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….
* 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]
* 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.
* 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…
* 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]
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…
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.