New York State

New York State Board of Law Examiners NYBOLEThe New York Board of Law Examiners has been releasing bar exam results earlier and earlier every year. Last year, for example, bar candidates received their results on October 30. Once again, it’s not even November, and some nervous test takers received emails from the New York BOLE before midnight on October 27 with their results from the July 2014 administration of the exam.

This news bears repeating: it’s not even November, and we have the New York bar exam results. As one of the most-taken exams in the country — about 12,000 people took the test last July — this is big news. It’s almost like the BOLE wants recent law school graduates to be able to start working as attorneys sooner — or trying to, at least. We’re living in crazy times, folks.

So much for that mid-November release date everyone was talking about, huh?

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In December, Steven Wise, founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, filed writs of habeas corpus on behalf of four chimpanzees he believed were wrongfully detained. Some scoffed at the idea — quips like “the law is going to the apes” or something about “appeals” and “banana peels” — but the facts were pretty bleak. One of the chimps, Tommy, is 26 years old and allegedly reduced to a life in “solitary confinement in a small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed” in upstate New York. Can you imagine more horrific conditions than upstate New York?

Seriously though, Tommy’s life sounds awful and a New York judge agreed. While admitting that he was unable to grant the order since, you know, the law doesn’t talk about chimps, Judge Joseph Sise conceded that Wise made a compelling argument. Yesterday, a five-member appellate panel heard Tommy’s case and depending on how they rule, they might just make a monkey out of Judge Sise. Is New York on the brink of a revolution in animal law?

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Burger King bounty for Biglaw.

* Judge Posner dished out a whole lot of benchslaps at yesterday’s Seventh Circuit arguments over Indiana and Wisconsin’s bans on same-sex marriage. [BuzzFeed]

* Major U.S. and Canadian law firms chow down on Burger King’s whopper of a deal with Tim Hortons. [Am Law Daily]

* A recent Delaware court ruling on attorney-client privilege might allow in-house lawyers to speak more freely about wrongdoing at their companies, according to Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon. [DealBook / New York Times]

* The corruption trial of former Virginia governor continues; yesterday Bob McDonnell’s sister took the stand. [Washington Post]

* A favorable evidentiary ruling for Aaron Hernandez. [Fox Sports]

* And good news for Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, the two law professors running for governor and lieutenant governor of New York: the Times dissed their opponent, Andrew Cuomo, with a non-endorsement. [New York Times]

* I recently spoke with one of my cousins Joao Atienza of the Cebu Sun Star, about Above the Law and the world of legal blogging. [Cebu Sun Star]


No one has getting indicted on their bucket list. No one sends word of their indictment to their alumni magazine.

That said, if you’re going to get indicted, it’s a whole lot better to be charged in state court in New York than in federal court anywhere else in the country, in at least one way.

The criminal case about the implosion of Dewey & LeBoeuf shows why. Last week, the folks charged in the Dewey meltdown filed a number of motions to dismiss the indictment. Everyone but Zachary Warren filed an omnibus motion to dismiss. Steve DiCarmine filed his own motion that was so, well, something that it contained Above the Law’s quote of the day. Zachary Warren filed a separate motion. There’s some great stuff in all of the pleadings about the government’s case.

What’s perhaps less obvious to those of us who do white-collar criminal defense but don’t normally practice in state court in New York is that, according to the law as set out in these papers, New York state is a magical Shangri-la of due process compared to federal court.

How?

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Zephyr Teachout

I know I’m an underdog. But New Yorkers love underdogs!

– Professor Zephyr Teachout of Fordham Law School, who is running for governor of New York with Professor Tim Wu of Columbia Law School as her running mate.

(More about the professors’ foray into politics, after the jump.)

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Do chimpanzees deserve legal personhood? A “first of its kind” lawsuit will ask a court to answer that question. Steven Wise, founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, has filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of four chimpanzees.

I will now pause while James Franco auditions for the role of Steven Wise.

I’m not sure what rights chimpanzees (or pets) deserve in our human society — but “zero” seems to me to be the wrong and certainly unenlightened answer. Wise argues that the chimps are being held as prisoners against their will. I don’t think anybody can seriously disagree with that assessment.

But if chimps have a “will,” do they also have rights that we are bound to respect?

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O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! On Friday, California bar exam results came out (and 55.8% of applicants passed, with a pass rate of 68% for first-time takers, meaning that just one stat is up (barely) from last year’s results). And today, we’ve finally got a list of the passage rates for the July 2013 administration of the New York bar exam by law school.

In 2012, more than half of the state’s law schools saw their pass rates take a tumble. In 2013, more than half of the state’s law schools were able to improve their pass rates, and in some cases, by epic proportions. The state’s overall pass rate for first-time takers jumped by two percentage points.

So which law schools’ pass rates climbed, and by how much? And which school sank like a stone?

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It’s Election Day today. Go vote. Go vote now, or make sure you go before the polls close. Whatever you are doing today isn’t as important as participating in your community. Sorry there’s no “president” on the ballot. Instead it’s just a bunch of local officials and local issues that affect your day-to-day life way more than the President of the United States. GO VOTE.

In New York, we’re going to elect a new mayor, I can only hope that Mike Bloomberg actually allows the new guy to take office.

But if you are going to vote in New York, make sure you flip the ballot over and vote on all the propositions. There are some fun things there: should we institute the regressive, idiot tax that is opening a casino? I say yes! We need money and regressive, idiot taxes are the only ones you can pass in this environment.

Gothamist has a good breakdown of all the New York ballot issues. But the one that’s most legally interesting is Proposition 6: raising the mandatory retirement age for judges to 80.

Eighty! That’s having somebody decide the latest issues in eDiscovery who was alive for D-Day.

Of course, judges are in favor of this…

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On Tuesday afternoon, we started receiving tips about the release of the New York Bar results for the July 2013 administration of the exam. We found this to be really odd because it’s not even November yet. In fact, it’s not even Halloween yet. We’ve got to say, the members of the New York Board of Law Examiners have a pretty sick sense of humor if this is their idea of holiday fun.

What kind of frights or delights are in store for New York bar examinees when they open their email? Let’s find out.

Trick or treat…

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Throwing a temper-tantrum in your office is better than throwing one in a parking lot.

I know, I know — when most of you think of “class,” you think of a small Long Island law firm that represents a small-town school district. So I’m sure it’s going to come as a shock to you that one of these Island lawyers engaged in a profanity-laced tirade after a school board meeting, in which he cursed out some parents in a parking lot.

This is Long Island we’re talking about, old sport. Respected Long Island attorneys don’t resort to such ribald language. If “Strong Island” isn’t careful, it’s going to be viewed as no better than the Jersey Shore.

Wait… I’m being told that we’re already there. Oh well, might as well take a look at this video of this lawyer calling somebody’s mom the C-word after a school board meeting….

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