Wednesday, October 06, 2010

LAW.COM Newswire Highlights October 6, 2010

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Justices Consider Limits on Employer Background Checks in NASA Case
The National Law Journal

Lawyers for the federal government clashed with lawyers for a group of California scientists at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday over how much information the government can demand in background checks on potential employees before violating their privacy rights. The government wants the Court to overturn a preliminary injunction issued by the 9th Circuit, which found that certain questions on NASA background forms for contract employees were so intrusive as to violate the employees' right to informational privacy.

Toyota Shareholders Invoke Japanese Securities Law in Consolidated Complaint
The National Law Journal

Lawyers for Toyota shareholders who suffered losses tied to massive recalls and claims of sudden acceleration of its vehicles have filed a consolidated complaint invoking Japanese securities laws against the company and several of its officers and directors. The complaint, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court, alleges Toyota issued false and misleading statements in conference calls with investors, filings with the SEC and interviews with the press -- all of which caused its shares to be artificially inflated.

Survey Shows Summer Associates Still in Recession's Grip
The American Lawyer

For this year's summer law clerks, 2010 is likely to go down as the year of the even leaner, meaner summer program. Like their predecessors last year, this year's summer class got a stark reminder of the heavy toll the recession has taken, as many top law firms continued to reduce the length of summer programs -- if they had programs at all. On the bright side, firms were generally better able than last year to assure the summer clerks they did hire that they would get full-time job offers, provided they did good work.

Would-Be Times Square Bomber Greets Life Term With Defiance
New York Law Journal

It did not take long for New York federal Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum to sentence failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad to life in prison Tuesday, because there was not much left to say. With a life sentence guaranteed for a man who had already declared his lack of remorse and implacable hatred for America, Cedarbaum did not engage in an extended exchange about the morality of what he had done. Shahzad smirked when he was ordered to prison for life, telling the judge, "I'm happy with the deal God has given me."

New Round of Layoffs Hits Husch Blackwell
The American Lawyer

Layoffs at Am Law 200 firms may have slowed from their frenetic pace of a year ago, but they haven't stopped altogether. The latest blip on the job-loss radar: Husch Blackwell, which reportedly let go of nearly 20 lawyers last month. While those laid off reportedly failed to meet their billable hour targets, the firm declined to get into specifics about the layoffs and would not say how many lawyers had been affected. In Husch Blackwell's last round of layoffs in March 2009, the firm let go of 17 lawyers and 45 staffers.

Courts Deal With Fallout of Judge's Arrest on Drug and Gun Charges
Fulton County Daily Report

Judges and attorneys in Georgia, Washington and Alabama spent Tuesday coping with fallout from U.S. District Senior Judge Jack T. Camp's arrest on federal drug and gun charges. Judges, including Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., sought someone to oversee the criminal case and determine how to reassign Camp's caseload. Some attorneys experienced in defending federal drug cases said the crimes with which Camp is charged, if prosecuted at all, would likely have been handled by local prosecutors, had Camp not been a federal judge.

All Federal Circuit Vacancies Now Have Nominees, but Quick Confirmation Unlikely
The National Law Journal

President Barack Obama's recent nomination of Jimmie Reyna for one of three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit covers all open slots and adds a candidate with deep international trade expertise. But court watchers expect that at least two of the confirmations to the 12-judge court, including Reyna's, will stretch into next year.

Fla. Judge Quashes State Subpoena in Foreclosure Probe
Daily Business Review

A Florida judge dealt a blow Monday to state AG Bill McCollum's investigation of foreclosure law firms by quashing a broad subpoena issued against one of the firms. The judge in a sharply worded order said it's up to the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Bar to regulate attorneys, not the attorney general. He also called the subpoena of Shapiro & Fishman "overbroad, vague, inconsistent and unduly burdensome" as well as "invasive" and said it was unlikely to reveal "actionable conduct" by the firm.

Proskauer Rose Elects New Chairman
New York Law Journal

Proskauer Rose said Monday it had elected Joseph Leccese, 49, as its new chairman, making him the youngest elected chair in the firm's 135-year history. He will succeed Allen Fagin, who will step down in January after serving the maximum six-year term as chair. Leccese joined Proskauer in 1986 as an associate. As a partner in the corporate department and co-head of the sports law group, he counts among his clients the NBA and NHL. He represented Robert Wood Johnson IV when he bought the New York Jets for $635 million.

White & Williams to Shutter Pittsburgh Office
The Legal Intelligencer

White & Williams confirmed Tuesday that it is set to close its 10-year-old Pittsburgh office. The firm has five lawyers in the city, all in the firm's litigation department with a focus on medical malpractice defense. Although the Pittsburgh lawyers have "very significant" clients in the area of medical malpractice defense, that office didn't produce the cross-selling opportunities other offices have, said managing partner George Hartnett, noting that the Pittsburgh office's clients are "very Pittsburgh-centric."

Supreme Court Denies Ga. Death Penalty Appeal
Fulton County Daily Report

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand the Georgia Supreme Court's decision on Jamie Ryan Weis, who has been in jail facing the death penalty for more than four years while the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council struggles to pay for attorneys to handle his case. Weis, accused of the 2006 robbery-murder of Catherine King, had asked the Supreme Court to review a March decision by the Georgia high court that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had not been violated.

Lawyers on Both Sides of the Pond Gear Up for New U.K. Bribery Law
The American Lawyer

White-collar criminal lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic are bracing themselves for the new U.K. Bribery Act, which could generate significant legal work when it becomes law next year. The first change to U.K. bribery laws in more than a century, the act is primarily designed to tighten the country's regulatory framework. However, given the act's broad jurisdictional reach, most U.S. public companies are apt to be affected by what experts describe as the most draconian anti-corruption legislation in the world.
Visit International News

Harvesting Evidence From the Sea of Text Messages
New York Law Journal

The explosive growth of text messaging presents litigators with new opportunities and challenges. To understand the utility of text messages as an evidentiary tool, say attorneys Alan Winchester and Russell Maines, it is important to understand what text messages are, and how they work.
Visit Legal Technology

What Do Attorneys Wish Their Paralegals Knew?
The Legal Intelligencer

Paralegal Kim Walker polled several attorneys with the question, "What do attorneys wish their paralegals knew?" She uses the attorneys' answers as a starting point for advice on how paralegals can brush up on their skills and avoid the all-too-common problem of becoming complacent.
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The Careerist: First, Take a Shower
The Careerist

Check out some of the latest posts on the blog, The Careerist. First, Take a Shower: Advice for the Unemployed Lawyer on Staying Disciplined And Think Firms Care About Morale? Also Time for a Lawyers' Tea Party?
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Growth of Consumer Debt Litigation Keeps Small Firms Busy
The Legal Intelligencer

A logical chain of events has been occurring recently: The recession has caused more consumer debts to go unpaid, which in turn, has led to more legal battles between consumers and their creditors. On one hand, debt collectors are suing consumers to collect the unpaid debts. On the other, consumer debtors are filing suits claiming debt collection harassment. Attorneys say such litigation has been on the rise over the past few years, and it's typically been small firms and solo attorneys that have benefited.® 120 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10271-1101, Customer Service Phone: (877) 256-CIRC

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