During my 25 years litigating at law firms, I fretted about two words: “winning” and “losing.” (As one old-timer put it: “They don’t pay you twelve dollars a minute to lose.”)
Now I’m in-house, and I’m still fretting about two words: “probable” and “estimable.”
The accounting rules require corporations to take a reserve (which causes an immediate hit to revenue) when a “loss contingency” (which is accountant-speak for lawsuits, among other things) becomes probable and estimable. If it’s likely that you’re going to lose, and if you can estimate the amount (or, at least, the lower bound of the amount) of the loss, then it’s time to take a reserve.
Why do Brits think that filming people staring at other people in silence makes for compelling drama?
* Could stuttering actually help a trial attorney? Somebody should make a movie about this guy, only with fewer British people than The King’s Speech and more things Americans enjoy: like the stutterer/hero saying “My f-f-finger doesn’t stammer,” before he blows some fool away. [From the Sidebar]
* Ernst & Young accountants engaging in funny videos > Ernst & Young accountants engaging in fuzzy math. [Going Concern]
* I don’t trust “the market” as much as some other people do, but it can’t be any worse at running legal education in the country than the current system of letting a yearly ranking in U.S. News dictate how things work. [Truth on the Market]
* Just once in my life, I’d like to be able to vote for a Democrat with balls. [Huffington Post]
Litigatrix Ally McBeal
* There’s an irony in women litigators getting told they are not good at building relationships. [The Careerist]
* Before we accept Revelations, I’m going to want the state psychiatrist to take a look at St. John of Patmos. [What About Clients?]
* “Like most people who do these sorts of things, Linda Speaks Tribby had a good excuse, which is that she needed the money to buy a helicopter and a motor home, two purchases that seem slightly at odds but the heart wants what it wants.” [Dealbreaker]
* Loyola Law – L.A. is running Journalist Law School again. Kash went last year and recommends it. [Loyola Law School - L.A.]
The plug: I’ll be giving my “book talk” about The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law in several locations in the next couple of weeks, including in a conference room at Skadden and in auditoriums at the law schools of Northwestern and Indiana University. If you have a group that might be interested in the talk, please contact me. We’ll sneak you into one of the upcoming talks, and you can decide whether my spiel would actually fit your occasion.
Now, the business. And it’s real business this time around — a business issue that has caught the attention of an awful lot of in-house counsel. The issue has to do with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s deliberations over whether to alter corporate disclosures about loss contingencies. (Sorry, guys. No pictures of naked Canadian judges after the jump here. You’ve gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, or vice versa.)
Here’s the backstory: Investors legitimately want to know whether companies are about to lose a ton of money in litigation. So investors want companies to make fulsome disclosures about their “loss contingencies,” which picks up a lot of territory, including pending or threatened litigation.
Companies, on the other hand, are reluctant to disclose publicly that they anticipate losing a lawsuit. If companies were to make that type of disclosure, their litigation opponent would be energized and the settlement value of the case would skyrocket….
* “They used to call me Crazy Joe, now they can call me the Batman.” [Bad Lawyer]
* Is it really so hard to imagine that young, talented, hard-working individuals would rather start their careers instead of sitting around for a year while being fed $80,000 to stunt their professional growth? [The Economist]
* E-marriage sounds like a terrible idea, for alcoholics. [Ideoblog]
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