My father had a theory. Like most of his theories, he freely admitted that he had probably heard or read it somewhere else. At any rate, the theory involved the scrubs who sat at the end of NBA benches and how a subtle and acceptable racism dictated that those guys who would never see the court anyway would be unusually pale. That if a player wasn’t helping a team win, why would you waste the slot on another black guy? Might as well throw a bone to the largely white fanbase who bought up all the tickets. This theory, of the Token White Guy, holds a sort of narrative power. It makes sense as a story and, facts be damned, has the ring of truth to it. The towel-waving honk at the end of the bench stands for a gentler racism. The inevitability of racism usefully funneled into something nobody cares about.
This week, racism in the NBA took a darker turn (pun WHOLLY intended!). As Donald Sterling was run out of the league on a rail, the Internet exploded in the way it does and the way stars do until nothing was left but the White Dwarf, Donald Sterling. The shrunken remains of a normal star… the degenerate matter.
Which feels a bit like what I’m left with after a week of this story. The degenerate matter. Still, there are words yet unsaid and positions yet untaken. Let us reflect on these serious matters, legally. Like we were trained. This whole thing may open up new vistas of understanding about our notions of justice. Or not.
* If the NBA owners agree — as expected — to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, it could cost his heirs over $100 million. Let’s feel sorry that megamillionaires might be slightly less megamillionaires. [Slate]
* The inimitable Charles P. Pierce with more on the horrifically botched execution in Oklahoma last night. Overlooked in the horror was the constitutional crisis that preceded it — where the very authority of the state supreme court was called into question. [Esquire]
* The conservative argument for copyright reform. Seriously, at this point there’s no political philosophy in favor of lengthy copyright terms, so why can’t we change this? Oh, right. Media companies have tons and tons of money. [R Street]
You’ll probably still be able to get into law school, even if these weren’t your grades.
* Michelle Friedland, a Munger Tolles partner, has been confirmed to the Ninth Circuit. Congratulations! This marks the first time in years that the court has had a full slate of 29 judges, which is also pretty cool for law nerds. [Legal Times]
* L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is probably going to be flopping around just like LeBron now that the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, a former Cravath attorney, has launched a full court press against him. [Am Law Daily]
* This is something completely new and different. The United Church of Christ filed a lawsuit against North Carolina over its ban on gay marriage saying it restricts its clergy’s religious freedom. [New York Times]
* Dear Low Grades, High Hopes: You don’t need an addendum to your law school application. You’ll get in everywhere you apply — they’re desperate to fill their seats. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
* Singer-songwriter Paul Simon was arrested yesterday alongside his wife after she “picked a fight” with him. Given how “disorderly” things were, perhaps all he wanted to hear was the sound of silence. [CNN]
* Zynga is suing the makers of Bang With Friends alleging that the latter chose its name to take advantage of market confusion with Words With Friends. To remedy the suit, the app is considering a name change to “Bangville,” which actually works better because Bang With Friends is all about pathetically bothering everyone on Facebook to give you something you can’t go out and get yourself. [BBC]
* Ariel Castro gave some testimony. It was crazy. Enjoy! [Jezebel]
* A comprehensive legal analysis of Better Off Dead. Spoiler alert: the Paperboy was a penal code violating machine. [The Legal Geeks]
* 10 Things Only Someone Who’s Taken the Bar Exam Would Know [Policy Mic]
* Just where is the FISA Court? 10 points to Gryffindor for the “Room of Requirement” reference. [Konklone]
* The NBA luxury tax is supposed to help parity. So why doesn’t it? [The Legal Blitz]
* Brutally honest Craigslist ad for temp document review work. This will probably come down at some point, so the ad is reproduced after the jump…
* Sorry ladies, but Seth Meyers is now engaged. To a lawyer of all people. Alexi Ashe of AC Investment Management graduated from Southwestern University School of Law and previously worked at the King’s County District Attorney’s Office, Human Rights First, and the Somaly Mam Foundation. [Gawker]
* A D.C. law firm is giving away its law library. An unscrupulous law school could bolster its U.S. News ranking because they count the number of volumes in law libraries even though no one has used a bound legal reporter in a decade. [Constitutional Daily]
* “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? And does it rise to the level of nuisance?” Just one gem over on this Tumblr. [Shakespeare Takes the Bar Exam]
* The Ohio Supreme Court may hear a speeding ticket case because there are no more pressing issues in Ohio. [USA Today]
* Pharrell is suing will.i.am because the latter seems to think he owns a trademark in every sentence with “I am” in it. And Pharrell quotes from noted legal authority Dr. Seuss. [Jezebel]
* Does Dwight Howard’s decision to sign with the Rockets highlight how state taxes pose a hidden threat to league parity? [TaxProf Blog]
* Still hankering for Supreme Court discussion? Here’s a thorough roundtable examination of the previous term. [Construction Magazine]
* Have a good legal-themed short fiction idea? Enter the ABA Journal’s Ross Writing Contest and you could win $3,000. [ABA Journal]
Venue disputes aren’t normally entertaining. But then again, venue disputes don’t normally involve professional basketball players, embarrassing emails, a smattering of Biglaw firms, and delicious, delicious irony.
Former National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter, whose management of the union representing the NBA’s players is blamed by some for dragging out the NBA lockout that nearly derailed last season, may soon get kicked out of the venue where he filed a multimillion dollar suit last month. He’ll finally understand how the players felt.
His adversary, NBPA President Derek Fisher, has filed a motion alleging that Billy Hunter chose the venue because of his close personal relationship with the presiding judge.
It would be a shame for Hunter if they had emails to prove it.
* What to do when your federal agency’s website has been hacked by Anonymous and you’re unable to post a major report online for public dissemination? Well, just ask a law professor to do it for you on his blog; that’s not embarrassing, not at all. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The many victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster can now rejoice, because yesterday, Transocean pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, and will pay the second-largest environmental fine in United States history to the tune of $400 million. [CNN]
* Money takes flight: eleventy billion Biglaw firms are behind the beast that is this awful airline merger, but taking the lead are lawyers from Weil Gotshal for AMR and Latham & Watkins for US Airways. [Am Law Daily]
* After questioning the validity of one of the NBA players union’s contracts, Paul Weiss is withholding details about it thanks to the government’s intrusion. Way to block nepotism’s alleged slam dunk. [New York Times]
* “When is the last time you took the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street to trial?” Elizabeth Warren took the Socratic method to the Senate Banking Committee and she was applauded for it. [National Law Journal]
* If you liked it, then perhaps you should’ve put a ring on it, but not a Tiffany’s diamond engagement ring that you’ve purchased from Costco, because according to this trademark lawsuit, it may be a knockoff. [Bloomberg]
* “We feel very badly for Megan Thode.” A Pennsylvania judge ruled against the Lehigh student who sued over her grade of C+ because let’s be serious, did ANYONE AT ALL really think he wouldn’t do that?! [Morning Call]
Celebrity opinions are the worst. On this, I think we can all agree. Unlike our pundit class, celebrities have very few advanced degrees and are never held to account for their prognostications. When a talking head on TV or the internet or even books gets something wrong, he’s fired immediately. The marketplace of ideas demands nothing less. Someone more inclined to bad puns would say that as a marketplace, being fired for being wrong is more than laissez… fair.
And so we hate celebrities mouthing off like they are wont to do because they don’t get fired from their jobs when they’re wrong. This is especially true of the sports world, where the famous people not being fired for voicing opinions also represent our favorite teams, like the Chicago Bears. Or even our least favorite teams, like the Syracuse Orangemen.
Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim spoke out about gun control this week because a bunch of children were murdered recently and a bunch of microphones were stuck in his face. The men holding the microphones said, “Hey Jim, let’s talk sports.”
Jim didn’t want to talk sports. Let’s talk sports….
It’s difficult to put into words just how racially divisive the O.J. Simpson trial was. That’s my first excuse for why this post is so bad. For nearly a year and a half, the entire nation was tuned into the trial. An entire constellation of ridiculous people became our first reality stars: the poodle-haired Marcia Clark, smooth-talkin’ Johnny Cochran, n-bomb aficionado Mark Furman, hirsute little person Lance Ito. Or maybe the stars were DNA evidence and reasonable doubt. Because for a year and change, America was riveted by a criminal trial. By lawyers and evidence and rulings and motions and cross examinations. And while we still occasionally watch trials of the century, we don’t do it with near as much vigor as we did when Orenthal James Simpson was indicted. And we definitely don’t break down along nearly the same rigid racial lines.
To put it into terms that current law school students will understand (an overwhelming majority of whom don’t remember the trial), O.J. Simpson was a lot like Justin Bieber. Like, that polarizing.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
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