Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman

Stripping is supposed to be a lucrative profession — just look at all of the law students racing to the poles in the hopes of obtaining gainful employment. And in some states, bumping and grinding on stage while wearing six-inch lucite heels is even considered an artful expression worthy of protection under the First Amendment. Unfortunately, two lawsuits in New York and Texas threaten to sabotage the erotic striptease entertainment that we’ve all come to know and love.

New York’s highest court is currently considering whether an adult club is entitled to a sales tax exemption for lap dances under the theory that they qualify as “dramatic or musical arts performances.” Meanwhile, in the Lone Star state, a plaintiff in a federal class action suit claims that strippers are misclassified as independent contractors and being forced to live on tips alone.

Now that we’ve greased the pole, let’s get ready for a feature performance from both of these suits….

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... a damn about law students.

Back in May, we noted that New York would be implementing a new prerequisite for admission to the state’s bar: all would-be attorneys must complete 50 hours of pro bono work before being allowed to practice in the Empire State.

This initiative was Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s latest attempt to mete out justice for all, but it was not well received by all sides. Some have likened the pro bono requirement to indentured servitude; others have thrown up their hands in frustration and called the move “utterly wrongheaded.”

At first, it seemed like only in-state bar examinees and law schools had reason to worry. Now, out-of-state law schools are stepping up to the plate to complain about Lippman’s requirement. Details for the rule’s implementation still haven’t been drafted — in fact, out-of-state schools weren’t even invited when the Chief Judge’s advisory committee last met in July. Law schools and law graduates alike have been kept in an uneasy waiting period while all of the minutiae get worked out.

But for out-of-state law schools, the worst part of this waiting period is the uncertainty about whether this pro bono requirement will come at a cost to students….

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* Dewey have some false expectations of success for this partner settlement agreement? Only one in four affected partners have signed on the dotted line, but advisers think the plan will win bankruptcy court approval. [Am Law Daily]

* “There comes a point where the prospects of substantially increasing your income just outweigh everything else.” Even on his $168K salary, this appellate judge wasn’t rich in New York City, so he quit his job. [New York Law Journal]

* The middle class needs lawyers, and unemployed law school graduates need jobs. The solution for both problems seems pretty obvious, but starting a firm still costs money, no matter how “prudent” you are. [National Law Journal]

* “This is a time when law schools are trying to look carefully at their expenses and not add to them.” New York’s new pro bono initiative may come at a cost for law schools, too. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Much to Great Britain’s dismay, Ecuador has announced that it will grant political asylum to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame. Sucks for Ecuador, because Assange is known to not flush the toilet. [New York Times]

* A smooth criminal gets a break: Michael Jackson’s father dropped a wrongful death suit against Dr. Conrad Murray. It probably would’ve been helpful if his attorneys could actually practice in California. [Washington Post]

* Did Lindsay Lohan’s lawyers plagiarize documents from internet websites in their defamation filings against Pitbull? You can deny it all you want, but his lawyer is out for blood and sanctions. [New York Daily News]

* Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan apologized before a Senate panel for his agency’s prostitution scandal. We bet that you’d be “deeply disappointed” too if your employees were caught stiffing a hooker on her bill. [Miami Herald]

* Day four of jury deliberations in the John Edwards campaign finance trial closed yesterday without a verdict. The former presidential candidate is probably just waiting to pack it in, get this jury declared hung, and call it a day. [CNN]

* “This case is maybe something like a near disaster for Oracle.” A jury ruled unanimously that Google didn’t infringe Oracle’s Java patents in developing its Android software. Maybe they weren’t evil after all. [Bloomberg]

* A record low of 41% of Americans call themselves “pro choice” when it comes to abortions, and only a little more than half think it should be legal under “certain circumstances.” What is this, Roe v. World? [Reuters]

* Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman put together a task force to make recommendations on how to implement New York’s new pro bono prerequisite. Please let them take law school clinic hours. [Corporate Counsel]

* Remember the lawyer who sued his posh fitness club over its failure to provide free breakfast? Not only is his suit now toast, but he also has to fork over some cash to the club’s lawyers. [New York Daily News]

... except when it's forced upon us.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals announced yesterday that a new bar admission hurdle would be foisted upon would-be lawyers in the state, in the form of a 50-hour pro bono requirement.

Apparently poor people in the Empire State have been having trouble securing legal services, so what better way to assist them than to force similarly situated people to come to their aid? Instead of relying upon existing attorneys to lend a helping hand to those in need, Judge Lippman has chosen to force the task upon those who have no choice but to obey.

Chief Judge Lippman had a good idea, but it’s a bit misplaced. Let’s discuss what the new pro bono requirement means for you, and delve into what others are saying about it….

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Adriana Ferreyr

* Starting next year, if you want to be a lawyer in New York, you’re going to have to work for free. Because nothing says “we care” like indentured servitude. Thank God for law school clinic hours… maybe. [New York Times]

* Mo’ law schools, mo’ problems? That’s what Dean Wu thinks. Here’s a new trend to watch: UC Hastings, like other law schools, will be reducing its incoming class sizes. [USA Today]

* MOAR TRANSPARENCY! Support has been shown for the ABA’s proposed changes to law school disclosure requirements. All the better for those “sophisticated consumers,” eh, Judge Schweitzer? [ABA Journal]

* “Dogs are always happy to see you, no matter how you do on your Evidence exam.” Only real bitches would throw shade. Emory has joined the therapy dog pack for finals. [11 Alive News]

* In trying to dismiss a $50M suit against billionaire George Soros, his lawyer claimed that his ex would have had to suffer an “unconscionable injury.” Dude, she did. She banged an octogenarian. [New York Daily News]

* Ann Richardson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UDC School of Law, RIP. [Washington Post]

We live in the age of ulcer-inducing, never-ending budget cuts. It’s surprising, though, when the chopping block can help the government achieve some progress, instead of just slicing its legs off.

And what do you know? We happen to have recent news of that sort from the New York Unified Court System.

Last week, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman proposed to cut $100 million from the $2.7 billion 2011-2012 state court budget. But his plan doesn’t just take money away from cute little babies and helpless lawyers. If Lippman gets his way, a big chunk of the cuts will come from implementing mandatory e-filing statewide.

Why didn’t this happen years ago? Way to make lemonade, Judge!

How did this come to pass?

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