* The most difficult thing to inherit may just be an Apple ID — a widow is told by the technology behemoth she needs a court order to continue playing her games on a jointly owned iPad. [Digital Passing]
* Your trusty Bluebook is going to need some help if it is going to continue to be the bane of law students’ existence. [Harvard Crimson]
* Is it too much to ask for a picture of RBG playing Xbox? A class action over Xbox’s tendency to scratch discs heads to the Supreme Court. [Forbes]
* Orrick is casting its lot with the energy market — they are opening up a Houston office with the addition of 20 new partners. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Is threatening someone with blackmail merely a courtesy? [Associates Mind]
* ATL managing editor David Lat will be in San Francisco next month, and you’re cordially invited to meet him at this cocktail reception and Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link) book signing. [FBANC via Eventbrite]
Supreme Court to tackle Executive immigration.
Most everyone knows what an elevator speech is: it’s a short, pithy, memorable description of a company’s services. Lawyers have always built their reputations on their expertise, such that the creation of an elevator pitch should be one of the easiest things for an attorney to do; however, many lawyers still stumble over the basic question: “What do you do?”
* The New York Times editorial board believes SCOTUS justices “already have all the evidence they need to join the rest of the civilized world and end the death penalty once and for all” — and they may get the chance to do so this Term (but won’t). [New York Times]
* A Texas lawyer has filed the first “birther” lawsuit against Republican candidate Ted Cruz, seeking a declaratory judgment that the Canadian-born senator isn’t eligible to run for president. The filing is a pretty entertaining read in that it’s completely insane. [KHOU 11 News]
* Just when ex-Dewey & LeBoeuf chair Steven Davis thought his legal troubles were over, Citibank swooped in to slap him with a suit seeking repayment of a $400,000 loan for his capital contribution to the failed firm. [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]
* The U.S. Copyright Office has formed an academic partnership with George Mason University School of Law. We bet students and law school administrators alike are probably hoping it’ll turn into an employment partnership as well. [IP Watchdog]
* Lower-ranked law schools ought to thank their lucky stars that U.S. News “ranking competition” exists, because if not for fear they’d sink in the rankings, higher-ranked schools would’ve enrolled students typically bound for unranked schools. [Forbes]
* Not only has Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s first bid to get a new trial been rejected, but in what’s been called a “symbolic gesture,” the convicted Boston Marathon bomber has now been ordered to pay more than $101 million in restitution to his victims. [Boston Globe]
* If you were a Biglaw partner at a troubled firm who managed to escape before the sh*t really hit the fan, and you now feel bad for those you left behind, don’t worry. We know you might not be familiar with emotions, but “[i]t’s a legitimate human feeling.” [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]
* Just when you thought Ted Cruz was eligible to run for president, some renowned legal scholars have crawled out of the woodwork to state the complete opposite — and some have even published law review articles about it. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Those contract attorneys who sued for overtime pay at their doc review jobs made an impact, but it might not have been the kind they were hoping for. Many law firms and staffing agencies have stopped offering overtime work at all. [New York Law Journal]
* Florida’s death row inmates are stuck in legal limbo now that SCOTUS invalidated the state’s capital punishment sentencing regime as unconstitutional. Maybe the state where people go to die should consider repealing its death penalty altogether. [Reuters]
* Oh my God (but not his): An atheist lawyer is suing to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from all U.S. currency because he says it violates the separation between church and state. He’s filed God-related lawsuits in the past, and lost them all. [Cleveland.com]
Columnist Shannon Achimalbe wonders: are potentially eligible people being dissuaded from even trying to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy?
* Based on reading the oral-argument tea leaves, it sounds like the Supreme Court is about to school the teachers’ unions (and public-sector unions more generally). [How Appealing]
* Ring in the new year by making the register ring: a slew of Biglaw firms have secured (presumably lucrative) engagements working on the proposed $32 billion merger between drug makers Shire Plc and Baxalta Inc. [American Lawyer]
* By a vote of 82-6, and after a wait of more than 400 days, the Senate just confirmed Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to the Third Circuit, making him the first Hispanic federal judge from Pennsylvania to sit on that court. [Associated Press]
* Good news for fantasy-sports fans: it’s not (yet) “game over” for DraftKings and FanDuel, thanks to a stay issued by a New York appellate court. [Bloomberg News]
* And bad news for student-loan-saddled law grads (like our own Shannon Achimalbe) who were hoping that SCOTUS might make it easier to discharge such debts through bankruptcy. [Wall Street Journal via ABA Journal]
* Does Sean Penn face legal risk for his interview of El Chapo, the infamous Mexican drug lord? [ABA Journal]
* A former federal prosecutor just secured a six-figure settlement and reinstatement from the Justice Department. [National Law Journal]
* U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara — who came so, so close to winning Lawyer of the Year honors — announced that Governor Mario Cuomo is off the legal hook for his controversial shutdown of the Moreland Commission, a panel aimed at investigating public corruption. [Law360]
* Avvo is starting to roll out a service featuring fixed-fee, limited-scope legal services through a network of attorneys (and Bob Ambrogi has the scoop). [Law Sites]
* Professor Peter J. Henning explores the implications of the end of the government case against hedge fund magnate Steve Cohen. [DealBook / New York Times]
The top three candidates — U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, LGBT rights litigator Mary Bonauto, and “Law Hawk” Bryan Wilson — were separated by just four votes. Who won?
* According to the latest report from the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at the Georgetown University Law Center, in a battle of the fittest, Biglaw firms may be heading the way of the dodo bird thanks to their refusal to evolve. [DealBook / New York Times]
* The members of the most prestigious sorority around — the women leaders of America’s Biglaw firms — dine together every few months to discuss the challenges associated with being in charge in a profession that’s essentially still a boys’ club. [Big Law Business / Bloomberg BNA]
* The makeup of the Supreme Court and its justices’ past, present, and future rulings continue to be a big issue on the Election 2016 campaign trail, but what really makes this a true shame is that many U.S. citizens couldn’t name a single justice if they tried. [CNN]
* Why do Supreme Court justices love quoting Shakespeare so much? A study conducted by Scott and Ami Dodson found that Justice Antonin Scalia quoted The Bard most often in opinions, and perhaps it’s because some believe he was a lawyer himself. [Economist]
* Steven Avery, the defendant profiled in Making a Murderer, has a new lawyer who hopes to prove his innocence. Kathleen Zellner joins the Midwest Innocence Project to fight for his second exoneration after an allegedly wrongful conviction. [NBC Chicago]
Time to cast your vote!
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It’s time for the courts or for Congress to act, according to columnist Shannon Achimalbe.
* Former Wisconsin District Attorney Ken “I Am The Prize” Kratz — perhaps better known as the lead prosecutor in Netflix series “Making a Murderer” — outlines nine reasons why Steven Avery is actually guilty, despite the convict’s claims to the contrary. [The Wrap]
* Two law schools can expect to receive greater federal scrutiny when it comes to their student-aid dollars. Charleston Law and Thomas Jefferson Law join a host of for-profit beauty schools that will receive heightened cash monitoring. At least beauty school drop-outs have better job prospects. [Wall Street Journal via ABA Journal]
* More than 100 women lawyers, including former judges, law professors, and Biglaw partners, have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, each detailing their own abortion stories in order to “humanize the issue.” [National Law Journal; USA Today]
* DEY TERK ERR JERBS! A new presidential campaign ad for candidate Ted Cruz which discusses immigration features an “invasion” of foreign lawyers, bankers, and journalists entering the country illegally and taking American jobs. NOOOOO!!! [American Mirror]
* States that have legalized marijuana or are considering doing so are constantly making headlines, but it’s time to highlight the states where the possibility of marijuana reform seems laughable. These are the 11 states likely to be the last to legalize it. [USA Today]
* In his annual report on the state of the federal judiciary, Chief Justice John Roberts asked that lawyers stop treating each other like garbage and do their best to “avoid antagonistic tactics, wasteful procedural maneuvers and teetering brinksmanship.” [New York Times]
* Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court’s “lightning rod for controversy,” recently said during a small speaking engagement that the government not only can, but should, support religion. After all, “God had been very good to us.” [AP]
* Albany Law’s dean says don’t believe the horror stories you hear about law school, especially since “[t]his is a really good time to apply.” It’s worth noting that she wasn’t able to pay off her loans until she was a tenured law professor. [Albany Times Union]
* The Arkansas Law (Little Rock) professor who’s suing his school over access to public records has added a retaliation claim to his complaint thanks to the “allegations of two rogue, race-baiting professors.” Ooh, that sounds juicy! [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]
* Is your favorite music streaming service screwing your favorite musicians out of their hard-earned cash? Spotify may soon be facing yet another multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit over artists’ royalty payments (or the lack thereof) in 2016. [Billboard]
* Michael G. Oxley, co-sponsor of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, RIP. [New York Times]
Supreme Court justices: they’re just like us! Which means that they have sex, as one law professor explains.
It’s high time for the Supreme Court to clarify how student loans get treated in bankruptcy, according to columnist Shannon Achimalbe.
This Supreme Court justice was the bomb.
What do you think about Donald Trump’s “highly political” proposal?
* Getting arrested on federal criminal charges accusing you of conspiring with loathed pharma CEO Martin Shkreli is very stressful — so one can understand why Biglaw partner Evan Greebel needs a Cancun vacation right about now. [USA Today; BloombergBusiness] * Speaking of Evan Greebel, here is a closer look at the charges against him, […]