Friday, August 31, 2012

Ohio Law Firm Makes "Best Law Firm Offices" List

Calfee, Halter & Griswold is a finalist in Above the Law's contest for Best Law Firm Office in America. You can see photos of the interior and exterior of the firm's newly-renovated Cleveland office here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Prank Law and Flash Mobs

Those of you still exploring either a paper topic or a focus area for your legal careers might consider this entertainment law niche: Prank Law. Ruth Carter was recently profiled in the ABA Journal as a Legal Rebel. After participating in a flash mob and starting up an improv group in Arizona, Ruth's practice has evolved to helping pranksters in need of legal assistance.

Not quite sure where to get started? Consider taking courses in First Amendment, intellectual property, zoning, and criminal law.

For another inspiring story of an attorney advancing the prankster cause, listen to this recording of a conversation Sascha Baron Cohen had with Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

No Need to Dread Networking - Bar Association Meetings

If the thought of "networking" makes you queasy, but job postings just don't seem to have anything you're interested in, try simply hanging out with attorneys who share your interests.

The Columbus Bar Association has several committees whose meetings are open to law students. According to the Columbus Bar Association  law student page, "Students should attend Substantive Law Committee meetings of interest to them and are also invited to most New Lawyers events." Similarly, the Ohio State Bar Association has sections and committees you can join. According to the OSBA online hub for law students, "Committee membership is free to all interested OSBA members. Student associate members can join any section by paying the special student rate of $3 per year. Membership in the Young Lawyers Section is free for law student members."

Volunteering to research, edit, or co-author articles or other publications for committees and sections can be one way to show attorneys your interest and skills. These groups may also be the first place to hear about job opportunities and scholarships.

Before you head off to those meetings, stop by the library to brush up on your research, writing, and networking skills. Check out the reserve area behind the circulation desk for books on job hunting (on your left when you enter the section) or section KF 250 (in the middle of the bookshelves on your right when you enter) for books on legal writing.

And if you can't bear to come into the law school but still need to prep, there are several e-books that might pique your interest:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Casino Sues Players to Recover Winnings

The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City has sued 14 players and a playing card company, after unshuffled decks of cards led to the players winning over $1.5 million.

Although the decks of cards were supposed to be preshuffled, the decks used in the mini-baccarat games on April 30 of this year were unshuffled, leading to the same sequence of cards being dealt 41 consecutive times.  When the players noticed this, they began increasing their bets.

Now, the Golden Nugget seeks the return of both the cash they paid out, and the Golden Nugget chips which they refused to cash.  The players' lawyer contends that the players did nothing illegal.

Several of the players have countersued, alleging discrimination based on their Chinese heritage.  One player also claims that casino security assaulted him and searched his belongings for hours, looking for evidence of cheating.  The casino denies these claims.



Washington Post

ABC News

h/t: Legal Blog Watch

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How Many Supreme Court Justices Can You Name?

If you can name two, you are doing much better than two-thirds of Americans, who cannot name a single justice.

According to a recent FindLaw.com survey, only 34% of Americans can name even one of the nine justices.  Chief Justice Roberts tops the list as the most popular (or at least memorable) justice, followed by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor.

Complete results of the survey can be found here.

ABA Journal

Monday, August 20, 2012

Law Firm Pronunciation Guide

The Green Bag article noted in a previous post regarding the Supreme Court pronouncing dictionary has a footnote all law firm job applicants might find helpful: Georgetown Law's Law Firm Pronunciation Guide.

Don't forget another key point when applying for jobs: make sure you pronounce the hiring attorney's name correctly. If you're not sure, ask a friend, career services, or someone you may know at the firm. Folks might not notice when you pronounce their names correctly, but they'll certainly notice if you pronounce their names incorrectly.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pronouncing Dictionary for Supreme Court Cases

Yale Law School's Eugene Fidell and a number of law and linguistics students have created a pronouncing dictionary for U.S. Supreme Court case names. The purpose of the dictionary is to "help conscientious lawyers, judges, teachers, students, and journalists correctly pronounce often-perplexing case names." The dictionary is based on textbooks, recordings, accounts by litigants or counsel, pronunciation guides, journalism, and surveys. See also the accompanying article in Green Bag.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Video of Blinking Man to Be Used in Murder Trial

Judge Beth Myers of Cincinnati has ruled that the video of a dying man, who was instructed to blink his eyes to identify the person who shot him, may be used in an upcoming murder trial.

The victim, David Chandler, was shot in the neck and unable to communicate other than by blinking.  Police questioned him concerning the circumstances of the shooting, instructing him to blink a certain number of times to answer their questions.  Ricardo Woods' picture was shown to Chandler, and Woods is now on trial for the murder.

The parties are due in court in two weeks for a pre-trial hearing.

Columbus Dispatch

ABC News

Monday, August 13, 2012

Obtaining a Copyright Patent?

Middle school students in Dublin, Ohio, were profiled in The Columbus Dispatch because of their very cool invention---one that recently won them $250,000. The students entered the First Lego League contest designed to get kids excited about science and technology.

The group designed a special bar code for grocery items that must be kept cold for food safety reasons; when the food's temperature becomes too warm, causing bacteria to grow, ink gradually spreads to cover the bar code and renders it inoperable. In other words, stores using the bar code won't be able to sell food which could cause food-borne illness.

This may get you curious about food law generally, but I think the more interesting takeaway from the article relates to an example of legal inaccuracy in one of the paragraphs:
For now, the idea exists as a provisional patent and a computer simulation; winning the national prize required only a concept. But as one of two winners, the group has a deal with a company that helps create prototypes, market them to retailers and obtain copyright patents.
The thing is, there are copyrights and there are patents, but there are not copyright patents. For more on the distinction, consider this book from the law library or this explainer from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

So, if you're considering a career outside of law---perhaps as a consultant to or writer for TV shows or as a journalist---you can rest assured that your legal education will come in handy because you'll be able to accurately describe legal issues and jargon with confidence.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

"Olympic Tax Elimination Act" Introduced

In more legal news of the Olympics, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced The Olympic Tax Elimination Act, which would eliminate the tax on medals won by American Olympic athletes ($25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, $10,000 for bronze).

H.R. 6267

S. 3471


News and commentary:

CNN

Washington Post

Forbes

The Atlantic

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Man Loses Hand to Alligator; Charged with Feeding Alligators

Despite the title of nearly every piece about this incident (including mine above), Wallace Weatherholt of Florida was not charged with feeding alligators because the alligator ate his hand.  Rather, he was charged because just a moment before the alligator ate his hand, Weatherholt was allegedly dangling a fish over the side of his tour boat in order to entice the alligator to come closer, and such actions are illegal in Florida.  Weatherholt was charged with a misdemeanor and released on bond, and is due back in court in several weeks.

The alligator was found and euthanized, and Weatherholt's hand was retrieved, though it could not be reattached.

Lowering the Bar

ABC News

Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Scalia Interviews

Justice Scalia, while not an advocate for video cameras recording Supreme Court oral argument, has given several video recorded interviews recently to media outlets:

C-SPAN with Brian Lamb
FOX with Chris Wallace
CNN with Piers Morgan:
See also the transcript of the full CNN interview.

Scalia has been promoting his new book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, with co-author Bryan Garner.