The prosecution of a prominent activist and journalist raises very real and serious First Amendment concerns.
* Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was recently referred to as the “most dangerous man in American politics.” Why’s that, you ask? It’s because he’s “a federal prosecutor who doesn’t give a f*ck.” Damn straight. [BuzzFeed]
* Just when you thought the Alan Dershowitz sex scandal couldn’t get any more intense, the investigative sleuths over at Gawker found flight records that allegedly place the professor as a passenger on a billionaire bad boy’s pedo plane. [Gawker]
* Dewey know which former chairman of a failed firm had to beg to get a refund on his bail money because he couldn’t otherwise afford to pay the expert witnesses for his upcoming criminal trial? Aww. Poor, poor Steven Davis. [New York Law Journal]
* Fried Frank’s chairman says that completely pulling the firm out of Asia was a “difficult but necessary decision.” On the other hand, an ex-partner at the firm says this move had basically been “inevitable” since at least 2009. Hmm. [Am Law Daily]
* If you want advice on how to pick a “cost-efficient” law school, the first thing you should realize is that your scholarships may come back to bite you in the ass. Go on, read the fine print — after all, you want to be a lawyer. [U.S. News & World Report]
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* A representative for Amal and George Clooney has denied the rumors of an impending divorce plastered all over the newsstands this week. “This story is totally made up in order to sell their magazines.” Now we can go back to wondering when Amal is planning to sue President Obama. [Aceshowbiz]
* Roe v. Wade is 42 years old (or 126 trimesters) today. How much of the original holding is left? Not that much actually. [TBT Legal]
* Some 1st or 2nd year in D.C. is banging another associate and felt obliged to give us an anonymous blow-by-blow account. Think of it as a Penthouse Letter to the ABA Journal. [Reddit]
* Speaking of Penthouse, the affidavit from the Prince Andrew/Alan Dershowitz sex scandal is just bats**t amazeballs. Check out the full document on the next page. [South Florida Lawyers]
* “Jews in the U.K. never won a reported discrimination case against non-Jewish defendants.” I mean, who’d have thought the country that brought us The Merchant of Venice would have issues with Jews? [Tablet]
* Americans decry European laws prohibiting certain kinds of hate speech. But Professor Faisal Kutty explains that liberal societies have their own secular sacred cows even if they don’t want to admit it. [Al Jazeera]
* If you presume the clientele for litigation financing services are helpless, you’re selling them short. [LFC 360]
* The latest threat to unsuspecting Americans: zombie debt! [Public Justice]
* NYU admits it probably should have told the police when a student allegedly lit a classmate on fire and videotaped it. Ugh. NYU’s gone soft. In my day, we set each other on fire all the time and we liked it dammit! [Chronicle of Higher Education]
The case of Philip DeSelle highlights the tragedy of a glaring loophole in Louisiana’s “good time” laws that stood for years.
Whatever you do, don’t lie to a judge. They really don’t like it when litigants do that.
The criminal trial began with a surprising admission… and then took off from there.
* In May 2014, we told our readers about the sad state of financial affairs for assistant district attorneys in Massachusetts — they make less money than courthouse janitors. Now is the state finally being encouraged to do something about it. [Boston Globe]
* The University of Maine School of Law is one of 74 law schools to drop its application fee in the hope of enticing more students to apply. Do these schools legitimately believe it’s the fee that’s keeping students away? [Bangor Daily News]
* Partners at Bingham McCutchen, the latest Biglaw firm to flop, claim they knew that the end was near about one year ago, when their managing partner informed them that the firm would “active[ly] wait” for money to appear. Yeah… [American Lawyer]
* The fraud trial for former members of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s top brass was pushed back to April because Joel Sanders hired a new defense attorney. Apparently he had some “irreconcilable differences” with his former counsel. [New York Law Journal]
* The California Commission on Access to Justice plans to launch a legal incubator program. This will help low-income individuals in need of legal services, and the low-income law grads struggling to put their degrees to work. [National Law Journal]
* From the “Why the hell didn’t you settle this?” file: Now that Alexandra Marchuk’s case against Faruqi & Faruqi and Juan Monteverde has gone to trial, it seems the firm is getting all sorts of publicity — mostly negative. [New York Post]
* Supreme Court justices are really just like us… they show up late to work, too. Because Justice Antonin Scalia was stuck in traffic this morning, Chief Justice John Roberts had to summarize two of Scalia’s opinions from the bench. Oops! [NPR]
* Speaking of Justice Scalia, the Supreme jurist managed to sneak in a citation to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in his opinion in Whitfield v. United States to show the common usage of the word “accompany.” [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]
* Remember Dennis Doyle, the lawyer who lost his job and dropped $25K to see every single Knicks game this season? He said this of his tragic endeavor: “I can’t shut it down. I’m in too deep. … I’ll see it through—if it doesn’t kill me first.” [Bleacher Report]
* An Idaho prosecutor is having regrets over the fact that he chose to issue an arrest warrant for a 9-year-old boy on gum-stealing charges, calling it “a mistake under the circumstances.” That kid must be the coolest on the playground. [ABA Journal]
* “Trying to suppress [the value of parody] with violence is a fool’s errand.” In the wake of the horror of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, it’s worth recognizing that here in the U.S., we owe much to rappers who have capitalized on free speech. [LinkedIn]
* George Zimmerman was arrested for aggravated assault and domestic violence with a weapon. His lawyer said his client “has not been lucky with the ladies.” He hasn’t been lucky with being a decent human being, either. [USA Today]
* Lawrence McCreery, the Hawaii lawyer who licked a client’s ear and inspired the judge on his case to call him a “dirty old man,” has had his harassment conviction upheld on appeal. Get excited, he’s still got a law license, ladies. [Associated Press]
* We may soon see same-sex marriage bans in three states struck down, as the Fifth Circuit “appeared poised” to do so after oral arguments on Friday. Roberta Kaplan, our 2013 Lawyer of the Year, delivered a standout performance in arguing against Mississippi’s ban. [BuzzFeed]
* What do Sidley Austin, Baker & McKenzie, Reed Smith, Hogan Lovells, and Skadden Arps have in common? Their names were used in phishing emails to scam people out of their money. Some might say that’s business as usual. [Crain’s Chicago Business]
* An arrest was made in the forcible rape of a woman — presumably a law student — that took place in the stacks of the Southern University Law Center’s library last semester. The accused rapist is currently behind held without bond. [WBRZ]
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Whoa! The lawyers at this firm must have been pretty shocked by the unexpected news.
* The joke’s on North Korea: you can’t hack the D.C. Circuit because they still use Commodore 64s. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]
* Court says Muslim can’t take the oath on a Koran. I mean, isn’t this that special time of year where people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ? [Religion Clause]
* The least efficient armed robbery ever nets pennies. If one of these guys drops a dime on the others guys he’d actually be coming out ahead. [Legal Juice]
* Christmas wishes revolving mostly around Agent Carter and Star Wars. My only Star Wars wish is for a stand-alone Admiral Ackbar movie, but we’re not going to get it. [The Legal Geeks]
If these allegations are true, perhaps partners aren’t being paid enough?
* “Instead of ordering the Marshal to permit a desegregated Christmas party at the Court, the Court hosted no party at all.” Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote in his diary of the SCOTUS Christmas party that never was due to the high court’s unspoken racism. [Supreme Court Brief]
* We know of at least one lawyer who may be receiving a lump of coal in her stocking. A former partner of two major New York City firms allegedly stole millions of dollars from them to live a life of luxury. We’ll have more on this later today. [Bergen Record]
* Since “interest in law schools [is] dwindl[ing] nationally,” the easiest cost-cutting measure comes in the form of faculty buyouts at another school. Don’t hate the playa, hate the game, law professors. It’s a “necessary” evil these days. [The Advocate]
* President Obama is going to nominate Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, for the position of deputy attorney general. If confirmed, there’ll be two women at the top of the DOJ. Yay! [Miami Herald]
* Guess who just got promoted to partner at Boies Schiller & Flexner? It’s none other than Joshua Schiller, the son of the firm’s cofounder and managing partner. Aww. That’s the most precious thing ever. We just want to pinch his cheeks. [Am Law Daily]
* Before you submit your law school applications, you should probably make sure that you’ve read and followed all of the instructions, because just in case you forgot, you’re applying to follow instructions for a living. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
Everyone is talking about the Serial podcast; does it live up to the hype?
Where would you rather be charged with a crime, Canada or North Korea? The more we chisel away at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the less clear the answer becomes.
* Thanks to a former Skadden attorney’s failed attempt to kill himself, police were able to retrieve a suicide note — entitled “A Sad Ending to My Life” — that revealed the lawyer’s $5M Ponzi scheme. We may have more on this later. [Am Law Daily]
* “I’m not one who believes there are too many lawyers in the country,” says Dean Thomas Guernsey of Thomas Jefferson Law. Conveniently, only 29% of TJSL’s ’13 grads are working in full-time, long-term jobs as lawyers. Kudos! [U-T San Diego]
* The government just paid the least amount of money to legal services contractors since 2008. As far as Biglaw firms are concerned, Curtis Mallet-Prevost posted “significant losses,” receiving $2M less than it did in 2013. [National Law Journal]
* Because not everyone wears gas masks, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to keep police from using tear gas on peaceful protestors in Ferguson without first issuing “clear and unambiguous warnings.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* Ladies and gentlemen, this is the main event of the evening! IT’S TIME! FIGHTING out of the blue corner, angry UFC combatants who are planning to use “renowned” antitrust firms to secure “hundreds of millions of dollars”! [Bloody Elbow / SB Nation]