OTHERWISE: The Best Lawyers Money Can Buy – NYTimes.com.
by George Conk
The most frequently appearing Supreme Court advocates come from a narrow circle. From the usual elite law schools come former law clerks – outstanding students recommended by prestigious professors and selected by Justices who graduated from Yale and Harvard. They join law firms that value that credential which is highly salable to their clients who angle to get their cases heard by the high court.
But is it really a case of buying the “best lawyers” as the Times argues? Or is the key to their success that these advocates for corporate clients are preaching to the choir?
Is a federal court-appointed Administrator subject to the Code of Conduct of United State Judges? the judicial disqualification statute 28 U.S.C.455? the RPC’s? And, in any event, was BP misled by Patrick Juneau?
BP appeals rejection of removing spill claims leader – Houston Chronicle
by Janet McConnaughey//AP December 24, 2014
“NEW ORLEANS – BP is asking the federal appeals court in New Orleans to kick out the administrator of damage settlement claims from its 2010 oil spill. A 75-page brief submitted this week to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals contends, among other things, that Patrick Juneau had secretly drafted court papers filed against BP before he was appointed claims administrator.
via OTHERWISE: BP appeals rejection of removing spill claims leader – Houston Chronicle.
Torture by the CIA is back in the news thanks to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program. The role of lawyers is a worthwhile topic for a term paper or more. Click through below for links to materials. – gwc
OTHERWISE: Torture – the lawyers' role.
Conservative Attorneys General talk the tort reform talk when they woo their donors and primary voters. But when faced with the chance to be populist heroes and put cash in the state coffers they often turn into aggressive and innovative plaintiffs lawyers. -gwc
via OTHERWISE: Lawyers Coax State Attorneys General to Big Paydays – NY Times.
Posner: What’s wrong with legal education today?
by Ronald K. L. Collins //Concurring Opinions
Question: What do you think is the single greatest shortcoming of legal education in America today?
Posner: There are several shortcomings; I don’t know how to rank them.
1.) Legal education is too expensive, in part because law school faculties are too large.
2.) Not enough law professors, especially at the elite law schools, have substantial practical experience as lawyers, and
3.) Law school teaching focuses excessively on legal doctrine, to the exclusion of adequate attention to facts, business practices, science and technology, psychology, judicial mentality and behavior, legal practice, and application of legal principles.
Question: Insofar as the teaching of legal ethics is concerned, is teaching the rules of professional responsibility and the cases interpreting them enough in your opinion? Or should some significant attention be devoted to familiarizing law students with some of the great works of the Western Philosophical tradition? – say, to Plato’s Gorgias or Aristotle’s Rhetoric?
Posner: I don’t consider instruction in legal ethics an important part of legal education. Aristotle’s Rhetoric is pertinent to the rhetorical dimension of legal practice, rather than to legal ethics. Gorgias can be read as critical of lawyers’ tricks, though there were no lawyers as such in fourth century b.c. Athens.”
via Posner: What’s wrong with legal education //Collins //Concurring Opinions.
Attorney Robert Rubenstein has sued the Florida Bar over its new and improved 2013 attorney advertising rules. Following the issuance of the new regulations, Rubenstein developed an advertising campaign that included information regarding past recoveries for clients. Consistent with the Florida Bar’s procedures, these ads were submitted for review, and the Florida Bar issued opinion letters which reported that the past performance advertisements complied with the revised Rules.
View an example of the advertisements in question at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFjHTQF4dkQ
By early 2014, the Florida Bar issued new guidelines regarding advertising past results, and then the Bar notified Rubenstein that it was withdrawing its opinion letter on compliance. By March 2014, Rubenstein sued the Florida Bar on first amendment grounds.
In the instant case, heard by Federal Judge Beth Bloom, the Florida Bar challenged jurisdiction on the basis of standing and ripeness. Judge Bloom disagreed and denied the Florida Bar’s motion.”Plaintiffs have clearly demonstrated a very real threat of prosecution for engaging in their advertisement of past results.” The slip opinion is available at 2014 WL 6610972.
See Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds, a Science Magazine article describing research conducted by Prof. Scott Freeman and colleagues at University of Washington. H/T Ross Miller
If you are a fan of Breaking Bad — or simply looking for popular culture examples of egregious lawyer conduct — the Aizman Law Firm has prepared a list of 69 crimes committed by Saul, the lawyer in Breaking Bad. These fact situations of course raise additional legal ethics issues. H/T Ross Miller.
“Statement by Members of the Fordham Law Community on Justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner and all Americans
We are members of the Fordham Law School Community and we are deeply troubled by the evident failures of our criminal justice system in recent days. The failure to bring either police officer to a public trial after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, or Eric Garner in New York City is further painful proof that our nation’s criminal justice system is deeply broken.
via Members of Fordham Law Community Issue Statement Regarding Michael Brown and Eric Garner – Fordham Law.
Are special prosecutors needed in police shooting cases?- NYTimes.com.
The System Must Counteract Prosecutors’ Natural Sympathies
Paul Butler PAUL BUTLER, LAW PROFESSOR AND FORMER PROSECUTOR
Local Prosecutors Have Shown They Can Do the Job
Heather Mac Donald HEATHER MAC DONALD, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE
Set a Higher Standard for Police Use of Force
Trevor Burrus TREVOR BURRUS, CATO INSTITUTE
A Bad Idea With Unanticipated Consequences
Harvey Silvergate HARVEY SILVERGATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER
Class actions pose challenges to lawyers who represent competing interests. – gwc
Public Citizen: NFL Concussion Plaintiffs Not Adequate Representatives of Class.
n a post fairness hearing supplemental memorandum filed today Public Citizen’s Allison Zieve argues as amicus curiae that concussion injury class plaintiffs Kevin Turner and Shawn Wooden cannot represent fairly and adequately the many conflicting interests among NFL players and retirees. The relatively limited pot of approximately $765 million has many potential claimants. Although Class Counsel, led by Chris Seeger tried to be fair and balanced it was an impossible task argues Zieve, quoting Justice Ruth Ginsburg in the landmark Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591 (1997):
“The settling parties, in sum, achieved a global compromise with no structural assurance of fair and adequate representation for the diverse groups and individuals affected. Although the named parties alleged a range of complaints, each served generally as representative for the whole, not for a separate constituency.”