* “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?
* 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.
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…
* 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]
‘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…
* 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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