Archive for the ‘Pam Smith’ Category

Kline’s Strange Route to Gay-Marriage Panel

October 23, 2006

When the First District handed down its ruling in California’s marriage cases a few weeks back, more than a few cynics marveled at the (relative) good fortune of the pro-gay-marriage folks. After all, Justice J. Anthony Kline only wound up hearing the case after two of the justices who normally would have been tapped recused themselves. Then Kline turned out to be the only champion on the panel — and a particularly vociferous one at that — for the notion that the state should be forced to allow same-sex marriage.

Kind of curious ourselves, we put in a few calls to the AOC to find out how Kline got in on the case. Turns out, he wasn’t the first choice for a sub.



Judge Defends Google’s Anti-SLAPP Legal Bill

October 11, 2006

When Google appealed a much-reduced award of attorneys fees as too low, it couldn’t have found a more sympathetic ear than Justice Miriam Vogel. Too bad there was only one of her hearing the case.

Google wound up losing its argument 2-1 before the Second District Court of Appeal, which decided today that an L.A. Superior Court judge was within bounds when he awarded Google only $23,000 in fees and costs for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges’ efforts.

But Justice Vogel, who according to her court bio long ago practiced civil litigation and appellate law at L.A.’s Maiden, Rosenbloom, Wintroub, Vogel & Fridkis, went to great lengths to argue that Google should have gotten the $112,289 it asked for. Her 16-page dissent was longer than the majority opinion (.pdf).


Going Hollywood Gets Prosecutor Booted

October 10, 2006

Last week the Second District Court of Appeal made one thing clear to prosecutors: Don’t get your open case mixed up in the entertainment biz. Unless, of course, you want to get kicked off of it.

First the appeal court took Santa Barbara County Deputy DA Joyce Dudley off a rape prosecution, saying the crime novel she’d written and was promoting bore too much resemblance to her real-life case. Then, in another published opinion the same day, the court kicked Ronald Zonen, a prosecutor in the same county, off a capital murder case for cooperating too much with filmmakers.


Conference Pushes to Help Ex-Cons

September 29, 2006

At a conference in San Francisco pushing for more ways to help ex-inmates adjust to life outside the clink, the crowd Wednesday was pretty much in agreement that increasing re-entry programs is good, for the inmates and for public safety in the long run.

But between the panelists calling for more resources and coordination, and offering up grim statistics to demonstrate the need, one named Dr. Barry Krisberg squeezed in a reality check. (more…)

Hey Women — Men’s Lives Suck, Too

September 22, 2006

While women are often the subject of discussion about lifestyle woes in the legal profession, moms at big firms aren’t the only ones struggling to balance their work with their personal time (or lack thereof).

If one thing was evident Thursday at a Bar Association of San Francisco conference about the need to balance the two, it was that the lifestyle issue is becoming a more universal problem for attorneys and their employers. And there is no cookie-cutter solution.

Drawing on 10 years of exit interviews from his time as a managing partner at Arnold & Porter, panelist James Sandman observed, “This is not just a woman’s issue, although it affects women disproportionately.”

And a recent survey BASF conducted of 54 legal workplaces in the Bay Area found that, at six firms, “high numbers” of men were working part-time — in some cases, more than women.


Brad Pitt Stirs the Gay-Marriage Pot

September 21, 2006

Any time Brad Pitt drops a hint about marrying — or not marrying — Angelina Jolie, it gets the world’s entertainment press all in a froth. And judging by recent events, that goes double when he simultaneously seems to take a stand on the politics of marriage laws in America.

So can the attention he draws to the cause, in publications ranging from Us Weekly to the Baltimore Sun, be counted on to help the strategy of those fighting for gay marriage in the courts, Legislature and among the public in California? If celebrity news gets your cerebrum to mulling such things, you might have enjoyed the question posed yesterday by a reporter at a media briefing hosted by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California: For groups like them, how much is an aside worth from the likes of People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive (1995, 2000)?


Grubman: The ‘It’ Factor? Or Just Good PR?

September 19, 2006

In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, New York entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman has more to savor than just a saccharin photo spread (World Exclusive!) of the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes progeny. The Grubman Indursky & Shire lawyer can enjoy his own tiny photo on page 259, since he squeaked onto the top 100 list of the “New Establishment” crowned by the magazine this year.

He’s the only lawyer Legal Pad saw on the list, landing at No. 94.


In Asbestos Settlements, It Pays to Make Noise

September 8, 2006


The un-squeaky wheel loses out on the grease. At least, that was the way it went for a couple hundred Brayton Purcell clients in an appellate case this week.


The concept of settling with a group of former asbestos producers would seem, at first, to be a great idea for both sides: plaintiffs can negotiate with a single corporation, the Center for Claims Resolution, and in return CCR’s member companies get the claims against all of them dropped in one swoop. But that model of efficiency loses some luster when one of the companies decides to renege on its share of the payment. (more…)

What Do They Say About Keeping Friends Close…?

September 1, 2006

Maybe Kamala Harris should have done more to keep Jim Hammer on her staff when she took over the San Francisco district attorney’s office a couple of years ago. Because, as it turns out, he is not the type to go softly into the night.

Back in 2003, when Hammer — who had previously admitted some interest in the DA’s job himself — was the head homicide prosecutor, he openly and loyally supported then-DA Terence Hallinan in his re-election campaign. After Harris won, it came as little surprise when Hammer left the office just a few months into her tenure.

More recently, Hammer has seemed to be making a decent go of it in private practice, having joined up as of counsel with San Francisco’s Gonzalez & Leigh. But he hasn’t completely left the world of prosecution behind – he wrote a scathing editorial for the San Francisco Chronicle today that all but excoriated Harris’ work in oh, tons of ways. The Chronicle also put out an editorial by Harris the same day, where she lays out what she describes as her four-pronged approach to fighting violent crime.

It all makes us wonder, just a little bit, what might have been, had the two of them actually stayed in the same office together.

(Update: Harris’ chief assistant DA has since responded specifically to Hammer’s critique in a letter to the Chronicle’s editor. Scroll down until you see the bit by Russ Giuntini.)

Pam Smith

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.