Supreme Court

Three cheers for “cultural capital.”

* Despite his hatred of 3L classes like “Law and Unicorns,” Justice Scalia believes that the third year of law school is necessary — perhaps a necessary evil, but still necessary. [Memphis Daily News]

* “[T]his excuse — sometimes labeled the ‘too big to jail’ excuse — is disturbing, frankly….” The eminently quotable Judge Rakoff is at it again, this time with harsh words for the DOJ. [New York Times]

* According to the latest survey from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group, managing partners think that 2014 will be better than 2013. This means bonuses will be the same next year. [Am Law Daily]

* Attorneys from Wiley Rein are fighting for $2 million in fees in the wake of their SCOTUS win in the Shelby County Voting Rights Act case. The firm’s quest has been called “absurd.” [National Law Journal]

* “The record is utterly devoid of any evidence of criminal intent or intentional misconduct.” It turns out the attorneys accused of malpractice by the Miccosukee Indians weren’t bad after all. [Daily Business Review]

* Rather than pegging its value at $1 million, a professor from a fourth-tier law school is promoting the “non-economic value” of a law degree. Can “cultural capital” repay your loans? [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* “[N]o law school in Canada should be allowed to weed out gay students.” Too bad. Trinity Western University, the law school that bans gay “sexual intimacy,” received preliminary approval. [Globe and Mail]

* Law school specialization and you: follow these three simple steps to help you decide which niche you’ll be unable to find a job in after you graduate. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

Megyn Kelly of Fox News

* “Those of us from the Midwest think it’s actually easier to hide a child in New York.” Many of the current Supreme Court justices are from New York. How does it affect their jurisprudence? [Washington Post]

* The percentage of women associates in law firms may be down nationally, but in California, the demographic is on the rise — except in Silicon Valley, which is really hardly surprising. [The Recorder]

* Megyn Kelly, who’s been compared to a “brilliant supermodel,” is now considered the brightest star on Fox News, with more than 2.5 million viewers. Albany Law School must be so proud. [Washington Post]

* Class action powerhouse Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll hired Matthew S. Axelrod of DOJ fame (most recently as Associate Deputy Attorney General) to join the firm as a partner. Congrats! [Law360 (sub. req.)]

* “The fact that rape insurance is even being discussed by this body is repulsive.” Yep. Rape insurance. Apparently that’s a thing in Michigan now, which is pretty unbelievable. The more you know. [MSNBC]

* Here’s a helpful hint for our readers: when you’re trying to get released on bail prior to your jewel heist trial, you probably shouldn’t list your occupation on a court form as “jewelry thief.” [Los Angeles Times]

As for Supreme Court vacancies? There will be none.

Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for the New Yorker and author of The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court (affiliate link), issuing seven legal predictions for 2014.

Give a hand for the law’s lack of diversity.

* When it comes to the air pollution case that’s currently before the Supreme Court, it seems like the justices had absolutely no difficulty at all in evaluating the type of problem at hand. It’s apparently a “tough” one and a “hard” one. [New York Times]

* Thanks to the historic new Senate rules put into action last month, Patricia Ann Millett, the co-head of Akin Gump’s Supreme Court and national appellate practice group, has been confirmed to the D.C. Circuit. You go girl! [Post Politics / Washington Post]

* The Senate showdown isn’t quite over yet, folks. We could see another confirmation vote on Georgetown Law professor Nina Pillard’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit sometime today. [Blog of Legal Times]

* “We risk failure in having a profession that is as diverse as the country we serve.” OMG guys, the legal profession is bad at diversity. This is new information that no one’s heard before. [National Law Journal]

* Now that the recession is over, women are gaining their jobs back faster than all their male counterparts. Not to worry, guys — they’re still being paid 77 cents to every dollar a man earns. [Corporate Counsel]

* Here are the top five social media mishaps by lawyers and law students of 2013. If you value your career, you should really try not to do any of these embarrassing things during the new year. [Strategist / FindLaw]

Wipe that grin off your face, Sam.

I think the tongue-in-cheek answer would be that I was surprised because of how much [Justice Samuel Alito's] done in the way of supporting anti-discrimination laws over the years. But that would be just a facetious comment.

– Judge Harold Baer (S.D.N.Y.), responding to Justice Alito’s criticisms of the practice of encouraging law firms to staff class action suits with women and minority lawyers. Baer went on to sarcastically suggest that Alito lacked “either understanding or interest” in discrimination experienced by these groups.

* Florida State QB Jameis Winston was not charged with sexual assault after a nearly year-long investigation (well, it happened a year ago… it sounds like no one did much investigating at that time). What comes next? I mean aside from FSU demolishing their next two opponents. [Sports Illustrated]

* Sadly, former South African president and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela has passed away. University of Maryland Law School, go ahead and let the world know… again. [CNN]

* America’s probably unstable, definitely troubled sweetheart Amanda Bynes is coming closer and closer to a plea deal over her infamous bong toss. [New York Post]

* A lawyer-turned-candidate provides the optimist’s guide to running for office. For the pessimist’s guide see John McCain’s, “Jesus, I Picked Who?” [Huffington Post]

* Next week, the Court will hear argument on EPA v. EME Homer City Generation. This is why you should care. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* People are super mad about the NYPD’s new “Stop and Kiss” program. The program only exists in The Onion, but that doesn’t stop most people from making unsolicited, snap decisions that no one asked them to make. At press, the Second Circuit had already preemptively barred Judge Shira Scheindlin from hearing any case on the fictional program. [Gawker]

* Speaking of the NYPD, Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio, who ran on a platform of reforming the NYPD, has named a new police commissioner and selected… one of Giuliani’s old police commissioners. Way to go, champ! Seriously, there are law enforcement professionals out there capable of running the NYPD beyond the last couple guys who ran it. This is like buying a marquee NFL team and saying, “I hear Norv Turner is available.” [Salon]

* Professor David E. Bernstein contributed an essay on the Lochner decision to the new book Toward an American Conservatism: Constitutional Conservatism during the Progressive Era (affiliate link). [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* An interview with this Yale Law beatboxer. Did we mention he’s a bald Jewish kid? Well, he is. [JTA]

* David and Elie talked to Bloomberg about bonuses. Video embedded after the jump…

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* Law professors testify to Congress that President Obama is abusing his power by circumventing Congress. Is this the Congress that takes 239 days of vacation each year and set a record for being the least productive in history? I wonder why any chief executive would circumvent them… [The Blog of the Legal Times]

* Magic Circle firms raise their rates, with partners billing around $1375.56/hour. Blimey! [The Careerist]

* A law firm paid for a nativity scene in a state capitol building. Sound the litigation alarm! [ABA Journal]

* Supreme Court seems hesitant to help out a guy who lost his frequent flyer miles for constantly complaining to his airline. On the one hand, customers shouldn’t be penalized for voicing their concerns. On the other hand, this guy’s “complaints” included his luggage taking too long to come out on the carousel. Chill the hell out. [Associated Press via Daily Finance]

* A SAC Capital employee carefully weighed the “risk-reward” of complying with the “law.” [Dealbreaker]

* Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski is getting paroled. Now I feel old because I represented a witness in that trial. [Dealbook / New York Times]

* A middle school principal in Texas is placed on administrative leave for banning students from conversing in Spanish at school. What a puta. [Associated Press via Business Insider]

* The rules to the self-proclaimed greatest law school drinking game of all time. Or a look at what Australian law school guys do instead of study. Video after the jump… [YouTube]

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Cherished lunch box of Justice Holmes.

* Harvard Law’s Langdell Library hosts a bevy of legal treasures. Including the personal lunchbox of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. [The Harvard Crimson]

* Per a new survey, watching the Kardashians makes one twice as likely to want an aggressive lawyer. When I have to watch the Kardashians I become an aggressive lawyer. [Avvo]

* The Supreme Court spent Cyber Monday denying review to two cases challenging the imposition of sales taxes on Internet purchases. [The Blog of the Legal Times]

* New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman cracked down on fake Yelp reviewers. Apparently, reviewers who gave a pet groomer 4 stars are a bigger priority than the reviewers who gave subprime-backed securities AAA ratings. [Corporate Counsel]

* Not exactly breaking news, but Philly has caught on that law firms are merging because the market is so terrible with a new piece on the merger craze. Specifically, they’re looking at the planned merger of BakerHostetler and Philly’s own Woodcock Washburn L.L.P. we mentioned last week. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Lakers guard Steve Nash’s ex-wife is battling him for child custody. She’s hired a Phoenix law firm whose most famous attorney is jacked up NFL ref Ed Hochuli. For now Hochuli isn’t working on the case directly. For now. [TMZ Sports]

* Congratulations to Kobre & Kim on being named Law Firm of the Year by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. [Newsday]

* Who says Civil Procedure isn’t sexy? Some UNLV Law students take to YouTube to bring (Civ Pro) SexyBack. [You Tube]

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Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas

* What led the Senate Democrats to go nuclear? [New York Times]

* Should Justice Lori Douglas, she of the infamous porn pictures, step down from the bench? Well, she has 324,100 reasons to stay. [Toronto Star]

* And what about Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg — should they leave while the Democrats still control the White House and the Senate? [Washington Post via How Appealing]

* A legal challenge to gun control stumbles — on standing grounds. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Moral of the story: if you want to threaten opposing counsel, don’t do it over voicemail — unless you want to get censured. [ABA Journal]

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara

* Dewey want more details about the lucrative contracts given to Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders? Most definitely! [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* An interesting peek inside the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The S.D.N.Y.’s boss is a big fan of the Boss. [New York Times]

* Now that the merger between US Airways and American Airlines has been approved, US Airways CEO Doug Parker offers a behind-the-scenes look at his company’s response to the government’s antitrust lawsuit. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

Amanda Knox

* Oh baby (or the lack thereof): the Supreme Court has decided to take on two of the cases asserting religious challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate. [Blog of Legal Times]

* “[H]e has a Rolodex like a Ferris wheel.” Delaware’s Supreme Court Chief Justice is retiring from the bench to join Potter Anderson & Corroon, where that Rolodex will come in handy. [Wall Street Journal]

* Italian prosecutors think Amanda Knox should be convicted of murder (again) and given a 30-year sentence in a retrial she’s not even there for. This kind of sounds like it’d be a double-secret conviction. [CNN]

* With fall finals right around the corner, law students can take comfort in the fact that next week they’ll be soothed by therapy dogs — ones that’ll need therapy after dealing with law students. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you’re considering applying to law school against all odds, you should determine when the right time to apply would be. Don’t listen to your parents, listen to your gut. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* If you haven’t heard, the Beastie Boys are having a copyright fight with toymaker GoldieBlox over a parody of the song “Girls” that’s been used in a commercial. Fair use? Decide after the jump. [NBC News]

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