Morning Docket

  • Drone

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.28.15

    * Police can shoot beanbags from drones. Oh good, that doesn’t sound like a recipe for abuse at all. [Ars Technica] * Lawyers for Steven Davis move to dismiss as the prosecution rests. Dewey think the judge will laugh this motion out of court? You know, I hate the “Dewey” jokes but they are kind […]

    66 Comments / / Aug 28, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Grooms to be holding hands (photo by Tim Ryan Smith).

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.27.15

    * Should town clerks opposed to gay marriage be required to issue licenses to all couples? The Sixth Circuit says…. [How Appealing]

    * John H. Ray III, the African American ex-associate at Ropes & Gray who claimed the elite firm discriminated against him, loses in court again, this time before the First Circuit. [National Law Journal]

    * Vester Lee Flanagan aka Bryce Williams, the Virginia television broadcaster who killed two colleagues on-air before killing himself, was also no stranger to the legal system: he filed multiple lawsuits alleging racial discrimination. [New York Times]

    * Why are in-house lawyers more likely than their non-attorney corporate colleagues to fall for phishing emails? [ABA Journal]

    * Dewey know when the prosecution will rest in this seemingly endless trial? Probably today. [Wall Street Journal]

    * State judges get nasty with each other in Oregon. [Oregonian]

    * Federal judges around the country are advocating for a second look at how defendants get sentenced. [New York Times]

    * The Dilly in Philly: Paul Clement v. Ted Olson. [Am Law Litigation Daily]

    * A T14 law graduate turned “traveling artist” gets charged with criminal sexual assault in Chicago. [Chicago Tribune]

    * Speaking of sexual assault laws, Emily Bazelon explains how the St. Paul’s Rape Case shows why these laws must change. [New York Times]

    * Update: convicted Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes didn’t get just a life sentence, but 12 life sentences — plus 3,318 years on top of that. [CNN]

    * Linda Hirshman, author of the forthcoming book Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World (affiliate link), explains how Justices O’Connor, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor brought wisdom to SCOTUS (but where’s the love for Justice Kagan?). [Slate via How Appealing]

    59 Comments / / Aug 27, 2015 at 9:14 AM
  • Keila Ravelo

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.26.15

    * Melvin Feliz, husband of Keila Ravelo, the partner who allegedly bilked Hunton & Williams and Willkie Farr out of millions to lead a life of luxury, pleaded guilty in the fraud case brought against him. Is she a prospective Real Housewife of Cellblock D? [Bergen Record]

    * Sorry, Southwest passengers, but the Seventh Circuit says you’re stuck with your free drink vouchers, and the lawyers who represented you in this class-action suit are stuck with their $1.65 million. No one is happy up in the unfriendly skies. [Associated Press]

    * China’s economy may be on the brink, but that doesn’t matter to Dentons. The firm is as happy as ever about its proposed merger with Dacheng because it really wants a horde of lawyers, so it’s gonna get one. It’s “almost absurd” to think otherwise. [Am Law Daily]

    * As we mentioned yesterday, lawyers work too damn much — so much, in fact, that they’re quitting their Biglaw jobs, starting competitor practices, and poaching talent from top firms by offering them a sense of work-life balance. [Harvard Business Review]

    * Kevin Fagan, perhaps better known as Juror 83 in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial, is speaking to the media about his experience, and says he might’ve changed his death penalty vote if he had known the youngest victim’s parents opposed it. [WSJ Law Blog]

    32 Comments / / Aug 26, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Terrence Howard (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.25.15

    * Baker & McKenzie was dethroned by DLA Piper as the the Biglaw king of gross revenue. The firm is blaming its poor performance — a 4.3 percent drop — on “currency fluctuations.” Better luck on snatching back glory next year. [Am Law Daily; Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * It’s hard out here for a pimp with an allegedly small peen: Terrence Howard’s divorce settlement was overturned by a judge after evidence was brought forward to suggest the actor was coerced into signing it. Apparently his ex was blackmailing him over the size of his manhood. [ABC News]

    * There’s a new sheriff judge in town, and he’s cleaning up the Ferguson, Missouri, courts. His first order of business was to wipe out all arrest warrants issued before December 31, 2014, in the wake of the Michael Brown police shooting last August. [Reuters]

    * Dean Philip Weiser of Colorado Law has announced that he’ll be stepping down from his position in July 2016. He’ll be remembered for keeping costs low and putting asses in seats during a time when it was difficult to do both concurrently. [Denver Business Journal]

    * “On one level I give them kudos for playing hide the ball.” Gibson Dunn is fighting a subpoena issued by defense attorneys for computer metadata related to its Bridgegate report that cleared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of all wrongdoing. [Bergen Record]

    36 Comments / / Aug 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Ashley Madison

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.24.15

    * It looks like the other slutty shoe has officially dropped. Two law firms have filed a $578 million class-action lawsuit against adultery dating site Ashley Madison for breaching their clients’ privacy rights. Impact Team must be thrilled. [TIME]

    * Gov. Chris Christie says that if he’s elected president, he won’t nominate anyone with a Harvard Law or Yale Law degree to SCOTUS. Non-Ivy law schools better start priming and primping their most successful grads on the off chance Christie gets the nod. [CBS News]

    * Case Western Law decided that two heads are better than one, because Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf were just permanently appointed to serve as co-deans. We can’t think of any other law school with a dynamic duo of deans like this. [Crain’s Cleveland Business]

    * In Biglaw, romantic wranglings can follow you beyond the grave: Thomas Hale Boggs Jr.’s estate is doing battle with a woman who claims she had a relationship with the former head of Patton Boggs — and now she wants some of his property. [National Law Journal]

    * He may be “used to playing on a different court,” but Michael Jordan really took it to the hole on this case. Defunct grocery store Dominick’s Finer Foods must now pay the sports star $8.9 million for using his name in a steak ad without his permission. [NBC News]

    80 Comments / / Aug 24, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Caitlyn Jenner (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.21.15

    * Due to the speed at which she was driving, Caitlyn Jenner could face a vehicular manslaughter charge related to the fatal chain-reaction car crash she was involved in earlier this year. The ESPY-winning celeb’s fate is in the district attorney’s hands now. [NBC News]

    * Surprise! David Sweat, one of the New York inmates who led authorities on a three-week manhunt after he escaped from prison in June, pleaded not guilty to felony escape charges at his arraignment. He’ll likely get a few years added onto his life sentence if he’s convicted. [Reuters]

    * Oh baby: Valeant is buying Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the “female Viagra,” for a cool $1 billion. Skadden Arps and Sullivan & Cromwell, the firms repping the companies, must be turned on by the deal. [DealBook / New York Times; Am Law Daily]

    * Prosecutors in the David Messerschmitt case are seeking a 25-year sentence for Jamyra Gallmon, the woman who stabbed the DLA Piper associate in a robbery-gone-wrong and left him for dead in a D.C. hotel room. Her attorney is asking for 18 years. [Legal Times]

    * The Florida Bar is recommending disbarment for a group of attorneys accused of arranging a DUI arrest for a rival attorney during a high-profile trial. You’ve got to admit this set-up was a particularly bold move, even for Flori-duh lawyers. [Tampa Bay Times]

    18 Comments / / Aug 21, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.20.15

    * You’ve heard about what it’s like to be a Supreme Court clerk, but we bet you’ve never heard about what it’s like to be a Supreme Court intern. It’s apparently the “opportunity of a lifetime” to do errands and prepare lunch and meals for Justice Sonia Sotomayor. [Supreme Court Brief]

    * If you’re trying to file an effective brief with the Supreme Court, it’s best to write in “relatively short sentences, with a non-confrontational tone.” In other words, you really shouldn’t be trying to emulate Justice Scalia’s “jiggery-pokery” flair. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Wachtell Lipton may interested in going “big brother” on its associates, but when it comes to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm wants to steer clear of such voyeurism by doing away with clients’ quarterly reports. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

    * This judge didn’t play “just the tip” when it came to piercing his corporate veil: Paul Hansmeier of copyright-troll firm Prenda Law must pay sanctions to the tune of $64,000 after he drained cash from another one of his firms and then dissolved it. [Ars Technica]

    * Texas Tech Law is introducing a “brain-training” seminar for its first-year law students that will “maximize their brains’ performance.” One wonders if they took such a course before law school if they’d be enrolled in the same place. [Lubbock Avalanche-Journal]

    69 Comments / / Aug 20, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Jared Fogle (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.19.15

    * This is a footlong you definitely don’t want (but it’s probably much more like a six-incher if he’s lucky). Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle is expected to plead guilty to child-pornography charges. We can’t wait to see what his plea deal with authorities actually entails. [CNN]

    * Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers filed a brief in favor of their client getting a new trial because his attack on the Boston Marathon apparently wasn’t a “crime of violence” within the meaning of the law he was sentenced under at trial. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * “To achieve those solutions, wouldn’t it help if you had a free press?” Justice Ginsburg’s travels recently took her to Vietnam, where she spoke to a packed house about the country’s need for greater freedom of press to promote social justice. [Voice of America]

    * Here’s a little-known fact about Biglaw: many of its most well-known partners were “White House rejects.” For example, Willkie Farr, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Bracewell & Giuliani, and Davis Polk are all named after failed presidential candidates. [Am Law Daily]

    * A New Mexico criminal defense attorney charged with a slew of criminal offenses is representing himself in a trial having to do with his shooting of a man outside his office. His best defense thus far? The man was a “methed-out lunatic.” [Albuquerque Journal]

    167 Comments / / Aug 19, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • (Photo via James Price)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.18.15

    * Talk about Texas justice: After an elderly couple called animal control on a family with four dogs and caused them to be assessed a $121 fine, the dog-owning family posted this eloquently worded sign on their lawn. [San Francisco Chronicle]

    * Chicago Blawkhawks hockey player Patrick Kane has been accused of rape, so naturally, his lawyer took to Facebook to defend his client in a hat trick of idiocy by engaging with bloggers, commenters, and witnesses, as one does. [CBS Chicago]

    * Just when you thought you’d memorized all of the hearsay exceptions, the judiciary says it’s thinking of tossing one out. It may be popular on the bar exam, but it’s time to say goodbye to the otherwise rarely used ancient documents rule. [National Law Journal]

    * British firms are borrowing “record sums” to fund expansion, and many have increased associate pay to compete with the U.S. firms with higher pay scales across the pond. Perhaps Biglaw firms ought to consider spreading the wealth over here. [Financial Times]

    * After having served 10 months in prison for killing his girlfriend, a law school graduate turned model, Oscar Pistorius is ready to move on to “mansion arrest” for the remainder of his sentence. Man, it must be nice to be a wealthy convict in South Africa. [Reuters]

    26 Comments / / Aug 18, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • Jay Z (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.17.15

    * This October, rappers Jay Z and Timbaland will have to testify in a lawsuit concerning copyright infringement and improper music sampling. We’ll see how “Big Pimpin'” they really are when we find out which lawyers and law firms are repping them. [Page Six / New York Post]

    * This judge apparently doesn’t appreciate fighting words in pleadings. “Do you want to fight me? Is that what you want?” A West Virginia magistrate judge challenged a litigant — one who previously called the magistrate a “fat sweaty slob” in motion papers — to come to his house and “see what happens.” [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

    * An ex-Texas judge was sentenced for his side job of smuggling guns into Mexico and selling them. He faced up to 70 years when he pleaded guilty to two felony counts in May, and was handed his 18-month sentence on Friday. Yeehaw! [Austin American-Statesman]

    * The Idaho College of Law will begin to host first-year law school classes at its Boise campus starting in 2017. The Boise campus now serves 1Ls, 2LS, and 3Ls, but not to worry, this flyover law school’s main campus isn’t going anywhere. [Idaho Statesman]

    * Julian Bond, civil rights icon, SPLC board member, former NAACP chair, RIP. [NYT]

    24 Comments / / Aug 17, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Lucky in Kentucky

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.14.15

    * Judge Lance Mason, who was suspended from his duties earlier this year, recently pleaded guilty to charges related to a brutal attack made on his wife. He’ll be sentenced in September, and faces up to 36 months in prison. [Northeast Ohio Media Group]

    * No one will be getting lucky in Kentucky under this clerk’s watch: Two months after SCOTUS declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, this state court clerk is still turning away gay couples and refusing to issue marriage licenses. [New York Times]

    * Per the latest report from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group, even though this year started out well, the bank is revising its financial performance forecast, and not in a good way. Hopefully firms will be able to weather the latest monetary storm. [Am Law Daily]

    * Starting in mid-October, lawyers and law firms will be able to purchase .law domain names. A few influential law firms — DLA Piper, Skadden Arps, and SCOTUSblog-affiliated Russell & Goldstein — have gotten first dibs on them. Congrats! [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Law librarians at large and medium-sized firms feel underutilized and underpaid, and that’s unfortunate, because like Liam Neeson in Taken, they’ve got a very particular set of skills, skills they’ve acquired over a very long career. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    50 Comments / / Aug 14, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • The women of SCOTUS (Photo via Maia Weinstock)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.13.15

    * “When it’s convenient, we’re alumni; when it’s not convenient, we are not alumni.” Grads of Texas Wesleyan Law — which is now known as Texas A&M Law — are suing because the school won’t grant them new degrees or recognize them as alumni. Harsh, y’all. [Houston Chronicle]

    * The ABA Journal wants to know who you think the smartest judge in the U.S. is. Let’s hear it for the wonderful women of the Supreme Court: Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. [ABA Journal]

    * Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the country, it only seems logical that bans on adoptions by same-sex couples should be overturned. Mississippi will have Roberta Kaplan of Windsor fame to thank when its ban is struck down. [New York Times]

    * Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane has claimed innocence with regard to the criminal charges she recently racked up. She blames the entire ordeal on blowback from the state’s “Porngate” scandal. AG Kane has got one hell of a moneyshot. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * Did you know that there’s such a thing as barbecue law? Further, did you know that a Biglaw attorney who serves as counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright who’s never handled a barbecue case has cornered the market on BBQ law books (affiliate link)? [Legal Times]

    70 Comments / / Aug 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • Donald Sterling

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.11.15

    * “[H]e’s just a litigious person. Unless he has something going on in the public eye, he can’t exist.” Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling filed a suit against V. Stiviano and TMZ, accusing them of invading his privacy by sharing a recording of his racism. [New York Post]

    * A jury found that an ex-municipal court judge who was convicted of insurance fraud was lying when he claimed that he’d been attacked outside the courthouse by thugs wielding a toilet tank lid. We guess you could say that the jurors were able to flush out all of this guy’s crap. [ABA Journal]

    * Talk about a Hail Mary suit: Ted Wells of Paul Weiss and NFL locker-room bullying report fame is being sued for defamation by the former Miami Dolphins offensive-line coach who happened to be one of the casualties of his investigation. [Washington Post]

    * Deutsche Bank’s general counsel will step down from his position at the end of the year. Deutsche Bank joins JPMorgan and Bank of America as the third big bank to have announced a change in GC within the past month. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * If you’re considering applying to law school, here are five steps you can take to write a “great” personal statement. Surprisingly, one step isn’t mentioning your guaranteed employment at a family firm after graduation. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    24 Comments / / Aug 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Robot Lawyer

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.10.15

    * Hot on the heels of the news that the majority of students enrolled in California’s “failure factories” unaccredited law schools drop out before graduation, legislators are pushing for the state bar to do something about it before even more prospective students are conned. [Los Angeles Times]

    * Robots will be coming for your jobs more quickly now thanks to the largest law firm in the world. Dentons invested an untold sum in Ross, an app that will inevitably replace first-year lawyers by utilizing super computer Watson’s artificial intelligence to perform legal research. [Globe and Mail]

    * Slowly but surely, the legal industry is making a comeback in terms of headcount. Sure, the entire profession is only employing 3,500 more people now than it was at this time last year (sorry about that, law school grads), but it’s still an improvement. [Am Law Daily]

    * Just because it doesn’t look like the Securities and Exchange Commission has been doing anything doesn’t mean that lawyers at the agency have been twiddling their thumbs. They’ve got some major things in the works, they swear. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * “I wonder how it feels to save the life of a mass murderer? Good job.” In a shocking verdict, convicted Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes was sentenced to life in prison. All it took was one holdout juror to take the death penalty off the table. [Reuters]

    13 Comments / / Aug 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Katy Perry (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.07.15

    * Graffiti artist Rime alleges that Katy Perry wore a dress designed by Moschino that ripped off some of his copyrightable work. This dark horse has injected herself into a lot of IP issues this year. Your lawyer fans thank you. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * The Seventh Circuit is totally sorry about the case that it completely forgot about for the past five years. It seems that the court pleadings were “placed in the wrong stack” on remand from the Supreme Court in 2010. Congratulations, America: This is your justice system. Oopsie! [ABA Journal]

    * Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been charged with perjury, conspiracy, obstructing justice, and several other crimes in connection with a grand jury leak. She’s the second state AG to be criminally charged this week. Nice job. [USA Today]

    * Arizona Summit Law filed a motion to dismiss former employee and alumnus Paula Lorona’s pro se retaliation and consumer fraud lawsuit with prejudice. The school claims the complaint is pleaded deficiently. Well… you educated her. [National Law Journal]

    * Rapper Busta Rhymes was charged with second degree assault this week after he allegedly threw a protein drink at a gym employee. His lawyer calls the charge “a bunch of bull.” Hmm, we apparently should’ve listened when he told us he was dangerous. [MTV]

    13 Comments / / Aug 7, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Mmm, conspiracy.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.06.15

    * Another American doctor is accused of illegally killing another lesser-known lion in Zimbabwe, but this time, Biglaw is in the doctor’s corner. Apparently when you’re a hunter who’s become the hunted, you turn to Blank Rome. [Am Law Daily]

    * Where Dewey eat when allegedly conspiring to scam the firm’s creditors about its financial situation? According to testimony in the D&L trial, criminal activity reportedly tastes better when paired with fine dining experiences. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * At some point in the very near future, it’s likely that one or more new Supreme Court justices will need to be appointed, and some say that it’s obvious that Justice Don Willett, the Tweeter Laureate of Texas, is plotting a course to be a nominee. #blessed [Forbes]

    * The Fourth Circuit handed down an important opinion on cellphone location records, and it looks like the police need a warrant. Thanks for the circuit split. Quick, someone write a law review note before SCOTUS takes it. [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

    * For some would-be law students, applying early decision may not be the right choice. After all, if you think you can get into ALL of the T14 schools, we bet you’d probably like to see if your huge ego is correct. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    9 Comments / / Aug 6, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Walter Palmer Lion buttface

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.05.15

    * “There are no bathrooms, no air-conditioning, no good food. You don’t usually get good cellphone reception, either, and you can’t just quit and go somewhere comfortable.” Surprisingly, this Biglaw partner isn’t talking about his firm’s working conditions. [Miami Herald]

    * It’s going to be difficult for U.S. authorities to prosecute Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved lion, Cecil. Bringing this guy down under the Lacey Act is going to be a real task. If only this were a Pixar movie with a happy ending. :( [Reuters]

    * SCOTUS justices are jet-setting across the world this summer, with RBG in South Korea and Vietnam, Roberts in Japan, Scalia in Italy, Kennedy in Austria, and Breyer in England. Let’s hope no one has to evacuate a plane via emergency chute. [National Law Journal]

    * If you’re considering applying to law school and you decide to visit one this summer, aside from students huddled in dark corners of the library who are crying over their employment prospects, there are a few things you should be looking for. [U.S. News]

    * The mother of Sandra Bland, the woman who hanged herself in a Texas jail cell last month, has filed a wrongful-death suit, alleging that her daughter shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place and was improperly supervised by guards. [New York Times]

    32 Comments / / Aug 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Britney Spears (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.04.15

    * Her dad’s the ringleader, he calls the shots; she’s like a firecracker, she makes it hot: Since “everything is working perfectly” under pop star Britney Spears’s conservatorship — which has been in effect for the past seven years — it’ll likely stay that way indefinitely. [Us Weekly]

    * Well, that was fun while it lasted. The ABA did away with its year-old LSAT exemption rule in record time. Law schools will only have until 2017 to lard up classes with students who haven’t taken the exam. Good luck and Godspeed. [National Law Journal via TaxProf Blog]

    * Simpson Thacher isn’t the only Biglaw firm that allegedly blew it when it came to turning hundreds of General Motors’ secured creditors into unsecured creditors. Mayer Brown is also facing twin class-action suits for this $1.5 billion boo-boo. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Good news, everyone! The ABA approved a merger between Rutgers Law-Camden and Rutgers Law-Newark, and we’re going to look at this in a positive light because theoretically speaking, there’s now one less law school out there. [MyCentralJersey.com]

    * “Are Law Schools Skewing Job Placement Numbers?” In a word, yes. Not to be a complete pessimist realist, but come on, you know most school-funded positions exist solely to prop up any given law school’s less-than-pleasing job statistics. [Bloomberg]

    * When you’ve taken the lives of so many, no one cares about your sad life story. A Colorado jury inched closer to inflicting the death penalty upon convicted movie theater shooter James Holmes in the second phase of his trial’s penalty portion. [New York Times]

    21 Comments / / Aug 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM