Morning Docket

  • Marilyn J. Mosby (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.11.15

    * “[W]e refuse to be distracted by disgruntled employees or frivolous lawsuits.” Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is being accused of firing a handful of prosecutors due to their political associations in a newly filed lawsuit. [Baltimore Sun]

    * Texas Wesleyan wants to dismiss a suit filed by its “disavowed” law school grads because it says its obligation “ended with their graduation,” so it doesn’t need to grant them alumni status with Texas A&M Law. Harsh. [Courthouse News Service]

    * Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy will soon sign an executive order banning those on the federal no-fly list from purchasing guns in the state. Professor Eugene Volokh thinks that this policy is constitutionally controversial. Do you agree? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Vinson & Elkins is moving its Dallas headquarters to a fancy $200 million building, where it’ll fill up 80,000 sq ft of office space in 2018. How nice for you! Now be nice to your associates and announce your Cravath bonus matches. [Dallas Morning News]

    * What’s the best way to get out of paying millions of dollars to lawyers who you hired to perform complex legal work? If you’re hurting for cash, then take a cue from this New Jersey firm and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to ditch your drama. [Bergen Record]

    28 Comments / / Dec 11, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Robert Lewis Dear

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.10.15

    * Robert Lewis Dear, the man accused in the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting, had this outburst during a hearing yesterday: “I am guilty, there will be no trial. I am a warrior for the babies. You’ll never know the amount of blood I saw in that place.” [CBS Denver]

    * The American Bar Association has approved the merger between William Mitchell Law and Hamline Law to form Mitchell|Hamline Law. Since law school mergers now seem to be a viable option, struggling schools may be able to find a way to survive instead of closing. [Pioneer Press]

    * In yesterday’s affirmative action duel at the Supreme Court, Bert Rein of Wiley Rein and Gregory Garre of Latham & Watkins faced off for the second time in Fisher v. University of Texas: The Reckoning. Will SCOTUS kill AA this time? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * According to the Rhode Island Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline, Judge Rafael A. Ovalles brought his office into disrepute after sexually harassing a female court clerk and sitting in chambers with his hand in his underwear. [Providence Journal]

    * A settlement in the “Happy Birthday to You” copyright case has thrust the song into the public domain where it belongs. Now employees at chain restaurants across the country won’t have to sing cheesy soundalike songs to birthday diners anymore. [Reuters]

    39 Comments / / Dec 10, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Donald Trump

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.09.15

    * Charlie Sheen, not one to beat around the bush, got right down to business in a motion to dismiss his ex-fiancée’s lawsuit, calling her an “extortionist who gets paid for sex as a prostitute and porn star.” Looks like someone could use some anger management. [Fox News]

    * If you’ve been following the circus sideshow that is Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, you know that he’s proposed a ban on Muslims entering the country. Needless to say, this is likely completely unconstitutional, and many law profs agree on this point. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * The GC of Allstate says law firm billing rates are way too damn high. Her pet peeve? “[T]he way law firms bill, the hourly rate system, and the fact that rates go up, or at least they try to have them go up year, after year, after year.” [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Everything’s bigger in Texas, except for this law school’s tuition: Texas A&M Law has announced that it will be lowering its in-state tuition by more than 15 percent, and then freezing it at that level for four years for all entering and current students. [PRNewswire]

    * If you’re a minority who’s thinking about applying to law school, there are several important things you ought to take into consideration, including which schools will provide you with a “supportive, nurturing, mentoring environment.” [U.S. News]

    77 Comments / / Dec 9, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Zachary Warren

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.08.15

    * My, but how quickly things change! Manhattan prosecutors might not be retrying the D&L criminal case after all. Instead, they’ve offered all of the remaining defendants plea deals. Dewey know if any of the former execs of this failed firm will take a deal? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * In case you’re wondering what’s going to happen to Zachary Warren after all of this, it looks like Cyrus Vance found it in the goodness of his heart to offer the would-be Biglaw associate a plea deal: he’ll have to plead guilty to a misdemeanor to get 200 hours of community service. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Law students, get ready to lobby even harder for this, because a proposal to do away with the American Bar Association’s ban on law students receiving academic credit for paid externships is moving forward to a notice and comment period. [ABA Journal]

    * If you’re preparing for a law school interview, you should stop freaking out about it and focus on the things that matter — like showing off your social skills to prove you’ll be employable in some way after graduation. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    * After having a culpable homicide conviction for which he already served time overturned and turned into a murder conviction instead, Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was granted $688 bail since he’s not considered a “flight risk.” [NBC News]

    24 Comments / / Dec 8, 2015 at 8:53 AM
  • law-school-gavels

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.07.15

    * “People who have a dream of going to law school should go into it with their eyes wide open.” In case you haven’t heard, not all of the law school lawsuits were dismissed; in fact, one of them filed against Thomas Jefferson School of Law is going to trial in March. [ABC News]

    * Dewey know which D&L defendant will likely be able to escape a retrial? It seems that Steven Davis, the failed firm’s former chairman, may find himself on the receiving end of a deferred prosecution agreement instead. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * At this point, it’s anyone’s best guess as to what the future of net neutrality may be: The FCC’s latest proposal for equal treatment of internet traffic apparently left a bad taste in the D.C. Circuit’s mouth during oral arguments at a recent hearing. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Baker & McKenzie used to be the largest law firm in the world before Dentons arrived on the scene, but now it’s got its eyes on expansion in a territory that the Biglaw behemoth hasn’t completely claimed: the United States. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Give thanks, because according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector added 600 jobs last month. If you’ve got a job on your Christmas wish list, Santa just might deliver one to you this year. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    56 Comments / / Dec 7, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Charlie Sheen

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.04.15

    * It’s only been two weeks since Charlie Sheen’s HIV reveal, and the lawsuits are already starting to roll in. The actor’s ex-fiancée is suing him for big bucks and claims he failed to disclose his status to her before having unprotected sex, which is a felony in California. [Deadline]

    * When you somehow avoid jail time by asserting an improbable “affluenza” defense after killing people in a drunk-driving wreck, it figures that your downfall comes via tweet. Start out your day by checking out the video of “ya boy ethan couch [allegedly] violating probation.” [Dallas Morning News]

    * Remember the law prof who was banned from SUNY Buffalo Law’s campus for allegedly violating its workplace violence policy and then sued the former dean for defamation? A judge has recommended that the case be dismissed. [Buffalo News]

    * Biglaw attorneys are descending upon the 21st annual Conference of the Parties (COP 21), because after all, they’ll be able to entertain clients with tales about the legalities of renewables to cut greenhouse gas emissions. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Law school admins are confident the number of applicants will increase, and while fee waivers still abound, pre-law students are expecting the cycle to be “competitive.” A pulse AND the ability to sign loan docs will now be required. [Daily Pennsylvanian]

    63 Comments / / Dec 4, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • hitched

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.03.15

    * You don’t hear this much, but The Daily News nails it with a biting criticism of the GOP presidential candidates’ response to the tragic San Bernardino shooting: “Prayers aren’t working.” [The Daily News]

    * Looks like Dickstein Shapiro is looking to get hitched before the end of the year — they are reportedly talking to multiple potential merger partners. [Law.com]

    * Cozen O’Connor partner Wayne Rohde is accused of lying about his attorney disciplinary record. [National Law Journal]

    * Rahm Emmanuel is resisting calls for his resignation amid the scandal surrounding the shooting death by Chicago cops of Laquan McDonald. [CNN]

    * Browne George Ross LLP was hit with a $6 million malpractice suit. [Law360]

    * Law firms are getting in the holiday spirit, over 100 firms are working together on a clothing drive for the homeless. [Legal Times]

    65 Comments / / Dec 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • 50 Cent

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.02.15

    * Did 50 Cent’s lawyers spend too much of the bankrupt rapper’s money while representing him? With $123,455.92 in expenses, sex-tape plaintiff Lastonia Leviston says Fiddy’s lawyers from Brewer Attorneys & Counselors were partying like it was their birthday throughout trial. [New York Daily News]

    * Roger Ailes, the chairman and CEO of Fox News, isn’t laughing at ABC’s news comedy called Fair and Balanced. Fox trademarked that slogan in 1997, and Ailes says ABC “wouldn’t know fair and balanced if it hit them in the ass with a fish.” [Adweek]

    * Following in Dentons’ footsteps, yet another Biglaw firm has entered into a “strategic alliance” with a Chinese firm. McGuireWoods will create a referral network with FuJae Partners, but there’s no talk of a merger — yet. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * NJ Gov. Chris Christie says he’s been researching legal action he can take against Syrian refugees who have been placed in his state. He’s acknowledged it’s a federal issue, but this would-be president is going to try to oust them anyway. [NJ Advance Media]

    * The Illinois Department of Corrections has been suing newly released inmates to recover the cost of their room and board while they were incarcerated. Lovely. This surely “raise[s] moral questions that legislators need to address.” [Chicago Tribune]

    37 Comments / / Dec 2, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Jabba

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.01.15

    * It seems that Dentons didn’t have its fill after fattening itself up with a Luxembourg firm over Thanksgiving, so now the megafirm is considering feasting upon two Latin American firms — Cárdenas & Cárdenas and López Velarde Heftye y Soria — for its dessert. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Election 2016 is a year away, but it’s easy to see the makeup of the Supreme Court will continue to be an issue for presidential candidates, especially since both parties know “[w]e are one justice away” from a liberal or conservative majority. [MSNBC]

    * Dean Martha Minow says Harvard Law will create a committee to investigate whether the school’s shield should be changed due to its ties to a cruel slaveowner. Send your comments, questions, and complaints to royall@law.harvard.edu. [Harvard Law Today]

    * Robert Lewis Dear, the alleged gunman behind the Colorado Planned Parenthood shootings, is expected to be charged with first-degree murder next week. It’s not yet been disclosed whether he’ll be charged with federal domestic terrorism. [Los Angeles Times]

    * This turkey won’t be pardoned: The Thanksgiving Day White House fence-jumper who draped an American flag over the fence while gripping a U.S. Constitution pocket guide in his teeth was criminally charged after ruining the Obamas holiday. [WSJ Law Blog]

    17 Comments / / Dec 1, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • The latest recruit to join Dentons' army of lawyers.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.30.15

    * While you were feasting upon turkey this Thanksgiving, Dentons — otherwise known as the largest Biglaw behemoth in the world — was busy gobbling up yet another law firm. The megafirm will combine with 33-lawyer OPF Partners out of Luxembourg. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * According to a survey from AlixPartners, over the past 12 months, GCs have reported more “bet the company” lawsuits compared to last year. Don’t get too excited, though, because growth in litigation spend hasn’t quite caught up yet. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * You really can do anything with a law degree — including things that have absolutely nothing to do with the law! Patrick Hobbs, dean emeritus of Seton Hall Law, has been tapped to become the athletics director at Rutgers University. [NJ Advance Media]

    * What would happen if one of the largest publicly traded plaintiffs firms in the world went under? Ever since its stock price plummeted by 52 percent, industry analysts have started to wonder whether Slater & Gordon is on the verge of collapse. [ABC News]

    * In the wake of the defacement of black faculty portraits and the administration’s apparent “ongoing failure” to address racism on campus, Harvard Law alumni are being asked to stop making donations to the school until changes are made. [Boston Globe]

    * One of 92-year-old Sumner Redstone’s exes filed a probate suit questioning his mental competence and ability to run Viacom and CBS. His attorney from entertainment law powerhouse Loeb & Loeb essentially called her client’s ex a gold digger. [CNBC]

    48 Comments / / Nov 30, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • Black tape at Harvard Law School.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.27.15

    Ed. note: We hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. As we mentioned before Thanksgiving, we’ll be on a reduced publication schedule today.

    * Randall Kennedy, one of the African-American Harvard Law School professors whose portraits got marked with black tape, shares HLS alum Elie Mystal’s reaction to the incident: he is unimpressed. [New York Times]

    * In other Harvard Law news, an HLS librarian got arrested after police claim he tried to arrange a sexual meet-up with a deputy posing as an underage girl in Colorado (site of a librarians’ conference). [Boston Globe]

    * Former Supreme Court clerk Brianne Gorod argues that SCOTUS can and should decide Texas’s challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration this Term (i.e., before the 2016 election). [Constitutional Accountability Center via How Appealing]

    * Ohio State law student Madison Gesiotto is not happy with how administrators responded when one of her conservative columns prompted a threat from a fellow student. [Washington Times]

    * The SEC just dropped its civil insider trading case against former SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager Michael Steinberg. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Let’s rank the top 10 women Supreme Court justices! Oh wait, there are only four…. [National Law Journal]

    * Linda Greenhouse offers her reflections on “Sex After 50” (at SCOTUS). [New York Times via How Appealing]

    * The father of Paul Walker is suing Porsche for negligence and wrongful death over the 2013 car crash that killed Walker, of “Fast and Furious” fame. [AP via WSJ Law Blog]

    17 Comments / / Nov 27, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Judge Richard Posner

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.25.15

    * Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit completely obliterated a Wisconsin law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Posner said any health benefits conferred by the law were “nonexistent.” [Reuters]

    * Judge Richard Sullivan (S.D.N.Y.) wasn’t a fan of the Bank of China essentially telling Gucci to “suck it up” when it came to “ridiculous” delays in providing counterfeiters’ records, so he held the bank in contempt and is considering assessing millions of dollars in fines. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * A Pennsylvania attorney activist who launched the “Kane is not Able” campaign has asked the state’s highest court to provide clarification on how AG Kathleen Kane should delegate her duties considering the fact she has a suspended law license. [PennLive.com]

    * A proposed class-action suit has been filed against fashion company Kate Spade over its alleged “imaginary discount prices.” If this goes the way of the $4.88M Michael Kors settlement over the same issue, then Kate Spade could be in trouble. [Consumerist]

    * “Talk about being uprooted!” Vendors who sell wares outside of Brooklyn Law are pissed about the school’s plans to install planters on the sidewalks around the building, thereby kicking the vendors not to the curb, but out onto the street. [Brooklyn Paper]

    29 Comments / / Nov 25, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Tom Brady (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.24.15

    * The Second Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in the NFL’s appeal of the Deflategate case for March 3. Roger Goodell is going to be pretty pissed off that Tom Brady can deflate his balls without being disturbed by legal issues until after Super Bowl 50. [Reuters]

    * Corporate partner Pierre Boivin of McCarthy Tetrault, a Canadian Biglaw firm, was one of the hostages who survived the Mali terror attacks last Friday. According to the firm, his friends, family, and colleagues are “tremendously relieved” that he’s safe. [ABA Journal]

    * LexisNexis purchased litigation analytics company Lex Machina for an undisclosed sum, but rumor has it that the company’s asking price was $30 to $35 million. Its co-founder says the deal came close to those numbers. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Just in time for Black Friday online deals, a new Symantec report is out that says consumers are growing increasingly vulnerable to cybercrime. On that note, let’s get to know each other a little better. What’s your mother’s maiden name? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * If you’re planning to take the LSAT in December and you still don’t have a game plan set out for how you’re going to manage your time while taking the test, you may have already screwed yourself. Best of luck! [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    29 Comments / / Nov 24, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • student-loan-debt

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.23.15

    * Will it ever be easier to meet the challenge of proving you’ve got an undue hardship so you can discharge your law school student loan debts in bankruptcy? Your fate may rest in the hands of this indebted Florida Coastal Law grad and his petition for certiorari at the Supreme Court. [US Law Week Blog / Bloomberg]

    * Hate crimes still happen, even at this prestigious law school: Amid increased racial turbulence on campus, the Harvard University Police Department is now investigating the defacing of black law professors’ portraits as a hate crime. [ABC News]

    * UVA Law recently joined the minority of law schools that have women serving as dean. Pop your collars with pride, because legal historian Risa Goluboff will take over as the school’s first female dean this July. Congratulations! [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

    * Gordon Rees has settled its lawsuit against Alex Rodriguez over the baseball player’s outstanding legal bills, totaling more than $380,000. The terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but we have a feeling that the firm hit it out of the park. [NBC New York]

    * Try before you buy or a bid to increase tourism? Alaska is making bold moves now that it’s legalized marijuana for recreational use. It’ll be the first state to allow the social use of the drug “in public,” i.e., inside pot dispensaries that have yet to open. [Cannabist]

    48 Comments / / Nov 23, 2015 at 8:54 AM
  • Jared Fogle (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.20.15

    * Jared Fogle, Subway’s former spokesman, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to sex with minors and child pornography, and was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. His creative defense? Losing weight on the Subway diet made him choose to erm… “eat fresh.” Yuck. [Washington Post]

    * Biglaw firms have been announcing their new partnership classes over the past few weeks, and it goes without saying that the vast majority of new partners attended highly ranked law schools. Take a wild guess at which school was the most represented. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Per the latest report from the NALP, women and African-Americans continue to falter in their career progress at Biglaw firms. James Leipold says it’s “troubling” that the numbers are “reversing course.” We couldn’t agree more. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * UnitedHealth recently announced that it expects to suffer in terms of its insurance sales under the Affordable Care Act, and has gone so far as to threaten that it may pull out of the exchange. Here are five things you need to know about that. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * One of the members of Survivor filed a copyright infringement suit against Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign after the song “Eye of the Tiger” was played during a rally held for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. Now it’s stuck in your head. Welcome! [Reuters]

    39 Comments / / Nov 20, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Justice Elena Kagan

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.19.15

    * Earlier this week, Justice Elena Kagan went back to the law school she used to call her home to discuss statutory interpretation. It seems the former Harvard Law School dean fancies herself a “textualist” these days, just like her hunting buddy. Gee, thanks for that, Justice Scalia. [Harvard Crimson]

    * A recent graduate of Appalachian School of Law with an affinity for criminal law has been accused of murder after shooting his uncle’s girlfriend in the chest and killing her. He waived his preliminary hearing, and the charges he’s facing will now go straight to a grand jury. [WV MetroNews]

    * As Election 2016 inches closer, Biglaw firms are beginning to show their political stripes. Paul Weiss is holding a big old fundraiser for Hillary Clinton tonight. Look out, big spenders, because tickets for this event cost $2,700 each. [Washington Free Beacon]

    * After nearly three decades as chairman, Gary LeClair of LeClairRyan is stepping down and letting someone else take over — three someone elses, to be precise. The firm’s leadership structure is changing completely. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * A senior analyst at BrownGreer was the recent victim of a carjacking. He was forced by his assailant to lead police on a chase, and was later shot in the head. He was last listed as being in critical, but stable condition. We wish him well. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

    42 Comments / / Nov 19, 2015 at 8:50 AM
  • kitty-genovese

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.18.15

    * Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the lateral raids of lawyers from competing law firms. Wilson Elser just poached 11 litigators from Lewis Brisbois, including the firm’s regional managing partner, who now holds the same title at his new firm. Ride ’em, cowboy! [Houston Business Journal]

    * “I think almost 50 years of paying for those crimes is enough.” Winston Moseley, the man convicted of killing Kitty Genovese in an infamous case that came to define the meaning of bystander apathy, was recently denied parole for the eighteenth time. [AP]

    * We love an underdog story: On the topic of lateral moves, it seems like Greenberg Traurig has a habit of “cherry picking” top talent from higher-ranked law firms like Davis Polk, White & Case, and McDermott Will & Emery. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * When it comes to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s in-house judges, Chairman Mary Jo White says that while its court system could be “modernize[d],” it’s still a fair process — for the SEC. The house usually wins in these proceedings. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * How old is too old to be a judge? Pennsylvania voters are going to be asked this question next year when a referendum on a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution to raise the judicial retirement age from 70 to 75 hits the ballot box. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    48 Comments / / Nov 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • (Photo via Jean Jullien)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 11.17.15

    * “[F]irms have increasingly turned to mergers in hopes that rubbing two coins together might create a third.” Per the chairman of Seyfarth Shaw, Biglaw firms that are facing stagnant growth must change ASAP or suffer the consequences. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Given the recent terror attacks in Paris, many U.S. governors have threatened to stop accepting Syrian refugees within their states’ borders — whether they have the legal authority to actually refuse them, however, is another question entirely. [ABC News]

    * The Department of Homeland Security will publish rules governing privacy protections concerning the use of drones. The world can’t wait to see the “best practices” the government recommends for spying on citizens without a warrant. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Mississippi College School of Law has decided to freeze its tuition for students entering in the fall of 2016. Incoming students will get to pay the low, low price of $32,040 (seriously, that’s low for tuition at a private school) for all three years. [National Jurist]

    * If you want to put together a compelling admissions package when applying to law school, then during your college summers, you should work at a law-related internship instead of drinking all day and having fun. Sorry! [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    38 Comments / / Nov 17, 2015 at 8:57 AM