Morning Docket

  • Terrence Howard (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.25.15

    * Baker & McKenzie was dethroned by DLA Piper as the the Biglaw king of gross revenue. The firm is blaming its poor performance — a 4.3 percent drop — on “currency fluctuations.” Better luck on snatching back glory next year. [Am Law Daily; Big Law Business / Bloomberg]

    * It’s hard out here for a pimp with an allegedly small peen: Terrence Howard’s divorce settlement was overturned by a judge after evidence was brought forward to suggest the actor was coerced into signing it. Apparently his ex was blackmailing him over the size of his manhood. [ABC News]

    * There’s a new sheriff judge in town, and he’s cleaning up the Ferguson, Missouri, courts. His first order of business was to wipe out all arrest warrants issued before December 31, 2014, in the wake of the Michael Brown police shooting last August. [Reuters]

    * Dean Philip Weiser of Colorado Law has announced that he’ll be stepping down from his position in July 2016. He’ll be remembered for keeping costs low and putting asses in seats during a time when it was difficult to do both concurrently. [Denver Business Journal]

    * “On one level I give them kudos for playing hide the ball.” Gibson Dunn is fighting a subpoena issued by defense attorneys for computer metadata related to its Bridgegate report that cleared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of all wrongdoing. [Bergen Record]

    36 Comments / / Aug 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Ashley Madison

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.24.15

    * It looks like the other slutty shoe has officially dropped. Two law firms have filed a $578 million class-action lawsuit against adultery dating site Ashley Madison for breaching their clients’ privacy rights. Impact Team must be thrilled. [TIME]

    * Gov. Chris Christie says that if he’s elected president, he won’t nominate anyone with a Harvard Law or Yale Law degree to SCOTUS. Non-Ivy law schools better start priming and primping their most successful grads on the off chance Christie gets the nod. [CBS News]

    * Case Western Law decided that two heads are better than one, because Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf were just permanently appointed to serve as co-deans. We can’t think of any other law school with a dynamic duo of deans like this. [Crain’s Cleveland Business]

    * In Biglaw, romantic wranglings can follow you beyond the grave: Thomas Hale Boggs Jr.’s estate is doing battle with a woman who claims she had a relationship with the former head of Patton Boggs — and now she wants some of his property. [National Law Journal]

    * He may be “used to playing on a different court,” but Michael Jordan really took it to the hole on this case. Defunct grocery store Dominick’s Finer Foods must now pay the sports star $8.9 million for using his name in a steak ad without his permission. [NBC News]

    80 Comments / / Aug 24, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • Caitlyn Jenner (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.21.15

    * Due to the speed at which she was driving, Caitlyn Jenner could face a vehicular manslaughter charge related to the fatal chain-reaction car crash she was involved in earlier this year. The ESPY-winning celeb’s fate is in the district attorney’s hands now. [NBC News]

    * Surprise! David Sweat, one of the New York inmates who led authorities on a three-week manhunt after he escaped from prison in June, pleaded not guilty to felony escape charges at his arraignment. He’ll likely get a few years added onto his life sentence if he’s convicted. [Reuters]

    * Oh baby: Valeant is buying Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the “female Viagra,” for a cool $1 billion. Skadden Arps and Sullivan & Cromwell, the firms repping the companies, must be turned on by the deal. [DealBook / New York Times; Am Law Daily]

    * Prosecutors in the David Messerschmitt case are seeking a 25-year sentence for Jamyra Gallmon, the woman who stabbed the DLA Piper associate in a robbery-gone-wrong and left him for dead in a D.C. hotel room. Her attorney is asking for 18 years. [Legal Times]

    * The Florida Bar is recommending disbarment for a group of attorneys accused of arranging a DUI arrest for a rival attorney during a high-profile trial. You’ve got to admit this set-up was a particularly bold move, even for Flori-duh lawyers. [Tampa Bay Times]

    18 Comments / / Aug 21, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.20.15

    * You’ve heard about what it’s like to be a Supreme Court clerk, but we bet you’ve never heard about what it’s like to be a Supreme Court intern. It’s apparently the “opportunity of a lifetime” to do errands and prepare lunch and meals for Justice Sonia Sotomayor. [Supreme Court Brief]

    * If you’re trying to file an effective brief with the Supreme Court, it’s best to write in “relatively short sentences, with a non-confrontational tone.” In other words, you really shouldn’t be trying to emulate Justice Scalia’s “jiggery-pokery” flair. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Wachtell Lipton may interested in going “big brother” on its associates, but when it comes to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm wants to steer clear of such voyeurism by doing away with clients’ quarterly reports. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

    * This judge didn’t play “just the tip” when it came to piercing his corporate veil: Paul Hansmeier of copyright-troll firm Prenda Law must pay sanctions to the tune of $64,000 after he drained cash from another one of his firms and then dissolved it. [Ars Technica]

    * Texas Tech Law is introducing a “brain-training” seminar for its first-year law students that will “maximize their brains’ performance.” One wonders if they took such a course before law school if they’d be enrolled in the same place. [Lubbock Avalanche-Journal]

    69 Comments / / Aug 20, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • Jared Fogle (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.19.15

    * This is a footlong you definitely don’t want (but it’s probably much more like a six-incher if he’s lucky). Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle is expected to plead guilty to child-pornography charges. We can’t wait to see what his plea deal with authorities actually entails. [CNN]

    * Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers filed a brief in favor of their client getting a new trial because his attack on the Boston Marathon apparently wasn’t a “crime of violence” within the meaning of the law he was sentenced under at trial. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * “To achieve those solutions, wouldn’t it help if you had a free press?” Justice Ginsburg’s travels recently took her to Vietnam, where she spoke to a packed house about the country’s need for greater freedom of press to promote social justice. [Voice of America]

    * Here’s a little-known fact about Biglaw: many of its most well-known partners were “White House rejects.” For example, Willkie Farr, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Bracewell & Giuliani, and Davis Polk are all named after failed presidential candidates. [Am Law Daily]

    * A New Mexico criminal defense attorney charged with a slew of criminal offenses is representing himself in a trial having to do with his shooting of a man outside his office. His best defense thus far? The man was a “methed-out lunatic.” [Albuquerque Journal]

    167 Comments / / Aug 19, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • (Photo via James Price)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.18.15

    * Talk about Texas justice: After an elderly couple called animal control on a family with four dogs and caused them to be assessed a $121 fine, the dog-owning family posted this eloquently worded sign on their lawn. [San Francisco Chronicle]

    * Chicago Blawkhawks hockey player Patrick Kane has been accused of rape, so naturally, his lawyer took to Facebook to defend his client in a hat trick of idiocy by engaging with bloggers, commenters, and witnesses, as one does. [CBS Chicago]

    * Just when you thought you’d memorized all of the hearsay exceptions, the judiciary says it’s thinking of tossing one out. It may be popular on the bar exam, but it’s time to say goodbye to the otherwise rarely used ancient documents rule. [National Law Journal]

    * British firms are borrowing “record sums” to fund expansion, and many have increased associate pay to compete with the U.S. firms with higher pay scales across the pond. Perhaps Biglaw firms ought to consider spreading the wealth over here. [Financial Times]

    * After having served 10 months in prison for killing his girlfriend, a law school graduate turned model, Oscar Pistorius is ready to move on to “mansion arrest” for the remainder of his sentence. Man, it must be nice to be a wealthy convict in South Africa. [Reuters]

    26 Comments / / Aug 18, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • Jay Z (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.17.15

    * This October, rappers Jay Z and Timbaland will have to testify in a lawsuit concerning copyright infringement and improper music sampling. We’ll see how “Big Pimpin'” they really are when we find out which lawyers and law firms are repping them. [Page Six / New York Post]

    * This judge apparently doesn’t appreciate fighting words in pleadings. “Do you want to fight me? Is that what you want?” A West Virginia magistrate judge challenged a litigant — one who previously called the magistrate a “fat sweaty slob” in motion papers — to come to his house and “see what happens.” [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

    * An ex-Texas judge was sentenced for his side job of smuggling guns into Mexico and selling them. He faced up to 70 years when he pleaded guilty to two felony counts in May, and was handed his 18-month sentence on Friday. Yeehaw! [Austin American-Statesman]

    * The Idaho College of Law will begin to host first-year law school classes at its Boise campus starting in 2017. The Boise campus now serves 1Ls, 2LS, and 3Ls, but not to worry, this flyover law school’s main campus isn’t going anywhere. [Idaho Statesman]

    * Julian Bond, civil rights icon, SPLC board member, former NAACP chair, RIP. [NYT]

    24 Comments / / Aug 17, 2015 at 8:59 AM
  • The women of SCOTUS (Photo via Maia Weinstock)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.13.15

    * “When it’s convenient, we’re alumni; when it’s not convenient, we are not alumni.” Grads of Texas Wesleyan Law — which is now known as Texas A&M Law — are suing because the school won’t grant them new degrees or recognize them as alumni. Harsh, y’all. [Houston Chronicle]

    * The ABA Journal wants to know who you think the smartest judge in the U.S. is. Let’s hear it for the wonderful women of the Supreme Court: Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. [ABA Journal]

    * Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the country, it only seems logical that bans on adoptions by same-sex couples should be overturned. Mississippi will have Roberta Kaplan of Windsor fame to thank when its ban is struck down. [New York Times]

    * Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane has claimed innocence with regard to the criminal charges she recently racked up. She blames the entire ordeal on blowback from the state’s “Porngate” scandal. AG Kane has got one hell of a moneyshot. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

    * Did you know that there’s such a thing as barbecue law? Further, did you know that a Biglaw attorney who serves as counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright who’s never handled a barbecue case has cornered the market on BBQ law books (affiliate link)? [Legal Times]

    70 Comments / / Aug 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM
  • Michael Jordan, laughing off the fact that millennials don't know who he is.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

    Uncategorized

    Morning Docket: 08.12.15

    * Michael Jordan was present during jury selection for his case against defunct supermarket Dominick’s, but potential jurors didn’t seem the least bit fazed. In fact, just a single one of them considered the basketball star their “personal hero or idol.” Ouch. [Chicago Tribune]

    * Maryland Law will be offering a very topical “Law and ______” class this semester, entitled “Freddie Gray’s Baltimore: Past, Present and Moving Forward.” Students enrolled in the course will be asked to create fixes for social problems. This’ll be interesting. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * According to the GC of Fannie Mae, Biglaw’s profit structure is broken, but the solution he proposes to the problem may not sit well with associates who are slaves to the billable hour — but only if they care about their hourly rates. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * Unlike most of his colleagues, Larry Sonsini of Wilson Sonsini didn’t immediately join a brand name Biglaw firm after he graduated from law school. Instead, he created his own brand name Biglaw firm, so that worked out well. Your own mileage may vary. [Forbes]

    * It seems that New York City’s Responsible Banking Act is unconstitutional because it conflicts with existing state and federal banking laws. To be fair, between dueling mayoral policies, this law was completely FUBARed from the get go. [DealBook / New York Times]

    31 Comments / / Aug 12, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Donald Sterling

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.11.15

    * “[H]e’s just a litigious person. Unless he has something going on in the public eye, he can’t exist.” Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling filed a suit against V. Stiviano and TMZ, accusing them of invading his privacy by sharing a recording of his racism. [New York Post]

    * A jury found that an ex-municipal court judge who was convicted of insurance fraud was lying when he claimed that he’d been attacked outside the courthouse by thugs wielding a toilet tank lid. We guess you could say that the jurors were able to flush out all of this guy’s crap. [ABA Journal]

    * Talk about a Hail Mary suit: Ted Wells of Paul Weiss and NFL locker-room bullying report fame is being sued for defamation by the former Miami Dolphins offensive-line coach who happened to be one of the casualties of his investigation. [Washington Post]

    * Deutsche Bank’s general counsel will step down from his position at the end of the year. Deutsche Bank joins JPMorgan and Bank of America as the third big bank to have announced a change in GC within the past month. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]

    * If you’re considering applying to law school, here are five steps you can take to write a “great” personal statement. Surprisingly, one step isn’t mentioning your guaranteed employment at a family firm after graduation. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    24 Comments / / Aug 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Robot Lawyer

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.10.15

    * Hot on the heels of the news that the majority of students enrolled in California’s “failure factories” unaccredited law schools drop out before graduation, legislators are pushing for the state bar to do something about it before even more prospective students are conned. [Los Angeles Times]

    * Robots will be coming for your jobs more quickly now thanks to the largest law firm in the world. Dentons invested an untold sum in Ross, an app that will inevitably replace first-year lawyers by utilizing super computer Watson’s artificial intelligence to perform legal research. [Globe and Mail]

    * Slowly but surely, the legal industry is making a comeback in terms of headcount. Sure, the entire profession is only employing 3,500 more people now than it was at this time last year (sorry about that, law school grads), but it’s still an improvement. [Am Law Daily]

    * Just because it doesn’t look like the Securities and Exchange Commission has been doing anything doesn’t mean that lawyers at the agency have been twiddling their thumbs. They’ve got some major things in the works, they swear. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * “I wonder how it feels to save the life of a mass murderer? Good job.” In a shocking verdict, convicted Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes was sentenced to life in prison. All it took was one holdout juror to take the death penalty off the table. [Reuters]

    13 Comments / / Aug 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Katy Perry (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.07.15

    * Graffiti artist Rime alleges that Katy Perry wore a dress designed by Moschino that ripped off some of his copyrightable work. This dark horse has injected herself into a lot of IP issues this year. Your lawyer fans thank you. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * The Seventh Circuit is totally sorry about the case that it completely forgot about for the past five years. It seems that the court pleadings were “placed in the wrong stack” on remand from the Supreme Court in 2010. Congratulations, America: This is your justice system. Oopsie! [ABA Journal]

    * Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been charged with perjury, conspiracy, obstructing justice, and several other crimes in connection with a grand jury leak. She’s the second state AG to be criminally charged this week. Nice job. [USA Today]

    * Arizona Summit Law filed a motion to dismiss former employee and alumnus Paula Lorona’s pro se retaliation and consumer fraud lawsuit with prejudice. The school claims the complaint is pleaded deficiently. Well… you educated her. [National Law Journal]

    * Rapper Busta Rhymes was charged with second degree assault this week after he allegedly threw a protein drink at a gym employee. His lawyer calls the charge “a bunch of bull.” Hmm, we apparently should’ve listened when he told us he was dangerous. [MTV]

    13 Comments / / Aug 7, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • Mmm, conspiracy.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.06.15

    * Another American doctor is accused of illegally killing another lesser-known lion in Zimbabwe, but this time, Biglaw is in the doctor’s corner. Apparently when you’re a hunter who’s become the hunted, you turn to Blank Rome. [Am Law Daily]

    * Where Dewey eat when allegedly conspiring to scam the firm’s creditors about its financial situation? According to testimony in the D&L trial, criminal activity reportedly tastes better when paired with fine dining experiences. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * At some point in the very near future, it’s likely that one or more new Supreme Court justices will need to be appointed, and some say that it’s obvious that Justice Don Willett, the Tweeter Laureate of Texas, is plotting a course to be a nominee. #blessed [Forbes]

    * The Fourth Circuit handed down an important opinion on cellphone location records, and it looks like the police need a warrant. Thanks for the circuit split. Quick, someone write a law review note before SCOTUS takes it. [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

    * For some would-be law students, applying early decision may not be the right choice. After all, if you think you can get into ALL of the T14 schools, we bet you’d probably like to see if your huge ego is correct. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

    9 Comments / / Aug 6, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Walter Palmer Lion buttface

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.05.15

    * “There are no bathrooms, no air-conditioning, no good food. You don’t usually get good cellphone reception, either, and you can’t just quit and go somewhere comfortable.” Surprisingly, this Biglaw partner isn’t talking about his firm’s working conditions. [Miami Herald]

    * It’s going to be difficult for U.S. authorities to prosecute Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved lion, Cecil. Bringing this guy down under the Lacey Act is going to be a real task. If only this were a Pixar movie with a happy ending. :( [Reuters]

    * SCOTUS justices are jet-setting across the world this summer, with RBG in South Korea and Vietnam, Roberts in Japan, Scalia in Italy, Kennedy in Austria, and Breyer in England. Let’s hope no one has to evacuate a plane via emergency chute. [National Law Journal]

    * If you’re considering applying to law school and you decide to visit one this summer, aside from students huddled in dark corners of the library who are crying over their employment prospects, there are a few things you should be looking for. [U.S. News]

    * The mother of Sandra Bland, the woman who hanged herself in a Texas jail cell last month, has filed a wrongful-death suit, alleging that her daughter shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place and was improperly supervised by guards. [New York Times]

    32 Comments / / Aug 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Britney Spears (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.04.15

    * Her dad’s the ringleader, he calls the shots; she’s like a firecracker, she makes it hot: Since “everything is working perfectly” under pop star Britney Spears’s conservatorship — which has been in effect for the past seven years — it’ll likely stay that way indefinitely. [Us Weekly]

    * Well, that was fun while it lasted. The ABA did away with its year-old LSAT exemption rule in record time. Law schools will only have until 2017 to lard up classes with students who haven’t taken the exam. Good luck and Godspeed. [National Law Journal via TaxProf Blog]

    * Simpson Thacher isn’t the only Biglaw firm that allegedly blew it when it came to turning hundreds of General Motors’ secured creditors into unsecured creditors. Mayer Brown is also facing twin class-action suits for this $1.5 billion boo-boo. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

    * Good news, everyone! The ABA approved a merger between Rutgers Law-Camden and Rutgers Law-Newark, and we’re going to look at this in a positive light because theoretically speaking, there’s now one less law school out there. [MyCentralJersey.com]

    * “Are Law Schools Skewing Job Placement Numbers?” In a word, yes. Not to be a complete pessimist realist, but come on, you know most school-funded positions exist solely to prop up any given law school’s less-than-pleasing job statistics. [Bloomberg]

    * When you’ve taken the lives of so many, no one cares about your sad life story. A Colorado jury inched closer to inflicting the death penalty upon convicted movie theater shooter James Holmes in the second phase of his trial’s penalty portion. [New York Times]

    21 Comments / / Aug 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Justice Antonin Scalia, mocking advocates of two-year law degrees.

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 08.03.15

    * According to this former Supreme Court clerk, Justice Scalia’s judicial zingers are just like porn in that they’re “titillating, but over time they coarsen the culture of which they are a part.” (Plus, for what it’s worth, the jurist’s audience usually never gets a money shot.) [Washington Post]

    * Better late than never? The ABA dropped the hammer on law schools trying to game their employment stats with a new rule that’ll force them to report school-funded jobs as part-time unless certain length and salary reqs are met. [WSJ Law Blog]

    * The largest of D.C.’s largest law firms grew even larger over the past year, and thanks to a merger, an outsider firm — Morgan Lewis — managed to infiltrate the capital’s Big Four. Sorry, WilmerHale, but maybe 2016 will be your comeback year. [National Law Journal]

    * In other ABA news, the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar rejected a plea for academic credit for paid externships, because we apparently want to keep students as indebted as possible before they begin their professional legal careers. [ABA Journal]

    * A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Richard Lee, a known conspiracy theorist, who sought the release of the Seattle police department’s death-scene photographs from Nirvana star Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Hey! Wait! He’ll file a new complaint. [Seattle Times]

    7 Comments / / Aug 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM
  • Bill Cosby (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.29.15

    * With the accusations mounting, and the stunning New York Magazine cover feature 35 women alleging Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them, the comedian’s legal team is changing tactics. [CNN]

    * Does ideology play a role in conferring honorary degrees? One conservative law professor says yes. [National Law Journal]

    * Ever wonder why there are so many iconic movie roles that are lawyers? [ABA Journal]

    * Citizens United actually loses a legal battle, this time courtesy of New York’s own Amazing Schneiderman. [Wall Street Journal]

    * Need more evidence that campaign finance laws are a joke? [Huffington Post]

    * China’s first lawsuit over pollution is a go. [Jurist]

    * What will the long term impact be of legally classifying Uber drivers as employees? [Law.com]

    16 Comments / / Jul 29, 2015 at 9:01 AM
  • ArrowGoingDown

    Morning Docket

    Morning Docket: 07.28.15

    * Despite the fact that the 25/75 percentile LSAT range for many law schools has dropped precipitously, some schools still care about LSAT scores — because they care about you (and their U.S. News rank). [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

    * Maryland Law and Baltimore Law are going to be teaming up to launch a solo practice incubator for their recent graduates, and BC, BU, and Northeastern will be doing the same thing in 2016. Full-time, long-term jobs where bar passage is required for all! [National Law Journal]

    * The Dacheng Dentons merger has the potential to completely change the legal profession as we know it, or fall flat on its face and be remembered as a good idea that went wrong. It’s been six months, and we’re all still waiting to see what happens. [Financial Times]

    * The criminal case against ex-Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov is like the Energizer bunny in that it keeps going, and going, and going, and going. Manhattan DA Cy Vance is appealing Aleynikov’s overturned conviction. [DealBook / New York Times]

    * “The unfortunate scenario alleged in the complaint cries out for a legislative fix, not a judicial nix.” As expected, terminally ill civil rights attorney Christy McDonnell’s right-to-die lawsuit was dismissed by a California judge yesterday. How depressing. [AP]

    8 Comments / / Jul 28, 2015 at 8:50 AM