Law blog roundup

Welcome to Monday, a day to remember a great American with a dream. Here are some news items to get the week started.

Martin Luther King Jr.– The suicide rate among lawyers is alarming.

– Documentary on legal opposition to same-sex marriage ban opens at Sundance.

– Does Hollywood have an edge before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals?

– Litigation does not survive plaintiffs’ deaths in Minnesota.

Law blog roundup

speed cameraWelcome to Monday, the day before the 24th anniversary of the best rendition I ever heard of this Gladys Knight and the Pips standard. Here are some news items to get your week started.

– Federal judge deems New York’s stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional.

– U.S. attorney general seeks to alter mandatory minimum sentences.

– British businessman’s family seeks damages in Chinese murder case.

– Speed cameras come to Chicago. Can Windy City legal challenges be far behind?


Law blog roundup

Ray LewisWelcome to the morning after. I hope you enjoyed the game.

Here are some news items to assist in the recovery.

– Supreme Court justice and best-selling author Sonia Sotomayor’s book tour hits New York.

– The California city of Bell encounters legal hell.

– Civil rights attorneys challenge police surveillance of Muslim communities.

– Man’s murder had malty motive.


Equity or non-equity? They won’t tell.

Firms are extremely sensitive about publicly differentiating between equity and non-equity partners. NALP decided to start collecting that data from firms, but the firms resisted and NALP has now dropped the effort, the AmLaw Daily reports:

NALP’s [James] Leipold says most firms cited privacy concerns for not divulging the details of their partnership arrangements. Because some firm offices are quite small, firms indicated they were concerned that nonequity partners would be easily identified and stigmatized, says Leipold.

A professor quoted in the article says the firms really want to protect their billing rates, not their nonequity partners. If clients don’t know the breakdown between equity and non, firms can charge high rates for all partners, she says.

Groups representing female and minority lawyers are especially peeved at the firms’ refusal to share their data. They want to know, basically, what proportion of a firm’s “partners” have a real stake in the firm and share in the profits, and what proportion are partners in name only, in actuality just employees with fancy titles.

It’s the difference between having real power and the semblance of power, says Fernande Duffly, a judge on the Massachusetts Appeals Court and a former president of the National Association of Women Judges. Duffly, an advocate for achieving greater diversity in the profession, had pushed NALP to collect the information for the last two years. “If you’re making a career selection, you want a place where you have opportunity for real leadership; I think law students want to be full partners,” Duffly says in explaining why the breakdown is important. She adds that she has a personal stake in the issue: “Law firm partners are part of the pipeline for our judiciary.”

For what it’s worth, The Daily Record also faced major resistance when we solicited information about equity versus non-equity partners for our Money Issue last year. A lot of firms refused to fill out our survey on revenue, profits and other money questions, but many also declined to break down their partnership ranks by equity and non-equity.

This Week in Maryland Lawyer

On the cover: With their progressive pilot potentially on the chopping block, the OPD’s Neighborhood Defenders in Park Heights are defending not only their clients but their problem-solving approach. Also, Caryn Tamber talks to University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron about her research into online gender harassment and the law.

In the news: An EPA official says the agency wants more weapons in its arsenal; Maryland’s top court upholds a sex-abuse conviction based on the testimony of a 6-year-old victim; Mike’s Train House is sued for infringement; and an offshoot of the “driving while black” case will be the subject of a rare Court of Special Appeals en banc hearing.


  • Verdicts & Settlements features the case of an HIV-positive teacher who was fired from his job at a private elementary school in Arnold.

  • Before there was “The Power of Nice” or his success as a sports agent, there was the Modern Bar Review Course. In My First/Business, Ron Shapiro reflects on the lessons learned from his initial foray into commerce.

  • In Opinion/Commentary, Jack L.B. Gohn weighs in on the narrowing difference between blogs and journalism, while Edward J. Levin points out a key requirement under a Maryland deed of trust: naming an individual as the trustee. 


Law blog round-up

Happy Monday! It’s indeed a happy day here at The Daily Record, as we now have phone and Internet access again. (We were down Thursday and Friday, which was somewhat inconvenient.) Now that I’m connected to the world again, I can bring you a few law links to start your day:

Ruff-ing it: Behind the scenes at the NAACP convention

UB Law student/NAACP Law Fellow Malcolm P. Ruff continues to share his views from the NAACP’s centennial celebration in New York:

mfume.jpgWhile writing my last installment of “The Ruff Report” yesterday, I heard a loud buzz in the hallway.  I ventured out to find Mr. Michael Steele, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and the current RNC Chairman.

Mr. Steele had just finished addressing the convention floor and was doing interviews across the hall.  Fortunately, his assistant needed to use our office to print off a last-minute speech, and so in exchange he promised me that the Chairman would stop by to say hello.

Now to be clear, I am a Democrat and it baffles me how a black man could be a Republican, let alone chair the party, but Mr. Steele attempted to convince us that the Republican Party’s stances on education, the black family unit, and economic stability were in line with the needs and desires of minority citizens.  (Click here for the text of his remarks.) I didn’t even know the Republican Party had a stance on the black family, and after talking to several convention attendees, the consensus was that Mr. Steele failed to identify any real solutions to problems of racial disparities in each one of these areas.

By mid-day I was attending a panel that discussed the positive and negative portrayals of youth of color in various forms of media.  It was amazing to see approximately 300 highly conscious young black faces eager to tackle tough issues. The conversation centered on BET’s negative portrayal of black people, and in my opinion, I have to agree that it has become immensely hard for me to believe that BET has any intent on uplifting or positively affecting the culture of the black community.

The convention hallways are always full of notable public figures from arts & entertainment to politics, to business and of course the legal field.  It has been such a thrill: from rubbing elbows with Congressman John Conyers to fellowshipping with actor Jeffery Wright (Shaft, Cadillac Records, etc.), I have had the greatest experience meeting such accomplished personalities.

But none was more exciting than meeting Kweisi Mfume, who like me is a true son of Baltimore.  I remember being in middle school at Gilman when Mr. Mfume’s autobiography, “No Free Ride,” was released.  I read it from cover to cover, delving into the life of a man who was raised in the same type of lower-income urban area of Baltimore as me.  So when I ran into the former Association President on the restricted media level of the convention, I had to make sure I paid my respects because I truly consider him to be one of my local childhood heroes. (That’s us in the photo above.)

To wind up the night, I headed out to Broadway to see Patti LaBelle in concert at the Nokia Theatre (my boss hooked me up with VIP tickets, my mom is going to kill me!).  Check back in later to hear about the anticipation of President Obama’s arrival on Thursday!

Malcolm P. Ruff

St. John’s College strives to attract minority students

WaPo has an interesting front-page profile today of Annapolis’s St. John’s College and its struggle to attract and enroll minority students. Its goal is shared by many academic institutions, including the University System of Maryland.

Only 35 of St. John’s 489 students are minorities – just over seven percent of the student body.

The story concludes by pointing out how the tables have turned: it’s no longer the school that needs to be convinced that it needs minorities; now, the minority students are the ones who need convincing that St. John’s is the best place for them.

JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor