On September 4, Bill Simmons wrote a column for Grantland regarding the National Football League, titled “The League That Never Sleeps.” Since then, the NFL has remained in the headlines on a daily basis, scarred by a near-constant stream of negative news concerning off-field incidents involving current players. Apart from the escalation of unseemly episodes we have seen recently, the NFL is also struggling with potentially existence-threatening legal issues relating to the harm suffered by players due to the inherent violence of the sport. At the same time, the NFL remains the biggest show (especially from a TV ratings standpoint) in town, and the league has never been more profitable.
Do I need to spell out the parallels with Biglaw? Record profitability, coupled with record instability. It is a wonder that we don’t see Biglaw behemoths sponsoring the halftime clash between two local Pee-Wee teams at NFL stadiums….
* New York court authorizes service over Facebook. Finally, a reason to use Google Plus. [Slate]
* Texas struck down the statute banning upskirt photos. The decision is more interesting than the sound-bite press it’s getting. [Popehat]
* Some PR advice may be privileged. Which is good because the law needs to incentivize companies trying to cover up possible legal liabilities. It might be more nuanced than that, but still. [Corporate Counsel]
* In the wake of the passing of Tommy Boggs, a profile on his power within Patton Boggs, including details of the final year leading up to its merger. [National Law Journal]
* On choosing a criminal defense lawyer and why you might not want some reformed prosecutor. [Katz Justice]
* The Senate confirmed Gordon Tanner as general counsel to the Air Force. This is noteworthy because it reflects just how quickly the country has progressed from affirmative witch hunts, to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to confirming a gay man as the top lawyer for a branch of the Armed Forces. [Washington Blade]
* A 49er fan is suing the NFL for $50 million for a policy that limited ticket sales to customers in Seahawks territory. Based on the season so far, he luckily won’t have to worry about the 49ers in the playoffs this year. [ESPN]
* Speaking of football, South Park ran an ad limited to D.C. during the Washington-Eagles game. See Eric Cartman school Dan Snyder on trademark law, after the jump…. [SB Nation]
We’ve written a few times in the past about how the entertainment industry’s woeful job of preserving and archiving old works has resulted in culture being lost – but also how unauthorized copies (the proverbial “damn dirty pirates”) have at least saved a few such treasures from complete destruction. There was, for example, the “lost” ending to one of the movie versions of Little Shop of Horrors that was saved thanks to someone uploading it to YouTube. Over in the UK, a lost episode of Dad’s Army was saved due to a private recording. However, Sherwin Siy points out that the very first Super Bowl — Super Bowl I, as they put it — was basically completely lost until a tape that a fan made showed up in someone’s attic in 2005. Except, that footage still hasn’t been made available, perhaps because of the NFL’s standard “we own everything” policy.
Eric Winston, the current president of the NFL Players Association, has had a busy past few weeks. In addition to working with the Players’ Union to negotiate a new drug policy, Winston has had to deal with rather unprecedented discipline situations surrounding Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, among others, not to mention the questions surrounding NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
But there’s a reason he was elected. Eric is incredibly intelligent and one of the more thoughtful interviewees in sports. Eric’s been nice enough to join me for a conversation about recent developments in collective bargaining, player discipline, and due process that will develop over the course of the next few days. Check back as our conversation develops…
Louie C.K. has the definitive statement on the legal standing of corporal punishment (it’s Louie C.K., so I shouldn’t have to tell you NSFW):
” ‘Stop hitting me, you’re huge. You’re a giant and I can’t defend myself.’…
Kids are the only people in the world that you are allowed to hit… They’re the most vulnerable and they’re the most destroyed by being hit but it’s totally okay to hit them. And they’re the only ones. If you hit a dog, they’ll f***ing put you in jail for that s**t. You can’t hit a person unless you can prove that they were trying to kill you. But a little tiny person with a head this big who trusts you implicitly, f**k ‘em, who gives a s**t, let’s all hit them…
Let me say this, if you have kids and you do hit your kids, I totally get it. I’m not judging. I get it. My mom hit me. I don’t hit my kids… I’m not better than my mom, it’s because she was poor and I have money… I work two hours a week sometimes.”
That’s pretty much the law right there folks. Of course people shouldn’t hit their kids. It’s freaking barbaric. It’s proven to be an ineffective and damaging form of discipline.
But the law accepts the premise that some people are going to hit their children from time to time. Once you’re there, once you abandon a “zero tolerance” policy on corporal punishment for children, it’s exceedingly difficult to parse “reasonable” from “abusive” punishments…
She doesn’t needed to be educated about rap music.
* “Operas can get pretty gory. I should have put that in my brief.” In the upcoming Supreme Court term, it looks like law clerks will have to educate their justices about the intricacies of rap music’s sometimes violent lyrics. [National Law Journal]
* The pay gap between equity and non-equity Biglaw partners is growing wider and wider. According to recent survey, on average, equity partners are bringing home $633K more than non-equity partners each year. [Am Law Daily]
* Hackers are targeting Biglaw firms to acquire their clients’ important secrets. Unfortunately, no one is brave enough to step up to the plate and say their firm’s been hit — admitting that “could be an extinction-level event.” [Tribune-Review]
* Which Biglaw firms had the most satisfied summer associates this year? There was a big rankings shake-up at the top of the list this time around, and we’ll have more on this later today. [Am Law Daily]
* In the wake of the Ray Rice scandal, Adrian Peterson screwed up many of your fantasy football teams after he was indicted for hurting his child “with criminal negligence.” He’s now out on $15,000 bail. [CNN]
* Our columnist Steve Dykstra opines that Roger Goodell is not going to get fired over the Ray Rice investigation/non-investigation. But what we really want to know from Dykstra is his opinion on how badly the West is going to beat the East in this year’s Grey Cup. [Steven Dykstra]
* Apparently, we’ve been banned by Reddit. I think as editors we’ve posted on Reddit maybe 3 times in the last year, so it certainly isn’t our fault. Reddit notes “above the law will no longer be receiving traffic or page views from here,” which I guess is supposed to be a threat. Hey, don’t fault us just because our content is so good. *cue unimaginative trolling* [Reddit]
I suppose there are any number of moments that one can point to that perfectly encapsulate the complete insanity, inanity, and impotence of the NFL’s response to Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée. There is the Ravens tweet, of course. That perfectly horrible bit of victim-shaming, a 144 characters-or-less bite-sized lump of horrifying misogyny. There is John Harbaugh’s endorsement of Rice, a recommendation so heartily unnecessary, it sounded like a Hall of Fame introduction.
But in weirdness alone, the most perfect moment happened last night. That’s when the NFL chose the legal profession as its moral and ethical cover. In the punch bowl that is the NFL’s announcement of a laughably inept “independent” investigation, the league dropped this fantastic turd of a non-sequitur:
“Director Mueller’s investigation will be overseen by NFL owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the final report will be made public. Mara and Rooney are both attorneys.”
* Because it’s been such a long time since the NFL has had a scandal, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is accused of sexual assault in a new suit. The Cowboys claim the suit is nothing but a money grab. No one knows a money grab like a franchise owner milking a new stadium partially financed by taxpayers. [USAToday]
* Dean Frank Wu explains why Hastings will survive the end of law schools. [SF Weekly]
* A pair of IP litigators, James W. Dabney and Stephen S. Rabinowitz, have jumped from Fried Frank to Hughes Hubbard. Will others be following Dabney & Rabinowitz out of Fried Frank? [Hughes Hubbard]
* An interesting breakdown of the legal scholars with the widest network of co-authors. Think of these as the most promiscuous scholars around. Actually, no. Don’t think that. [Ryan Whalen]
* Etsy sides with the USPTO and bans sales of anything branded “Redskins” on its platform. I’m not sure how smart this is since the economic teeth of the USPTO decision was to allow sites like Etsy to sell massive quantities of otherwise trademark-infringing stuff until Washington relented and opted for a new trademark-protectable name. [Etsy]
* Don’t throw peanut butter in my neighborhood (though I don’t understand the blotter… there’s no Bodega at that location). [Legal Juice]
* Lest you think law school is reasonably priced: “New IBR and PSLF provide benefits large enough that high earnings still result in nearly $100,000 in loan forgiveness for typical levels of debt for law school graduates. A lawyer earning at the 50th percentile with that debt level stands to have $147,282 forgiven, which is more than he borrowed…” [New America Education Policy Program]
* Keeping in touch with your inner child to relate to witnesses as humans. [Katz Justice]
* Closing out this football-heavy NS, friend of the blog Mitchell Epner discusses why Roger Goodell won’t (and shouldn’t) survive the fallout of the Ray Rice scandal. Check out the video after the jump… [CNBC]
* Sweet billable hours: Congrats to Proskauer Rose on its efforts to keep the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, New York. It’s the largest deal for the sale of an NFL team in history. [Am Law Daily]
* Your firm brings in billions in verdicts, but that’s not prestigious enough. It needs to be on the inaugural list of America’s Elite Trial Lawyers. See if yours made the cut. [National Law Journal]
* The best way to dodge traps in the LSAT analytical reasoning section is to display your analytical reasoning capabilities by not taking the LSAT in the first place during a time when law schools are in turmoil. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
* Law professors Zephyr Teachout (Fordham) and Tim Wu (Columbia) were defeated in the Democratic primary election for New York governor and lieutenant governor, but they lost well. [New York Daily News]
* The world wants to know if Ray Rice can be prosecuted for domestic violence, even though he’s enrolled in a pre-trial intervention program. Like the answer to all legal questions, it depends. [WSJ Law Blog]
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