This is my first column for Above the Law on the Supreme Court. In an effort to help me generate effective linkbait, the Supreme Court issued an opinion yesterday at the intersection of bankruptcy and tax law for farmers — Hall v. United States.
Basically, Hall means that, if you’re a farmer and you declare bankruptcy on your farm under Chapter 12 (“the one just for farmers”), and, while in bankruptcy, you sell your farm, you will still have to pay capital gains tax on the sale of your farm — any liability to the IRS is not dischargeable.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the opinion is that Ninth Circuit was affirmed. Though, in fairness, the Ninth Circuit opinion was written by Judge O’Scannlain, so it’s not as though the Supreme Court affirmed Judge Reinhardt.
Also, farmers who are in bankruptcy and sell their farms now have to pay tax on the profits from those sales. I’m sure much of the Midwest is rioting in response.
For those who practice tax law, bankruptcy, or farming law, you will definitely want to read the opinion and some of the write-ups on it.
But the most exciting part of the morning involved new members of the Supreme Court bar….
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When I was a kid, I thought only white people had to worry about being thirty-something.
I’m back. I got sick, again, with pretty much the same kind of acute sinus infection as I had the last time. It’s the second time in six months some stupid illness has completely floored me by making it hard to see and think — I definitely need at least one of those faculties to do my job.
Last time, when I got back, I was just happy to be alive and looking for somebody to blame. This time, I’m depressed. It’s probably because I was sitting the doctor’s office, and I was whining and in incredible pain and petulantly demanding answers as to why I’m having all these health problems and the guy says to me: “Well, you are getting old.”
I’m not the only one. And it occurs to me that, once again, I’m in much better shape for this new phase of consequences than I would be if I was still at a Biglaw firm. Because while I need to refine and hone my skills in my mid and late thirties, associates at top law firms need to gun it. They need to take their suddenly aging bodies and turn every morsel of ATP into billable hours if they want to make partner. And they need to do it now….
Ed. note: Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, we will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will still be publishing, but less frequently than usual.
* “Based on history, it’s tough to make the case that there should be mandatory protection [for Supreme Court justices].” That may be so, but the fact that Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed by machete point should at least make the case for SCOTUS sword fighting lessons. [New York Times]
* And speaking of the Supreme Court, this week the justices will hear arguments over the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes lies about military service. Unfortunately, this means you will all have to wait to hear about the time Lat and I fought through 25 Taliban sharpshooters with only our pocket knives in order to save an entire orphanage from certain annihilation. [Fox News]
* Two female students at the University of Oregon School of Law accused a male student of drugging and raping them. How did the student body respond? A listserv flame war, of course. [Portland Oregonian]
* Attorneys representing survivors in the Costa Concordia crash claim that traces of cocaine were found in the hair of the ship’s captain. I’m not sure how, but this needs to be the basis for a Head and Shoulders commercial. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
As you might have noticed, Above the Law has gotten a little face-lift. We’ve been expanding our offerings over the past couple of months. We’ve added new full-time writers, and started new columns. With those changes, we’ve been bringing in a record number of readers who are interested in our diverse content. It was time to put the site under the knife, and get some Botox and a new smile up in here.
The new format will allow us to feature a main story we think most of you will want to see, while still scrolling through the real time news and opinions just to the right. We think this format will give our readers an overview of the content that is both relevant and new with just a quick glance.
Of course, if you like to get Above the Law just like you always have, you still can. If you like scrolling through ATL… just scroll down a little.
The changes on the website aren’t the only things that are happening here at Above the Law. With the proliferation of smart phones and tablets in the legal community, there are now more ways than ever to access ATL content beyond our website on your desktop browser. All ATL stories are available on the Flipboard, Google Currents, and Pulse readers, and we will be launching on more mobile readers shortly. If you have not yet accessed Above the Law through any of these readers, we encourage you to download the readers in the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace to access mobile ATL content.
Starting today, we will be changing our feeds so that you will receive an overview of each Above the Law story via the mobile readers listed above, or any RSS reader. You will then be able to link to the full story on AbovetheLaw.com, where you can interact with other readers through our comments, and access all of our current and archived articles for free. With so many options to view ATL content, we want to make sure you have access to breaking news and insights throughout the day in the way that suits you best; in fact, if you call right now, we’ll throw in a free set of steak knives.
Just kidding. The knives only come out in the comments. We of course want you to continue to come to AbovetheLaw.com directly to participate in the community and give us feedback on the stories that interest you.
Good times. We want to thank all of our readers for making 2011 the most successful year for Above the Law ever. We’ll try to do even better in 2012.
In my contribution, I offer a measured defense of unpaid internships — of the non-abusive variety, in which the intern receives a valuable learning experience (and doesn’t just do scut work) — and also a defense of the status quo (under which most unpaid internships are technically illegal, but enforcement isn’t super-vigorous). You can read my NYT piece here (or on page 9 of yesterday’s Sunday Review section, if you’re a print person). You can also read a piece by Camille Olson, a labor and employment partner at Seyfarth Shaw, over here (focusing on the legal aspects of unpaid internships, and offering general guidelines to companies considering them).
Speaking of interns, Above the Law is looking for one — a paid intern, for the record. Details appear below, along with general information about our hiring needs, and our policy on guest posts or outside contributions….
Hi everybody! I’m Chris Danzig. You might have seen me around Above The Law over the past year, covering technology and West Coast legal news. As of today, I’m excited to be the site’s newest full-time editor, joining David Lat, Elie Mystal, and Staci Zaretsky.
I’m a journalist by trade, not a lawyer. I’ve spent too much time writing about the law — and the stressfulsituations that can arise within the legal profession, which sometimes drive lawyers to drink — to ever want to practice.
I left that job about two years ago, and have worked as a full-time freelance reporter since then. I’ve written for a variety of publications, covering health care, music, social justice, and a bunch of other stuff. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised.
Keep reading for more personal trivia about yours truly (and to see the photo of myself that Lat asked me to provide)….
Yesterday, January 15, was the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the great American civil rights leader and Nobel laureate. As noted on the Nobel website, Dr. King was just 35 years old at the time he was honored, making him the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Please take some time today to reflect on Dr. King and his legacy.
Hopefully you can engage in this reflection outside of the office. We’re guessing (and hoping) that most of you have the day off from work. Here at Above the Law, we will be publishing, although on a reduced schedule. So do check in with us from time to time (or scroll back through the archives and look at stories you might have missed from last week).
If you’re looking for something to do, you can use today for public service. Look up service projects in your area at MLKDay.gov. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.