California

Or, if you prefer, a ruling on marriage equality. We knew this ruling was coming because the Ninth Circuit kindly informed us in advance that its opinion would be issued today: “The Court anticipates filing an opinion tomorrow (Tuesday, February 7) by 10:00 a.m. in Perry v. Brown, case numbers 10-16696 and 11-16577, regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the denial of a motion to vacate the lower court judgement in the case.”

The Ninth Circuit’s practice of providing advance notice of certain opinion filings is very helpful to those who cover the court. It would be nice if other circuit courts followed the Ninth Circuit’s lead. (Yes, I just typed that sentence.)

Now, let’s find out how the three-judge panel ruled in Perry v. Brown (formerly known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger)….

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The return of summer associate days of yore?

* Obama has officially nominated William Baer, an Arnold & Porter partner, to run the DOJ’s antitrust division. Get ready for an election year confirmation showdown between the parties. [New York Times]

* Newt Gingrich has dropped out of the Virginia ballot lawsuit that was originally filed by Rick Perry. What does this mean for his campaign? Is he giving up his plans for the presidency, too? [Washington Post]

* Here’s a great refresher on all things Prop 8 in anticipation of today’s ruling from the Ninth Circuit. This is happening on West Coast time, so check back for our coverage this afternoon. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Summer associate hiring might be back in business thanks to pickups in litigation and transactional work, but don’t go out and start licking those Biglaw popsicles just yet. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Sorry, bridge and tunnel people, but it looks like you’re going to have to keep paying increased prices at the tolls. AAA of New York and North Jersey lost a bid to block collection of the fee hikes. [Bloomberg]

* Anna Nicole Smith is no longer with us, but her memory will forever live on in ABA Resolution 10B. Gold diggers across the nation can now rely on the power of federal magistrate judges. [ABA Journal]

* More law school graduates are trying to get their day in court for bankruptcy protection. Looks like these people didn’t read their student loan MPNs carefully (or at all). They state pretty clearly that you’re screwed for life. [Reuters]

* Part-time programs are closing their doors. Even Cooley Law took a hit, trimming its incoming class by one-third. Now, only 57 bajillion students get to attend the nation’s second-best law school. [National Law Journal]

* James R. Silkenat was selected as the president-elect at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting, meaning his ascension to the presidency is “virtually assured.” We can only hope that his leadership is as awesome as his combover. [ABA Journal]

* PETA’s Thirteenth Amendment whale slavery lawsuit is heading to court today in California. Maybe we’ll see if what SeaWorld calls a “baseless” and “offensive” lawsuit has got legs. Or flippers. [CNN]

* Polygamy for all! Kody Brown’s bigamy lawsuit will proceed in Utah thanks to Jonathan Turley’s lawyering. Are we going to see the drama play out on season three of Sister Wives this spring? [Associated Press]

* It turns out that Dr. Susan Friery, one of the Boston Globe’s beautiful Massachusetts lawyers of 2009, is just a doctor of laws. She was suspended for claiming otherwise late last week. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Joshua Monson, the suspected serial lawyer stabber, must regret this missed opportunity. While signing documents with his weapon of choice, he allegedly punched a corrections officer in the face. [Daily Herald]

* Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, otherwise known as “The Law Firm,” was supposed to go to law school. And even even with that loss, it looks like he still picked the right career path. [New York Times]

Above the Law may need to hire a full-time legal bathroom beat reporter.

A few days ago, we learned that Harvard Law School named a bathroom after an alumnus with an, umm, unusual last name.

Last night, we received a tip about the San Francisco branch of a national law firm that delivered an office-wide email concerning “restroom etiquette.” The email is hilarious, and if nothing else, impressively thorough. They thought of everything. The missive covered tips for masking awkward bathroom noises, suggestions for choosing a urinal, and an emphasis on the ways bathroom behavior can affect your professional reputation.

Let’s see which firm has (toilet) water on the brain, and take a look at the memo….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “San Francisco Firm Sends Awesome Officewide ‘Restroom Etiquette’ Email”

Touchdown Biglaw!

* New York is considering allowing nonlawyer ownership of equity in law firms. If that somehow means we’ll see less Jacoby & Meyers commercials on television, then I’m definitely all for it. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Football’s labor lockout legal fees: which Biglaw firms scored huge touchdowns thanks to their collective bargaining work? The three top billers included Latham, Dewey & LeBoeuf, and Patton Boggs. [Am Law Daily]

* The sanctions for filing a 9/11 conspiracy claim cost $15K, but forever being remembered as the lawyers who got benchslapped for drafting “a product of cynical delusion and fantasy” is priceless. [Reuters]

* Jared Loughner is still incompetent to stand trial, and he’ll remain in the loony bin for another four months. You know what that means? Time to make this kid swallow some more pills. [Arizona Republic]

* A panel of law professors over at Harvard thinks that while law schools have problems, but they’re certainly not in crisis mode yet. Not yet? You hear that Team Strauss/Anziska? Needs moar lawsuits! [Harvard Crimson]

* Well, that was a short-lived victory. Heather Peters, the former lawyer who beat Honda in small claims court, is preparing to do battle with the car company in Superior Court. [Los Angeles Times]

Hey, little boy, do you want to go to law school?

I got home from New York last night, exhausted and ready to sleep in my own bed instead of a different couch every night. I noticed a couple things as soon as I set foot into the San Francisco airport. Everyone here wears jeans. Us Californians love our casual clothes. Also, fried food and all meat products and candy are outlawed here, so we are all in excellent shape. We have and enjoy trees, and we live in apartments large enough to have closets.

For better or worse, there are a lot of things about California that make us different and drive Newt Gingrich to say he wants to shut down our region’s federal appeals court.

One of our specialties is our penchant for unaccredited law schools. Say what you will about them — there are advantages and disadvantages — but what about an online only, unaccredited law school that spams law school students who have already enrolled at other, more prestigious institutions?

Shady? Or brilliant marketing strategy? Decide for yourself, courtesy of a generous tipster….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s the Difference Between Law School Admission and Spam? Good Question”

* How many friend requests did these firms just get? Fenwick & West and Simpson Thacher are the Biglaw stars of Facebook’s S-1 filing for its $5B initial public offering. Like. [Am Law Daily]

* The prosecution is expected to make its arguments today in Julian Assange’s appeal of his extradition from the U.K. to Sweden. Hope it won’t affect his role on The Simpsons. [CNN]

* Adventures in fourth-tier second-tier law school marketing: go to the University of Dayton School of Law, take a tour, and get your first-year textbooks for free. Mmm, the sweet smell of bribery. [National Law Journal]

* The little hybrid that could: Heather Peters, the former lawyer who decided to sue Honda in small claims court, has won her case. Maybe she should reconsider her career options? [Los Angeles Times]

* Looking for a way to shield your assets during a wrongful death suit? Just adopt your adult girlfriend. It has “nothing to do with the lawsuit” — dude just wants to bang his daughter. No big deal. [Palm Beach Post]

* Unpaid internships are so last season. A former intern for fashion mag Harper’s Bazaar wants class action certification for a lawsuit claiming that her free labor violated wage and hour laws. [New York Times]

Legal services are expensive. Duh. And sometimes clients do not want to pay their bills. Maybe the case outcome wasn’t what the client hoped for. Maybe the bill was significantly higher than expected. There are all sorts of reasons that attorneys just have to say, “Eff you, pay me.

The thing is, you normally associate breach of contract disputes with litigation or other standard lawyering. Not Biglaw attorneys brokering movie finance deals, and suing when the client doesn’t pay his finders fee.

But Akin Gump filed suit last week against a Hollywood movie producer, for breach of contract and promissory fraud, alleging that he did not fork over the finders fee he owed a firm partner for helping secure loans and finding a distributor for one of his projects.

The firm says Mark Manuel owes a lot of money. So how much does he owe, and which movie is at the center of the controversy?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Akin Gump to Movie Producer Client: Where’s Our Money, Man?”

Tom Wallerstein

For some, the phrase “small law firm” implies certain stereotyped practice areas, clients, and attorneys. At its worst, the stereotype invokes unsophisticated clients and matters that are routine and uninteresting. I doubt the stereotype is wholly true anywhere. I know for sure it isn’t true in San Francisco or Silicon Valley.

I know many attorneys in small firms who have specialized, high-end practices. These specialized practices are often called boutiques, and they are perfectly suited to serve the entrepreneurial, high-tech client base that abounds in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Even in the down economy, a number of new ventures were launched in Silicon Valley. Geographically, the high-tech corridor also seems to be expanding, thanks to Twitter, Zynga, SalesForce.com, and the like setting up shop in San Francisco. You don’t even need a Visa or traditional office space to launch a startup anymore; now you can enjoy Peter Thiel’s “Visa-free entrepreneurship and technology incubator on an ocean vessel in international waters.”

It remains to be seen whether we’re experiencing a boom or just another bubble, but I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m not an economist and I’m not making predictions. I am only remarking on some great practice opportunities for smaller law firms which exist here, maybe because we are fortunate to have so many imaginative, passionate, and savvy entrepreneurs working on exciting projects in so many different industries….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Biglaw to Boutique: Beyond the ‘Small Law Firm’ Stereotype”

With some of the truly horrible stuff going on in law these days — law students allegedly trying to kill each other, managing partners having affairs with their subordinates’ wives — it’s almost reassuring to know that people can still afford to get crazily worked up about good old-fashioned nothing.

Some behaviors are the equivalent of anger comfort food. Crappy parking jobs, really annoying commercials, and school lunch theft.

One of the top law schools in California is embroiled in a lunch thievery epidemic. The situation has gotten so out of hand that the Student Bar Association has sent an email to the entire school about the problem.

Any guesses as to which university needs to bump up its cafeteria security?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “There Is a Law School Lunch Thief Running Wild in Our Midst”

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