Thoughts from columnist Renwei Chung on Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld’s controversial, bestselling book.
Check out Justice Kagan’s colorful quotation in the “is a fish a tangible object” case just decided by the Supreme Court.
We’ve all heard how dysfunctional entry-level legal recruiting is: Inordinate expense, decisions made on the briefest of subjective impressions with opacity all around, and what do firms reap for all their efforts? Shocking attrition rates among junior associates. It’s time for a conference on what could work better, and this is it.
* If you work at a law firm and take way too long to perform simple tasks in Microsoft Word or Excel, shape up: a new test, developed by former in-house lawyer Casey Flaherty, could expose your weaknesses — and lead to your work being discounted. [Capital Business / Washington Post]
* An S.D.N.Y. jury held the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization liable for supporting six terrorist attacks and issued a verdict of $218.5 million — an award that will under the law get tripled (collected remains to be seen). [WSJ Law Blog]
* Wall Street banks and their law firms are getting serious about cybersecurity. [New York Times]
* Could it be? Did Justice Clarence Thomas ask a question during oral arguments at SCOTUS? No, but he did ask a question at Yale Law during a presentation, noting that he doesn’t ask “irrelevant, useless questions” at the high court. [Legal Times]
* Per NALP, gains were made by women and minorities in law firms for the first time in years, but be careful, because Jim Leipold is watching you: “Individual law firms should not be allowed to hide behind the national figures.” [National Law Journal]
* Meet Judge Robert C. Brack of the District Court of New Mexico, who recently earned quite the accolade. Judge Brack has sentenced more defendants than any other federal judge in the past five years. He won’t be celebrating his achievement. [WSJ Law Blog]
* This Georgetown Law professor, who happens to be the cofounder of one of the country’s largest litigation finance firms, wants to see a law firm IPO, but others wonder if lawyers would be able to ethically practice while reporting to shareholders. [Washington Post]
* A Chadbourne & Park employee has been banned from ever working for another law firm again following his theft of $15,360 from C&P’s coffers. Not to worry, no client money was pilfered from the firm — the cash was taken from an open office account. [Am Law Daily]
* If you haven’t heard, David Lat wrote a book called Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link), and “[w]riting the novel was almost therapeutic for [him] in a way” — he’s “kind of over” the fact that his résumé doesn’t include a SCOTUS clerkship. [Chicago Daily Law Bulletin]
A federal judge offers a spirited defense of using legislative history in statutory interpretation.
* The Supreme Court is going to strike down bans on marriage equality folks. And the tea leaves aren’t that hard to read. [Slate]
* Even if the Court proclaims marriage equality the law of the land, discrimination will march on. On that note, can American law schools like Liberty continue to follow Canada’s controversial Trinity Western in functionally barring homosexuality? [Tax Prof Blog]
* Law students f**king love Atticus Finch. Um, you know he lost right? Start looking up to winners, like Dan Fielding or something. [Slate]
* Who else is jumping from the hulk that was once Patton Boggs? [Legal Times (sub. req.)]
* Our old friend George Mason Assistant Dean Richard Kelsey, who we last saw Tweeting about black people and the lack of reason, is back explaining that abortion is genocide… because it leads to immigrants coming to America. Or something. [CNS News]
* Meanwhile, there’s a new casebook out covering reproductive rights law that challenges the conventional classification of the subject as a subset of women’s issues. [RH Reality Check]
* Harvard Law 3L, soon-to-be Clifford Chance associate, rapper. [J.KO]
There is a good story somewhere in The Children Act, but Ian McEwan does not flesh it out very well.
* SWAT team called in to break up a poker game between a bunch of rich people. The militarization of the police seems like it’s going great. [Washington Post]
* South Carolina has finally vacated the convictions of the Friendship Nine — protesters busted for sitting at the diner counter who pioneered the “jail, no bail” strategy that dominated the 60s civil rights movement. It only took 54 years. [Huffington Post]
* Another day, another embarrassing development for the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell. This time it’s former Senator Ben Nelson who Obamacare challengers cite for their claim that the Senate never intended subsidies to go to states without their own exchanges. Well, Senator Nelson wrote his own brief blowing this theory out of the water. This is basically SCOTUS’s version of the Marshall McLuhan scene. [Washington Post]
* A list of upcoming books about the Supreme Court. [SCOTUSBlog]
* An enterprising law office discovered that the courts in Oklahoma publish social security numbers all the time. [Wirth Law Office]
* D.C. Circuit Judge Patricia Millett talks clerking diversity. [National Law Journal]
* UC Hastings Law student Hali Ford is competing on the 30th season of Survivor. Her interview video is below. [TV Grapevine]
Biglaw is changing rapidly, and this is how one firm bet big to prevent itself from becoming obsolete.
Are you a junior to mid-level corporate/finance associate who has been contemplating a move to (or within) Washington, DC? In response to increased deal activity requiring “NY (or like-kind) trained” corporate associates, the Washington, DC corporate/finance market is experiencing an unusually high demand for your skills. Read more, and check out www.g-s.com.
* From the “Why the hell didn’t you settle this?” file: Now that Alexandra Marchuk’s case against Faruqi & Faruqi and Juan Monteverde has gone to trial, it seems the firm is getting all sorts of publicity — mostly negative. [New York Post]
* Supreme Court justices are really just like us… they show up late to work, too. Because Justice Antonin Scalia was stuck in traffic this morning, Chief Justice John Roberts had to summarize two of Scalia’s opinions from the bench. Oops! [NPR]
* Speaking of Justice Scalia, the Supreme jurist managed to sneak in a citation to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in his opinion in Whitfield v. United States to show the common usage of the word “accompany.” [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]
* Remember Dennis Doyle, the lawyer who lost his job and dropped $25K to see every single Knicks game this season? He said this of his tragic endeavor: “I can’t shut it down. I’m in too deep. … I’ll see it through—if it doesn’t kill me first.” [Bleacher Report]
* An Idaho prosecutor is having regrets over the fact that he chose to issue an arrest warrant for a 9-year-old boy on gum-stealing charges, calling it “a mistake under the circumstances.” That kid must be the coolest on the playground. [ABA Journal]
* “Trying to suppress [the value of parody] with violence is a fool’s errand.” In the wake of the horror of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, it’s worth recognizing that here in the U.S., we owe much to rappers who have capitalized on free speech. [LinkedIn]
Overall, Gray Mountain is a fairly mediocre addition to Grisham’s body of work. You’d probably be better off re-reading one of his classics.
* This editorial must have been so much fun to write. Local newspaper tees off on petty local politician who threatened to sue them for using his name without his permission. Like, in a story about him. Welcome to First Amendment 101, dude. Professor Volokh has some fun commentary. [The Frederick News-Post]
* A new Congress gets down to business today, and they begin by proposing a solution to the biggest issue in America by floating a national abortion ban. Well, they have to talk about something now that Obama’s got the Dow around 18,000. [ThinkProgress]
* Not really legal, but Archer’s back. Holly Anderson talks to the executive producer about this season. [Grantland]
* Harold Hamm’s ex-wife rejected a $974 million check. I just want to know what purchase she wants to make that has her saying, “Eh, I’ve got to pass on that $974 million.” [The Oklahoman]
* Keeping politics out of King v. Burwell is like making a Fast & Furious movie without Vin Diesel. Sure you can do it, but it’s gonna suck. [The New Republic]
* The minds behind the Notorious R.B.G. meme have a book deal! And it’s a Justice Ginsburg biography. Bring it on. [New York Magazine]
* David keeps on touring America talking about Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link) — and also much, much more (including revelations about his personal life). This time it’s an interview with WHYY in Philly. [WHYY]
* Governor Chris Christie was worried America didn’t realize he has no respect for his constituents and is a complete fake, so he’s publicly rooting for the Dallas Cowboys over any of the three teams real New Jersey residents root for. He’s also possibly violating ethics rules. [The Legal Blitz / ATL Redline]
* Screech is going to trial. [Associated Press / Yahoo! News]
* New dean at USC. Who is it? [USC Gould School of Law]
* As the Supreme Court stares down the barrel of some highly political cases, will Chief Justice Roberts live up to his promise of non-partisanship? [Chicago Sun-Times]
* The GOP is very, very against using the popular vote to elect a president which they characterize as an effort to “steal the presidency.” Seriously. [Concurring Opinions]
* Justice Scalia’s audition tape released including “rigorous mock hearings and jurisprudence drills, as well as a cold read from a randomly chosen amicus curiae brief.” [The Onion]
* Jesus, Harvard professors are frigging babies. Now they’re complaining about Obamacare because they have to pay $20 co-pays… like everyone else in the world since seemingly forever. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]
* Don’t try to blow up ATMs. [Lowering the Bar]
* Professor Thane Rosenbaum reviews Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link). While he adds to the accolades, he also drops this curious description: “Think Bartleby, The Scrivener meets The Devil Wears Prada.” Um, “I prefer not to”? [Huffington Post]
* It’s time for the Careerist Awards! [The Careerist]
* Which law school in California provided the most “value add,” as measured by most improved bar passage rate over expectations? [TaxProf Blog]
* Shearman & Sterling partner Richard Hsu’s continuing interview series sits down with another former Shearman attorney, Drew Shoals, now the drummer for Train. Otherwise known as “that band drunk 20-something white girls love.” [Hsu Untied]
* Many Biglaw firms seem to be dragging their feet to match Davis Polk’s generous bonus scale. Why’s that? According to one partner, these bonus matches have cut into his firm’s profits by about 4 percent. Yikes! [The Economist]
* Total 1L enrollment in law school is the lowest it’s been since 1973, when there were 53 fewer schools. The next step would be to reduce tuition to 1973 levels, and then no one would have any more complaints. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Just because Bingham McCutchen bit the big one, it doesn’t mean that all of its pro bono cases will have to suffer the same fate. Not only did Morgan Lewis rescue most of the firm’s attorneys, but it’s also saving 500 of its pro bono cases. [Am Law Daily]
* Now that President Obama has decided to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba, lawyers are champing at the bit for more business opportunities. Love Cuban cigars? Well, lawyers love trademark disputes involving those cigars. [National Law Journal]
* Greenberg Traurig reminds Florida clerks that if they issue gay marriage licenses, they could be criminally charged. Plaintiffs’ attorneys remind Florida clerks that if they refuse to issue gay marriage licenses, they could be sued. [Tampa Bay Times]
* Our managing editor, David Lat, sat down with Vivia Chen to dish about some of his favorite things, from his new book, Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link), to his new fiancé. Her book review: “I liked it! It’s a fun, breezy read.” Hooray! [The Careerist]
Why should someone who will have a hard time relating to the duties of a federal law clerk read Supreme Ambitions?
* Law firm suffers Viagra hack. If it persists for more than four hours… [Legal Cheek]
* An in-depth and frightening look at “Witness 40″ in the Ferguson Grand Jury proceedings: a bipolar woman with a long history of making racist comments who lived nowhere near Ferguson and testified only after Officer Wilson’s story was revealed — which she parroted back. Bob McCulloch thought this was a stellar witness. Bob McCulloch is also bad at his job. [The Smoking Gun]
* Charleston local government wants InfiLaw out of town. Is there anyone left who wants InfiLaw to take over Charleston? [TaxProf Blog]
* Congratulations to U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña on her confirmation as head of ICE. [International Business Times]
* Pet piercing will soon be illegal in New York, so get that dope nose ring for your dog today! [Lowering the Bar]
* Canadian “band” Skinny Puppy demands $660,000 from the U.S. government for using their music as torture material without permission. As a compromise can we just pledge to strap Dick Cheney down and force him to listen to 15 consecutive hours of Skinny Puppy and call it a day? [Gawker]
* Cleveland WR Andrew Hawkins pens a thorough, even-handed takedown of butthurt police union leaders demanding he apologize for taking the stance that police should try not to kill unarmed 12-year-olds. So apparently this is what the Browns are good at. [Talking Points Memo]
* David chats about the backstory behind Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link).