Bribery

There were things that I did in Ecuador in the foreign legal system that were I felt appropriate for the foreign legal system based on what I observed as an American lawyer. And there are things down there that, no, would not be appropriate here.

– Embattled plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven Donziger, defending himself against allegations of bribery, witness tampering, and fraud, in testimony yesterday in Chevron Corp. v. Donziger.

* How Jamie Dimon (and Stephen Cutler and Rodge Cohen) reached JPMorgan Chase’s tentative $13 billion settlement with Eric Holder and the Department of Justice. [DealBook / New York Times; Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Congratulations to all the New Jersey couples who got married since midnight, in the wake of the state supreme court’s decision not to stay a lower-court ruling in favor of marriage equality. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Additional insight into all the partner departures from Weil Gotshal in Texas. [Dallas Morning News]

* Lawyers aren’t the only folks who know how to overbill; defense contractors do too, according to federal prosecutors who allege that a company provided prostitutes and kickbacks to Navy personnel. [Washington Post via The BLT]

* The legal battle over Obamacare rages on. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Judge Oing, this really isn’t that hard. Here’s a draft opinion for you in the long-running litigation between Macy’s and J.C. Penney over the right to sell Martha Stewart merchandise (by James Stewart, no relation to Martha). [New York Times]

* If you’d like to run with the bulls without schlepping to Spain, former lawyers Rob Dickens and Brad Scudder can help. Presumably their legal training helped them draft ironclad waivers. [BuzzFeed]

* Another interesting but very different event, taking place this Wednesday: “Healing the U.S. Lawsuit System.” [U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (one of our advertisers)]

* Even the election law controversies are bigger in Texas. The Department of Justice is currently planning to intervene in one lawsuit and file another against the Lone Star state over its voter identification law and redistricting plans. [National Law Journal]

* Here’s an especially helpful ruling for people who have been living their lives without landlines (so, basically everyone). You can gratefully thank the Third Circuit for allowing you to block those annoying robocalls on your cellphones. [Legal Intelligencer]

* Well, that was quick — a Biglaw pump and dump, if you will. After only a year, David M. Bernick, former general counsel of Philip Morris, is leaving Boies Schiller and will likely be taking a position at Dechert. [DealBook / New York Times]

* “[L]ife got in the way.” Who really needs loyalty in Biglaw these days? More than half of the nearly 500 associates and counsel who made partner in 2013 started their careers at different firms. [Am Law Daily]

* Another one bites the dust. John McGahren, the New Jersey managing partner of Patton Boggs, just resigned from an office he opened himself after some major attorney downsizing. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* “In a community of 98,000 people and 640,000 partners, it isn’t possible to say there will never be wrongdoing.” Comforting. Microsoft is under the microscope of a federal bribery probe. [Corporate Counsel]

* Ronald Motley, a “charismatic master of the courtroom” who founded Motley Rice, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]


* Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer is checking out the big stained dress in the sky. William Ginsburg, RIP. [CNN]

* Hoo boy, North Carolina is trying to opt out of the Constitution. As the article notes, they tried this in the 1860s and it didn’t work out so well. [Lowering the Bar]

* New York state government gets another black eye with a couple of arrests for bribery. [Gothamist]

* Judge Richard Cebull is retiring to spend more time on his racist rants. [Billings Gazette]

* Obama is forfeiting $20,000 in solidarity with sequester victims. An excellent opportunity for right-wing hacks to complain about his vacations, as though Secret Service protection is supposed to be free. [Washington Examiner]

* Ken Cuccinelli is running for governor in a state that voted for Obama twice. So, obviously, he’s making a public show of his fight to reinstate a law used to harass gay people. [Washington Blade]

* Conrad Black, the media mogul who served three years in the federal pen, sits for an interview with California Lawyer magazine. Check it out (and earn California CLE credit). [California Lawyer]

Okay, obviously “stabbing a dude 23 times” is the blaring klaxon in this issue spotter, but there are a few other legal scrapes that led up to Caesar’s assassination. It wasn’t all coups and Senatorial intrigue; the Roman legal regime itself placed Caesar on a crash course with murder.

And a wild legal regime it was. Pretty much everything that led up to Caesar’s assassination involved Roman lawyers pulling shady technicalities on each other. The whole thing reads like an episode of Dallas with surprise agreements and quirky legal interpretations foiling the plots of influential people scheming against each other.

Cross the Rubicon after the jump….

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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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Kevin Ring Case Is a Scandal and a Disgrace: Five Things I Think You Should Know”

* The latest bombshell in the Chevron / Ecuador litigation: an ex-judge cops to participation in a bribery scheme. [Fortune]

* I wish this “defense” of posting one’s law school grades on Facebook were more full-throated and “in your face.” [Virginia Law Weekly]

* I suspect Professor Stephen Bainbridge is in the minority here. Most of my law professor friends enjoy all-expenses-paid trips to the Cayman Islands. [Professor Bainbridge]

Elie Mystal, or Somali pirate?

* Professor Glenn Reynolds: “As the GOP looks for issues it can win on, how about lowering the drinking age?” I’ll raise a glass to that. [Instapundit]

* Ahoy, mateys! Did the Supreme Court grant cert in that piracy case out of the Fourth Circuit? [FindLaw]

* Not all liberals hate guns. [New York Times]

After the jump, the dashing and handsome Ryan Chenevert — Cosmo’s reigning Bachelor of the Year, and a Louisiana lawyer — offers his thoughts on dating….

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What is wrong with Trenton?

In the chilly late night hours of Christmas 1776, General George Washington crossed the Delaware River to liberate Trenton from Hessians forces serving the British. It was a remarkable display of leadership that Trenton has not witnessed since.

Earlier this week, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a 31-page criminal complaint charging Tony Mack, Mayor of Trenton, in connection with an alleged bribery scheme worth around $119,000, relating to the sale of city-owned land to private investors….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pol Dancing: What Is Wrong With Trenton?”

My mother used to tell me: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Recently, I had an experience with a UK law firm that could have used a conversation with Mom.

The law firm provided legal advice. Moments later, the firm violated its own advice. I’m sure this happens all the time, but rarely is the offense so vivid.

The substantive advice arises out of the new UK Bribery Act, which UK law firms have been trumpeting as a threat to every corporation everywhere (naturally compelling all corporations to hire outside UK counsel). In the words of one law firm’s brochure: “[I]f a Dutch company has a UK branch and engages in bribery in an Asian or African country, the Dutch company will be criminally liable in the UK under the new law and can be prosecuted in the UK.”

Does that get your attention? It sure got mine . . .

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2 Girls 1 Sandwich

* Dewey need to take a look at the Biglaw industry in general before more firms implode? Hell yes, says an author who’s written on the economics and management of law firms. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Wal-Mart was served with its first shareholder suit over its alleged bribery scandal, because the only thing on rollback this week is the price of the company’s stock shares. [Reuters]

* Does diplomatic immunity give you a free pass for getting handsy with the maid? Guess we’ll see next week, when a judge rules on DSK’s motion to dismiss his civil suit. [New York Daily News]

* As long as you’ve got money, the TSA will totally look the other way if you’ve got suitcases filled with drugs. Vibrators, on the other hand, are simply out of the question. [Bloomberg]

* As of yesterday, Connecticut became the seventeenth state to kill the death penalty. But not so fast, death row inmates. You still get to die. Isn’t that nice? [CNN]

* Franchise agreements be damned, because even judges can understand that sometimes, you just need to eat a delicious sandwich while you’re getting a lap dance. [KTVN]

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