Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ventris v. Kansas Opinion Issued

It's right here courtesy of a link from the SCOTUS Blog Orders and Opinions page.

The SCOTUS Blog continues to be one of the best sources for keeping track of what's happening at the USSC. The entire case of Ventris v. Kansas can be viewed here on the wiki page. Virtually every document filed with the court is available as is insightful analysis. Access to the information is free.

For years the "gold standard" in keeping up with events at the USSC has been BNA's U.S. Law Week. You have to wonder about the continued viability of that business model in the face of SCOTUS Blog.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

West Changes Keys, Topics

According to the latest West elert Newsletter, the Key Number system has been changed yet again. There has been a reclassification of over 300,000 headnotes, two new topics added (Privileged Communications and Protection of Endangered Persons), a total revision of four more topics (Convicts, Prisons, Disorderly Conduct, and Products Liability), and one topic has been removed (Breach of the Peace is now subsumed by Disorderly Conduct).

Researchers still complain about the antiquated headings for the Key Number system but it seems obvious that West is sincere in their attempts to stay current.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who Is To Blame In Stevens Case?

Apparently, there is plenty of blame to go around. The NYTimes story from this morning mentions several possibilities. Prosecutorial misconduct knows many fathers. First, there are the attorneys themselves. Did they forget about Brady v. Maryland? Did they take Criminal Procedure in law school?

Next, there are the supervising attorneys, the top attorney-managers of the Public Integrity Division of the DOJ. By letting their subordinates act without supervision, they compounded the problem

Finally, there is the AG himself, Michael Mukasey. Ultimately everything your employees do comes back to the head of the organization. In this case, of course, it looks like Mukasey didn't bother to answer inquiries from head defense counsel, Brendan Sullivan. This was a real mistake. Anyone with a sense of history will remember Sullivan at the Oliver North hearings where he lost his temper and made the now famous "I am not a potted plant" statement. It can be dangerous not to respond to attorneys like Sullivan.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Law Shucks Layoff Tracker

Interested in the current legal employment situation? Of course you are. Although depressing reading the Law Shucks Blog seems to be right on top of the recent trends. Check out the Layoff Tracker here.

One of the worrisome trends is the ratio of staff layoffs to attorney layoffs. A good rule of thumb is two staff employees (e.g., paralegal, secretarial, accounting) to one attorney. Attorneys can always prepare their own pleadings and correspondence; but, it takes talented staff to support the practice of law.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Prosecutorial Hubris

See it all unravel here.

Local Firm Downsizes

No kidding. It may be April 1st but this is no joke. Hartford firm Robinson & Cole has laid off 11 counsel and associate attorneys and 19 support staff. These layoffs will occur among the firm's seven Northeast offices. Read all about it here. Fortunately, the summer intern and freshman associate jobs are still intact. Whew!

Former Dean Newton Moves to Notre Dame

Nell Newton is leaving Hastings for Notre Dame. Read all about it here. Dean Newton was previously Dean at UConn Law...