Morning Docket

  • partner car

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.20.15

    * Here’s a very important lesson for all of the lawyers reading this: thinking about work while you’re on the way to work doesn’t mean that you’re actually working. This novel argument failed miserably for a Biglaw partner trying to get out of a huge insurance claim. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Justice Scalia isn’t very fond of the media’s coverage of SCOTUS: “They don’t like conservatives on the court, or anywhere else for that matter. They do a lousy job. You can’t expect them to do a good job.” Wow, tell us how you really feel. [Arkansas Online]

    * “Enough! Enough! Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job.” After months of watching his pick for attorney general wait around thanks to political gridlock, President Obama has finally had it with this sh*t. [New York Times]

    * Good news, associates! If you leave your law firm job for a Supreme Court clerkship, you’ll likely still be able to receive that gigantic SCOTUS hiring bonus — to the tune of $300,000 plus! — if you return to the firm you left when it’s over. [National Law Journal]

    * “Hard questions have to be asked at law schools whose modest reputations and forgiving admission standards do not ensure their graduates gainful employment.” High LSAT scores are down, bar failure is up, and law schools still say it’s not their fault. [Bloomberg]

    71 Comments / / Apr 20, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.17.15

    * “The top is eroding and the bottom is growing.” Even as class sizes get smaller and tuition gets lower, the law school brain drain continues. America’s best and brightest won’t be fooled into studying law when the job market is still so unstable, but others have been. [Bloomberg]

    * Attorneys for California’s sex workers have filed suit to overturn the state’s ban on prostitution, claiming that “[t]he rights of adults to engage in consensual, private sexual activity (even for compensation) is a fundamental liberty interest.” Yeah, okay. [AP]

    * “The simple story is that $160,000 as a starting salary at large law firms is less prevalent than it was immediately prior to the recession.” You can scream “NY TO 190K!” all you want, but starting salaries have remained flat. Sowwy. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York has involved himself in an “escalating war of words” with members of the federal judiciary that he may come to regret. Will this “petulant rooster” be able to kiss and make up? [New York Times]

    * Per a recently filed lawsuit, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees still hasn’t paid a single law firm for their representation in the Biogenesis case. He allegedly owes Gordon & Rees $380,059 in unpaid fees. Come on, A-Rod. You’ve got the cash. [New York Daily News]

    * Infamous plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Donziger of the $9.5 billion Chevron / Ecuador kerfuffle decided that if he can’t win his case in a court of law, he might as well try to win it in the court of public opinion. Check out his side of the story. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

    49 Comments / / Apr 17, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • 'Damn this tax scam!' says the tax law prof.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.16.15

    * At least a dozen professors from UT Law have had their identities stolen, and they only found out about it after their tax returns were rejected. As it turns out, the data thief had already filed their returns for them. Law profs’ tax refund checks must be tasty. [American-Statesman]

    * If you’ve been wondering what kind of salary it’d take to woo away the dean of one of the top law schools in the nation to become your university’s president, wonder no more. The answer is $660K per year. Way to go, Dean Schill! Play on, playa. [Register-Guard]

    * If you thought the list of the legal profession’s luminaries was looking like a giant sausage party, then you should check out this new ranking of the “most accomplished female attorneys working in the legal profession today.” [National Law Journal]

    * Biglaw, bigger egos? Law firm managing partners aren’t feeling as confident as they once were about economic and legal industry growth, but they’re totally jazzed about their own firms’ potential for revenue growth and the demand for their services. [Am Law Daily]

    * Another law school makes big changes thanks to legal academia’s rocky road: Loyola Law in L.A. is planning a 25% enrollment cut and is taking $20 million from its university’s endowment to entice students to attend with fat scholarships. [Los Angeles Loyolan]

    27 Comments / / Apr 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Dean Michael Schill

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.15.15

    * Sorry, Chicago Law, but it looks like you’re going to lose your dean. Michael Schill, the school’s departing dean, will leave to assume the presidency at the University of Oregon. It’s an upgrade for UO, and a potential downgrade for UChiLaw. Yikes… [Willamette Week]

    * FYI, D.C. Circuit litigants, you really need to “avoid using acronyms that are not widely known.” This is your second warning, your colleagues have already been benchslapped for this behavior, and the clerk’s office literally can’t even anymore. [National Law Journal]

    * After six months spent completing a domestic violence program, the battery charge against Judge Mark Fuller has been dropped and expunged from his record. Whether he’ll be allowed to keep his job on the federal bench is another story entirely. [Reuters]

    * Your law school application is a great place to explain why your undergraduate GPA is so damn low, because at this point in the process, the law school of your choice may be happy that you actually have a pulse. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    * Theo Shaw, a member of the “Jena Six” who had to spend 7 months in jail because he couldn’t afford bail for his alleged participation in a gang-beating, is going to law school on a full ride. He’s “profoundly grateful” to Washington Law. Congrats! [Business Insider]

    20 Comments / / Apr 15, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • will-work-for-food

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.14.15

    * Georgetown Law is teaming up with DLA Piper and Arent Fox to open a low bono law firm. The firm will provide two things for those in need: affordable legal services and jobs to bolster GULC’s employment stats. [Am Law Daily]

    * Michigan Law will provide summer funding for all of its 1Ls for law-related internships — but there’s a catch. The cash is a loan, and students may have to pay it back if they earn Biglaw money the following summer. [Michigan Law]

    * Judge Jed Rakoff sounded off on the judicary’s problem with mass incarceration at a recent conference at Harvard Law, calling for his colleagues and bar associations across the nation to take a stand for the accused with a gentler justice system. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * “It’s positive news. I think it indicates there’s some slight opening of financial services to marijuana-related businesses.” Some banks have finally decided to provide services to weedpreneurs, but others are leaving marijuana moguls high and dry. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * “Students should seriously consider going to law school in a state where they plan to practice law.” Unless you like wasting your time, you’d do well to listen to this advice, even if you’re going to a school with national name recognition. [U.S. News & World Report]

    42 Comments / / Apr 14, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • Nelly

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.13.15

    * It’s gettin’ hot in herre, so take off all your clothes. Nelly’s gettin’ so hot, he wanna take his clothes off — for his jailhouse strip search? The rapper was arrested in Tennessee this weekend for felony and simple possession of a potpourri of drugs on his tour bus. [CNN]

    * “It usually takes much longer for a position to become so disreputable that no respectable lawyer will touch it.” If you haven’t noticed, Biglaw firms don’t want to touch the SCOTUS gay marriage arguments with a 10-foot pole. [New York Times]

    * “I think we’re going to see a 10,000-lawyer law firm within five years.” In case it’s not entirely obvious by now, Dentons is trying to become the largest firm in the universe, with “no logical end” in sight to its lawyer hoarding ways. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

    * “[T]his one has me bumfuzzled.” Like other legal experts, this law prof isn’t sure how to tackle Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s lawsuit to preserve her power, but he does win the award for best usage of “bumfuzzled.” [Lacrosse Tribune]

    * Yikes! Pennsylvania State Attorney General Kathleen Kane recently found herself embroiled in scandal after two of her offices were searched and she was ordered to explain to a three-judge panel her reasoning for firing one of her prosecutors. [Morning Call]

    29 Comments / / Apr 13, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • golf caddy

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.10.15

    * Moonlighting for Biglaw partners: golf caddy? This Alston & Bird partner spent the week caddying for Gunn Yang at the 2015 Masters Tournament. Oh, to watch a partner be subservient and lug someone else’s junk around all day. [Am Law Daily]

    * Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is suing each of her judicial colleagues over a constitutional amendment that could get her demoted from her seat of power. Maybe this judicial diva is a “total bitch” after all. [New York Times]

    * If you plan to run for president of this country and hope to discuss reform of the criminal justice system while you’re shaking hands and kissing babies on the campaign trail, you better be prepared to answer each and every one of these questions. [Washington Post]

    * “I want to see in an application that … Law School is a default option for you.” At least one elite law school “actively preference[s]” work experience after college. Get a job. It’ll probably be easier now than after you graduate from law school. [Harvard Crimson]

    * Aside from absurd tuition rates and deceptive employment statistics, here’s one more absolutely vital thing that members of the legal profession should consider tossing out during their spring cleaning sessions: the third year of law school. [Washington Post]

    44 Comments / / Apr 10, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Michael Slager

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.09.15

    * That was quick! It turns out that David Aylor, the lawyer who once represented Michael Slager, the recently fired South Carolina police officer charged with murdering Walter Scott, kicked his client to the curb when he saw the damning video of the shooting. [Daily Beast]

    * Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the number of federal weapons charges county court-at-law judges rack up in a single indictment. Seventy-year-old Judge Tim Wright faces up to 70 years in prison for allegedly selling guns illegally and trafficking them to Mexico. Yeehaw! [TWC News]

    * Hot off its merger with Dacheng last quarter, Dentons is kicking off the second quarter of 2015 by merging with McKenna Long & Aldridge. Thanks to back-to-back mergers, Baker & McKenzie is now second to Dentons in terms of attorney headcount. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Warner Norcross & Judd refused to take up the defense of Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban before SCOTUS — but that didn’t stop the firm’s head of appellate litigation from getting involved. He’s now on a leave of absence from the firm. [National Law Journal]

    * For those of you who are interested, here’s the ABA Journal’s question of the week: “What was the first moment you knew you wanted to be a lawyer?” For many lawyers, the question can be answered thusly: “When I realized I couldn’t be a doctor.” [ABA Journal]

    16 Comments / / Apr 9, 2015 at 9:09 AM
  • law_school LF

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.08.15

    * “Take it from me, dealing with the complex criminal legal system can be difficult and intimidating for most people.” This ex-Troutman Sanders partner may be facing nine felony charges, but who cares? He’s starting his own firm. [Am Law Daily]

    * It’s kind of cute when law school deans lie to themselves to make themselves feel better. For example, the dean of Oregon Law says now is “excellent” time go to go law school, and he doesn’t make decisions “based on what moves the rankings needle.” [Daily Emerald]

    * Per the latest Altman Weil survey, the first quarter of 2015 was one of the best ever for law firm mergers. The pace with which law firms merged was the second-quickest since the company started tracking mergers to begin with in 2007. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * The Rutgers Board of Governors has approved of the proposed merger between Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden Law. Now they just have to wait for the ABA’s rubber stamp, which they’ll obviously get — the ABA would rubber stamp a shoe. [NJ Advance Media]

    * “[T]he law is a noble profession – but it’s also an oversubscribed one, due in large part to excessive federal lending.” Maybe if the government stopped handing out student loans like candy, law schools would be forced to lower their tuition rates. [Washington Post]

    * The University of Virginia’s chapter of Phi Kappa Psi is definitely going to try to sue Rolling Stone over its fraternity gang-rape story, but the question is whether “bad journalism [will] amount to legal liability.” What do you think about this? [WSJ Law Blog]

    89 Comments / / Apr 8, 2015 at 8:57 AM
  • money magnet

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.07.15

    * Which Biglaw firm just raised its starting salary for associates? Will this be the beginning of a revolution? Don’t you wish your firm would follow this firm’s lead? We’ll have more on this exciting salary news later today. [Legal Intelligencer]

    * “With the decline of lawyers and law students, we were looking for new avenues to attract students.” William Mitchell Law may say its hybrid J.D. program was for its students’ benefit, but it was really only to put asses in seats — even digital ones. [CNBC]

    * It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday… when you’re a Biglaw partner trying to escape the terms of your contract by making a lateral move. Some firms are even holding capital contributions hostage to discourage partners from leaving. [Recorder via ABA Journal]

    * Potential penalties for Supreme Court protesters seem to be getting stiffer. Perhaps federal prosecutors are pissed about 99Rise’s persistence, because this time, members of the social justice group are facing jail time for “haranguing” our justices. [Legal Times]

    * According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida was the most productive federal trial court in the nation last year. When Flori-duh is kicking your ass, it’s time to reevalute your life. [WSJ Law Blog]

    9 Comments / / Apr 7, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Coming to a law school near you?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.06.15

    * “It’s unconscionable, and I believe they have breached the fiduciary duty to the law school, to the students and to the public.” Appalachian Law is struggling, and some believe its trustees are preventing the school from saving itself. Will this be the first school to fold? [Inside Higher Ed]

    * “We were all running this ATM machine called big law firms.” Before 2008, it was easier for large law firms to make money, but now, there’s an “insurmountable gap” in revenue between the industry’s heavy hitters and the rest of the pack. [Wall Street Journal]

    * You’ll pry their job security from their cold, dead hands: William Mitchell Law professors know that layoffs may be coming thanks to the school’s planned merger with Hamline Law, and have filed suit to protect the Tenure Code. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

    * Bonus season isn’t the only thing that Davis Polk has cornered the market on. According to the latest Bloomberg M&A rankings, the firm came out on top during the first quarter of 2015 when it came to advising on major deals. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * “Whatever happened to The New York Times’ fact-checker?” Here’s yet another harsh critique of Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon’s cringeworthy defense of law schools, and this time it’s from a fellow law professor. Ouch. [The Belly of the Beast via Am Law Daily]

    * Jay Edelson of Edelson PC may be the “most hated person in Silicon Valley,” but he probably doesn’t care about being Liked — after all, he recently filed suit against Facebook over the social networking company’s face recognition software. [New York Times]

    28 Comments / / Apr 6, 2015 at 8:45 AM
  • Gun 2nd amendment

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.03.15

    * Even more law schools are doing away with their LSAT requirements. Let’s give a great big welcome to Drake Law and St. John’s Law, who are joining the likes of SUNY Buffalo Law and Iowa Law. Woohoo, welcome aboard the bandwagon, folks! [U.S. News & World Report]

    * Judge James W. Haley Jr. of the Virginia Court of Appeals held a drunk intruder at gunpoint while he waited for the police to arrive. This unwanted houseguest was only wearing one shoe as he wandered through the judge’s home. Oopsie! [Free Lance-Star]

    * Well, that was quick. Fried Frank has hired away James “Jamie” Wareham, DLA Piper’s $5 million man, about four years after he lateraled to the firm from Paul Hastings. April Fools’ Day was his last day at the firm… or was it? J/K, it was for real. [Am Law Daily]

    * J. Michael Farren, the ex-White House lawyer who was convicted of attempting to murder his wife and sentenced to 15 years in prison, is now facing the loss of his law license. This should really be the very least of his worries. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

    * The U.S. Marshals Service has increased the reward for tips related to the shooting of U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg. Now you’ll get $50,000 if you’ve got information that’ll lead to arrests and convictions of the suspects who shot a federal jurist. [Detroit News]

    12 Comments / / Apr 3, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Bob McCulloch

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.02.15

    * “He said what he wanted people to hear and he didn’t fully answer questions.” St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch of Ferguson infamy spoke at Missouri Law yesterday. We understand there was some sort of an “incident” with the SBA as well. We may have more on this later. [KBIA]

    * “Don’t panic; you’re bound to get something eventually.” California had some of the worst employment statistics for law graduates after the recession. If you’re a member of the Lost Generation, these stories may resonate with you. [California Lawyer]

    * New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez was federally indicted on corruption charges yesterday for allegedly accepting more than $1 million worth of gifts and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors. Way to do Jersey lawyers proud. [AP]

    * Jury selection begins on April 27 for the criminal trial against the former members of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s top brass. The prosecution dropped three counts, but Joel Sanders and the Steves must still defend themselves against 100 others. Yikes! [New York Law Journal]

    * Gordon Smith, one of the writers for Better Call Saul, doesn’t think the show’s portrayal of lawyer life will inspire young people to “run out to become attorneys.” After all, Jimmy McGill’s home and office haven’t exactly been depicted as “glamorous.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    14 Comments / / Apr 2, 2015 at 9:07 AM
  • Coming to a law school near you?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.01.15

    * And the law school deans rejoiced! Enrollment is scraping the bottom of the barrel, but applications are only down by 2.9 percent so far this year. If you cross your eyes and squint, you may be able to see some signs of stabilization for the legal academy. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Indiana has more than one controversial law on the books. Say hello to Purvi Patel, the first woman in the country to be charged, convicted, and sentenced on a feticide charge. Critics say this conviction will have a negative effect on women. [WNCN]

    * When the going gets tough in Biglaw, the tough get going — on either laying off their employees or cutting their real estate losses. Per Colliers International’s Law Firm Services Group, firms have recently reduced their office space by 15 to 32 percent. [Am Law Daily]

    * “We cannot underestimate the seriousness of this incident.” Terrible news: Yesterday, members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front took Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage in an Instanbul courthouse and later killed him. [Reuters]

    * Which state is the worst in the country for job-seeking law school graduates? That would be Mississippi, where it’s harder to get a job as an attorney than it is to spell the name of the state while intoxicated. There are 10.53 lawyers for every legal job opening. [WDAM]

    23 Comments / / Apr 1, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • 'I misread the question.'

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.31.15

    * Reunited and it feels so good… to have more tuition money in our pockets: following more than 40 years apart, Rutgers-Camden Law and Rutgers-Newark Law may merge to create the Rutgers School of Law, one of the largest law schools in the country. [NJ.com]

    * In case you missed it, the courtroom erupted into chaos in the final moments of the Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins trial because a juror “made a mistake” and decided to change his vote mid-verdict. Come on, give the guy a break — he’s almost 90. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Lawmakers are awfully interested in the way that the SEC is doing its job, and they’re drafting new laws in the hope of helping the agency out. We’ll let you know how helpful this was in a few years if those bills are ever passed. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * After an incredibly unsuccessful defense of its ban on same-sex marriage, Wisconsin is going to have to shell out more than $1 million in legal fees to the ACLU — the largest single payout yet by a state in the history of cases of this kind. [National Law Journal]

    * If you’re looking to transfer to another law school after your first year in the trenches, here are three things that you absolutely, positively must do to ensure your chances of being accepted elsewhere. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    8 Comments / / Mar 31, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • Amanda Knox

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.30.15

    * Talk about a Friday news dump! In case you missed these high-profile rulings, Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder charges in Italy (for the second time), and Ellen Pao lost her discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Use this slideshow to compare how North Carolina law schools are doing in terms of job placement. Duke was on top, and NCCU was dead last. Bonus: There were very few school-funded jobs to strip out of the data — the numbers were just that bad on their own. [Triad Business Journal]

    * LSAC doesn’t want to to adopt new disability accommodations for the LSAT because they “show a complete disregard for the importance of standardized testing conditions.” It’d rather show a complete disregard for applicants’ disabilities. [National Law Journal]

    * Widener? I hardly know her! Thanks to the ABA, this saying has new meaning in legal circles. With the law school regulator’s blessing, Widener Law’s Delaware and Harrisburg campuses will officially become two separate schools effective July 1. [News Journal]

    * Following blowback over the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana Governor Mike Pence says he’ll push for legislation clarifying that the controversial law isn’t intended to support discrimination against the LGBT community. Suuure. [Indy Star]

    113 Comments / / Mar 30, 2015 at 9:07 AM
  • Andrew Gilbertson

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.27.15

    * Brooklyn Law’s dean thinks “too much power rests with the [NCBE],” and that we need a new way to license lawyers. Brooklyn Law’s July 2014 bar passage rate was ~10 percent lower than the year prior, so perhaps he doesn’t like how those grapes taste. [National Law Journal]

    * A man on trial for a bank robbery committed in 2013 pooped his pants while on the stand, removed some of said poop from his pants, and started eating it because the Virgin Mary told him to do it. If you couldn’t tell, he’s got an insanity defense. [Inquisitr]

    * A new Citigroup report says Biglaw firms are at “high risk for cyberintrusions,” but so few will admit that they’ve been hacked it’s impossible to tell if the problem is growing. Don’t worry, clients, your confidential files might be safe. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * People may think “this is a crappy, for-profit school that didn’t make it. But it could have been a great law school.” Charleston Law’s founding dean wrote a damning blog post about his colleagues for their attempts to sell the school to InfiLaw. [Post and Courier]

    * “[B]eing well-dressed and having a law school diploma” isn’t enough to ensure that you’ll get a job anymore. Quick, take some advice from the career services dean at a school where 47.2 percent of recent grads are working full-time as lawyers. [Huffington Post]

    19 Comments / / Mar 27, 2015 at 8:53 AM
  • Green California Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.26.15

    * If you thought Squire Patton Boggs would be able to meet its projection of $1 billion in combined revenue after its merger, you’d be wrong. If you thought the firm would be able to meet its projection of having more than 1,500 lawyers after its merger, you’d also be wrong. [National Law Journal]

    * Use this slideshow to compare how California law schools are doing in terms of job placement. Stanford was on top, and Golden Gate was dead last. Bonus: If you strip out school-funded jobs, the numbers look even worse. [Sacramento Business Journal]

    * Uh… oops? Keila Ravelo, the ex-Willkie Farr partner who was accused of stealing millions of dollars from two of her former firms, is now at the center of questions over settlements in credit-card cases she worked on. [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]

    * “Please help us heal.” David Messerschmitt’s widow is begging for information about the DLA Piper associate’s death. The case is being actively investigated, and police believe the person of interest who was seen on surveillance footage is a woman. [Legal Times]

    * In case you missed it yesterday, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The first charge could result in up to five years in jail, while the second could result in a life sentence. Yikes! [WSJ Law Blog]

    29 Comments / / Mar 26, 2015 at 9:01 AM