2nd Circuit

Raj Rajaratnam

Rajaratnam’s arguments are not persuasive.

– Judge José A. Cabranes, writing for a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit in upholding the insider trading convictions of former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam. On appeal, Rajaratnam unsuccessfully argued that federal prosecutors obtained a wiretap warrant with a “reckless disregard for the truth.” Rajaratnam will serve the remainder of his 11-year sentence.

(If you’re interested, continue reading for the Second Circuit’s opinion.)

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I don’t know precisely when Oprah Winfrey went from daytime talk show host to “I’m a DEITY now,” but I know that I missed it. I mean, I like her and all. And I don’t understand the people who hate her — like what has Oprah ever done to anybody? But I don’t exactly know why the world seems to hang on her every word.

Which isn’t to say she didn’t “deserve” to give the commencement address at Harvard University this year. Of course she did. Have you seen the people who have given that speech? When I graduated from college it was Amartya Sen. He’s an economist, Oprah is cash money.

I only noticed she was giving the speech because right wingers are acting like she needs to be shot because she talked about gun control. But apparently she also said: “We all know that we are better than the cynicism and the pessimism that is regurgitated throughout Washington and the 24-hour cable news cycle — not my channel, by the way.”

And that’s funny because the Second Circuit just ruled that her media network might have regurgitated a tagline already owned by a copyright holder…

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Even the liberals look okay with the Red Mass,

I believe President Jed Bartlett explained legislative prayer best during the Red Mass episode. When Charlie asked why it’s okay to have a mass to celebrate the beginning of the Supreme Court’s terms, Barlett said, “And so how isn’t it a Constitutional issue? It is, but sometimes you say, ‘Big deal.’ It was the intention not to have a national religion, not to have anyone’s religious views imposed on anyone else, and not to have the government encourage a national display of piety as a substitute for real action.”

I think that’s basically right. I think prayer in schools is an unconstitutional indoctrination into religion for kids who are required by law to be there. I think making marriage laws based on Leviticus is bigoted and stupid. But if grown-ass adults want to have a prayer before they start legislating, I say “big deal.”

And I thought “big deal” was pretty well established law. So like everybody else, I was a little surprised to see that the Supreme Court granted cert in Greece v. Galloway, a case involving legislative prayer.

Maybe SCOTUS just wants to smack around the Second Circuit?

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Casey Anthony

* Right about now, the Second Circuit is wondering why authors are suing Google and crying infringement over the Internet company’s e-book project, especially since digitization could benefit so many of them. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* This is the end of an era of legal battles: Jeffrey Skilling, Enron’s former chief executive officer, is getting a little shaved off the top of his 24-year prison sentence thanks to a deal with the Department of Justice. He’ll be out in 2017. [CNBC]

* Biglaw expected to have a slow start in 2013, but no one expected it to be this slow. The latest Citi report wasn’t exactly encouraging; on average, firms saw a 0.2% increase in revenue during the first quarter. [Am Law Daily]

* In the past decade, the American Bar Association has created six task forces to explore changing the face of legal education as we know it. Funny… nothing’s really changed. [National Law Journal]

* Bail for Ariel Castro, the accused Cleveland kidnapper, has been set at $8 million. “Just think of how many ribs and salsa albums could be bought with that, bro,” said Charles Ramsey. [Chicago Tribune]

* Casey Anthony had a bankruptcy hearing yesterday, but that news was overshadowed because everyone cared more about the girl who wasn’t going to get away with murder. [Orlando Sentinel]

* Professor Alfred Brophy wonders if The Great Gatsby (affiliate link) provides an early preview of product placement. In any event, I’m willing to bet the new movie will provide a stellar latter day view of product placement. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Brooklyn Law School will begin offering a two-year JD program. This makes too much sense. [Brooklyn Law School]

* Former Dora the Explorer star rebuffed in effort to unwind settlement, in part over claims that she overpaid for her lawyer. He charged $755/hour plus a 37.5% “success fee.” [UPDATE: According to her former lawyer, the hourly rate was replaced by the contingency fee arrangement.] This is the sort of thing that happens if a monkey is your most trusted confidant. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Oreck files for bankruptcy. Not Orrick, Oreck. They make vacuum cleaners that suck. Figuratively. [USA Today]

* Urinating on police stations? Detroit sounds like such a charming place. [Legal Juice]

* If you don’t mind spoilers, here are the answers to all your Iron Man 3 legal queries. Not answered: why was the post-credits scene so lame? [Law and the Multiverse]

* While created for short-sighted criminal defendants, this applies equally to the hubris of civil defendants who are just SURE they’re going to win. [What the Public Defender?]

* Caroline Kennedy just paid up her lapsed bar admission. Just in time for a Senate confirmation hearing… you know if she were to get nominated for something. [WiseLawNY]

My personal favorite: Peepemptory Challenges.

* To those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter! Welcome the holiday by voting in the ABA Journal’s fifth annual “Peeps in Law” contest. [ABA Journal]

* If law firm brackets aren’t your thing, check out Professor Kyle Graham’s brackets for (1) law school classes and (2) law blogs. I’m thankful for ATL’s #1 seed but terrified by who we’re up against (because they’ve ripped me a new one before). [noncuratlex]

* Sorry, Judge Steiner, you wuz robbed; you should have been our Judge of the Day. It’s tough to top “allegations of a sexual quid pro quo with a female lawyer and the eye-opening confiscation of carpet from [chambers] for forensic analysis.” [OC Weekly]

William Shatner

* “William Shatner’s Seductive Powers Don’t Create a Fiduciary Duty.” Robyn Hagan Cain explains why. [U.S. Second Circuit / FindLaw]

* Citi settles securities cases for $730 million. Matt Levine is not impressed. [Dealbreaker]

* And Ted Frank is incensed by Bernstein Litowitz’s nine-figure fee request. [Point of Law]

* If you’re already depressed by public ignorance about the Supreme Court, don’t look at the responses to question 9 of this opinion poll. [Penn Schoen Berland]

* Steven Harper — author of a new (and very good) book about the legal profession, The Lawyer Bubble (affiliate link) — offers thoughts on the billable hour in the wake of the DLA Piper overbilling allegations. [New York Times]

* If you hate the government and you hate lawyers more, then you’ll love this. In the past five years, the feds have awarded $3.3 billion to more than 4,700 vendors for legal work. [National Law Journal]

* A year and a half after he was nominated for a Federal Circuit judgeship, and more than a year after his hearing, the Senate finally decided to confirm Richard Taranto. How kind. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Pretty pretty please? Zvi Goffer and Michael Kimmelman would really really like it if the Second Circuit could overturn their insider trading convictions due to unfairness. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The U.S. News law school rankings are often criticized, and here’s why: if survey respondents “were asked about Princeton Law School, it would appear in the top 20. But it doesn’t exist.” [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Nevermind the fact that law school applications are down, but Northwestern Law is doing the “responsible thing” and reducing the size of its incoming class — and raising tuition by 3% to boot. [Wall Street Journal]

* Jason Rapert, the Arkansas senator who passed a fetal-heartbeat abortion ban in his state, says he “has no time” for anyone who says it’s unconstitutional. To paraphrase, ain’t nobody got time for that. [New York Times]

Ted Olson and David Boies: adversaries, then allies, then adversaries again.

After covering the Dewey & LeBoeuf bankruptcy hearing on Wednesday morning, I walked a few blocks uptown to the Second Circuit for another exciting event: oral argument in the closely watched Argentina bondholder litigation. It was a Biglaw battle royal, pitting Ted Olson, the former solicitor general and current Gibson Dunn partner, against a tag team of top lawyers that included David Boies, Olson’s adversary in Bush v. Gore (and ally in Hollingsworth v. Perry).

Here’s my account of the proceedings, including photos….

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‘That’s just our special sauce!’

* Six Supreme Court justices attended last night’s State of the Union address, and although it was all hugs and kisses and handshakes to start off with, some looked as if they were due for naptime by its end (coughRBGcough). [Blog of Legal Times]

* It’s a clash of the Biglaw titans! In a face off between legal heavyweights, the Second Circuit has set aside time to hear arguments from Ted Olson and David Boies in the Argentine bondholder case. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Dewey know if this document specialist’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act lawsuit has got any legs to it? It certainly must, because Judge Martin Glenn very recently denied the failed firm’s motion to dismiss it. [Am Law Daily]

* Congratulations to Paulette Brown of Edwards Wildman Palmer. This Jersey girl is the uncontested nominee for ABA president in 2015, making her the first minority woman to hold the title. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* Send in the clowns (or loads of O’Melveny and Akin lawyers): Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has a low opinion of David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital lawsuit, referring to it as nothing more than a “silly sideshow.” [Reuters]

* “It is up to us in the academy to prepare our students for the future no matter what it holds.” Dean Frank Wu of UC Hastings seems to be on the right track when it comes to necessary law firm reforms. [Huffington Post]

* Poor, poor Teresa Wagner. She was allegedly denied a job because of her conservative views, and her case ended in a mistrial. That kind of a thing could drive a woman to drink… and drive. [Iowa City Press Citizen]

* Not only does Lehigh University ruin every college basketball bracket in the nation, but it also provides great “I’m suing you because of my crappy grades” fodder. Oh my God, I really miss you, Lehigh! [Morning Call]

* Thanks to the wisdom of the Ninth Circuit, we now know that, at least in Washington, a spit-laden hamburger from Burger King is grounds for emotional distress damages. Ugh, that’s nasty! [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

“Come on Judge Rakoff, it’s nap time over here!”

You don’t want to live in a town where the police and the mob work together.

In a completely unrelated note, today the Second Circuit heard arguments from the SEC — the federal agency statutorily charged to enforce the nation’s securities laws — and Citigroup — a company targeted for securities laws violations that it refuses to admit or deny committing — on the SAME SIDE.

This should be a red flag.

They wanted the Second Circuit to spank Judge Jed Rakoff for having the audacity to ask the SEC to kindly do its job. The nerve of some people.

Well, securities law may not be as sexy as drone strikes, but I watched the SEC try to pull off just as naked an executive power grab.

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