Morning Docket

  • Taylor Swift (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.30.15

    * “Say you’ll remember me, getting groped in a nice dress…” Uh oh! This pop star seems pretty pissed! Taylor Swift has filed a countersuit against a radio DJ who sued her because he claims he was fired for inappropriately touching the singer backstage at a concert. [Rolling Stone]

    * Charleston School of Law has a new president, and hopefully his tenure will be less wrought with disaster than that of his predecessors. He says he’ll be paid one whole dollar per year as his salary until he can turn things around. [Charleston Post and Courier]

    * At a speaking engagement at Santa Clara Law earlier this week, Justice Antonin Scalia proclaimed that the Supreme Court has been “liberal” throughout the entirety of his 30-year tenure. We’d like to beg His Honor’s pardon; that can’t be true. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * As this article so eloquently puts it, “[t]he Supreme Court is about to climb back into Americans’ bedrooms.” Today, the high court will review several petitions from non-profit groups that want to be exempted from ACA’s contraception mandate. [USA Today]

    * Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the number of firms that are trying to enter the market. To establish a presence in the Lone Star State, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is saying howdy to some new partners and merging with Crouch & Ramey. [ABA Journal]

    16 Comments / / Oct 30, 2015 at 8:57 AM
  • 'I'll get you in court, my pretty!'

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.29.15

    * It’s almost Halloween, so members of the legal profession had to have expected some spooky legal proceedings to occur this week. It seems that Lori Sforza, a witch priestess from Salem, has been granted a protective order against a well-known warlock. [Associated Press]

    * Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would like to remove marijuana from the list of dangerous controlled substances that are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which would free up states to legalize it on their own terms. Stoners are really feeling the “Bern” now, in more ways than one. [Washington Post]

    * Four federal lawyers spent weeks nailing down the legalities behind the killing of Osama bin Laden, and they weren’t allowed to ask Attorney General Eric Holder for help for fear of leaks to the press. They even had to do the legal research themselves! [New York Times]

    * According to a new report by the National Association of Women Lawyers, there’s been no “appreciable progress” made for women in the nation’s largest law firms since at least 2006. This is extremely disheartening. Please do better, Biglaw. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * You know Walgreens is buying Rite Aid for $9.4B, but you might not have known which law firms were prescribing advice in the mega pharmacy merger. Skadden, Jones Day, Simpson Thacher, and Weil Gotshal got billable scripts. [DealBook / New York Times]

    20 Comments / / Oct 29, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • legally_blonde_2

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.28.15

    * Good news, everyone! Legally Blonde 3 is supposedly in the works, and Reese Witherspoon says that the movie may involve Elle Woods becoming a Supreme Court justice or some kind of an elected official. It’s really too bad that SCOTUS robes aren’t pink. [Washington Post]

    * Biglaw firms aren’t the only ones that are downsizing when it comes to their headcount. Case in point, Lear Corporation’s in-house legal department has dropped from 20 attorneys to 11, but its GC Terry Larking says it’s working for the company. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Cornell Law School will be teaming up with Cornell Tech to launch a new LL.M. degree in law, technology, and entrepreneurship. Like most LL.M. degrees, we imagine that it will cost a pretty penny, but that its overall value on the market will be low. [Cornell Chronicle]

    * “Do we really need to protect people from trying to achieve their dreams?” Professor Noah Feldman of Harvard Law thinks we shouldn’t coddle law school applicants who are unlikely to pass a bar or try to “save” them from a lifetime of debt. [Bloomberg View]

    * She shoots, she scores? An ex-cheerleader filed suit against the Milwaukee Bucks under the Fair Labor Standards Act because she alleges she was paid less than minimum wage to cheer for the team. The suit is the first of its kind filed against an NBA team. [ABC News]

    41 Comments / / Oct 28, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Goooo minimum wage!  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.27.15

    * The Cincinnati Bengals reached a $255K settlement with their cheerleaders in a wage-and-hour suit. Each Ben-Gal stands to receive at least $2,500. Hmm, maybe they needed better lawyers who could BE AGGRESSIVE! B-E AGGRESSIVE! B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E! [CBS News]

    * Biglaw leaders think that first-year associates are likely to be replaced by robots within 10 years. Some even think that second- and third-year associates could be replaced by artificial intelligence. Damn, no wonder NY to $190 is still a pipedream. [Ars Technica via Am Law Daily]

    * “What you’re asking them to do is do work for you.” Despite the fact that the cellphone was seized in an investigation, this federal magistrate judge says that he isn’t quite sure if he has the legal authority to compel Apple to access data on a locked iPhone. [Reuters]

    * Justice waits for no one, except this defendant who allegedly murdered her 19-month-old daughter in 2010. After her trial was rescheduled for the 18th time, a judge finally decided he’d had enough: “Anything following this will be a trial or dismissal.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    * If you’re trying to get into to law school, there’s no need to wait for your fall semester grades before you send off your applications. A pulse and the ability to sign federal loan documents are all that you’ll need. [Law School Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    60 Comments / / Oct 27, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Legally Blonde Poster

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.26.15

    * “Cases swing. I don’t.” Justice Anthony Kennedy would really like it if folks would stop referring to him as the high court’s swinger swing vote. In other news, the Supreme jurist thinks Legally Blonde is a “pretty good movie.” [Harvard Gazette]

    * Hey, everyone, it’s high time we did something about this law school debt crisis. Have you somehow never heard about or experienced this before (despite reading Above the Law for eons)? Not to worry, because the New York Times is on it! [New York Times]

    * “She’ll still be fighting for the things she cares about. But this time, she’ll be asking us to join her.” Irin Camron, co-author of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (affiliate link), thinks we’ll see more Badass Bader this Term. [New York Times]

    * The Pennsylvania Senate is trying to kick embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane out of office because she’s working with a suspended law license. Come on, it must be pretty embarrassing when your AG can’t even refer to herself as a lawyer. [Morning Call]

    * According to Professor Paul Campos, the law school scam will keep on trucking thanks to the for-profit institutions — Arizona Summit Law, Charlotte Law, and Florida Coastal Law — that are run by InfiLaw. Well, at least they’re good at one thing, right? [The Atlantic]

    * Toke the vote! The next states that will likely legalize recreational marijuana by ballot referendum come November 2016 include California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Vermont, on the other hand, may pass marijuana-friendly legislation. [Rolling Stone]

    24 Comments / / Oct 26, 2015 at 8:57 AM
  • Here you go, Northwestern!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.23.15

    * Any day Cadwalader can avoid damages in a huge, multimillion-dollar malpractice case is a great day. Yesterday, the New York Court of Appeals dismissed a never-ending suit filed against the firm by a former client over a failed commercial mortgage-backed securitization. Phew! [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Say hello to Northwestern Pritzker Law: In case you missed it, Northwestern Law recently received a $100 million donation, the largest single gift ever made to a law school. For that much money, you’re damn right the school has a new name. [Chicago Tribune]

    * This must’ve been a huge blow to his ego… U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had to dismiss insider trading charges against seven defendants thanks to a Second Circuit decision that made it harder to prosecute certain financial crimes. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Charleston Law fired back against professors who sued the school by saying in its answer it wouldn’t be in such dire straits if they hadn’t “sabotaged the transfer of the school to InfiLaw.” Take that back, they did a good deed. [Charleston Regional Business Journal]

    * “Sorry, not sorry, narcs,” says Judge Breyer. Earlier this week, a California judge informed the DEA that it needed to stop harshing medical marijuana patients’ mellows by shutting down medical pot dispensaries that were operating within state laws. [TIME]

    41 Comments / / Oct 23, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Jay Z (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.22.15

    * Brush that dirt off your shoulder: Jay-Z may have 99 problems, but this copyright lawsuit about his song “Big Pimpin'” is no longer one of them. The suit filed against the rap mogul in 2007 was dismissed on standing grounds, but the plaintiff says he plans to appeal. [Los Angeles Times]

    * When it comes to the death penalty, Justice Antonin Scalia says that it “wouldn’t surprise [him]” if the Supreme Court were to strike it down as unconstitutional. It seems that a capital punishment case could become the next SCOTUS blockbuster. [CBS Minnesota]

    * No one is a fan of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s in-house court system, and legislation to give financial defendants the right to opt out will be introduced in Congress later this week. Would you rather face trial before a federal judge or jury? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Earlier this week, a state-court judge brought a live grenade to the courthouse, but only because he wanted to have it properly disposed of by police. The jurist currently remains unidentified, which is a good thing, because this is pretty embarrassing. [CBS Los Angeles]

    * Jurors in New York are paid $40 per day for their service, so you may be wondering how the confused members of the jury in the Dewey & LeBoeuf (mis)trial were able to survive on only $2,920 after five months spent in the courtroom. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    62 Comments / / Oct 22, 2015 at 8:44 AM
  • fail failure

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.21.15

    * Arizona Summit Law wasn’t the only law school to post an embarrassing passage rate on the July 2015 administration of the bar exam. Only 28 percent of test-takers from this law school passed, but its dean says that the scores don’t “reflect a problem with the school’s quality.” Hey, whatever helps you get to sleep at night. [Tennessean]

    * Speaking of bar passage rates, if you’re applying to law school, should you care about them? Job statistics are probably a more telling measurement when comparing schools, but then again, it’s harder to get a job when you can’t pass the bar exam. [U.S. News]

    * “It’s a huge blow to his tenure as DA.” The mistrial in the criminal case against Dewey & LeBoeuf’s former executives is putting a major damper on what was supposed to be Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s crackdown on corporate crime. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Thanks to the Department of Education’s “gainful employment rule,” for-profit law schools could be in trouble when it comes to eligibility for federal student loans under the “debt-to-earnings” test. This certainly may put a crimp in Infilaw’s style. [Huffington Post]

    * The vast majority of all class members in the Subway “footlong” lawsuit aren’t likely to see a dime. This is fine because they don’t need to see any “dough,” but a guarantee that the company’s next spokesperson won’t be a child predator would be nice. [WSJ Law Blog]

    55 Comments / / Oct 21, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • prison prisoner jail convicted criminal

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.20.15

    * “This is the best we can do” doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement on policy change, but at least the bipartisan sentencing reform bill has a chance to see the light of day. [National Law Journal]

    * Corporate scandals feed more and more of the news cycle, and general counsels are key to responding. [Law360]

    * Speaking of corporate scandals, the Petrobras corruption scandal has already cost an estimated $5 billion in losses. [Corporate Counsel]

    * Yup, Republicans are still trying to undo Obamacare via lawsuit. The Obama administration just lost a ruling to immediately appeal the viability of the lawsuit. [Wall Street Journal]

    * The Dewey trial’s hing jury mirrors the dysfunction of the Dewey & LeBoeuf partnership. [American Lawyer]
    * The feds are cracking down on drone registration, which means a bunch of new regulations to follow, you know, if you are into flying drones. [Fortune]

    23 Comments / / Oct 20, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Oscar Pistorius

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.19.15

    * After a recent vote, the Florida Bar flat-out rejected a supposedly “controversial” proposal for bar reciprocity. Attorneys in the Sunshine State absolutely, positively do NOT want you practicing law there if you haven’t taken the Florida bar. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Tomorrow, Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison after having only served a fifth of a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend, a law school graduate. He’ll begin a stint of house arrest, and he’s not allowed to have guns there… for very obvious reasons. [UPI]

    * The case of the missing mistrial? After four weeks of deliberation, and after having acquitted the defendants of a slew of lesser charges, the jury in the criminal trial against the ex-execs of Dewey & LeBoeuf will enter a new month without a full verdict. [Reuters]

    * The Nebraska Legislature voted to abolish the death penalty in the state, but supporters of capital punishment have forced a November 2016 referendum vote instead. Not to worry, “[n]obody’s going to be executed in Nebraska anytime soon.” [New York Times]

    * This week, Connecticut’s Appellate Court will hear cases at the state’s most famous — and most prestigious — law school. Don’t get too excited, Yalies, because this has nothing to do with you. In fact, you’ve probably never even heard of this place. [Associated Press]

    46 Comments / / Oct 19, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • John Stamos (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.16.15

    * John Stamos of Full House fame was formally charged with driving under the influence earlier this week following his arrest for erratic driving this summer. He faces up to six months in jail if convicted. We have faith that his beautiful hair will survive time in the slammer. [USA Today]

    * While the vast majority of the law school lawsuits containing allegations related to deceptive employment statistics have been dismissed, a few are still alive and kicking. The very first one filed — Alaburda v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law — is heading to trial in 2016. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Trick or treat? Per federal prosecutors, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will plead guilty before Halloween as part of a deal in his ongoing sexual misconduct hush-money case, but whether he’ll serve time is a question that’s yet to be answered. [Reuters]

    * Headcount at real estate firms with once-prominent foreclosure practices continues to shrink thanks to the recession’s end. To that effect, two Chicago firms have eliminated hundreds of positions for legal professionals since 2013. [Chicago Business Journal]

    * Thanks to a new online system, Northwestern Law will be able to interview prospective students any time, anywhere. The school is the first in the country to offer awkward casting couch sessions as part of its admissions process. [Northwestern University News]

    31 Comments / / Oct 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • kardashian_sisters

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.15.15

    * Daaaammmmn. Some serious shade as Greenberg Traurig CEO Richard Rosenbaum takes a swipe at Dentons. Video below the jump.

    * Lamar Odom is still technically married to Khloe Kardashian, thereby giving his estranged wife authority when it comes to medical decisions. Good, because I think we were all hoping a man’s tragic health crisis could be fodder for May Sweeps. [Eonline]

    * Linklaters is “internally crowdsourcing” to find a solution to provide a better work-life balance. Jesus. Bring on the necessary resources to cap any individual’s work week at 60 billable hours and move on. Anything less is just an invitation to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. [Law360]

    * Looks like NPR’s hit podcast Serial is ready for a second season. [The Onion]

    * Dewey think these deliberations will ever end? [The Am Law Daily]

    * Ah, the life of in-house counsel: writing bitchy emails to customers telling them how stupid they are. [L.A. Times]

    * Rand Paul explains how “liberty” works for gay people. [Gawker]

    * Before joining a class action, make sure aren’t advertising your own criminal behavior to authorities. [Times-Picayune]

    * And here’s that Greenberg Traurig-Dentons swipe. This strikes me as an ill-considered decision given that Dentons is known as a firm that doesn’t start fights, but sure as f**k ends them. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    41 Comments / / Oct 15, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • sad-lawyer

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.13.15

    * Biglaw leaders aren’t feeling so hot about the future of the profession. What else is new? [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Villanova Law School whining about its fall in the U.S. News rankings after admitting it had artificially inflated its numbers. Listen, it’s this stupid fascination with U.S. News that got Villanova busted in the first place. It’s high time the school stops preening for U.S. News and starts touting its admirable position in the rankings based on what’s best for students. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * It’s time for the Supreme Court to hear the important cases! Enough of these poor people railroaded by the system, where’s justice for disgraced former Governor Bob McDonnell? [Washington Post]

    * Everything should be legal! At least when it comes to BS NCAA violations. [Adequate Man / Deadspin]

    * Women make less than men when it comes to in-house work. Sort of like all other work. [Law360]

    * Hillary was hailed as the big winner last night, but her biggest victory was knowing that Bernie Sanders was going to pull his punches. [Redline]

    * Sara Randazzo with the Twitter observation of the day yesterday: lawyer for ex-Dewey chair Steve Davis trolled the jury with his tie pattern. [Twitter]

    22 Comments / / Oct 14, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • 800px-Lion_in_masai_mara

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.13.15

    * Zimbabwe officials won’t charge Dr. Walter Palmer in the slaying of Cecil the lion since he had proper paperwork, but he likely won’t be allowed to hunt if he ever returns. This will not stand. It’s now time for the American vigilante animal-lover justice team to assemble. [Reuters]

    * Per the results of two new surveys, Biglaw firms can stop worrying about their work drying up thanks to in-house law departments keeping matters in-house. Outside spending on legal counsel is flat as opposed to in the negative, and that’s apparently something to celebrate. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * This school puts the “duh” in Flori-duh: As we mentioned previously, Ave Maria School of Law was the caboose on the trainwreck that was the July 2015 administration of the Florida bar exam, and now people can’t stop staring at the wreckage. [Naples Daily News]

    * The Cannabis Law and Policy Project, a new group at the University of Washington School of Law, will spend the next year researching existing and emerging markets for marijuana. We can’t wait for them to puff, puff, pass on their knowledge. [UW Today]

    * If you’re planning to take the LSAT with testing accommodations, there are a few things that you need to know. Find out what types of accommodations are available, and be sure to file your — OMG, SQUIRREL! [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    46 Comments / / Oct 13, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • Matt Jackson

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.12.15

    Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), Above the Law will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full force tomorrow. Stay tuned for today’s news!

    * Who is Amy Berman Jackson? If you’ve been watching Jeopardy! lately, you’ve probably been trying to figure out which law firm reigning champion Matt Jackson works for as a paralegal. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that his mother is a D.D.C. federal judge. [Washington Post]

    * Another SCOTUS term is upon us, and while Chief Justice Roberts tends to cast his votes on the issues through a conservative lens, there’s talk that he could be a “wildcard.” Hmm, perhaps Justice Kennedy will have a pal to swing with this year. [MSNBC]

    * Choose your path wisely: Bloomberg Markets released its ranking of the 50 most influential people last week, and not a single practicing lawyer made the cut. Attorneys who chose career alternatives, however, made a killing. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Marcel Aubut, who recently resigned in disgrace from his position as Canadian Olympic Committee president after allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching came to light, has also decided to leave his Biglaw firm and seek counseling. [NBC Sports]

    * Late last week, California adopted an exacting digital privacy law that will require police to get warrants to access all manner of electronic information, from emails to texts to metadata. Please thank the Golden State for keeping your sexts safe. [WSJ Law Blog]

    52 Comments / / Oct 12, 2015 at 8:57 AM
  • Bob McCulloch

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.09.15

    * Bob McCulloch, the prosecutor who handled (mishandled?) the Michael Brown / Darren Wilson case in Ferguson, Missouri, was recently named as “Prosecutor of the Year” by the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. This probably wasn’t a good idea. [Slate]

    * American Apparel filed for bankruptcy, and rather than Biglaw firms representing the embattled clothier, they’re trying to snatch up fees. Skadden, White & Case, and Paul Hastings are each owed quite the pretty penny. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Which law school dean was just named as senior counsel at Dentons, the largest law firm in the world? That would be Nicholas Allard of Brooklyn Law School. Perhaps this law dean’s academic cash flow wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

    * “Unless the industry cleans itself up, we can expect more lawsuits like this in the future.” In an interesting turn of events, the marijuana industry is now seeing its first product liability suit. A protip for growers: No one wants to smoke fungicide. [Los Angeles Times]

    * Just when you thought patent trolls couldn’t get any worse, they started to harass members of the fashion industry. Copyright trolls (i.e., Stephen Doniger and Scott Alan Burroughs) are suing over textile prints left and right, and that’s so last season. [Fortune]

    64 Comments / / Oct 9, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • fighting gloves

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.08.15

    * Remember the judge who challenged a public defender to a fistfight in court? He was suspended by the Florida Supreme Court, and has 20 days to explain why he should keep his job. With all due respect, your great right hook isn’t a good enough reason, Your Honor. [Florida Today]

    * Screw the historic SCOTUS decision, because this Alabama probate judge really doesn’t want to issue same-sex marriage licenses. In fact, he doesn’t think any judges in the state should have to do so. He wants the federal government to issue them instead. []

    * In the wake of the latest daily fantasy sports scandal involving DraftKings, FanDuel has hired the kind of legal representation that you’d want on your team for a Hail Mary play. Hut! Hut! Hike! Time to suit up, Debevoise and Kirkland. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * The University of Chicago Law School has a new dean. We’d like to wish a warm welcome to Thomas Miles, a “rookie dean” who likely has enough prestige points under his belt to lead one of the best law schools in the nation with great ease. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Today is the 25th Annual National Depression Screening Day, so if you’re a lawyer or a law student who’s feeling anxious or depressed, please feel free to take an anonymous online screening quiz. There are people and programs who can help you. [Am Law Daily]

    17 Comments / / Oct 8, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Dewey LeBoeuf original sign New York

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 10.07.15

    * Dewey know what Justice Robert Stolz will do now that the jury has declared itself deadlocked on most charges? Tune in later today. [American Lawyer]

    * A case brought by law student turned privacy activist Max Schrems has triggered a European court ruling that Facebook won’t “like.” [How Appealing]

    * King & Spalding associate Ethan Davis talks about how he prepared for his argument yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court. [National Law Journal]

    * Thanks to sentencing reform, the Justice Department will release about 6,000 inmates from prison starting later this month. [New York Times]

    * Speaking of the DOJ, BP will settle Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims with the feds for a whopping $20 billion. [ABA Journal]

    * Elsewhere in news of embattled companies, Volkswagen is turning to Mayer Brown for help in dealing with the emissions scandal that stinks to high heaven. [American Lawyer]

    * 50 Cent’s malpractice suit against his ex-lawyers seeks 7.5 billion cents. [Law360]

    * When legal recruiters sue each other, things can get ugly — fast. [American Lawyer]

    16 Comments / / Oct 7, 2015 at 8:58 AM