Without access to information, there is no free press. While it was a privilege to argue against Mr. Dershowitz, it was more of an honor to secure a First Amendment win for the press and public.
– First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza, commenting on his recent win in a case regarding cameras in the courtroom — a win over Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who was representing the Las Vegas Sands Corp. (aka billionaire Sheldon Adelson). Randazza also represents Above the Law in various proceedings.
* Can you DIG it?! Well, SCOTUS can’t, at least when it comes to the Prop 8 case, but perhaps that’s what the conservative justices planned all along. You can probably expect a judicial punt on this one. [New York Times]
* The case for cameras at the high court became even more compelling last week, because people just now realized that having to “spend money to see a public institution do public business is offensive.” Damn straight. [National Law Journal]
* Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s new book, Out of Order (affiliate link), didn’t exactly get a glowing review from the NYT’s Supreme Court correspondent, Adam Liptak. It’s a “gift shop bauble”? Ouch. [New York Times]
* Oh, Lanny Breuer, you tried to be all coy by saying you were interviewing elsewhere, but we knew you’d return to Covington. That “vice-chairman” title is a pretty sweet new perk, too. [Legal Times]
* DLA Piper’s bills may “know no limits,” but in-house counsel claim that while the firm’s emails were “flippant,” they won’t have an impact their already meticulous billing review. [New York Law Journal]
* Good news, everyone! The class of 2012 — the largest on record, according to the ABA — was only slightly more unemployed than its predecessors. Cherish the little things, people. [National Law Journal]
* “We are a teaching institution. We teach by not having television. We are judged by what we write.” Justices Kennedy and Breyer aren’t ready for their close-ups — they’re adamantly opposed to cameras in the courtroom. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Another thing Justices Kennedy and Breyer are adamantly opposed to is the sequester. They say that these unnecessary budget cuts will hit the criminal justice system where it hurts: its already overflowing docket. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* A liberal film critic took a shot at Justice Clarence Thomas by likening him to Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the head house slave in Django Unchained. Methinks this is a RACEIST™ comparison, n’est–ce pas? [Reason Magazine]
* Reed Smith has a new managing partner, Edward Estrada, who plans to “aggressively recruit laterals.” No relation to Erik Estrada, but if he gets a pair of those cool sunglasses, we approve. [New York Law Journal]
* A better deal was reached in the BAR/BRI antitrust case. Say goodbye to the coupons, and hello to $9.5 million in cold hard cash… which means you’re going to get like $80 if you’re lucky. [National Law Journal]
* “This is a very disgusting case.” Why yes, yes it is. A mother is suing because she claims her son ate a used condom off the floor of a McDonald’s play area. It’s doubtful that she approved of the special sauce. [Reuters]
* Save for an unintelligible joke made last month, it’s been seven years since Clarence Thomas has spoken during oral arguments, much less asked a question, but with no offense to his colleagues, he’d rather “allow the advocates to advocate.” [Washington Post]
* Sorry, members of the American public, but something like 95 percent of you are too stupid to understand what’s going on during Supreme Court hearings, so there’s no point in having cameras in the courtroom to film them. (Sotomayor, J.) [New York Times]
* “Having an empty bench means people don’t get their cases heard,” but it seems like Senate Republicans could not care less. Obama’s facelift for the federal judiciary is going to have to wait a little while longer. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* A lawgasm for prestige nerds: the Harvard Law Review received federal trademark protection, and with that, the number three law school in the country gained some bragging rights over Yale. [Daily Report (reg. req.)]
* Oh my God, you guys, law school applications are down, no one can find jobs, and recent graduates are in debt up to their eyeballs. This is totally new information that no one’s heard before. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
* Turning to your parents for law school advice is perhaps the worst idea in the world — after all, they’re the cause of your “special little snowflake” syndrome in the first place. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
* Cass Sunstein provides a calm, well-reasoned discussion about how much personal opinions about sources matter in shifting people’s beliefs. Whatever, I hate that pinko commie. [New York Times]
* So you know that whole “NYC hires big scary Proskauer to evict old, folk-hero newspaper vendor”? Yeah, well, maybe let’s replace “folk-hero” with alleged “back-door dealer” and “scary Proskauer lawyer” with “former NYC attorney trying to help her city out pro bono.” [New York Magazine]
* This Ohio inmate says he’s too fat to be executed. That’s nuts: his extreme obesity might actually save his life. Eat your heart out, American Heart Association.[Columbus Dispatch]
* Oh snap! The Winklevii are back, and they’re investing in a new social network… for investors. Hmmm… was kind of hoping after such an extended absence they’d have come up with something with a little more pizazz. On the upside, they still look creepily identical! [SF Weekly]
* Big government is completely out of control! First they try to kill grandma, and now they won’t even let two-year-olds drive cars! I can’t take this socialist nonsense anymore; I’m moving to Canada. [Legal Juice]
Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the day a little-known heroin addict called Russell Brand turned up for work dressed as Osama Bin Laden, and was promptly fired by his then-employer, MTV.
After some ensuing years knocking around the lower echelons of British light entertainment, Brand got himself together and landed a role presenting the VMAs — from which he launched himself into mega-stardom when he branded George W. Bush a “retarded cowboy fella.”
Now, you don’t get career paths like that in law. Having said that, I do know of a London Biglaw associate who was once asked to replace his brightly-coloured socks with a more sober pair in advance of an important client meeting, in which he performed impressively.
Please don’t interpret that as a snarky suggestion that all lawyers are boring. As legal market-watchers well know, many attorneys — especially the litigators — are often anything but. They’re just good at hiding the madness. Usually, anyway….
Maybe I’m just naive, but I find the concept of conducting any courtroom business via video enthralling but also a bit unnerving. It seems so inconsistent with the mythical and timeless ideals of the hallowed halls of justice, yadda yadda yadda.
Whether we like it or not, however, video conferencing is creeping into courthouses across the country. For example, as I previously reported, a Georgia court let a criminal witness testify via Skype.
Last week a government survey revealed that Pennsylvania state courts conduct more than 15,000 video conferences each month. More than half were preliminary arraignments, but the state used videoconferencing for warrant proceedings, bail hearings and sentencing hearings, too.
According to the survey, not only does video conferencing save the state a boatload of money, it also saves magistrate judges from having to personally interact with the pesky “derelicts” charged with crimes.
Keep reading to find out how virtual arraignment conserves dollars and judicial peace of mind….
Many state and local courts do have cameras in the courtroom (unlike most of their federal counterparts), but other forms of technology are still frequently verboten. Some courts prohibit cellphones, laptops, and, in the traffic court I once attended, reading the newspaper.
Yet slowly, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, some enlightened folks in Massachusetts are introducing a local court to the joys of web cams and unnecessarily detailed twitter posts.
Spurred on by a large grant from the James S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the OpenCourt Project officially began on Monday at the Quincy District Court.
Seriously though, OpenCourt is pretty cool. How does it work?
* Musical chairs: Epstein Becker & Green closes up shop in Miami, after managing partner Michael Casey defects to Duane Morris (with lawyers and staff in tow). [Daily Business Review (subscription) via ABA Journal]
* Law enforcement mistakes end in tragedy in Detroit. [Mother Jones]
* Justice Souter is still opposed to cameras in the courtroom. [Josh Blackman]
* As discussed by Steven Davidoff and Larry Ribstein, Abercrombie & Fitch wants to reincorporate from Delaware to Ohio. Hopefully this won’t affect A&F’s eye-catching catalogs. [Truth on the Market and Dealbook / New York Times]
Ed. note: We’ve given your our views on why cameras should be allowed inside federal courtrooms. But, as bloggers, we’re not as directly affected by the current ban on cameras in court as many other journalists.
Today we bring you a guest post from a television reporter who covers the courts. Daryl Huff has been a television reporter, producer and assignments manager in Honolulu for 30 years. He has primarily covered courts, government and politics for KITV, the ABC affiliate, since 1990.
We met Huff last month in Honolulu at the District of Hawaii judicial conference, when we served together on a panel about media and the courts. We were impressed by his thoughts on cameras in the courtroom and asked him to contribute this guest post.
By Daryl Huff
There’s a fascinating trial coming up in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. It’s about an eccentric rocket scientist whose house on Maui is shaped like a B-2 Bomber. He’s accused of selling secrets to China.
I just wish I could do stories about it.
Why can’t I? After all, I’ve been covering courts or public affairs for more than 30 years. I’ve won awards. I get invited to conferences. I have basic skills and experience. I have a press pass, and my company has a large audience.
But I report for television — KITV4 News, the ABC affiliate in Honolulu, to be specific. I don’t cover many stories in federal district court anymore, because the court won’t let me bring in my tools: a camera and microphone.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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