As the Supreme Court begins its 2014-15 term this month, it will be considering a number of securities cases, including the Omnicare case, which is scheduled for oral argument on November 3rd, and three other cases in which petitions for certiorari are currently pending before the Court. As discussed below, these cases raise significant questions concerning the standards for claims under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, prosecution of insider trading, and the scope of disgorgement penalties in an SEC enforcement action. We also discuss IndyMac, another securities case that had been scheduled to be heard as the first case of the new term on October 6th, but was abruptly dismissed by the Court earlier this week.
- Barack Obama, Biglaw, Books, Crime, Insider Trading, Law Schools, Morning Docket, Politics, Securities Law
* Politics and Biglaw just don’t mix: House Republicans hired Quinn Emanuel to handle their suit against President Barack Obama after Baker Hostetler withdrew from the representation due to “political pressure” the firm was facing. [Politico]
* The paper and napkin-eating “Middleman” in the post-it note insider trading ring pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges. This might make it difficult for his cohorts to substantiate their not-guilty pleas. [DealBook / New York Times]
* “This is a tale with no shortage of knaves or villains.” If you’re interested in learning about Chevron’s legal wranglings in Ecuador and with plaintiffs attorney Steven Donziger, there are a bunch of interesting new readings for you to peruse. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Crisis in legal education be damned! They may have bad timing, but these law schools are focusing on building bigger and better facilities for students they’re unable to put in their seats. [National Law Journal]
* Ohio law schools have taken a bruising in terms of decreased enrollment, but the University of Toledo has faced the worst of it. With a 25.9% reduction in 1Ls, tuition cuts can only do so much. [Toledo Blade]
- Blogging, California, Crime, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Gay Marriage, Law Professors, Media and Journalism, Morning Docket, Politics, SCOTUS, Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Law, State Judges Are Clowns, Supreme Court, Ted Olson
* “I don’t think the government should be in the credentialing business.” Thanks to the whims of politicians, SCOTUSblog is having trouble getting media credentials to continue its coverage of the Supreme Court’s cases. [New York Times]
* How you like me now? In Redeeming the Dream (affiliate link), a new book co-authored with David Boies, Ted Olson says he experienced “some blowback” when he announced he was taking on the Prop 8 gay marriage case. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Steve Davis and Steve DiCarmine of failed firm fame think it’s “unfair” they have to defend themselves in a criminal case and an SEC case at the same time. They want the SEC case to be halted. Dewey think the judge will say yes? [Law360 (sub. req.)]
* Back in 2011, Pillsbury decided to ship its back-office operations to Nashville, and now it’s hiring a small contingent of lawyers to work there. FYI, an Ivy League degree may not be necessary. [Washington Post]
* Only in Florida would a judge allegedly challenge a public defender to a fight out back during a hearing and start throwing punches. We’ll definitely have more on this fiasco later today. [WFTV Eyewitness News]
* Peter Mutharika, a former law professor who taught at Washington University in St. Louis Law for about 40 years, is now the new president of Malawi, where it’s illegal to fart. Congrats! [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
- Biglaw, Gender, Job Searches, Law Firm Mergers, Law Firm Names, Law Schools, Morning Docket, Patton Boggs, Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Law, Women's Issues
* “[T]hree names are unnecessary, and over time I think you’ll see Squire Patton start to take hold.” Sanders got the boot in this law firm merger, and it won’t be long before Boggs follows. [Am Law Daily]
* The “great female brain drain” at Am Law 200 firms isn’t slowing down, and it will only get better if Biglaw firms concentrate less on their failed “fix the women” approaches. [Harvard Business Review]
* Mary Jo White of the SEC promised to dust off an often ignored — but “potentially  very powerful” — section of securities law to pursue financial violations. Be wary of the “innocent instrumentality” doctrine, defense attorneys. [DealBook / New York Times]
* We’ve got some breaking news for our readers from the “no sh*t” department: Law school graduates are still having a very tough time getting jobs as lawyers, and there is no real end in sight. [Sacramento Bee]
* If you’re looking for a way to explain a switch in your undergrad major when applying to law school, show admissions committees how pretty your grades are now. Tada! [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
- Biglaw, Insider Trading, Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Law, Wall Street, White-Collar Crime
Over the years, we’ve covered many Biglaw employees who have been accused or convicted of insider trading. This should come as no surprise, given the confidential and market-moving information that regularly flows through the hallways and computers of leading law firms.
The latest accusations of insider trading involve a lawyer who worked at a white-shoe law firm. This individual stands accused of taking confidential information he was privy to by virtue of his work and passing it along through a middleman to a broker, who then allegedly traded on it. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the scheme generated over $5.6 million in illegal profits, with over $168,000 going to the Biglaw tipster.
At which elite law firm did this defendant work, and from which school did he receive his law degree?
- 3rd Circuit, Deaths, Department of Justice, Federal Government, Federal Judges, Immigration, Judicial Nominations, Law Professors, Law Schools, Minority Issues, Morning Docket, Racism, SCOTUS, Securities Law, Supreme Court, Video games, Violence
* Foreclosure attorney Bruce Richardson alleges that Hogan Lovells partner David Dunn hit him with a briefcase in front of a court officer. That’s how they roll in state court. (Expect more on this later.) [New York Daily News; New York Post]
* From cop killer to nomination killer: Mumia’s the word that stopped Debo Adegbile’s nomination to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. [Washington Post]
* In happier nomination news, congratulations to former Breyer clerk Vince Chhabria, as well as to Beth Freeman and James Donato, on getting confirmed to the federal bench for the Northern District of California. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* How a Cornell law student got her father to foot the bill for half of her pricey legal education. [ATL Redline]
* As I predicted, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in United States v. Maloney didn’t sweep the alleged prosecutorial misconduct under the rug by granting the government motion without comment. [The Atlantic]
* RACEISM™ alert: federal prosecutors allege that deputies to a North Carolina sheriff accused of racial profiling of Latinos shared links to a violent and racist video game. [Raleigh News & Observer]
- Abortion, Association of American Law Schools, Biglaw, Books, Conferences / Symposia, Football, Gender, Intellectual Property, Jed Rubenfeld, Law Schools, Racism, Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Law, Sports, Tax Law, Trademarks
* “Either access to abortion will be dramatically restricted in the coming year or perhaps the pushback will begin.” We’re moving back in history. Here’s hoping pro-choice advocacy will be born anew in 2014. [New York Times]
* George S. Canellos, the SEC’s co-chief of enforcement, announced his departure on Friday, and people are already wondering whether he’ll return to his old stomping grounds at Milbank Tweed. [DealBook / New York Times]
* We hope legal educators had fun at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting, but we hope most of all that they learned what needs to change to really make legal education pay. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system.” Saudi Arabia now has its first female law firm dedicated to bringing women’s issues to the country’s patriarchal courts. Congratulations! [RT]
* A Starbucks spokeswoman issued a defense to the cease-and-desist response letter that went viral worldwide, and it reads just like how her company’s coffee tastes: bland. [International Business Times]
This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission released new proposed rules that would permit but regulate the offer and sale of securities through crowdfunding. Sounds pretty awesome, except maybe for the “regulate” part.
Crowdfunding, for those of you whose artsy friends have not already solicited Kickstarter donations from you, is an internet-based fundraising method. It typically involves musicians, filmmakers, artists, or designers gathering small financial contributions from a large number of individuals. In exchange for a pledge to the project or startup, backers usually receive some token of appreciation related to the project they are funding — a CD, tickets to live recording session of an orchestral arrangement of music from the Pokemon video game franchise, a signed copy of a book, well wishes from a psychic goat, etc. Websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo serve as exchanges where interested investors link up with aspiring artists, entrepreneurs, and inventors.
Currently, crowdfunded projects are not selling ownership rights in the projects to their financial contributors. Those who pledge money for you to open your dreamed-of cheese bar are not buying stock in your cheese bar. Offering contributors a share of future financial returns, after all, usually triggers the application of federal securities regulations. However, thanks to these new rules proposed by the SEC, pushed forward by 2012’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, this may now change. Subject, of course, to some oversight by the Feds. Let’s take a look at the rules and see if they are likely to Kickstart, er, jumpstart our nation’s business startups….
- Constitutional Law, Insider Trading, Law Schools, Morning Docket, Police, Politics, SCOTUS, Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Law, Supreme Court, Wall Street
* If the government shuts down and then defaults on its debt, Wall Street worries that it would “shake the foundations of the global financial system.” Hooray for political asshattery! [DealBook / New York Times]
* At least six of the Supreme Court’s judicial precedents are up for reconsideration in the upcoming Term, and high court commentators think the resulting decisions could be a mixed bag. [National Law Journal]
* Apparently low-income New Yorkers’ legal problems are “not worthy of a ‘real lawyer,'” or at least that’s the message that will be given if non-lawyers are allowed to provide legal services. [New York Law Journal]
* Sorry, lady, not enough prestige. A Brazilian journalist was allegedly on the receiving end of some “extremely violent” police behavior at Yale Law School after attempting to interview Justice Joaquim Barbosa at a private event. [The Guardian]
* Mark Cuban’s insider trading case is heading to trial today, but we genuinely wonder how he’ll be able to convince a jury that he’s “humble and affable,” rather than the “master of the universe.” [Boston Herald]
- Attorney Misconduct, Biglaw, Blackberry-Crackberry, Cars, Law Schools, Legal Ethics, Morning Docket, Paul Bergrin, Prisons, SCOTUS, Securities Law, Supreme Court, Technology
* CHECK YOU [BLACKBERRIES] OFTEN, because firms like Shearman & Sterling, McCarthy Tétrault, Skadden Arps, and Torys will advise on the ancient technology’s private sale. [Am Law Daily]
* Paul Bergrin, more commonly known as the “Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey,” was handed a life sentence yesterday. At least he’ll have street cred with his gen pop friends. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* If you’re still thinking of applying to law school now, you must be the kind of person who needs advice on how to go to college and fill out applications, all at the same time. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]