Legal Ethics

For years — since before he was NY State’s governor — we’ve raised questions about Andrew Cuomo’s activities. When he was Attorney General, he often used that position to grandstand around various issues that sounded good politically, but were real world disasters. He browbeat ISPs into policing the internet, when they had no legal obligation to, with bogus threats of lawsuits — even pushing them to install spyware to snoop on everyone’s traffic. He was among the leaders of the group of Attorneys General who wanted to blame high-profile internet companies for the way consumers used them, and he tried to broker a “3 strikes” system to kick file sharers offline. Since becoming governor, he’s been embroiled in a bunch of scandals, including having staffers use private email accounts to hide their work from Freedom of Information laws.

Now, however, things are heating up.

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So it’s come to this. We live in a world where the headline “Lawyer Smacks Judge Repeatedly With Flyswatter” had to be written. That jumble of words came together to honestly describe an actual event.

If you’re still pining to live in a world of trial by combat, have we got the court for you. Consider this the logical progression from a world where judges feel free to physically benchslap attorneys in the hallway — because now the lawyers are fighting back and there are weapons involved.

Granted a plastic flyswatter lacks the heroic appeal of Prince Oberyn’s spear, but it’s a terrifying weapon nonetheless because nobody wants to be hit in the face with a flyswatter.

Watch the rise of alternative dispute resolution take another unsuspected swerve off the road in this closed circuit video feed….

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* Latter-day Dan Fielding seems to have used his office to meet the ladies: alleged to have had an affair with and then impregnate a woman he prosecuted. When she raised the issue with his wife, he filed a motion to revoke her probation. This is all terrible, but the weirdest part was having to have her defense counsel in the bedroom the whole time. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

* Woman shot a guy because he didn’t ejaculate enough. The most dreaded words in that neighborhood must be, “Omar’s not comin’ yo.” [Detroit Free Press]

* What caused the child immigration crisis at the border? Turns out it was Free Slurpee Day. Who knew? [CNBC]

* Overcommunication is a virtue. Did you hear that? Overcommunication is a good thing. It really is. You should overcommunicate. It’s good. [What About Clients?]

* Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III thinks the criminal justice system is just super. As far as innocent people going to jail, them’s the breaks. [Wrongful Convictions Blog]

* A guy’s guide to lawyerly fashion. It misses my personal pet peeve: use collar stays! Seriously, how do people not know this? [Attorney at Work]

* There were a record number of data breaches in New York last year. The problem is the persistent use of 12345 as a password. [Information Law Group]


Judge Stephanie Domitrovich

Do you even ethics bro?

– Language on a t-shirt depicting Judge Stephanie Domitrovich, worn by a man at the Erie County Courthouse yesterday. The man was asked to leave. Judge Domitrovich is currently facing ethics charges having to do with her alleged “unpatient, undignified and discourteous” treatment of parties.

Juggalo Washington

* The Insane Clown Posse is appealing their loss in the “Juggalos aren’t gang members” case. F**king lawsuits, how do they work? [Lowering the Bar]

* After losing before the Supreme Court, the University of Texas affirmative action admissions program looked to be in serious trouble. But the Fifth Circuit just ruled that the UT policy met the strict-scrutiny analysis mandated by the Court. The lesson for Abigail Fisher is once more, “How about you get better grades instead of whining?” Or at least “Get politically connected.” [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Apple agrees to a conditional $450 million settlement with the NYAG’s office in the e-book suit. So you might get some money back from the 50 Shades of Grey purchase. [Reuters]

* The Manassas city police have decided not to engage in kiddie porn pursuant to a warrant. Good for them. [Washington Post]

* “Judges are not deities. They are humans.” Let’s not tell Lat, the shock might kill him. [Katz Justice]

* Maybe it’s time lawyers started looking out for each other. This is a theme we’ve touched on before. [Law and More]

* The hell? Parents arrested for letting their 9-year-old go to the park alone? Suffocating parenting is bad enough without the government expecting it of parents. [Slate]

* CPAs are suing the IRS because the regulation of tax preparers lacks Congressional approval. Because we need more folks off the street claiming to be tax preparers. [TaxProf Blog]

* Lawyer and former South Carolina GOP executive director Todd Kincannon is under investigation by the South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel for basically being a dick on Twitter. As Ken White notes, the First Amendment is all about giving guys like this a forum. [Slate]

John Farren and Mary Farren

When we last checked in on John Michael Farren, the former general counsel to Xerox and deputy White House counsel under President George W. Bush, things were not going well for him. Back in December, a jury found him liable for assault and battery against his former wife, Mary Margaret Farren. The jury awarded Mary Farren some $28.6 million in damages — an amount that reflected the brain injury and emotional trauma suffered by Mrs. Farren, who went from a lucrative job at Skadden to unemployment.

Criminal charges against Mike Farren remained pending at the time of the civil verdict. On Friday, the criminal case got resolved — and not in a manner favorable to Mike Farren….

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Judge Richard KopfNine days ago, Judge Richard Kopf wrote an article about the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby that suggested, “[a]s the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu.” It was a good post, but something that seemed of such little controversy that we relegated it to an in-blurb mention within Non-Sequiturs.

And then all manner of shock and hand-wringing commenced.

It’s not the first time a federal judge received criticism for speaking out. Are jurists like Judge Kopf out of control?

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* The criminal codes violated in Transformers: Age of Extinction. Violations of the code of good filmmaking not included. [The Legal Geeks]

* Remember the guy who turned Justice Ginsburg’s Hobby Lobby dissent into a song? It turns out he’s been recording a song a day since 2009 and that was his first hit. Congrats! Hopefully next Term Justice Alito can declare suffocating orphans constitutional so this guy can have a follow-up. [Music.mic]

* How to end an internship? The key is drunkenly denouncing all your bosses in public. Oh, how to end an internship positively? Well, then I’m going to need some advice. [Corporette]

* Fracking interests have a new plan to promote the well-being of those living in affected areas: pay them $50,000 to grant universal releases. This doesn’t make fracking sound dangerous at all. [Pro Publica]

* Hey folks taking the New York bar exam at the Javits Center! Order your lunch. [Custom Gourmet]

* Insurance companies are asking American customers to go to Tijuana for medical care. “I know you need heart surgery, but have you considered how awesome it would be to take in a donkey show after your release?” [New Republic]

* Mitchell Epner, who is basically our Donald Sterling beat reporter, has a recap of the first day of the proceedings. [mitchellepner]

* Conviction for multiple sexual assaults “can be the basis of an interim suspension of his law license.” Seems like that should be a little more definite. [Legal Profession Blog]

* One of the underappreciated challenges in state and local governance is the inability to permalink statutes. [Government Executive]

* The New York Court of Appeals put the hurt on defunct firms seeking unfinished business fees from former partners who left for greener pastures. Sorry, I didn’t follow ATL protocol: “Dewey think firms should collect unfinished business fees?” [WSJ Law Blog]

* We reported on the Tinder lawsuit yesterday. Here’s a collection of all the messed up texts involved. [Valleywag]

* Facebook’s lawyer is now calling the emotional manipulation study it recently conducted “customer service.” Dear Internet: Despite all your rage, you’re still just rats in a cage. [The Atlantic]

* So if you’re studying for the MPRE, blow jobs aren’t the preferred legal fee. [Legal Profession Blog]

* How did your last cell phone bill look? Because the FTC says T-Mobile knowingly added hundreds of millions of charges on. At least that girl in pink was cute, huh? [USA Today]

* BNP Paribas is confident it can pay its record fine. [Dealbook / New York Times]

* Meanwhile, Putin accused the U.S. of trying to use the BNP fine to blackmail France into turning its back on Russia. Because conspiracy theories are awesome. [Bloomberg]

* Lawsuit filed because right-wingers totally miffed that black people voted for a Republican. [Sun Herald (Mississippi)]

I was trying to achieve a work-life balance after I had missed my children’s lives.

Lee Smolen, the ex-Sidley Austin partner who was hit with ethics charges after he faked almost $70,000 in reimbursable car fare expenses, during his testimony last week before the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The IARDC seeks a temporary suspension of Smolen’s license to practice law as punishment for his pilfering.

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