Morning Docket

  • hire me smiling

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.11.15

    * As we mentioned, U.S. News is giving law schools less credit for hiring their own grads. Rumor has it that a few schools would’ve done better in the rankings but for their high percentage of school-funded jobs. Which ones? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Two students in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity from Oklahoma University were expelled after a video of their racist chanting was leaked online. Lawyers want to know: was their expulsion a First Amendment violation? [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

    * UC Irvine Law debuted on the 2016 U.S. News law school rankings at No. 30, missing Dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s goal of starting out as a Top 20 school. Not to worry, Dean, there are still ways to game the rankings. Keep your head up! [National Law Journal]

    * Don’t bother delaying your law school education just because the economy’s bad. The professors who told us that a law degree is worth $1 million think that its value will only drop by about $30K in times when unemployment is high. Yeah, okay. [ABA Journal]

    * The grisly murder of DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt, who was found stabbed to death in a Washington, D.C., hotel, remains unsolved. Police are still searching for the “person of interest” who was seen on video from the hotel’s security camera. [Legal Times]

    39 Comments / / Mar 11, 2015 at 9:06 AM
  • Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.10.15

    * “While some argue that going to law school is still a safe bet, little evidence exists to support this position.” This law professor thinks law schools are in a “death spiral,” and that a “top” school may soon be in danger of closing. Uh oh! Which one could it possibly be? [Washington Post]

    * “Rascal was the perfect law student because he never missed a class. If Rascal was asked a question he never said ‘pass.'” In 1937, Samford’s Cumberland School of Law graduated its first and only dog. In 2015, dogs bark and howl at Samford because of its new U.S. News rank. [Alabama.com]

    * “You do not need to have a law degree to understand how troubling this is.” Politicians are pissed at Hillary Clinton over the email scandal she got herself into at the State Department, but it turns out she technically obeyed the law. [National Law Journal]

    * Why do law firms fail? Dean Frank Wu of UC Hastings Law thinks that it’s because “[s]mart people overestimate the importance of being a smart person” — that is, your firm can still flop even if its lawyers are the best lawyers in the world. [Huffington Post]

    * According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after two months of soul-sucking declines in the market, the legal sector gained 3,100 jobs in February. Wow, we only need 40,000 more jobs until all of last year’s class is employed. [Am Law Daily]

    15 Comments / / Mar 10, 2015 at 9:13 AM
  • Amal Clooney

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.09.15

    * Amal Clooney, the attorney who tamed George Clooney’s heart and is now considered one of the most famous human rights lawyers in the world, will be teaching at a New York law school this spring. Which one? We’ll have more on this fun news later today. [USA Today]

    * Talk about a Hail Mary play: The ACLU has decided to come to the defense of a very unlikely cause. Per a recently filed federal brief, the organization thinks that the USPTO’s cancellation of the Redskins trademark was unconstitutional. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * According to a new BARBRI study, the vast majority of third-year law students think they’re ready to go when it comes to practicing law, but the lawyers who have had the (dis)pleasure to work with new graduates don’t seem to agree. [National Law Journal]

    * “Those kinds of jobs are never going to be enough to absorb the number of people graduating from law school over the next five or 10 years.” Northeastern’s dean laughs in Biglaw’s face — his grads measure their success in other ways. [Boston Business Journal]

    * Ellen Pao’s “racy” gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins serves as a harsh criticism of the sexist culture of Silicon Valley. Luckily, jury members will be able to busy themselves with the case’s more lurid details. [The Upshot / New York Times]

    * Kyle McEntee of Law School Transparency is working on a new podcast that will help prospective law students to see what working in the legal profession is really like. “I Am The Law” debuted in January 2015, and it’s worth a listen. [U.S. News & World Report]

    5 Comments / / Mar 9, 2015 at 8:52 AM
  • RBG Red Cup

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.06.15

    * Per a recent Super Lawyers survey, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the Supreme Court justice with whom the nation’s top lawyers would most like to share a lunch date. Come on, admit it: you just want to get wasted with the Notorious R.B.G. [TIME]

    * Perhaps in anticipation of a SCOTUS ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, states across the country are dreaming up legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay couples. Man, we’re such jerks. [New York Times]

    * Taking over China with its Dacheng merger wasn’t enough for Dentons, and what’s now the largest firm in the world by attorney headcount still wants to conquer the United States. Dentons is trying to woo McKenna Long & Aldridge, again. [Am Law Daily]

    * Dewey know which firm’s ex-COO is denying knowledge of any financial funny business? Defense lawyers for D&L’s former top brass are now relying on his statements that staffers may have been inept, but surely weren’t doing anything illegal. [New York Law Journal]

    * Remember that BARBRI antitrust class-action settlement that was reached almost a decade ago? The lawyers and law firms involved are still fighting over legal fees in the case, namely how many millions they think they ought to receive. [National Law Journal]

    38 Comments / / Mar 6, 2015 at 9:06 AM
  • Woo, Biglaw, bro!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.05.15

    * According to the latest data from NALP, summer associate hiring is up for the fifth year in a row. Hooray! But wait, don’t go licking each other’s popsicles just yet — some law firms (35 percent of them, in fact) actually reduced the number of offers they made. [National Law Journal]

    * In response to outcry over bar exam reforms, this Dechert partner took time out of his day to wonder: “Is it too much to expect that future lawyers know the difference between a tort and a tenancy in common, or do we expect clients to pay them $400 an hour to learn it?” [Wall Street Journal]

    * Now that oral arguments in King v. Burwell have concluded, it’s probably time you found out what’s at stake for you if you haven’t done so already, procrastinators. This is what will happen if SCOTUS strikes down Obamacare subsidies. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Edward Snowden is reportedly ready to return to the United States, provided, of course, that he’ll receive a “legal and impartial trial.” Attorney General Eric Holder has already promised Snowden that he won’t face the death penalty, so that’s a start. [CNN]

    * An ADA in Texas apparently referred to defense counsel as a “motherf*cker” in front of jurors during a trial. We think now would be a great time to add this to the list of things that will get you kicked off a case. [Austin American-Statesmen via ABA Journal]

    43 Comments / / Mar 5, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Photo by Drew Havens.

    Morning Docket, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

    Morning Docket: 03.04.15

    * Meet David King of King v. Burwell, the epic Obamacare case to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today. [New York Times]

    * And meet the two legal heavyweights who will be arguing the case before SCOTUS. [Politico via How Appealing]

    * Meanwhile, another Supreme Court has put a stop to same-sex marriage down in Alabama — for now. [Buzzfeed]

    * General David Petraeus reaches a plea deal, requiring him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a fine (but no prison sentence). [Washington Post]

    * It’s not as sexy as Obamacare or marriage equality, but the collection of state sales tax on out-of-state purchases made online is a pretty important issue — and Justice Kennedy wants SCOTUS to revisit it. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]

    * In the wake of a leadership shake-up, Cadwalader is beefing up its Houston energy practice — but is that a wise idea, with the price of oil spiraling downward? [American Lawyer]

    * Finally, something that Elie Mystal and Jordan Weissmann can agree upon: dropping the LSAT is a bad idea. [Slate]

    * A jury of eight men and 10 women will start hearing arguments today in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defendant in the Boston Marathon bombing. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]

    * Legal ethics guru Monroe Freedman, RIP. [ABA Journal]

    14 Comments / / Mar 4, 2015 at 8:54 AM
  • The aftermath of the bar exam?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.03.15

    * “Taking the bar is like riding a bike. A bike that’s on fire.” Never before has there been a better way to describe what it’s like to take the bar exam. Here’s how some recent examinees were able to survive. Miraculously, no one preemptively sent a letter like this. [California Lawyer]

    * DLA Piper is entering into happily married bliss with Davis, a 260-lawyer firm from the Great White North. An April wedding is planned. The couple is registered with American Lawyer and Vault. Give them a few loads of loonies! [Am Law Daily]

    * Attorney General Eric Holder took to the op-ed pages to announce the Department of Justice’s official take on the constitutionality of marriage equality in America: “Nothing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage.” [USA Today]

    * Speaking of Eric Holder, the attorney general released another official announcement yesterday. Ben Mizer will take over as chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. (For what it’s worth, people are making a huge deal over the fact that he’s gay.) [Metro Weekly]

    * If you’ve missed a law school application deadline, don’t worry, because there are ways you can boost your chances of getting in. Having a pulse is only 98 percent of the battle — you’ll also need a tuition check. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    60 Comments / / Mar 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • A happy Hamline Law grad?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.02.15

    * Unfortunately, it seems that if you want to get an elite legal education in this country, you’re going to have to pay an arm and a leg for it. This year’s NLJ Top 10 Go-To Law Schools each have a sticker price that’s greater than $50K. [National Law Journal]

    * Hamline University’s president thinks it was smarter for her law school to merge with William Mitchell Law than for it to close altogether — hey, it’ll still bear the Hamline name and its dying carcass won’t be on her books anymore! [Star Tribune]

    * Later this week, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that could decimate the Affordable Care Act as we know it. At this point, the justices must be contemplating how many people will lose if the plaintiffs here win. [Wall Street Journal]

    * An ADA from the Brooklyn DA’s office who prosecuted drug cases was canned after his colleagues learned that he failed to report his personal connection to an admitted cocaine dealer. Perhaps they were jealous he refused to share his hookup. [New York Daily News]

    * In case you missed it, Above the Law, your favorite legal website, has been “rankle[d]” by a new series on CNNMoney called “Above the Law.” We know you’re as ticked off about this as we are, so we hope you’ll help us write our cease-and-desist letter. [Am Law Daily]

    37 Comments / / Mar 2, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Loretta Lynch

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.26.15

    * Congratulations to Loretta Lynch, who cleared a divided Senate Judiciary yesterday. And now secret Kenyan Muslim Barack Obama is one step closer to whatever conservatives think he’s planning in their fever dreams. [National Law Journal]

    * Police made an arrest in the bizarre hatchet attack upon a lawyer in Massachusetts. The motive, according to authorities, stemmed from the lawyer representing one of the suspect’s family members in probate court. [The Patriot Ledger]

    * It may not be $2.6 billion in revenue like some firms, but congratulations to Paul Hastings for crossing the $1 billion revenue threshold. [The Am Law Daily]

    * South Korea legalizes adultery. If you didn’t think South Koreans were waiting for the legal go ahead to start screwing around, the market doesn’t lie. [New York Times]

    * Nice rundown from Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center: 5 myths about King v. Burwell. [Washington Post]

    * Prosecutors lodge a number of additional charges against Supreme Court protestors because there’s a surprisingly high number of distinct federal crimes for “standing up and chanting in protest.” [Legal Times]

    9 Comments / / Feb 27, 2015 at 9:07 AM
  • Kim_Kardashian LF

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.26.15

    * Kim Kardashian is reportedly seeking law firm experience despite having no “legal training” or “redeeming qualities,” and she wants Amal Clooney to give her a hand. [Legal Cheek]

    * Do you remember Jennifer Gaubert, the New Orleans lawyer and radio host who hooked up with her cab driver… on video? She’s been sentenced. [Times-Picayune]

    * Supreme Court hears attorneys’ fees case. Baker Botts wants to get paid, yo. [Washington Post]

    * With three NFL teams publicly announcing their intention to build multi-billion dollar arenas in L.A., now’s a good time to mention that firms specializing in sports work have a pretty sweet business model. [The American Lawyer]

    * That was fast. Days after Dean Nora Demleitner announced that she was stepping down, Washington & Lee already has a new dean. [TaxProf Blog]

    * Jury slams Apple with $533 Million verdict. As they say, everything’s bigger in Texas. [The Litigation Daily]

    10 Comments / / Feb 26, 2015 at 8:33 AM
  • Morning Docket, Trials

    Morning Docket: 02.25.15

    * Smart women, foolish choices? Alexandra Marchuk might regret turning down a $425,001 offer of judgment from the defendants in Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi, in which she wound up getting a $140,000 verdict. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

    * In other news from high-profile sexual harassment cases, the trial in Harvard Law grad Ellen Pao’s lawsuit against venture capital behemoth Kleiner Perkins got underway yesterday. [USA Today]

    * A guilty verdict and a life sentence in the “American Sniper” trial. [New York Times]

    * Embattled politico Sheldon Silver has turned to the talented Steven Molo in seeking to get the criminal charges against him dismissed. [New York Post]

    * J.J. Nelson v. Adidas: coming to a 1L Contracts casebook near you? [ESPN]

    * Law schools dropping the LSAT: a trend in the making? [BloombergBusiness]

    * The latest in Deidre Clark v. Allen & Overy: is plaintiff Deidre Dare ready for her close-up psychological exam? [New York Law Journal]

    * Is the job outlook for law school graduates brightening? Some thoughts from Jim Leipold of NALP. [National Law Journal via ABA Journal]

    * As he runs for Congress, what does Staten Island district attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. have to say about the Eric Garner case? [New York Times]

    23 Comments / / Feb 25, 2015 at 8:37 AM
  • Mary Jo White

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.24.15

    * Mary Jo White’s sizable net worth is causing sizable headaches over at the SEC. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * If you work at a law firm and take way too long to perform simple tasks in Microsoft Word or Excel, shape up: a new test, developed by former in-house lawyer Casey Flaherty, could expose your weaknesses — and lead to your work being discounted. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

    * More from Howard Bashman about the misadventures of Howard Shipley, the Foley & Lardner partner who might get spanked by SCOTUS for a bizarre filing. [How Appealing]

    * An S.D.N.Y. jury held the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization liable for supporting six terrorist attacks and issued a verdict of $218.5 million — an award that will under the law get tripled (collected remains to be seen). [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Wall Street banks and their law firms are getting serious about cybersecurity. [New York Times]

    * Thanks to Emily Kelchen for her review of Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link), which she calls “a true legal thriller.” [Wisconsin Lawyer]

    13 Comments / / Feb 24, 2015 at 9:22 AM
  • Alexandra Marchuk and Juan Monteverde

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket 02.23.15

    * Welcome back my friends, to the case that never ends: attorneys for Alexandra Marchuk lodged a request for $1.4 million in attorneys fees after her Pyrrhic victory in the Faruqi & Faruqi case. [Law360]

    * In the wake of the Oscars, it’s worth remembering that David Boies is a movie producer. Next up for his shop, Boies/Schiller Film Group, a movie starring Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor. Because their last movies together were so frigging fantastic. [The Am Law Daily]

    * Speaking of the Oscars, just how much will nominees be regretting that $160,000 swag bag come tax time? [TaxProf Blog]

    * Former Port Authority Chairman David Samson is under scrutiny for enjoying some untoward perks. Like the United Airlines flight route direct from Newark to Samson’s weekend home that was routinely bereft of passengers and ceased to exist days after Samson left the job. Something’s clearly suspect if someone is willingly flying United. [North Jersey.com]

    * We’ve previously discussed the benchslap potential for Howard Shipley over his unorthodox Supreme Court brief. Now his lawyers, including SCOTUS mainstay Paul Clement, have told the Court that it’s basically all the client’s fault. [Legal Times]

    48 Comments / / Feb 23, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • law_school LF

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.20.15

    * It looks like some pretty big changes are going to be coming down the pipeline at Washington & Lee University School of Law. From faculty and staff layoffs to payouts from its endowment, this generally doesn’t look pretty. We’ll have more on this news later today. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

    * The 87th Academy Awards ceremony is this weekend, and you know what that means: IP lawyers are doing their damndest to protect the Oscars brand. Can you imagine the sheer number of cease and desist letters that have been going out? [National Law Journal]

    * Congratulations to Marci Eisenstein, who was recently elected to become the first woman to serve as managing partner of Schiff Hardin in the firm’s 150-year history. FYI, the firm’s most recent partner classes have been 2/3 women for the past three years. [Am Law Daily]

    * New Jersey Governor and would-be Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie made five firms really happy in 2014 thanks to all of the legal work he handed to them. Gibson Dunn, for example, earned $7.9 million from the Bridgegate affair. [Courier-Post]

    * Which state will be the next to legalize recreational marijuana? It may be Vermont, where Senate Bill 95 would allow those 21 and older to possess, use, and sell pot. Just think, you can save the environment and get high while you do it! [Huffington Post]

    17 Comments / / Feb 20, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Loretta Lynch (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.19.15

    * “Let’s face it: There are some people here that will not vote for her unless she says what they want her to say, that the president committed an illegal act by these [immigration] executive orders.” Loretta Lynch is having a tough time making Republican friends. [The Hill]

    * Some new details have been released on the investigation into DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt’s death. Per police records, he was stabbed in the back, and was found in his hotel room with “lubricant and condom” and an “enema.” We’ll have more on this development later today. [Legal Times]

    * The rankings are coming! THE RANKINGS ARE COMING! Rankings guru Bob Morse, the man who holds law school deans’ jobs in his hands, says the 2016 U.S. News Law School Rankings will be out on March 10. [Morse Code / U.S. News & World Report]

    * A patent lawyer with Asperger’s syndrome is suing Patterson & Sheridan for discrimination. In his suit, he claims that a prominent partner was allowed to continually harass him in a purported quest to drive him out. Ah, law firm life. [The Recorder]

    * The case against the ex-leaders of Dewey & LeBoeuf hinges on the testimony of the failed firm’s former employees. Defense attorneys, of course, are trying to get things barred from admission — including one defendant’s link to a mob member. [New York Law Journal]

    * “We’re still in the same position we’ve been in. There’s progress, but things are moving at a snail’s pace.” As we mentioned earlier this week, according to NALP, the percentage of women associates in law firms is up… but not by much. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * One of the best law schools in the country will have a brand new dean come this summer. Congratulations to Theodore Ruger, a longtime law professor who will assume the deanship at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in July. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    26 Comments / / Feb 19, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Justice Clarence Thomas

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.18.15

    * Could it be? Did Justice Clarence Thomas ask a question during oral arguments at SCOTUS? No, but he did ask a question at Yale Law during a presentation, noting that he doesn’t ask “irrelevant, useless questions” at the high court. [Legal Times]

    * Per NALP, gains were made by women and minorities in law firms for the first time in years, but be careful, because Jim Leipold is watching you: “Individual law firms should not be allowed to hide behind the national figures.” [National Law Journal]

    * Meet Judge Robert C. Brack of the District Court of New Mexico, who recently earned quite the accolade. Judge Brack has sentenced more defendants than any other federal judge in the past five years. He won’t be celebrating his achievement. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * This Georgetown Law professor, who happens to be the cofounder of one of the country’s largest litigation finance firms, wants to see a law firm IPO, but others wonder if lawyers would be able to ethically practice while reporting to shareholders. [Washington Post]

    * A Chadbourne & Park employee has been banned from ever working for another law firm again following his theft of $15,360 from C&P’s coffers. Not to worry, no client money was pilfered from the firm — the cash was taken from an open office account. [Am Law Daily]

    * If you haven’t heard, David Lat wrote a book called Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link), and “[w]riting the novel was almost therapeutic for [him] in a way” — he’s “kind of over” the fact that his résumé doesn’t include a SCOTUS clerkship. [Chicago Daily Law Bulletin]

    * Martha Africa, name partner of Major Lindsey & Africa, RIP. [San Francisco Chronicle]

    17 Comments / / Feb 18, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • lawyer snow angel

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.17.15

    * Following NBC’s announcement of his six-month suspension without pay, Brian Williams turned to Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly to save his career. The pair met when they were Supreme Court clerks — oopsie, we guess that’s another misrepresentation. [Am Law Daily]

    * “We weren’t about to ask them to risk life and limb to get in.” As Boston braces for yet another snowstorm, Biglaw firms are trying to figure out how they can continue to operate. Punxsutawney Phil is keeping the wheels of justice from turning. [National Law Journal]

    * The Supreme Court has granted Colorado an extension to respond to a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma which claims that its decision to legalize marijuana was unconstitutional. Puff, puff, pass this cert vote, SCOTUS. [Cannabist / Denver Post]

    * Regulators! Mount up… and then run away to your new Biglaw firms. Preet Bharara’s S.D.N.Y. roster is constantly changing thanks to the golden handcuffs large law firms offer, but Bharara still “love[s] all [his] children equally.” [DealBook / New York Times]

    * David Messerschmitt, the DLA Piper associate who was found dead in a Washington, D.C., hotel room last week, is remembered by his colleagues as “someone so talented and so nice.” There have been no new breaks in his murder investigation. [Legal Times]

    14 Comments / / Feb 17, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Thanks, Davis Polk!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 02.16.15

    Ed. note: Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, we will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will still be publishing, but less frequently than usual. We will be back in full force tomorrow.

    * The news is in, and it seems that Davis Polk’s financial numbers were at record highs. The firm’s revenue beat the $1 billion mark for the first time ever, and its PPP rose to $3.29 million. No wonder its 2014 bonuses were so awesome! [Am Law Daily]

    * Yes, we know that William Mitchell Law and Hamline Law are merging to survive as a result of a quickly disappearing applicant pool. We’d really love to know how many other law schools are considering this as an alternative to closing their doors. [Star Tribune]

    * How are Nebraska and Oklahoma, which neighbor Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized, handling the situation? Not well. Their AGs want SCOTUS to rule the weed law in the state where you can get Rocky Mountain High is unconstitutional. [PBS NewsHour]

    * Thanks to a recent ABA rule change, schools are beginning to admit students without LSAT scores. One of those schools is Iowa Law (ranked in the top 30 by U.S. News), but those students need to have done really well on other standardized tests. [Daily Iowan]

    * “How have I done as a judge today?” “Not bad, but you could do better.” Judge John Hurley had a run-in with an 80-year-old criminal defendant who wouldn’t stop calling him sweetheart. Flip to the next page to see the entertaining video. [NBC 6 South Florida]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mEQp33kr2O8#t=0

    32 Comments / / Feb 16, 2015 at 9:08 AM