Religion

Passover is a time for family. Judaism has holidays galore, but Passover stands unique in its family-centric nature. The highlight of the holiday, the seder (literally “order,” due to the specific program of the evening), is by its very nature a family meal writ large. And on Passover, the definition of family is an expansive one for Jews, with the unfortunate or downtrodden as welcome and entitled to sit at the seder table as one’s immediate relatives. The seder itself commemorates the biblical paschal offering, which was by design intended to be consumed in a communal setting, amongst family.

Just last week, I was speaking to a client about Passover, and despite our differences in both age and observance level, we easily agreed that some of our strongest personal memories are anchored in our childhood seder experiences. In my case, the fact that my childhood seders were fortunate enough to have included my grandparents was a special blessing. Especially since they themselves (together with my parents, who were young children at the time) were forced to flee Egypt as refugees, leaving family and possessions behind. Thankfully, they all ended up (my Dad by way of France, hence my name) in this wonderful free country, where opportunity is open to all who are willing to invest in creating it for themselves. For me, the most fulfilling part of making partner in 2009 was being able to share that recognition with my grandfather, who was in the final stages of a heroic decade-long battle with cancer at the time. His courage in leaving the place of his birth, locked in the bathroom of a passenger ship to Italy to avoid detection, paved the way for our family’s rebirth on these shores. Many have similar stories, and those stories make holidays more meaningful, no matter what holiday is being celebrated.

While I was in Biglaw, holidays presented some of the few opportunities I had for uninterrupted family time. I was always grateful to have worked with people who respected my religious observances, and tried my best to minimize the disruption caused by my unavailability….

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The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”) is proposed legislation that would prohibit most employers from discriminating on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Senate passed the bill in November, but the proposal is currently languishing in the House.

President Obama supports ENDA. Recently, though, LGBT activists have criticized him for not pushing the proposed legislation harder and for not creating an executive order that would create ENDA-like protections for employees of federal contractors.

Republican lawmakers, though, are the ones who will ultimately rue not enacting ENDA while they have the chance. Here’s why….

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* Beef: it’s what’s for dinner (at the D.C. Circuit). [How Appealing]

* “The Likelihood A Robot Will Steal Your Job, In One Picture.” Good news for lawyers, not-so-good news for paralegals. [Kotaku]

* An interesting perspective from Professor Faisal Kutty: “Why Gay Marriage May Not Be Contrary To Islam.” [Huffington Post]

* And from Willkie partner Francis J. Menton: “Argentina Is Joined In The Supreme Court By The Coalition Of Weasels.” (I’m guessing Willkie doesn’t represent many foreign sovereigns in fights against their creditors; that seems to be Cleary Gottlieb’s niche.) [Manhattan Contrarian via Instapundit]

* A CLE event that offers a lot of bang for the buck. [National Firearms Law Seminar]

* If you’ll be in Philadelphia tomorrow night, watch a bunch of Penn Law students beat up some punks from Wharton — for a good cause! [Wharton vs. Law: Fight Night; promotional video after the jump]

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* Professor Ann Althouse’s analysis of today’s Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood arguments before SCOTUS. [Althouse]

* Professor Nelson Tebbe’s take on the proceedings. [Balkinization]

* Finally, a very Jezebel assessment: “Supreme Court Prepares to F**k Up This Birth Control Thing.” [Jezebel]

* “JUDGE TO PORN TROLLS: IP Addresses Aren’t People.” [Instapundit]

* YouTube videos and text messages surface in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. [IT-Lex]

* “Her” was an excellent movie — and it might contain lessons for lawyers and the legal profession, as John Hellerman argues. [Hellerman Baretz]

* Fatwa against Fat. Wha? Saudi cleric issues Fatwa against all you can eat buffets. Old Country Buffet reeling from the blow to expansion plans. [International Business Times]

* Legislature close to disbanding speed trap town. [Lowering the Bar]

* Federal district judge who thought he was one of the Hardy Boys gets a benchslap from Judge Rakoff. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* The dean of the DePaul College of Law, Gregory Mark, is stepping down at the end of the academic year. Administration issues are never fun, but this is better than another story about Augustus Sol Invictus. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* Respect is a two-way street. That’s why you don’t disrespectfully interrupt judges and judges shouldn’t berate lawyers for doing nothing wrong. [Katz Justice]

* The most overrated and underrated law schools. Go Ducks! [TaxProf Blog]

Albert Togut: man with a plan (of reorganization).

Maybe the floundering firm of Patton Boggs can actually right itself. It doesn’t have the Biglaw mark of Cain, namely, a name that lends itself to bad puns — e.g., Dewey and “do we,” Howrey and “how are we,” and Thelen (rhymes with “feelin’”). In hindsight, Patton Boggs did the right thing when it dropped George Blow’s name from the marquee and went from “Patton Boggs & Blow” — a name we would have had a field day with — to simply “Patton Boggs.”

(Yes, Patton Boggs has some pun potential. But there are only so many “bogs down” and swamp-related plays on words to be had. Yes, even for us.)

Luckily, for the time being we can use some “Dewey” puns. Because Patton Boggs, for whatever reason, is using all of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s old advisers….

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“But otherwise you’re good to serve on this jury, right?”

* What’s a good excuse for getting out of jury duty? Apparently not “having a heart attack RIGHT NOW!” [Lowering the Bar]

* The hits from the CATO amicus brief keep on coming. They commit a footnote to mocking Chief Justice Roberts. [Election Law Blog]

* The Attractive Convict is suing over the use of her mugshot in banner ads. Your redemption is coming, Scumbag Steve! [IT-Lex]

* David Healey, formerly of Weil Gotshal and currently of Fish & Richardson, is filming a movie based on his earlier book. And it stars Sean Young! That’ll work well. [Times of Sicily]

* Does a public-school donor’s request to thank God in an inscription constitute an Establishment Clause violation? [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Supreme Court will hear the case of the NC Dental Board’s efforts to limit the teeth-whitening industry to dentists. Will this ruling spell trouble for state bar associations applying a death grip to all legal services? [WRAL]

Judge Richard Posner

From the Above the Law mailbag: “Is ATL ever going to call out Judge Posner for being so needlessly nasty to litigants?”

Ummm, no. I’m a big fan of Judge Richard Posner, who is brilliant and hilarious. (Yes, hilarious — if you doubt that, check out the awesome podcast that he and I did together, which you can download and listen to during your commute or at the gym.)

But in the interest of fairness, I will make this reader’s case. This correspondent cited the recent oral argument in Notre Dame v. Sebelius, which we alluded to yesterday, in which Judge Posner dispensed some benchslaps to Matthew Kairis, head of litigation in the Columbus office of Jones Day. The reader also mentioned the argument on remand in the Conrad Black case, alleging that Posner “was particularly nasty to Miguel Estrada, seemingly piqued that Estrada got him reversed by SCOTUS.”

Let’s focus on the Notre Dame v. Sebelius argument, since it just happened. How bad was it?

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Last week, we mentioned that Winston & Strawn partner Gene Schaerr is leaving the firm to represent Utah in its gay marriage squabble against equal rights. By all accounts, Schaerr is a terrific lawyer. The BYU and Yale Law School grad served as head of Winston & Strawn’s Appellate and Critical Motions Practice.

It’s a little bit surprising that Schaerr took the extraordinary step of leaving the firm to take this case. The move caused some online commentators to speculate that Schaerr left W&S because of the firm’s work with LGBT groups… or even because W&S has an LGBT affinity group at the firm.

Well, we now have Schaerr’s actual departure memo, the one that he sent out firm-wide. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes suggested that Schaerr left the firm simply so he could “focus” on this important case. You can read the departure memo and judge Gene Schaerr’s motivations for yourselves…

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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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