* Right about now, the Second Circuit is wondering why authors are suing Google and crying infringement over the Internet company’s e-book project, especially since digitization could benefit so many of them. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* This is the end of an era of legal battles: Jeffrey Skilling, Enron’s former chief executive officer, is getting a little shaved off the top of his 24-year prison sentence thanks to a deal with the Department of Justice. He’ll be out in 2017. [CNBC]
* Biglaw expected to have a slow start in 2013, but no one expected it to be this slow. The latest Citi report wasn’t exactly encouraging; on average, firms saw a 0.2% increase in revenue during the first quarter. [Am Law Daily]
* In the past decade, the American Bar Association has created six task forces to explore changing the face of legal education as we know it. Funny… nothing’s really changed. [National Law Journal]
* Bail for Ariel Castro, the accused Cleveland kidnapper, has been set at $8 million. “Just think of how many ribs and salsa albums could be bought with that, bro,” said Charles Ramsey. [Chicago Tribune]
* Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s appeal was denied by the Fifth Circuit. While he remains the smartest guy in the room, the room consists of him and a half-wit cellmate whose only discernible talent is making Prune-o. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Bruce Fein, an attorney who worked on Clinton’s impeachment and called for Bush’s impeachment as well, has drafted articles of impeachment for Barack Obama. His high crime and misdemeanor? Time theft. [Politico]
* An Ohio man has been charged with a misdemeanor for barking at a police dog. When asked why he was barking at the female dog, the man calmly replied, “Bitch owes me money.” [CBS News]
* The government rested its case in the Raj Rajaratnam trial yesterday. Of additional note is the fact that Rajabba sits ten feet behind his defense table, partially obstructed from the jury box. You can’t completely block Rajabba from view. You can only wish to contain him. [New York Times]
* The government has warned attorneys for former Madoff employees not to use money that might be associated with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. That includes, for their own health, any ass pennies. [ABA Journal]
* The Fourth Circuit rules in favor of a pundit-professor, in a case about the free speech rights of faculty members at public universities. [Chronicle of Higher Education]
* Charlie Sheen is trying to trademark his catchphrases now. He’s overexposed like a frostbitten penis — is there anything funny left to say about him at this point? (We might try; check in later.) [Forbes]
John Taylor Skilling, the son of former Enron executive Jeff Skilling, was found dead in his apartment in California. The Associated Press says that a bottle of medication was found next to John Skilling, and they report that he had been distraught over a recent breakup with his girlfriend.
His father, Jeffrey Skilling, served as president of Enron. In 2006, Jeff Skilling was convicted after a jury trial of multiple charges arising out of Enron’s collapse, and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. He appealed to the Supreme Court, which vacated part of his conviction in a major ruling on the “honest services” fraud statute, and sent the case back for resentencing.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Tuesday denied Skilling’s request that his convictions be overturned because they were based on an incorrect legal theory.
We don’t have our hands on the 105-page opinion, but apparently Skilling’s argument that Enron was just ahead of the curve on the whole global financial crisis thing wasn’t enough to overturn his convictions.
* Donald Trump gives on-the-record comments to a blawg (albeit an MSM-affiliated one). The man is a total media whore. But he’s the little brother of a certain fabulous Third Circuit judge, so we forgive him. [WSJ Law Blog]
(Check out the photos at right. We see a definite family resemblance. Which may or may not be a good thing.)
* Speaking of siblings, our big brother wonders: “Do we smell a Jeff Skilling comeback in the air?” And hits the nail on the head with respect to Malcolm Gladwell, too. [DealBreaker]
* The start of a new year is a perfect time for blogospheric navel-gazing reflections upon the future of law-related blogging. [Opinio Juris via Volokh Conspiracy]
* As well as New Year’s resolutions. [Nasty, Brutish & Short; Jeremy Blachman; Althouse]
* And raucous law blogger parties. Woo-hoo! [Concurring Opinions; PrawfsBlawg]
* A unanimous Supreme Court overturns a Ninth Circuit ruling in a criminal (habeas) case. In other news, this morning the sun rose from the east. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Enron’s Jeff Skilling may get to pass “Go” on his way to jail after all. [WSJ Law Blog]
* BCS vs. the Electoral College: Is the controversy over Florida or Michigan playing Ohio State the college football version of Bush v. Gore? Or perhaps that was the LSU/USC split of 2003-04? [National Journal via MSNBC]
* “Float driver in S.C. Christmas parade charged with drunken driving.” [AP]
* Christmas trees are back up in the Sea-Tac airport. Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky has said he won’t file a lawsuit. But if somebody else does, the Seattle airport authorities will have to throw in a menorah, a Kikombe cha Umoja, and a snowman. [Seattle Times]
Delightful links, hand-picked with loving care by Stella Q, will appear later today. For now, here a few other quick links that caught our eye recently:
* Curious about how many Americans share your full name? Now you can find out. [TaxProf Blog]
* “Zagat’s for prisons.” Good stuff. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Professor Dimino wants to know: What’s the most frivolous lawsuit or argument you’ve encountered? (A regular diet of them is served up over here; but we’re sure that countless examples remain undiscovered.) [PrawfsBlawg]
* “Dukakis would have picked up at least 3 states if it had come out that he’d partied with Playboy bunnies.” [Instapundit]
* Wiccans don’t have standing? Give them some eye of newt and wing of bat, and they’ll conjure some up in a jiffy. [Associated Press via How Appealing]
* Camille Paglia: Love her or loathe her, she’s always interesting and fun to read. Especially when writing about the Mark Foley scandal. [Althouse]
* Fun with Enron emails: “Certainly all of you can stop shredding documents for 5 minutes to respond.” [Enron Explorer via WSJ Law Blog]
* Think Jeff Skilling got too harsh a sentence? You’re not alone. [DealBreaker]
Really, really long.* To wit, 292 months long. For the mathematically challenged among you, that’s 24 years and four months. Ouch.
But given the size and scope of the Enron fraud, the lengthy sentence may be appropriate (even if it’s higher than many Wall Streeters expected). You can compare Jeffrey Skilling’s sentence to those of other leading white-collar criminals over at the WSJ Law Blog.
* We briefly contemplated a far more crude cinematic allusion, involving this movie, but thought better of it. Skilling Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison [Associated Press] Skilling Gets 24 Years [DealBreaker] Skilling’s Sentence: 24 Years, 4 months [WSJ Law Blog]
* Buttons — isn’t that the new song by the Pussycat Dolls? Yes; but it’s also the issue in a case argued before the Supreme Court yesterday. Question Presented: Was a murder defendant’s right to a fair trial violated when the judge allowed relatives of the victim to sit behind the prosecutor, sporting buttons with the victim’s photo on them? [New York Times; Washington Post; Slate]
* A federal judge rules that candidates for the state bench can’t be barred from personally soliciting campaign contributions. So let’s just shove C-notes down their robes. [New York Times]
* Ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling won’t take the Martha Stewart approach: he’d like to remain free on bail while his appeal winds its way through the courts. This makes sense: his sentence is likely to be way longer than Martha’s brief stay at Camp Cupcake. [Washington Post]
* Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was slumming it earlier this week at the Second Circuit. The Times provides a UTR-esque account of the “mind-numbing” proceedings. [New York Times]
* The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in Cunningham v. California, an important case raising the constitutionality of California’s sentencing scheme — and one that will have implications for other state sentencing systems. (Readers of the tea leaves suggest that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito may not be in complete agreement with Justices Scalia and Thomas. Who are you calling “Scalito”?) [Sentencing Law & Policy; Los Angeles Times; New York Times]
(Yeah, we know, today’s “Morning Docket” is coming in just in time for lunch. Sorry, we overslept…)
* Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling is facing 20 to 30 years in prison when he’s sentenced next month — but he can still get himself into even more trouble. Impressive. [Houston Chronicle via WSJ Law Blog]
* Elsewhere in Enron-land, ex-CFO Andy Fastow is seeking leniency in advance of his sentencing next week. Did you know he built a picnic table at his synagogue? [Washington Post; WSJ Law Blog]
* Clarence Hill, the death row inmate who sought to challenge the constitutionality of Florida’s lethal injection procedure, was executed last night. The Supreme Court decided, by a 5-4 vote, not to grant him a new stay of execution. [New York Times]
* Something complicated happened in the House concerning the White House’s proposal for interrogating and prosecuting terror suspects. Parliamentary procedure can be so wacky! Let’s face it: Nothing is getting done on this until after the November elections. [Washington Post]
* Hey, that’s neat: “Eugene Volokh” is on ABC’s “Boston Legal.” [How Appealing]
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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