Kentucky

Recently, the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected a registered sex offender’s application to sit for the Kentucky bar exam. Guy Padraic Hamilton-Smith pled guilty in 2007 to a single charge involving the “possessing or viewing of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.” He received a five-year suspended sentence but was ordered to register as a sex offender for the following twenty years. Hamilton-Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2011. Since graduating, he has been working in a non-lawyer position for the Lexington firm of Baldani, Rowland, and Richardson.

The Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions denied Hamilton-Smith’s application to sit for the bar exam, citing character and fitness concerns. The Office also asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to create a rule that would have kept all registered sex offenders from joining the state’s bar, but the court opted against that suggestion. Instead, the court wants the Office of Bar Admissions to consider bar applicants with sex-offender registration on a case-by-case basis.

What were the particular circumstances in Hamilton-Smith’s case that led the Kentucky Supreme Court to deny his application, despite not creating a blanket rule? Was it the right outcome?

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There are a lot of prickly judges in the world. You can’t really blame someone who reached the pinnacle of their professional career for being insufferable to everyone else. Actually, you can blame someone for doing so, because success is not actually a license to be a prick.

That said, in the annals of judges, luckily, few have to deal with judges who insult and even threaten lawyers while openly undermining the constitutionally guaranteed rights of defendants in the courtroom. That sounds like the worst judge for a lawyer to practice in front of ever. (Well, maybe not the worst judge for a lawyer to practice in front of ever.)

In any event, the thankfully retired judge at the center of this tale left an ample record of his judicial shortcomings. As sanctioned by the state judicial conduct committee, this guy is a true embarrassment to his robes, and darned if he didn’t leave us a legacy complete with video.

And he’s not even a bit sorry for his actions…

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Or at least his laptop. After a conservative state court judge in Kentucky wrote an op-ed for the local paper arguing that the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on gay marriage didn’t affect the definition of marriage under Kentucky law, a retired federal judge called him on the carpet.

Benchslappery ensued. Let’s take a look….

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* The Zimmerman verdict allows us to sit back and reflect on how bad Atticus Finch really was at his job. [Criminal Defense Blog]

* In case you’d forgotten about the shenanigans at Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, here’s your update: a former employee has been charged for promising students more scholarships than the school had. Rick Pitino needs to show the law school how to work within scholarship limits. [Courier-Journal]

* State licensing boards are trying to put the kibosh on advice columnists. Next thing you know, they’ll be trying to shut down Dr. Demento. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

* Fun with patents: Monkey Dog Saddle! [Lowering the Bar]

* Transgendered workers are successfully challenging workplace discrimination using the Civil Rights Act. These sound like cases Justice Alito will get right on overturning. [Buzzfeed]

* McDonald’s is trying to show how it provides its employees a living wage. It just requires working a second job for a total of between 62-74 hours. No biggie. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

Edward Snowden

* Edward Snowden, the computer technician who leaked details on the programs the NSA didn’t want you to know about, sacrificed his life to save your privacy’s soul. Thanks a bunch, Technology Jesus! [CNN]

* While we wait for Fisher, DOMA, and Prop 8, if you’d like some background info on the people behind the most controversial and talked about SCOTUS cases of the term, give this one a read. [NBC News]

* If a justice claims he’s never met a homosexual and he’s got a gay law clerk, telling him to “look around [his] chambers” to find one is the NKI. My, how times have changed since the mid-80s. [New York Times]

* In 2012, Justice Sotomayor earned $1.9 million in royalties from her memoir, My Beloved World (affiliate link). Yeah, her world is probably so beloved because she’s rolling around in money. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Howrey going to make use of this empty wall space? If you’re in the market for some art, this bankrupt firm’s decor will be up for auction in D.C. later this week. [Bankruptcy Beat / Wall Street Journal]

* When you’re dealing with the most beautiful people in Biglaw, the price for pretty is high: Davis Polk was slapped with a million-dollar lawsuit over a recruiter’s fee. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Gerald Shargel, criminal defense attorney to the Mafia stars, is retiring his shingle to join Winston & Strawn. Biglaw better keep him entertained — he gets bored easily. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Cory Booker, one of everyone’s favorite Yale Law School grads, announced his candidacy for a New Jersey Senate seat over the weekend. Best of luck in the special election! [The Note / ABC News]

* The feds are seeking a four-year sentence for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in his campaign funds misuse case. No MJ memorabilia is worth prison time, no matter how big a fan you are. [The Hill]

* “[I]f you ever call me on my cellphone again, I’ll strangle you.” Yikes. Looks like this Kentucky judge won’t have the chance to wring his hands around lawyers’ necks any time soon. [Courier-Journal]

The classic version of lawyer suicide (and yes, it happens so often in this profession that there are “classic” representations of the problem) is the big-city lawyer who sold his soul, and possibly his ethics, who kills himself when the authorities come circling. Another tired trope is the hyper-stressed lawyer working in a high-rise who jumps out of a window when he loses a big case or a big client. Or maybe you think of the over-achieving law student who throws himself in front of a train or off of a bridge during exam season.

Lawyer suicide is so common that I think a disproportionate rate of early, self-inflicted death is just considered part of the price of doing business. Maybe hazard pay should be built into lawyer salaries like it is for race car drivers or test pilots.

But the longer I cover the legal profession, the more I learn that lawyer suicide is happening more than I think, in places where I wouldn’t expect it. Today’s sad piece is about a rash of lawyer suicides in a small state…

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* With the capture of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, many legal questions are being asked, like if he’ll be Mirandized, where he’ll be tried, and if he’ll be considered an enemy combatant. [New York Times]

* Thanks for kicking this keg, Mr. Baer: the Department of Justice and Anheuser-Busch InBev have settled their antitrust differences with respect to beer brewery’s planned acquisition of Grupo Modelo. [Legal Times]

* Which firm has a “generous tuition reimbursement” program? And by “generous,” we mean 100% of law school tuition, which is awesome. We may have more on this later today. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* Stan Chesley, the “master of disaster,” is retiring — not because he wants to, but because he’s disbarred in Kentucky and surrendered his Ohio license before the state could take it from him. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* California may soon follow in New York’s footsteps when it comes a pro bono mandate before bar admission, but the New Jersey Bar Association has an active hit out on the idea. [National Law Journal]

* In an effort to avoid a trial that would’ve lasted longer than their sham marriage did in the first place, fauxlebrity Kim Kardashian and NBA player Kris Humphries settled their divorce last week. [Reuters]

* Morris Kramer, an M&A pioneer and part of Skadden’s “Fab Four,” RIP. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Thieves made off with 5.5 tons of Nutella. Damn you Danny Ocean! [CBS News]

* Don’t try to play Baseketball in Canton, Ohio. [Legal Juice]

* The SEC finally allows companies to distribute disclosures via social media. Welcome to the 21st Century, SEC. [IT-Lex]

* Speaking of the SEC, Mary Jo White was confirmed by the Senate. [Fox Business]

* Chief Judge Alex Kozinski: “Can I get an oy vey up in here?” [COLLive]

* Kentucky is just all kinds of screwy. Lawyer jailed for not turning over documents/running drug ring. [AP]

* Energy law was number two in law firm activity this quarter. For the billionth quarter in a row, Third Amendment law failed to crack the top 10. [AOL Energy]

* Ha! “Thus, it seems that (as has so often occurred in IP law) the focus on the problems of copyright and patent has allowed trademark law to engage, unsupervised, in a great deal of mischief.” [Law of Fashion]

* Just a reminder: Legalizing gay marriage does not end discrimination. [National Law Journal]

Stanley M. Chesley

Has the “master of disaster” been mastered by disaster? Has a class-action king been stripped of his crown?

It would seem so. One of the nation’s most famous and successful plaintiffs’ lawyers, Stanley M. Chesley, just got disbarred.

Cue the schadenfreude. We heard about the news from numerous tipsters. “Time to downgrade your Maybach and jet,” gloated one.

What makes it even better, of course, is that Stan Chesley is married to a federal judge, the Honorable Susan J. Dlott (S.D. Ohio). What’s that old saying about Caesar’s wife?

So what got this high-flying class-action lawyer grounded? Hint: it’s all about the benjamins….

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The different jurisdictional treatments of same-sex marriage are not the only factor influencing businesses’ decisions about where to locate operations. As all businesses do, we make our decisions about where to locate our operations by balancing several relevant—and sometimes competing—factors. In light of the multiple criteria we utilized in deciding where to locate our new global services center, we remain very confident in and pleased about our choice of Lexington, Kentucky, for our new operational hub.

– A representative for Bingham McCutchen, commenting in response to criticisms about the firm’s decision to open a global services center in Kentucky, a state where gay marriage is outlawed. Bingham recently filed an amicus brief arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act is “bad for business.”

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