Oklahoma

* Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which is the fairest firm of them all? According to the 2012 Acritas Brand Index survey, the current leader of the Global 100 is the most powerful Biglaw brand for the fifth year in a row. [American Lawyer]

* But that might not last for long, considering the dilemma Baker & McKenzie is facing when it comes to joining the Shanghai Bar Association in China. The firm is one of the first to indicate that it’ll take the plunge. [Wall Street Journal]

* Thanks to the Second Circuit, Rajat Gupta will be a free man on bail pending the appeal of his insider trading conviction. We wonder what Benula Bensam would have to say about this new twist. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Jason Smiekel, the lawyer who pleaded guilty in a murder-for-hire plot involving a former client, was sentenced to eight and a half years in federal prison. The things men will do for HHHBs. [Chicago Tribune]

* Student loan payments: coming to a paycheck deduction near you! Congress is considering an overhaul of the country’s student debt collection practices, and Rep. Tom Petri has some interesting ideas. [Bloomberg]

* The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is the latest school to hop aboard the solo practice incubator train, but graduates will have to rent their office space from the school. Nice. /sarcasm [National Law Journal]

* “We didn’t file this complaint lightly.” Sorry, Judge Norman, but as it turns out, you can’t just sentence a teenager to attend church for 10 years as a condition of parole without pissing off the ACLU. [Tulsa World]

* When your alterations cost more than your wedding gown, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll have some problems — ones worth suing over, if you’re a true bridezilla (like moi). [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

Judge Mike Norman

I told my preacher I thought I led more people to Jesus than he had but, then again, more of my people have amnesia. They soon forget once they get out of jail.

– Judge Mike Norman, commenting on the rather unusual sentences he hands down in his courtroom. Last week, Judge Norman gave a 17-year-old who pleaded guilty to manslaughter a deferred sentence, provided that the teen goes to church each week (among other conditions).

David Otunga

* “Enough is enough.” Come on, Togut, did you really think all of the Dewey drama was going to end just because the judge approved your settlement plan? Now he’s trying to get the former partners committee disbanded. This won’t end well. [Am Law Daily]

* Covington & Burling was disqualified from representing Minnesota in the state’s anti-pollution case against ex-client 3M over a conflict of interest. A “conscious disregard” of professional duties? This is 1L stuff, really. [Twin Cities Pioneer Press]

* Remember J. Michael Johnson, the former dean of Louisiana College Law who resigned for a “great job offer” before the school even opened? He’s now senior counsel for the ultraconservative Liberty Institute. [Alexandria Town Talk]

* “If you’ve been hit by a table, ladder, or chair, call David Otunga.” What has this Harvard Law grad turned WWE wrestler been up to, aside from filming commercials at criminal defense firms? [City Sentinel]

* “The argument is absolutely absurd.” An ex-high school coach accused of having sex with a student wants Oklahomas’s ban on student-teacher relationships overturned as unconstitutional. [Alva Review-Courier]

On one level, your name is pretty damn meaningless. Many people aren’t actually called by their names that often. Instead, people just yell: “Dude,” “Hey You,” “Boss,” “sweet cheeks”… whatever.

But on another level, your name is one of a relatively few possessions that are truly yours.

So what happens if your name simply doesn’t fit into who you are? You can change it, right? Sure, unless you happen to be a transgendered person appearing in front of one particular judge in Oklahoma. Ain’t no gender-bending name games in this Judge of the Day’s courtroom…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: What’s in a (Traditionally Gender Appropriate) Name?”

We’ve recently encountered an unusual number of unconventionally-formatted court documents. To name a couple, there was that graphic novellette of an amicus brief, and the Emily Dickinson-inspired judicial order.

Today we’ve got another brief that wouldn’t appear out of place on a Reddit thread.

It’s not high-quality art by any means, but there’s (maybe) something to be said for illustrating your points with clip art of crying babies and crickets chirping.

And besides, isn’t humor the best way to win an argument?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Illustrated Court Filing of the Day: The Sound of Silence”

We’ve done a surprising number of stories about law school career service officers who push babysitting gigs on their unemployed students. I say “surprising” because after our first story, you’d think law schools would figure out that law students don’t like being put up for jobs that they could have secured in high school.

Since that first one, most CSO personnel and other law school staffers have figured out that babysitting jobs are best when the employer is a professor or somebody else connected with the law school. Then it’s less of a “career of last resort” and more of “helping out a member of your community” (who happens to be well-connected).

But it looks like one school has regressed to the point of just insulting its students with a babysitting ad that kind of rubs salt in the unemployment wound….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adventures in Babysitting: Does Babysitting Count As ‘Employed Upon Graduation’?”

* The definitive post on why we cannot sue Rush Limbaugh for exercising his right to have enough rope to hang himself with. [The Legal Satyricon]

* Bill Maher is also defending Limbaugh. Why can’t people understand that most acts of speech aren’t punishable offenses, even if that speech is very stupid. [Entertainment Weekly]

* Go to page three of this article. You’ll find a woman who did horribly on the LSAT, twice, and instead of going to some God-forsaken piece of crap law school, she found something else to do with her talents. And now she’s rich. Because processing new information about your own skills and limitations is what successful people do. [Forbes]

* Footballer blames Baptist Church for ruining his professional career. Similarly, I blame the Catholic Church for that one girl who nearly ruined me one night in college. [Lowering the Bar]

* Do black kids face harsher discipline in law school too? I don’t know, but I know in Soviet Russia, the blacks discipline you. [New York Times]

* The three basics of trial advocacy. Or six. Lawyers aren’t great with math. [Underdog]

* I’ve got twenty bucks for the next employed law school graduate who gets this kind of bitchy paragraph into their alumni newsletter. [Gawker]

* Holy s**t. A few hours ago, several people were wounded after being shot in front of the Tulsa County Courthouse in Oklahoma. We have video from the scene after the jump…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 03.07.12″

Where would lawyers be without open (and absurdly expensive) access to Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis for legal research? They’d have to trudge down to the closest law library and read real books made of paper. They’d have to head over to the courthouse and pull actual files with non-electronic documents inside of them. In a time where legal texts are used solely for decorative bookshelf purposes, that is just too much to ask.

But that is the behavior that two lawyers would expect of their professional colleagues. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, they claim that the legal database providers have been engaging in “unabashed wholesale copying of thousands of copyright-protected works created by, and owned by, the attorneys and law firms who authored them.”

Do they have any chance of winning their class action copyright suit?

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Last week there appeared a column on this site that denigrated clerkships in the middle of the country. I could not decide if the author was attempting satire, but it seemed to be a straight piece. I would like to offer a counterpoint.

I began my career at Biglaw in New York City. The firm began to have troubles, and I saw the writing on the wall as my class dwindled from 40 to 30 to 20. I then heard from a family friend that a federal judge in Oklahoma City was looking for a clerk to assist with some topics with which I was familiar. I scored an interview, we hit it off, and I moved my wife and new baby to OKC for a year.

Full disclosure: I went to 15 schools before graduating high school, and OKC was the place I called “home.” Many decisions about this move were simple: it allowed us to live near family for a year, which was great support for the baby; my wife was working on her dissertation, so she had time to write; and I had a circle of friends from high school with whom I could reconnect.

Further simplifying the issue was that the government payscale is based solely on experience. How much did I earn, as a law firm associate turned law clerk?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: In Defense of Clerkships in Flyover Land”

Back in January, we provided our readers with a brief glimpse into the life of an Oklahoma attorney named Amy McTeer. As a quick refresher, this lovely lady lawyer was arrested for filing a false police report while under the influence of crystal methamphetamine. Immediately prior, McTeer had racked up felony charges for allegedly assisting in her boyfriend’s escape from prison. You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma O.K.!

Just one month later, McTeer is back in the news with yet another arrest. This time, McTeer was charged with methamphetamine possession, public intoxication, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia after allegedly telling the police that a trucker had poisoned her pipe. The police reportedly found that “poisoned” pipe in her pocket — complete with white residue.

If you think this trainwreck of a story can’t get any worse, you’re wrong. Let’s take a look at what happened during McTeer’s arraignment, and view a compilation of McTeer’s photos in our Faces of Meth: Lawyer’s Edition….

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