Texas

It seems that the firm of Patton Boggs is stuck in the mud right now. Back in March, the firm announced significant layoffs of attorneys and staff — possibly the biggest in 2013, at least until this morning’s Weil Gotshal layoffs. Patton Boggs is also feeling some heat over its involvement in the Chevron / Ecuador litigation mess (fifth link).

And now we have news that a sizable number of Patton partners are heading for the exit. How many partners are leaving, and where are they headed?

Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.

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Today, the Supreme Court surprisingly ruled 7-1 to vacate the Fifth Circuit in Fisher v. Texas. The opinion was a great big dodge. Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said that the lower court failed to apply “strict scrutiny” to the University of Texas’s admissions policies. Cutting through the legalese, that means the Supreme Court actually upheld the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, which is the controlling case allowing affirmative action in college admissions. While conservative justices indicated that they would have overturned Grutter had they been asked, the majority found that they had not been asked.

If that all sounds like a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo to you that avoids the heart of the issue, you are not a lawyer. You are right, but you aren’t a lawyer.

This is no “victory” for affirmative action. There are still a majority of Supreme Court justices that want, almost desperately, to end racial preferences in college admissions. What the Court did today was threaten colleges and universities that want to use racial preferences to come up with really good justifications for their affirmative action policies. Schools that aren’t really committed to diversity, or that go about achieving diversity in a stupid way, will surely have their programs ruled unconstitutional in the future.

This is, I think, the end of affirmative action as a tool for “racial equality.” But affirmative action as a tool to promote “racial diversity” is alive and well.

Which, all things considered, is just fine by me. I think the Court signaled that it is just no longer buying the old reasons for affirmative action. While the rabid conservatives don’t seem to be wiling to consider any, it looks like moderates like Kennedy may listen to new justifications for using race as a factor in admissions, but you are going to have to convince him….

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Finally. The Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas, the closely watched affirmative action case.

And the result might surprise you. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the Court, which should shock no one. But here’s a surprise: the vote breakdown was 7-1 (with Justice Kagan recused).

How did Justice Kennedy garner seven votes for a ruling on one of the most controversial issues of our time?

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Trying to get in a question at oral argument is really like trying to grab an item that’s on sale at Walmart the day after Thanksgiving.

– Justice Samuel Alito, describing oral arguments before the Supreme Court during a keynote speech delivered at the annual meeting of the Texas State Bar.

Earlier this week, we congratulated Husch Blackwell on its expansion in Texas. The firm achieved that growth by merging with Austin-based Brown McCarroll, forming a firm with 600 lawyers and more than $300 million in revenue that would have made the Am Law 100 with such numbers.

But Husch recently lost some lawyers too. Earlier in the week, 11 Husch attorneys, including eight shareholders, lateraled over to Polsinelli (formerly Polsinelli Shughart).

The defections didn’t sit well with Gregory Smith, CEO and managing partner of Husch Blackwell. He had some amusingly catty comments about Polsinelli and one of the Husch partners who made the move….

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* I’ll get into this more tomorrow (unless Fisher drops), but Washington & Lee’s third year “experiential learning” program has met with underwhelming results in terms of job placement. Theories abound as to why, but this is basically why I say (a) the third year is useless, and (b) stop telling me what your law professors can do, and start telling me what your career services officers are doing. [Law School Cafe via Tax Prof Blog]

* I guess they didn’t like the way they looked. [Yahoo Finance]

* Hey, it’s another article beating up on Don Verrilli. I’m going to be really happy for him when he leaves, makes a ton of money, and sticks it all in his ears. [Forbes]

* An insider trading loophole big enough to drive a material non-public truck through it. [Dealbreaker]

* Husch Blackwell gets bigger in Texas. [Kansas City Star]

* Roy Cho, the Kirkland & Ellis associate currently running for Congress, gets a coveted endorsement — from the Wu-Tang Clan. [NJ.com]

* A nice review for Marcia Coyle’s new book, The Roberts Court (affiliate link). It’ll be fun to see how the Court looks at this moment in time, before what will surely be viewed as legacy-defining decisions on race and gay rights coming any minute now. [Seattle Times]

* Justice Ginsburg is optimistic about the future of women on the court. She’s also optimistic about the future of skeletons on the court, and she’s super-excited about the possibility of downloading her brain into a robotic body so that she can keep her job forever. [Blog of the Legal Times]

If you’ve been arrested, and the police want to interrogate you, they will tell you that you have the right to remain silent.

How do you assert that right?

One way would be to say something like “I would like to remain silent.” Saying “I want a lawyer” should also stop the questioning.

But today, in Salinas v. Texas, the Supreme Court of the United States held that you do not assert your right to remain silent by remaining silent. If you want to remain silent, you’ll need to be prepared to talk about it.

No one will be surprised that this result came from the Justice least likely to be voted most beloved by those in our nation’s prison systems, Justice Alito.

Sort of….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Introverts And The Fifth Amendment: Or, Why You Should Go To Law School”

* California AG Kamala Harris gets a profile in Vanity Fair. That’s good, I hear she’s the hottest AG in the country. [Law and More]

* If you have an erection that lasts waaaaaaay longer than four hours, file suit. [Delaware Online]

* A New York-area law student wants a tutor to help with the law review write-on competition. For the low, low price of $35/week. Eh. It’s better than contract work in most markets (in case the link breaks I’ve got a screenshot). [Craigslist]

* What the hell, here’s another job listing. Highlights: Unpaid summer associates, fighting for $12/hour positions, with one voted off the island every few days. The new economy is awesome! (Screenshot here.) [Craigslist]

* Patriarch Partners founder and CEO Lynn Tilton, known for saying, “There are three universal lies: Margins are weak, but we’ll make it up in volume; the check’s in the mail; and I won’t come in your mouth,” prevailed in MBIA’s suit against her. [DealBreaker]

* The federal government has made legalized pot difficult for states. Now the burgeoning pot industry is lobbying Congress to change federal laws to make their jobs easier. Come on pols, it’s time to turn your “pro-business” rhetoric to action. [TaxProf Blog]

* Republican master spin doctor Frank Luntz is looking into how the Washington Redskins could save their name. This all grows out of the efforts of George Washington Law Professor John Banzhaf (second link) to push the franchise to change its name by lobbying broadcasting regulators to penalize broadcasters for repeating the slur that passes for a mascot. [PR-Inside]

* Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery is enjoying an FBI probe into the fact that his wife — and chief aide — earned massive referral fees for sending clients to personal injury firms while working for the court and skirting the rules established by the chief justice. Given the amounts involved, I clearly need to get into the referral business. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* I’ve given Texas a hard time over the last week, but the Texas Court of Appeals for the First District did a little to redeem themselves with this opinion citing legal luminaries Patsy Cline and Daft Punk. Full opinion after the jump. Relevant cites on Texas Courts. Check it out…

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* Shakespeare’s “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” has multiple meanings. Or so say lawyers trying to lawyer their way out of being reviled. [The Read Zone]

* Embracing your identity is good advice for life and career. Just note that one of those identities is as a meaningless cog in the legal machine. [Ms. JD]

* Florida attorney Marshall Dore Louis sought some phone records from the government that he claims might provide an alibi for his client. The government claimed it did not have the records. Judge Robin Rosenbaum politely called bulls**t, having recently read about the government having EVERYONE’S PHONE RECORDS. [Southern District of Florida Blog]

* Lisa Linsky muses about the difficulty of waiting for universal recognition of same sex marriage. [Huffington Post]

* Attorney Carolyn Barnes, who landed in hot water after shooting at a census worker, has been convicted. I wonder where she’ll be residing in 7 years? [KXAN]

* Albany Law School is cutting enrollment and slashing faculty appears to be next. It sucks to lose your job, but at least you’ll be able to move out of Albany. Small miracles! [The Business Review]

* A review of Run, Brother, Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family (affiliate link), a memoir from attorney David Berg covering his career and family from arguing before the Supreme Court, to serving as legal counsel to President Carter, to the killing of his brother at the hands of Woody Harrelson’s father. [New York Times]

* Three SUNY-Buffalo Law Students have a band and their cover of Icona Pop’s I Love It is trending. The Spin Wires turn the electro house number into an Offspring like rock song. Video after the jump… [BroBible]

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Last week, we wrote about the acquittal of a man who gunned down a sex worker because she wouldn’t have sex with him. Apparently in Texas, someone taking your property at night is all the excuse you need to employ deadly force, even if the supposed “theft” involves an unarmed woman unwilling to have sex.

Blow me or be blown away. I think we’ve found the new state motto of Texas.

By the way, do you know what the state motto of Texas is? If you think it’s something badass like “Don’t Mess With Texas” (which actually isn’t that cool), you’re wrong. It’s “Friendship.” My proposal is way better.

Now comes the counterpoint to the open season on prostitutes…

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