Plaintiffs Firms

SLU Law Dean Tom Keefe. He definitely doesn’t look like a butt boy to me.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve covered Saint Louis University School of Law more than I could have ever possibly imagined.

It all started when their dean, Annette Clark, resigned her deanship (or resigned before she was fired, depending on whom you believe). After issuing a public and scathing farewell letter, Professor Clark fled back to Seattle, where she rejoined the faculty of the Seattle University School of Law.

To fill the void, the president of SLU, Father Lawrence Biondi, appointed outspoken personal injury lawyer Tom Keefe as interim dean of the law school.

If you thought having a personal injury lawyer as dean of a law school would result in fun for readers of Above the Law, you were right. This guy is going to be a riot — before he (almost inevitably) flames out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Dean Denies That He Is Priest’s ‘Butt Boy’”

If you use Facebook, you’ve probably noticed the sponsored stories that periodically pop up within the site. These (IMHO annoying) ads are an important part of Facebook’s revenue strategy. But recently, the company got sued over the stories, for allegedly violating the law by publicizing — but not paying — users who “like” certain advertisers, and not providing a way to opt out of the program. A settlement plan was recently announced. But uh oh, the federal judge handling the case rejected the settlement on Friday. Why?

Maybe something to do with the plaintiffs attorneys getting $10 million, the actual plaintiffs getting nothing, and an overall sense that left the judge wondering if the terms were “merely plucked from thin air”….

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So God made Adam and, when Adam didn’t want to sex any of the animals, he made Eve out of a riblet. They eventually got snookered by a snake and evicted from Eden. Yet before Eve and the snake and the eviction, Adam was blessed with the first kind of food labeling ever recorded. There was an oral tradition so, instead of writing his warning down, God simply shouted to Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. There was no mention of monosodium glutamate or high fructose corn syrup. No list of ingredients or percentage of fat. There was a simple admonition not to eat from one specific tree, you dumb sonofabitch.

And so our obsession with food has continued unabated, to the point where we as a culture can be said to be consumed by it as much as we consume it. Yesterday, the New York Times published an article outlining how foodie culture has finally hit the big time: it has become the basis for a series of lawsuits by attorneys who previously made their names in the tobacco litigation that made millionaires of quite a few of them.

As a piece of straight reportage, it qualifies as mildly interesting. As a piece of absurdist comedy, it absolutely shines….

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Yesterday, we broke the news of the dean of St. Louis University School of Law’s abrupt departure, and the accompanying fiery resignation letter she sent to the powers that be at the university. Ex-dean Annette Clark’s missive was more of a bitchslap than anything else, but like Phillip J. Closius before her, she made it absolutely clear that she would rather quit her job than run a law school whose sole function was to serve as the university’s cash cow.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, we’ve found out that Clark’s passionate letter may have been penned in one of those “can’t fire me, I quit” type scenarios. Clark may have purported to be going to the mattresses for her students, and she might have been doing just that. But as we all know, there are two sides to every story….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “University President Claims He Intended to Terminate Ex-Dean’s Appointment, Hires Personal Injury Attorney as Interim Dean”

Quick! I’m an in-house lawyer! How are my legal skills?

Admit it: You just thought to yourself, “So-so. The guy couldn’t hack it at a law firm and wanted a 9 to 5 lifestyle, so he took his mediocre skills and moved in-house. I’ll try not to be transparently condescending when I talk to him on the phone.”

I believed that, too, until I went in-house. (That was a joke. How do you put a smiley face on a blog post?)

A moment’s thought reveals that I’m a bundle of legal prejudices, and I suspected that others were, too. So I did a Rorschach test of some lawyer-friends. I named categories of lawyers, and I asked my friends to give their immediate reactions to those categories.

So what are our legal prejudices?

Quick! I’m a partner at a big firm! What do you think of me?

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Last summer, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The case was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Jesse Strauss and David Anziska. In October 2011, Cooley Law filed a motion to dismiss that claim, adopting a “blame the ABA” theory in defense of its employment statistics.

On June 5, lawyers ventured to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to argue the merits of the case. Although Judge Gordon Quist sided with the Cooley grads on several issues, he noted that they faced an “uphill battle” on some of their other allegations. And now, before hordes of Cooley graduates sit down to take the bar examination, we’ve got news on whether the class action suit survived that motion.

What result? The class action lawsuit filed by Team Strauss/Anziska against Cooley Law over its allegedly deceptive employment statistics has been dismissed….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Class Action Lawsuit Against Thomas M. Cooley Law School Dismissed”

Last week, I headed downtown to meet with Stephen A. Weiss and Eric Jaso, partners at the Seeger Weiss litigation boutique. Weiss co-founded the firm with Christopher Seeger in 1999. Jaso, who just joined the firm from Stone & Magnanini, is a friend and former colleague of mine from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They kindly agreed to be interviewed about what it’s like to work at an elite, plaintiff-side litigation firm.

Here at Above the Law, we’ve always had strong coverage of the large, defense-oriented firms that collectively constitute Biglaw. In the past few years, however, we have dramatically expanded our offerings related to smaller law firms. We currently have three columnists — Brian Tannebaum, Tom Wallerstein, and Valerie Katz — writing in this space, in addition to the small-firm coverage generated by our other writers.

Consistent with this editorial expansion, I was eager to meet with Weiss and Jaso and hear about Seeger Weiss (which is relatively large for a plaintiffs’ firm, but small compared to a Biglaw firm). I’ve always wondered why more law school graduates don’t go into plaintiffs’ work and why we don’t hear about this side of practice as much. It can represent a chance to do well while also doing good, by vindicating victims’ rights or blowing the whistle on misconduct — especially in the qui tam practice area, a focus of Seeger Weiss.

Here’s what Weiss and Jaso had to say….

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A Biglaw firm gets screwed...

* Dewey have some novel issues for our bankruptcy lawyers, or what? As we noted last night, now that D&L has filed for Chapter 11, they’ll have to deal with bank debt, and bondholders, and possible criminal proceedings, oh my! [New York Law Journal]

* And did we mention that Dewey’s defectors and their new firms might get screwed out of millions thanks to the recent Coudert decision? You really should’ve tried to finish up your business before the firm flopped. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Our SCOTUS justices’ summer plans don’t include debating the results of their landmark health care and immigration cases. They’ll be off to fabulous destinations to teach by the first week of July. [Associated Press]

* A federal judge in Brooklyn doesn’t like what seems to be happening in the “game of grams” when it comes to mandatory minimum drug sentencing. Perhaps the DOJ will heed his call for reform. [New York Times]

* Facebook’s IPO was an epic fail, but it’s been great business for plaintiffs lawyers. Twelve securities class action firms are gathering leads and getting ready to sue, and two have already sued. [National Law Journal]

* This wasn’t exactly well planned: if you’re involved in state politics, it’s probably not a good idea to fake a legal internship with a state representative so that you can graduate from law school. [Concord Monitor]

* In happier news, a New York Law School graduate walked across the stage to receive her diploma with the help of her seeing-eye dog. The pooch hasn’t lifted a leg on her law degree… yet. [New York Daily News]

... and so do folks down under.

* “Brothels are never going to be a vote winner.” But even so, if you’re looking to get it in down under, a plan to build Australia’s largest cathouse may soon gain approval if lawyers are able to do their work quick and dirty. [Bloomberg]

* Thanks to this case, stupid teenagers in New Jersey who send texts to others that they know are driving can now revel in the fact that they can’t be held liable for injuries that may occur thanks to careless driving. [New Jersey Law Journal]

Folks go out there and say, ‘I’m mad at the plaintiffs,’ and ‘I see the same names,’ and ‘Let’s go bash the plaintiffs’ attorneys.’ I don’t mind that, but the law has been there, don’t kid yourself.

Martin J. Coleman, defending the barrage of Americans with Disabilities Act suits that he and other plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed in New York City.

(Coleman also had more choice words for his detractors. Check them out, as well as the other side of the ADA suit debate, after the jump.)

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In August, New York Law School (NYLS) was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The case was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Jesse Strauss and David Anziska. In October, NYLS filed a motion to dismiss that claim. On March 12, the lawyers ventured down to the New York Supreme Court to argue the merits of the case, and a little more than one week later, we’ve got news on whether the class action suit survived that motion.

What result? The class action lawsuit filed by Team Strauss/Anziska against NYLS over its allegedly deceptive employment statistics has been dismissed….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “BREAKING: Class Action Lawsuit Against New York Law School Dismissed”

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