Recent Headlines from Above the Law
* Last week in court, a murder suspect in Louisiana apparently pooped his pants during a case status hearing, wiped said poop all over his face, and muttered to himself that “life is like a box of chocolates.” Sorry about that crappy candy, dude. [New Orleans Advocate]
* According to early Am Law 100 data, New York’s most elite and prestigious firms have once again broken away from the rest of the pack when it comes to both revenue and partner profits. Biglaw’s best may be back to models and bottles. [Am Law Daily]
* Michelle Lee, the first woman to ever serve as director of the USPTO, was sworn in on stage at SXSW Interactive. Michelle Lee, who worked with the Girl Scouts to issue a patent patch (instead of more makeup and sewing patches), is pretty damn awesome. [Mashable]
* The federal judiciary has plans to decrease the word limit of appellate briefs from 14,000 to 12,500, and lawyers are pissed. Lawyers from Brown Rudnick say it could result in more acronyms, confusing construction, and less “punctilious citation,” oh my! [WSJ Law Blog]
* Lee Smolen, the ex-Sidley Austin partner who faked $69,000 in travel expenses while at the firm (and possibly $379K more), has been suspended from practice for one year and will have to undergo psychiatric treatment. [Legal Profession Blog via ABA Journal]
* Taking New York’s lead, California is considering requiring all would-be attorneys in the state to complete 50 hours of pro bono work within one year of being admitted. Leave it to people who don’t know what they’re doing yet to close the justice gap. [Los Angeles Times]
Throughout 2014, along with our friends at Good2BSocial, ATL once again researched the social media practices of law firms. Today we publish the first component of our findings: our second annual Social Law Firm Index, where we identify which specific firms are making the most effective use of social media.
* George Zimmerman was arrested for aggravated assault and domestic violence with a weapon. His lawyer said his client “has not been lucky with the ladies.” He hasn’t been lucky with being a decent human being, either. [USA Today]
* Lawrence McCreery, the Hawaii lawyer who licked a client’s ear and inspired the judge on his case to call him a “dirty old man,” has had his harassment conviction upheld on appeal. Get excited, he’s still got a law license, ladies. [Associated Press]
* We may soon see same-sex marriage bans in three states struck down, as the Fifth Circuit “appeared poised” to do so after oral arguments on Friday. Roberta Kaplan, our 2013 Lawyer of the Year, delivered a standout performance in arguing against Mississippi’s ban. [BuzzFeed]
* What do Sidley Austin, Baker & McKenzie, Reed Smith, Hogan Lovells, and Skadden Arps have in common? Their names were used in phishing emails to scam people out of their money. Some might say that’s business as usual. [Crain’s Chicago Business]
* An arrest was made in the forcible rape of a woman — presumably a law student — that took place in the stacks of the Southern University Law Center’s library last semester. The accused rapist is currently behind held without bond. [WBRZ]
* Ted Cruz Goes To Jury Duty is the Ernest Goes To Camp of a new generation. [NBC News]
* Former Judge Mike Maggio has graced our pages with his disgrace before when he admitted to making racist and sexist remarks about Charlize Theron’s adoption. Well, he just pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges. Looks like he’ll Geaux to prison. [Arkansas Times]
* Faced with allegations that it discriminated against a trans woman, Saks takes the curious legal stance that it had the legal right to discriminate. I’d say that takes balls, but… [Slate]
* A hearing board in Illinois just recommended a one-year suspension of former Sidley Austin and present DLA Piper attorney Lee Smolen. Maybe he could spend that time with his kids. [Legal Profession Blog]
* Fourth Circuit rules that you can’t set up unconstitutional barriers to abortion. Nothing to do with the woman’s rights of course, but because it might impact the doctor’s free speech. [Dorf on Law]
* Fired for wife-swapping. [Lowering the Bar]
* Technology and outsourcing have totally jacked the careers of Biglaw associates. You already knew this, but now there’s a paper! [TaxProf Blog]
These associates aren’t just disappointed; they’re angry.
If you are looking to move in the beginning of January, your finger should be pressing the call app in your phone.
* Squire Patton Boggs may be lobbying for Ebola drugs, but Reed Smith has launched a Global Ebola Task Force. Don’t worry, folks, the firm doesn’t want to “sensationalize” the outbreak. [Washingtonian]
* Hong Kong is great for lawyers interested in corporate misconduct. “I’ve barely had a weekend off for the last eight months,” says this partner who’s really excited about a not having a life. [Bloomberg]
* As we noted, New York is considering adopting the Uniform Bar Exam. Touro Law’s dean thinks the format change could be “jolting” for students, but the head of the NY BOLE doesn’t agree. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Wayne State Law is freezing tuition and giving a scholarship to incoming student that’s equal to a 14 percent tuition cut. That’s one way to combat a 13 percent drop in enrollment. [Detroit Free Press]
* Whittier Law is one of the “most challenged” when it comes to its graduates’ ability to obtain legal employment. Just one in four students gets to be a lawyer after graduation. [Orange County Register]
* “[T]he ‘superstar’ model of Supreme Court advocacy marketing is prevailing”: recent Supreme Court litigation has been dominated by Biglaw and boutiques, and five of them handled about half of last term’s cases. [WSJ Law Blog]
* It’s not a “done deal” yet, but Albany Law School is in serious talks with the University at Albany to form an affiliation by the end of the year. There’s been no word on whether Albany Law would remain a stand-alone school under the yet-to-be inked arrangement. [Albany Business Review]
* The dismissal of lawsuits concerning allegedly deceptive employment statistics at several Chicago-area law schools was affirmed by an Illinois appeals court. ::insert sad trombone here:: [National Law Journal]
* If you’re still thinking about applying to law school for some reason, you might find these tips on what not to write in a personal statement to be useful. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]
* Amanda Bynes, one of our favorite fading starlets who was already on probation, was arrested this weekend on a DUI charge after stopping her car in the middle of an intersection. [Los Angeles Times]
Founded by Caren Ulrich Stacey, the OnRamp Fellowship is a re-entry platform that allows experienced, talented lawyers to return to the work force through a one year, paid training contract.