Movies

* Another year, another round-up of the year’s legal highlights from the National Law Journal. Perhaps after a year that was wracked with destruction for this supposedly noble profession, we’ll actually see some substantial change in 2013. [National Law Journal]

* Meanwhile in Iowa, failure to sleep with your horndog boss is “like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it,” so if he’s irresistibly attracted to your exotic lady parts car, you better be ready, willing, and able to find yourself a new job. [Washington Post]

* People were so pissed off about Instagram’s new terms of service that someone filed a class action suit. The app’s litigation filter must make exasperated attorneys and wasted dollars look shiny and happy. [Reuters]

* “It is not the perfect path to wealth and success that people may have envisioned.” As we’ve been stating here at Above the Law for years, being a lawyer is no longer the golden ticket that it once was. [Bloomberg]

* ASU Law will now offer a North American Law Degree that’ll prepare graduates to practice in the U.S. and Canada. Yes, ship your jobless grads north where there’s an articling crisis, great idea! [Associated Press]

* Still thinking about applying to law school? That’s a funny joke. But if you’re interested in being a punchline in three years, follow this application season timeline. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Jack Klugman, noted actor whose roles included that of Juror #5 in Twelve Angry Men, RIP. [New York Times]

* Richard Adams, a plaintiff in the first suit seeking federal recognition of gay marriage, RIP. [New York Times]

Catch Me If You Can is a fun movie. Tom Hanks has a delightful Boston accent that really captures the “Jesus Christ, I can’t believe people talk like this” aspect of the sounds. Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of teenage con-man Frank Abagnale Jr. is fun and entertaining. And there’s a Chris Walken sighting.

In the movie, Hanks’s FBI Agent, Carl Hanratty, chases after Abagnale as he forges checks, degrees, and a number of professions. One thing Hanratty can’t figure out is how Agagnale “faked” his way through the Louisiana Bar Exam and gained legal credentials. When Hanratty finally collars Abagnale (SPOILER ALERT: this movie came out in 2002), the con man revels that he didn’t “cheat” on the bar exam, he just studied “for two weeks and passed.”

For many lawyers, this was an anticlimactic end to a running joke in the movie. With all due respect to people who can’t pass the Louisiana bar, passing the Louisiana bar is not particularly hard (despite the test’s unusual length and civil-law components). I don’t know if you can do it in two weeks. But in a month? In six weeks? Even without going to law school, I’m not sure there is a bar exam in the country that is so hard that a reasonably intelligent person couldn’t pass it with intense study over a few months. Again, they’re not really teaching you what you need to do as a lawyer in law school, they’re just messing with how you think.

It turns out that the real life Frank Abagnale Jr. passed the LA Bar on his third try. But there wasn’t any deception involved, he eventually just passed the test. Once he earned the credentials, Abagnale says that pretending to be a lawyer was one of the easiest things to fake.

He’s not wrong…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘How Did You Pass The BAAAAAr’? Frank Abagnale Jr. Says It’s Easy To Fake Being A Lawyer”

* Wait, did other people know this Casey Anthony movie was happening and not tell me? With Rob Lowe? How much would you pay to get drunk and watch it with Nancy Grace? [Lifetime]

* In America, poorly parked cars get tickets. In Soviet Russia, poorly parked cars get douches. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Sometimes you can evade consequences associated with evading taxes, and sometimes you can’t. [Going Concern]

* The George Zimmerman defense fund seems to be alive and well… unlike Trayvon Martin. [NPR]

* I feel like it would be great if the NFL took marijuana off of its banned substance list. It’s not like the drug is performance enhancing. [The Nation]

* A leading organization for in-house lawyers weighs in against the sanctions imposed on TD Bank. [Association of Corporate Counsel]

* Don’t forget to add your résumé to the flood for our open positions on Above the Law. At this point, you might want to send a picture to get our attention. Not of yourself, but you know, Twinkies, peep-toed shoes, something that we actually care about. [Above the Law]

* George Washington University has been stripped of its U.S. News college ranking. The law school appears safe. [Tax Prof Blog]

* Now students can get in trouble for bullying their teachers. Teachers, people! TEACHERS CAN’T STAND UP TO THE MEAN SCHOOL KIDS WITHOUT A LAWSUIT. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Just to be clear, Antonin Scalia would not be on the side of the secessionists. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* So the accuser of Kevin Clash, voice of Elmo, recanted and said that he was a consenting adult when he was with Clash. It’s great to know that Elmo is getting barely legal ass. [Huffington Post]

* FCPA! Guidance! This is WAY MORE INTERESTING than Petraeus and the Kelley sisters. [WSJ Law Blog]

* For those of you who saw Capturing the Friedmans, here’s an update on the ongoing proceedings. [WiseLawNY]

Proven security, but maybe not from murder charges.

* Okay, okay, I’ll upgrade my McAfee virus protection, just please don’t kill me. [Fox News]

* Elmo likes to talk dirty? [TMZ]

* Progress would involve getting cops to stop beating people up just for fun. [Simple Justice]

* James Dolan, already one of the worst owners in professional sports, is now sticking to the letter of the Cablevision contract and requiring customers to call in to tell them when Sandy knocked out their service if they want a refund. [Gawker]

* The Electric Chair movie sounds horrifying, but so does the death penalty. [Underdog]

* Check out Avvo Ignite, an exciting new client conversion and website solution for attorneys. [Avvo Ignite via Law Technology News]

* Check me out on this podcast and hear my passionate and slightly drunken defense of David Petraeus. I do not think that there is an epidemic of generals being blackmailed over their affairs. [Recess Appointments]

An ethical duty?

* Are you ready for some Supreme gossip? In remarks delivered at Colorado Law, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg predicted that the Defense of Marriage Act would be argued “toward the end of the current term.” [CBS News]

* Dewey’s version of trying to curry favor for the proposed $72M partner settlement? Filing a deposition transcript noting that others could’ve also been blamed for D&L’s downfall, but weren’t due to time constraints. Gee, thanks. [Am Law Daily]

* Novak Druce + Quigg and Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz will merge to form Novak Druce Connolly Bove & Quigg, the 7th largest IP firm in the U.S. Guess seven name partners was a bit much. [Delaware Law Weekly]

* Michael McShane was nominated by President Obama to fill a judgeship in Oregon. If confirmed, he’d be one of the few openly gay judges on the federal bench, which, of course, would be fabulous. [Oregonian]

* The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession wants the ABA to amend the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to include a duty to promote diversity. Because we clearly need a rule on that. [National Law Journal]

* Cindy Garcia, an actress from “Innocence of Muslims,” is suing, claiming that she was duped into the role under false pretenses. She wants the film removed from YouTube. Everyone else does, too, lady. [Bloomberg]

* A judge refused to issue an injunction against the California ban on foie gras, instead allowing a suit on the same topic to move forward. Oh mon dieu, judge, think of all the poor Francophiles! [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Joshua Morse III, former dean of Mississippi Law who defied segregation, RIP. [New York Times]

In his new book, Academy Award-winner Errol Morris has taken on one of the highest-profile murder case of the last 50 years.

Morris, known for The Fog of War, his documentary about Robert S. McNamara, just published his second book — A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald (affiliate link) — a revival of the story of a young Army doctor convicted in 1979 of murdering his pregnant wife and two children.

Americans of a certain age (i.e., older than me) almost certainly remember MacDonald, whose story was told and endlessly picked apart on television, in Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss, and The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm. But Morris’s new book is perhaps the first serious investigative look at the idea that MacDonald may very well be innocent.

Morris’s book, which has already garnered positive reviews in the New York Times and the Atlantic, is at once a thrilling true crime story and challenging philosophical look at the tricky nature of facts and the importance of narrative in the American legal system.

Let’s hear more about the book and chat with Morris….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Interview With Oscar-Winner Errol Morris, Author of ‘A Wilderness of Error’”

See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to be president, anyway. I think attorneys are so busy — you know they’re always taught to argue everything, always weigh everything, weigh both sides. They are always devil’s advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that.

You know all that stuff. But, I think it is maybe time — what do you think — for maybe a businessman. How about that?

– Acadamy Award-winner Clint Eastwood, giving a surprise speech at the RNC last night, during which the legendary actor directed his comments to an imaginary Barack Obama in an empty chair.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski

Supreme Court precedent supports the appearance of federal judges in works of filmed or staged entertainment. For example, back in 1997, Justice Harry Blackmun played Justice Joseph Story in Amistad (as you can see in Justice Blackmun’s IMDb profile). More recently, in 2009, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had cameos in a performance at the Washington National Opera.

We all know how much the Ninth Circuit loves to follow the Supreme Court. So should it be surprising that the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, will be appearing in a feature film this fall?

And no, it’s not a documentary about the legal system. It’s a fiction-based, feature film….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Star Is Born: Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, Coming To A Movie Theater Near You”

What happens when a child star’s fame fizzles out? Like many one-hit wonders, they’ll try to keep their careers afloat by starring in new roles, but sometimes the spark is just gone. While some try to remain relevant by serving as crime commentators on truTV, others just try to keep their names out of crime blotters. Still others have been trying their hands at the other side of the law.

For example, you’ve surely heard that Jeff Cohen, otherwise known as Chunk from The Goonies, is now a truffle-shuffling lawyer. Josh Saviano, aka Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years, is now a lawyer too (sans the geeky glasses).

Yet another notable child star has moved past the practice of law to enter the classroom, but the law school where he teaches is a long way from the Paradise City….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Child Star to Law Star: Meet Professor Charles Korsmo”

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