Archive for the ‘lawyers’ Category

Bye-Bye ‘Billable Hours’?

October 19, 2015

Bye-Bye 'Billable Hours'?

The District of Columbia has a higher concentration of lawyers than any other place in the known litigating universe, but the foundation of DC’s legal world may be crumbling:

“It has been criticized as inefficient, needlessly punitive, and susceptible to abuse. Law students are warned about it. Attorneys have called for its death and likened living under its regime to a ‘living hell.’ Still, the billable hour reigns.

But that may not always be the case, as shifts in the legal industry are forcing traditional law firms to reconsider their structures.

Firms that use billable hours make money by paying their associates flat salaries that come out to less than the combined hourly fees at which they’re billed out to clients. Then firms pocket the difference. This structure incentivizes them to hire many associates and work them extremely hard (which might account for why for “associate attorney” has been labeled the ‘unhappiest job‘). The billable-hour model only works, however, when firms are flush with business. During the recession, idle associates became dead weight, law firms orchestrated massive layoffs, and the model’s risks were exposed.”

— “Is the Billable Hour Obsolete?” Leigh McMullan Abramson, The Atlantic

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‘My Brain Made Me Do It.’

November 17, 2013

'My Brain Made Me Do It.'

“Criminal courts in the United States are facing a surge in the number of defendants arguing that their brains were to blame for their crimes and relying on questionable scans and other controversial, unproven neuroscience, a legal expert who has advised the president has warned.

Nita Farahany, a professor of law who sits on Barack Obama’s bioethics advisory panel, told a Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego that those on trial were mounting ever more sophisticated defenses that drew on neurological evidence in an effort to show they were not fully responsible for murderous or other criminal actions.

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There Are Only 8 Gazillion Billable Hours In A Year ….

April 1, 2013

There Are Only 8 Gazillion Billable Hours In A Year ....

“The billable-hour system is the way most lawyers in big firms charge clients, but it serves no one. Well, almost no one. It brings most equity partners in those firms great wealth. Law firm leaders call it a leveraged pyramid. Most associates call it a living hell.”

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Chen Guangcheng Leaves China for USA

May 19, 2012

Chen Guangcheng Leaves China for USA

Self-taught legal activist Chen Guangcheng, accompanied by his wife and two children, left China on United Airlines Flight 88 to Newark. The blind lawyer describes his departure as a “leave of absence.” This follows his dramatic escape after seven years of imprisonment and torture and a month of diplomatic wrangling.

“Blind Chinese activist leaves for U.S.,” Didi Tang and Gillian Wong, AP via USA Today

Related:

“In China, Where ‘Attorney-At-Law’ Is An Ever More Dangerous Occupation,” B. Pe, Le Monde via Worldcrunch

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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iSteve

January 6, 2012

iSteve
A Steve Jobs action figure! Only $99, from InIcons. Isn’t that the coolest Steve Jobs memorial ever?

Not to the folks at Apple:

“Apple says it owns rights to Jobs’s likeness, and its letter reportedly states that it’s a criminal offense for any toy to feature Apple’s trademarks, logo, or products, as well as the appearance or name of its late co-founder.”

— “Report: Apple Goes After Latest Steve Jobs Action Figure,” Leslie Horn, PC Magazine

— “Apple ‘threatens legal action’ over Steve Jobs action doll,” Amy Willis, The Telegraph

The result of the legal threat: those InIcon action figures are fetching $135 on eBay.

In 2010, Apple stopped sales of an earlier “SJ Action Figure” that was more of an affectionate caricature. Shame, really. It was smaller, and would have looked great on the dashboard of your Prius.

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Blago Loses Law License

October 27, 2011

Blago Loses Law License

The Illinois Supreme Court asked former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich why his license to practice law should not be revoked. Uncharacteristically, Mr. Blagojevich was at a loss for words. The court pulled his ticket. The ex-Gov, convicted on federal corruption charges, is currently awaiting sentencing, and faces up to a zillion years in prison.

Mrs. Patti Blagojevich has a new business, selling employee benefit insurance policies. In an outbreak of Illinois irony, her husband may lose his pension.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Alberto Gonzales Goes Nashville

October 20, 2011

Alberto Gonzales Goes Nashville

Nashville’s Belmont University has a new law school, one that opened last summer. It also has a new Distinguished Professor of Law, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The Distinguished Professor is also distinguished by his official endorsement of government torture and kidnapping during his time at the White House and in the Justice Department.

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Snyder Suit SLAPP-Down

July 20, 2011

Snyder Suit SLAPP-Down

The ACLU wants to slap Dan Snyder with a penalty. That’s Dan Snyder, millionaire owner of DC’s NFL team, and SLAPP, as in Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. A SLAPP is a rich man’s bludgeon, used to suppress criticism or other actions by pesky peons who lack the financial resources to fight back. In this case, a critical sportswriter in DC’s weekly alternative newspaper. Mr. Snyder first filed his SLAPP in New York, then re-filed in the District of Columbia.

But DC has an anti-SLAPP law, as the ACLU just reminded him. Some other folks noted that, too, and signed on to the ACLU’s amicus brief: D.C. Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (a law professor), National Public Radio, Public Citizen, the American Society of News Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, WJLA-TV 7, and WUSA-TV (Channel 9).

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This Oil Spill Brought To You By …

May 7, 2010

This Oil Spill Brought to You By ...

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co, Ltd — Builder of the Deepwater Horizon.
HHI Offshore and Engineering Division brochure here.

Cameron — Manufacturer of oil drilling valves. 
“Cameron CEO: ‘Too Early’ To Know Blowout Preventer Role In Rig Blast,”  Brian Baskin, Dow Jones Newswires via MorningStar.

Transocean Owner and contract operator of the Deepwater Horizon.
“Transocean Ltd. Provides Deepwater Horizon Update” (press release).

BP Global — Transnational energy corporation.
“Update on Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response” (Press Release).

Halliburton — Oil platform services contractor.
“HALLIBURTON PROVIDES CEMENTING FACTS REGARDING RIG INCIDENT,” (press release).

More:

“Gulf Coast attorneys general call on BP, Transocean and other Deepwater firms to guarantee long-term impact of oil spill,” Matthew Boyle – The Daily Caller

“BP, Halliburton, Transocean Told to Keep Rig Evidence,” Justin Blum and Jim Polson, Bloomberg News.

“Cameron International Corp. (formerly Cooper Cameron),” Arnold & Itkin, LLP.

 “Oil Blowout Device Maker Has $500M For Liability,” AP via WKRG-TV.

“BP’s blame-game tightrope,” Rowena Mason, Daily Telegraph.

“GoM blowout: assigning blame and liability,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal.

NEW:  “Clarifying Questions of Liability, Cleanup and Consequences,” Matthew L. Wald, New York Times.

 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Constitution, Cheney-Style

March 11, 2010

Constitution, Cheney-Style

Like her Constitution-redacting Dad, Liz Cheney would deny counsel to Gitmo defendants and tar and feather any lawyers who try to represent them. The Cheneys would brobably throw John Adams in jail for defending Boston’s Redcoats if that lousy, traitorous Founding Father hadn’t conveniently died (the socialist coward!).

Sixth Amendment? What “Sixth Amendment?”

Having trouble reading the Cheney version of the Constitution (above)? Here’s Liz’s handy cheat sheet:

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