Morning Docket

  • law_school LF

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.08.15

    * “Take it from me, dealing with the complex criminal legal system can be difficult and intimidating for most people.” This ex-Troutman Sanders partner may be facing nine felony charges, but who cares? He’s starting his own firm. [Am Law Daily]

    * It’s kind of cute when law school deans lie to themselves to make themselves feel better. For example, the dean of Oregon Law says now is “excellent” time go to go law school, and he doesn’t make decisions “based on what moves the rankings needle.” [Daily Emerald]

    * Per the latest Altman Weil survey, the first quarter of 2015 was one of the best ever for law firm mergers. The pace with which law firms merged was the second-quickest since the company started tracking mergers to begin with in 2007. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * The Rutgers Board of Governors has approved of the proposed merger between Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden Law. Now they just have to wait for the ABA’s rubber stamp, which they’ll obviously get — the ABA would rubber stamp a shoe. [NJ Advance Media]

    * “[T]he law is a noble profession – but it’s also an oversubscribed one, due in large part to excessive federal lending.” Maybe if the government stopped handing out student loans like candy, law schools would be forced to lower their tuition rates. [Washington Post]

    * The University of Virginia’s chapter of Phi Kappa Psi is definitely going to try to sue Rolling Stone over its fraternity gang-rape story, but the question is whether “bad journalism [will] amount to legal liability.” What do you think about this? [WSJ Law Blog]

    89 Comments / / Apr 8, 2015 at 8:57 AM
  • money magnet

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.07.15

    * Which Biglaw firm just raised its starting salary for associates? Will this be the beginning of a revolution? Don’t you wish your firm would follow this firm’s lead? We’ll have more on this exciting salary news later today. [Legal Intelligencer]

    * “With the decline of lawyers and law students, we were looking for new avenues to attract students.” William Mitchell Law may say its hybrid J.D. program was for its students’ benefit, but it was really only to put asses in seats — even digital ones. [CNBC]

    * It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday… when you’re a Biglaw partner trying to escape the terms of your contract by making a lateral move. Some firms are even holding capital contributions hostage to discourage partners from leaving. [Recorder via ABA Journal]

    * Potential penalties for Supreme Court protesters seem to be getting stiffer. Perhaps federal prosecutors are pissed about 99Rise’s persistence, because this time, members of the social justice group are facing jail time for “haranguing” our justices. [Legal Times]

    * According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida was the most productive federal trial court in the nation last year. When Flori-duh is kicking your ass, it’s time to reevalute your life. [WSJ Law Blog]

    9 Comments / / Apr 7, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Coming to a law school near you?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.06.15

    * “It’s unconscionable, and I believe they have breached the fiduciary duty to the law school, to the students and to the public.” Appalachian Law is struggling, and some believe its trustees are preventing the school from saving itself. Will this be the first school to fold? [Inside Higher Ed]

    * “We were all running this ATM machine called big law firms.” Before 2008, it was easier for large law firms to make money, but now, there’s an “insurmountable gap” in revenue between the industry’s heavy hitters and the rest of the pack. [Wall Street Journal]

    * You’ll pry their job security from their cold, dead hands: William Mitchell Law professors know that layoffs may be coming thanks to the school’s planned merger with Hamline Law, and have filed suit to protect the Tenure Code. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

    * Bonus season isn’t the only thing that Davis Polk has cornered the market on. According to the latest Bloomberg M&A rankings, the firm came out on top during the first quarter of 2015 when it came to advising on major deals. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * “Whatever happened to The New York Times’ fact-checker?” Here’s yet another harsh critique of Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon’s cringeworthy defense of law schools, and this time it’s from a fellow law professor. Ouch. [The Belly of the Beast via Am Law Daily]

    * Jay Edelson of Edelson PC may be the “most hated person in Silicon Valley,” but he probably doesn’t care about being Liked — after all, he recently filed suit against Facebook over the social networking company’s face recognition software. [New York Times]

    28 Comments / / Apr 6, 2015 at 8:45 AM
  • Gun 2nd amendment

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.03.15

    * Even more law schools are doing away with their LSAT requirements. Let’s give a great big welcome to Drake Law and St. John’s Law, who are joining the likes of SUNY Buffalo Law and Iowa Law. Woohoo, welcome aboard the bandwagon, folks! [U.S. News & World Report]

    * Judge James W. Haley Jr. of the Virginia Court of Appeals held a drunk intruder at gunpoint while he waited for the police to arrive. This unwanted houseguest was only wearing one shoe as he wandered through the judge’s home. Oopsie! [Free Lance-Star]

    * Well, that was quick. Fried Frank has hired away James “Jamie” Wareham, DLA Piper’s $5 million man, about four years after he lateraled to the firm from Paul Hastings. April Fools’ Day was his last day at the firm… or was it? J/K, it was for real. [Am Law Daily]

    * J. Michael Farren, the ex-White House lawyer who was convicted of attempting to murder his wife and sentenced to 15 years in prison, is now facing the loss of his law license. This should really be the very least of his worries. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

    * The U.S. Marshals Service has increased the reward for tips related to the shooting of U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg. Now you’ll get $50,000 if you’ve got information that’ll lead to arrests and convictions of the suspects who shot a federal jurist. [Detroit News]

    12 Comments / / Apr 3, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Bob McCulloch

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.02.15

    * “He said what he wanted people to hear and he didn’t fully answer questions.” St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch of Ferguson infamy spoke at Missouri Law yesterday. We understand there was some sort of an “incident” with the SBA as well. We may have more on this later. [KBIA]

    * “Don’t panic; you’re bound to get something eventually.” California had some of the worst employment statistics for law graduates after the recession. If you’re a member of the Lost Generation, these stories may resonate with you. [California Lawyer]

    * New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez was federally indicted on corruption charges yesterday for allegedly accepting more than $1 million worth of gifts and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors. Way to do Jersey lawyers proud. [AP]

    * Jury selection begins on April 27 for the criminal trial against the former members of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s top brass. The prosecution dropped three counts, but Joel Sanders and the Steves must still defend themselves against 100 others. Yikes! [New York Law Journal]

    * Gordon Smith, one of the writers for Better Call Saul, doesn’t think the show’s portrayal of lawyer life will inspire young people to “run out to become attorneys.” After all, Jimmy McGill’s home and office haven’t exactly been depicted as “glamorous.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    14 Comments / / Apr 2, 2015 at 9:07 AM
  • Coming to a law school near you?

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 04.01.15

    * And the law school deans rejoiced! Enrollment is scraping the bottom of the barrel, but applications are only down by 2.9 percent so far this year. If you cross your eyes and squint, you may be able to see some signs of stabilization for the legal academy. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Indiana has more than one controversial law on the books. Say hello to Purvi Patel, the first woman in the country to be charged, convicted, and sentenced on a feticide charge. Critics say this conviction will have a negative effect on women. [WNCN]

    * When the going gets tough in Biglaw, the tough get going — on either laying off their employees or cutting their real estate losses. Per Colliers International’s Law Firm Services Group, firms have recently reduced their office space by 15 to 32 percent. [Am Law Daily]

    * “We cannot underestimate the seriousness of this incident.” Terrible news: Yesterday, members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front took Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage in an Instanbul courthouse and later killed him. [Reuters]

    * Which state is the worst in the country for job-seeking law school graduates? That would be Mississippi, where it’s harder to get a job as an attorney than it is to spell the name of the state while intoxicated. There are 10.53 lawyers for every legal job opening. [WDAM]

    23 Comments / / Apr 1, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • 'I misread the question.'

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.31.15

    * Reunited and it feels so good… to have more tuition money in our pockets: following more than 40 years apart, Rutgers-Camden Law and Rutgers-Newark Law may merge to create the Rutgers School of Law, one of the largest law schools in the country. []

    * In case you missed it, the courtroom erupted into chaos in the final moments of the Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins trial because a juror “made a mistake” and decided to change his vote mid-verdict. Come on, give the guy a break — he’s almost 90. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Lawmakers are awfully interested in the way that the SEC is doing its job, and they’re drafting new laws in the hope of helping the agency out. We’ll let you know how helpful this was in a few years if those bills are ever passed. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * After an incredibly unsuccessful defense of its ban on same-sex marriage, Wisconsin is going to have to shell out more than $1 million in legal fees to the ACLU — the largest single payout yet by a state in the history of cases of this kind. [National Law Journal]

    * If you’re looking to transfer to another law school after your first year in the trenches, here are three things that you absolutely, positively must do to ensure your chances of being accepted elsewhere. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    8 Comments / / Mar 31, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • Amanda Knox

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.30.15

    * Talk about a Friday news dump! In case you missed these high-profile rulings, Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder charges in Italy (for the second time), and Ellen Pao lost her discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Use this slideshow to compare how North Carolina law schools are doing in terms of job placement. Duke was on top, and NCCU was dead last. Bonus: There were very few school-funded jobs to strip out of the data — the numbers were just that bad on their own. [Triad Business Journal]

    * LSAC doesn’t want to to adopt new disability accommodations for the LSAT because they “show a complete disregard for the importance of standardized testing conditions.” It’d rather show a complete disregard for applicants’ disabilities. [National Law Journal]

    * Widener? I hardly know her! Thanks to the ABA, this saying has new meaning in legal circles. With the law school regulator’s blessing, Widener Law’s Delaware and Harrisburg campuses will officially become two separate schools effective July 1. [News Journal]

    * Following blowback over the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana Governor Mike Pence says he’ll push for legislation clarifying that the controversial law isn’t intended to support discrimination against the LGBT community. Suuure. [Indy Star]

    113 Comments / / Mar 30, 2015 at 9:07 AM
  • Andrew Gilbertson

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.27.15

    * Brooklyn Law’s dean thinks “too much power rests with the [NCBE],” and that we need a new way to license lawyers. Brooklyn Law’s July 2014 bar passage rate was ~10 percent lower than the year prior, so perhaps he doesn’t like how those grapes taste. [National Law Journal]

    * A man on trial for a bank robbery committed in 2013 pooped his pants while on the stand, removed some of said poop from his pants, and started eating it because the Virgin Mary told him to do it. If you couldn’t tell, he’s got an insanity defense. [Inquisitr]

    * A new Citigroup report says Biglaw firms are at “high risk for cyberintrusions,” but so few will admit that they’ve been hacked it’s impossible to tell if the problem is growing. Don’t worry, clients, your confidential files might be safe. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * People may think “this is a crappy, for-profit school that didn’t make it. But it could have been a great law school.” Charleston Law’s founding dean wrote a damning blog post about his colleagues for their attempts to sell the school to InfiLaw. [Post and Courier]

    * “[B]eing well-dressed and having a law school diploma” isn’t enough to ensure that you’ll get a job anymore. Quick, take some advice from the career services dean at a school where 47.2 percent of recent grads are working full-time as lawyers. [Huffington Post]

    19 Comments / / Mar 27, 2015 at 8:53 AM
  • Green California Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.26.15

    * If you thought Squire Patton Boggs would be able to meet its projection of $1 billion in combined revenue after its merger, you’d be wrong. If you thought the firm would be able to meet its projection of having more than 1,500 lawyers after its merger, you’d also be wrong. [National Law Journal]

    * Use this slideshow to compare how California law schools are doing in terms of job placement. Stanford was on top, and Golden Gate was dead last. Bonus: If you strip out school-funded jobs, the numbers look even worse. [Sacramento Business Journal]

    * Uh… oops? Keila Ravelo, the ex-Willkie Farr partner who was accused of stealing millions of dollars from two of her former firms, is now at the center of questions over settlements in credit-card cases she worked on. [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]

    * “Please help us heal.” David Messerschmitt’s widow is begging for information about the DLA Piper associate’s death. The case is being actively investigated, and police believe the person of interest who was seen on surveillance footage is a woman. [Legal Times]

    * In case you missed it yesterday, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The first charge could result in up to five years in jail, while the second could result in a life sentence. Yikes! [WSJ Law Blog]

    29 Comments / / Mar 26, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Judge Joe Brown

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.25.15

    * “You can do all you want! Four days. You don’t have the jurisdiction. Five days.” Judge Joe Brown lost his appeal over a contempt charge he earned last year after he allegedly “lost control” during a juvenile court hearing and yelled at the presiding judge. [WREG]

    * According to a recent study, law faculties are lacking in white Christians and white Republicans. The most underrepresented demographic of all is that of Republican women. By all accounts, it looks like that particular group needs to sue to to get full-time teaching positions. [National Law Journal]

    * Law firms are constantly being inundated with solicitations for rankings and awards, and while they often complain that there are too many, let’s face it: lawyers’ egos are huge, and there will never be enough prestige to sate them. [Business of Law / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins has turned into a circus, with two area law firms fighting each other tooth and nail, and witnesses on the stand questioning lawyers with the judge’s intermittent approval. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Paul Ceglia, the alleged Facebook huckster who claimed he owned half of the social media company, may have escaped justice by removing his ankle monitor and disappearing, but his family had to forfeit his $250,000 bail yesterday. Like? [Reuters]

    23 Comments / / Mar 25, 2015 at 9:08 AM
  • Supreme Court pretty Small

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.24.15

    * Justice Anthony Kennedy says that while the Supreme Court is trying to attract more minority law clerks, lower court judges have it easier because they can recruit from local schools. Some justices have an Ivy League addiction, and thus, a diversity problem. [Legal Times]

    * The next step in the confirmation process for Loretta Lynch, the lawyer who will someday be the first black woman to serve as U.S. attorney general, isn’t likely to occur until at least mid-April. Why the wait? SENATE SPRING BREAK, WOO! [Reuters]

    * Give me maple syrup, or give me death: According to legal experts from the National Constitution Center, even though Republican candidate Ted Cruz was born in Canada, he still counts as a “natural born citizen” who’s eligible to be president. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Foley & Lardner partner Howard Shipley avoided a supreme spanking from SCOTUS over his submission of a garbled cert petition last year, but the high court took the opportunity to remind all lawyers to write “in plain terms.” [National Law Journal]

    * How badly do you want to go to a top law school? Exactly how desperate you are to feel the warm and gentle embrace of prestige? How hard can you gun? Would you be willing to take the LSAT three times? [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    47 Comments / / Mar 24, 2015 at 9:11 AM
  • Ted Cruz can only dunk in his dreams.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.23.15

    * This would-be POTUS can’t jump? Ted Ruger, Penn Law’s new dean, used to hang out with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz during law school, and he’d “like to think that [their] legal skills far exceeded [their] mediocre basketball skills.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * Why do we still need law schools considering the crisis in the legal academy? Please allow Noah Feldman of Harvard Law — an unbiased law professor — to explain why “law school is absolutely essential — not for lawyers with clients, but for our society as a whole.” [Bloomberg View]

    * Apparently there’s some major drama going down with regard to which attorneys will argue the same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court. It seems that no one wants to give up their 15 minutes of fame before the high court. Sigh. [National Law Journal]

    * These days, law schools are looking at more than their applicants’ GPAs and LSAT scores. Prospective law students now need to be “well-rounded and involved.” For what it’s worth, not minding going into debt is a helpful trait, too. [Omaha World-Herald]

    * Another day, another gender bias lawsuit in Silicon Valley: This time around, Tina Huang, a female software engineer who used to work for Twitter, is alleging that the company’s secret promotion process bypasses women and favors men. [CNET]

    42 Comments / / Mar 23, 2015 at 9:05 AM
  • Thanks, law school!

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.20.15

    * Per a recent study, the class of 2010 is still screwed when it comes to securing work as attorneys. There are plenty of would-be lawyers working in “tennis instruction, office management, lingerie sales, and pest control.” [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Law schools may be admitting less qualified students, but when the bar exam results are bad, it’s obviously the bar exam’s fault. Is it even fair to make new lawyers have to pass a bar exam at all? We should have more on this bar exam backlash later today. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * Following layoffs in two other firms’ litigation practices, McDermott Will & Emery is losing three of its top litigation partners. Two are expected to decamp to Paul Hastings, and one is abandoning ship for King & Spalding. Yikes! [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * Law school applications are on the verge of hitting a 15-year low. Don’t worry, cautions LSAC, because “the rate of decline [in applications] is slowing.” Check out the sad (yet amazing) picture in the article and see if it makes you feel better. [Bloomberg Business]

    * Undergrads at Villanova got a crash course in how to pay for law school this week, and were hopefully scared straight when they found out the majority of law students take out loans and “typically accumulate around $100,000-$200,000 in debt.” [The Villanovan]

    29 Comments / / Mar 20, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • pot smoking RF

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.19.15

    * A Connecticut attorney was cited for dropping two ounces of weed on a courtroom floor, and he blames it on his client’s son. They were apparently going to stage an embarrassing intervention, but it was the attorney who wound up being embarrassed. [Hartford Courant]

    * While Charleston School of Law bides its time and attempts to resist a buyout from the InfiLaw System, the school has offered many of its existing faculty members buyouts. We’ll have more on this interesting development later today. [Charleston Post & Courier]

    * Pace Law is going to slash its tuition for incoming students with qualifying GPAs and LSAT scores to match the tuition of the in-state public law school of the student’s home state. Sorry, folks, but this tuition “fire sale” is only for new students. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Hiscock & Barclay is “dating,” “not engaged,” and “not even close to to getting married” to Damon Morey. There may not be “anything close to official,” but this seems like the very hesitant precursor to an arranged marriage, if I do say so myself. [Buffalo Law Journal]

    * Per a recent study, the closer your law firm is to your law school, the more likely it is that you’ll make partner. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you went to an elite law school — you’re still more likely to make partner if your alma mater is nearby. [New York Times]

    * Appalachian Law may be a “fourth tier” school, it may be much smaller than it once was, and it may have lowered its admissions standards, but you better believe the little law school that could is going to be just fine. Don’t stop believin’, Appalachian! [WCYB]

    22 Comments / / Mar 19, 2015 at 9:03 AM
  • dynamite

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.18.15

    * An Ohio attorney was charged with making bomb threats at two state courthouses, but only after he was indicted for allegedly making bomb threats at a third courthouse. Wow, it’s almost like this guy didn’t do his homework motions or something. [Northeast Ohio Media Group]

    * Loretta Lynch, our would-be replacement for Eric Holder as attorney general, still hasn’t been able to get confirmed, and the delay — which is being blamed on our Senate Majority Leader’s “inept leadership” — is now being referred to as “unconscionable.” Lovely. [CNN]

    * What’s happening at #ATLConverge today? Check out our Twitter feed! [Converge]

    * Earlier this week, Morgan Lewis combined with Singapore firm Stamford Law Corp. Effective April 1, ML&B will become one of the largest Biglaw firms in the world, rivaled only by the likes of Baker & McKenzie and Dacheng Dentons. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * More federal prosecutors are stepping down from their jobs and returning to their former Biglaw homes in private practice. Once you realize government work is a giant revolving door, soon enough, it’ll be your turn to leave. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * If you’re still making a decision about which law schools to apply to, you can use the U.S. News rankings to help yourself. In the alternative, you can use the ATL Top 50 rankings to see if you’ll be able to get a job after graduation. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    20 Comments / / Mar 18, 2015 at 9:04 AM
  • yale law school

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.17.15

    * A ballsy decision dripping with prestige? It seems that a few too many students at Yale Law School requested access to their student admissions evaluation records under FERPA, so instead of handing them over, Yale deleted them. [New Republic]

    * Here’s some good news for women attorneys visiting clients in Massachusetts jails: you’ll no longer be forced to lift up your shirt and shake out your bra if your underwire makes the metal detector go off. Instead, you’ll get felt up a pat down. [Boston Globe]

    * According to early data culled for the Am Law 100 rankings, from revenue to profits per partner to revenue per lawyer, Winston & Strawn posted record financial results in 2014. Perhaps the days of no-offers and layoffs are long gone for this firm. [Am Law Daily]

    * Just because more people took the LSAT in February, it doesn’t mean that the law school crisis is over. It does, however, mean that law school administrators may soon be wishcasting the year-over-year growth of their first-year classes. [National Law Journal]

    * Rahul Gupta, the graduate student who used the tried and true “my girlfriend did it” defense during his trial for the fatal stabbing of a Georgetown Law student, was convicted on first-degree murder charges yesterday. He’ll be sentenced on April 16. [WJLA]

    24 Comments / / Mar 17, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • These chocolates come with a search warrant.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 03.16.15

    * Last week in court, a murder suspect in Louisiana apparently pooped his pants during a case status hearing, wiped said poop all over his face, and muttered to himself that “life is like a box of chocolates.” Sorry about that crappy candy, dude. [New Orleans Advocate]

    * According to early Am Law 100 data, New York’s most elite and prestigious firms have once again broken away from the rest of the pack when it comes to both revenue and partner profits. Biglaw’s best may be back to models and bottles. [Am Law Daily]

    * Michelle Lee, the first woman to ever serve as director of the USPTO, was sworn in on stage at SXSW Interactive. Michelle Lee, who worked with the Girl Scouts to issue a patent patch (instead of more makeup and sewing patches), is pretty damn awesome. [Mashable]

    * The federal judiciary has plans to decrease the word limit of appellate briefs from 14,000 to 12,500, and lawyers are pissed. Lawyers from Brown Rudnick say it could result in more acronyms, confusing construction, and less “punctilious citation,” oh my! [WSJ Law Blog]

    * Lee Smolen, the ex-Sidley Austin partner who faked $69,000 in travel expenses while at the firm (and possibly $379K more), has been suspended from practice for one year and will have to undergo psychiatric treatment. [Legal Profession Blog via ABA Journal]

    * Taking New York’s lead, California is considering requiring all would-be attorneys in the state to complete 50 hours of pro bono work within one year of being admitted. Leave it to people who don’t know what they’re doing yet to close the justice gap. [Los Angeles Times]

    29 Comments / / Mar 16, 2015 at 9:02 AM