September 23, 2011

If only there were a law school that taught advocacy skills...

News from California, where this guy thinks it's a great idea to start a law school in the middle of the freaking desert because apparently there aren't any schools out there that teach litigation skills.

"I've been thinking about this for years," he said. "How come there's not a school where people can go if they want to become trial lawyers? This is a great opportunity."

Of course, there are a number of law schools that market themselves as places where students can study to become top-notch trial attorneys. It's not entirely clear whether Dolan has been living under a rock, or whether he just thinks those law schools aren't any good at what they teach. In any event, as I like to say, good luck with all that...

September 21, 2011

If only moot court rounds got this heated

Yesterday I put to bed the Judge Sam Sparks story, but a key player in that saga -- Edith Jones, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit -- made a little news of her own today. In an en banc oral argument in the case of United States v. Delgado, Judge Jones served a cold glass of Shut the Hell Up (literally) to her colleague, Judge James Dennis. Above The Law has the whole story, including a homemade transcription of the fireworks. If you want to hear it for yourself (which I suggest), you can download the entire argument here. The festivities start right around 47:45.

September 20, 2011

The final chapter (hopefully?) in the Judge Sparks "kindergarten party" fiasco

So I gave quite a bit of attention to the Judge Sam Sparks "kindergarten cop" order a few weeks ago. Well, last week Judge Sparks had his wrist slapped.

In an e-mail to Sparks obtained by Texas Lawyer (apparently much to the chagrin of Judge Edith Jones, who wrote it), the Fifth Circuit's chief judge said that the order was so "caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous that it casts more disrespect on the judiciary than on the now-besmirched reputation of the counsel." She concluded: "Ultimately, this kind of excess, as I noted, reflects badly on all of us. I urge you to think before you write." Yikes.

September 14, 2011

Twitter Brief competition results

A few weeks back I posted about the "Twitter Brief" competition put on by the State Bar of Texas's Appellate Section.

Results are below. Congrats to the winner, Justice Mary Murphy of the Texas Court of Appeals in Dallas. If you're wondering, no, I did not enter.

September 13, 2011

Citation Fail

Not a legal document, but it amused me anyway. It actually complies with this classic Courtoon's new, sole Bluebook rule: "Cite to stuff using common sense -- put in the case name and number. People will get it."

September 8, 2011

Seven myths about cross-examination

From Dallas lawyer Quentin Brogdon (link).

He also recaps Irv Younger's classic "Ten Commandments."

September 7, 2011

Bluebook blues: Blog citation

With brief writing season upon us, Adjunct Law Prof Blog has a post up today regarding correct blog citation form.

September 6, 2011

Proofreading fail

I honestly don't know what I find more unforgivable: The editing error in an ad for an editor, or the choice of font.

September 1, 2011

Amusing song about federal judges

As the Sam Sparks "Kindergarten Cop" order continues to circulate around the interwebs, I thought I'd share a cute song sent to me this morning by an attorney I used to practice with.

I found it funny in large part because my frustration with federal judges grows every year as a result of advocacy competitions. As many of you know, the rules teeter on ridiculousness when competing in tournaments at federal courthouses. For example, at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition, teams are explicitly warned--subject to disqualification from the entire tournament--not to so much as move a microphone (this was somewhat problematic for my 6'11'' advocate the past two years). A few years ago, I remember the podium was in a corner against the jury box, facing the wall. The judges sat in jury box while the advocates had to look sideways while arguing. Why? Well, God forbid we move anything in a public courtroom. I thought my tax dollars paid for the whole thing, but apparently not. It now belongs to an almighty federal judge, and we cannot do outrageous things like adjusting a wayward microphone or moving a chair three feet so the bailiff is in clear view.

Last year, I recall the head of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Competition giving similar admonitions before that tournament, which takes place (like the ABA finals) in the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago. He said that one school has been permanently barred from using a particular judge's courtroom because the judge found trash. Where, you might ask? IN A TRASHCAN. How dare someone throw trash in a trashcan in a federal courtroom?