DA Hamilton Burger may be the best-known loser of early TV, but his portrayer William Talman's life
(content excerpted from the Perry Mason TV show book) was far more interesting. At the height of his fame in 1960, Talman arrested
at a nude pot party, and was fired and blacklisted as a result. It took Raymond Burr, the cast, and the fans to eventually get him his job back. At the end of his life, on the verge of dying, he made a powerful anti-smoking PSA
(the PSA itself
was selected by President Obama to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Senate, aided and abetted by seven Democratic senators, killed his nomination
. Why? Because
for civil rights
Of all the occupational golden ages to come and go in the twentieth century—for doctors, journalists, ad-men, autoworkers—none lasted longer, felt cushier, and was all in all more golden than the reign of the law partner.
Noam Schreiber on The Last Days of Big Law: You can't imagine the terror when the money dries up
. Former law partner Steven J. Harper
, author of The Lawyer Bubble
the profession to be in existential crisis
. Another former partner weighs in
. Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein
presents a more sanguine view
Small Print, Big Problem (part I)
Imagine you’ve clicked on your computer screen to accept a contract to purchase a good or service—a contract, you only realize later, that’s straight out of Kafka. The widget you’ve bought turns out to be a nightmare. You take to Yelp.com to complain about your experience—but lo, according to the contract you have given up your free speech rights to criticize the product. Let’s also say, in a fit of responsibility, (a bit fantastic, I know) you happened to have printed out this contract before you “signed” it, though you certainly hadn’t read through the thing, which is written, literally, on a “twenty-seventh grade” reading level. Well, you read it now (perhaps with the help of a friend who’s completed the twenty-seventh grade). And you see that there was nothing in the contract limiting your right to free speech at the moment you signed it. That part was added later. Your friend with the twenty-seventh-grade education points to the clause in the contract in which you’ve granted this vendor-from-hell the right to modify the terms of the contract, unilaterally, at any time into the vast limitless future. [more inside]
After several failed attempts against other schools, a lawsuit
against Thomas Jefferson School of Law for providing misleading employment data
to prospective students is moving forward.
Want your new law school to get accredited by the American Bar Association? Be prepared to jump through some hoops.
Professor Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt University explores whether a law degree is a good investment today.
(SSRN link) [more inside]
F*ck You! Pay Me!
Customers not wanting to pay for work done (or pay less than what was originally agreed to) is a common problem that many business owners run into. In this 40 minute video, Mike Monteiro, a web designer, and his lawyer offer advice on how to get clients to pay up. The talk is aimed at freelancers and small firms that provide creative services. Note: There is some swearing in this video. [via Ask Mefi
Over the past couple of months, there have been a series of scandals that have rocked the legal education community. First, there were tandem lawsuits against Thomas M. Cooley School of Law
and New York Law School
for misrepresenting jobs data. Then, Villanova University
and the University
were found to be fudging their employment numbers
. A legal team is now preparing to sue 15
different law schools
because of misrepresentations made to students regarding job and salary data.
Several commentators are advocating
of the practice of law.
The job market is saturated and graduates are unable to get hired anywhere to get proper training. Law professors Richard Rhee and Bradley Borden have a solution: law schools should open their own law firms.
Homeowners are using a little known loophole
in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years
. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
Jonathan Blattmachr, one of the country's leading estates and trusts experts
, feels that helping his clients reduce their tax liability
helps the IRS close loopholes that he and his colleagues use. As with most attorneys, there are some clients who weren't happy with his work
, but Mr. Blattmachr pushes on with his efforts
Despite the most prestigious law firms in the country laying off almost 6,000 attorneys and 9,000 staff
since the beginning of 2008, century-old law firms dissolving almost overnight
, and law school tuition rising everywhere
, law school applications are at an all time high
. Even the number of law schools
But with the century-old Cravath system
by big firms over the last decade, historical income distributions
have been disrupted.
For good or ill, things may be coming to a head
. [more inside]
A lawyer and her husband decide to get a divorce. Then, the lawyer loses her mind.
Nearly one million people who seek help for civil legal problems, such as foreclosures and domestic violence, will be turned away this year
. A new report by the Legal Services Corporation
, a non-profit
established by Congress in 1974 to ensure equal access to justice
, finds that legal aid programs turn away one person for every client served. The full report, "Documenting the Justice Gap in America" is available here
(pdf). The 2009 report is an update and expansion on a 2005 report (available here
) finding that 80% of the poor
lacked access to legal aid. [more inside]
Catherine Roraback was the only woman in her class at Yale Law School. She was a founder of the Connecticut ACLU, and a president of the National Lawyers Guild
. During her long career she defended labor organizers, immigrants, civil rights organizers, Black Panthers, and maybe most famously, Estelle Griswold before the United States Supreme Court in the case that legalized the distribution of birth control. She died this week at age 87. [more inside]
It began with
an innocent-looking Valentine's Day card in 2005.
Inside the card were several slips of paper, a hastily cut-up printout of names of 550 secret detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The human rights lawyer who received "this weird valentine" handed it over to authorities, and this week the court martial begins for JAG LtCmdr Matthew Diaz, facing 36 years for divulging state secrets.
Whither goest thou, American Jurisprudence
is a tax lawyer who invites you
to ask her offbeat and unique questions
about federal taxation in the United States, as well as Philadelphia-specific tax questions. She also covers the fun side of taxation
and the not-so-fun side of tax evasion
, usually the domain of Posse Comitatus
and white supremacist groups, but lately extending in bizarre ways to celebrities
like Wesley Snipes
and Ron Isley.
The billionaire attorney. The King of Torts. Legendary Texas Lawyer. He is Joe Jamail
. He is most famous
for his record setting verdict in Texaco v. Pennzoil
(which eventually made it to the US Supreme Court
) in which Joe secured a $10.3 billion dollar judgment (though it is not known for sure, some speculate that Joe walked with $1 billion in attorney's fees in that case). In addition to being well known for his success, he is almost as legendary for his colorful demeanor. One such example was when he got reprimanded
for his behavior
in Paramount Communications Inc. v. QVC Network, Inc.
. But to see him in action with your own eyes, we have video of classic
Joe during a deposition he was giving. (via brainwidth
reads like fiction (awesome, Hunter S. Thompson -esque fiction -- Part 1
) to outsiders, but that might just be because it's so fucking good. The lawyers commiserating in the comments, at least, think it's real.
The navigation is cumbersome -- if you're not careful, you'll come into a story in the middle. For your perusal, then, I've laid a few out:
Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Part 1, 2
Part 1, 2, 3, 4
How I Lost the Big One
Lawrence Lessig on losing Eldred v. Ashcroft: "We had in our Constitution a commitment to free culture. In the case that I fathered, the Supreme Court effectively renounced that commitment. A better lawyer would have made them see differently."
Apple lawyers target Mac Themes Project
-- Apple has issued a cease and desist order against Mac Themes Project (MTP) for creating a theme editor. Apple claims the editor enables third parties to copy its copyrighted trademark themes by "improperly copying Apple's copyrighted software code and graphic files".