Morning Docket

  • Game of Loans

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.16.15

    * Fewer people are applying to law school. According to LSAC, the number of would-be lawyers who submitted applications is down by 8.5 percent compared to last year. Serious question: How low can we go before all schools are officially in crisis mode? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * You’ll never believe how this guy paid off his law school debt. His parents got a home refi loan, and with the money ($210,000), their son got rid of his student loans. Now he’ll pay his parents’ loan for 30 years. Wow. [Business Insider]

    * Justice Samuel Alito took a break from the SCOTUS docket to receive an award named for the late Judge Edward Becker of the Third Circuit, a man who he said “tried to get federal judges to act in a more sensible way. That’s a real task.” [Legal Times]

    * “[T]hings are getting back to where they were before the recession,” so naturally, state judges — like those in California — are suing over the salary increases they were denied while the recession was in progress. Bless their hearts. [National Law Journal]

    * Hey lawyers, want to seem like you’re smart? Stop sprinkling your briefs with SAT vocabulary words. Just put on a pair of glasses and start using your middle initial more often. For the record, speaking in a pleasant voice is also helpful. [ABA Journal]

    11 Comments / / Jan 16, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • lawyer with lots of cash

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.15.15

    * From Biglaw to big fields: This Duane Morris attorney decided to put her legal career out to pasture so she could hop on a tractor and become a farmer — and not just any farmer, but an organic farmer. Oooh, how artisanal! [Am Law Daily]

    * Seventy percent of people who make $150K+ get the raises they ask for, and people with law degrees get raises more often than any other degree holders. Walk up to your law firm’s managing partner and demand a raise. We dare you. [U.S. News]

    * The Tenth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a suit filed by a former Kansas Law student who claimed he was wrongfully expelled. Apparently he forgot to disclose his criminal past, and when the school found out, he got the boot. [National Law Journal]

    * The William Mitchell College of Law welcomed its first class of “hybrid” online students this week. Law school may have lost its flair, but 85 crazy kids ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s jumped at the chance to learn law online. [Star Tribune]

    * Marvel trotted out a familiar law firm plaque to gin up excitement for the premiere of Daredevil, which will be out on Netflix come April. Comic book nerds, rejoice, for Nelson and Murdock will soon be open for business and gracing your screens. [/Film]

    3 Comments / / Jan 15, 2015 at 9:07 AM
  • gradenfreude

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.14.15

    * In May 2014, we told our readers about the sad state of financial affairs for assistant district attorneys in Massachusetts — they make less money than courthouse janitors. Now is the state finally being encouraged to do something about it. [Boston Globe]

    * The University of Maine School of Law is one of 74 law schools to drop its application fee in the hope of enticing more students to apply. Do these schools legitimately believe it’s the fee that’s keeping students away? [Bangor Daily News]

    * Partners at Bingham McCutchen, the latest Biglaw firm to flop, claim they knew that the end was near about one year ago, when their managing partner informed them that the firm would “active[ly] wait” for money to appear. Yeah… [American Lawyer]

    * The fraud trial for former members of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s top brass was pushed back to April because Joel Sanders hired a new defense attorney. Apparently he had some “irreconcilable differences” with his former counsel. [New York Law Journal]

    * The California Commission on Access to Justice plans to launch a legal incubator program. This will help low-income individuals in need of legal services, and the low-income law grads struggling to put their degrees to work. [National Law Journal]

    11 Comments / / Jan 14, 2015 at 9:08 AM
  • ArrowGoingDown

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.13.15

    * With fewer and fewer students applying to law school, acceptance rates have skyrocketed. Some, like GW Law, have even been accused of “laundering [their] credentials” by padding their enrollment numbers with transfers. [GW Hatchet]

    * “People don’t graduate from law school understanding the business of law.” That’s just one of the reasons recent grads are having such a tough time getting jobs as associates. Suffolk Law thinks it can help change that. [Boston Business Journal]

    * “This is an example of the system working as intended”: Hundreds of thousands of dollars are due to successful plaintiffs in same-sex marriage cases, and millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees for that work is racking up interest. [National Law Journal]

    * James Risen, the New York Times reporter who refused to out his source as part of a CIA investigation, has won the right to keep his journalistic integrity intact after a long legal battle. Prosecutors have officially dropped him as a witness. [Bloomberg]

    * After much talk about partners heading for the exits before, during, and after the Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders merger, and Bob Luskin has finally left the building for Paul Hastings. We hope his parting wasn’t “painful” for him. [WSJ Law Blog]

    11 Comments / / Jan 13, 2015 at 9:08 AM
  • George Zimmerman

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.12.15

    * George Zimmerman was arrested for aggravated assault and domestic violence with a weapon. His lawyer said his client “has not been lucky with the ladies.” He hasn’t been lucky with being a decent human being, either. [USA Today]

    * Lawrence McCreery, the Hawaii lawyer who licked a client’s ear and inspired the judge on his case to call him a “dirty old man,” has had his harassment conviction upheld on appeal. Get excited, he’s still got a law license, ladies. [Associated Press]

    * We may soon see same-sex marriage bans in three states struck down, as the Fifth Circuit “appeared poised” to do so after oral arguments on Friday. Roberta Kaplan, our 2013 Lawyer of the Year, delivered a standout performance in arguing against Mississippi’s ban. [BuzzFeed]

    * What do Sidley Austin, Baker & McKenzie, Reed Smith, Hogan Lovells, and Skadden Arps have in common? Their names were used in phishing emails to scam people out of their money. Some might say that’s business as usual. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * An arrest was made in the forcible rape of a woman — presumably a law student — that took place in the stacks of the Southern University Law Center’s library last semester. The accused rapist is currently behind held without bond. [WBRZ]

    14 Comments / / Jan 12, 2015 at 9:09 AM
  • Andi Dorfman

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.09.15

    * Per New York City’s gossip rag of record, an alleged “bed-pooping, cokehead” banker and his “alcoholic” wife were called out by the judge in their divorce case for involving their kids in a “horrible fiasco.” [New York Post]

    * For time infinitum, the structure of Wachtell Lipton’s billing was “cloaked in mystery.” Thanks to an errant fee agreement, however, we have an idea of what the prestigious firm charges for its “distinctive service.” [Am Law Daily]

    * Hey guys, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and there’s a newly single Bachelorette on the prowl. The lovely Andi Dorfman called off her reality TV stunt engagement. Perhaps the ADA will return to prosecuting cases? [E! Online via TODAY]

    * “We are in the end game on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.” Later today, we may find out whether the Supreme Court intends to take up any of the same-sex marriage disputes that have been presented to it this Term. [Bloomberg]

    * It looks like the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law is starting an LL.M. program in gambling law. Step right up, because we’re now taking bets to see whether this degree will be advantageous for its graduates in the job market. [National Law Journal]

    * California’s foie gras ban was recently struck down by a judge as an illegal encroachment upon the federal government’s regulatory domain. Please remember that while it’s delicious… it’s supposedly only “for assholes.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

    26 Comments / / Jan 9, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Olivia Lake (her dad's a lawyer)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.08.15

    * Here’s some JOLTing news: Megon Walker, the Harvard Law graduate who claims her life was ruined because the school accused her of being a plagiarist, just lost her defamation suit against her alma mater. [National Law Journal]

    * “You have a party like this and it’s as though you’re handing out hand grenades as party favors.” Jeff Lake, a California lawyer, was arrested and faces social host liability issues thanks to his kid’s Playboy party. [Denver Channel]

    * Congress is back in session, and President Obama resubmitted his nomination of Loretta Lynch for U.S. attorney general, along with other judicial nods. She’ll be a “terrific attorney general,” so get this show on the road. [Legal Times]

    * “How many clinics do you have to close before the court says, ‘Enough’?” Lawyers for abortion clinics and Texas state attorneys faced off before the Fifth Circuit over the viability constitutionality of the Lone Star State’s abortion laws. [New York Times]

    * It’s a new year with new laws in effect, and it looks like 27 states, plus D.C., have made major moves with regard to weed, be it through the legalization medical marijuana or decriminalization of its possession. Do you know your rights? [CNN]

    27 Comments / / Jan 8, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Surfing the internet for pornography

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.07.15

    * Alan Dershowitz vowed to sue the lawyers who alleged he took part in a sex scandal for defamation, but it looks like he was too slow — they sued him for defamation first. The Dersh, however, seemed pleased as punch by the news: “This makes my day.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Illinois passed some of the toughest anti-revenge-porn legislation the country has seen to date. With possible jail time and huge fines, maybe people will be inspired to be decent human beings… but we doubt it. [International Business Times]

    * Welcome to 2015: In what’s being called the “running of the laterals,” many Biglaw partners and associates are making their moves and taking their practices to different firms and businesses. We hope everyone collected their bonuses! [Am Law Daily]

    * You may be “troubled by a program where people at the bottom pay for the people at the top,” but it’s happening at law schools across the country. Students with low LSAT scores are subsidizing their classmates’ education. [National Law Journal]

    * Meanwhile, getting into law school with lower LSAT scores is easier than it’s ever been before. From 2010 to 2013, nearly all of the nation’s Top 20 law schools admitted students with lower test scores. Thank them for paying your tuition. [Businessweek]

    36 Comments / / Jan 7, 2015 at 8:54 AM
  • Thomas Gilbert Jr.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.06.15

    * At the annual Association of American Law Schools meeting, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg handed out a delightful piece of marriage advice that she sometimes uses when dealing with her colleagues on the Supreme Court: “It helps to sometimes be a little deaf.” [National Law Journal]

    * Thomas Gilbert Jr., the man accused of killing his father — who just so happened to be the founder of the Wainscott Capital hedge fund — allegedly shot him to death over a $200 cut in his monthly allowance. This is why rich people can’t have nicer things. [New York Post]

    * Litigants on both sides of a First Amendment issue headed to SCOTUS are using a law review article penned by none other than Justice Elena Kagan in an attempt to influence all of the justices. See, people do read law review articles. [New York Times]

    * Musical chairs, dean-poaching edition: Fordham Law just named Matthew Diller as its new dean, but he’s still going to remain as dean at Cardozo until the end of the year. Let’s see how he tackles the school’s enrollment decline. [New York Law Journal]

    * Per a study conducted by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, law school graduates who participated in a practice-ready program fared better as attorneys than those who did not. Whoa, nice going. [WSJ Law Blog]

    19 Comments / / Jan 6, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • Amal Clooney

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.05.15

    * Per recent reports, human rights attorney Amal Clooney was threatened with arrest after she pointed out major issues with the Egyptian justice system in a paper sponsored by the International Bar Association. She was able to escape because officials feared the wrath of George Clooney. [The Telegraph]

    * Uh oh! It looks like Alan Dershowitz got himself mixed up in a lawsuit involving a salacious underage sex scandal. In his own defense, the famed Havard Law prof said, “It’s a completely, totally fabricated, made-up story. I’m an innocent victim of an extortion conspiracy.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    * The price of the billable hour may have risen by more than 10 percent over the course of the last four years, but according to the chairman of one Biglaw firm, “[t]he question is: Is anybody ­paying that?” Hahaha, yeah right. [National Law Journal]

    * That was quick. The Bitcoin Foundation hired a global policy counsel who lasted there for less than a year. It seems the policy and regulation aspects of the digital currency’s existence were viewed as a “distraction.” [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Chicago Biglaw and midsized firms are brushing up on their Mandarin language skills because Chinese investment in the Windy City hit more than $3 billion last year. FYI, senior associates, these firms may have a job for you. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Did she get SLC punk’d? Another woman was just nabbed for allegedly pretending to be a lawyer. It seems that Utah resident Karla Carbo reportedly impersonated a member of the bar at least three times in the past six months. [New York Daily News]

    12 Comments / / Jan 5, 2015 at 9:06 AM
  • JGR

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 01.02.15

    * In his year-end report, Chief Justice Roberts wrote about the high court’s belated adoption of the latest technological advances, but promised SCOTUS briefs and filings would be online… next year. [New York Times]

    * It’s been recommended that J. Michael Farren, the former White House lawyer who attempted to murder his ex-wife — a former Skadden Arps attorney — be disbarred in D.C. Apparently the bar considers a conviction for something like this a big no-no. [Legal Times]

    * Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s terrorism trial for his involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings will begin in Boston on January 5, despite his legal team’s best efforts to avoid the inevitable. At least fangirls won’t have to travel to admire him. [Bloomberg]

    * Here’s one law prof’s thoughts on Harvard Law’s lame response to sexual assault complaints: “I believe … that Harvard University will be deeply shamed at the role it played in simply caving to the government’s position.” Well then. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Remember the Idaho prosecutor who recited the lyrics to “Dixie” during closing arguments at a black man’s trial? The defendant’s conviction was overturned because the prosecutor “inject[ed] the risk of racial prejudice into the case.” [NBC News]

    * “People asked me what I want as an epitaph: He tried.” Mario Cuomo, the three-term New York governor and Willkie Farr alumnus who was once considered to replace Supreme Court Justice Byron White, has passed away. RIP. [New York Times]

    12 Comments / / Jan 2, 2015 at 9:06 AM
  • Harvard Law School

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.31.14

    * Per the Department of Education, Harvard Law sucks at handling sexual assault and harassment complaints. As it turns out, the DoE only found out about the misconduct because a faculty member from New England Law snitched on the Ivy League school. [Boston.com]

    * Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the penalties for pot possession. One state legislator wants to change that in the new year, and hopes his colleagues will puff, puff, pass his bill in favor of small civil fines instead of jail sentences. [VICE]

    * “If the court has been waiting until the country is more comfortable with gay marriage, they’ve waited long enough.” The first SCOTUS conference of 2015 will focus on gay marriage cases. It’d be fabulous if they took one. [Supreme Court Brief]

    * Latham and Fried Frank are going to be advising on Shake Shack’s initial public offering. Hungry attorneys working on the IPO will be disappointed to learn that their client doesn’t have any public offerings for consumption on Seamless. [Am Law Daily]

    * The bankruptcy trustee for the late, great, defunct firm of Howrey LLP keeps lining up big settlements for its remaining creditors. This time, Wiley Rein will contribute $1 million to the failed firm’s coffers. Howrey like dem apples? [Wall Street Journal]

    10 Comments / / Dec 31, 2014 at 9:00 AM
  • 'Oopsie,' says a law dean.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.30.14

    * An African-American Cleary Gottlieb project attorney is suing, claiming that the firm discriminated against him when he was fired. He alleges that white lawyers kept their jobs, but he lost his because he was black. [Legal Times]

    * For law deans, hindsight is 180: This D.C.-area school “aggressively” raised tuition when everyone decided to go to law school to ride out the recession, and now its dean is admitting that doing so was a “mistake.” [Washington Post]

    * “I want to bring blind justice to the Michigan Supreme Court.” Come New Year’s Day, Richard Bernstein — who has been legally blind since birth — will do just that when he’s sworn in to serve on the state’s highest court. Congratulations! [WSJ Law Blog]

    * It’s important to learn the skill of entrepreneurship as part of today’s legal education since you never know when you’ll be forced to open your own practice because you can’t get someone else to give you a job. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    * Associate bonuses aren’t the only charitable causes Biglaw firms are willing to throw money at in a given year. In fact, some firms dole out millions upon millions of dollars for the purpose of doing good and supporting their communities. [Am Law Daily]

    12 Comments / / Dec 30, 2014 at 9:01 AM
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.29.14

    * As the year winds down to a close, we take a look back at the amazing time Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had. From her Hobby Lobby dissent to her subtle New Republic shade, the Notorious RBG’s 2014 was better than yours. [Bustle]

    * When you’ve allegedly been driving drunk after a holiday party and have gotten into an accident, one of the things you say to the police upon your arrest should not be, “Come on, I’m a judge” — especially if you are one. [New York Post]

    * After advising on 221 deals worth about $511 billion, Skadden Arps was the top dog in the M&A game in 2014. While taking a break from rolling around in money, the firm’s managing partner was heard thanking inversions. [MoneyBeat / Wall Street Journal]

    * Although we haven’t heard what’s going on with associate bonuses at this firm, Wiley Rein bought itself a bonus subsidiary. Last week, the firm finalized its purchase of lobbying and communications group McBee Strategic. [Blog of Legal Times]

    * While many law schools found their student enrollments getting smaller due to forces of nature in 2014, the University of Mississippi School of Law claims it decreased its class sizes intentionally. Oh, the places you’ll go! [Clarion Ledger]

    30 Comments / / Dec 29, 2014 at 9:03 AM
  • cooley blue

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.24.14

    * The Thomas M. Cooley Law School is planning to sell one of its academic buildings for an asking price of $8.15 million. Dear Lord, the school will lose some of its library square footage. NOOOOOOOOO! [Lansing State Journal]

    * Contrary to his client’s hit anthem, Pharrell’s lawyer isn’t happy. He says YouTube has been “blithely” ignoring his requests to take down music for which it lacks performance rights, and it may result in a $1B lawsuit. [Hollywood Reporter]

    * Clifford Sloan, the State Department’s special envoy on Guantánamo Bay, appointed in 2013 to help shut down the detention center, is returning to the loving arms of Skadden’s partnership on January 1, 2015. Gitmo is still open. Oops. [Am Law Daily]

    * After 30 years, the Food and Drug Administration decided to lift its lifetime ban on blood donation for gay men. Now gay men just have to abstain from doing gay things for a year — like having sex with other men — to donate blood. Yay? [WSJ Law Blog]

    * If you’ve been wondering what the most ridiculous lawsuits of 2014 are, we’ve got you covered. These are the top 10 most absurd cases filed over the course of the past year. You may remember some of these from our coverage. [Faces of Lawsuit Abuse]

    11 Comments / / Dec 24, 2014 at 9:01 AM
  • christmas-coal

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.23.14

    * “Instead of ordering the Marshal to permit a desegregated Christmas party at the Court, the Court hosted no party at all.” Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote in his diary of the SCOTUS Christmas party that never was due to the high court’s unspoken racism. [Supreme Court Brief]

    * We know of at least one lawyer who may be receiving a lump of coal in her stocking. A former partner of two major New York City firms allegedly stole millions of dollars from them to live a life of luxury. We’ll have more on this later today. [Bergen Record]

    * Since “interest in law schools [is] dwindl[ing] nationally,” the easiest cost-cutting measure comes in the form of faculty buyouts at another school. Don’t hate the playa, hate the game, law professors. It’s a “necessary” evil these days. [The Advocate]

    * President Obama is going to nominate Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, for the position of deputy attorney general. If confirmed, there’ll be two women at the top of the DOJ. Yay! [Miami Herald]

    * Guess who just got promoted to partner at Boies Schiller & Flexner? It’s none other than Joshua Schiller, the son of the firm’s cofounder and managing partner. Aww. That’s the most precious thing ever. We just want to pinch his cheeks. [Am Law Daily]

    * Before you submit your law school applications, you should probably make sure that you’ve read and followed all of the instructions, because just in case you forgot, you’re applying to follow instructions for a living. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    40 Comments / / Dec 23, 2014 at 8:55 AM
  • David Schwimmer

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.22.14

    * Florida Judge Cynthia Imperato was “devastated” after a jury found her guilty of DUI and reckless driving charges, but we imagine the judge may be more devastated by the fact that she’s a sitting judge who’s been sentenced to 20 days of house arrest. [Florida Sun Sentinel]

    * David Schwimmer, best known for his role as Ross on Friends, has been cast as lawyer Robert Kardashian in an O.J. Simpson true crime television miniseries. He surely knows it’ll take a lot of “unagi” to play the role just right. [Rolling Stone]

    * If you have to debt finance your J.D., you’re going to in for a rude awakening when you graduate and the loans start coming due. FYI, “lot[s] of graduates [are] buried in private student loan debt with not enough income to repay it.” [Forbes]

    * The parents of James Holmes, who’s better known as the alleged shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre, have begged for him to be spared the death penalty ahead of his trial, but prosecutors say that in this case, “justice is death.” [Denver Post]

    * When it comes to Russia, “[a] lot of firms are thinking about pulling out.” That’s what she would’ve said if she were a managing partner. Biglaw firms that have been rocked by the ruble’s ruin are telling lawyers to leave before they’re laid off. [Am Law Daily]

    * Binder & Binder, the National Social Security Disability Advocates® whose late-night TV commercials you’ve grown to love, has filed for bankruptcy. The firm’s headcount will likely drop by more than half because of this. Yikes! [WSJ Law Blog]

    26 Comments / / Dec 22, 2014 at 9:11 AM
  • Police crime scene

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 12.19.14

    * A third-year student from the Louisiana State University Law Center was indicted for allegedly raping one woman and allegedly sexually assaulting and attempting to rape another. He’s currently free on bail under GPS monitoring supervision. [The Advocate]

    * Here’s some news you can potentially use (with extreme caution): you may be able to give a law firm partner the finger and still be eligible to receive unemployment benefits after you’ve been fired for flipping the bird. [Madison St. Clair Record]

    * Ever go to law school? Ever go to law school… on weed? Lots of law schools are adding courses related to marijuana law to their curricula because “[f]or most students, this is an inherently interesting topic.” Yessir, it is. [National Law Journal]

    * Hmm, this advice article says you should evaluate your GPA and LSAT score to determine which law schools to apply to, but we know the only real qualification is a pulse. This is confusing. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    * The Federal Communications Commission renewed a radio license for a station owned by Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder, despite the fact that the agency’s chairman previously called the team name “offensive and derogatory.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    16 Comments / / Dec 19, 2014 at 9:05 AM