FERC

Petitioner’s brief, unfortunately, was laden with obscure acronyms notwithstanding the admonitions in our handbook (and on our website) to avoid uncommon acronyms. Since the brief was signed by a faculty member at Columbia Law School, that was rather dismaying both because of ignorance of our standards and because the practice constitutes lousy brief writing.

– Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit, condemning a brief for an abundance of acronyms.

(More information — including the identity of the offending professor, and the full opinion — after the jump.)

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The Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend is either a desert of regulatory activity or – as last week – a cornucopia in need of distillation. Three highlights warrant note, though many rules were published, placed on inspection, or otherwise released. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) electric distribution pricing rule while the United States District Court for the District of Columbia vacated a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) orphan drug pricing rule. Look now for the next round of economic mischief by regulation in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under-the-radar release of the Spring 2014 Unified Agenda. And lest we forget ….

Electric Power Sales: The D.C. Circuit vacated as ultra vires a FERC final rule incentivizing retail customers to reduce electricity consumption when economically efficient because the rule exceeded FERC’s statutory authority to regulate wholesale and interstate electricity distribution by regulating intra-state retail sales – the province of state public utility commissions (PUCs) – in Electric Power Supply Assoc. v. FERC.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Regulatory Review: Electric Power Sales; Orphan Drugs Other Uses; Spring 2014 Unified Agenda & Memorial Day, 2014″

A famous criminal defense lawyer was asked about how to hire a lawyer for a criminal defense case. Imagine, he was asked, that a relative was charged with a serious crime in a place where he didn’t know anyone. How would he go about finding a lawyer for his friend?

The answer — hire the best lawyer in the next town over.

A good criminal defense attorney will have relationships with the local prosecutors. She’ll know the local judges. And when you hire a criminal defense attorney, you assume that one thing you’re getting is a favorable presentation to those prosecutors and judges. The trouble is, that lawyer may have more of an interest in her professional standing in the community than in your case.

If you’re really in trouble — life is on the line kind of trouble — that criminal defense lawyer’s advice was to hire someone who knows what they’re doing and is willing to ruffle feathers on your behalf. Everyone is a little beholden to their own community. Find someone from another community.

There’s a nice example of that principle in action in a complex white-collar case in the Wall Street Journal this week.

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* People are shocked — shocked! — to learn that L.A. Clippers owner and Southwestern Law grad Donald Sterling may just be racist. Where were all you people the last 30 years he’s been in the limelight? I guess this is what happens when the Lakers stop being good. At least they’re in good company, the NAACP didn’t seem to pay attention to the red flags either. [Business Insider]

* Bringing “blame the victim” to sickening new levels. A playwright is suing actress Valerie Harper for $2 million for having the audacity not to mention her cancer. [New York Daily News]

* Oh, no, wait. This is bringing “blame the victim” to sickening new levels. [Huffington Post]

* Liquid Natural Gas exports are tied down in the FERC approval process. Pesky lawyers. [Breaking Energy]

* Louis Althusser’s On The Reproduction Of Capitalism argues that “all law is by essence, in the last instance, inegalitarian and bourgeois.” And he doesn’t even know about the cruise ship we rented out for a partner meeting to discuss our offices in that “country” of Africa. [Critical-Theory]

* Keeping your cool is a lot easier from your computer than out in the field. [Katz Justice]

* The Supreme Court may have decided not to rule on whether juries can be non-unanimous, but they will spend their time figuring out if fish are “informational items.” Good job. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* A look at how one expert witness helped Mark Cuban win in the insider trading case. The government should have hired the Spurs — they figure out how to beat Mark Cuban constantly. [The Expert Institute]

* This guy forgot to book a wedding venue and rather than admit it, called in a bomb threat. How mean would his bride-to-be have to be for him to commit a crime rather than disappoint? So anyway, he’s going to jail now. [Associated Press]

* Man arrested for punching a police horse. I mean, Mr. Ed shouldn’t have mouthed off like that. [Slate]

* The chief of FERC will be joining a top law firm in Portland. Someone send Jon Wellinghoff a complete box set of Portlandia so he knows what he’s getting into. [Breaking Energy]

* After yesterday’s scathing attack on law reviews brought out some defenders, this post brings the snark to the whole affair. [Law Prof Blawg]

* Ms. JD is handing out awards at its annual conference. Send in your nominations by December 15. [Ms. JD]

* The ironic webpage for the Delaware State Bar’s “Access to Justice” program. Image after the jump…

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Yesterday Elie offered some predictions for 2012. I’ll get even more specific and offer a prediction for January 2012: energy lawyers will be making moves this month.

January is generally a popular time for partner moves, and energy lawyers are popular people. Right now their practice area is as hot as New York City is cold. As you may recall, this time last year a slew of energy attorneys moved from McDermott to Cadwalader.

We’ve recently received word that at least two prominent partners in the energy space are switching firms. Let’s find out who they are and where they are heading….

UPDATE (2:30 PM): After the jump, we’ve added an update with additional context, details, and partner names. A source states that five partners are leaving and that the departures constitute a major move — a much bigger deal than our original report might have suggested.

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