Legal Ethics

* We welcome Howard Bashman to his new homepage! [How Appealing / Above the Law]

* An ode to Brian Leiter to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “I Get Around.” [Philosophy Metablog]

* “Lawyers have a powerful voice in the American legal system, government, and news and entertainment businesses. But do they make their contributions to society while impaired?” You’re goddamned right we do! [SSRN]

* For example, a Louisville lawyer was arrested for allegedly surfing the web while driving drunk. Who says solo practitioners can’t multitask. [WDRB]

* Is litigation finance a loan or an investment? Perhaps tax law holds the answer. [LFC 360]

* Former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. had his law license suspended indefinitely. Apparently his trust account was bouncing checks. This suspension has ramifications for a much bigger case — Bosley had been representing Dorian Johnson, an eyewitness to the Michael Brown killing. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.); St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* Hasbro thinks that owning Scrabble means they own the English language. [Slate]

* Congratulations to legal communications specialists Infinite PR, who just merged with UK outfit Spada to expand their business across the pond. [PR Week]

There is something admittedly odd about judges on Twitter. The stereotypical judge is stuffy, technologically challenged, and light on personality. Twitter, in contrast, is informal, tech-driven, and brimming over with quirkiness and individuality.

There are, to be sure, virtues to the traditional vision of the judge (well, maybe not the lack of tech savvy, but the other attributes). Judges who are formal, dry, and tight-lipped off the bench convey a strong sense of objectivity to the public and to the litigants who appear before them. These judges might not have much personality, but presumably they don’t have personal biases that would interfere with the impartial administration of justice. You might not want to have a beer with such judges, but you would want them handling your case.

So judicial tweeting might be unusual. Does that make it problematic? Should we have new judicial ethics rules to rein in judges on social media?

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* Former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland, convicted of corruption. [New York Times]

* Who is Justice Ginsburg talking to? [PrawfsBlawg]

* The new Apple operating system is designed to thwart search warrants. That sounds… interesting. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* The Bali suitcase murder suspect hired a lawyer for her fetus. [Slate]

* Here’s an idea: take your client’s settlement money and then just… disappear with it. There’s no way the cops will come looking for you. [Albuquerque Journal]

* Was it a crime when a porn producer outed one of its stars as Miss Teen Delaware, or just unethical? [Full Disclosure]

* Young lawyer contemplating a lawsuit after his $3,000 watch was stolen at a security checkpoint. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a Swatch. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly]


* In light of today’s vote on Scottish independence, here’s an article on the opportunities for the legal industry if Scotland breaks free. [Business For Scotland]

* What are the biggest pet peeves of corporate counsel. Surprise, surprise, billing “surprises” makes the list. [ALM]

* Attorney General Holder is offering bigger payouts to Wall Street whistleblowers. Start saving your emails now you low-level finance folks! [Legal Times]

* Later today, Baker Hostetler’s John Moscow will try to convince Judge Griesa that he shouldn’t be disqualified for breaching the confidentiality of a prior client. [Law Blog / Wall Street Journal]

* As if Bingham didn’t have enough trouble, Akin Gump swept in and poached a gaggle of lawyers in Europe (as some previously predicted). [Law360]

* Skadden is really good at inversions. Elie would like to thank them for their work undermining American society. [The Am Law Daily]

* Yale Law is teaching students basic financial literacy. While some are hailing this program, my question is: how are kids getting to 20-something without learning this stuff already? [Yale Daily News]

I am incompetent! Anybody who thinks they are representing an innocent person and can’t convince a jury is incompetent or ineffective.

– Ira Dennis Hawver, a lawyer who showed up to his disciplinary hearing dressed as Thomas Jefferson. Hawver was… wait, what? Dressed as Thomas Jefferson? Yeah. I guess that’s the sort of thing Tea Partiers do. Anyway, Hawver was defending himself against possible disbarment after he royally botched a death penalty case with his “my client couldn’t have done it because he wouldn’t have left a witness alive” defense — making his turn at cosplay the second dumbest argument he’s made in the courtroom.

Judge Emily Dean

Here at Above the Law, we write about judges who bring shame to the judiciary all the time, but the subject of today’s foray into judicial misconduct is a wicked pisser — literally. We know things must get boring out in flyover country, Iowa specifically, but this is just crazy (and sad, but mostly crazy).

Let’s meet a judge who once got so wasted as she attempted to report to work at the courthouse that she later spent three days in an intensive care unit for severe alcohol intoxication…

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* Our columnist Steve Dykstra opines that Roger Goodell is not going to get fired over the Ray Rice investigation/non-investigation. But what we really want to know from Dykstra is his opinion on how badly the West is going to beat the East in this year’s Grey Cup. [Steven Dykstra]

* Apparently, we’ve been banned by Reddit. I think as editors we’ve posted on Reddit maybe 3 times in the last year, so it certainly isn’t our fault. Reddit notes “above the law will no longer be receiving traffic or page views from here,” which I guess is supposed to be a threat. Hey, don’t fault us just because our content is so good. *cue unimaginative trolling* [Reddit]

* A discussion of gutless women. [The Careerist / The American Lawyer]

* MGM might lose the rights to a pair of Clint Eastwood classics. Specifically, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, For a Few Dollars More, and Last Tango in Paris. [Hollywood, Esq. / Hollywood Reporter]

* The winner of the Hofstra Law School Mystery Short Story Contest is “A Prisoner of Time” by Lucian E. Dervan. That sounds like a 1980s Doctor Who episode. [Mulholland Books]

* Beau Brindley pleads not guilty to telling a witness to lie. So, that case is moving right along. [My Fox Chicago]

* Vermont Law School cites children’s story books. [Law School Lemmings]

* D.C. lawyer Jacob McDermott is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for LiveStrong. Check out his donation site. [LiveStrong]

‘Hey, everybody! I just wanted to let you know I’m an a-hole!’

Law is a profession that attracts some of the most cunning of linguists modern society has to offer. The ability to speak eloquently about dense legal concepts is an art that takes years to perfect, and is a skill that some lawyers can only hope to someday achieve. Until that time rolls around, other lawyers are happy to roll up their sleeves and employ the usage of a language they’re all fluent in to prove their respective points: sarcasm. It’s the lazy lawyer’s key to success — but it can also serve as his undoing.

Sometimes, being overly sarcastic can earn a lawyer a reputation for being a loveable jokester. Other times, being overly sarcastic can earn a lawyer a seat at his very own disciplinary hearing. For example, asking opposing counsel if he’s “grow[n] a pair” yet would probably land a lawyer in the hot seat.

The subject of today’s foray into ethical lapses definitely grew a pair of his own, because not only was he censured for his over-the-top sarcastic remarks, but he also admitted that he’d been ignoring his work in favor of golf trips and exotic vacations. Fore! Watch out for that legal career hitting the sand trap…

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* David Letterman and CBS got smacked with the latest internship class action. To think, poor Paul Shaffer’s been working for free all those years. [Deadline]

* Class action could be on the horizon over high-frequency trading. [Wall Street Journal]

* Frankly, I don’t know what the problem is. [Washington Post]

* You may have been following the story of Justice Ginsburg’s officiating a wedding in New York this weekend. Well, if so, here’s the Times write-up. [New York Times]

* The federal courts are looking at tightening the word limits on appellate briefs. How do you feel about this move? I’m with the author that “The number of cases where attorneys think they need a word extension is greater than the number of cases that actually warrant one.” [New Mexico Appellate Law Blog]

* Scott Brown, formerly of both Massachusetts and the Senate, is threatening to sue Harvard’s Larry Lessig after Lessig labeled the Nixon Peabody “advisor on governmental affairs” a “lobbyist.” Lessig asks if the campaign preferred he write the more technical, “sold his influence to a DC lobbying firm.” Ha. [Time]

* Fordham professor Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute and designer Narciso Rodriguez make the case for strong legal protection for fashion designs. [Room for Debate / New York Times]

* On Friday, Keith Lee wrote about a lawyer who billed a client for sanctions. We’ve written before about lawyers billing for the time spent boning their clients. A law professor who teaches professional responsibility asks: “Is billing for sanctions better or worse than billing for sex. I say sanctions. Can we have a survey on this?” Of course you can. Poll after the jump….

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* The Oakland Raiders have settled their cheerleader lawsuit for $1.25 million. Here’s to a season of crippling losses! [SF Gate]

* The death of law schools requires observing the 5 stages of grief. It’s DABDA right? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Debt, AGAIN! [TaxProf Blog]

* You don’t need permission to change careers… though many law firm hiring departments are giving their implicit permission to a bunch of applicants. [Forbes]

* Justice Kagan stopped in on her old stomping grounds at Harvard Law. [Harvard Gazette]

* LexisNexis went Hollywood with a shout out in the preview for the Veronica Mars movie. Hopefully they’ll remember the little people when they make it big. [Business of Law Blog / LexisNexis]

* So, law professors, how did you spend your summer vacation? Because this Stanford Law instructor spent it finding security flaws in an online educational platform. [Slate]

* A juror who wanted none of the jury process is ordered to serve a timeout. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly]

* It’s not as exciting as his Dating Game appearance, but here is a video of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski riding a carabao. Beyond the jump… [YouTube]

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