]

* “It’s been an interesting and tough four years. I just really don’t know. I don’t know at this point.” Two days after the election, it looks like Barack Obama may have to replace Eric Holder after all. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Managing partners at midsize firms are feeling good about about business in the coming fiscal year, and they’re even projecting higher profits per partner. And unicorns, too! [National Law Journal (reg. req.)]

* Where did a portion of the money behind Harvard Law professor and Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren’s Massachusetts race come from? Biglaw firms like Nixon Peabody and Mintz Levin. [Corporate Counsel]

* Apparently a convicted abortion doctor killer is trying to intervene in Paul Ceglia’s ownership case against Facebook via kooky letter. Sorry pal, but there can be only one Jonathan Lee Riches. [Wall Street Journal]

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