Environmental Law

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is the prime industry group for Canadian lawyers coast to coast. In essence the CBA is an advocacy group that also provides its members with continuing legal education and networking opportunities. It has 37,000 members, so it speaks for a lot of Canadian lawyers.

Let’s move half a world south to the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador. An energy giant, Chevron, apparently caused a bit of nuisance there. The indigenous villagers in the region sued Texaco (which Chevron subsequently purchased) for causing extensive pollution and won a local judgement for $9.51 billion. I haven’t taken a trip to Lago Agrio, but I suspect from the size of the judgement we aren’t talking about a few puffs of black smoke.

The plaintiffs are now chasing Chevron’s assets all over the world, including Ontario. Chevron hath protested with vehemence that its Ontario assets should not be at risk. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled last year that the Ecuadorian plaintiffs “deserve to have the recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment heard on the merits” in Ontario. Thus, the C.A. has at least opened the door for the plaintiffs to realize on Chevron’s Ontario property in satisfaction of the multi-billion dollar judgement. Here’s the shocker: Chevron has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

This is where the CBA comes in….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The View From Up North: Has The CBA Crossed The Line?”

There were things that I did in Ecuador in the foreign legal system that were I felt appropriate for the foreign legal system based on what I observed as an American lawyer. And there are things down there that, no, would not be appropriate here.

– Embattled plaintiffs’ lawyer Steven Donziger, defending himself against allegations of bribery, witness tampering, and fraud, in testimony yesterday in Chevron Corp. v. Donziger.

I certainly do not quarrel with such dispositive authority.

– Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the D.C. Circuit, commenting on the invocation of the Schoolhouse Rock song, “I’m Just a Bill,” as to the degree of ease in which a bill can become a law.


* “Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, and Nietzsche (figuratively) walk into the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Hilarity ensues.” [FindLaw]

* The EPA gets benchslapped by the D.C. Circuit. [Instapundit]

* What can law firms learn from… the Cheesecake Factory? Besides how to make people fat; Biglaw’s already great at that. [Adam Smith, Esq.]

* If you enjoy gambling or legal hypotheticals, check this out. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Professor Eugene Volokh examines the tricky tension between constitutionally protected speech and laws against blackmail. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Professor Ann Althouse

* Professor Howard Wasserman grades Representative Todd Akin’s apology for his “legitimate rape” remarks — and gives the congressman partial credit for “owning” it. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Meanwhile, Professor Ann Althouse wonders: “Would the Democrats oust one of their own because he said one thing wrong?” [Althouse]

* Don’t forget: tonight is the nomination deadline for our Lawyerly Lairs contest for the best law firm offices in America. [Above the Law]

* Our commenting platform, Disqus, is having issues — which may explain why comments are mysteriously disappearing from the site. We apologize for the problem, which we are investigating. [Disqus]

* All your base are belong to… Rick Santorum? Error! Malfunction! Super Tuesday was not quite as super as Mitt Romney was hoping for. Looks like it’s time to reprogram the Mitt-bot so he can conquer the true conservatives. [CNN]

* And the Cebulls**t just keeps on coming. Now Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are calling for a hearing and an investigation on the consequences of the federal judge’s racist email. [Associated Press]

* After wrapping up a Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Lehman Brothers, Weil Gotshal’s bill came to $383M. And sadly, that’s probably going to be the only “spring bonus” associates will see this year. [Am Law Daily]

* Complete pwnage: a handful of LulzSec hacktivists were arrested after their leader, an FBI informant, turned on them. How will this affect the Anonymous movement? More importantly, who cares? [New York Times]

* No postponements for you, Casey Anthony. Try as she might, the acquitted ex-MILF just can’t escape the defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who was only supposed to be make believe. [Washington Post]

* Don’t like Maryland Law’s environmental clinic litigation? Offer another public law school $500K to represent the defendants. Because if anyone would take a bribe, it would be Baltimore Law. [National Law Journal]

What is this, I don't even...

* It looks like the Biglaw buzzwords for 2012 are “challenge” and “uncertainty.” Good! Great! Grand! Wonderful! Speaking of uncertainty, where are the spring bonuses? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Kodak got the go-ahead for a $950M bankruptcy financing deal. Just think, if you had taken pictures using a film camera instead of a digital one, we probably wouldn’t be telling you about this. [Bloomberg]

* Rod Blagojevich will report to prison for his 14-year sentence on March 15, and he hopes to do so with “dignity” (i.e., no cameras). But you can be damn sure he’ll have his hair did, just in case. [Chicago Tribune]

* To be fair, the University of Maryland School of Law doesn’t really have time to worry about that parking job. The university might have to pay up to $500K in legal fees thanks to a lawsuit filed by the school’s environmental law clinic. [National Law Journal]

* Duncan Law’s got 99 problems, and another lawsuit is one. In addition to the school’s troubles with the ABA, a law student is suing because the school “negligently allowed her to enroll.” [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* George Seward, the founding partner of Seward & Kissel, has died at the age of 101. RIP. [Businessweek]

Wave goodbye to that ring.

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 400 new jobs were added to the legal industry last month. Talk about progress. That’s like a fraction of a job for every successful bar exam taker. [Am Law Daily]

* Biglaw firms in Washington, D.C. are racing to get more green. Sadly, we’re not talking about money or bonus news. We’re talking about tree-hugging, environmental hippie design initiatives. [Washington Post]

* Same-sex couples in New Jersey will get the chance to challenge the state’s civil union law. Here’s hoping that my home state gets with the program and allows gay marriage like our New York neighbors. [Star-Ledger]

* “Lawsuit-crazed groomzilla” Todd Remis isn’t happy with the media’s coverage of his wedding woes. We’re “turning this into a circus,” he says. Uh, you did that yourself, buddy. [Huffington Post]

* What’s the best way to get out of a possible 15-year jail sentence? It’s as easy as saying that you’re an illegal immigrant and getting yourself deported to Mexico. [ABC News]

* Kim Kardashian has a pricey clause in her prenup. She’ll have to pay her soon-to-be ex-husband the purchase price of her gaudy engagement ring if she wants to keep it. [New York Post]

The other day, President Obama announced a “new” plan to help ease the burden of student debts, except it wasn’t really new, and it didn’t really help.

The mainstream media parroted the administration’s spin on the proposal, but it makes sense that the White House would want to find some students who were also excited about the plan to reduce the Income Based Repayment percentage to 10% in 2012.

Well, they found one. And he’s a law student.

President Obama is tweeting about this new support….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If This Is the Kind of Law Student Who Supports Obama’s Debt Relief Plans, the President Is in Trouble”

Ed. note: This post is by “Juggalo Law,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

I have a confession to make. I don’t care at all about the environment. It’s true. Since I was in short pants, I’ve been aggressively indifferent to climate change, rainforests, oil spills and the plight of the Duck-Billed Platypus (“has feet like a duck…but it’s furry!”). This despite my parents’ solid liberal bona fides. This despite my presence at one Young Democrats meeting in 1998 (Earnest Goes to College).

And yet, guys? The Cooch is tripping. That’d be Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia. Yesterday, a state judge blocked his request to subpoena documents from a college professor studying climate change. Take it away, BLT:

Cuccinelli, a Republican, said he wanted the records in order to investigate whether the researcher, Michael Mann, made false claims in connection with state grant funding. Cuccinelli is a skeptic of human causes of global warming, an area that Mann has studied at the University of Virginia and elsewhere. Mann is now a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

This caps a rather newsworthy couple of weeks for The Cooch. He’s managed to raise the hackles of many an interest group in protecting the rights of Baby Jesus and all unborn critters not named Jesus. In doing so, he’s undoubtedly established himself as a rising star in conservative circles.

But what of his latest…err crusade?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Virginia State Judge Screws the Cooch”

Ed. note: This is a guest post from our sister site, AltTransport. They recently interviewed Vermont Law grad Jack Jacobs, entrepreneurial founder of a firm specializing in green law.

Attorney Jack Jacobs started his career at a boutique environmental law firm in Boston, but grew frustrated that his work seemed to be about finding ways to avoid tackling environmental issues rather than protecting the environment. He went back to school to get an LLM from Portland’s Lewis and Clark Law School. (If you can’t decide whether Vermont Law School or L&C is the best law school for environmental law, you can be like Jacobs and just go to both.)

He then founded Cleantech Law Partners to deal with the specific challenges that face cleantech firms, biofuel startups, and electric vehicle makers — such as Tesla — in today’s regulatory and policy environment. With offices in California, New York, D.C., Oregon and Germany, Cleantech Law Partners works with clients engaged in renewable energy and cleantech projects — mainly incorporating new entities, finalizing contracts and lobbying for the passage of industry-specific legislation.

AltTransport spoke with Jacobs about the legal challenges facing today’s cleantech startups, and what the government can do to make life easier for them. Check out the Q and A with Jacobs, and comment, over at AltTransport.