Subways

* While Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts made a plea to keep funding for the federal judiciary intact, we learned that student loan default cases have fallen since 2011. You really gotta love that income-based repayment. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Introducing the Asia 50, a list of the largest firms in the Asia-Pacific region. When it comes to the firms with the biggest footprints, only one American Biglaw shop made the cut. Go ahead and take a wild guess on which one it was. [Asian Lawyer]

* Congratulations are in order, because after almost a year of stalling, Arnold & Porter partner William Baer was finally confirmed by the Senate as the chief of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. [Bloomberg]

* Our elected officials might not have allowed the country to fall off the fiscal cliff, but the American Invents Act was put on hold, so if you’re a patent nerd, you can still be mad about something. [National Law Journal]

* Remember when Rutgers-Camden Law said “many top students” were making bank after graduation? Yeah, about that: Law School Transparency just filed an ABA complaint. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Here are some law school trends to look out for in 2013. FYI, the applicant pool is smaller because no one wants to foolishly gamble on their careers anymore. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* In the latest NYC subway shoving death, a woman was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, and allegedly bragged about other hate crimes she’s committed to police. Lovely. [New York Times]

* Next time you’re trapped on a plane that’s literally filled with other people’s crap for 11 hours, don’t bother suing over your hellish experience — you’re going to be preempted by federal law. [New York Law Journal]

At a bachelor party a few weeks ago, traveling around the city, my friends and I discussed in detail various survival strategies should someone fall onto the subway tracks. We all agreed that trying to climb back up onto the platform was the most dangerous move. You want to go into that middle area so trains are rushing past you on either side. Or you want to book it down the track, because just inside the tunnel there are stairs for workers.

Of course, in the heat of the moment, if I actually were pushed in front of an oncoming train, I’d probably turn and yell at it and be very surprised when it didn’t stop to listen to what I had to say.

It’s really not an uncommon conversation for New Yorkers, because falling onto the tracks is kind of a persistent nightmare in this city. Much more real than getting hit by a falling air conditioner or being hit by a taxi cab. The reason why jumping back up onto the platform is a bad idea is because the track is much deeper than it appears, so you can’t standing-jump that. And so then you’re in a situation where you need to do a half-pull up and… not everybody can do that.

It’s hard to pull yourself back up without help. And in NYC, you can’t count on help. Which of course brings us to Tuesday’s tragedy on the tracks….

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