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ALM Morning Minute |

March 24, 2017


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What you need to know

GUSHING ABOUT GORSUCH – Well, SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch made it through Tuesday's marathon round of Senate questioning without flipping a table, which has to count for something. On Thursday, it was time for his supporters to show a little love. And while Gorsuch has taken plenty of heat for his failure to be named Merrick Garland, it's clear that Neil's friends and colleagues in the legal community like him just fine for who he is. Former 10th Circuit colleague Deanell Tacha praised Gorsuch's "powerful, powerful intellect," MoloLamken’s Jeffrey Lamken talked up the nominee's "great judgment," and Latham & Watkins partner Alice Fisher spoke of his “unlimited reserve of courtesy, kindness and good humor." READ MORE HERE

TRAVEL SPEED – The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed yesterday to expedite a challenge to President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order, setting oral arguments in the case for May 8 at the court in Richmond. The government appealed a Maryland U.S. district court’s order last week that blocked a portion of the president’s March 6 executive order restricting travel from six majority-Muslim countries. On Wednesday, the DOJ requested the court expedite the briefing schedule for the appeal, arguing that lower courts and the 9th Circuit all expedited litigation surrounding both the March 6 executive order and the first order, now revoked, which was issued Jan. 28. The government has also indicated that it intends to file a motion to stay the injunction pending appeal. READ MORE HERE

Sponsored By NAM (National Arbitration and Mediation)

Preparing Your Witness And Yourself For A Trial Or Arbitration - During my fifteen years as a Judge, I have heard the testimony of hundreds of witnesses in all types of proceedings. As a trial attorney in private practice, I prepared a great number of witnesses to testify. Even with the best preparation, my father, who was a great trial lawyer, would say he would die a thousand deaths when he heard his witness deviate from everything that had been pored over in terms of prospective testimony.  Read More

EXPELLED FOR CUTTING? – In the midst of a battle with faculty members over her cost-cutting measures, there was apparently one potential cost University of Cincinnati law dean Jennifer Bard failed to take into account: her job. The school ousted Bard less than two years into her five-year term. The unusual move came after repeated clashes with some members of the faculty, apparently over Bard's efforts to reduce a significant operating deficit. For her part, Bard said in a written statement yesterday that she was just doing what she was brought aboard to do: get spending under control. She also characterized her dismissal as "unexpected." “We had an agreement for a process that included bringing in a mediator to address these issues and I deeply disappointed that the Interim Provost chose to close down this process and take this unprecedented action to frustrate the College of Law’s progress," Bard said in the statement.  READ MORE HERE

SWISS MISS? – The Swiss verein, which allows law firms to combine more easily and retain their existing forms, has been all the rage with global firms for some time now, having been adopted in almost every major cross-border law firm tie-up of the past decade. But the obscure legal structure may be be losing some of its luster in legal circles, in part because it was never meant for law firms to begin with. The verein structure was originally created for use by nonprofit organizations, such as charities and societies. And awesomely named professional practices expert Aster Crawshaw said that there is a lingering question over its use by commercial businesses, such as law firms. "There is a risk, albeit one that is dismissed by many Swiss lawyers, that if the verein is used as the governance entity of a network whose members carry out commercial activities, the verein could be deemed to be invalidly incorporated," he said. Why does that matter? Because the member firms would lose their limited liability status and instead have unlimited joint and several liabilities, making the possibility of being sued even scarier for firms than it already is. READ MORE HERE

While you were sleeping

REBOOTING KWM  – This January, around 30 partners from King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM’s) pared-down European, Middle East and US offices travelled to Beijing for KWM China’s partnership meeting. The firm’s Chinese management team did not shy away from discussing the collapse of the European business. But while what went wrong was discussed openly, the focus was on what is next for what is left of the once-proud legacy SJ Berwin business, with partners invited to sell their capabilities and value to their Chinese counterparts. Top of the priority list now is to work out how KWM’s new European operation can best service the wider firm’s global client base. Corporate counsel Barri Mendelsohn said: “We’re promoting ourselves as having expertise across ‘the three Ds’ – deals, disputes and derivatives.” Meanwhile, London dispute resolution partner Darren Roiser seemed clear on what is not in the firm's future. “We’re not recreating SJ Berwin," he said.  READ MORE HERE


What you said

Simply put, no one can understand class notices other than legal professionals.

Jocelyn Larkin, executive director of public interest law firm Impact Fund and one of many legal professionals who chimed in about why a proposal to increase the use of electronic class notices will probably not be enough to solve the problem of dismal claims rates.


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