Music

Other than when it’s on television or in a movie, the legal system is a place where rules are supposed to be followed so that justice might be done. Legal dramas where attorneys get creative with how to prosecute alleged criminals make for interesting entertainment, but nobody facing legal action wants to see much in the way of a deviation from the accepted practices. Yet, that seems to be what’s happened in cases involving anyone who has engaged in rap music.

Well, this is now coming to a head in the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which will hear a case to decide if prosecutors should be relying heavily on rap lyrics in their cases.

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Is there no end to the hidden musical talents of legal luminaries? With all their left-brained success, we forget that legal smarties can also have a well-developed creative side. For example, Judge Learned Hand cut a single back in the day. And Judge Richard Owen wrote an opera about Abigail Adams.

Now a giant of the legal academy has entered the music biz. The composer not only performs the short ditty for us all, but also fully annotates the lyrics to provide background to the song….

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William Tell

On a Wednesday evening in January, William Tell, a 33-year-old 3L at USC Gould School of Law, was sitting in the backyard of the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, a few blocks away from his apartment, sipping a scotch and munching on a bowl of pasta. At the moment, Tell is the only law student in America who goes home to the woman on the cover of Cosmopolitan — he’s engaged to Lauren Conrad, the reality TV star-turned-lifestyle entrepreneur who is regarded by many, including Martha Stewart, as being something like the next Martha Stewart.

More than a decade before his stint as a figure of tabloid fascination, Tell’s first act was as a guitarist in early ’00s pop-rock band Something Corporate, a band that was playing stadiums, arenas, and late night television shows by the time he was 22.

Clean-cut and wearing a simple grey sweater and skateboarding shoes, Tell laughs a lot but speaks with a hint of careful distance. He makes clear that he guards his privacy and would not have consented to an interview with a publication whose focus was his romantic life. But I wanted to ask Tell mostly about his unique experience as a law student, so I connected with him on LinkedIn, emailed him to explain myself, and now here we are….

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“Hey, kids! Just keep clicking the ‘Mommy’s Credit Card’ button!”

* The feds say that Apple has agreed to pay “at least $32.5 million in refunds” to people who didn’t realize their children were racking up huge bills in FarmVille and the like. It’s good to see parents won’t actually have to pay for their absentee parenting. [Washington Post]

* It’s a good day for successful — kinda rapey — pop songs, as the family of Marvin Gaye decided that they “Got to Give It Up” and settled with Sony over alleged copyright infringement by the Robin Thicke song, Blurred Lines. [Rolling Stone]

* Apparently the Florida Bar Association took a look at the state of the judicial system and decided to screw it and start selling baking utensils. Or it was hacked. But probably they just gave up. [IT-Lex]

* Tailgating at the Yale-Harvard game is way more dangerous than I’d realized — a clutch of Yale frat bros (what is the proper collective noun for Elis) have been sued over an incident where a U-Haul loaded down with kegs struck and killed one person. [Jezebel]

* A hearing was cut short in New Orleans when an inmate arrived from the prison high as a kite on illicit drugs he procured in custody. Way to run a tight ship, New Orleans. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on them. After all, they just got their “inmates unintentionally set free due to clerical oversight” statistic back down to zero. [New Orleans Times-Picayune]

* A rundown of high-profile cases that turned on expert witnesses. Good to see that everyone’s favorite “affluenza” made the list. [The Expert Institute]

* Cable news has really botched their coverage of Little Sisters. For example, if you think Obamacare requires religious institutions to offer coverage for contraception, then you’ve been duped. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* To shake things up, let’s check out a defense of stop-and-frisk policies. If a society isn’t prepared to pay for police protection, it’s likely to find cops resorting to these sorts of short cuts. [Voice of San Diego]

* Musings on Staci’s recent piece on law firm client service and/or arrogance. [Law and More]

* A Little League coach is suing one of his players for $600,000. Something tells me a reboot of Bad News Bears would end exactly like this. Video of the story from local news channel KCRA embedded below…. [Deadspin]

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If you want to be a partner at one particular firm, it’d behoove you to know this guy…

* Breaking News: “An Indian diplomat has been indicted on federal charges of visa fraud. Prosecutors say Devyani Khobragade has left the U.S.” [CNN]

* The Bancroft firm just added three new partners. It’s apparently “not a prerequisite” to clerk for Chief Justice Roberts to be a partner at the firm, but it sure looks like it is. [The Blog of the Legal Times]

* Pressure is mounting on courts to recognize that Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Do these people not watch Person of Interest? [Ramblings on Appeal]

* In a continuing series on why the “nuclear option” isn’t the panacea liberals thought it was, here are four reasons why Noel Canning is still a huge deal even if the Senate Democrats can force through judicial nominations over filibusters. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* A fun interview with a lawyer turned professional athletics commissioner. Specifically, the commissioner of Sterling Archer’s favorite sport, lacrosse. [The Legal Blitz]

* Vermont is looking to pass a bill affirming abortion as a right, majorly bucking the trend of the rest of the country over the last year. Sounds about right for the state with a socialist senator. [Jezebel]

* The NFL’s concussion settlement sounded kind of fishy already, but now it looks like the initial prediction is going to be way off. [PR Log]

* Turns out a former SAC Capital Advisors trader embroiled in an insider trading case was expelled from Harvard Law School in 1999 for creating a false transcript. It’s good to know Wall Street is right there for all those cast off by law schools for ethical lapses. [Dealbook / New York Times]

* More coverage of the Insane Clown Posse suit, and more insight from our own Juggalo Law. [Washington Post]

* Chris Brown rejected a plea deal on an assault charge. Any time I think of Chris Brown I think of this Key & Peele bit. And if you don’t know who Key & Peele are, then you’re missing out… [Billboard]

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* Kanye West sent out a cease and desist letter to the makers of Coinye, a Bitcoin alternative with a mocking, parody image of Kanye. This whole Bitcoin thing may be incredibly stupid, but these poor entrepreneurs are going to have to junk all their work just because they shamelessly stole the artist’s image. I guess it’s back to their electronic currency based on a busted-up parody of Kim Kardashian, which they call “Khloe.” [Ars Technica]“>Ars Technica]

* The FBI classified Juggalos as criminals and the Insane Clown Posse has gone ahead and filed a federal suit. And who better for the New York Times to consult about this case than our own Juggalo Law! [New York Times]

* Justice Kagan once again performed her civic duty and showed up for jury duty today. Unfortunately, this report doesn’t explain what book she brought with her to kill time, which is the best part of people-watching at jury duty. [Washington Post]

* For those that think we always focus on the negative, here’s a nice narrative about lawyers who really help people. [XO Jane]

* How do you deal with a blazer that just won’t button? Advice from our occasional contributor. [Corporette]

* A group of Vietnamese fishermen sued a Texas lawyer alleging that he falsely claimed to represent thousands of deckhands to get rich serving on the committee of attorneys representing victims of the BP oil spill. BP’s just happy someone might come out of this looking worse than they do. [Miami Herald]

* Sergio Garcia, the newly-minted California lawyer and not the racist golfer, says he’s looking to a future as the governor of California. [Fox News]

* The judge who sentenced a convicted rapist to a month in jail is retiring. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out! [USA Today]

* Clients don’t grow on trees. So what are you gonna do about that? Huh? I’m talking to you! [At Counsel Table]

Laurence Tribe

* Great music can inform great persuasive speaking. That’s why Larry Tribe always cranks up YYZ on a loop when prepping for an appearance. [Katz Justice]

* If you’re a law student planning for your summer job, this is an absolutely can’t-miss guide. “Be Fashionably Late To Everything To Demonstrate Your Value.” If only this had been around when I was a tyke. [BigLaw Rebel]

* If you’re a 1L thinking about what to do this summer, consider applying for a 1L Diversity Fellowship at MoFo. Maybe don’t follow the last item’s advice if you go for this. [MoFo (disclosure: ATL advertiser)]

* The attorney for convicted Steubenville rapist Ma’lik Richmond probably should have just kept his mouth shut. [Jezebel]

* Who needs domestic surveillance when the next generation helpfully posts all their crimes online. [IT-Lex]

* With courts in Utah striking blows for gay marriage and tolerance of religious polygamy, Professor Edward Zelinsky asks if it may not be time to junk the whole civil marriage thing altogether. [Oxford University Press Blog]

* Congrats to Forbes’s 30 under 30 for law and policy. As Orin Kerr noted on Lat’s Facebook page, “I am looking forward to the Forbes ‘Top 10 Lawyers Under 10.'” [Forbes]

* This isn’t a law school, but this is probably what those deans did over the break. Video after the jump…. [TaxProf Blog]

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We were just talking about the latest efforts to remove termination rights from musicians (and other artists), and a number of termination rights battles are still ongoing. Most of the existing ones are slightly different from the ones we’re talking about — and it gets pretty down in the weeds technically. In short, there are different rules for works created prior to 1978 and those after 1978. Most of the focus is on the termination rights for works created after 1978 — though there are some interesting ongoing battles concerning works created prior to 1978… including that song you just can’t stop hearing this time of year: Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories, brought to you by Lateral Link. This recurring feature will give notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.

Richard J. Morvillo, co-founder of Morvillo LLP, is a nationally-recognized expert in SEC enforcement matters. Over the past 35 years, he has been involved in over 200 SEC investigations, including some of the highest profile cases the SEC has handled. Rich was recently named by Best Lawyers in America as the “2013 Lawyer of the Year – Securities Litigation,” and Chambers USA has recognized Rich as “one of the deans of the securities enforcement bar.” He has served on the adjunct faculty of Georgetown University Law Center, teaching a course in “Professional Responsibility in Corporate and Securities Practice.” See his complete bio here.

1. What is the greatest challenge to the legal industry over the next 5 years?

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* Mayor Bloomberg is filing suit to overturn New York’s Living Wage law, because wasting a bunch of money pursuing a lawsuit for the last two weeks of his term is the kind of efficiency he brings to the table as a biznessmun. [DNAInfo]

* Judge Richard Leon puts the NSA metadata surveillance program on ice. Looks like someone’s going to get bugged. [Slate]

* Someone’s asking for a fake college transcript in Baton Rouge. Pretty sure LSU’s athletic department could give you a hand. [Law and More]

* Considering the polygamy ruling in Utah, here’s an interesting analysis of the constitutionality of bestiality laws. This seems like an appropriate place to link this song about a guy who broke into the Lincoln Park zoo in Chicago. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Here’s a fun game: replace the name of the school and the course of study and marvel at how easily it could pass for an article Elie wrote. [Huffington Post]

* These folks got smacked with a cybersquatting charge because they used a logical domain name to publicize an ongoing dispute. It’s a lot easier to sue people than to build a solid home. [IT-Lex]

* In sad news, the victim in a recent carjacking-related killing was Dustin Friedland, a Syracuse law grad whose wife Jamie, also a lawyer, worked with Adam Leitman Bailey. Our thoughts are with the Friedland family. [NY Daily News]

* The Beastie Boys are suing GoldieBlox over the latter’s viral ad set to a parody of “Girls.” Unlike GoldieBlox, NYU Law professor Chris Sprigman doesn’t need an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine to burst the Beastie Boys’ bubble. Video embedded after the jump… [Bloomberg Law via YouTube]

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