Law Firm Ownership

David Bowie said it this way:

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

(Turn and face the strain)

Ch-ch-Changes

I know you’ll be humming that song a couple hours from now (and thanking me for it). But, it underscores that clients are demanding ch-ch-ch-change from the legal profession on both sides of the border. We can’t ignore it any longer. We need to turn and face the strain head on. We need to meet the challenges of globalization and technological innovation and transform our industry.

It looks like Canadian lawyers are making an attempt to join the twentieth century — sorry, I mean the twenty-first century. The Canadian Bar Association recently released its Futures Initiative report that sprung from two years of consultations by lawyers and legal profession experts. The Futures Report makes twenty-two recommendations for helping the Canadian legal profession break away from its horse and buggy business model (developed by Gen A) to join a world where you can watch video of a horse online before purchasing it with Bitcoins…

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* There’s an interesting take here by Scott Greenfield on Glenn Reynolds’s op-ed suggesting there be a “waiting period” before new legislation to try to make sure everybody at least reads it first. Personally, I’m a little more concerned with getting longer waiting periods before people can buy guns and shoot me. [Simple Justice]

* Funny to see Lindsay Lohan as the plaintiff, instead of the defendant. [Los Angeles Times]

* When reached for comment about the weakness in the U.S. legal job market, clients responded, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” [Associate's Mind]

* And now we’re back to the argument that allowing non-lawyer ownership of law firms will magically give clients a better experience. Yes, because whenever I’m on hold with Time Warner, I think, “Man, these business people sure get customer service.” [The Economist]

* R.I.P. Mark Hummels. [Huffington Post]

* It feels like it’s been a while since we made fun of Oklahoma. [Legal Juice]

* After the jump, Bloomberg has a fun video on whether Wall Street should fear Mary Jo White….

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Dean Evan Caminker

* Eric Holder has agreed to serve once more as attorney general during President Barack Obama’s second term, but he still plans to leave at some point — after all, he’s no “Janet Reno of the Justice Department.” [Blog of Legal Times]

* AIG will not join the lawsuit against America. To put that in terms that should be just as outrageous, former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg is still suing America. [Washington Post]

* For those who care about Biglaw firms and the landlords who love them, fear not, because there’s a whole lot of moving and shaking in terms of commercial real estate deals for Arnold & Porter, Goodwin Procter, and Sidley Austin. [Am Law Daily]

* Jacoby & Meyers scored at the Second Circuit: its attack on New York’s ban on non-lawyer firm ownership was reinstated. Soon Walmart will own a firm with “Low Prices. Every day. On everything.” [Bloomberg]

* Who’ll step in to fill Evan Caminker’s $400,000+ shoes as the next dean of Michigan Law? None other than Mark West, who’d like to improve financial aid and loan repayment programs. [National Law Journal]

* Gun nuts, commence your rioting… now. If passed, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping gun-control proposal would make New York the state with the strictest gun laws in the country. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Speaking of needless gun violence, by Friday, we’ll know whether there’s enough evidence to move forward with a trial for James Holmes, the accused shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre. [New York Times]

Casey Anthony is not impressed.

* Will it be DOMA or Prop 8? The countdown until Friday starts now, because everyone’s waiting to see whether the Supreme Court will grant cert on one of the five same-sex marriage cases that has come before the high court. [UPI]

* Walk like an Egyptian — or, in this case, you can protest like one. Judges and lawyers are on strike and filing legal challenges to President Mohamed Morsi’s “unprecedented attack on judicial independence.” [New York Times]

* Dewey know when this failed firm’s bankruptcy plan will be approved? Team Togut is hoping for a February resolution, but the rascally retirees may throw a wrench in things with their committee’s continued existence. [Am Law Daily]

* Even though the Northern District of California has a historic all-women federal bench — a courthouse of their own, if you will — there’s probably no need to tell them that THERE’S NO CRYING IN LITIGATION. No crying! [The Recorder]

* New technology + old laws = a privacy clusterf**k. This week, a Senate committee will contemplate whether the Electronic Communications Privacy Act needs to be updated to get with the times. [New York Times]

* The New York State Bar Association may oppose it, but Jacoby & Meyers’s challenge to the state’s ban on non-lawyer firm ownership shall live to see another day thanks to the Second Circuit. [New York Law Journal]

* An Alabama Slammer is both a dangerous cocktail and a term for what happens when your Southern law school refuses to cut its class size and you’re left woefully unemployed after graduation. [Birmingham News]

* Casey Anthony finds relevancy again! Girls in my high school used to search for “foolproof suffocation” on Google and later get acquitted of murdering their daughters all the time; it was no big deal. [USA Today]

* Dean Boland, aka Paul Ceglia’s gazillionth lawyer in the Facebook ownership case, will soon find out if can withdraw as counsel. He’s got other things to deal with, like a $300K child porn judgment. [Wall Street Journal]

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), we’ll be on a reduced publication schedule today. We’ll be back in full force tomorrow.

* Should Biglaw firms bill by the result instead of by the hour? When some of the results-oriented strategies involve reading less and writing faster to improve work efficiency, we’re not sure how well this would work in a law firm setting. [New York Times]

* Roller coaster of employment: after losing 1,400 jobs in August, the legal sector added 1,000 jobs in September. Alas, there are way more than 1,000 new bar admittees gunning for all of those paralegal and secretarial positions. [Am Law Daily]

* “They were throwing furniture at both of us.” Both sides on the Jacoby & Myers non-lawyer firm ownership case took a beating before the Second Circuit during oral arguments, but who won? [New York Law Journal]

* This fall, Floridians will vote on constitutional amendments that deal with abortion and separation of church and state. Meanwhile, half the voters won’t read the entire ballot, so there’s that. [New York Times]

* A love triangle + an Arkansas Wal-Mart = a judicial suspension for Circuit Judge Sam Pope after an all-out brawl with… Bill Murray? Hey, at least this guy’s estranged wife got three punches in. [National Law Journal]

* Tyler Clementi’s family won’t file suit against Rutgers University and Dharun Ravi — instead, they’ll use the publicity from their son Tyler’s suicide for “positive purposes,” like supporting gay and lesbian youths. [CNN]

* “This guy is a bully, and he uses the court system to do it.” Robert V. Ward Jr., former dean of UMass Law, had to deal with Gregory Langadinos, a serial law school litigant, and it wasn’t pretty. [Boston Globe]

Approved method for drinking in public.

* Following yesterday’s hearing, Kleiner Perkins may be able to get a second bite at the proverbial apple after a judge tentatively denied the firm’s bid to arbitrate Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination suit. [The Recorder; Bits / New York Times]

* Ogletree Deakins has allegedly got 99 299 problems, and a b*tch ain’t one billing errors are all of ‘em. Arizona’s Maricopa County wants a refund, and it plans to debar the firm from additional work for the next three years. [ABA Journal]

* Not everything’s bigger in Texas: attorneys for Lance Armstrong have refiled a shorter version of his lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after suffering a brutal benchslap at the hands of Judge Sam Sparks. [Los Angeles Times]

* Screw your ban on non-lawyer investors, we’ll expand anyway! Jacoby & Meyers merged with Chicago’s Macey Bankruptcy Law to create a 300-attorney adventure in awful lawyer advertising. [National Law Journal]

* The bell has not yet tolled for Florida lawyer Frank Louderback, who will now be able to attend the 32nd Annual Ernest Hemingway Look-alike Contest thanks to his client’s last minute guilty plea. [Tampa Bay Times]

* “I don’t care what the law says, you’re getting a summons.” Sorry, officer, but you don’t mess with a Brooklyn Law student’s booze, because he’ll challenge New York’s open-container law. [City Room / New York Times]

* Since you’re so funny, crack some jokes about this one, Obama. Senate Republicans will be filing an amicus brief in support of a challenge to the constitutionality of the President’s recess appointments. [New York Times]

* Thanks to this Third Circuit ruling, you can rest easy knowing that you can rely on the First Amendment to protect your homemade sex tapes from all of those strict porn record-keeping and labeling requirements… for now. [Reuters]

* Due to Kelley Drye’s EEOC settlement, the New York State Bar Association is asking firms to end mandatory retirement policies. Because old folks need to make bank till they croak. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 has decided to ditch its proposal to allow limited nonlawyer ownership of law firms. Cue tears and temper tantrums from the likes of Jacoby & Meyers. [Am Law Daily]

* “If I believe that Chris Armstrong is a radical homosexual activist, I have a constitutional right to express that opinion.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell that to the judge who dismissed your suit, Shirvell. [Detroit Free Press]

* Presenting “her royal hotness”: apparently Pippa Middleton has been seen cavorting around France with gun-toting lawyer Romain Rabillard, of Shearman & Sterling. [Daily Mail]

Back in May 2011, we informed our readers about a lawsuit brought forward by Jacoby & Meyers, a personal injury and litigation firm made famous by its ridiculous television commercials. In that suit, the PI magnates contested an ethics rule which barred non-lawyers from being able to stake a claim in the ownership of law firms. They want lawyers to be able to run their firms like real businesses, outside investors and all.

After all, that pesky ethics rule no longer exists down under in Australia, and in England, people can now add “legal services” to their grocery lists. But as we noted in Morning Docket, “America’s Most Familiar Law Firm” took a bit of a blow in New York yesterday when one of its lawsuits challenging the ban was dismissed.

Let’s take a look at what happened….

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* With its lawsuit dismissed, Jacoby & Meyers won’t be accepting non-lawyer equity investments in New York any time soon. Not even from used Mercedes-Benz dealers. [New York Law Journal]

* Former Quarles & Brady partner Jeffrey Elverman has been sentenced to five years of probation for swindling money from a little old lady. Does that count toward PPP? [Journal Sentinel]

* K&L Gates is suing a casino in Macau to recover client funds that were allegedly gambled away by former partner Navin Kumar Aggarwal. Silly Biglaw firm. Don’t you know the house always wins? [Am Law Daily]

* “I am not a lawyer. I’m a server. Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers work at law firms. Lawyers do public policy work… Lawyers don’t serve pizza.” Ah, the plight of the New York Law School graduate. [CBS News]

* Cooley Law: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. A former student’s suit over the school’s alleged attempt to keep him from transferring was dismissed this week. [National Law Journal]

Touchdown Biglaw!

* New York is considering allowing nonlawyer ownership of equity in law firms. If that somehow means we’ll see less Jacoby & Meyers commercials on television, then I’m definitely all for it. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Football’s labor lockout legal fees: which Biglaw firms scored huge touchdowns thanks to their collective bargaining work? The three top billers included Latham, Dewey & LeBoeuf, and Patton Boggs. [Am Law Daily]

* The sanctions for filing a 9/11 conspiracy claim cost $15K, but forever being remembered as the lawyers who got benchslapped for drafting “a product of cynical delusion and fantasy” is priceless. [Reuters]

* Jared Loughner is still incompetent to stand trial, and he’ll remain in the loony bin for another four months. You know what that means? Time to make this kid swallow some more pills. [Arizona Republic]

* A panel of law professors over at Harvard thinks that while law schools have problems, but they’re certainly not in crisis mode yet. Not yet? You hear that Team Strauss/Anziska? Needs moar lawsuits! [Harvard Crimson]

* Well, that was a short-lived victory. Heather Peters, the former lawyer who beat Honda in small claims court, is preparing to do battle with the car company in Superior Court. [Los Angeles Times]

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