And they agreed to hear two other cases: a taxpayer lawsuit, and an appeal involving the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management. Control your excitement, people.
Tom Goldstein is a bit peeved at how late the Court is granting certiorari. This leaves relatively little time between the cert grant and the argument, which has unfortunate consequences:
The failure to adapt the briefing schedule to the smaller size of the Court’s docket produces expedited briefs that are less thorough and helpful to the Justices and creates a recurring cycle in which it is necessary to apply still more expedited schedules.
But we’re not shedding tears for the attorneys whose cases get granted. The opportunity to brief and argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court is once-in-a-lifetime experience. Suck it up and deal, people.
(Of course, Goldstein — a veteran Supreme Court litigator — probably doesn’t quite the same thrill from strutting his stuff at One First Street as SCOTUS virgins.) Supreme Court Takes ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ Case [New York Times] Court grants three cases [SCOTUSblog] An Update on the State of the Docket [SCOTUSblog]
Two pieces of news from the Senate Judiciary Committee:
1. Orrin Is Outie. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is said to be leaving the Judiciary Committee. Senator Hatch served as committee chairman for many years, before he was replaced as chairman by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), due to the Republicans’ system of term limits for committee chairs.
When the Democrats take over the Senate in January, Senator Specter will become the ranking member. Senator Hatch, if he stayed on the Judiciary Committee, would be just another member — and a minority member, at that. So he’s leaving the committee, to devote his time and energy to other policy areas. Update (12/14/06): Actually, this did not come to pass. Senator Hatch ended up staying on Judiciary.
2. Let the investigations begin! The SJC’s Democrats are gearing up to look into allegations in a whistleblower complaint, made by a former attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division. In connection with this matter, certain documents are being distributed to the Democratic members of the committee, via the office of Senator Pat Leahy (who will take over as chairman in January).
That second story is developing. We’ll have more on it later. If you have anything to add, please email us.
This post is even more random than usual. But it’s Friday, and Mother Nature is going bonkers — a major snowstorm in the Midwest, an epic typhoon in the Philippines — so indulge us.
Some time ago, we characterized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California (San Francisco) as “well-regarded.” But then John of The Legal Reader helpfully informed us that the office has slipped in recent years. He brought to our attention this fascinating feature, describing problems that have plagued the office under United States Attorney Kevin Ryan.
So we read the article, which was most enlightening. And after reading it, we were left with one conclusion:
EUMI CHOI IS FABULOUS.
Who is Eumi Choi? She’s First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District, the right-hand woman of U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan. But it seems that, despite her nominal status as Ryan’s second-in-command, Choi is actually running the show, cracking the whip over the assistant U.S. attorneys while Ryan hides out in his office.
If someone were to make a movie about the N.D. Cal. office, Eumi Choi would be the “scene stealing” character. The role of Eumi would turn into a surprise star vehicle for Lucy Liu, en route to an improbable Oscar nomination.
We explain why Eumi is so yummy, after the jump.
Over at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan — one of our favorite commentators on matters judicial — provides a great account of Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent visit to his alma mater, Harvard Law School. Here’s an excerpt:
The dinner that Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan hosted on Wednesday evening to honor the 20th anniversary of Justice Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court was a delightful event, far exceeding my hopeful expectations.
In her own remarks honoring Justice Scalia, Dean Kagan was eloquent, warm-spirited, insightful, and very amusing. She presented Justice Scalia with a letter from Chief Justice Roberts congratulating him on reaching the “midpoint” (or some similar term) of his service on the Court. With wonderfully apt remarks, she also gave him, as a memento of the dinner (which featured salmon as the main course), the framed original of a humorous letter from the great Justice Joseph Story offering thanks for a gift of salmon. The celebratory remarks of professors Charles Fried, Laurence Tribe, and John Manning were likewise excellent.
It looks like we’ll have to wait until next week for any major associate bonus announcements. Nothing exciting has happened since the brouhaha over the supposed Milbank Tweed bonus memo, which turned out to be fake.
As soon as you hear anything, please let us know ASAP, by email (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”). As always, anonymity is guaranteed — unless you want to be fired from your Biglaw job so badly that you WANT public credit for leaking your firm’s bonus memo.
We need your tips because we don’t want to be entirely dependent upon the different message boards (Greedy Associates, Infirmation, AutoAdmit.com, etc.). While we do check them from time to time, we don’t do so as much as we should. Why? They annoy the crap out of us. You have to wade through so much juvenile junk to find anything that’s borderline interesting. And once you do find something, you can’t even be sure that it’s true (e.g., the Milbank memo).
So no big bonus announcements yet. But we have gathered a few tidbits from sources that we know and trust (as opposed to anonymous posters on message boards).
Check ‘em out, after the jump.
We just named the final winning couple in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch for last month. So now voting can commence for Above the Law’s November 2006 Couple of the Month.
If you need to refresh your memory about these different couples, our prior write-ups — with scores, links to their original NYT wedding announcements, and photos (in some cases) — appear after the jump.
But if you’re ready to cast your ballot, perhaps because one of the newlyweds emailed you and asked you to vote for them, here’s the poll:
[T]he lawyers have wasted our time as well as their own and (depending on the fee arrangements) their clients’ money. We have been plagued by the carelessness of a number of the lawyers practicing before the courts of this circuit with regard to the required contents of jurisdictional statements in diversity cases.
It is time, as we noted in BondPro, that this malpractice stopped. We direct the parties to show cause within 10 days why counsel should not be sanctioned for violating Rule 28(a)(1) and mistaking the requirements of diversity jurisdiction. We ask them to consider specifically the appropriateness, as a sanction, of their being compelled to attend a continuing legal education class in federal jurisdiction.
Ouch. But query whether forced attendance at a CLE class on federal jurisdiction constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment.
Continued commentary, after the jump.
* “[P]rosecutors will be investigating the backdating of stock options by companies for ‘years to come.’” [WSJ Law Blog]
* “A state appeals court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit by a boy who wanted to compete on his high school’s girls’ gymnastics team.” [Sports Illustrated]
* Anna Nicole gets booted from another ex-boyfriend’s mansion. [CNN]
* DHS wants to know what you eat on the airplane… [CNN]
* … and your boss wants to know what your IMs say (e-discovery). [MSNBC]
The Hollywood paparazzi are frequently condemned as the lowest of the low, most often by the celebrities they stalk photograph. But now they get to act superior to someone — even if that “someone” is a mere gossip blogger (albeit one of the most widely-read ones on the internet):
Seven of Tinseltown’s top photo agencies have threatened to sue the popular celebrity-skewering site PerezHilton.com for allegedly stealing their pictures, a spokesman for the shutterbugs said last night.
“Perez claims he is making a fortune off exploiting pictures taken by photographers. He blatantly violates copyright and makes advertising revenues off other people’s works. It’s time he is held accountable for his actions,” Gary Morgan of Splash News said in a statement.
PerezHilton.com routinely posts the most salacious celeb shots – like this week’s panty-free Britney Spears – without crediting the photographer or agency. The ripped-off lensmen say the site, which bills itself as “Hollywood’s Most-Hated Web Site” routinely fails to pay for use of their pics.
We’d actually be interested in seeing a lawsuit between the photographers and Perez Hilton (aka Mario Lavandeira). It might helpfully delineate the contours of the somewhat fuzzy “fair use” doctrine.
(Hey Mario: To avoid such troubles in the future, get your photos and graphics from here, here, and similar websites. Unfortunately, their collection of Lindsay Lohan pics is a bit limited.) Our pics worth thousands of dollars: lawsuit [New York Post]
* Jurors go wild… kind of. [AP via Yahoo! News]
* This could be your fate if you have sexual relations with any animal, dead or alive, regardless of law: you could be the posthumous star of a Sundance documentary. [Editor and Publisher]
* Do not think you can know go about suing the various characters in your dysfunctional family. [Seattle Times]
Today we have TWO judges of the day. Both win the prize for their honesty and fearlessness. These jurists aren’t afraid to speak their minds, and for that we salute them.
First, there’s Judge James Brooks, of “the O.C.” — Orange County, California.
An Orange County judge with a sharp tongue and a history of making insensitive comments about ethnic minorities was publicly admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance.
The commission cited [a] contempt hearing where litigant Arnold McMahon told Brooks that he didn’t attend a scheduled Oct. 15 deposition because he had gone to the hospital with chest pains.
“Gee,” Brooks responded. “I wonder what’s going to happen when we put you in jail, Mr. McMahon. Your little ticker might stop, you think?”
Come now — that’s a bit tepid. We’ve heard harsher words from federal appellate judges at oral argument. This was more compelling:
[T]he commission noted that Brooks had been privately chastised three times since 1996 for similar conduct. The commission-cited punishments include: a 1996 advisory letter for referring to Hispanic defendants as “Pedro,” and issuing a bench warrant for an Asian defendant for “ten thousand dollars or twenty thousand yen”…
New Jersey’s Supreme Court on Thursday handed Judge Wilbur Mathesius a one-month suspension without pay for making shoot-from-the hip comments that undermined the judicial system….
[Judge Mathesius allegedly] berated a jury for acquitting a defendant of illegal handgun possession. According to the complaint, Mathesius went to the jury room and said, “What the hell were you thinking?” He then told the jurors the defendant had a prior criminal record and chose to not testify because of that record; that another witness would have testified for the prosecution had he not been threatened; and that the prosecution’s principal witness was the most credible he had ever seen.
This was only one of several incidents for which Judge Mathesius was disciplined. He also made some over-the-top comments about the death penalty. When criticized for these comments before the New Jersey Supreme Court, he responded as follows:
Mathesius observ[ed] that Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner “has written on many of the same subjects,” [and Mathesius] suggested that members of the New Jersey judiciary do the same.
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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