Movies

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….

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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….

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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”

There’s a pretty funny video making the rounds. It involves Lando Calrissian becoming a personal injury attorney and representing storm troopers injured by reckless Jedi.

It’s pretty funny, but totally unrealistic. I mean, Lando would never be a personal injury lawyer. Clearly, Calrissian would be a family law attorney who represents women. “Hello, what have we here? You truly belong in your house… with half of his stuff.”

Sorry, I’m gonna let the video finish, but Lando Calrissian would make the best divorce lawyer of all time…

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I'm not the guy you kill. I'm the guy you buy!

* A St. Louis plastic surgeon has been sued for allegedly posting topless photos of her breast augmentation patients online — with their names attached to the photos. It’s just more evidence that sooner or later everyone will be naked on the internet. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* Dewey have enough partners to make the Partner Contribution Plan viable? It seems that we do! [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Wow, the miracles of technology. Now if you have a paternity dispute that you need to clear up, you don’t need to go on Jerry Springer. All you need to do is visit your local taco truck DNA testing van. [Legal Blog Watch]

* You know that scary feeling when it seems you have forgotten something but you can’t figure out what it is? Well, you forgot your toddler — at the grocery store. There, fixed it for you. [Legal Juice]

* Oh boy, another misbehaving state judge. This one, from Georgia, allegedly pre-signed arrest warrants and hit on a woman who appeared before him in court. Sounds like quite the stand-up dude. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

* What are the top five movies all law students should watch? Let the arguing over this list begin… [Greedy Associates]

* I’m sure there must have been a legitimate reason for a federal judge to compare the civil liberties of Muslim Americans to a “hideous sea monster,” but c’mon, really? [Chicago Tribune]

Who had a ball this summer?

It’s August. The dog days. The beginning of the end of the summer. Summer associate programs at Biglaw firms are starting to wrap up. So it’s time for us to seek submissions for the best summer associate event of the season.

Biglaw summer programs are smaller and less opulent than they used to be. But they’re not as bad as they were during the darkest days of the recession. Summer associates are getting offers. And having lesbian sex. It’s not all bad.

There have to be some summer events worth nominating this year. Hell, at this point we’d settle for a summer event that didn’t require medical attention after it finished….

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It’s not every day that the student selected to speak at a law school commencement admits that he went to law school because he watched the movie My Cousin Vinny. You certainly don’t often hear Mr. Cousin Vinny admit that he thought going to law school would be the key to a job with a top salary.

But then again, you don’t often watch the valedictorian’s speech for the class of 2012 at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

The thing is… instructive. I’ve heard a bunch of commencement speeches, but mainly from Ivy League types. The student speaker at a school like Cooley is, well, different.

Take a look, and a listen….

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A lot of legal work is decidedly uncool. Sadly, there’s just not much sexiness in talking about your latest corporate bankruptcy case or major document review project.

But there are exceptions. Case in point: entertainment lawyers. How sweet would it be to represent celebrities? (Except if you had to work for train wrecks veteran rock stars like Courtney Love).

So, that being said, let’s take a look at the Hollywood Reporter’s newly released Power Lawyers 2012 list, which rounds up the top 100 entertainment attorneys in America.

Maybe you know someone on the list?

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No one likes a lazy welfare zombie.

How a person handles a semi-serious discussion of the zombie apocalypse can be an important indicator of a person’s sense of humor and general pleasantness to be around.

At my old apartment in Oakland, my friends and I would often discuss barricading the front door, disabling the elevator, transforming old liquor into Molotov cocktails to hurl off the balcony, how best to make use of the convenience store across the street… some actual thought went into our analysis. (We also lived in Oakland, so there’s that.)

But it’s not just weirdos like me who enjoy this stuff — turns out law professors do, too. Last week, we read about a law prof analyzing Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.” And today, we take a look at one legal academic’s investigation into the crazy problems the U.S. government must manage once it is forced to maintain revenues in the face of the rise of the undead….

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