Contracts

If you’re an avid watcher of reality television and you’re a fan of Gordon “F**king” Ramsay’s charm, then you probably saw the episode of Kitchen Nightmares that featured Amy’s Baking Company. You see, their food and service didn’t suck; all the Yelpers who gave them horrible reviews were liars. If you’re not familiar with what happened, Chef Ramsay walked out on owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — who were seen pilfering servers’ tips, physically fighting with and threatening customers, and acting in an otherwise delusional way — because they were “incapable of listening.”

But what happened after the show aired is every rabid social media addict’s dream: when they received an even greater amount of negative reviews on Yelp and Reddit, the Bouzaglos took to their Facebook page to settle the score as politely and as delicately as they could manage See e.g., “PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. F**K REDDITS, F**K YELP AND F**K ALL OF YOU.” They really are lovely people.

Apparently the couple behind the self-immolating restaurant were planning to host a news conference today to speak about their experience on the show and its aftermath (and to pimp their bistro’s reopening). More than 1,500 people tried to snag a reservation to watch the expected insanity unfold.

Enter the lawyers at Davis Wright Tremaine to wag their fingers in Mutombo-esque fashion with threats of liquidated damages…

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Mother’s Day is this Sunday. That means you still have some time to acknowledge your mother’s existence with a suitable last minute gift. In honor of this important holiday, here’s a note for you (or one that can be passed along to your secretary): flowers and candy are so passé — this year, you should give your mom a present that actually means something, you know, something that she’ll actually care about, not something that will die like she thinks your love for her has after you’ve spent time billing thousands of hours yet only made two calls home.

Why not get your mommie dearest a Momtract? After all, “nothing says love like mutuality of obligation.”

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* “Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey. Chim chim cher-ee! A sweep of a law firm has found a body!” Dead body found in law firm chimney at Moody and Woolley Solicitors in England. [BBC]

* Reddit joins the new trend of writing terms of service that can be read by real-life people. [Associate's Mind]

* Defense Distributed, the arms dealer fronted by Texas law student Cody Wilson, announced today that they have completed a fully 3D printed gun, with the added benefit of avoiding metal detectors. Yay? [Gizmodo]

* In honor of May the Fourth: a legal analysis of the Chewbacca defense. [The Legal Geeks]

* A Howard Law School grad has set up a new business allowing companies to hire bike messengers through their smartphone. So now there’s an app for THAT. [DCist]

* Is the legal profession poised for a comeback? Not sure I buy the argument. Just because more litigation kicks up, doesn’t mean firms will go on a hiring spree because litigation doesn’t need a glut of associates anymore. Document management companies are smothering future associate jobs in the cradle and they’re not going anywhere. [TaxProf Blog]

* A review of ATL’s Top 50 Law School Rankings. In the interest of complete modesty, this is the most accurate review ever. [Adam Smith, Esq.]

* A Big Ten Commissioner filed a declaration claiming that the Big Ten will stop competitive collegiate athletics if Ed O’Bannon wins his lawsuit. This level of disingenuous blackmail is why we invented sanctions, people. [Sports Illustrated]

* On the heels of a federal judge allowing service through Facebook, a Texas lawmaker wants to make service of process over Facebook the rule rather than the exception. [IT-Lex]

* The next time you feel embarrassed by a U.S. politician, note that this Japanese city council member refuses to remove his wrestling mask. America doesn’t have anyone that clownish in office… she resigned the governorship in 2009. [Lowering the Bar]

* Everyone always talks about plain language contracts. Here’s how someone actually wrote “Terms and Conditions” that a user might actually read. [Associate's Mind]

* Once again, the Supreme Court comes down to the Breyer-Thomas coalition against the Scalia-Ginsburg coalition. [ABA Journal]

* Slate’s Jessica Grose weighs in on the suicide of Cynthia Wachenheim reported here last week. [Slate]

* And here, just for fun, see if you can guess who said these quotes: Spongebob Squarepants or Friedrich Nietzsche. Surprisingly harder than you’d think. [Buzzfeed]

I was working on an agreement yesterday with a contract specialist. Many companies have contract “specialists,” especially in the procurement area, who vet language and negotiate with vendors or buyers up to and until the point where legal assistance becomes necessary.

The problem with this model is that as these specialists, especially in procurement, become proficient in their positions, they can fall into the trap of thinking they are lawyers….

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* What to do when your federal agency’s website has been hacked by Anonymous and you’re unable to post a major report online for public dissemination? Well, just ask a law professor to do it for you on his blog; that’s not embarrassing, not at all. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The many victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster can now rejoice, because yesterday, Transocean pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, and will pay the second-largest environmental fine in United States history to the tune of $400 million. [CNN]

* Money takes flight: eleventy billion Biglaw firms are behind the beast that is this awful airline merger, but taking the lead are lawyers from Weil Gotshal for AMR and Latham & Watkins for US Airways. [Am Law Daily]

* After questioning the validity of one of the NBA players union’s contracts, Paul Weiss is withholding details about it thanks to the government’s intrusion. Way to block nepotism’s alleged slam dunk. [New York Times]

* “When is the last time you took the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street to trial?” Elizabeth Warren took the Socratic method to the Senate Banking Committee and she was applauded for it. [National Law Journal]

* If you liked it, then perhaps you should’ve put a ring on it, but not a Tiffany’s diamond engagement ring that you’ve purchased from Costco, because according to this trademark lawsuit, it may be a knockoff. [Bloomberg]

* “We feel very badly for Megan Thode.” A Pennsylvania judge ruled against the Lehigh student who sued over her grade of C+ because let’s be serious, did ANYONE AT ALL really think he wouldn’t do that?! [Morning Call]

Today is Valentine’s Day, and lawyers as Type-A creatures are wont to plan every aspect of their date in advance down to the very last detail. Mmm, what a mood killer. Some lawyers may take their planning to the extreme, and offer their dates the opportunity to become contractually obligated valentines.

And now there’s a solution for even the most uptight of legal eagles: you can go one step further and draft a memorandum of understanding as to each party’s obligations — before the date, during the date, and after the date, up to and including the shaving of “appropriate areas” (wink wink, nudge nudge).

If that’s not a total panty dropper, we don’t know what is….

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Bill Maher

The legal system in this country, it’s not a joke. It’s not a toy for rich idiots to play with.

Bill Maher, commenting on the $5 million lawsuit filed against him by Donald Trump after the comedian failed to make good on his “offer” to pay Trump if the real estate mogul could prove that he wasn’t the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”

(Maher dedicated an entire segment of his show on Friday night to dissect this absurd lawsuit, and he made some pretty great jokes about Trump’s lawyer from Cooley LLP. Let’s check it out, after the jump.)

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The Internet naturally devolves to Hitler references. Call it Godwin’s Law. Call it reductio ad hitlerum if you’re into the whole unnecessary use of Latin thing (and you’re lawyers, so you totally are). But with the advent of the Internet, Downfall video became inevitable.

And with bored lawyers seeking Internet-based distractions at their desks (or law library carrels), the legal Downfall video was even more inevitable.

Above the Law has linked to some of these before (for example here and here), but I figured I’d treat the readers to a collection of some of the finer videos here as part of my role as the editor covering the tech beat.

If you have others, link them in the comments. I’m sure someone out there in the middle of a two-week document review somewhere will appreciate it….

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Donald Trump, commenting on the Biglaw firm he chose to represent him in his absurd contractual suit filed against comedian Bill Maher.

(More information on the suit, and why Trump is likely to lose, after the jump.)

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