Personal injury law

Nepotism and small-town law practice have gone hand in hand since the invention of the shingle. Our country’s fine judicial system is littered with dynamic duos of father and son lawyers, fighting injustice one personal injury at a time.

One firm out in Ohio, however, has taken the family business concept to a whole new level. Meet Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A., where nine — count ‘em, nine — members of the Murray family are partners… in a 14-lawyer firm.

Sandusky, Ohio, known for little more than being the home of Cedar Point and sharing a name with the most prominent pedophile in the last decade, is the home turf of the Murray clan. Together, the family handles an array of personal injury matters, from auto and truck accidents to fatal auto and truck accidents.

But just what fate lies in wait for non-Murrays who dare to join the firm?

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Yesterday, we broke the news of the dean of St. Louis University School of Law’s abrupt departure, and the accompanying fiery resignation letter she sent to the powers that be at the university. Ex-dean Annette Clark’s missive was more of a bitchslap than anything else, but like Phillip J. Closius before her, she made it absolutely clear that she would rather quit her job than run a law school whose sole function was to serve as the university’s cash cow.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, we’ve found out that Clark’s passionate letter may have been penned in one of those “can’t fire me, I quit” type scenarios. Clark may have purported to be going to the mattresses for her students, and she might have been doing just that. But as we all know, there are two sides to every story….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “University President Claims He Intended to Terminate Ex-Dean’s Appointment, Hires Personal Injury Attorney as Interim Dean”

Quick! I’m an in-house lawyer! How are my legal skills?

Admit it: You just thought to yourself, “So-so. The guy couldn’t hack it at a law firm and wanted a 9 to 5 lifestyle, so he took his mediocre skills and moved in-house. I’ll try not to be transparently condescending when I talk to him on the phone.”

I believed that, too, until I went in-house. (That was a joke. How do you put a smiley face on a blog post?)

A moment’s thought reveals that I’m a bundle of legal prejudices, and I suspected that others were, too. So I did a Rorschach test of some lawyer-friends. I named categories of lawyers, and I asked my friends to give their immediate reactions to those categories.

So what are our legal prejudices?

Quick! I’m a partner at a big firm! What do you think of me?

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This community service stinks.

Ahh, “sh*t law.” In case you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s what some lawyers rudely and condescendingly call legal practice outside of Biglaw. From traffic tickets to personal injury, you name it, and it’s apparently a derivative of “sh*t law.”

Back in March, we brought you a story about Joseph Neal Jr., the apparent king of one of these so-called “sh*t law” practices in Augusta, Georgia. Neal, a prominent personal injury attorney, earned our Lawyer of the Day title after he and his ex-wife racked up criminal charges for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting the family babysitter. Neal later went on to earn 21% of the vote in our March Lawyer of the Month competition.

Now, just a few short months later, Neal has been sentenced after accepting the terms of a plea bargain. The deal reduced a felony rape charge to two misdemeanors. Neal will serve three years of supervised probation, and he’ll also commit to a term of community service that some would call a bit of poetic justice….

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Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

On Tuesday, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our caption contest….

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'Hahaha, and then I said that I didn't know they were prostitutes.'

* Was the Obamacare case brought prematurely? Did the Supreme Court’s judicial intervention come too soon? Yesterday’s arguments before SCOTUS can be summed up in four simple words: “That’s what she said.” [New York Times]

* Howrey going to get out of this one? The defunct firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond, is trying to decide whether he’ll be bringing adversary claims against the dissolution committee and its members. [Am Law Daily]

* U.S. News is doing what the American Bar Association refuses to do: make law schools its b*tch. Listen up, administrators, because your next “reporting error” could cost you your ranking. [National Law Journal]

* Armed with a treasure trove of new evidence, Facebook has moved to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit. What does his lawyer from Milberg have to say? A hacker planted all of the evidence, duh. [Wall Street Journal]

* Apparently Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s got hos in different area codes. He’s been keeping his pimp hand strong — so strong, that he’s been charged with aggravated procurement of prostitutes. [Bloomberg]

* Broke your nose trying to walk through a glass wall at the Apple store and now you’re suing for $1M? That’s an app for that! It’s called common sense, and for a limited time only, it’s being offered free of charge. [Forbes]

Sidney Spies

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks Roe v. Wade was a mistimed ruling, saying things would be different today if the court had been more “restrained.” Well, wire hanger sales would be up, that’s for sure. [CBS News]

* Bait and switch of the day: personal injury firms are enticing plaintiffs to sue with promises of free iPads, but they may never see them. Blame England for this one. At least it’s not happening in America… yet. [Daily Mail]

* Netflix is settling its nationwide video privacy lawsuit for $9M. It’s embarrassing enough that you know you watched the Twilight saga so many times. Netflix doesn’t need to keep your shame on record. [paidContent]

* Remember Sidney Spies, the sexy First Amendment freedom fighter? Her final yearbook photo submission was rejected, and now her family wants to file a complaint — because nobody’s gonna tell their daughter that she can’t look like a skank. [ABC News]

* Roger Aaron, one of Skadden’s most prominent mergers-and-acquisitions partners, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]

History is littered with examples of Aussies sticking it to the Brits: from early convict rebellions to the time Rupert Murdoch bought our favourite tabloid newspaper, The Sun, and had a photo of a topless woman placed on its inside page each day — a tradition that continues to this day (semi-NSFW link).

Last week they were at it again when Australian law firm Slater & Gordon used some of the millions generated from its 2007 public listing — the first ever for a law firm — to snap up the large British personal injury firm Russell Jones & Walker (RJW), in an unprecedented £54m ($85 million) cash and shares deal. Once again, the people of the U.K. were left shaking their heads.

Of course, we should have seen it coming. British lawyers have been talking about the deregulatory provisions of the U.K. Legal Services Act (LSA) for years now. And it’s not as if we haven’t been watching the rapid growth of Slater & Gordon — where turnover, staff numbers and office locations have nearly tripled since the firm responded to Australia’s enactment of a similar law by going public — with eyebrow-raised interest from afar.

For some reason, though, we failed to put the two together….

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Gerald Ung (left) and Edward DiDonato Jr. (right)

This shouldn’t come as a shock; we predicted it last February, when the criminal case ended in acquittal. But Eddie DiDonato Jr., a former lacrosse star at Villanova and the son of a prominent partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, has filed a civil lawsuit against Gerald Ung, the Temple Law School student who shot DiDonato in January 2010 in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

Gerald Ung isn’t the only defendant. DiDonato is suing a half dozen other parties, relying on various theories of liability. Let’s think of this as a Torts final exam: Who else might DiDonato be suing besides Ung? What causes of action can you see?

Let’s take a closer look at the lawsuit, filed on behalf of DiDonato by one of Pennsylvania’s leading personal injury lawyers….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “DiDonato v. Ung: The Temple Law Shooter Gets Hit — With a Civil Suit”

Last week in Non-Sequiturs, we pointed you to a photo essay of some of the sketchiest lawyer billboards out there. From dogs, to eye patches, to crazy nicknames, these billboards are the epitome of what makes local lawyer advertising so painfully bad.

It’s tough to say which is worse — these misguided attempts at originality, or the overly earnest types who make lofty promises to fight for you and protect your rights. The serious advertisements are equally subject to mockery.

One Florida solo practitioner may have discovered the perfect approach. No over-the-top gimmicks, no vows to fight injustice. Just the simple, honest truth….

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