Morning Docket

  • Some change for future of legal education.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.07.15

    * Vikram Amar, the incoming dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, says that he demanded a pay cut before taking the job to help make legal education more affordable for students. The piddling amount of money he’ll be sacrificing will absolutely infuriate you. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * When law firms break up and partners attack, it can sometimes be pretty entertaining (and a little sad, all at the same time). In this case, former partners have accused each other of being mentally unstable and going online shopping for hours instead of practicing law. [Daily Business Review]

    * In case you don’t remember the law school lawsuits about deceptive employment stats, some of them are still alive and kicking. One of the last surviving suits against Widener Law was recently denied class certification. [New Jersey Law Journal via ABA Journal]

    * Per Altman Weil MergerLine, 2015 is on pace to be a record year for law firm mergers. Statements like this have been made since the recession, but this time, it’s the highest number of mergers recorded in the company’s history. [Crain’s Cleveland Business]

    * According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector lost 800 jobs in June. That’s not exactly a comforting thought for those of you who are studying for the bar exam and don’t have a job lined up yet. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    28 Comments / / Jul 7, 2015 at 8:57 AM
  • Coming to a law school near you?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.06.15

    * It’s time to start shutting down law schools, but this clearly isn’t something that the American Bar Association is ready to act on. After all, new schools keep popping up, and the ABA keeps accrediting them for reasons beyond understanding. [Bloomberg Business]

    * At the end of a landmark Term at the Supreme Court, some presidential candidates are fanning the flames of voters’ fears. Linda Greenhouse asks, “[W]hat, exactly, are people supposed to be afraid of now? A same-sex married couple with affordable health insurance?” [New York Times]

    * Eric Holder will return to Covington & Burling, the Biglaw firm from whence he came, and he’ll be there “until [he] decide[s] [he’s] not going to be a lawyer anymore.” This crazy guy says he’d even turn down a SCOTUS nom to continue working there. [Am Law Daily]

    * Congrats to Skadden, the firm that ranked numero uno in worldwide deals according to Bloomberg’s quarterly M&A league tables. Davis Polk finished $93 billion behind that, but hopefully the bonuses will be just as sweet this winter. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * If you’re planning to enter law school at the end of the summer — especially if you’re a gunner in training — there’s no better way to spend your last months of freedom than to read one (or all of) these law prof-recommended books and papers. [Washington Post]

    7 Comments / / Jul 6, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • airplane

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.02.15

    * The Department of Justice has launched an antitrust investigation looking at potential price collusion between major airlines. The airline industry doing something to make customers’ lives difficult? Surely you jest. [Associated Press]

    * Loretta Lynch went back to her hometown of Durham, North Carolina yesterday and held a roundtable on civil rights. She called particular attention to the recent violence at historically black churches “whether they are burned or through bullets.” [WNCN]

    * J. Michael Farren, a White House attorney under George W. Bush, was disbarred in the District of Columbia. He was convicted of attempted murder for beating his wife, a former Skadden attorney, and sentenced to 15 years in jail. [National Law Journal]

    * Is there a gender bias in job descriptions? And if there is, what should be done about it? [American Lawyer]

    * Biglaw is making big bucks, but only giving small amounts to pro bono efforts. [ABA Journal]

    * An Ohio courthouse was evacuated Tuesday after a woman brought a bottle of perfume, shaped like a grenade to the court. I guess you can’t be too careful. [Huffington Post]

    21 Comments / / Jul 2, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Ben and Jen in less litigious times. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.01.15

    * Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are getting divorced — even she couldn’t stand the thought of him being Batman. Celebrity divorces don’t come cheap, and you know what that must mean: high-powered lawyers and even higher rates for their billable hours! [CNN]

    * “[H]ow young would you go…I’d do 5[,] [b]ut 0-12 is hot.” Well, that’s absolutely disgusting. Matthew Gigot, an attorney who does doc review in the D.C. area, was charged in a child pornography case for sexual performance using a minor. [FOX 5 DC]

    * The main line of defense as of late in the Dewey trial for the former head honchos of this failed firm is that everyone sends out embarrassing — and potentially incriminating — emails from time to time. We know all abput that here at Above the Law. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * “Put down the bong, throw out the vaporizer and lose the rolling papers.” If you’re hoping to land a job at any federal agency any time in the near future, then you better quit your toking as soon as possible, even if it’s legal in your state. [New York Times]

    * Here’s some sad news for women who are interested in taking home their apparently delicious and nutritious placentas to feast upon after their children are born in hospitals: it’s only completely legal in three states — Hawaii, Oregon, and Texas. [The Stir]

    27 Comments / / Jul 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Sorry, summers, but this is going away soon.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.30.15

    * Which Biglaw firm is going to be changing up the way that it recruits new attorneys? That would be Quinn Emanuel. It’s planning to majorly scale back on summer associates and do something completely different. We’ll have more on this news later today. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * An undergrad who once had high hopes for law school decided to ditch his legal aspirations in favor of stand-up comedy. His mom is mad since it’s a “path that has no specific stability.” She obviously hasn’t read up on law school job stats lately. [Indy Channel]

    * Justice Kennedy should consider trading in his robes for a superhero’s cape, because he just swooped in to the rescue, again. With a 5-4 vote, SCOTUS stayed the Fifth Circuit’s decision regarding the closure of the majority of abortion clinics in Texas. [NPR]

    * Damn you, Dewey leaders! Per recent testimony in the criminal trial of the failed firm’s former top brass, but for news of the criminal probe spreading like wildfire throughout the profession, D&L could’ve merged with any number of firms to save itself. [Am Law Daily]

    * Some pretty major firms think they have better things to spend their Biglaw bucks on than donations to legal aid organizations. Only five firms were willing to publicly disclose more than $1 million in donations. [DealBook / New York Times via American Lawyer]

    10 Comments / / Jun 30, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Lawyers can juggle too!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.29.15

    * The Dissent World: This is what happens when justices start being real… and stop being polite. Conservative SCOTUS justices weren’t interested in playing nice last week in their dissents. Just how much “personal dissension” is there among their ranks? [POLITICO]

    * “I knew I was a workaholic and law wasn’t for me, but the circus is.” A law school graduate who only goes by Paz is now working as a world-class juggler. Law school career services officers would really like to know if this is considered a J.D. Advantage position. [Grand Forks Herald]

    * A new nickname is being bandied about for John Roberts: “Umpire in Chief.” During his confirmation hearings, he said judges should be more like baseball officiants, and you could say that last week, all he was doing was calling balls and strikes. [New York Times]

    * SCOTUS may have issued a landmark ruling on gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over as far as gay rights are concerned. Protip: Next time you make a historic decision, let lawyers know what level of scrutiny is being applied. [National Law Journal]

    * Some think what SCOTUS did with gay marriage was “simply putting its imprimatur on a practice that was already legal in more than two-thirds of the states.” People wonder whether the highest court will do the same with marijuana legalization. [24/7 Wall St.]

    16 Comments / / Jun 29, 2015 at 8:52 AM
  • Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.26.15

    * Step right up and place your bets, because there are still five major cases left on the Supreme Court’s docket. With two decision days remaining, we’ve got same-sex marriage, execution methods, emissions, Congressional redistricting, and guns on tap. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * A Chicago attorney was arrested this week after a kiddie porn stash was allegedly found in his home. Good thing he resigned from his firm before being arrested. He probably wouldn’t have been able to meet his billable hours requirements while sitting inside of a jail cell. [Chicago Sun-Times]

    * California lawmakers passed the harshest mandatory vaccination requirements in the country — which include a ban on religious exemptions — and they’re waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the bill. Anti-vaxxers must be losing their minds. [Los Angeles Times]

    * Sorry to harsh your mellow, but Lloyd’s of London is now refusing to insure marijuana businesses due to conflicts between state and federal laws as to their legality. Current policies will not be renewed, and no new contracts will be issued. [Insurance Journal]

    * The ABA Journal wants to know about the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen a co-worker do while on the job or in court. This is a pretty easy answer here at ATL. I’ve seen Elie Mystal dancing around without his shirt on more times than I can count. [ABA Journal]

    25 Comments / / Jun 26, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.25.15

    * Having trouble keeping track of all of the Supreme Court’s decisions this term? And which cases are left to decide anyway? Brush up your small talk skills with this handy, interactive SCOTUS decision tracker. [USA Today]

    * You always knew that Whole Foods was a ripoff. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs announced yesterday they are launching an investigation into the price of prepackaged foods, the agency said the chain “routinely” mispriced food sold by weight. The DCA commissioner called it the “worst case of mislabeling” the inspectors had seen in their careers. [Law360]

    * Just in time for folks cramming for the bar exam to hit peak panic mode: 6 ways to doom yourself on the bar exam. [American Lawyer]

    * Judge Frank Easterbrook helpfully defines the differences between a gun and a kielbasa. You know, in case you get confused before your next cookout. [National Law Journal]

    * The Chicago Little League team that was stripped of its title amid allegations of cheating has filed suit against the Little League governing body to ensure that the rules of the game are fairly applied to all. [Yahoo Sports]

    36 Comments / / Jun 25, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Silly partners.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.24.15

    * Partners at this law firm tried a threesome, but it didn’t exactly work out as expected, so now they’re scaling it back to just one at a time. (And by this, we of course mean that Porter Scott’s three co-managing partners plan was a no-go.) [Sacramento Business Journal]

    * More than 40 class-action suits have been filed since the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, with many litigants alleging that they were “duped” into its purchase. Maybe one of them will pack a better punch than the so-called “Fight of the Century.” [National Law Journal]

    * Just because one Biglaw firm went under, in part, because of its brand-spanking new administrative hub, that doesn’t mean your firm shouldn’t consider opening one. The risk might be worth the reward of saving millions in expenses. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Concordia Law launched a media campaign to attract students, touting the fact that it’s been kind of provisionally approved by the ABA as its selling point. It’s new slogan is likely “Meh, we’re good enough for the ABA, so we’re good enough for you.” [Idaho Statesman]

    * Here’s some good news for the people who are actually considering taking the D.C. bar exam instead of just waiving in like the rest of civilized society: the D.C. Court of Appeals will finally allow you to type the essay portion of the exam on your laptops. [Legal Times]

    23 Comments / / Jun 24, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Hillary Clinton

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.23.15

    * Hillary Clinton is making a mad dash for Biglaw bucks to support her presidential run. This week, she’ll be at an event hosted by Sullivan & Cromwell, and next week, she’ll be at an event hosted by a Chadbourne & Park partner. Ooh la la, fancy schmancy! [Bloomberg Politics]

    * Dewey know why this firm failed? Back before D&L declared bankruptcy, the firm’s most successful rainmakers were asked to give up half of their gigantic salaries in an attempt to stave off the worst… but they didn’t want to. We suppose that’s the way the cartel crumbles. [Am Law Daily]

    * Bickel & Brewer, the fearsome Texas litigation boutique, recently broke up, and now it’ll simply be known as Brewer. John Bickel, who invoked the firm’s partnership retirement clause, is now ensconced as senior counsel at Fish & Richardson. [Texas Lawbook]

    * This career services dean is here to tell you a tale about law school job stats. You see, law schools don’t have an unemployment problem — instead, they have a “J.D. Advantage” problem (aka, jobs they took because they couldn’t get lawyer jobs). [Huffington Post]

    * This is yet another reason why people are considering Fordham’s Fashion Law LL.M.: “Every designer should have a minimum degree of legal literacy, if only to know when to seek a legal opinion — and to avoid being sent to sit at the kids’ table.” [New York Times]

    20 Comments / / Jun 23, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Not my corner office! (Image via Shutterstock.)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.22.15

    * Everyone’s a winner at Nixon Peabody, especially the millennials! The firm is doing away with the corner-office model in favor of office space reminiscent of that of tech companies, where everyone’s offices — from paralegals to partners — are the same size. [Washington Post]

    * A former North Dakota Law student is suing the school, as well as several administrators and professors, because he alleges they dismissed him via email in May due to problems with his application. Man, that’s almost as harsh as a break-up text. [WDAZ]

    * Justice Kennedy knows a lot of people who are gay, but that doesn’t mean he’ll recognize a constitutional right to same-sex marriage just because of his circle of friends and colleagues. He’ll likely do it because he knows “how meaningful this is.” [New York Times]

    * The Supreme Court is currently considering an emergency appeal out of Texas after the Fifth Circuit refused to stay a decision that would all but close the vast majority of abortion facilities in the state. Give this law the good old coat hanger, SCOTUS. [Associated Press]

    * Last week, Justice Kennedy basically invited litigants to challenge the constitutionality of solitary confinement because it “exacts a terrible price.” Step right up and become one of the first to test the power of the SCOTUS swing vote on this issue. [Los Angeles Times]

    * “Having a woman leader is no longer exceptional.” The number of women law school deans is on the rise. They make up 40 percent of incoming law school leadership, and currently comprise 30 percent of all law deans. Nice work! [National Law Journal]

    * After pleading guilty to a felony count of vehicular manslaughter back in March, California lawyer Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti was recently sentenced to four years in prison for killing a cyclist while driving high on prescription drugs Xanax and Suboxone. [Daily Mail]

    27 Comments / / Jun 22, 2015 at 8:49 AM
  • See ya, Judge.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.19.15

    * Ouch! The Florida Supreme Court just unanimously told a lower court judge to STFU and GTFO. Judge Laura Watson, who was elected to her position in 2012, was summarily ousted from the bench for shady conduct that took place before her judgeship commenced. [Sun Sentinel]

    * The ABA postponed making a decision on whether it’ll approve a merger between Hamline Law and William Mitchell Law. Not to worry, everything will be okay. Come on, as if the ABA would let a failing law school completely crash and burn. [MPR News]

    * We mentioned this week that Hank Greenberg won his A.I.G. bailout suit, but we didn’t get around to the part where Davis Polk got quite the judicial spanking from an “irritated” judge — and the firm wasn’t even named as a defendant. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Uh oh. It looks like Ellen Pao just got “powed.” Judge Harold Kahn has tentatively ruled that Pao must pay about $276,000 in trials costs to Kleiner Perkins. (Special thanks go out to ATL commenter Paul Harvey for this clever little quip.) [Digits / Wall Street Journal]

    * Micah Green, a prominent lobbyist at Squire Patton Boggs, is headed for greener pastures at Steptoe. He’s the latest rainmaker to leave, which makes us wonder if the firm will be satisfied with only being able to make it drizzle. [PowerPost / Washington Post]

    19 Comments / / Jun 19, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.18.15

    * You knew it was inevitable. The St. Louis Cardinals have lawyered up and are conducting their own internal investigation into allegations employees hacked Houston Astros databases. [Am Law Daily]

    * Real quick before you tweet that out — New York has updated its ethical guidelines regarding social media. Are you familiar with the best practices? [New York Law Journal]

    * Norway has said goodbye to the old boys network — at least when it comes to women’s representation on corporate boards. The top down approach that was successful in Norway may not be politically palatable in the United States, but it certainly provides food for thought. [American Lawyer]

    * Recently released documents (thank you FOIA) reveal a years-long legal battle between the federal government and UnitedHealth Group over Medicare overbilling. [NPR]

    * If it walks like a tax hike and swims like a tax hike and quacks like a tax hike, it’s probably a tax hike — no matter what double talk Governor Sam Brownback tries to sell you. Seriously, what is the matter with Kansas? [Talking Points Memo]

    * Nine people are dead after a gunman attacked a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Among the dead is State Senator Clementa Pinckney. The gunman is still at large. Our heart goes out to the families of the victims. [New York Times]

    18 Comments / / Jun 18, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • google logo

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.17.15

    * The legal battle that pits Jenner & Block and the Motion Picture Association of America on one side and Google on the other just got uglier. In response to Google’s subpoena of documents related to Jenner & Block and the MPAA’s lobbying efforts, Jenner & Block partner, David Handzo, called out Google tactics saying, “The court should not allow Google’s abuse of the litigation process.” [National Law Journal]

    * The repercussions of the Sony data hack just keep on coming. A federal judge ruled that Sony employees that had personal information leaked to the world had standing to sue even if they couldn’t prove that criminals used their information. [The Recorder]

    * Former Utah AG Mark Shurtleff now faces lesser charges of bribery and accepting improper gifts (though he could still face up to 30 years in jail if convicted), including allegations that accepting a partnership at Troutman Sanders impaired his judgement as a civil servant. [The American Lawyer]

    * How far would you go to save your sinking law firm? The saga of failed firm, Butler & Hosch, got stranger amid allegations that CEO Robert Hosch created fake invoices to the tune of $7 million to secure a loan for the firm. [Daily Business Review]

    * Litigation surrounding the May 12th Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia continues forward along with criticism that federal law limits the recovery for all victims combined to $200 million. [Legal Intelligencer]

    15 Comments / / Jun 17, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Rachel Dolezal

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.17.15

    * You cannot make this stuff up. The curious case of Rachel Dolezal, the former leader of the NAACP Spokane, Washington branch who resigned in disgrace after her parents made the revelation that Dolezal was white, gets weirder. The Smoking Gun has unearthed a lawsuit Dolezal filed (then known as Rachel Moore) against Howard University for, inter alia, racial discrimination. Yup, Dolezal claimed she just couldn’t make it as a white women.  [The Smoking Gun]

    * Fresh off of the tragedy of Kalief Browder, the man who was held in Rikers for three years awaiting trial for stealing a backpack before the charges were dismissed, comes the case of Carlos Montero. Montero, arrested as a teenager, has been in Rikers for SEVEN YEARS waiting for his day in court. [New York Post]

    * I mean, they’ve only worked together for 21 years and 10 months. Justice Antonin Scalia apologized from the bench yesterday after calling Justice Ginsburg Justice Goldberg. The apology seemed sincere, but Scalia played it cool with a quip about Justice Arthur Goldberg. [Supreme Court Brief]

    * The Colorado Supreme Court ruled yesterday that an employer can fire an employee for medical marijuana use, legal under state law, since the use is still illegal under federal statutes. [Huffington Post]

    * If your company finds themselves the victim of trade secret theft, is there an alternative to costly civil litigation? There just might be if you get the police involved. [Corporate Counsel]

    60 Comments / / Jun 16, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • John Stamos (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.15.15

    * From Fuller House to the Big House? Actor John Stamos was arrested for driving under the influence and briefly hospitalized this weekend. Listen, Uncle Jesse, we know you’re still a celebrity, per se, but as Joey Gladstone would say, you really need to cut it out, capice? [Variety]

    * “You’re right, I am the man.” Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder received a warm reception during his keynote at the American Constitution Society convention’s opening gala this weekend when an audience member shouted out, “Eric Holder, you the man!” [Legal Times]

    * Lawyers, here’s a useful practice pointer on “reverse sexism.” Per a new study, men on three-judge panels of federal appellate courts tend to “view women as damsels in distress who need their protection,” but are much harsher on male litigants. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * More law schools are opening solo incubators and firms, boosting their employment stats and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way. Rutgers Law lost $100K, but it’s a small price to pay to make it look like your grads get “jobs.” [Associated Press]

    * “Time to engage counsel?” This is the question that parents are being forced to ask themselves in the face of legal liability waivers for post-prom parties. Seriously? Man, am I glad I was in high school before parents became contractual killjoys. [New York Times]

    25 Comments / / Jun 15, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • 'And then I said I didn't know they were prostitutes.'

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.12.15

    * If you’re having girl problems, he feels bad for you son, he’s got 99 problems, but an aggravated pimping charge ain’t one. Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was acquitted on his latest sex scandal charges by a French court. [Bloomberg Business]

    * “Justice may be blind, but she still sees it our way 88.4% of the time.” Humblebrag? Quinn Emanuel may kick ass at winning trials, but its percentage of “wins” advertised on airport signage has gone down by 3.9% since 2008. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Which Biglaw firms had the greatest percent changes in headcount in the first half of 2015? With a 29.2 percent drop, McKenna Long & Aldridge is leaking lawyers like a sieve. Irella is in second place, with attorney headcount down by 22.8 percent. [Am Law Daily]

    * Say hello to the National Cannabis Bar Association, an organization that’ll help you get some higher education as you navigate through the haze of marijuana laws. If you want to learn more, then come to our marijuana law event next week in Denver. [ABA Journal]

    * If you’d like to strengthen your law school application, then you may want to consider getting to know some current professors and alumni from the school of your choice. That way, you can suck up while you’re sucking up. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    15 Comments / / Jun 12, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images).

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.11.15

    * Williams & Connolly has been subpoenaed as a part of the ongoing Lance Armstrong fraud case brought by former teammate Floyd Landis. I’m just glad I don’t have to put together that privilege log [Legal Times]

    * Two Biglaw partners, Hydee Feldstein a former partner at Sullivan & Cromwell and Paul Hastings and Peter Gregora a partner emeritus at Irell & Manella, face off in divorce court over $20 million that’s gone “missing.” It’s probably under the couch, whenever stuff goes missing in my house it’s under the couch. [The Recorder]

    * Legal research prevails: after “thorough” research Georgia prosecutors have dropped murder charges against Kenlissia Jones for taking the abortion pill. [Washington Post]

    * Pope Francis is establishing a court to deal with the bishops who woefully mishandled clerical child sex abuse allegations. Just another reason why Pope Francis is making it okay to be a Catholic again. [Wall Street Journal]

    * Leaders in Nepal finally reached an agreement for a new constitution. After years of infighting the terrible tragedy of the Nepalese earthquake motivated the parties to work together. [Jurist]

    * Ever wonder what it takes to make a successful law blog? Wonder no more — and read tips from our own David Lat. [Law360]

    31 Comments / / Jun 11, 2015 at 9:01 AM