The legal profession has a long way to go when it comes to diversity and inclusion, according to columnist Renwei Chung, but some firms are doing a great job of positively distinguishing themselves in these areas.
* Say what you will about Justice Scalia, but the man is hilarious — more funny than his four liberal colleagues combined, according to a statistical analysis of oral argument recordings. [New York Times]
* The government shutdown is slowing down the judicial confirmation process, already famous for its speed and efficiency. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
* More about news for Steven Donziger in his long-running battle with Chevron. Maybe it’s time to surrender, Steve? I hear Ecuador is a great place to retire. [New York Law Journal]
* Law firm merger mania continues, as Carlton Fields combines with Jorden Burt. [Carlton Fields (press release)]
* Herbert Smith Freehills says “you’re hired” to Scott Balber, the lawyer for Donald Trump who got mocked by Bill Maher on national television. [The Lawyer]
* You might see your dog as harmless and cuddly, but the law might see your dog as a weapon (and rightfully so, in my opinion). [New York Times via ABA Journal]
* Congratulations to all the winners of the FT’s Innovative Lawyers awards. [Financial Times]
* And congratulations to Heidi Wendel and Deirdre McEvoy, high-ranking government lawyers headed to Jones Day and Patterson Belknap, respectively. [New York Law Journal]
* Today the Supreme Court will hear argument in McCutcheon v. FEC, a major campaign finance case that some are calling “the next Citizens United.” Check out an interview with one of the lawyers behind it, after the jump. [UCTV]
Marty Lasden of California Lawyer magazine interviewed the severely conservative James Bopp Jr. for the “Legally Speaking” series (in which I previously participated). It appears this interview with Bopp took place before Bopp got bumped from the podium in favor of Erin Murphy, a young superstar of the Supreme Court bar.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of traditional summer associate programs versus lateral hiring?
* Yeah, about that huge bonus we were going to pay our ex-finance director — we realized how silly that was, so we’re not going to do that. Aww, don’t worry, Dewey & LeBoeuf, you’ll have plenty of other chances to look absurd. [Am Law Daily]
* Not only is Samsung suing Apple for patent infringement, but the company is also trying to get a do over by getting Judge Lucy Koh to throw out the original billion-dollar verdict over jury foreman Velvin Hogan’s alleged misconduct. [Bloomberg]
* “Small deals are easier to swallow, easier to integrate.” Regional firms like Carlton Fields and Adams and Reese are gobbling up smaller firms in what seems to be the latest trend in law firm merger mania activity. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* Douglas Arntsen, the former Crowell & Moring associate who had to be extradited from Hong Kong after embezzling $10.7M from clients, pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. [New York Law Journal]
* It’s tough to come up with appropriate whistleblower jokes given the background here. We’ll play it straight: Mike McQueary filed a defamation suit against Penn State, and he’s seeking $4M in damages. [ABC News]
* Jose Godinez-Samperio, an undocumented immigrant, is fighting for the ability to practice law in Florida, but the members of the state Supreme Court are literally trying to make it into a “federal case.” [Washington Post]
* Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Supreme Court justice thinks that things will be back to normal at One First Street come the start of the next term, despite his colleagues’ loose lips. [National Law Journal]
* Hourly billing rates for associate are on the rise nationwide, while partner and counsel billing rates only saw modest bumps. Is Biglaw back in business, or is this just another “retention strategy”? [New York Law Journal]
* This is a really hard to believe newspaper headline: “Law firm recognizes employees have life outside of work.” Carlton Fields, what kind of gypsy voodoo magic spells are you casting? [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
* Another day, another editorial about the “irretrievably broken” state of legal education in our country. But the ABA admins needn’t worry their oblivious little heads, because people will keep applying. [New York Times]
* And in today’s disturbing law school debtor news, Jason Bohn’s charge was upgraded to first-degree murder after a DA announced via indictment that Bohn allegedly intended to torture his victim. [New York Post]
* “Quite frankly, these are the actions of a dirty old man.” You can look, but never lick: it’s not really a good thing when a judge uses a sentence like this to describe an attorney’s alleged client relations skills. [CBS News]
* For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball fraud game. Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud among a potpourri of other felony counts, and he’ll now face up to 20 years in prison. [CNN]
Given the significance of diversity, it’s not surprising that several organizations and news outlets focus on it, especially with respect to large law firms. Vault compiled a list of 25 best law firms for diversity. Which firms made the cut, and is yours on the list?
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