The media environment has evolved a lot in the past 20 years, and lawyers handling major cases must evolve along with it.
You’d think that after he was disbarred, got ordered to refund excessive legal fees, and had his law firm dissolved and placed into receivership, not much else bad could happen to Stan Chesley — but you’d be wrong.
Most everyone knows what an elevator speech is: it’s a short, pithy, memorable description of a company’s services. Lawyers have always built their reputations on their expertise, such that the creation of an elevator pitch should be one of the easiest things for an attorney to do; however, many lawyers still stumble over the basic question: “What do you do?”
* Despite the fact that people seemed to have been losing their minds over court packing, according to Judge Sri Srinivasan of the D.C. Circuit, President Obama’s appointment of four new judges on the powerful court had little to no impact on the outcome of cases. [POLITICO]
* “Americans are actively being deprived of their rights.” In this excellent longread on arbitration, we learn it’s the best for big companies, but for plaintiffs who are forced into it, it amounts to the “privatization of the justice system.” [DealBook / New York Times]
* Uh oh! Disgraced plaintiffs’ lawyer Stan Chesley — perhaps better known as the “Master of Disaster” — had a warrant issued for his arrest last week after he failed to appear for a hearing related to his refusal to pay a $42 million judgment. [Louisville Courier Journal]
* Florida A&M University College of Law has a brand new dean. We’d like to wish a warm welcome to Angela Felecia Epps, whose salary of $252,000 is likely more than any of the school’s recent and barely employed graduates can hope to make. [Orlando Sentinel]
* A 30-year-old New Jersey man has been sentenced to a 16-year prison term for aggravated arson after the fires he set last year damaged a local law firm (one that was representing him at the time) and the county prosecutor’s office. [Associated Press]
* The Cincinnati Bengals reached a $255K settlement with their cheerleaders in a wage-and-hour suit. Each Ben-Gal stands to receive at least $2,500. Hmm, maybe they needed better lawyers who could BE AGGRESSIVE! B-E AGGRESSIVE! B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E! [CBS News]
* Biglaw leaders think that first-year associates are likely to be replaced by robots within 10 years. Some even think that second- and third-year associates could be replaced by artificial intelligence. Damn, no wonder NY to $190 is still a pipedream. [Ars Technica via Am Law Daily]
* “What you’re asking them to do is do work for you.” Despite the fact that the cellphone was seized in an investigation, this federal magistrate judge says that he isn’t quite sure if he has the legal authority to compel Apple to access data on a locked iPhone. [Reuters]
* Justice waits for no one, except this defendant who allegedly murdered her 19-month-old daughter in 2010. After her trial was rescheduled for the 18th time, a judge finally decided he’d had enough: “Anything following this will be a trial or dismissal.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* If you’re trying to get into to law school, there’s no need to wait for your fall semester grades before you send off your applications. A pulse and the ability to sign federal loan documents are all that you’ll need. [Law School Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]
Clerks behaving badly.
Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), Above the Law will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full force tomorrow. Stay tuned for today’s news!
* Who is Amy Berman Jackson? If you’ve been watching Jeopardy! lately, you’ve probably been trying to figure out which law firm reigning champion Matt Jackson works for as a paralegal. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that his mother is a D.D.C. federal judge. [Washington Post]
* Another SCOTUS term is upon us, and while Chief Justice Roberts tends to cast his votes on the issues through a conservative lens, there’s talk that he could be a “wildcard.” Hmm, perhaps Justice Kennedy will have a pal to swing with this year. [MSNBC]
* Choose your path wisely: Bloomberg Markets released its ranking of the 50 most influential people last week, and not a single practicing lawyer made the cut. Attorneys who chose career alternatives, however, made a killing. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]
* Marcel Aubut, who recently resigned in disgrace from his position as Canadian Olympic Committee president after allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching came to light, has also decided to leave his Biglaw firm and seek counseling. [NBC Sports]
* Late last week, California adopted an exacting digital privacy law that will require police to get warrants to access all manner of electronic information, from emails to texts to metadata. Please thank the Golden State for keeping your sexts safe. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Why are so many law grads failing the bar exam? Law profs, a law dean, and a Biglaw recruiting specialist all have answers to this question… and only some of them come close to being satisfactory. [Room for Debate / New York Times]
* Jurors in the Dewey & LeBoeuf trial have deliberated for five days thus far, and seem to be no closer to coming to a verdict than when they first started. They’re quibbling over thesaurus entries for the word “fake” (i.e., “fake income”). [Am Law Daily]
* Thanks to the OnRamp Fellowship, more women lawyers are making a reentry into the legal profession through Biglaw firms than ever before. Participating firms now include Skadden Arps and MoFo, amongst others. Congrats! [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]
* Law school enrollment may be stagnant across the country, but at Colorado Law, it’s booming. The size of the school’s incoming class is 22 percent larger than last year’s was. What can we say other than students were sTOKEd to get in. [Boulder Daily Camera]
* If you’re ever fired from your job, charged with insider trading, and the SEC wants access to your work phone, take heart in the fact that your personal passcode is just that — personal. The SEC can’t treat it as a business record thanks to this ruling. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Richard Cudahy Sr., longtime Seventh Circuit judge, RIP. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
A federal judge uses a cartoon character’s famous exclamatory catchphrase to announce the court’s unanimous ruling.
* Somewhere in Florida, Casey Anthony can rest a little easier knowing that Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman she falsely implicated in the kidnapping and death of her already deceased child, just had her defamation suit thrown out. [WKMG]
* Better late than never? The Judicial Conference finally decided impeachment is warranted for Judge Mark E. Fuller, who recently resigned from his position on the Middle District of Alabama’s bench in the wake of his “reprehensible” domestic violence scandal last summer. [WSJ Law Blog]
* In case you were wondering which Biglaw firms were reaping financial rewards in the race to represent clients in space, Squire Patton Boggs and K&L Gates have both performed at least six figures of work from their mission control centers. [Am Law Daily]
* Thomas Rubino, a paralegal at Manhattan firm Paris & Chaikin, allegedly forged the names of 76 judges on fake orders to make his life easier at work. Now that he’s facing 234 counts of forgery, something tells us his life is going to be more difficult. [New York Post]
* Lindsay Lohan’s defamation case against Fox News over comments made on The Sean Hannity Show that she did coke with her mother was dismissed because as Justice Wright noted, “truth is a defense.” He clearly didn’t think LiLo’s claims were fetch. [MSN News]
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* The outcomes of misconduct complaints against members of the federal judiciary will now be posted online for your viewing pleasure to “provide for greater transparency” — and schadenfreude. This could wind up being entertaining, so keep your eyes peeled. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Apparently there are people out there who don’t know that law schools are in trouble and have been for a while, which is certainly news to us. See how the dean of UNLV School of Law explains the “new normal” to a human interest writer. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
* The White House just launched a nationwide movement to encourage legal immigrants in America to become U.S. citizens. What a happy coincidence that this campaign will likely add millions of voters to the rolls just in time for Election 2016. [New York Times]
* Per a report from The Real Deal, real estate practices are heating up in Biglaw firms across New York City. Firms like Fried Frank, Skadden, and Proskauer are expanding their real estate groups, so be on the lookout, laterals. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]
* Harvard Law is supposed to be overseeing the rollout of a new Title IX program for the reporting of sexual harassment, but so many of the administrators who were in charge of its implementation have left that its come to a standstill. Oopsie! [Harvard Crimson]
* Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed over her refusal to give marriage licenses to gay couples, was released by order of Judge David Bunning — with a warning not to interfere with her deputy clerks’ duties. Hmm, yeah, she’s totally going back to jail. [New York Times]
* The law school applicant pool is still dwindling after all these years, so it’s interesting to see which schools are offering students the biggest
bribesscholarships and grants (some of which may later disappear) so they can fill the seats in their classes with asses. [Bloomberg via PreLaw]
* This Montana Law professor claims that he was forced to retire from his teaching position early due to the school’s ongoing budget cuts: “I am the first full-time member of the law faculty upon whom the ax has fallen.” We’ll have more on this later. [Missoulian]
* Hmm, what Dewey know about the standard of evidence for conviction in the D&L fraud trial? “Woulda, coulda, shoulda is fine for cocktail party conversation. In this courtroom and in any courtroom, the proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt.” [Reuters]
* Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, who received an LL.M. in taxation from NYU School of Law, is making a $20 million donation to the school, its largest gift ever. We wonder how much he’s giving to his alma mater, Wayne State Law. [WSJ Law Blog]
The benchslaps are fun, but the debate is real and important.
Donald Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a well-respected federal judge — but she has some things in common with her brash little brother.
This breaking news is brought to you by the phrase, “Babe, I need to tell you something, and I hope you won’t be mad.”
Whatever happened to the noble tradition of resignation on principle?