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The ABA might remain silent when it comes to stopping law schools from taking financial advantage of law students. They might pass rules that allow legal work to flow freely overseas, damaging the livelihoods of lawyers back home. But when it comes to Congress potentially stepping in to regulate lawyers, the organization finds its voice and gets to work.

The ABA Journal reports that the ABA is spearheading an effort to get practicing lawyers excluded from the increased regulation contemplated in the financial reform bill which is now in reconciliation:

The spate of recession-induced financial help scams loomed large in the push for national consumer protection, and competing House and Senate bills now headed for conference committee both specifically target for regulation anyone involved in offering a “consumer financial product or service.”

But the House version has an exemption for lawyers engaged in the practice of law as well as employees directly supervised by them, or in matters incidental to the practice and within the scope of attorney-client relationship. The Senate version does not. In the Senate version, for example, simply holding a trust account would bring a lawyer under the eyes of federal regulators.

Almost a year ago, I noted that it would be very bad if the general public decided to hold lawyers to the same level of scrutiny as bankers in response to the global economic crisis. But screw the public; it should go without saying that lawyers don’t need the federal government on their backs…

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Apparently there was a choking in Chicago — and it didn’t involve the Cubs. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

A Cook County prosecutor was hospitalized this morning after being choked in a hallway of the 26th and California criminal courthouse, allegedly by an assistant public defender, police said.

The 50-year-old assistant state’s attorney “might be injured very badly,” an official could be heard telling prosecutors at the courthouse. But another source said the prosecutor was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital only for observation.

So what led to the alleged choking? It may have originated in a scheduling dispute….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Public Defender Needs Defending”

Something odd is going on in the great state of Minnesota. The deadline for filing to run for judicial office in the North Star State was this past Tuesday, June 1, at 5 PM. Incumbent judges usually face no challengers, since it’s practically impossible to unseat an even marginally competent incumbent.

One such incumbent was Judge Thomas G. Armstrong (10th District Court 3), a 30-year veteran of the bench who first became a judge back in 1980. As of Tuesday morning, Judge Armstrong was running unopposed. No surprise there.

But then something strange occurred. Shortly before the deadline, Judge Armstrong’s law clerk, Dawn Hennessy, filed to run against her boss. Meanwhile, before anyone realized what was going on, Judge Armstrong withdrew from the race — leaving his law clerk, Dawn Hennessy, running unopposed for a Minnesota district court judgeship. Who says chivalry is dead?

And then things got even more strange….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Did a Minnesota judge and his law clerk attempt to collude to put a clerk on the bench?”

Jamie Gorelick is a Washington D.C. power lawyer. She’s a former Deputy Attorney General, former general counsel to the Defense Department, and current partner at WilmerHale, where she chairs the national security and public policy practice groups. She’s had — and continues to have — an amazing career.

But does she really want to be the legal face of the BP disaster?

Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick will head the legal team for British oil giant BP PLC as it prepares to respond to legal challenges related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Greenwire reported Wednesday.

“We have been retained to help the company respond to the numerous congressional inquiries that are underway,” Gorelick, now of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, said in an e-mail to Greenwire. “We have not been retained to advocate for any position.”

Does WilmerHale really want this? Yesterday, the Daily News called BP’s CEO Tony Hayward the most hated man in America — and the headline was probably an understatement. There’s a new Facebook group entitled I vote we plug the Gulf oil leak with BP executives.

Do Gorelick and WilmerHale really want to be the lawyers for his company? Isn’t there some white-baby-killing, terrorist Nazi out there who would make for a more sympathetic client right now?

Oh, but the fees, the fees…

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Last night, I was momentarily distracted from watching the Mets blow another Johan Santana start by the game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. As most sports fans already know, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game last night — only he didn’t get credit for it, because umpire Jim Joyce blew the call on the 27th and final out. Joyce called Indians featherweight hitter Jason Donald safe at first. Replays later showed conclusively that Donald was out.

This morning, the sports world is buzzing about what (if anything) can be done about this terrible miscarriage of justice. The legal world is buzzing too. Baseball and the law work so perfectly together because they are both rules-oriented systems where the rules are designed to promote justice and fair play. People care deeply about the rules of law, and the rules of baseball, so it’s really not that surprising to see lawyers weigh in about Galarraga’s should-have-been perfect game.

The WSJ Law Blog did a good job of collecting some of the reaction to Joyce’s blown call. Most of the talk centers around forcing the resistant-to-change game of baseball to adopt instant replay.

But there are other rules-oriented ways to handle the situation. An Above the Law reader has started a Facebook petition to get Major League Baseball to adopt “The Galarraga Rule” …

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[D]efendants oppose the motion on the grounds that the plaintiffs have failed to specify what their job duties are, and so have not established that they and the other members of the proposed class are similarly situated. This is a ridiculous argument.

The Court has not spent her life under a toadstool — I know what waiters, busboys and bartenders do when they go to work.

Judge Colleen McMahon, granting a motion for conditional collective action certification in Shajan v. Barolo, Ltd. (S.D.N.Y. June 2, 2010).

You know something is capturing cultural attention when your mother asks, “Did you write about that woman who got fired for being attractive?”

Earlier this week, the Village Voice ran a cover story on a woman who is suing Citibank for wrongful termination. She claims that her bosses found her too hot — and thus distracting to the other people trying to do their jobs.

I know, I know — pictures or it didn’t happen….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Woman Claims She Was Fired for Being Too Attractive”

* J.P. Morgan Chase gets smacked, hard. [Wall Street Journal]

* The Blagojevich trial is going to be more dramatic than TNT’s summer lineup. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Southern prosecutors are still very successful at excluding African-Americans from juries. [New York Times]

* .. Which isn’t to say the South hasn’t made a lot of progress. After all it’s not like they’re getting sued for slavery. No, that honor belongs to the U.S. Military. [Courthouse News Service]

* DLA Piper is raiding Nixon Peabody. [Am Law Daily]

* Obama plans to meet with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today. I hope he has identification. [CNN]

* Nuke the oil spill! [Salon]

Southern Florida has been hit by a storm of insensitivity that has achieved gale force — Peggy Gehl force. Complaints about Judge Peggy Gehl and inappropriate comments she allegedly made from the bench were recently lodged with Chief Judge Victor Tobin of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit.

(The story broke last week in the South Florida blogosphere. But it hasn’t received much attention beyond the Sunshine State, perhaps because it happened right before Memorial Day weekend.)

On May 26, Howard Finkelstein — public defender for Broward County, as well as a television personality with his own show — sent a letter to Chief Judge Tobin, describing “four incidents wherein Judge Gehl made racist comments.” Here’s the first fun allegation:

Maybe Judge Gehl should have asked Wright Muir for a Red Stripe too?

This was just one of four incidents. We describe the other allegations against Judge Gehl — and interview PD Howard Finkelstein, a colorful character in his own right — after the jump.

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Floridian jurist admires Jews; Jamaicans, not so much.

Sharon Eliza Nichols (a.k.a. SEN)

* For those of you who still remember days gone by here at ATL, former guest editor “SEN” just graduated from law school. Congratulations, Sharon! [Thank You Ma'am]

* Here are three strikes against the whole “judge-umpire” analogy — and a suggestion for a better baseball comparison to describe the role of Supreme Court justice. [Huffington Post]

* Geordi has a tax problem? Lay off the man, the brother can’t see right. [Going Concern]

* Roy Moore, best known as the Alabama judge who wanted the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, lost in the Republican gubernatorial primary. [BL1Y]

* An event at the NYC bar association tomorrow night will teach you practical skills that might actually help you get a job. [New York City Bar Association]

* Apparently the site you’re currently reading is a “gangsta-ass law blog.” [Rap Genius]

Do you remember the scene in the Amityville Horror House movie where the toilet says to the family, “Get out”? That seems to be what firms are telling incoming associates when they defer first-years until 2012.

Today, we’ve got another firm that has decided to put some of its incoming associates on the long march towards nowhere in particular. Missouri Lawyers reports:

St. Louis-based Bryan Cave is among the firms that have pushed off start dates on new associates to 2012.

The firm’s St. Louis office made 14 total offers last fall to 2010 law school graduates, but told seven of them at the time that they wouldn’t be starting until January 2012, said managing partner Peter Van Cleve. The other seven were extended offers to start in January 2011.

Remember, Bryan Cave is still trying to absorb the members of the class of 2009 — at least the ones who didn’t already take the firm’s offer to split…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Incoming Bryan Cave Associates: Welcome to 2012.”

You’ve got to love lawyers sometimes. If nothing else, they’re a resourceful group of people. If there is information out there that can help win a case, you can count on a lawyer to find it, massage it, and use it to their client’s advantage. What makes a good lawyer? Research, baby, research.

We’ve mentioned before that divorce attorneys have figured out how to use incriminating text messages to their advantage. So it should really come as no surprise that divorce attorneys are also using Facebook to dig up information on the soon-to-be-ex spouses of their clients.

If anything, the only surprising thing is how stupid people are on Facebook even when they are in the midst of active litigation. CNN had a nice story yesterday, documenting this trend:

Before the explosion of social media, Ken Altshuler, a divorce lawyer in Maine, dug up dirt on his client’s spouses the old-fashioned way: with private investigators and subpoenas. Now the first place his team checks for evidence is Facebook…

“Facebook is a great source of evidence,” Altshuler said. “It’s absolutely solid evidence because he’s the author of it. How do you deny that you put that on?”

What kind of idiots put something on Facebook they don’t want their spouse to see? Apparently, the cheating kind….

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