Kids

‘Get those hands away from my indentures!’

Having a kid presents challenges. You have to pick out a sensible and legally appropriate name for the child. You have to care for the kid — or pay someone else to do so. You have to keep your child safe, which isn’t always easy.

And these are just the basics. What if you want to enrich your kid’s existence with sports and after-school classes and musical instruments?

As it turns out, there’s an app for that — created by a lawyer, of course….

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On Monday, a jury convicted Larry Williams of first-degree manslaughter and his wife Carri of both manslaughter and homicide by abuse. Both now face possible life in prison.

Larry and Carri Williams were typical suburban parents who approached every parenting decision by asking, “WWJD?”

Except Larry and Carri were convinced that what Jesus would do is mercilessly beat and ultimately kill a defenseless girl.

While, obviously, the actual scripture is open to interpretation, what I take away from it is that Jesus would actually not do any of these things.

Unfortunately, Larry and Carri are not alone in their screwball religious interpretation, and while the media (to the extent it has covered the case at all) is focused on the verdict and looming sentence, the unasked legal question this case raises is how people like this are allowed to adopt children in the first place…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Crazy Parenting Book That Inspired Parents To Kill Daughter (And How To Avoid Another Tragedy)”

A new school year is beginning for millions of U.S. schoolchildren. Most parents of wee ones know that states require a battery of immunizations in order for kids to enroll in public school.

Exemptions were once reserved for a vanishingly tiny minority of religious families whose beliefs prohibit certain kinds of medical treatment. There was nothing trendy or sexy about it. Thanks, however, to a burgeoning anti-vaccine movement and celebrity spokespeople like Jenny McCarthy, the number of families seeking exemptions has grown dramatically in recent years. With this trend, significantly more people have been getting sick, and sometimes dying, from diseases none of us had to worry about a generation ago.

When state laws make it easier for parents to withhold vaccinations from their children, more children get sick. And you might too….

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I got a raise when I had my baby, which was a very nice gesture from the Breaking Media CEO. It was also the only way I could keep working here. You see, child care costs are such in this city that before my raise I would have saved money by quitting my job and taking care of the baby full time, instead of having to pay somebody to look after him while I’m at work. Now, I’m a little bit past the break-even point, so I take what they pay me, give it to my creditors and my child’s nanny (we can only afford to have her for 30 hours a week, but I’ve gotten much better at typing with one hand, as I’m doing right now), and have a little bit left over to buy liquor and ad-free porn (err… typing practice). My wife’s salary handles all the rest — trivial items such as “rent” and “food.”

So yeah, I pretty much write every day just because I love spending time with you guys [weeping softly].

It turns out, I’m not alone. An article in the New York Times details the child-care squeeze on middle-class families. We’re not talking about “working poor” families who have always struggled with child care costs while Republicans berate them for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. The article focuses on mothers with good jobs, professors and lawyers, who can’t really afford to pay someone to take care of their brood.

I suppose it’s not really a “Biglaw” problem. If you have one of those jobs, you can probably afford child care, or (more likely) afford for your spouse not to work. But if you don’t cash in with Biglaw, you’d probably settle for having your kids raised by wolves if the wolves came cheap….

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Does your law school ROI look like this?

* Victoria Espinel, chief IP counsel to the White House (better known as the “copyright czar”), has stepped down. A tech or trade company will snap her up in 3… 2… [Corporate Counsel]

* Child custody train wreck alert: Baby Veronica of SCOTUS fame was in the news after her father was arrested for refusing to return his child to her adoptive parents. [ABC News]

* Rather than watching people pump gas, BP is watching people pump out lawsuits against the company at a rather alarming rate as a result of its 2010 oil spill. [Businessweek]

* Cynthia Brim, the Illinois judge who was reelected despite the fact that she was legally insane, finally had a complaint filed against her by the state’s judicial board for being just a little bit too kooky for court. [Chicago Tribune]

* Your degree might not be worth a million dollars, but if you went to one of these schools, you probably got a good bank for your buck. We’ll have more on this later. [The Short List / U.S. News & World Report]

* The fight over attorneys’ fees in the antitrust lawsuits filed against BARBRI continues rage on, and class members still haven’t received a penny — which is all they’d really get, anyway. [National Law Journal]

* Congratulations to Newark Mayor and Yale Law alumnus Cory Booker! Last night, he handily won the New Jersey Democratic primary election for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat. [CBS News]

What child is this?

Apparently not “Messiah,” regardless of his parents’ wishes.

A Tennessee judge — at least that’s what the media is calling her, she’s really a “Child Support Magistrate,” and since this whole affair is about claiming a grandiose title, it’s deliciously ironic — has ordered that the birth certificate of a 7-month-old baby named “Messiah” be “Martin DeShawn McCullough.”

Anyway, future Associate Justice Lu Ann Ballew based her name change on her religious beliefs, making her not only wrong legally, but also religiously….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Court Orders Baby’s Name Changed From ‘Messiah’ Because It’s The South”

So you’re having a baby. There’s so much to do: things like preparing the nursery, shopping for a stroller, and acclimating yourself to Dinosaur Train.

There’s also the little matter of deciding upon a name. Too common of a name will leave a child identified in school as “Emma Number 4.” Go too far out there, and the kid can be teased mercilessly. It’s a tough job, but families generally figure it out and hit the sweet spot in between the two extremes. Or at least split the difference, like naming your first kid James, and your second Jacquizz.

But if you’re a corporate lawyer, you could also issue ballots to a defined class of stakeholders to vote on the name. Like this guy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer Turns Over Baby Naming To Crowd Vote — What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

This week, the legal world has been buzzing over the New Republic’s exposé on the troubles of Biglaw, told through the tale of the long-suffering Mayer Brown. Our managing editor David Lat wondered if being a partner was the worst job in Biglaw, prompting some raised eyebrows. “Yeah, being a partner is so much worse than being an associate,” said a sarcastic commenter.

Sure, being a Biglaw partner right now isn’t “all peaches and cream,” but for most Biglaw associates — female associates especially — it never was. In fact, in our last discussion of the New Republic piece, very little attention was paid to the plight of one Mayer Brown associate in particular: the woman who was laid off during her maternity leave after surviving two prior rounds of layoffs.

The fragile state of the Biglaw world is such that women who dare to do crazy things like get pregnant must worry about whether they’ve put their jobs on the line. But just how bad is it to be pregnant at an Am Law 200 firm? It couldn’t be worse than being a partner, could it?

It could, and it is…

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“But they aren’t all valedictorians, they weren’t all brought by their parents. For everyone who’s a valedictorian there’s another 100 out there that, they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.”

– Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), referring to DREAM Act beneficiaries last week.

Say what you will about Congressman King, he had the cojones to appear on the Univision show “Al Punto con Jorge Ramos” this week, an unusual move for an outspoken opponent of immigration reform.

While King was busy pointing out that kids can be drug mules, the rest of the House of Representatives has been debating proposed legislation called the KIDS Act, a variation on the Senate’s DREAM Act. “DREAM” is an acronym for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors” (not to be confused with alien miners, which could be the premise for a Ridley Scott movie). The Act and its equivalent in the House would provide eligibility for a six-year-long conditional path to citizenship for qualifying young people whose parents brought them to the United States illegally.

The basic idea enjoys some bipartisan support, even if shakily so. Let’s agree, if only for the sake of argument, that this simple goal is a good one. Nevertheless, the DREAM Act and its progeny don’t work, and they distract lawmakers from the larger, more consequential immigration debate….

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Finally, a law camp that is worth the money they are charging for it.

We’ve done several stories about “law camps” — summer experiences where law schools charge people unreasonable amounts of money to “experience” law school for a few days or weeks. They are really bad ideas that seem designed to trick people into applying to law school and shake a little money out of them in the process. “Law camp” has about as much to do with actual law school as “summer camp” has to do with living in a traditional society as a hunter-gatherer.

William and Mary Law has one of these programs, as does Cornell, and I’ve been critical of both.

Those programs are aimed at college students or mid-career professionals looking to get a “taste” of what it’s like to spend a lot of money for unmarketable skills. Now comes Marquette University Law School, which is holding a five-day “Summer Youth Institute” aimed at impressionable high-school and middle-school students.

Sounds like the worst thing ever, right? Actually, no. It’s really not that bad. For starters, it’s free….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Law School Tries To Rope Middle-School Students Into Its Clutches — And It’s Pretty Cool”

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