Here’s a sentence from a recent Seventh Circuit opinion:
[T]his case shows every sign of being an overzealous prosecution for a technical violation of a criminal regulatory statute — the kind of rigid and severe exercise of law-enforcement discretion that would make Inspector Javert proud.
This was a sentence from the dissent.
Amazingly, though, the majority voted to reverse the conviction. Judge Sykes, who authored the dissent, would have affirmed the conviction — though, presumably, not because she thinks a Javert-like prosecution is a model that the Department of Justice ought to aspire to.
These things do happen, but they’re usually one-time occurrences that would otherwise be missed by the members of the legal community, if not for our coverage here at Above the Law.
On the other side of the coin, when you screw up so many times that a federal judge feels the need to publicly excoriate you with the ultimate insult — by comparing your work to that of a pro se litigant — maybe it’s time to hang your head in shame for the rest of your days…
We were driving back from my girlfriend’s hometown. There are plenty of long silences during these drives. I like it that way. Occasionally, though, the silence is punctured by questions from Stephanie about evolutionary psychology (“Why do I crave sugar sooooo much?”) or animal husbandry (“When are we getting a dog and can we name it Chuck Bass?”). During this last drive, Stephanie asked me a particularly penetrating question. “What is the worst state?” Before I could answer semisolid, she clarified, “I mean, it’s gotta be Indiana, right?”
Probably? I thought about it awhile. Indiana is awful and, yet, boring at the same time. All the boredom of Kansas with all the progressive racial relations of Idaho. I can already hear the complaints that will emanate from this random introduction to a column that is nominally about sports and the law. “What about Florida?” “Has Stephanie ever been to Ft. Wayne in autumn?” “Does Lat even know you’re writing for this website?” These are all excellent questions and I respect the hell out of every single one of them. But I’m not going to apologize for my girlfriend’s bigotry. We’ve had Chuck Bass exactly one week and I love that dog. I love him with all my heart and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what you say about it, we’re going to keep it.
It’s that time of year again, and people are starting to get very antsy as they await the results of the July 2013 bar examination. While a handful of states have released test takers from their torturous waiting game, other locales will keep bar examinees on pins and needles until November.
We’ve already heard about the results from North Carolina — as usual, the Tar Heel State was the first to get its results out. Speaking of North Carolina, we’ve heard this year’s results were rather ugly. It seems there was about a 10 percent dip in the passage rate this summer, even though no one had to take the bar in the dark. Yikes! Getting back to the results, next in line came Utah (remember when we released the state’s unofficial results?), followed by Florida, and then Indiana.
In 2011, when Indiana Tech announced it was going to open a law school in Fort Wayne, Indiana for no good reason, Indiana Tech President Arthur Snyder said that access to legal education in Indiana was a big reason for opening the fifth law school in the state: “There are potential students who desire a law school education who cannot get that education in this area, and there are people in our state who need legal services who don’t have access to them.”
This was always an incredibly weak argument. Now, as Indiana Tech is set to welcome its first starting class, we have some measure of proof that those 2011 prognostications were as incorrect as everybody knew they’d be in 2011….
A while back, someone wrote a book accusing a prominent former Karl Rove aide and conservative commentator of being a scheming, intellectually dishonest shell of a person, with nothing more to commend her than her beauty-queen good looks.
Once you recover from the shock, the wrinkle in this kerfuffle is that the book was written by her long-time friend and attorney, and draws upon what he learned over his years of representing the woman in various legal scrapes from divorce to criminal activity.
If you think writing a book divulging the confidences of a former client sounds suspect, well, the Indiana Supreme Court agrees with you…
UPDATE (1/7/14): Dee Dee Benkie reached out to us and noted that she never spoke to the Indiana Supreme Court, so the details in its decision represent only the former attorney’s side of the story and Benkie was not able to go on the record to defend herself.
A few weeks ago, we learned that when it comes to failed professional endeavors, hell hath no fury like a patent attorney scorned. Now we know the same sentiment applies to their failed romantic wranglings.
What would a patent partner do if a summer associate turned away his sexual advances? He’d do what any dork would: in the hopes of ruining her budding career, he’d obtain a movie clip of the girl in a state of undress and pass it around via email to more than 50 Biglaw attorneys.
Of course, this led to a disciplinary action in which the brokenhearted patent practitioner employed some pretty wild defenses, the most entertaining one being that his slut-shaming was beyond ethical reproach because it was constitutionally protected speech….
* The revised transcript from the day Justice Thomas spoke during oral arguments has arrived, and it seems his record for not having asked a single question from the bench is still intact. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* The Seventh Circuit ruled on Indiana’s social media ban for sex offenders, and the internet’s filth will be pleased to know they can tweet about underage girls to their heart’s content. [National Law Journal]
* Propaganda from the dean of a state law school: lawyers from private schools are forcing taxpayers to bear the brunt of their higher debt loads with higher fees associated with their services. [Spokesman-Review]
* Rhode Island is now the only state in New England where same-sex couples can’t get married, but that may change as soon as the state Senate gets its act together, sooo… we may be waiting a while. [New York Times]
* It’ll be hard to document every suit filed against Lance Armstrong, but this one was amusing. Now people want their money back after buying his autobiography because they say it’s a work of fiction. [Bloomberg]
These days, passing or failing the bar exam can have a great impact on employability in what little remains of the entry-level job market for recent law school graduates. That’s probably why those who took the July exam have been so cranky lately — they want to know if they’ll even have a chance to launch their careers.
Not even a month has passed since our last open thread devoted to bar exam results, but it appears that we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. It’s not yet November, so New York and California test takers still have some time left to wait, but we do have confirmed news about results from other states.
Within the past week, including today, at least three states announced their bar exam results. In fact, test takers from one state were so desperate to find out whether they passed that a post about the state’s results from two years ago is one of our most heavily trafficked pages today.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.