Our New Pad

November 6, 2006

After a year of chillin’ in this delightful location, Cal Law is moving to a flashier pad. Henceforth, you’ll find the Legal Pad blog at http://legalpad.typepad.com, where we hope to continue to bring you thrill-a-minute commentary on California’s legal community and items of interest nay, fascination to lawyers everywhere. This blog will stay right here as an archive of a year’s worth of posts, so if you bookmarked somethin’ special, it ain’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon. But drop by the new site and update your bookmarks, your RSS feed (we’re still working on that it’s been a hell of a move, and everything is still in boxes …)

Thank you to all the readers who have spent time here. We hope to see you (and read your comments) at the new Legal Pad.

Brian McDonough, blog editor

Judge Takes Election Fire over Marriage Ruling

November 6, 2006

Brian Leubitz knows he doesn’t have much hope, but nevertheless is making a last-minute push to get William McGuiness voted off San Francisco’s First District Court of Appeal.

On his “No on McGuiness” Web site, Leubitz, a non-practicing lawyer and a blogger on Calitics.com, urges voters in the 12 counties served by the First District to reject McGuiness for authoring the Oct. 5 ruling against same-sex marriage.

McGuiness is up for retention.

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Work-Life Balance: The Art of the Interview

November 3, 2006

For Tamina Alon, the choices are clear. The 26-year-old Hastings student would much rather have her law books in one hand and her two little boys in her lap than juggle her parenting obligations and a 90-hour work week at a firm — which is why more law students seem to be having kids while they’re still in school.

The flip side, Alon said, is that you get the short end of the stick in interviewing for jobs. “They don’t want people with families,” the president of Parents at Hastings said. “They say: go to the government, they have nice 9-to-5 positions, you will do fine there.”

When she asks working attorneys how their family life is, she invariably gets two responses. “They are surprised,” she said. “Or I get laughter: ‘What family life?’ they ask.”

The advice Alon gets is to wait to get the job offer, then spring the news that you’re pregnant or a parent.

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Jerry Brown Outpolls His Party

November 3, 2006

Forget Dianne Feinstein. The real top of California’s Democratic ticket, at least according to the Field Poll released today, is attorney general candidate Jerry Brown.

The Oakland mayor holds a whopping 25 percentage-point lead over Republican challenger Chuck Poochigian. That’s a wider margin than Feinstein enjoys over her U.S. Senate race opponent, GOP state Sen. Richard Mountjoy. It’s also bigger than Democratic treasurer candidate Bill Lockyer’s lead over Claude Parrish, the Republican who’s run a notably stealthy campaign.

Brown’s support has jumped 11 points since July, thanks in part to TV ads portraying him as an experienced crime fighter. Poochigian hasn’t run a bad campaign. He’s raised a decent amount of money and hit Brown relentlessly for Oakland’s rising murder rate and a sexual harassment scandal involving the mayor’s former aide.

But Poochigian, like other state GOP candidates, has received no campaign help from fellow Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Poochigian’s poll numbers have barely moved in three months and despite some advertising, he’s still hardly known around the state. It’s always a bad sign when 51 percent of your own party’s members hold no opinion of you a week before the election. That’s the case with Poochigian.

Feinstein, Lockyer and Brown will spend election night together at a San Francisco party, no doubt eager to see who wins bragging rights as top vote-getter.

Cheryl Miller

Loveseth’s Clashes With Ryan to Pay Off

November 2, 2006

Defense attorney Ian Loveseth is due more than the satisfaction of winning two spats that have embarrassed U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan — he’s finally going to get some money out of the government, too.

Earlier this week, Ryan’s office dropped a gun case against Loveseth client Lloyd Jamison after a prosecutor listened to taped conversations between the two — and after the prosecutors sparked an uproar by arguing in court that phone conversations between inmates and their attorneys aren’t subject to privilege. Satisfying as that must have been, it’s his other recent dustup with Ryan that’ll produce unusual monetary rewards.

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EFF Suit Blasts Web Prankster for Abusing DMCA

November 2, 2006

Michael Crook is a New York criminal justice student who this summer posed as a young woman in several adult-themed Craigslist ads, exchanged e-mails with several men who responded, and then posted the men’s addresses, employers on his Web site, “craigslist-perverts.com.” (The site has been taken down). Crook is considered a copycat of Jason Fortuny, who similarly this year posed as a woman on Craigslist then posted the responses online, to the great irritation of privacy advocates. But Crook took Fortuny’s “activism” a step further, even contacting one of the respondent’s wives and several of his work colleagues.

Crook dubs himself a “champion of copyright and DMCA” issues on his site, but now he’s got another title: Defendant.

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Patel Scolds Lawyers With Sharply Titled Order

November 1, 2006

Seyfarth Shaw lawyers couldn’t have thought it a good sign when their motion to clarify — filed in defense of client Costco in an employment discrimination action — provoked a reply from Judge Marilyn Patel entitled “Order Clarifying That Which Need Not Be Clarified.”

Indeed, the San Francisco federal judge smacked down the defense’s entreaties last week in language usually reserved for petulant children.

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Milberg Probe Draws a Little More Attention

November 1, 2006

The Milberg Weiss case is making people jittery — again. Fortune Magazine wrote another big story on the saga (largely retread) and Fortune and the Daily Journal both wrote about the interesting presence of former Milberg expert witness John Torkelsen in downtown L.A. Long viewed by prosecutors as a key to the case, the expert, who was sentenced earlier this year to federal prison time in New Jersey, was moved to an L.A. facility weeks ago, ostensibly for a handwriting examplar. But his continued presence in SoCal has many lawyers in the case wondering if he’s flipped — or if prosecutors are just massaging him to coax out some bit of information.

In the meantime, Milberg’s lawyers are working hard to assert attorney-client privilege over any documents they can possibly fit under that umbrella, while prosecutors need to figure out if they can use the testimony of Steven Cooperman, the man who began the entire probe — or if his sketchy past makes him too tainted.

Lawyers involved with the case say the tension is unlikely to dissipate before the next big break — prosecutors risk judicial upset if they don’t file additional indictments by the end of the month.

Justin Scheck


Janice Rogers Brown: Still Outraging Liberals

November 1, 2006

Liberals never much liked Janice Rogers Brown while she was on the California Supreme Court. And they haven’t changed their minds one year into her new job.

In a recently released 101-page report (.pdf), the People For the American Way Foundation rails on 38 appellate judges appointed by the Bush administration, accusing them of “undermining Americans’ rights, liberties and legal protections.”

Brown, who joined the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Sept. 8, 2005 — after nine controversial years on the California Supreme Court — gets her share of lumps from the organization.

Specifically, People For the American Way Foundation addressed three rulings — in which Brown either authored the decision, wrote a separate opinion or voted against rehearing — that it believes show her views are outside those of mainstream society.

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Dorsey-Flehr: A Merger That Didn’t Take

October 31, 2006

With merger mania gripping the legal community this week, it’s worth remembering that sometimes these ventures don’t work out so well.

Take the news this week that Dorsey & Whitney may shutter its San Francisco office. That office is itself the result of a 2002 merger between what was then 750-lawyer Dorsey & Whitney and 27-lawyer IP boutique Flehr Hohbach Test Albritton & Herbert of San Francisco.

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