Thursday, July 31, 2014

Michigan State Bar annual meeting: Grand Rapids, September 18: Celebrate Diversity!

Get to know other members of the Michigan State Bar, network and socialize, and generally be awesome. Article here (via sbm blog).

This event also takes place during the Solo & Small Firm Institute continuing legal education seminar. More info here (via sbm blog). 

Can Congress sue the president? Update: Michigan lawmakers vote in favor of lawsuit

West Michigan Reps. Justin Amash and Bill Huizenga joined a majority of Republican colleagues in agreeing to authorize a lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

The measure, which passed the U.S. House by a 225-201 vote, gives Speaker John Boehner the authority to sue the president. They argue Obama's executive orders toward the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," and other policy matters are unconstitutional.

Article here (via mlive).

This is an update to this post, on whether the Congress can sue the President. It's an area of Constitutional law that hasn't been addressed before in the nation's history. 

A bar exam takers nightmare: the software crashed

New law graduates in many states experienced a technology snafu at the worst possible time Tuesday night: as they were attempting to upload bar examinations just before deadlines in their states. Many reported spending hours trying and failing to upload their answers. ExamSoft, a company that manages the bar test submission process in many states, acknowledged "slowness or difficulty" being experienced. . .

Article here (via taxprof blog).

I hand wrote my exams (all of them up to and including the bar exam) so I didn't have to worry about the software.

Michigan is one of the states that did have difficulty with uploading exams, The Board of Law Examiners extended the deadline to upload. (article here, sbm blog). 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Average household net worth down 36% since 2003

Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.
The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation.

 Article here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

When does working too much become unhealthy? Do you work too much?

The American economy generally operates on the assumption that the more hours you work, the better an employee you are. But increasingly, researchers and workers themselves are saying that working to the point of burnout can be unhealthy, unproductive, and even dangerous — and some are advocating for large-scale solutions that tackle the problem at its source.

Article here (via taxprof blog). 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tax Dos and Don'ts of hiring your child

Does your child work in your family business? Here's a tip: don't pay the wages in pizza if you want to pass muster with the IRS.

Article here. 

The story is based on a parent's attempt to deduct her children's wages as a business expense.

Employing your minor children is legal, as is deducting their pay as a business expense. But the judge found fault with the parent's method of paying her children, which was often not in cash. The decision says she used most of the children's wages to buy either meals, often of pizza, or tutoring services, things that a parent would
typically pay for.

This week in criminal (and Michigan) history: Hawley Crippen tries to escape murder charge in England

Hawley Crippen, a Michigan-born homeopath who became the first criminal caught using wireless telegraph, boarded a ship to escape the manhunt for him in England, on July 20, 1910.

He was accused of poisoning and dismembering his wife, a showgirl named Cora (a.k.a. Belle Elmore), then stuffing her down in the basement.
Article here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Law schools have smallest incoming classes since the 1970s; top schools and scorers buck trend.

Law schools admitted 39,675 first-year students last year, the smallest incoming class since the 1970s.

Article here. 

Bucking the trend are Harvard Law School and students who score high on the Law School Admission Test. More high-scoring students are applying to law school, and applications to Harvard’s law school are up significantly this year, according to the story.

Side effect of new marijuana laws: Denver rental car agencies now dumping ground for marijuana

Rental car workers at Denver International Airport say pot tourists are regularly leaving them with marijuana that travelers don’t want to try to carry through DIA.

Article here. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Judge tosses defamation suit brought by real-life "Kramer"

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

So ruled a New York judge who dismissed a defamation suit this week brought by the real-life inspiration for the oddball “Seinfeld” character Cosmo Kramer against a former writer for the classic sitcom.
It was the rare legal case that revolved around a “Seinfeld” catchphrase — specifically, the line “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Kenny Kramer, who runs a tour company that takes riders to various New York City sights popularized by the series, filed suit against comedian Fred Stoller over a book he published last year.

Article here. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Traverse City attorney charged with putting "hit" on another attorney.

Well-known northern Michigan defense attorney Clarence Gomery is being arraigned this morning on charges of soliciting the murder of another Traverse City attorney.

Article here. 

The next bar exam is only how many days away?

If you're studying, don't panic. You still have time to cram in some subject you are worried about, and do all that extra essay practice that's on your damned study schedule.

Since you need something to laugh about, though, here's an interview with a bar exam lecturer who's been at it --lecturing on Torts for Barbri, that is --  for 24 years.

Why the decline in recent LSAT applicants?

Recent years have shown a downward trend to the amount of people applying to law schools and taking the LSAT (law school aptitude test). Why? It's because the recent law grads -- those just out, looking for work, and finding little to no help from their law schools-- feel disaffected and left out. Their advice to others inquiring about a decision to go to law school has been "don't go."

At least that's the theory in this article from Above the Law. 

(hat tip, taxprofblog).

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wondering about winter already? You must be from Michigan. Polar Vortex possibility?

You must be from Michigan if you're thinking about the coming winter already. I have bad news for you: the Polar Vortex could return for winter 2014-15. Time to buy some sweaters!

Article here. 

A side note: in my house, we had a burst water heater, furnace out, burst pipes, and raining ceilings. And we were only into January by then.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bystander's deaths from Michigan State Police pursuits sparks lawsuit

Family members and community organizers are demanding answers after two crashes involving Michigan State Police troopers have left two Flint women dead in less than a month.

Article here

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger announced that he would file a $50 million lawsuit on behalf of the victims.

Yankees fan caught napping on camera sues for defamation

A Yankees fan who was caught on camera napping at an April 13 game has filed a $10 million suit for alleged defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Article here. 

Bad idea: Man already convicted, plots to kill judge who sentenced him

Already serving a prison term of between four and 13 years for burglary, an inmate accused of plotting to kill the Pennsylvania judge who sentenced him is now being tried for criminal solicitation to commit criminal homicide.

Article here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Constitutional Law History: Can Congress sue the President?

The answer: we might be about to find out.

Article here.
The good news for the House GOP is that courts have never said a congressional chamber may not sue the president for usurping legislative powers.

The bad news is they’ve never agreed to hear to such a case either. And scholars interviewed say they’re skeptical a court will make such a move anytime soon. Mr. Obama himself has brushed off the legal threat: “They’re not doing anything, and then they’re mad at me for doing something,” he said last week.

The problem is (or will be) whether the House has standing. What is standing? It means that the plaintiff has to have suffered something - a wrong - at the hands of the defendant. It's one of the basic steps of a lawsuit. In Constitutional Law terms, the plaintiff (or a group that is taking the plaintiff's shoes, like when an environmental group sues on behalf of its members) has to have suffered a wrong, the wrong must be "ripe" (called "mootness," or still needing to get a remedy from the court), and the court must be able to address the wrong (because the courts don't like to give advisory opinions, they prefer to settle something between actual parties).

Con Law was one of my favorite subjects, and this fact pattern seems like something out of an exam question, maybe for 5-10 points on a final exam.