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Chief Justice Bart Simpson in 2033, photographed with his father.

Watching old Simpsons episodes can be a little like reading Nostradamus. The early episodes are filled with gags that seem creepily prescient in the light of hindsight. Like how Stop The Planet of the Apes I Want To Get Off predated the “let’s make an old movie into a musical” craze. Or how Fox is gradually transitioning into a hardcore sex channel.

But a tipster noted that a controversial Supreme Court case from this Term gets a predictive wink from an episode that aired in 1992….

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In case you weren’t aware, New York’s annual Comic Con — an event for nerds of all ages to salivate over all matters of fictional media — took place this weekend. This year was the largest NYCC ever, with about 151,000 people in attendance, with many of them dressed to the nines in full cosplay gear as their favorite characters.

“What the hell is cosplay?” you might ask. For the uninformed, cosplay (short for “costume play,” according to Wikipedia) is a time for adults to dress up and pretend to play roles from comic books, cartoons, video games, television shows, and even movies. It’s like a Halloween party on crack.

You’d never know it from looking at these wacky people, but some of them are members of the legal profession. From legal assistants to paralegals to lawyers, all sorts of legal professionals are into cosplay, and BuzzFeed was kind enough to unmask some of them for us.

Do you recognize any of these legal professionals?

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In last week’s column, I discussed the importance of effective deposition defense, with a focus on the client-facing aspects of the process. Now it is time to focus on the true star of the show, the witness.

Yes, some witnesses will be important, perhaps even a senior executive at a client. Or a technical expert, on whose testimony your case rides. And other witnesses will be more tangential, like the IT guy you need to defend with respect to e-discovery issues.

Yes, I understand that every witness is critical, especially when it comes to e-discovery. Human nature, however, is to treat “important people,” like executives and experts, with an extra level of care. As a lawyer, the key is to treat every witness you are preparing for deposition with respecr — while remembering your role as an advocate, tasked with winning your client’s case. Effective defense of depositions goes a long way towards achieving favorable litigation results.

Here are some tips:

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Amanda Bynes

* Law schools are in trouble, but Cooley Law is “going strong” — after all, only “28 percent of last year’s graduates at its Michigan campuses failed to land jobs as lawyers within nine months.” You’re really doing it wrong. [Tampa Bay Times]

* This guy broke into the University of Oregon School of Law three times, and all he got were these computers for hipsters and a crappy 11-year sentence. (He should’ve broken into the football facility for better loot.) [Register-Guard]

* Should you go to law school if you know for a fact that you don’t want to be a lawyer? This is the type of question that would render your ATL editors unable to even. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Amanda Bynes has been placed on a 5150 psychiatric hold, and people suddenly care about mental health law. It’s sad that it takes a celebrity to make people care about these issues. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Marijuana is making its way to the ballot in some states this November, but before you vote, here’s a primer on where it’s legal to smoke weed, where it might be, and where it’s not. [Washington Post]

Ed. note: This is the latest post by Above the Law’s guest conversationalist, Zach Abramowitz, of blogcasting platform ReplyAll. You can see some of his other conversations and musings here.

In August, Personal Audio Inc. — a “patent troll” or a “patent holding company,” depending on your point of view — dropped its case against Adam Carolla for alleged violations of its purported patent on podcasting, or more specifically, creating sequenced playlists for download. Personal Audio apparently thought it could get a settlement out of Carolla, the same way it has against CBS and other big companies, by threatening expensive litigation.

But in his typical %^&# you fashion, Carolla proceeded to join forces with other podcasters, like Jay Mohr and Marc Maron, to crowdfund a legal defense fund against Personal Audio. The resulting litigation ultimately caused Personal Audio to drop its lawsuit. Mike August is a former William & Morris agent, an attorney, and the business manager of Carolla Digital. He has been nice enough to answer some of my questions and tell us about the future of podcasting and crowdfunded lawsuits.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Behind Adam Carolla’s Fight Against A ‘Patent Troll': A Conversation With Carolla Digital’s Mike August”

* Florida State QB Jameis Winston is still in a heap of legal trouble and it turns out his best legal move might just be to drop out. It’d save him the trouble of getting demolished by Mississippi State. [Sports Illustrated]

* A follow-up on the Yale Law/Colombia Prostitution/Secret Service/Obama scandal. An amateur poet was hot on this story from the start and sent cryptic verse about it to a Yale student paper way back in the day. [Ivy Gate Blog]

* Ron Swanson explains lawyers. Best line, “The man who kills me will know.” [Legal Cheek]

* Remember when the Texas Supreme Court cited Walter from Big Lebowski? Now we have the proper citation form for the occasion. [The Legal Satyricon]

* Perdue has settled two lawsuits against it over the use of the phrase “humanely raised.” Apparently its chickens were “not that.” [Salon]

* One lawyer explains why it’s high time we eliminate this holiday. [Katz Justice]

The latest batch of presidential papers from the Clinton Administration, recently released to the public, contain some fun nuggets for law nerds. We’ve mentioned a few of them already — e.g., the time that a pre-robescent Elena Kagan, then a White House staffer, dropped the f-bomb in a memo to White House counsel Jack Quinn. Another just came to light today: as reported by Tony Mauro, a pre-robescent John Roberts, then in private practice at Hogan & Hartson, came close to representing President Clinton in the U.S. Supreme Court in Clinton v. Jones.

The papers contain other interesting tidbits too — and some are sad rather than salacious. For example, there’s the story of how a brilliant and distinguished circuit judge came thisclose to landing a seat on the Supreme Court, until health problems derailed his nomination….

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Scott Turow

My years as a prosecutor were an extraordinary education in the negative capacity of humanity. You’re like a proctologist — looking at human beings through the wrong end.

Scott Turow — former federal prosecutor, current Dentons partner, and critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist — at an interesting panel at this past weekend’s New Yorker Festival. The panel, moderated by Jeffrey Toobin, focused on writing about murder. Turow’s latest novel, Identical (affiliate link), is about a re-investigation of a murder many years after the fact.

Everything about 22 Reasons Why Going to Law School Is the Best Decision You’ll Ever Make is sublime. The article touches the face of God by slapping Him and then giving Him the finger. Imagine a defense of law school so bereft of substance that it actually exposes the cynical lie driving the law school-industrial complex. Truly a work of beauty.

Presumably trying to newsjack the success of How To Get Away With Murder (inaccurate though it may be), the venerable Huffington Post unleashed these 22 Reasons Why Going to Law School Is the Best Decision You’ll Ever Make upon the world. If we were trying, I’m pretty sure we can come up with 165K+ why it’s a bad one.

The story is written by Madison Rutherford, a senior in Journalism at San Francisco State. What does she know about the value of a law degree? Not much actually. And she’s graciously offered to show us how little she knows about law school in reader-friendly listicle format!

Join us then, as we review all 22 terrible reasons to go to law school….

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Here’s the rule: Make it perfect; then send it to me.

(Yeah, yeah: That’s a slight overstatement, and there might be occasional exceptions to the rule. But let’s explain the rule first, for the benefit of the slow students. We’ll teach the exceptions to the advanced students next semester.)

The old guy — the curmudgeon who’s heading up the team — has been playing this game for decades. He’s been marking up crappy drafts since before you were born. He’s been receiving bad drafts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday (“so that you can have the weekend to look at it”) since God was young. That crotchety old coot really, really, really is not interested in seeing more bad work. (Put yourself in his shoes for a minute: Why would he possibly want to see your appalling first draft?)

Make it perfect; then give it to him. Why should he bother looking at anything other than your best work?

That’s the rule. Here’s a corollary . . .

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This series of posts is on seeking redress against a Chinese company that owes you money or has wronged you. Part I was on Hague Convention service of process on a Chinese company and jurisdiction. This post is on how to conduct discovery against a Chinese company.

Once you have served a Chinese company in a U.S. lawsuit, it will be bound by the court’s normal discovery rules. China, however, prohibits depositions on its soil, even if the deponent consents. In its declaration on accession to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters, China stated it would not be bound by those provisions granting consular officers the right to oversee depositions. In 1989, China allowed a deposition in U.S. v. Leung Tak Lun, et al., 944 F.2d 642 (9th Cir. 1991), but advised that its grant of authority for that particular deposition should not be considered precedent, and it has not permitted a deposition since. Conducting a deposition in China may lead to arrest or expulsion. Even a telephonic deposition of a witness in China likely violates Chinese law, and would not be a good idea for anyone planning to go to China.

The easiest way to depose a China‐based witness will usually be to have that witness go to the United States or to Hong Kong for deposition…

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The source of the Supreme Court’s tech problems?

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), Above the Law will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full force tomorrow.

* The Supreme Court’s new Term is off to a great start: Thanks to a copy machine’s error, we almost missed the surprise cert denials in the gay marriage cases. What kind of screw-ups will this week bring us? [National Law Journal]

* On the other hand, in what’s considered an unsurprising move following its cert denials en masse, the Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage to begin in Idaho. Congrats to the Gem State. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Jenner & Block’s data privacy practice is making waves in an “uncharted but lucrative field,” and its leader thinks that the “Internet of Things” will help heat up her work soon. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* A future Law & Order: SVU episode? Sanford Rubenstein, a personal injury and civil rights lawyer who’s been described as “[f]lashy, brash and always camera-ready,” is now being accused of rape. [ABC News]

* Yale Law’s most interesting student goes to all of his classes, but never has to study or take any of his finals. It’s not because he’s lucky — it’s because he’s a 93-year-old course auditor. [New Haven Register]

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