International Comparisons

By Russell Pearce

We are planning to add a new feature to the next edition of the casebook that will compare U.S. rules and approaches to those internationally.  The will identify these comparisons as “international boxes” and we will have at least two for each chapter.  Prof. Laurel Terry of Penn State University, who is joining the casebook as a co-author, has written these boxes.  Please feel free to use them in your classes and to offer Prof. Terry any comments or suggestions you have that will assist in the writing of the next edition.

Global Perspective Boxes

Did Elizabeth Warren Commit Unauthorized Practice of Law?

Above the Law provides links to the raging debate on whether Professor and now Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren engaged in unauthorized practice of law in Massachusetts.  Evidently, she has represented parties while a professor at Harvard, even though she was not admitted to practice in the State.  The commentators linked in Above the Law debate the application of Rule 5.5 and the extent to which federal practice is exempt from the requirements of that Rule.

Bronx D.A. puts brakes on public housing trespass arrests

Robert Johnson – the Bronx D.A. – has taken the bold step of putting a spanner in the spokes of the street patrols that subject residents of public housing projects to a reign of random searches and, often arrest.  Prosecutors often have trouble remembering that the public, not the police, are their clients.  Cops and prosecutors are, naturally, a team.  But the culture of aggressive patrols which characterizes life on the street for many Black and Hispanic New Yorkers has eroded police (and prosecutors?)  respect for basic principles like the need for reasonable suspicion to stop a person and probable cause for arrest.  One of the nastiest tricks is to stop people,  compel them to empty their pockets, then arresting them for open public possession of the marijuana cigaret the unwarranted search forced into the open.  – GWC
The Times reports:
In the Bronx, Resistance to Prosecuting Stop-and-Frisk Arrests – NYTimes.com:
by Joseph Goldstein

In a significant blow to New York City’s use of stop-and-frisktactics, the Bronx district attorney’s office is no longer prosecuting people who were stopped at public housing projects and arrested for trespassing, unless the arresting officer is interviewed to ensure that the arrest was warranted.
Prosecutors quietly adopted the policy in July after discovering that many people arrested on charges of criminal trespass at housing projects were innocent, even though police officers had provided written statements to the contrary.
By essentially accusing the police of wrongfully arresting people, the stance taken by Bronx prosecutors is the first known instance in which a district attorney has questioned any segment of arrests resulting from stop-and-frisk tactics…..

Former Jenkins & Gilchrist Partner Pleads Guilty To Helping Clients with Fraudulent Tax Shelters

Donna Guerin, former Jenkins & Gilchrist partner, “agreed to pay $1.6 million” and plead guilty to “one count of conspiracy and one count of tax evasion.”  She “faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.”   Bloomberg News reports that:

Guerin admitted to helping advise clients on how to conduct complex transactions that allowed them to wipe out financial gains. Guerin said she also provided opinion letters to her clients helping them assert that the deals were legitimate.

Teaching Chapter 3 on Finding & Billing Clients?

If you’re teaching Chapter 3 on Finding & Billing Clients, you (and your students) might enjoy these resources:

1.  Here is an ad from Alexander & Catalano, complete with the “wisps of smoke, blue electrical currents, and special effects” described by Judge Calabresi in Alexander v. Cahill on page 223 of the casebook. (Click the image to play the ad).  2.  This video clip, just out from the recently-formed, British-based law firm (and ABS–alternative business structure–ala the UK’s Legal Services Act) Riverview Law, spoofs the hourly rate.  Riverview operates on a model of exclusively fixed-fee pricing. (Click the image to play the clip).3. Vivia Chen asks whether hourly billings are making lawyers anxious and depressed in this July 2012 article in The Careerist.4. If you don’t know about LawZam yet, check this out…the new lawyer-finding service has been compared to online speed dating. (Click the image to play a promo video).