Politics

Q: You can’t just have a bunch of clients with preexisting intentions to kill someone?

A: Yeah, that would certainly make things more risky for the firm.

– An exchange between Above the Law columnist Carolyn Elefant and Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper, in a segment about the trend of small law firms offering “self-defense retainer plans” for gun owners.

(Read more and watch the full, funny clip, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later — As Long As You Have Insurance”

* Remember when I said it was a bad idea to drop off a drunk in Ireland? This is EXACTLY why. [The Independent (Dublin)]

* Oh, Cooley Law School… don’t ever change. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Republican tort-reform advocate settles overblown personal injury suit. Oh the irony. [The Hutchinson News]

* Check that, this is even more ironic. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* The U.S. Postal Service helped kill an innovative, anti-junk-mail startup. You could say a bloated government agency is to blame. Or you could say cutting off the Post Office and forcing them to fund themselves through Faustian deals with junk mail distributors is to blame. Either way, a great idea was smothered. [Inside Sources]

* Indicted former Virginia Governor and transvaginal ultrasound enthusiast Bob McDonnell has taken a gig as a visiting professor at an ATL Worst Law School finalist, Liberty Law. Of course. [The News & Advance (Lynchburg)]

* Do you need to be on a law journal to succeed? [Huffington Post]

* Can you get paid for sleeping on the job? Good question. [The Spitz Law Firm]

If you’re like most law students, the Student Bar Association never struck you as a productive use of your law school time. Playing pretend government was something high schoolers did to pad their college applications. But once the Tracy Flicks of the world get their measure of validation from a student body that really couldn’t care less, they move on. Others, however, throw their hats into the ring and run for office in between briefing cases. There’s nothing wrong with it. I mean, somebody has to do it.

Not to get all Karl Rove over here, but a prospective law school candidate should understand the electorate. If you’re going to run for SBA, try to be in on the apathy and realize you need to do something unconventionally attention grabbing. Like Anthony Halmon when he performed a self-written campaign rap song. That election didn’t work out for him, but he managed to get his classmates to look up from their casebooks (read: Scotch) for a minute.

On the other hand, this 1L running for SBA Senator might not have gotten that message….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “This Guy Is Taking SBA Elections Way Too Seriously”

It’s been a week of strange splits and noteworthy dissents at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Navarette v. California, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a five-justice majority, holding that a traffic stop premised on an anonymous but reliable 911 tip about a swerving driver provided a police officer reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated. So much the worse for the driver in this case, who happened to have thirty pounds of pot in the bed of his truck. Chief Justice Roberts agreed, as did Justices Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan. The usual yammering about Thomas as Scalia’s lap dog was quiet in this case. In Navarette, they apparently don’t even agree about how booze works: Scalia writes, “Whether a drunk driver drives drunkenly, the Court seems to think, is up to him. That is not how I understand the influence of alcohol.” He then cites to an article on the science of drinking.

In Paroline v. United States, the case involving restitution for child pornography victims, Justice Kennedy authored the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. The Chief dissented, along with Scalia and Thomas. Justice Sotomayor dissented separately. While none of the other justices joined her opinion, Sotomayor would have affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s en banc majority, granting the victim Amy full restitution. That majority included some conservative stalwarts (such as my former boss, Edith Jones) who aren’t often on the same side of divisive issues as the Wise Latina.

Justice Sotomayor also dissented in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, this term’s high-profile affirmative action case. Justice Ginsburg joined Sotomayor’s spirited (58-page!) dissent. Justice Kennedy, writing for himself, the Chief, and Alito, concluded that the Constitution does not require the Court to strike down Michigan voters’ ban on race-based admissions policies in higher education. Scalia and Thomas concurred only in the judgment. Breyer separately concurred, based on a different rationale. Kagan was recused.

If the Supreme Court this week is any indicator, we often agree on little. Where we do, we sometimes find ourselves sharing the sheets with some strange bedfellows. A week of vociferous dissents and unexpected alliances suits seems strangely appropriate to me this week . . . .

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File this one under #firstworldproblems. Today we have a guy who got into the University of Chicago Law School and Duke Law School, and he’s getting money from both.

But he’s getting a little more money from Duke… which is about as close as you’ll ever get Duke to admitting that it’s not “the Harvard of the South” because Harvard wouldn’t give you a dime to draw you away from the UofC (no offense, Brian Leiter).

So what should this guy do, other than be happy and email ATL about his good fortune? Well, you probably need a little more information…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Decision: The Conservative Choice”

That’s what some people are saying.

It’s a brutal attack on an attorney running for governor, blasting him for representing criminal defendants. How can he protect battered women when he helped their abusers beat the rap? How indeed. Oh, and it’s not just that he helped their abusers, he did so for money. Because counseling the accused for fees in this country is where all the money is. It’s a seedy racket no way at all as admirable as, I don’t know, lobbying elected officials for political favors at the expense of the citizenry. If only this guy was smart enough to take hundreds of thousands to poison rivers and streams he wouldn’t be such a scumbag.

This ad is just goddamned brilliant at connecting the disingenuous dots for the easily duped.

And this message was “approved” — ultimately — by a former prosecutor who’s now being investigated by the office he once led….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is This Political Ad Against A Lawyer The Most Negative Ever?”

Calm down, affirmative action supporters, calm down. Yes, the Supreme Court just gave every state the authority to ban affirmative action in college admissions if they so choose. Yes, Stephen Breyer sided with the majority. Yes, this all looks incredibly bad if you think that race should be at least as allowable a consideration for admission as whether or not an applicant’s daddy went to the school.

But nothing is f**ked here dude. Not really. Colleges will still use some form of race-conscious admissions policies, even state schools. Affirmative action works and nothing that happened today will change that. The Court just made it more likely that admissions committees will have to get creative when putting together a diverse class of students…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “3 Reasons Affirmative Action Will Be Okay Despite Schuette Decision”

‘We’re all going to be Free Speech lawyers for underprivileged!’

* This law school will only accept students who want to be lawyers for the “right” reasons. In other words they’re admitting everyone because literally no admissions essay ever says, “I want to be a lawyer so I can make bank covering up a Ponzi scheme.” [Huffington Post]

* Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. Do you ponder how this will impact Hillary’s 2016 plans? Then you’re stupid or sexist or both. [The Baffler]

* Sexually harassing unpaid interns with the full protection of the law was fun while it lasted in New York. [Slate]

* Mark Herrmann shows you how to write articles that are not only boring but that actually deter anyone from trusting you as a lawyer. [The Young Lawyer / ABA]

* How do you deal with political talk in the office? Booze helps. [Corporette]

* More on the wackadoo pro se legal theory that having fringe on an American flag merits an automatic dismissal. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* The rent is too damn high! [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Remaining calm when your client can’t. [Katz Justice]

* Lawyer makes cookies out of vegetables. It sounds gross to me, but I’m willing to try anything once. [Globe & Mail]

Tax Day was earlier this week. Like many Americans, I said some prayers — and a few curses — and hoped that Turbo Tax made sense of my mid-year move from D.C. to Texas, my investment roll-overs, my handful of I-9s and W-2s. I did my damnedest to be “true, correct, and complete,” as the IRS insisted. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted via Twitter that he has “absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate,” though, of course, he didn’t say that he knew that they weren’t accurate.

Campaign for Liberty, Ron Paul’s 501(c)(4) organization, announced this week that it’s actually pretty sure that its tax recent filings are incomplete, even if true and correct. (Two out of three ain’t bad?) According to C4L, the organization refused to divulge the names of its donors when it filed its IRS 990 forms. The IRS fined Campaign for Liberty just shy of $13,000, plus growing interest for each day the fine goes unpaid.

How did Campaign for Liberty respond? Not as you might expect….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Should ‘Campaign For Liberty’ Have Called Itself ‘Campaign For Progress’ Instead?”

Back in February, we covered a lawsuit filed by Mayer Brown that some critics called “disgusting” and “despicable.” The case challenges the placement of a memorial for World War II “comfort women” in a public park in Glendale, California — partly on administrative procedure grounds, and partly because the memorial allegedly “presents an unfairly one-sided portrayal of the historical and political debate surrounding comfort women.”

Filing a lawsuit that effectively seeks to deny the historical phenomenon of the comfort women — women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II — didn’t go over too well in many quarters. And now the case is back in the news, surely to Mayer Brown’s chagrin….

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