* Sammy Alito and the roots of a compassionate constitutional conservatism. By Emily Bazelon. Foreblurb by Juggalo Law. [New York Times]
* A U.S. vulture fund is having problems collecting a certain debt from the Democratic Republic of Congo via certain chinamen. Yes, I know that’s not the preferred nomenclature. But these men actually do build railroads. [Bloomberg]
* This business professor thinks law firms should start acting like real businesses. Somewhere, a theater professor thinks law firms should just start acting. [Washington Post]
* This fascinating story’s many intimations about State Senator Carl Kruger make it difficult to discern who is doinking who. Sorry, doinking whom. Whom is doinking whom. [New York Times]
* It is spring, which means the New York Mets are feisty. Silly Mets. [New York Post]
* The FDA is weighing whether to ban menthol cigarettes. Good thing Elie already quit. What’s that? You didn’t smoke menthols, Elie? Wow, this is awkward… [Chicago Tribune]
* The Barry Bonds trial is going to be a heavyweight fight. However, most of that weight will be located in Bonds’s head. [San Francisco Chronicle]
As regular readers know, this is usually the time of year I go to Vegas, blow my bonus, and come back to work a week later angrier than ever.
Well, this year, it’s going to be different. Oh, don’t worry, when I return to Above the Law’s pages on March 14th, I’m sure I’ll be all kinds of pissed off. It just won’t be because a security guard prevented me from committing suicide by MGM lion enclosure.
No, for my vacation — which begins now and ends a week from this coming Monday, in case you’re wondering — I am going to start the process of quitting smoking….
* If the Muslim Brotherhood gains power in Egypt, they will impose sharia law. Just like Oklahoma! [ABC Online]
* Lindsay Lohan took to Twitter to announce that she “was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal.” Well, nature it is. [msnbc.com]
* Arizona is suing the federal government over the porous border. Mr. Obama, build us a wall! [Reuters]
* Barry Bonds, he of the enormous dome piece, had the number of felony charges against him dropped to five. Hauling that gargantuan cranium about. I’m not kidding, that boy’s head is like Sputnik. [ESPN]
Smokers are not crazy. I know it seems like we’re crazy. I know what non-smokers think: “Why would you put something in your body that you know will give you cancer?” It’s not like the explanation is particularly complicated: 1) it’s a narcotic and people get addicted, and 2) some people aren’t terribly worried about dying.
Is that really so hard to understand? Not everybody wants to live “healthily.” Not everybody is desperate to live to 100. And some are prone to get addicted to drugs. That’s not crazy.
But don’t try telling that to the New York police. They arrested a man and threw him in a psychiatric ward for smoking on his window ledge. They claim they were worried that he was going to jump from the window ledge he was smoking on. The window was two stories off the ground.
Now the NYPD is getting sued, because this smoker is also a lawyer…
A Florida state court judge, Jeffrey Streitfeld, has decided that the largest individual award to a former smoker is excessive. The Daily Business Review (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports on the good news for tobacco peddler Philip Morris:
Calling the $300 million jury verdict “excessive” and “shocking,” Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld said he would determine a lower award later against tobacco giant Philip Morris USA. He gave no indication when he would rule.
The landmark verdict was reached in November for Cindy Naugle, an emphysema patient who quit smoking in 1993.
There are few things that bother me more than smokers blaming tobacco companies for becoming addicted to their products. Does Philip Morris sell an illegal product? No. Do you need to be galactically stupid to smoke yet not know that smoking is dangerous? Yes. So what is the rationale for suing a company that produces a legal product you’d have to be epically dumb to not know is potentially dangerous?
As a smoker, I feel particularly qualified to say: it’s not Philip Morris’s fault if I get sick. It’s my fault. I take personal responsibility for my own health choices.
Personal responsibility. Seems like a winning argument, doesn’t it? Well, it’s pretty much the argument pursued by Philip Morris’s lawyers. And … it horribly backfired.
Judge Streitfeld has decided to step in to correct the lawyers’ mistake.
Kirkland & Ellis is known for its powerful litigators and leading litigation department. Though Gibson Dunn was happy to knock Kirkland from its Amlaw “Litigation Department of the Year” throne this year.
Kirkland is suffering another big knock this week. Litigation co-chair David Bernick has developed a tobacco addiction. Here’s a quote from Bernick included in an official firm statement and in an internal memo sent around the firm yesterday (both available in full after the jump):
“I have spent my entire career at Kirkland & Ellis and I am proud to have contributed to the growth and success of one of the top law firms,” said David Bernick. “I will remain close to my many friends and colleagues at the Firm, but I look forward to pursuing new challenges during the next phase of my career with Philip Morris International.”
After 31 years at Kirkland, Bernick is leaving to become senior vice president and general counsel of Philip Morris International, and he’s going very far away. He’ll be relocating from New York to Switzerland.
Bernick is a powerhouse at Kirkland. He has a smoking résumé. His firm bio recounts victories for big pharma, nuclear weapons plants, breast implants, and tobacco….
If you live in NYC, you’re used to smoking being banned in almost every place of business; your law dates back to 2003. DC caught up in January of 2007. However, the pro-health laws have had a harder time down south where people get all hot and bothered when the government tries to tell ‘em what to do. Here in Tuscaloosa (‘Bama), the law bars smoking in restaurants before 10:00 pm. It’s a narrow victory for the non-smokers.
Professor Althouse posted today about the loophole in the Minnesota ban that allows smoking for “actors in theatrical performances.” Non-actors in Minnesota are trying to use the exception to get around their state’s ban.
We know we have readers all around the country. What’s the status of smoking in your town’s bars and restaurants? If there is a ban, is it enforced?
* It’s a sign of the times when smoking laws have a better chance than public urination laws in justifying Operation Homeless. Or, Berkeley officials can ask Giuliani what he really did to clean up Times Square. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Does anyone remember the dystopian Strange Days? Let that be a warning. [Feminist Law Professors]
* That ice cream girl/boy better not lean against or press down on the scale though. [Signs On San Diego]
* Why? Because I love the ongoing Brooke/Tom feud/reconciliation bit, and because I find it amazing that someone who has always been and is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen inexplicably has absolutely no charm, warmth or grace. [AOL Entertainment]
* He’s a lightweight but he’s no lightweight. I’m rooting for this guy, because I’m a sucker (heh) for these kinds of inspirational stories. (If you’ve seen/read Friday Night Lights, you’ll know that one of the players went to Harvard before returning to Texas for law school and Odessa to practice.) [Yahoo! News]
* His world may have collapsed, but his lung won’t. [MSN]
* They probably weren’t staying together for the kids. [Judicial Reports (third item)]
* Some African-American college students are, in fact, just African. Another way to summarize this “finding” is that “Not All [insert color here] People Are the Same” (or, as many a clever columnist would no doubt call it, the “Barack Theory”). [Althouse]
* I’m not sure what constitutes innovation in law practice management, but I wouldn’t nominate Sullivan & Cromwell. [Adam Smith, Esq]
* No need for a state-funded “Inner Change Program.” After they get stabbed by a pick fashioned out of a bed spring and gang-raped in the shower, inmates usually turn to God of their own will. [ACSBlog]
* Be careful when deciding what to call your party on Sunday night. [Overlawyered]
* Pity the petty, Tommy Bahama-wearing victims of the defectively long and narrow armrests of Metro-North commuter trains. [New York Times]
* Dr. Daniel goes to prison after lubing up the Beverly Hills ladies… in a bad way. [Los Angeles Times]
* Small firms are great and all, but can they afford the luxury of a Holiday Extravaganza in the cafeteria? [Build a Solo Practice, LLC]
* A crime against the Christmas spirit? No, just a mom charging her kid with petty larceny. [The Smoking Gun via CrimLaw]
* Remember that ninth-grade health ed presentation on the dangers of smoking, with the gross photos of cancerous lungs? That is when the statute of limitations should start running. (The SOL in trans-fat cases, because it’s only a matter of days now, should run the day you realize you can’t see your penis anymore.) [Point of Law]
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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