Morning Docket

  • (Photo via James Price)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.18.15

    * Talk about Texas justice: After an elderly couple called animal control on a family with four dogs and caused them to be assessed a $121 fine, the dog-owning family posted this eloquently worded sign on their lawn. [San Francisco Chronicle]

    * Chicago Blawkhawks hockey player Patrick Kane has been accused of rape, so naturally, his lawyer took to Facebook to defend his client in a hat trick of idiocy by engaging with bloggers, commenters, and witnesses, as one does. [CBS Chicago]

    * Just when you thought you’d memorized all of the hearsay exceptions, the judiciary says it’s thinking of tossing one out. It may be popular on the bar exam, but it’s time to say goodbye to the otherwise rarely used ancient documents rule. [National Law Journal]

    * British firms are borrowing “record sums” to fund expansion, and many have increased associate pay to compete with the U.S. firms with higher pay scales across the pond. Perhaps Biglaw firms ought to consider spreading the wealth over here. [Financial Times]

    * After having served 10 months in prison for killing his girlfriend, a law school graduate turned model, Oscar Pistorius is ready to move on to “mansion arrest” for the remainder of his sentence. Man, it must be nice to be a wealthy convict in South Africa. [Reuters]

    26 Comments / / Aug 18, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • Jay Z (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.17.15

    * This October, rappers Jay Z and Timbaland will have to testify in a lawsuit concerning copyright infringement and improper music sampling. We’ll see how “Big Pimpin'” they really are when we find out which lawyers and law firms are repping them. [Page Six / New York Post]

    * This judge apparently doesn’t appreciate fighting words in pleadings. “Do you want to fight me? Is that what you want?” A West Virginia magistrate judge challenged a litigant — one who previously called the magistrate a “fat sweaty slob” in motion papers — to come to his house and “see what happens.” [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

    * An ex-Texas judge was sentenced for his side job of smuggling guns into Mexico and selling them. He faced up to 70 years when he pleaded guilty to two felony counts in May, and was handed his 18-month sentence on Friday. Yeehaw! [Austin American-Statesman]

    * The Idaho College of Law will begin to host first-year law school classes at its Boise campus starting in 2017. The Boise campus now serves 1Ls, 2LS, and 3Ls, but not to worry, this flyover law school’s main campus isn’t going anywhere. [Idaho Statesman]

    * Julian Bond, civil rights icon, SPLC board member, former NAACP chair, RIP. [NYT]

    24 Comments / / Aug 17, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Lucky in Kentucky

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.14.15

    * Judge Lance Mason, who was suspended from his duties earlier this year, recently pleaded guilty to charges related to a brutal attack made on his wife. He’ll be sentenced in September, and faces up to 36 months in prison. [Northeast Ohio Media Group]

    * No one will be getting lucky in Kentucky under this clerk’s watch: Two months after SCOTUS declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, this state court clerk is still turning away gay couples and refusing to issue marriage licenses. [New York Times]

    * Per the latest report from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group, even though this year started out well, the bank is revising its financial performance forecast, and not in a good way. Hopefully firms will be able to weather the latest monetary storm. [Am Law Daily]

    * Starting in mid-October, lawyers and law firms will be able to purchase .law domain names. A few influential law firms — DLA Piper, Skadden Arps, and SCOTUSblog-affiliated Russell & Goldstein — have gotten first dibs on them. Congrats! [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Law librarians at large and medium-sized firms feel underutilized and underpaid, and that’s unfortunate, because like Liam Neeson in Taken, they’ve got a very particular set of skills, skills they’ve acquired over a very long career. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    50 Comments / / Aug 14, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • The women of SCOTUS (Photo via Maia Weinstock)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.13.15

    * “When it’s convenient, we’re alumni; when it’s not convenient, we are not alumni.” Grads of Texas Wesleyan Law — which is now known as Texas A&M Law — are suing because the school won’t grant them new degrees or recognize them as alumni. Harsh, y’all. [Houston Chronicle]

    * The ABA Journal wants to know who you think the smartest judge in the U.S. is. Let’s hear it for the wonderful women of the Supreme Court: Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. [ABA Journal]

    * Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the country, it only seems logical that bans on adoptions by same-sex couples should be overturned. Mississippi will have Roberta Kaplan of Windsor fame to thank when its ban is struck down. [New York Times]

    * Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane has claimed innocence with regard to the criminal charges she recently racked up. She blames the entire ordeal on blowback from the state’s “Porngate” scandal. AG Kane has got one hell of a moneyshot. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * Did you know that there’s such a thing as barbecue law? Further, did you know that a Biglaw attorney who serves as counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright who’s never handled a barbecue case has cornered the market on BBQ law books (affiliate link)? [Legal Times]

    70 Comments / / Aug 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • Donald Sterling

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.11.15

    * “[H]e’s just a litigious person. Unless he has something going on in the public eye, he can’t exist.” Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling filed a suit against V. Stiviano and TMZ, accusing them of invading his privacy by sharing a recording of his racism. [New York Post]

    * A jury found that an ex-municipal court judge who was convicted of insurance fraud was lying when he claimed that he’d been attacked outside the courthouse by thugs wielding a toilet tank lid. We guess you could say that the jurors were able to flush out all of this guy’s crap. [ABA Journal]

    * Talk about a Hail Mary suit: Ted Wells of Paul Weiss and NFL locker-room bullying report fame is being sued for defamation by the former Miami Dolphins offensive-line coach who happened to be one of the casualties of his investigation. [Washington Post]

    * Deutsche Bank’s general counsel will step down from his position at the end of the year. Deutsche Bank joins JPMorgan and Bank of America as the third big bank to have announced a change in GC within the past month. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * If you’re considering applying to law school, here are five steps you can take to write a “great” personal statement. Surprisingly, one step isn’t mentioning your guaranteed employment at a family firm after graduation. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    24 Comments / / Aug 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Robot Lawyer

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.10.15

    * Hot on the heels of the news that the majority of students enrolled in California’s “failure factories” unaccredited law schools drop out before graduation, legislators are pushing for the state bar to do something about it before even more prospective students are conned. [Los Angeles Times]

    * Robots will be coming for your jobs more quickly now thanks to the largest law firm in the world. Dentons invested an untold sum in Ross, an app that will inevitably replace first-year lawyers by utilizing super computer Watson’s artificial intelligence to perform legal research. [Globe and Mail]

    * Slowly but surely, the legal industry is making a comeback in terms of headcount. Sure, the entire profession is only employing 3,500 more people now than it was at this time last year (sorry about that, law school grads), but it’s still an improvement. [Am Law Daily]

    * Just because it doesn’t look like the Securities and Exchange Commission has been doing anything doesn’t mean that lawyers at the agency have been twiddling their thumbs. They’ve got some major things in the works, they swear. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * “I wonder how it feels to save the life of a mass murderer? Good job.” In a shocking verdict, convicted Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes was sentenced to life in prison. All it took was one holdout juror to take the death penalty off the table. [Reuters]

    13 Comments / / Aug 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Katy Perry (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.07.15

    * Graffiti artist Rime alleges that Katy Perry wore a dress designed by Moschino that ripped off some of his copyrightable work. This dark horse has injected herself into a lot of IP issues this year. Your lawyer fans thank you. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * The Seventh Circuit is totally sorry about the case that it completely forgot about for the past five years. It seems that the court pleadings were “placed in the wrong stack” on remand from the Supreme Court in 2010. Congratulations, America: This is your justice system. Oopsie! [ABA Journal]

    * Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been charged with perjury, conspiracy, obstructing justice, and several other crimes in connection with a grand jury leak. She’s the second state AG to be criminally charged this week. Nice job. [USA Today]

    * Arizona Summit Law filed a motion to dismiss former employee and alumnus Paula Lorona’s pro se retaliation and consumer fraud lawsuit with prejudice. The school claims the complaint is pleaded deficiently. Well… you educated her. [National Law Journal]

    * Rapper Busta Rhymes was charged with second degree assault this week after he allegedly threw a protein drink at a gym employee. His lawyer calls the charge “a bunch of bull.” Hmm, we apparently should’ve listened when he told us he was dangerous. [MTV]

    13 Comments / / Aug 7, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Mmm, conspiracy.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.06.15

    * Another American doctor is accused of illegally killing another lesser-known lion in Zimbabwe, but this time, Biglaw is in the doctor’s corner. Apparently when you’re a hunter who’s become the hunted, you turn to Blank Rome. [Am Law Daily]

    * Where Dewey eat when allegedly conspiring to scam the firm’s creditors about its financial situation? According to testimony in the D&L trial, criminal activity reportedly tastes better when paired with fine dining experiences. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * At some point in the very near future, it’s likely that one or more new Supreme Court justices will need to be appointed, and some say that it’s obvious that Justice Don Willett, the Tweeter Laureate of Texas, is plotting a course to be a nominee. #blessed [Forbes]

    * The Fourth Circuit handed down an important opinion on cellphone location records, and it looks like the police need a warrant. Thanks for the circuit split. Quick, someone write a law review note before SCOTUS takes it. [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

    * For some would-be law students, applying early decision may not be the right choice. After all, if you think you can get into ALL of the T14 schools, we bet you’d probably like to see if your huge ego is correct. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    9 Comments / / Aug 6, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Walter Palmer Lion buttface

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.05.15

    * “There are no bathrooms, no air-conditioning, no good food. You don’t usually get good cellphone reception, either, and you can’t just quit and go somewhere comfortable.” Surprisingly, this Biglaw partner isn’t talking about his firm’s working conditions. [Miami Herald]

    * It’s going to be difficult for U.S. authorities to prosecute Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved lion, Cecil. Bringing this guy down under the Lacey Act is going to be a real task. If only this were a Pixar movie with a happy ending. :( [Reuters]

    * SCOTUS justices are jet-setting across the world this summer, with RBG in South Korea and Vietnam, Roberts in Japan, Scalia in Italy, Kennedy in Austria, and Breyer in England. Let’s hope no one has to evacuate a plane via emergency chute. [National Law Journal]

    * If you’re considering applying to law school and you decide to visit one this summer, aside from students huddled in dark corners of the library who are crying over their employment prospects, there are a few things you should be looking for. [U.S. News]

    * The mother of Sandra Bland, the woman who hanged herself in a Texas jail cell last month, has filed a wrongful-death suit, alleging that her daughter shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place and was improperly supervised by guards. [New York Times]

    32 Comments / / Aug 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Britney Spears (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.04.15

    * Her dad’s the ringleader, he calls the shots; she’s like a firecracker, she makes it hot: Since “everything is working perfectly” under pop star Britney Spears’s conservatorship — which has been in effect for the past seven years — it’ll likely stay that way indefinitely. [Us Weekly]

    * Well, that was fun while it lasted. The ABA did away with its year-old LSAT exemption rule in record time. Law schools will only have until 2017 to lard up classes with students who haven’t taken the exam. Good luck and Godspeed. [National Law Journal via TaxProf Blog]

    * Simpson Thacher isn’t the only Biglaw firm that allegedly blew it when it came to turning hundreds of General Motors’ secured creditors into unsecured creditors. Mayer Brown is also facing twin class-action suits for this $1.5 billion boo-boo. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Good news, everyone! The ABA approved a merger between Rutgers Law-Camden and Rutgers Law-Newark, and we’re going to look at this in a positive light because theoretically speaking, there’s now one less law school out there. []

    * “Are Law Schools Skewing Job Placement Numbers?” In a word, yes. Not to be a complete pessimist realist, but come on, you know most school-funded positions exist solely to prop up any given law school’s less-than-pleasing job statistics. [Bloomberg]

    * When you’ve taken the lives of so many, no one cares about your sad life story. A Colorado jury inched closer to inflicting the death penalty upon convicted movie theater shooter James Holmes in the second phase of his trial’s penalty portion. [New York Times]

    21 Comments / / Aug 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Justice Antonin Scalia, mocking advocates of two-year law degrees.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.03.15

    * According to this former Supreme Court clerk, Justice Scalia’s judicial zingers are just like porn in that they’re “titillating, but over time they coarsen the culture of which they are a part.” (Plus, for what it’s worth, the jurist’s audience usually never gets a money shot.) [Washington Post]

    * Better late than never? The ABA dropped the hammer on law schools trying to game their employment stats with a new rule that’ll force them to report school-funded jobs as part-time unless certain length and salary reqs are met. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * The largest of D.C.’s largest law firms grew even larger over the past year, and thanks to a merger, an outsider firm — Morgan Lewis — managed to infiltrate the capital’s Big Four. Sorry, WilmerHale, but maybe 2016 will be your comeback year. [National Law Journal]

    * In other ABA news, the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar rejected a plea for academic credit for paid externships, because we apparently want to keep students as indebted as possible before they begin their professional legal careers. [ABA Journal]

    * A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Richard Lee, a known conspiracy theorist, who sought the release of the Seattle police department’s death-scene photographs from Nirvana star Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Hey! Wait! He’ll file a new complaint. [Seattle Times]

    7 Comments / / Aug 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.30.15

    * The National Association for Law Placement released slightly improved jobs numbers for the law school class of 2014, so yay? [National Law Journal]

    * The battle royale that pits local musicians versus Biglaw heavyweight Skadden continues to rage on. [Washington Post]

    * Guess what? Prosecutors don’t like the Second Circuit’s higher threshold for insider trading cases and now they’d like the Supreme Court to do something about it. [Wall Street Journal]

    * A group of merchants including Amazon, Wal-Mart and Starbucks want the $7 billion settlement negotiated over interchange fees with Visa, Mastercard and American Express in an antitrust case vacated due to attorney Gary Friedman’s alleged misconduct. [Law360]

    * Don’t cha love it when media scandals become real life litigation? All your deflategate legal questions answered. [Stradley Law]

    16 Comments / / Jul 31, 2015 at 8:53 AM
  • (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.30.15

    * Who says political foes can’t work together? It’s easy when there’s a ton of money on the line. Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean make their first joint appearance as Dentons employees. [National Law Journal]

    * Have you been paying attention to the SEC? Catch up with is analysis of the 3 major trends of the Mary Jo White era. [Corporate Counsel]

    * Speaking of the SEC are they playing small ball, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, with the makers of a popular baby formula? [Litigation Daily]

    * Former Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati employee, Dmitry Braverman, was sentenced to two years in jail for insider trading based on information he learned at the firm. [Wall Street Journal]

    * Perkins Coie helps Avvo, an online legal services marketplace, with fundraising to clock in with a $650 million valuation. [Am Law Daily]

    13 Comments / / Jul 30, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Bill Cosby (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.29.15

    * With the accusations mounting, and the stunning New York Magazine cover feature 35 women alleging Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them, the comedian’s legal team is changing tactics. [CNN]

    * Does ideology play a role in conferring honorary degrees? One conservative law professor says yes. [National Law Journal]

    * Ever wonder why there are so many iconic movie roles that are lawyers? [ABA Journal]

    * Citizens United actually loses a legal battle, this time courtesy of New York’s own Amazing Schneiderman. [Wall Street Journal]

    * Need more evidence that campaign finance laws are a joke? [Huffington Post]

    * China’s first lawsuit over pollution is a go. [Jurist]

    * What will the long term impact be of legally classifying Uber drivers as employees? []

    16 Comments / / Jul 29, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • ArrowGoingDown

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.28.15

    * Despite the fact that the 25/75 percentile LSAT range for many law schools has dropped precipitously, some schools still care about LSAT scores — because they care about you (and their U.S. News rank). [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    * Maryland Law and Baltimore Law are going to be teaming up to launch a solo practice incubator for their recent graduates, and BC, BU, and Northeastern will be doing the same thing in 2016. Full-time, long-term jobs where bar passage is required for all! [National Law Journal]

    * The Dacheng Dentons merger has the potential to completely change the legal profession as we know it, or fall flat on its face and be remembered as a good idea that went wrong. It’s been six months, and we’re all still waiting to see what happens. [Financial Times]

    * The criminal case against ex-Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov is like the Energizer bunny in that it keeps going, and going, and going, and going. Manhattan DA Cy Vance is appealing Aleynikov’s overturned conviction. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * “The unfortunate scenario alleged in the complaint cries out for a legislative fix, not a judicial nix.” As expected, terminally ill civil rights attorney Christy McDonnell’s right-to-die lawsuit was dismissed by a California judge yesterday. How depressing. [AP]

    8 Comments / / Jul 28, 2015 at 8:50 AM
  • 50 Pence None The Richer (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.27.15

    * A jury has ruled that rapper 50 Cent must pay an additional $2 million in punitive damages to a woman whose sex tape he posted online, on top of the $5 million he already owes her. This wanksta better hope the judgment gets discharged in bankruptcy. [Associated Press]

    * California is America’s breeding ground for unaccredited law schools, and “[m]ost jurisdictions simply don’t allow [these] kind of law school[s] to exist at all. Period.” Nearly all students (about 9 out of 10) drop out before graduation. How much money is being wasted? [Los Angeles Times]

    * Since 2007, the pay gap between the highest- and lowest-paid positions in many specialized fields has widened — but that isn’t the case when it comes to the legal profession. Unfortunately, not as many people are making it rain. [New York Times]

    * “[M]aybe legislation should fix this. Not the court.” A San Diego judge has suggested that he’ll likely dismiss a right-to-die lawsuit filed by Christy O’Donnell, a civil rights attorney who’s fighting a battle against lung, brain, spine, rib, and liver cancer. [NBC San Diego]

    * You’ve seen reactions to Harper Lee’s portrayal of Atticus Finch as a racist in Go Set A Watchman (affiliate link) from everyone and their mother and their dog, but maybe you haven’t seen reactions from law professors yet, so have a look. [National Law Journal]

    34 Comments / / Jul 27, 2015 at 8:46 AM
  • Novak Druce's empty office?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.24.15

    * Most Biglaw firms are downsizing their office space, but Ropes & Gray just inked a deal to increase the size of its New York office by 40,869 square feet. It’ll occupy more than 300,000 square feet in Rockefeller Center. Hope the firm has lawyers to fill it! [Commercial Observer]

    * Yikes! Thanks to a string of lateral hires by Buchanan Ingersoll, the newly formed Philly office of Novak Druce appears to have been left without a single lawyer. The firm decided to “refrain from commenting” on the departures. [Legal Intelligencer]

    * The same jury that found James Holmes guilty of several counts of murder in the Dark Knight movie theater massacre completed the first phase of sentencing and decided that aggravating factors existed for him to incur the death penalty. [Los Angeles Times]

    * A former court clerk in Indiana is suing because she claims she was fired for refusing to process same-sex marriage licenses, even though doing so went against her “sincerely held” religious beliefs. We may be seeing a lot more of these in the future. [Indy Star]

    * Per Texas prosecutor Warren Diepraam, medical examiners have ruled that Sandra Bland’s death was a suicide by hanging, and he has “full faith” in the autopsy results. The community remains outraged, and investigation into the case is ongoing. [NBC News]

    10 Comments / / Jul 24, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • Jon Stewart (photo by Ethan Miller/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.23.15

    * Earlier this week, President Barack Obama said that he’d issue an executive order to keep Jon Stewart on as the host of The Daily Show, despite his imminent retirement. POTUS joked that “[i]t’s being challenged in the courts.” [Newsweek]

    * Check out this hot mess from New Jersey: An employee in the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office was allegedly demoted from office administrator to legal secretary after making comments about a prosecutor’s adult purchases made during a visit to a sex toy shop. [Press of Atlantic City]

    * Dentons just snagged a heavy hitter in its Chicago office, where Roderick “Rick” Palmore, formerly general counsel to corporate giant General Mills, will serve as senior counsel. This hire will surely give the firm some “additional street cred.” [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Uh oh! According to the latest Managing Partner Confidence Index report from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group, Biglaw higher-ups are only “moderately” confident about their financial prospects for the second quarter. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * If you’ve been searching for ways to improve your already strong law school application, then boy, do we have some tips for you. You can start by being even more gunnery — take the LSAT again, and get your GPA even higher. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    13 Comments / / Jul 23, 2015 at 8:58 AM