Screw-Ups

So, the Apple v. Samsung trial is on break for one more day, but that doesn’t mean the digital drama is fading. The trial has become ubiquitous in the news. We’ve got a clip from Conan O’Brien mocking opining on the proceedings… or more specifically, Samsung. And we’ve got word that another Quinn Emanuel partner is in the hot seat.

UPDATE (5:09 PM): We have added Quinn Emanuel’s official response to the newest controversy at the end of this post. It’s a doozy.

In the meantime, one news outlet is heralding the case as the trial of the century, while another says the outcome is irrelevant anyway. So let’s take a step back and think about what it all means…

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As we mentioned yesterday in Morning Docket, Judge Marcia Gail Cooke (S.D. Fla.) recently issued an omnibus order on multiple motions for sanctions in the high-profile case of Coquina Investments v. TD Bank. The plaintiff, Coquina Investments, moved for sanctions related to various alleged discovery violations.

At a contempt hearing held back in May, Judge Cooke heard testimony from employees of TD Bank and current and former lawyers from Greenberg Traurig, which previously represented the bank. She took the matter under advisement — but not before saying things like, “It is hard for me to describe in words the difficulty throughout this trial related to documents and discovery.”

Now Her Honor has ruled. What did she decide?

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The hot topics in jury misconduct these days are mostly about jurors who over-share or over-research cases on the internet or social media. Everyone is legitimately concerned about what jurors find online about the cases they hear. Sometimes big-time attorneys even get lambasted by judges for allowing certain information to be published in the media — even though jurors have already been instructed not to look at at any press.

But that doesn’t mean old-school water-cooler gossip has disappeared from the list of headaches uncooperative jurors can cause. In Florida this week, a high-profile, extraordinarily slow-moving murder case was delayed yet again after the judge dismissed the entire jury selection pool because of excessive pick a little talk a little cheep cheep cheep

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Is the bar exam like a rat race? Well, when there are actual rats in the building....

If you just completed the 2012 bar exam, congratulations. For many of you, the bar exam will be the last test you ever take in your life. How good does that feel?

Special congratulations to those of you who just emerged from three days of bar exam misery, either because you took the bar in a state with a three-day test or because you took the bar in two different states. I took the New York and New Jersey bar exams back to back — and I had to take New York up in Albany, which meant hours of driving with a fried mind — so I feel your pain.

Pain and the bar exam go hand in hand. Earlier this week, we shared with you bar exam horror stories from Virginia and North Carolina.

Today we have many more bar exam dispatches. Read on for stories of horror and heroism, reports of rodents and other creepy critters, and claims of shady behavior….

UPDATE (7/27/2012, 11 AM): Please note the UPDATE appended below regarding the Virginia bar exam.

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(And more horror stories from across the land.)

If you are going to use an excuse for failing the bar exam, it better involve one of these.

The bar exam, Eli my boy. You see, you have a bar exam that is full of sorrows, and I have an internet connection that’s like a straw. You see, are you watching? My internet connection straw reaches across the country and starts to drink your tears milkshake. I drink your tear-shake. I drink it up!

Sorry, I’m not sure why I feel like a traveling oilman today, but I have spent some time drilling in the ATL Inbox for fun stories about things that happened during the first day of state bar exams.

There are some good ones floating around… and by “good,” I mean the kind of crap that will undoubtedly affect the performances of some test takers.

But hey, last year a woman went into labor and delivered her baby after the test and still passed. So I don’t want to hear any excuses — not even from the guy I’m about to tell you about, who had a seizure and had to be carried out on a stretcher….

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* Bankruptcy blues: “No one is getting a free pass.” Howrey going to start clawing back all of that money from our former partners and their new firms? Dewey even want to get started with this failed firm’s D&L defectors? [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* Way to show that you’ve got some Seoul: Ropes & Gray, Sheppard Mullin, and Clifford Chance were the first Biglaw firms to receive approval from the Korean Ministry of Justice to open the first foreign firm offices in South Korea. [Legal Week]

* This is supposed to represent an improvement? Pretty disappointing. The percentage of women holding state court judgeships increased by a whopping 0.7 percent over last year’s numbers. [National Law Journal]

* Throw your birth control pills in the air like confetti, because a judge tossed a lawsuit filed by seven states that tried to block the Affordable Care Act’s mandatory contraception coverage provision. [Lincoln Journal Star]

* “[S]omewhere along the way the guy forgot to tell the seller that he was working with the buyer.” Duane Morris was sued for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty for more than $192M. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Please don’t Google me, bitches. Brandon Hamilton, Louisville Law’s ex-assistant dean for admissions, resigned Monday after overpromising $2.4M in scholarship money to incoming law students. [Courier-Journal]

* A New Hampshire college is offering free tuition to students in their junior year if they combine their senior year with their first year at the Massachusetts School of Law. The catch? Mass Law is unaccredited. [NHPR]

Ed. note: This is the latest column by our newest writer, Anonymous Partner. In case you missed his prior posts, check them out here and here.

I really enjoy the writing of Dr. Atul Gawande, the New Yorker contributor who is also a practicing surgeon. For one thing, surgeons are very interesting creatures — in many ways, they are the trial lawyers of the medical field. Just like trial lawyers (and generally litigators who do more than just brief writing), surgeons need to acquire certain basic technical skills, but the true measure of their value lies in their ability to achieve, through the exercise of leadership and artistry, a favorable result for the client or patient. And just as it takes years of residency and fellowship for surgeons to transition from technical proficiency to artistry, so too must the aspiring Biglaw first-chair trial lawyer undergo a seemingly interminable apprenticeship on the road to courtroom glory. (At least surgeons never lack, due to the frailty of the human body, practice subjects. Biglaw trials are harder to come by — but that is an issue for future exploration.)

Back to Dr. Gawande — something he recently prepared caught my eye. In early June, Dr. Gawande was invited to give the commencement address at Williams College, and his remarks were posted on the New Yorker’s website shortly afterwards. In his talk, Dr. Gawande argued that avoiding catastrophic outcomes — e.g. a stalled career, a Dewey, etc. — is possible, but only if the decision-makers are capable of recognizing the risks of their current paths and able to practice the “art of rescue”….

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If you sent a document to the Engineers in Prometheus in .docx, they would say, 'Kill the one who expects us to convert.'

When most people call lawyers “paper pushers,” they mean it in a pejorative way. But pushing paper around correctly, in an organized and detail-oriented fashion, is a big part of a lawyer’s job. Some might say it’s the most important part of the job. The best lawyers have an attention to detail that can only be matched by research scientists and portrait artists.

If you can’t bring that maddening, borderline obsessive-compulsiveness to the little things, you might not be able to do things like become an awesome Supreme Court clerk — or even make it onto your school’s law review. That’s okay; you still might have other talents. But good lawyers can follow instructions (or afford secretaries who can follow instructions).

It’s an important lesson that three kids who got booted from their school’s law review competition just learned the hard way…

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Stephen McDaniel

Yesterday brought bad news for Stephen M. McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. His lawyers’ request for a reconsideration of his bond, originally set at $850,000 by Chief Judge S. Phillip Brown, got denied.

One of McDaniel’s lawyers, Franklin J. Hogue, argued that the bond was “excessive,” claiming that the McDaniel family couldn’t afford more than $150,000. The prosecution countered that the family’s financial picture might have changed since the passing of McDaniel’s grandfather, Hollis Browning, back in April. According to Floyd Buford, another lawyer working for McDaniel, Browning’s will remains to be executed. In the end, the judge left bail as is — meaning McDaniel will remain in jail for the foreseeable future.

Now let’s hear the good news for the defendant. It relates to that disturbing internet posting that the prosecution attributed to Hacksaw McDaniel back in April….

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In yesterday’s Quote of the Day, we noted that Dean Susan Poser of the University of Nebraska College of Law took the time to write a letter to the editor of the New York Times to offer a critique of the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings system. Poser claimed that the rankings were biased toward top law schools, allowing schools like her own to “remain little known and undervalued” in the eyes of the general public.

Poser encouraged everyone to examine the state of legal education in flyover land, claiming that a second look might result in surprising findings. Well, we decided to take her advice. We learned that, in addition to boasting an out-of-this-world space law program, the law school is also on the cutting edge of cybersecurity.

Actually, that’s not true at all, because Nebraska Law (along with other parts of the university) just experienced a major security breach of its student information system. If you’re a current or former student, you might want to check and see if your identity has been stolen….

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