Aaron Swartz

Is there no end to the hidden musical talents of legal luminaries? With all their left-brained success, we forget that legal smarties can also have a well-developed creative side. For example, Judge Learned Hand cut a single back in the day. And Judge Richard Owen wrote an opera about Abigail Adams.

Now a giant of the legal academy has entered the music biz. The composer not only performs the short ditty for us all, but also fully annotates the lyrics to provide background to the song….

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Aaron Swartz

It was just days after Aaron Swartz’ death, and I was having a crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access…. The best Taylor & Francis could come up with was a less restrictive license that would cost authors nearly $3000 per article. The Board agreed that this alternative was simply not tenable, so we collectively resigned. In a sense, the decision was as much a practical one as a political one.

Chris Bourg, formerly an editor at the Journal of Library Administration describing the motivation behind the resignation of the Editor-in-Chief and the entire editorial board. It’s the latest fallout from the suicide of Aaron Swartz after the government threatened him with 35 years in prison for challenging the exclusive rights of publishing giants like Taylor & Francis.

Kevin Ring in happier times.

Full disclosure: Former Jack Abramoff associate Kevin Ring, whose criminal conviction was recently upheld by the D.C. Circuit, is a friend of mine.  We grew up in the same town and have known one another for decades. In no way is what follows unbiased or objective in any sense.  That said, I know that I’m right and the case against Kevin Ring was simply, unambiguously wrong.  Not to say that there was no ambiguity as to whether he broke a law — there was a tiny bit of that. But under no sane system of justice would Kevin be going to federal prison. Though he almost certainly is, pending a request for en banc rehearing from the D.C. Circuit followed by a Hail Mary filing for a writ of certiorari.

We can all stipulate that Jack Abramoff is one of the sleaziest and most repellent characters to besmirch the legal profession in decades.  (My favorite Abramoff moment: the time he tried convince his rabbi to bestow upon him  a fake, back-datedScholar of Talmudic Studies” award, so he could get in the Cosmos Club.)

Anyway, Abramoff was Kevin’s boss for three and a half years, during the final period of which they were both partners at Greenberg Traurig.  In the words of the judge at his sentencing hearing, Kevin was a “cog” in the Abramoff operation, a “second-tier level” administrator of the firm’s lobbying team.  I won’t try to spin Kevin’s time as a lobbyist as some honorable endeavor.  I couldn’t. Generally speaking, lobbyists are regarded by most of us as only slightly less distasteful than the politicians whose favor they are trying to curry.  But that does not make them criminals….

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Patrick Bateman? No, Tabber Benedict (via Getty).

* Former Biglaw associate Tabber Benedict, whom we’ve mentioned before (in happier times), reportedly threw a lavish “going away” party — going away to prison, that is. [Daily Mail]

* Take your pick: is government an “impetuous vortex” or a “hideous monster [with] devouring jaws”? [Althouse]

* Some thoughts from Juan Haines, a current San Quentin inmate and jailhouse lawyer, on wrongful conviction. [Life of the Law]

* In defense of the weekly meeting. [What About Clients?]

* Prosecutors: above the (traffic) law? [UTSanDiego.com]

* And how about the U.S. Postal Service? [Felix Salmon]

* The furor over U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the late Aaron Swartz shows no sign of abating. [How Appealing]

* Speaking of technology law, how would you like to win $5,000? If so, check out this contest. [IT-Lex]

* The early numbers for the Am Law 100 are in, and it looks like Husch Blackwell’s gross revenue grew by six percent in 2012 after a two-year decline. Hmm… perhaps the firm is saving money by cutting back on its rejection letter proofreaders. [Am Law Daily]

* “If I can’t settle with any of those parties, I will sue them.” Howrey’s trustee, Allan Diamond, plans to sue former partners of the failed firm with a vengeance — and quite “quickly” — if they refuse to cooperate with him. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Speaking of bankrupt law firms, former Dewey partner Steven Otillar may proceed with his various claims against Citibank over the repayment of his $209K capital contribution loan. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Anyone remember Amy McTeer, the attorney who doubled as an apparent model for “faces of meth”? She resigned from the bar after allegedly helping her boyfriend escape from jail. Classy! [National Law Journal]

* Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney whose name was dragged through the mud after Aaron Swartz’s suicide, claims she intended to recommend only a six-month sentence for the deceased internet hero. [Bloomberg]

Don’t sue her because she’s beautiful: Constance Jablonski (via Getty).

* Not a Victoria’s Secret angel’s fantasy: being sued for $3.3 million. [Fashionista]

* Should a widow be able to extract sperm from the body of her husband, who recently committed suicide, so she can have a child with him? Some thoughts from Professor Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law. [Bill of Health]

* Speaking of suicide, controversy over the prosecution of the late Aaron Swartz rages on. [How Appealing and Instapundit]

* Professor Ann Althouse isn’t a fan of the “if we can save one life” argument for gun control. [Althouse]

* I don’t know anything about football, but even I chuckled at this. [Life in Biglaw]

* ‘Tis the season… for replacing law school deans. Congratulations to Michael Hunter Schwartz, the new dean at Arkansas – Little Rock. [Faculty Lounge]

After the jump, Elie challenges Mike Bloomberg to make him skinny….

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* When it comes to medical marijuana prosecutions, the government is supposed to have “bigger fish to fry,” but it looks like even the Department of Justice couldn’t resist reeling in one last big catch. [New York Times]

* According to the results of this study, if you want to do well in law school, you should probably stop being so damn awkward, scale back your antisocial habits, and consider joining a study group. [National Law Journal]

* “[U]nder American law, anyone interesting is a felon.” This Columbia Law professor argues that the legal system failed Aaron Swartz because he was treated like a criminal instead of a deviant genius. [New Yorker]

* Porn stars in Los Angeles are challenging the constitutionality of being forced to wear condoms during filming — because the transfer of STDs is “constitutionally protected expression.” [Courthouse News Service]

* So, it looks like Lindsay Lohan fired her best gal pal in the world: her lawyer. But sometimes you have to fire people when you allegedly owe them oodles of money to the tune of $300K and you don’t have any. [Daily Mail]

DaNae Couch

* “I’m a New Yorker, and I jaywalk with the best of them.” Don’t be fooled by the rocks job that she’s got — she’s still, she’s still Jenny Sonia from the block. The Supreme Court’s very own wise Latina, author of a new memoir (affiliate link), is proud of her city. [New York Times; 60 Minutes]

* If you’re looking for an M&A adviser, you’d be wise to seek out counsel from Skadden Arps. The firm swept three separate rankings lists based on the total value of its clients’ 2012 M&A transactions. [Am Law Daily]

* Only in the world of legal education could the dean of a law school that isn’t even numerically ranked by U.S. News have the highest salary of all law deans nationwide. (We’ll likely have more on this later.) [Boston Globe]

* Arizona schools will allow 3Ls to take the bar exam, but New York schools may soon do away with 3L year altogether. Of course, the ABA will find a way to muck it up, but still, hooray for progress! [National Law Journal]

* Remember “Made in Jersey,” the show about a stereotypical Jersey girl who made the jump to Biglaw? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Hopefully “Staten Island Law” won’t face the same fate. [New York Daily News]

* “Sexiness is all about being a woman of character.” Our congratulations go out to DaNae Couch, the Texas Tech law student who advanced to the Top 10 of the Miss America competition. You go girl! [Lubbock Online]

* Aaron Swartz — Reddit co-founder, friend of Larry Lessig, felony hacking defendant — RIP. [New York Times]