United Kingdom / Great Britain

Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat* Some observers do not appreciate the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Delphic pronouncements on a slew of hot-button issues. [New York Times]

* The New York Court of Appeals does international banks a solid — but is it bad policy? [Reuters]

* Fired Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi hires Dentons to sue CBC, which dismissed him over allegations of sexual misconduct. [American Lawyer]

* Is post-Citizens United money polluting judicial elections? [New York Times via How Appealing]

* An Englishman sues Sotheby’s, alleging that the auction house negligently failed to inform him that a painting he sold through Sotheby’s was by Caravaggio and worth millions. [BBC]

* If you’re a lawyer looking for extra income, check out Avvo’s new service, which offers consumers on-demand legal advice for a fixed fee. [Law Sites via ABA Journal]

* Is it reversible error for a judge to refuse to ask voir dire questions related to sexual-preference prejudices? [Southern District of Florida via How Appealing]

Joe Borstein

Joe Borstein

Did you hear that sound? Listen carefully. What is that row? It’s the sound of alternative legal providers’ footfalls, gaining on you.

According to Legal Business magazine (a UK-based trade publication), one of the top ten “overall advisors” in the UK market is Axiom. Huh? Let me repeat that. In a survey of major corporate clients in the UK, one of the top ten “advisors” is NOT a law firm, but an alternative legal services corporation.

Step quickly, chaps! We’ve got a spanner in the works, and pretty soon we’ll be ten a penny! (look it up)

Legal Business noted, that this breach of the coveted top ten, was “significant” and “demonstrate[ed] how non-law firm providers are winning over some bluechip clients.” I take something different from these results: Big Law take note, alt.legal firms are not just “winning over some bluechip clients,” we are gaining the respect and trust of their corporate counsel clients. To be recognized as commercially viable is one thing, but this recognition awards that ephemeral prize of every attorney’s desire: prestige. For those of you who believed that change is coming, keep reading. For those that don’t… well, the link probably won’t work on your Blackberry anyway.

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The 'coma patient' (Photo credit: Wales News Service)

The ‘coma patient’ (Photo credit: Wales News Service)

Going to court is a huge pain in the ass.

Come on, who really wants to do that? Nobody — especially not the guy who pretended to be in a coma for two years, just so he could avoid having to go in the first place.

Who is the man who pulled off this most impressive feat?

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Amal Alamuddin Clooney

* The Fifth Circuit is allowing the Texas voter ID law to be enforced during the upcoming election, even though it was recently struck down by a federal judge. After all, “preserving the status quo” is very important down south. [Bloomberg]

* We suppose that’s why the Supreme Court stepped in to make sure that abortion clinics in Texas were allowed to reopen following their shut down. Take that, Fifth Circuit. [New York Times]

* AG Eric Holder is showing off some fancy legal footwork before he walks out the door. Federal prosecutors can no longer ask defendants to waive their IAC claims when pleading guilty. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Davis Polk & Wardwell is a Biglaw firm where hotties roam, and it looks like this top Justice Department prosecutor who started his career there is returning home there to roost. [DealBook / New York Times]

* It’s the debt: With headlines like “Law school applications plummet – at U of L too,” the University of Louisville School of Law can’t even convince alums from its undergrad school to attend. [Courier-Journal]

* Amal Alamuddin changed her name to Amal Clooney on her firm’s website. It’s as if she wants to rub the fact that she’s a human rights lawyer who just got married in everyone’s face. [New York Daily News]

Ed note: This post originally appeared on Reed Smith’s Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog.

In July 2014, the High Court (the ‘Court’) considered for the first time the implications of the landmark decision in Google Spain, when delivering an interim judgment in the case of Hegglin v Persons Unknown [2014] EWHC 2808 (the ‘Judgment’).

Mr Hegglin (the ‘Claimant’), a businessman who lived in London but now resides in Hong Kong, sought to have removed a number of abusive and defamatory allegations about him that had been posted on various websites by unknown persons. Google was a defendant in the case as portions of the offensive material appeared in search results, and because Mr Hegglin requested the court to order that the identities of the anonymous posters be disclosed to him.

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Kamala D. Harris is ‘by far, the best looking attorney general.’

* Solicitor General Don Verrilli may be a frontrunner to replace Eric Holder as attorney general, but the competition seems to be stiff. Kamala Harris, anyone? [USA Today]

* FBI Director James Comey is annoyed by Apple and Google marketing their encryption prowess for privacy’s sake — it’ll “allow people to place themselves beyond the law.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* White & Case just hopped aboard the onshore outsourcing train with its announcement that it would open a services center in Tampa, Florida. The move will create about 100 jobs, but we’d love to know how many it’s negating. [Tampa Bay Times]

* Slater & Gordon, the world’s first publicly traded law firm, has been on an “acquisition spree” in England. Earlier this month, it picked up a patent practice, and now it’s in talks with a litigation shop. [Am Law Daily]

* “Law school is a major gamble,” and people are more informed, but that somehow isn’t stopping people from applying. This is a great article to read if you’re still considering going all in. [New York Observer]

Voters in Scotland decided yesterday that they will remain a part of the United Kingdom, instead of establishing a fully independent nation. Secession, even if narrowly avoided, is no mean matter. If the U.K. now makes good on its pre-plebiscite promises, constitutional change is on its way in the form of plans to devolve more power to Scotland in exchange for the “No” vote on total independence.

Before the referendum, advocates from both sides tried to convince the Scots. Celebrities chimed in. For example, Scottish actor Brian Cox, who now lives in the United States, rallied for Scottish Independence. Cox appeared in “Braveheart,” Mel Gibson’s film about the First War of Scottish Independence. (This fact may seem irrelevant to his authority on matters related to contemporary world politics, but it got mentioned in virtually every news bit about Cox’s current stance. No word yet on what Chris Cooper, actor from Gibson’s “The Patriot,” thinks about the current state of American independence.) President Obama tweeted in favor of U.K. unity, writing, “The U.K. is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united. -bo” (Was the omission of an Oxford comma after “robust” a hidden message, though? A silent nod to the Scots?) Ordinary Scottish citizens tried to convince their peers, with many supporters of independence feeling confident before the votes were tallied. When asked by a reporter whether he thought that many of the apparent undecided voters simply did not want to admit that they intended to vote against independence, one man replied, “Ach no. You can tell No voters straight off. They’re the ones with faces like a bulldog that’s chewed a wasp.” (Feel free to imagine this response uttered in the voice of Groundskeeper Willy.)

Seen even a couple of months ago as improbable, Scottish independence gained momentum in the weeks before the vote. British officials grew nervous. David Cameron, desperate not to go down as the British prime minister who lost Scotland for the Kingdom, pledged more and more autonomy. Brits and Scots began referring to the most extreme devolution settlement proposal as “Devo Max.” The name Devo Max sounded like a Mark Mothersbaugh revival project. The tone of Devo Max sounded like a spurned spouse offering an open relationship to straying partner. The terms of Devo Max sounded unclear. And like so many compromises over constitutional authority and political independence, Devo Max focused heavily on who gets control of the purse strings….

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Want your name on a law school? Just pony up $50 million.

* Voters in Scotland just said no to independence from the United Kingdom (although it might not have been a big deal for the legal profession if the vote had gone the other way). [New York Times]

* Congratulations to Drexel Law on a whopping $50 million gift — and its new name, the Thomas R. Kline School of Law. [Philadelphia Inquirer via WSJ Law Blog]

* The latest chapter in the “cautionary tale” of David Lola: dismissal of the contract attorney’s lawsuit against Skadden and Tower Legal. [American Lawyer]

* An office renovation for Baker Botts in Houston strips junior associates of window offices. [ABA Journal]

* How could Watson transform the practice of patent law? [Corporate Counsel]

* Are we seeing a reversal in the trend of declining prison populations? [Washington Post]

* The chorus of voices calling for Judge Mark Fuller to resign in the wake of domestic violence charges against him continues to grow. [New York Times]

There’s no Biglaw intercity rivalry that can match the one between London’s venerable Magic Circle and New York’s elite white-shoe firms. Both groups of firms are the clear alpha dogs in their markets, attracting the top talent and most lucrative clients.

There are, however, some significant differences between the two groups in how they operate. For example, U.K. firms tend to follow a lockstep (rather than “eat what you kill”) compensation model. Last month, friend of ATL Bruce MacEwen took a deep dive into the relative performance over the last several years of the Magic Circle firms versus their New York cousins. The piece is highly recommended: it’s chock-full of data, and its findings suggest the groups are moving in different directions….

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Observers of the legal industry have been wondering about the future of Bingham McCutchen for the past several months. In the wake of a rocky 2013, which triggered some lawyer departures and staff reductions, there has been a fair amount of merger talk.

Some have wondered whether Bingham might “fall victim to its own strategy” — i.e., whether the firm, which grew in power and profitability by swallowing up other firms, might itself get eaten up by a rival.

So what’s the latest on the Bingham merger talk front? And what might happen if the talks go further?

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