* Bank of America agreed to pay $2.43 billion, one of the biggest securities class-action settlements in history, to put the Merrill Lynch mess behind it. According to Professors Peter Henning and Steven Davidoff, B of A “is probably quite happy with the settlement given that it could have potentially faced billions of dollars more in liability in the case.” [DealBook / New York Times]
* “Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting.” Here is Robert Barnes’s take on the SCOTUS Term that starts today. [Washington Post]
* And here is Professor Garrett Epps’s review of Jeffrey Toobin’s new book on the Supreme Court, The Oath (affiliate link). [New York Times]
* How Dewey justify paying a big bonus to a member of the management team “when it has been widely pointed out that excessive compensation to the firm’s upper management significantly contributed to the firm’s collapse in the first place?” [Bankruptcy Beat via WSJ Law Blog]
* A high-profile Vatican trial raises these questions: “‘Did the butler do it?’ Or rather, ‘was it only the butler who did it?’” [Christian Science Monitor]
* Ben Ogden, an Allen & Overy associate who was killed in a Nepalese plane crash, R.I.P. [Am Law Daily]
There are four justices in their 70s now. Ruth Ginsburg is 79. She’s probably the most likely to leave if Obama is reelected because she’s sympathetic to him politically.
The next two oldest are Justice Scalia and Justice Kennedy who are 76, who probably don’t want to leave if Obama’s president, but they’re starting to get to the age where, you know, you don’t know exactly when your term is up, as they say.
Ed. note: This new column is about sports and the law. You can read the introductory installment here.
I was an altar boy for several years as a kid. The priest, who smelled of cigarettes, would whisper “book” when he wanted the book, and over time I became a pro at rocking the bells. Seriously good at shaking those bastards.
Let’s talk sports?
On Wednesday, Dr. Graham Spanier and his attorneys went on the offensive. Spanier, you may recall, is the former Penn State president who was fired in the midst of the Sandusky scandal last November. Joe Paterno died, two former colleagues await trial, and the 64-year-old Spanier simply got a pink slip. You would think that since he escaped the far harsher sentence of his compatriots, he would be grateful. Perhaps he would tend to a garden during this, his senescence, and dream about the days when a child rapist didn’t have free reign over the Penn State campus. If gardening isn’t his thing, maybe drinking is. I know it helps me to forget.
But alas, Spanier is in no mood to forget. On Wednesday, Spanier sought out every audiovisual recording device he could find in order to plead his case to the world. Y’see, everyone’s got it absolutely wrong about Graham Spanier.
If Congress wants lessons on how things work from Jamie Dimon, they should have to pay him a speaker fee or something.
* Another year, another survey that shows prospective law students care more about the U.S. News Law School Rankings than anything else when applying to law school. In fact, it’s the exact same number from 2010. Kids are dumb. [Kaplan]
* Everybody is worried about what will happen when computers replace attorneys. I’m much more interested in what will happen when computers replace hookers. [The Atlantic]
* If watching our Congress ask idiot questions of Jamie Dimon doesn’t make you feel like we need vastly more intelligent Congresspeople, maybe watching them fawn over Jamie Dimon will do the trick. [Dealbreaker]
* I really hadn’t thought of this — in addition to your huge educational debts, your parents are most likely out there spending your inheritance. I swear, if I ever spend money on more education, it’s going to be on a post-apocalyptic survivalist class. [Law and More]
* Former TSA lady gropes current TSA lady after inappropriate groping from TSA. [Threat Level / Wired]
* In real life, unlike Monopoly, a bank error is never really in your favor. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Do the Republicans have an abortion problem? [New Yorker]
* Happy Birthday, Lat! Check out the very cool gift (affiliate link) that he received in the mail today — signed by one of the authors. [Twitpic via Twitter]
The story of the tangled relationship between Casey Greenfield, a rising star in New York legal circles, and Jeffrey Toobin, arguably the nation’s leading legal journalist, has gone mainstream. Over the long weekend, the New York Times wrote an 1,800-word story on their affair.
Actually, to be fair, the story was mainly about Casey Greenfield and her law partner, Scott Labby, launching their boutique law firm, Greenfield Labby (which has a beautifully designed website, by the way). The firm specializes in what the Times describes as “high-stakes family law,” which includes not just divorce and custody litigation, but “[c]risis management, strategic planning and contract resolution.”
The story of Greenfield and Labby launching a new small law firm is both interesting and inspiring. But, at the same time, it’s one that we’ve seen — and written — before. You can read our earlier write-up of Greenfield Labby’s launch over here.
The most interesting parts of the NYT piece concern Casey Greenfield’s affair with the then-married (and still-married) Jeff Toobin, a long-running relationship that produced a baby boy. The writer, Times reporter Robin Finn, unearthed several juicy, previously unreported details….
To help me get in the holiday spirit, I’ve been catching up on my favorite movies. Some might prefer It’s A Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, but I can’t get enough of It’s a Wonderful Lifetime and ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Give me a movie where a D-list celebrity overcomes the holiday blues to discover the meaning of Christmas, the joy of love, and the warmth of family, and I am a happy girl.
After 22 days of non-stop Christmas movie watching, I began to think that only in a movie staring Melissa Joan Hart would someone devote her professional career to tackling an issue she had to overcome. Not so.
I don't think anybody needed to hear testimony from this guy.
As you might have heard, United States special forces killed Osama Bin Laden. Let’s take a moment to be happy about that, but also to remember Bin Laden’s many, many victims.
Thank God he was killed, not “captured.” If he had been captured, there would have been some kind of trial. Some kind of fake, orchestrated, television show of a trial. Lawyers, judges, and others would have danced around trying to give Osama bin Laden the appearance of a fair hearing before his inevitable execution. It would have been a farce — a farce that our military and/or civilian courts are not equipped to handle.
Better for Bin Laden to meet his end as he did: via a double tap from a Navy Seal….
When asked about the decision in Bush v. Gore, Justice Antonin Scalia — one of the best legal minds in modern American history — tells questioners to “get over it.” That’s right, the Supreme Court decided the winner of a popular presidential election, and one of the architects of that decision wants people to not care about it anymore. Is he serious? I wish Scalia could just “get over” the fact that privacy is a right now, but nobody begrudges him the right to ask questions about it.
It’s the ten-year anniversary of the Bush v. Gore decision, and everybody is talking about it, in part because the Court does not talk about it. Writing in the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin tells us that in the decade since the five “conservative” justices stopped Florida’s recount, the Supreme Court has cited Bush v. Gore exactly zero times. Think about that: it’s been ten years since the Supreme Court picked the president, and the Court is kind of hoping everybody forgets about it. Bush v. Gore is like a stripper the Court killed in Vegas when it was there for a bachelor’s party. “She’s got no friends or family, strippers die all the time in Vegas, let’s get back to the hotel and NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN.”
But this isn’t some drunk broad you can drive into the Atlantic Ocean and hope everybody covers for you. This is a presidential election! And whether or not they talk about it, the effect of Bush v. Gore is very evident today — and not just because of the five SCOTUS votes that were more important than everybody else’s….
* Judge Phillips (C.D. Cal.) has suspended enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Or: “Virginia Phillips has made her decision; now let her enforce it.” [Metro Weekly]
* A new law review article, by Michael Macchiarola (my fellow Regian) and Arun Abraham, looks at the higher education bubble — and proposes “a derivatives-based approach to stemming the runaway educational costs and improving the value proposition for American students.” Who says derivatives are always evil? [SSRN]
* Jeffrey Toobin interviews Columbia law professor Tim Wu, author of the forthcoming and buzz-generating book The Master Switch, about the tendency of communication industries to move from chaos to consolidation / monopoly. [Currents / New Yorker]
* The attorneys in a class action against Classmates.com are asking for what amounts to an 895% contingency fee. George Mason law professor Michael Krauss, represented by Ted Frank, is objecting to the proposed settlement. [Center for Class Action Fairness via Overlawyered]
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 six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
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:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.