Archive for August, 2006

More Woes for Women in the Legal World

August 31, 2006

Legal Pad got a pretty decent readership spike with the item we posted late last week about the Forbes article suggesting that “career girls” — such as lawyers of a certain gender — make lousy mates. If hiking our hits is as easy as pointing out the crap women have to deal with in the legal profession, our future is secure:

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Last-Minute Laws, Hijinks, in Legislature

August 30, 2006

The final days of the state Legislature are known for last-minute deals, dust-ups and hijinks. This week has been no exception.

Over the last two days, the state Senate has bottled up two major bills sponsored by Assemblyman Dave Jones, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The first allocates $10 million for civil-case language interpreters. The second — the annual Judiciary omnibus bill — makes 32 technical changes to existing judicial laws.

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Lawyers Needed in Online Fantasy World

August 30, 2006

There’s this MMORPG out there, called Eve Online. It is a science fiction virtual universe in which players from around the (real) world log in and play like they’re, um, Vulcans or Cylons or something. There’s rockets and space stations and wretched hives of scum and villainy. One glaring new example: massive fiscal malfeasance — an S&L-style scandal that calls for a virtual white-collar-crime task force. Or, some irate gamers say, real-world legal action.

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Put-Up-or-Shut-Up Deal Struck On Judge Picks

August 29, 2006

The feuding Assembly speaker and governor have reached a “conceptual” agreement to release aggregate data about the judicial applicant pool.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he’d appoint more minorities to the bench if more applied. With today’s deal, Speaker Fabian Nuñez has essentially said, “prove it.” The details haven’t been printed yet but apparently the governor’s office would publicly tally the ethnic makeup of the applicant pool and detail how long ago the would-be judges have been waiting for a final decision.

No word yet on when lawmakers might actually vote on the bill authorizing 50 new judgeships, but this agreement — if it lasts — should help speed up the process.

Cheryl Miller

Attorney Brings Second Play to S.F. Stage

August 29, 2006

No matter how well trial lawyers perform, they never get called for encores. David Rouda does.

Following his triumph last season at the San Francisco Fringe Festival, Rouda returns to the stage Sept. 7 to direct his second original play, “Pomp & Circumstance.”

Billed as a “comedic legal drama,” the performance revolves around Max, a prominent trial attorney in the twilight of his career, and his son Zack, a junior associate at the firm who is struggling to step out of his father’s shadow and make a name for himself.

If the subject matter seems like it might be personal to Rouda, that’s because it is. While writing the play, the 39-year-old personal injury lawyer drew on his own experience as the nephew of Ronald Rouda, a name partner at the firm Rouda, Feder, Tietjen & Zanobini who was once voted California Trial Lawyer of the Year.

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Timestamp May Be Best Backdating Defense

August 29, 2006

As Cal Law readers now know, medical device maker Heartport exhibited curious stock option grant timing in the late 1990s. Of seven grants to executives between 1996 and 1999, four came at 90-day lows, the odds of which stand at an improbable 385,000 to one.

Among the three grants that didn’t come at a nadir, though, one came the day before an annual low. On July 15, 1996 — when the stock traded at $21.75 — two Heartport executives got more than 500,000 shares combined. The stock bottomed out at $21.25 and then went on a rampage, topping $35 by the middle of October.     

Shady, right?

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Day One: Schwartzmiller Doesn’t Self-Destruct

August 28, 2006

One of the most impressive things about today’s opening arguments in the Dean Schwartzmiller trial is that the defendant, representing himself on molestation charges, wasn’t flat-out terrible.

Sure, his remarks to the jury weren’t as tight and refined as the prosecutor’s, but it’s obvious Schwartzmiller knows a thing or two about the law and isn’t about to go down without a fight.

(This could end up becoming one of the longest three weeks in Santa Clara Deputy DA Steven Fein’s life.)

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Judicial Diversity Becomes Campaign Issue

August 28, 2006

The debate over judicial diversity has officially become an issue in the race for governor. Standing in front of a Glendale courthouse last Saturday, Democrat Phil Angelides chided Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for “cut(ting) off the contributions of our diverse communities” with appointments that critics say don’t accurately reflect the numbers of California’s African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans.

A press release by the Schwarzenegger campaign dismissed the criticism as “only pessimistic attacks.”

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S.F. Attorney Fights for More JonBenet Coverage

August 28, 2006

The man accused — mostly by himself — of the 10-year-old murder of JonBenet Ramsey is worried about getting a fair trial given, among other things, the media circus triggered by his admission of involvement in the juvenile beauty queen’s death.

But San Francisco attorney Rachel Matteo-Boehm is fighting for even more coverage of the tabloid story of the summer — she’s trying to unseal records of John Mark Karr’s California child-porn arrest.

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EFF & Jurassic Snark v. Barney’s Lawyers

August 28, 2006

The Electronic Frontier Foundation just couldn’t resist.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York last week over Barney the dinosaur, the San Francisco nonprofit threw a pointed punch at the company that has claimed copyright ownership of the children’s TV character. Then, the EFF took a swipe at Barney’s lawyers.

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