Morning Docket

  • 50 Pence None The Richer (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.27.15

    * A jury has ruled that rapper 50 Cent must pay an additional $2 million in punitive damages to a woman whose sex tape he posted online, on top of the $5 million he already owes her. This wanksta better hope the judgment gets discharged in bankruptcy. [Associated Press]

    * California is America’s breeding ground for unaccredited law schools, and “[m]ost jurisdictions simply don’t allow [these] kind of law school[s] to exist at all. Period.” Nearly all students (about 9 out of 10) drop out before graduation. How much money is being wasted? [Los Angeles Times]

    * Since 2007, the pay gap between the highest- and lowest-paid positions in many specialized fields has widened — but that isn’t the case when it comes to the legal profession. Unfortunately, not as many people are making it rain. [New York Times]

    * “[M]aybe legislation should fix this. Not the court.” A San Diego judge has suggested that he’ll likely dismiss a right-to-die lawsuit filed by Christy O’Donnell, a civil rights attorney who’s fighting a battle against lung, brain, spine, rib, and liver cancer. [NBC San Diego]

    * You’ve seen reactions to Harper Lee’s portrayal of Atticus Finch as a racist in Go Set A Watchman (affiliate link) from everyone and their mother and their dog, but maybe you haven’t seen reactions from law professors yet, so have a look. [National Law Journal]

    34 Comments / / Jul 27, 2015 at 8:46 AM
  • Novak Druce's empty office?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.24.15

    * Most Biglaw firms are downsizing their office space, but Ropes & Gray just inked a deal to increase the size of its New York office by 40,869 square feet. It’ll occupy more than 300,000 square feet in Rockefeller Center. Hope the firm has lawyers to fill it! [Commercial Observer]

    * Yikes! Thanks to a string of lateral hires by Buchanan Ingersoll, the newly formed Philly office of Novak Druce appears to have been left without a single lawyer. The firm decided to “refrain from commenting” on the departures. [Legal Intelligencer]

    * The same jury that found James Holmes guilty of several counts of murder in the Dark Knight movie theater massacre completed the first phase of sentencing and decided that aggravating factors existed for him to incur the death penalty. [Los Angeles Times]

    * A former court clerk in Indiana is suing because she claims she was fired for refusing to process same-sex marriage licenses, even though doing so went against her “sincerely held” religious beliefs. We may be seeing a lot more of these in the future. [Indy Star]

    * Per Texas prosecutor Warren Diepraam, medical examiners have ruled that Sandra Bland’s death was a suicide by hanging, and he has “full faith” in the autopsy results. The community remains outraged, and investigation into the case is ongoing. [NBC News]

    10 Comments / / Jul 24, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • Jon Stewart (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.23.15

    * Earlier this week, President Barack Obama said that he’d issue an executive order to keep Jon Stewart on as the host of The Daily Show, despite his imminent retirement. POTUS joked that “[i]t’s being challenged in the courts.” [Newsweek]

    * Check out this hot mess from New Jersey: An employee in the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office was allegedly demoted from office administrator to legal secretary after making comments about a prosecutor’s adult purchases made during a visit to a sex toy shop. [Press of Atlantic City]

    * Dentons just snagged a heavy hitter in its Chicago office, where Roderick “Rick” Palmore, formerly general counsel to corporate giant General Mills, will serve as senior counsel. This hire will surely give the firm some “additional street cred.” [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Uh oh! According to the latest Managing Partner Confidence Index report from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group, Biglaw higher-ups are only “moderately” confident about their financial prospects for the second quarter. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * If you’ve been searching for ways to improve your already strong law school application, then boy, do we have some tips for you. You can start by being even more gunnery — take the LSAT again, and get your GPA even higher. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    13 Comments / / Jul 23, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Willie Nelson (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.22.15

    * “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys potheads.” Country singer-songwriter and OG stoner Willie Nelson says marijuana will be legal in all 50 states within the next decade. Who knows, maybe his cannabis-crazed dreams will come true. [San Antonio Express-News]

    * Where do lonely hearts go? To court. This ex-Illinois Law student was accused of stalking a classmate and barred setting foot on campus for a two-year time period. A new trial was ordered, and now he may be able to graduate. Yay? [National Law Journal]

    * Law firms of all sizes are merging at a record pace, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to continue like this ad infinitum. Eventually, all of the fun is going to stop, and it’ll likely because there isn’t any more profitability to be had for these firms. Womp. [Am Law Daily]

    * Corporate legal departments are pushing for more diversity among their ranks, with companies like Xerox leading the way. NAPABA is hopeful that we’ll see 20 Asian-American lawyers as general counsel of Fortune 500 companies by 2020. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * For a man who wanted to “get rich or die tryin,” things don’t seem to be working out so well: Bankrupt rapper 50 Cent was busy denying ownership of many of his luxury items in court this week. He says he rents, borrows, and leases most of his bling. [Associated Press]

    14 Comments / / Jul 22, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Demi Moore (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.21.15

    * Because sometimes the application of the law seems like an indecent proposal: Demi Moore is “in absolute shock” because she may be facing a lawsuit for negligent supervision due to a pool drowning that occurred at her home while she was out of the country. [Fox News]

    * “The bow tie is a manifestation of my unwillingness to become part of the rabble.” Male lawyers face harsh criticism about their fashion choices, too, and these New Jersey attorneys will wear their bow ties with pride, no matter what. [Bergen Record]

    * In a recent interview, Justice Alito critiqued his SCOTUS colleagues for adopting a seemingly limitless interpretation of the 14th Amendment: “I don’t know what the limits of substantive liberty protection under the 14th Amendment are at this point.” [Legal Times]

    * If you’d like to be a federal appellate judge by the age of 35, then Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit has some advice for you. First and foremost, know where to “peddle your wares” — get a job in Washington, D.C., ASAP. [Concurring Opinions via ABA Journal]

    * Managing partners, repeat this mantra: Don’t do a Dewey! Thanks to the D&L financial disaster, Biglaw firms have decided to cut back on or ditch bank loans completely and get by with a little help from their friends partners in times of need. [Wall Street Journal]

    18 Comments / / Jul 21, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Congrats! Welcome to law school!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.20.15

    * “I would hope that we’ve already hit the bottom.” America’s legal educators and admissions deans are wishing, hoping, and praying that the upcoming school year will be the last year that merely having a pulse is a prerequisite for law school admission. [National Law Journal]

    * Bankruptcy court, here we come: We all know that right now, exorbitant law school debt can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, but judges have started to rally in favor of student debtors, noting that the Brunner test is simply incompatible with today’s high tuition costs. [New York Times]

    * “A professional education will never be cheap,” and the ABA has finally decided to give the appearance of caring about the average graduates of private law schools with six figures of loans. Enhanced financial counseling for all! [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Indiana Tech Law School won’t be appealing its denial of accreditation by the American Bar Association. Before you get too excited about a law school accepting failure and throwing in the towel, it seems that the school is just going to reapply instead. [KPC News]

    * “[O]ne’s face may determine one’s fate, at least in the judicial domain.” Per a new study, the more untrustworthy a criminal defendant looks, the more likely it is that he’ll receive a harsher sentence. Boy, Dewey know defendants in need of a makeover. [WSJ Law Blog]

    26 Comments / / Jul 20, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • 50 Pence None The Richer (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.17.15

    * “I don’t know what you heard about me, but a bitch can’t get a dollar out of me.” Truer lyrics have never been rapped. 50 Cent’s legal team will face off in bankruptcy court against lawyers for a woman owed $5 million thanks to a sex-tape scandal. [Business Insider]

    * You may be happy that income-based loan repayment exists and is saving you from defaulting on your law school debts, but in a few decades, you’re probably going to get F’d in the A by a ticking tax time bomb. [Student Loan Ranger / U.S. News]

    * If you missed it, James Eagan Holmes, the shooter in the Dark Knight movie theater massacre in Colorado, was convicted for killing 12 people and wounding 70 others. Next up is the sentencing phase of his trial, and the death penalty is on the table. [Denver Post]

    * The head honchos at Goldman Sachs are sad their second-quarter profits were reduced by ~half thanks to protracted litigation stemming from the financial crisis. The bank had to put away $1.45B for “mortgage-related litigation.” [DealBook / New York Times]

    * The stars at night may be big and bright deep in the heart of Texas, but Berg & Androphy, led by attorney David Berg, is trying its hand at big city life in New York. It got the hang of things, y’all: B&A has already poached two Kasowitz partners. [Lawdragon]

    14 Comments / / Jul 17, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Bill Cosby (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.16.15

    * No pudding pops for you, POTUS! When President Obama answered a question about the possibility of revoking Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom, he more or less insinuated that the comedian was a rapist, saying this country should “have no tolerance” for it. [New York Times]

    * “He was acting like a clown.” Even if you reportedly act like a complete and total drunk idiot while hitting on a partner’s wife at your would-be law firm’s holiday party, it’s still possible that you’ll get a job if your dad has political ties and allegedly makes certain promises to the firm. [Journal News]

    * Everyone’s eager to make the jump to an in-house job after years in Biglaw, but many forget the comp scheme is different from what they’re used to. Some in-house earners, however, blow away the competition. We’ll have more on this later. [Corporate Counsel]

    * One of the most important lessons that can be learned from the D&L debacle is that “[g]igantic law firms have a major Achilles’ heel.” When attorneys flee in droves, it can really upset the balance, and boy, Dewey know what a pain that can be. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * If you think all New York City firms will only hire from elite law schools that make up the U.S. News T14, then think again. This prominent real estate boutique seeks to “hire the best candidates based purely on merit, not aristocracy.” Refreshing. [Huffington Post]

    16 Comments / / Jul 16, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • '[W]hen you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.'

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.15.15

    * After closing arguments in the Dark Knight movie massacre trial, the case against accused shooter James Holmes now goes to a jury. He’s facing 165 criminal charges, and if found guilty, he may be sentenced to death. [NBC News]

    * A federal magistrate judge ordered the NCAA to pay almost $46 million in legal fees and costs to lawyers representing student-athletes in their antitrust suit against the organization, and he even likened the case to Game of Thrones in his decision. This is a monumental win. [Reuters]

    * Last night, SCOTUS denied a stay of execution for Mississippi death row inmate David Zink, even though his lawyers cited Justice Breyer’s recent death penalty dissent in Glossip with high hopes that the Court would act in their client’s favor. [National Law Journal]

    * For your information, the gender gap in the legal profession extends far beyond pay and partnership prospects. According to a recent study by the American Bar Association, about two-thirds of all attorneys who appeared in federal civil trials were men [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Going to law school in an underserved community that isn’t overflowing with lawyers is great for résumés, because the University of New Mexico School of Law is seriously bucking the trend of its students having difficulty finding jobs after graduation. [KOB 4]

    6 Comments / / Jul 15, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Game of Loans

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.14.15

    * With sagging enrollment and disappointing job statistics, offering students some tuition reimbursement if they’re still unemployed nine months after graduation is a great way to put asses in seats. We’ll have more to say about this news later today. [New York Times]

    * Testimony in the Dewey & LeBoeuf criminal trial got a little more interesting when jurors learned that the plan to cook the firm’s books to the tune of more than $50 million was hatched after a pricey steak dinner at Del Frisco’s. Don’t all evil Biglaw plans come together after an expensive steak dinner? [DealBook / New York Times]

    * These people just won the criminal justice reform lottery: In case you missed it, President Barack Obama commuted the sentenced of 46 nonviolent drug offenders in order to shine a light on punishments that didn’t fit the crimes committed. [POLITICO]

    * Pay close attention to this information, gunners, because it probably applies to you. Per a new study conducted by two Colorado Law professors, LSAT scores are an “overvalued predictor” of future law school grades and résumé builders don’t matter. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Osvaldo Miranda Diaz, the lawyer who called Cuba’s criminal justice system “disgusting” during a presentation he gave to visiting U.S. lawyers, secured a full ride for Duke Law’s LLM program thanks to one of his audience members. Congrats! [Daily Business Review]

    13 Comments / / Jul 14, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • The holy sacrament?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.09.15

    * According to Justice Jeanette Theriot Knoll of the Louisiana Supreme Court, the SCOTUS decision in Obergefell was not only “horrific,” but it was also “a complete and unnecessary insult to the people of Louisiana.” Gee, tell us how you really feel. [Slate]

    * The First Church of Cannabis filed a discrimination suit against Indiana and Indianapolis, claiming laws against marijuana use and possession are infringing upon its members’ beliefs. We’re sTOKEd to see the outcome here. [Indianapolis Star]

    * In case you missed it yesterday, a federal judge upheld the TTAB’s prior ruling on the Washington Redskins’ name, and ordered that the team’s trademark registrations be canceled. The team is going for a Hail Mary at the Fourth Circuit. [Washington Post]

    * Ex-associate Elina Chechelnitsky’s sexual harassment and gender bias lawsuit against McElroy Deutsch, filled with allegations of better bonuses for men and creepy flirtations, was settled out of court. You go, girl. [New Jersey Law Journal via ABA Journal]

    * Crowell & Moring recently dropped a suit against a former client that had allegedly failed to pay almost one million dollars in legal fees. There’s no word on whether the conflict was ever resolved, but if it wasn’t, it’s nice to see the firm isn’t hurting for cash. [Legal Times]

    9 Comments / / Jul 9, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • Woo, summer associates, yeah!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.08.15

    * FYI, it may be a “nine-week job interview—for both sides,” but summer associates hardly have room to complain when they’re being wined, dined, and paid up to $3,000 per week to work at the Biglaw firms where they landed jobs. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

    * Hot take alert: Per our favorite (and sometimes controversial) blogging jurist, Richard Kopf of the District of Nebraska, “Senator Ted Cruz is not fit to be President” because he wants to allow voters to boot SCOTUS justices. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Maria Mitousis, the divorce lawyer who was seriously injured after a bomb allegedly mailed to her by a client’s ex-husband exploded in her office, says she’ll be back to work ASAP. Her hand got blown off and she still wants to bill. What’s your excuse? [CBC News]

    * Former Galveston County (Texas) Court-at-Law Judge Christopher Dupuy was recently arrested and charged with two counts of online harassment after he allegedly created sex ads featuring his exes. He sounds like a real winner, y’all. [Crimesider / CBS News]

    * This prospective law student got a 173 on the LSAT and wants to know whether it would be advisable to retake the exam. Are you actually kidding me with this? You’ll get in almost anywhere with a 173 and a pulse. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    10 Comments / / Jul 8, 2015 at 8:54 AM
  • Some change for future of legal education.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.07.15

    * Vikram Amar, the incoming dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, says that he demanded a pay cut before taking the job to help make legal education more affordable for students. The piddling amount of money he’ll be sacrificing will absolutely infuriate you. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * When law firms break up and partners attack, it can sometimes be pretty entertaining (and a little sad, all at the same time). In this case, former partners have accused each other of being mentally unstable and going online shopping for hours instead of practicing law. [Daily Business Review]

    * In case you don’t remember the law school lawsuits about deceptive employment stats, some of them are still alive and kicking. One of the last surviving suits against Widener Law was recently denied class certification. [New Jersey Law Journal via ABA Journal]

    * Per Altman Weil MergerLine, 2015 is on pace to be a record year for law firm mergers. Statements like this have been made since the recession, but this time, it’s the highest number of mergers recorded in the company’s history. [Crain’s Cleveland Business]

    * According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector lost 800 jobs in June. That’s not exactly a comforting thought for those of you who are studying for the bar exam and don’t have a job lined up yet. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    28 Comments / / Jul 7, 2015 at 8:57 AM
  • Coming to a law school near you?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.06.15

    * It’s time to start shutting down law schools, but this clearly isn’t something that the American Bar Association is ready to act on. After all, new schools keep popping up, and the ABA keeps accrediting them for reasons beyond understanding. [Bloomberg Business]

    * At the end of a landmark Term at the Supreme Court, some presidential candidates are fanning the flames of voters’ fears. Linda Greenhouse asks, “[W]hat, exactly, are people supposed to be afraid of now? A same-sex married couple with affordable health insurance?” [New York Times]

    * Eric Holder will return to Covington & Burling, the Biglaw firm from whence he came, and he’ll be there “until [he] decide[s] [he’s] not going to be a lawyer anymore.” This crazy guy says he’d even turn down a SCOTUS nom to continue working there. [Am Law Daily]

    * Congrats to Skadden, the firm that ranked numero uno in worldwide deals according to Bloomberg’s quarterly M&A league tables. Davis Polk finished $93 billion behind that, but hopefully the bonuses will be just as sweet this winter. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * If you’re planning to enter law school at the end of the summer — especially if you’re a gunner in training — there’s no better way to spend your last months of freedom than to read one (or all of) these law prof-recommended books and papers. [Washington Post]

    7 Comments / / Jul 6, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  • airplane

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.02.15

    * The Department of Justice has launched an antitrust investigation looking at potential price collusion between major airlines. The airline industry doing something to make customers’ lives difficult? Surely you jest. [Associated Press]

    * Loretta Lynch went back to her hometown of Durham, North Carolina yesterday and held a roundtable on civil rights. She called particular attention to the recent violence at historically black churches “whether they are burned or through bullets.” [WNCN]

    * J. Michael Farren, a White House attorney under George W. Bush, was disbarred in the District of Columbia. He was convicted of attempted murder for beating his wife, a former Skadden attorney, and sentenced to 15 years in jail. [National Law Journal]

    * Is there a gender bias in job descriptions? And if there is, what should be done about it? [American Lawyer]

    * Biglaw is making big bucks, but only giving small amounts to pro bono efforts. [ABA Journal]

    * An Ohio courthouse was evacuated Tuesday after a woman brought a bottle of perfume, shaped like a grenade to the court. I guess you can’t be too careful. [Huffington Post]

    21 Comments / / Jul 2, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Ben and Jen in less litigious times. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.01.15

    * Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are getting divorced — even she couldn’t stand the thought of him being Batman. Celebrity divorces don’t come cheap, and you know what that must mean: high-powered lawyers and even higher rates for their billable hours! [CNN]

    * “[H]ow young would you go…I’d do 5[,] [b]ut 0-12 is hot.” Well, that’s absolutely disgusting. Matthew Gigot, an attorney who does doc review in the D.C. area, was charged in a child pornography case for sexual performance using a minor. [FOX 5 DC]

    * The main line of defense as of late in the Dewey trial for the former head honchos of this failed firm is that everyone sends out embarrassing — and potentially incriminating — emails from time to time. We know all abput that here at Above the Law. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * “Put down the bong, throw out the vaporizer and lose the rolling papers.” If you’re hoping to land a job at any federal agency any time in the near future, then you better quit your toking as soon as possible, even if it’s legal in your state. [New York Times]

    * Here’s some sad news for women who are interested in taking home their apparently delicious and nutritious placentas to feast upon after their children are born in hospitals: it’s only completely legal in three states — Hawaii, Oregon, and Texas. [The Stir]

    27 Comments / / Jul 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Sorry, summers, but this is going away soon.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.30.15

    * Which Biglaw firm is going to be changing up the way that it recruits new attorneys? That would be Quinn Emanuel. It’s planning to majorly scale back on summer associates and do something completely different. We’ll have more on this news later today. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * An undergrad who once had high hopes for law school decided to ditch his legal aspirations in favor of stand-up comedy. His mom is mad since it’s a “path that has no specific stability.” She obviously hasn’t read up on law school job stats lately. [Indy Channel]

    * Justice Kennedy should consider trading in his robes for a superhero’s cape, because he just swooped in to the rescue, again. With a 5-4 vote, SCOTUS stayed the Fifth Circuit’s decision regarding the closure of the majority of abortion clinics in Texas. [NPR]

    * Damn you, Dewey leaders! Per recent testimony in the criminal trial of the failed firm’s former top brass, but for news of the criminal probe spreading like wildfire throughout the profession, D&L could’ve merged with any number of firms to save itself. [Am Law Daily]

    * Some pretty major firms think they have better things to spend their Biglaw bucks on than donations to legal aid organizations. Only five firms were willing to publicly disclose more than $1 million in donations. [DealBook / New York Times via American Lawyer]

    10 Comments / / Jun 30, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Lawyers can juggle too!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 06.29.15

    * The Dissent World: This is what happens when justices start being real… and stop being polite. Conservative SCOTUS justices weren’t interested in playing nice last week in their dissents. Just how much “personal dissension” is there among their ranks? [POLITICO]

    * “I knew I was a workaholic and law wasn’t for me, but the circus is.” A law school graduate who only goes by Paz is now working as a world-class juggler. Law school career services officers would really like to know if this is considered a J.D. Advantage position. [Grand Forks Herald]

    * A new nickname is being bandied about for John Roberts: “Umpire in Chief.” During his confirmation hearings, he said judges should be more like baseball officiants, and you could say that last week, all he was doing was calling balls and strikes. [New York Times]

    * SCOTUS may have issued a landmark ruling on gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over as far as gay rights are concerned. Protip: Next time you make a historic decision, let lawyers know what level of scrutiny is being applied. [National Law Journal]

    * Some think what SCOTUS did with gay marriage was “simply putting its imprimatur on a practice that was already legal in more than two-thirds of the states.” People wonder whether the highest court will do the same with marijuana legalization. [24/7 Wall St.]

    16 Comments / / Jun 29, 2015 at 8:52 AM