* Good news, everyone! According to Citi’s Managing Partner Confidence Index survey, firm leaders are feeling pessimistic about their business due to an overall lack of confidence in the economy. [Am Law Daily]
* Per the Ninth Circuit, an Idaho statute that essentially criminalizes medication-induced abortions imposes an undue burden on a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy. Really? You don’t say. [Bloomberg]
* Kiwi Camara’s circuitous route to SCOTUS: thanks to the Eighth Circuit, Jammie Thomas-Rasset started and ended her journey with $222K damages for copyright infringement. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* Was Barack Obama ever offered a tenured position on the faculty at University of Chicago Law School? Absolutely not, says longtime law professor Richard Epstein — and he was never a “constitutional law professor” either. [Daily Caller]
* “Fashion law is a real career choice,” says Gibson Dunn partner Lois Herzeca. This niche practice area is one of the hottest new trends in the fashion world, and it’s not likely to go out of style any time soon. [Reuters]
* Your clawback suit is a wonderland? John Mayer was named as a defendant in a suit filed by trustees seeking to recover money paid out by Ponzi schemer Darren Berg. [Bankruptcy Beat / Wall Street Journal]
* J. Christopher Stevens, UC Hastings Law grad and U.S. Ambassador to Libya, RIP. [CNN]
The crappy thing about being a martyr is that you have to die. Just ask Obama how the whole “savior” thing is working out for him.
The recording industry has set out to make an example out of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a woman guilty of illegally downloading 24 songs. We mentioned her third trial this week while talking about Professor Charlie Nesson’s speedy benchslap.
Thomas-Rasset was trying to reduce the amount of money she had to pay for downloading the songs. You know, since the material costs $2, max, one would think her penalty wouldn’t be significantly more than a speeding ticket.
But like I said, the recording industry really wanted to make an example out of her. And apparently our judicial system is happy to be the compliant lapdogs of corporate interests. So Thomas-Rasset is going to have to ascend the pyre, because the courts lit her up, again…
* “I think the record should reflect that the witness is vomiting.” [Young Lawyers Blog]
* Morbid adventures in lawyer advertising. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]
* PPP numbers from 2009 are not sunny at Sonnenschein. [AmLaw Daily]
* A scorned mistress wreaked revenge on her married ex-lover, putting ads up on billboards in Manhattan, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Does putting the affair’s happier times up in lights get her into false light territory? [True/Slant]
* If you’re going to a cocktail party this weekend and haven’t had time to read the Citizens United opinion yet, here are Cliffs Notes. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Over a million reasons why Kiwi Camara’s file-sharing client should be less angry with him. [Threat Level/Wired]
* Today came news of a long-time Biglaw litigator going in-house. Here’s the reverse situation: Longtime General Dynamics general counsel has returned to Jenner & Block as a partner. He talks about how Biglaw has changed since he left it 12 years ago. [National Law Journal]
You learn a few things when you survive a major outbreak of alleged racism before you even graduate from law school. One thing you learn is that you don’t have to step aside quietly when million-dollar judgments go against your client.
Last month, we reported that Jammie Thomas-Rasset — who is represented by K.A.D. Camara — was hit with a $1.92 million judgment for illegally downloading 24 songs. When we spoke to Camara about the verdict, he expressed his belief that the high penalty could be problematic for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA):
I think a verdict this high may backfire against the RIAA. It makes clear that there’s a problem with the statute. And there are many grounds for appeal in Jammie’s case.
The problem is that Jammie Thomas-Rasset has already been tried twice.
But that isn’t going to stop the law firm of Camara & Sibley. Threat Level reports that Camara has asked U.S. District Judge Michael Davis to set aside the $1.92 million verdict, declare the Copyright Act unconstitutional, or at least order a new jury trial to assess damages.
Put another way, we’ve gotten to the “kitchen sink” point of this litigation.
More details after the jump.
As we mentioned this morning, K.A.D. (Kiwi) Camara was on the wrong side of the news cycle yesterday.
A federal jury ruled that his client, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, violated copyrights on 24 songs she downloaded, and hit her with a whopping $1.92 million judgment — which works out to $80,000 per downloaded song.
Camara has achieved notoriety for being the youngest person to graduate from Harvard Law School, and for miscalculating how people would react to the abbreviation “nig” when used as a synonym for African-Americans.
Jammie Thomas-Rasset retained Camara’s law firm, Camara & Sibley, for her second jury trial against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
When we spoke to Camara last month, he explained why Thomas-Rasset made a wise choice:
“We’re generalists who handle the most complex, unique, one-off matters,” explained Camara. “If you take a complex matter to a big firm, you’ll be routed to twenty different hyperspecialists. You’ll end up settling for partial advice — ‘Do this, but we haven’t considered this aspect’ — or you’ll end up paying huge fees, because you’re getting specialized advice from twenty different people who don’t work well as a team.”
Camara & Sibley’s model is different, according to Kiwi: “The idea here is that you get generalists who learn the intricacies of your one-off, unique case. You don’t want a hyperspecialist. You just want a good lawyer.”
But the second trial went even more poorly for Thomas-Rasset than the first one.
Kiwi responds after the jump.
Remember Kiwi Camara? He’s the legal Doogie Howser who graduated from Harvard Law School at the tender age of 19, reportedly making him the youngest graduate in the school’s history. But K.A.D. Camara, as he’s also known, may be best known for a youthful indiscretion: referring to African Americans as “nigs,” in a class outline that was posted to an HLS website. (For more background on the controversy, see here.)
Well, everyone’s favorite Flip — present company excluded — is back in the news. From p2pnet news (via Slashdot):
I’ve just spoken with a jubilant Jammie Thomas, the woman Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music’s RIAA tried to nail to the wall with a bill of almost a quarter of a million dollars.
She’s over the moon because only days after learning Brian Toder, her previous legal representative, had decided discretion was the better part of valour, leaving her fend for herself against the Big 4 music labels, another lawyer has come forward with an offer of pro bono help.
He’s K.A.D. Camara from Camara & Sibley in Houston, Texas, says Jammie. And, “He’s the youngest person in history to graduate from Harvard Law school with honors,” she points out.
Nor will her trial — or, rather, her retrial — be delayed, as was expected. It’ll now go forward on June 15, as slated. “I’m so happy!” Jammie said.
And so is Kiwi. We chatted over the phone with our fellow Filipino-American lawyer — about the Thomas case, how he plans to prepare for a trial less than a month away, and his new law firm, Camara & Sibley (which is hiring, by the way).
Read about our conversation, after the jump.
Some of you have questions about this CNN video report on a 19-year-old who’s about to graduate with a 4.0 GPA from the University of Michigan and head off to law school. Here are our thoughts on Nicole Matisse:
* She’s amazingly attractive. Most of those child-prodigy spelling-bee-winner types have thick glasses and an overbite.
* Surely the most pressing question: With a 4.0 GPA from Michigan, why is she going to fourth-tierWayne State University Law School? Surely she could have gotten into most, if not all, of the top 10 (or 14, or whatever Georgetown is insisting is the cream-of-the-crop number these days). And at 19, she’s old enough to venture a bit further from home.
* What’s up with the typing demonstration? Is words-per-minute now the definitive measure of otherworldly intelligence?
* When asked to name her easiest college class, she responds: “Behavioral Neuroscience.” Showboating, anyone? We stopped liking her at that point in the video.
* How funny is that Wayne State law student being interviewed outside the school? “There’s a good chance I was in the entirely wrong classroom for that test.” The reporter then asks the young man how the prodigy will be regarded at the law school next year. Gee, a 19-year-old hottie brainiac–she’ll probably struggle.
* The reporter’s final comment is a new low in pathetic summings-up: “She won’t be 19 forever. Next February, she’ll be 20.” This just in: The year after that, she’ll be 21.
We recently blogged about Kiwi Camara — the young, brilliant, controversial legal scholar — and his mysteriously disappeared job offer from George Mason University School of Law. Camara is a legal Doogie Howser who was 16 when he entered Harvard Law School. At HLS, he caused an uproar after dropping the N-bomb in a group outline. He has apologized repeatedly and profusely for that mistake; but it continues to dog him, years later.
The Washington Post originally broke the story about Camara’s GMU appointment falling through. But their story may have been erroneous, at least in one respect. The Post reported:
At George Mason’s law school, the faculty had authorized [Dean Daniel] Polsby to hire Camara as an assistant professor, but the dean wanted to first see what students, alumni and others thought. He scheduled a town hall meeting for last night, but the meeting was nixed after Camara’s application was withdrawn.
We contacted Camara for comment. He explained:
I was never instructed to withdraw my application, and I never did so. My candidacy was ended by George Mason…
Also, there was a week’s lapse between my job talk and when the faculty voted me an offer (to be precise, voted to authorize the dean to extend an offer). Surely they would have investigated before, rather than after, voting me an offer — and especially before going public and thereby triggering the recent media coverage.
Indeed. This is all very strange.
More discussion, including an interesting mini-scoop from Camara, after the jump.
Yesterday we issued a request for information about what really happened between controversial legal scholar Kiwi Camara and George Mason University School of Law. GMU was on the verge of hiring Camara, until something weird happened.
Today one of you emailed us the video clip below, and asked: “Could it be because of this video?”
Seriously, we’re pretty sure this video — a promotional spot for the debate team Camara coaches, and NOT a homemade sex video — had no impact upon Camara’s job search. But it’s still weirdly amusing. And we don’t think that Camara, of all people, should be caught on camera saying “Yo whassup!” in an accent reminiscent of the “jive talk” scene from Airplane.
From the description of the clip on Google Video: “Kiwi Camara, Mountain View/Los Altos Debate squad coach acts a little weird…”
Today’s Washington Post has an update on controversial legal scholar Kiwi Camara (at right). Camara, you may recall, is the legal Doogie Howser who was 16 when he entered Harvard Law School. At HLS, he caused an uproar after dropping the N-bomb in a group outline. (That’s the Cliffs Notes version; Google him for more.)
From the Post:
Camara, a native Filipino who grew up in Hawaii and enrolled at Harvard Law School at age 16, had been on track to become an assistant professor at George Mason University’s law school. But his candidacy was derailed after the law school’s dean, Daniel D. Polsby, publicized the possible appointment so he could hear what students had to say before making a final decision.
But Camara’s appointment wasn’t scuttled because of the town hall meeting. That meeting never took place:
At George Mason’s law school, the faculty had authorized Polsby to hire Camara as an assistant professor, but the dean wanted to first see what students, alumni and others thought. He scheduled a town hall meeting for last night, but the meeting was nixed after Camara’s application was withdrawn.
Why was Camara’s application withdrawn? Did it have anything to do with his controversial past? A tipster tells us no:
It has come to my attention that the derailment of Kiwi Camara’s appointment as associate professor at GMU did not occur because of his checkered past. Rather, there appears to be an independent reason, but insiders have refused to reveal what that is. I am not sure if it is worth soliciting info on this from the abovethelaw readership, but I thought I would pass it on to you.
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: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…