Courts Litigation

Gloria Santona of McDonald's Corp.

McDonald's Corp.

By C. Ryan Barber |

When she joined the legal department of McDonald's Corp. right out of law school in the late 1970s, Gloria Santona became the 13th attorney, the fourth woman and the fourth minority member on the staff. Looking back on those numbers today, she remains astounded.

Thomas LaFrance of GE Transportation.

GE Transportation

By Amanda Bronstad |

When initial negotiations began in 2014 over General Electric Co.'s purchase of the power generation business of France's Alstom, there was no mention of selling its own rail signaling assets. But when those assets suddenly became a significant part of the discussion, the legal department at GE Transportation had to move faster than a locomotive.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

Claire Battle of ArcelorMittal USA.

ArcelorMittal USA LLC

By Mike Sacks |

Windy City's Winning In-House Teams

These teams of attorneys based in the Windy City show how to successfully meet the changing legal demands made on departments.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

Justice Antonin Scalia delivers a speech to first year law students at Georgetown Law Center in November 2015.

How Scalia's Death Reshapes the Term's Landscape

By Marcia Coyle |

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia triggers immediate questions for the high court and the nation about the outcome of significant challenges this term that involve abortion, immigration, affirmative action, union fees and redistricting.

Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia speaking during The Federalist Society's 25th Anniversary Gala at Union Station in November 2007.

With Shock, Lawyers React to Scalia's Death

By Katelyn Polantz |

“Saddened beyond words." "A shock to the system." These were some of the reactions from lawyers on Saturday following the news of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death. Some remembered his interactions with clerks and law students, others recalled his argument style and the impact he left from his originalist approach to the Constitution. The National Law Journal asked dozens of top appellate advocates and scholars to share their thoughts:

U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia (2011)

Justice Antonin Scalia, Leader of Court's Conservative Wing, Dies at 79

By Tony Mauro |

U.S Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the intellectual leader of the court's conservative wing, is dead at age 79. According to official reports from Texas, he died overnight at a ranch in west Texas where he had gone quail hunting. Scalia's death sets up a major battle over his successor.

Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., future home of Donald Trump's new hotel.

Donald Trump Ordered to Testify in Suit Against Celebrity Chef

By Zoe Tillman |

Donald Trump must sit for a deposition in his lawsuit against a celebrity chef who dropped plans for a restaurant in Trump's new downtown Washington hotel, a judge ruled on Thursday. The Republican presidential candidate’s lawyers called the planned deposition an effort to "harass" Trump. A judge denied Trump's effort to shut down the deposition.

Dickstein Shapiro offices at 1825 I Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C.

Former and Current Dickstein Shapiro Partners to Lose Millions They Left With Firm

By Katelyn Polantz and Julie Triedman |

All of Dickstein Shapiro's capital fund is gone. The now-defunct law firm told equity partners—some who left as long as three years ago—on Friday that their millions of dollars evaporated alongside the partnership this week. "One consequence of the firm's dissolution will be the almost certain loss of all firm capital for current and former partners alike," the letter said.

Beechcraft Bonanza, similar to the one at issue in Judge Liam O’Grady's Feb. 11 decision.

Deadly Plane Crash Results in $5.4M Judgment Against U.S.

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge in Virginia has issued a $5.4 million judgment against the U.S. government after finding that an air traffic controller was negligent for a deadly midair crash involving three experienced pilots, including the former chief medical officer of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development headquarters. Washington, D.C.

HUD Settles Case with Former Employee for $900K

By C. Ryan Barber |

After seeing her case all but gutted then brought back to life with the help of a recent appeals court decision, a former federal employee has reached a $900,000 settlement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development over claims that the agency failed to accommodate her disabilities.

Ted Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. (June 2013)

Inside Gibson Dunn's Billing Rates in Gay Marriage Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Ten Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partners who successfully fought Virginia's same-sex marriage ban billed hourly rates between $795 and $1,800, according to copies of the firm's billing records obtained by The National Law Journal.

Law Firm Takes E-Discovery Company to Court in $3M Fee Fight

By Zoe Tillman |

A Washington litigation boutique, Kotchen & Low, is embroiled in a fight with e-discovery company Precision Discovery Inc. over who should pay $3 million in fees for e-discovery services that a federal judge found “unreasonable.”

Dickstein Shapiro offices at 1825 I Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C.

Dickstein Shapiro 'No Longer Engaged in the Practice of Law'

By Katelyn Polantz |

After years of contraction and almost three months scrambling toward a merger, Dickstein Shapiro has tied the knot. Or a hundred knots. Blank Rome will acquire more than 100 lawyers—in essence, all of them—from Dickstein Shapiro. Yet the acquisition is not a merger. Blank Rome will take over Dickstein Shapiro's Washington lease and move from its Watergate complex home in the city to the International Square building that formerly bore Dickstein's name. Dickstein Shapiro's New York office also will consolidate with Blank Rome.

People walk under large banners hanging in an atrium at the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, N.J.

Fee Fight Spurs Departures from Ethicon MDL Team

By Amanda Bronstad |

A battle over legal fees and costs has prompted three lawyers to withdraw from the plaintiffs leadership team in the multidistrict litigation over power morcellators made by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Inc.

Carter Phillips, left, and Seth Waxman, right.

Coin Toss Decides Which Advocate Will Argue Key Patent Case

By Tony Mauro |

When Carter Phillips and Seth Waxman, two titans of the U.S. Supreme Court bar, both want to argue the same side of a case, what are you going to do? You do what the National Football League does every game: flip a coin.

Claire McCaskill.

Senate Committee Moves to Hold CEO in Contempt

By Mike Sacks |

A Senate committee approved a resolution on Wednesday to hold and its CEO in contempt of Congress and to take him to court to force him to comply with a subpoena related to the classified advertising website's alleged role in online sex trafficking. The resolution seeks to overcome the First Amendment defense the CEO's lawyer has argued justifies the company's refusal to hand over requested documents.

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Covington's Double Down on Investments Causes Dip in Profits

By Katelyn Polantz |

Covington & Burling's partnership has become accustomed to the rebuilding year. Although revenue has grown for six straight years, profits have gone down, then up, then down again in the past three years. In 2015, the firm experienced 5 percent growth in gross revenue, to $742.5 million. It was a $33.5 million increase from the year before. Revenue per lawyer was up 2 percent, to $935,000. Yet profits per partner sunk four percent, to $1,275,000, or a $60,000 decrease from 2014, the firm told The National Law Journal this month.

Interior of the Supreme Court court room.

Study: High Court Arguments Fail Lawyers and the Public

By Marcia Coyle |

Justice Clarence Thomas, criticized often for his decadelong silence in oral arguments, just might have a point to that silence, according to a recent study of the "hot" bench in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The MetLife building at 200 Park Ave.

MetLife Makes Case Against 'Too Big to Fail' Designation

By Zoe Tillman |

MetLife, represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Eugene Scalia, is challenging its designation as "too big to fail." During arguments on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington expressed concern about the setup of the federal oversight council tasked with reviewing the health of U.S. banks and companies.

Jesse Furman.

Bid to Oust Lawyers Suing GM Contains 'Wild Accusations,' Judge Finds

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has struck down a bid to remove lead plaintiffs attorneys in the GM ignition-switch litigation after finding that the request smacked of "Monday morning quarterbacking."

High Court Freezes EPA Energy Regs

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court's action on Feb. 9 halting implementation of the Obama administration's clean energy plan was an assertive move that surprised advocates on both sides.

Rudolph Contreras.

Five Signs a Judge is Upset: Clinton Emails Edition

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Department of State missed a court-ordered deadline to produce emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, and now the judge wants answers.

The Am Law 100, The Early Numbers: Steptoe's Turn-Around Cuts Lawyers Yet Grows Revenue

By Katelyn Polantz |

Sometimes law firms have to have bad years before they have good. At Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, 2015 finally brought the latter. "We set a plan and it's working," said Phil West, after his second year as firm chairman. In fiscal year 2015, the firm grew its gross revenue by $5 million to $357.5 million, a 1.4 percent increase, the firm reported to the American Lawyer this month. Revenue per lawyer rose by $40,000 to $955,000. And profits per partner were up $30,000 to $940,000.

American Bankers Association offices in Washington, D.C.

Top Lawyer for Sen. Joe Manchin Heads to Bankers Association

By Mike Sacks |

The top lawyer for Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-West Virginia, is heading to the American Bankers Association to lobby Senate Democrats on behalf of the trade association. Kirtan Mehta starts his new job as the ABA's senior vice president for congressional relations on Feb. 22.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building in Washington, D.C.

SEC Responds to Whistleblower Who Challenged Agency Delay

By C. Ryan Barber |

A purported whistleblower who, last December, turned to a federal appeals court to force U.S. securities regulators to act on their delay in processing his award claim has received a response from the agency after a three-year wait. Neither court papers, nor an attorney for the whistleblower, indicated whether the preliminary determination was favorable to the tipster.

Television cameras outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. March 4, 2015.

ABA Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Adopt Cameras

By Tony Mauro |

The American Bar Association, an early opponent of cameras in courtrooms, urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to "record and make available" video of its oral arguments. Acting at its midyear meeting in San Diego, the association's governing House of Delegates approved a resolution submitted by its Young Lawyers Division aimed at making the high court more accessible.

Gladys Kessler.

Judge Criticizes Tobacco Lawyers' 'Ridiculous' Litigation Strategy

By Zoe Tillman |

U.S. tobacco companies on Monday drew the ire of a federal judge in Washington, who accused them of trying to "stall" their obligation to pay for public ads about the health risks of smoking.

Lance Cooper.

Two Plaintiffs Lawyers in GM Case Escalate War of Words

By Amanda Bronstad |

The plaintiffs lawyer who accused three attorneys of mismanaging the ignition-switch litigation against General Motors Co. has backed off his demands that a judge remove all of them. Still, the lawyer, Lance Cooper, is calling for the resignation of one of the lawyers, Bob Hilliard, claiming that his actions have imperiled the multidistrict litigation.

<b>LANCE COOPER:</b> “Given the way it was run, I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.”

GM Trial Spotlights MDL Flaws

By Amanda Bronstad |

The rift among plaintiffs lawyers that followed last month's stunning collapse of the first trial over General Motors Co.'s ignition-switch defect raised serious accusations of backroom deals and lucrative fee arrangements.

Seth Levine of Levine Lee.

Levine Lee

By Amanda Bronstad |

After the publication in 2014 of the exposé "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt," a series of lawsuits alleged that high-frequency traders possessed an unfair advantage that hurt ordinary investors.

Elkan Abramowitz.

Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello

By Mike Sacks |

Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello was center stage last year in the legal community's most closely watched case in decades. In October, a trial jury returned no convictions for the New York-based firm's client, former Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis.

Alexandra Shapiro, left and Cynthia Arato, right.

Shapiro Arato

By Ginny LaRoe |

An international copyright battle over an acclaimed 20th century American author's work. A headline-grabbing case for New York's iconic Madison Square Garden. A landmark insider-trading ­ruling.


Small Size, Big Cases: The 2016 Litigation Boutiques Hot List

This week, we spotlight 10 litigation boutiques with up to 50 lawyers who enjoyed stand-out accomplishments in 2015.

Shayna Cook of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum.

Goldman Ismail

By C. Ryan Barber |

The team at Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum prevailed in a tough round of tests last year — and that was even before an associate's December appearance on "Jeopardy!"

Thomas E. L. Dewey of Dewey, Pegno & Kramarsky.

Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky

By Karen Sloan |

Like the relief pitcher brought in to replace a struggling hurler, Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky is often tapped by clients when their matters aren't going well or when time is running short — sometimes both.

Viet Dinh of Bancroft.


By Katelyn Polantz |

A billion-dollar win is good, and a $2 billion win is so much better.

<b>ALOHA:</b> Kamaile Turcan was a 2008 graduate of the University of Hawaii’s law school.

From Hawaii to High Court

By Tony Mauro |

The announcement last month that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has hired Kamaile Turcan as one of her law clerks next term says almost as much about the justice as it does about Turcan.

Andrew Hall of Hall, Lamb and Hall.

Hall , Lamb and Hall

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Marine Corps isn't alone in claiming the bulldog as its emblem. Miami's Hall, Lamb and Hall does, too, whether its cases keep the nine-lawyer firm solidly in domestic law or draw them into the murky and dangerous waters of foreign terrorism.

Gary Lincenberg of Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow.

Bird Marella

By Michael Moline |

Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, a 39-attorney Los Angeles shop specializing in white-collar and complex civil defense, believes in knowing the enemy.

Steve Molo and Jeff Lamken of MoloLamken.


By Tony Mauro |

MoloLamken is a boutique with big bandwith.

Lisa S. Tsai of Reid Collins & Tsai.

Reid Collins & Tsai

By Zoe Tillman |

Starting in 2013, a team from Reid Collins & Tsai pursued claims in a Dallas County, Texas, court that Credit Suisse Group A.G. was to blame for hundreds of millions of dollars in investor losses stemming from a real estate development project in Nevada that fell apart in 2008.

National Labor Relations Board.

Samsung Ordered to Stop Using Employee Arbitration Agreement

By C. Ryan Barber |

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Samsung to stop using an arbitration agreement that requires employees to waive their class action rights as a hiring condition, upholding an administrative law judge's decision for a Florida field sales manager who alleged the company failed to pay overtime wages.

Devlin D'Zmura, a tending news manager at DraftKings, works on his laptop at the company's offices in Boston, on September 9, 2015.

Fantasy Sports Class Actions Consolidated in Boston Court

By Amanda Bronstad |

More than 80 class actions filed against FanDuel and DraftKings alleging that their online sites are rigged have been coordinated into an MDL in Massachusetts. Both companies said that district was the favored venue.

Kenneth Zwick.  January 27, 2016.

DOJ Official Who Helped Transition to Computers Retires After 30 Years

By Zoe Tillman |

For most of his career at the Justice Department, Kenneth Zwick ran the Civil Division's administrative operations. He's a lawyer but his work was focused behind the scenes to get the support staff, money and technology that department attorneys needed. Zwick, who retired in January, spoke with the NLJ about the rise of e-discovery, how cuts in government funding hurt the department, and why he enjoys presidential transitions.

Lead Counsel Picked in Airline Price-Fixing Litigation

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has appointed lawyers from Hausfeld and Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy to serve as co-lead counsel in more than 100 class actions alleging that four major airlines conspired to fix the prices of domestic fares.

Uber Employment Cases Won’t Go to MDL

By Amanda Bronstad |

Uber has dodged a legal move that would have coordinated more than a dozen lawsuits brought by its drivers over their employment status.

Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, IL.

DePaul Law Students Dump Trump (Tower)

By Karen Sloan |

Like the Iowans who caucused earlier this week, students at DePaul University College of Law have rejected Trump—Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, that is. The law school decided to move its annual Barrister's Ball from the Donald Trump-affiliated hotel and condominium building to another venue after students protested.

Martin Shkreli, left, former Chief Executive Officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals, appearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during a hearing titled

Shkreli Breaks Silence After Congressional Hearing, Calls House Members 'Imbeciles'

By Mike Sacks |

Appearing Thursday on Capitol Hill, former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli wrote on a notepad as his lawyer, New York criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, whispered in his ear. Shkreli read from that notepad almost every time a committee member asked him a question. His reticence was not absolute. "Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government," he wrote on Twitter after his brief appearance in front of House Oversight Committee members.

Visitors look through books before Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to the library of the Schneerson family of Hasidic rabbis in the Jewish Museum in Moscow, Thursday, June 13, 2013. The vast collection of Jewish books and documents is the focus of a dispute between Moscow and Washington.

Justice Dept. Fights Subpoenas for Bank Records About Russian Assets

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Department of Justice is fighting efforts by a Jewish group to subpoena banks for information about assets owned by the Russian Federation, which owes more than $43 million in sanctions for rebuffing a U.S. judge's order to return a collection of religious texts.

Attorney Stephanie Toti of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Women's Rights Lawyer to Make SCOTUS Debut in Texas Abortion Case

By Marcia Coyle |

As an "argumentative little kid," Stephanie Toti, who will make her first U.S. Supreme Court argument in this term's abortion case, always wanted to be a lawyer, but she found her niche in the law itself in her grandmother's greatest regret in life.

Former Alaska senator Ted Stevens exits the federal courthouse in D.C. in April 2009.

D.C. Judges Weigh Rule to Curb Prosecutor Misconduct

By Zoe Tillman |

Nearly seven years since the botched prosecution of the late Alaska senator Ted Stevens, federal judges in Washington are considering a rule that describes in detail for the first time the government's obligation to turn over evidence to defense lawyers.

Boston Scientific.

Pelvic Mesh Trial Ends in Defense Verdict

By Amanda Bronstad |

The first trial against two manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products has ended in a verdict for both companies. A jury in Jackson County, Missouri, which began hearing opening statements in the trial on Dec. 2, found that both Boston Scientific Corp. and C.R. Bard Inc. weren’t liable for plaintiff Eve Sherrer's injuries.

Lance Cooper.

Plaintiffs Lawyers in GM Bellwether Fire Back at Criticisms

By Amanda Bronstad |

Plaintiffs lawyers leading hundreds of lawsuits over General Motors Co.'s ignition-switch defect on Monday defended their management of the multidistrict litigation, which came under attack after the first bellwether trial imploded abruptly last month amid revelations of apparent fraud and perjury.

Winston & Strawn's

E-Discovery Unit Thrives in Washington Under Winston & Strawn

By Katelyn Polantz |

Winston & Strawn's John Rosenthal has been in the e-discovery business almost since before there was a business. Previously a partner at Howrey, he worked with the now defunct firm to start a similar business to the one he took to Winston in 2008. The firm's e-discovery center, staffed by career associates and other in-house workers, took on almost 90 percent of the e-discovery and data work for its clients.

Haitian community members practice taking field measurements of water quality with NYU students and researchers in Haiti's North department.  April 26, 2015.

NYU and Columbia Law Schools Launch Human Rights Lab

By Karen Sloan |

Human Rights Watch is teaming up with two New York law schools to develop new techniques for investigating human rights issues.

Florine Williams testifies before the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, on June 25, 2015, regarding alledged discrimination and retaliation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

CFPB Employee Sues Agency For Alleged Pay Inequality

By C. Ryan Barber |

An equal-employment specialist at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing the agency in Washington federal district court for alleged pay inequality. Florine Williams alleges the CFPB has paid her as much as $36,000 less than a male co-worker who has the same title and, for a year, shared the same office. Williams is seeking back pay, damages and attorney fees under the Equal Pay Act.

Williams & Connolly attorney David Kendall, center, sits behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a House hearing of the Select Committee on Benghazi, on Thursday, October 22, 2015.

Lawsuit Seeks Clinton Lawyer David Kendall's Communications with State Dept.

By Zoe Tillman |

A government watchdog group is suing for emails and other communication between Hillary Clinton's personal lawyer David Kendall—of counsel to Williams & Connolly—and the U.S. Department of State about any confidential information stored on Clinton's private email server.

Visitors outside the U.S. Supreme Court on August 29, 2015.

Future Unclear for 'Oyez,' Source for Supreme Court Audio History

By Tony Mauro |

The Oyez Project, a widely used resource for the audio of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments and other information about the court, is facing an uncertain future. With founder Jerry Goldman planning to retire in May, and its arrangement with Chicago-Kent College of Law set to expire, Goldman said he worries the site may wither away or shut down later this year. "The human side of the institution, the sense of the men and women who sit on the bench—their voices would be silenced," said Goldman, 70.

<b>FOR THE CAMERA:</b> The nuns of Little Sisters of the Poor are suing over the ACA.

Video Gaming the Supreme Court Justices

By Marcia Coyle |

In the contest for the hearts and minds of Americans — and, indirectly, of U.S. Supreme Court justices — videos increasingly have become public tools in high-stakes cases.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of the week's notable cases.

<b>AFTERMATH:</b> Robert Hilliard said his team vetted Robert Scheuer, his client, whose case fell apart.

Why the GM Trial Imploded

By Amanda Bronstad |

Days after the first General Motors Co. ignition-switch case collapsed midtrial in New York, Robert Hilliard, the lead plaintiff's attorney, reflected on what went wrong — and what lessons he learned.

Jenny Yang.

Pay Reporting Proposal Could Help Government Enforce Equal Pay Laws

By C. Ryan Barber |

At a White House event Friday honoring the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, federal officials laid out a proposal to have private companies include pay data in annual reports on the race, gender and job categories of their employees. President Barack Obama said the more detailed reports would "help us do a better job enforcing existing equal pay laws," underscoring the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s point that the added data would buoy its efforts to sniff out of cases of pay discrimination.

Dickstein Shapiro offices at 1825 I Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C.

Dickstein Shapiro's Connecticut Office Moves to Holland & Knight

By Katelyn Polantz |

Dickstein Shapiro's nine-partner corporate group based in Stamford, Connecticut, has left the firm for Holland & Knight. The move founds Holland & Knight's 25th office. The latest departures—12 lawyers in total—are part of an avalanche of outgoing laterals this year for Dickstein Shapiro, which has held on through years of defections and erratic financial results.

(l-r) George Bush, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton.

Playing the Circuit Court Numbers Game

By Mike Sacks |

If the Reagan, Bush and Clinton two-term presidencies are any indication, the Obama administration has little prospect of seeing any of its circuit court nominations confirmed after July, according to a Congressional Research Service report released this week.

Prisoners from Hungary arrive at the Auschwitz concentration camp, about 50 km west of Krakow, Poland, in the spring of 1945. In the background are seen the chimneys of the crematory (R and L), in which the bodies of the murdered prisoners were burnt.

D.C. Circuit Revives Holocaust Survivors' Claims Against Hungarian Railroad

By Zoe Tillman |

Holocaust survivors can pursue claims against the state-owned railroad in Hungary for its role in stealing property of Jews who were sent by train to concentration camps, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday.

Robert Scheuer's crashed 2003 Saturn Ion.

Lawyer Claims GM Bellwether Counsel Cut Sweetheart Deal with Automaker

By Amanda Bronstad |

The plaintiffs lawyer who first discovered the GM ignition-switch defect has lobbed a bomb against a lead counsel of the multidistrict litigation, claiming that the attorney, Robert Hilliard, struck a deal with GM to boost legal fees while reducing the automaker’s potential liability.

Daniel Girard of Girard Gibbs

California Lawyer Named Lead Counsel in OPM Data Breach Case

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal district judge in Washington on Thursday picked Daniel Girard, managing partner of Girard Gibbs in San Francisco, to serve as lead counsel for federal employees suing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management over data breaches that exposed the private information of millions of government workers.

Matthew Parlow.

Sporty New Dean for Chapman Law School

By Karen Sloan |

The next dean of the Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law has one foot in the legal academy and the other in the world of professional sports. University officials have tapped Matthew Parlow, an associate dean at Marquette University Law School, to replace outgoing law dean Tom Campbell.

Suzanna Brickman.

New DLA Piper Pro Bono Counsel in D.C. Marks Expansion in the Area

By Katelyn Polantz |

One of the rarest areas for lateral hires has a new face: Suzanna Brickman joined DLA Piper as full-time pro bono counsel. Brickman becomes one of the global firm's seven pro bono lawyers. Generally, full-time pro bono attorneys at firms don't move around much, as there are so few of them. Some firms have one or two. Many large firms have no dedicated pro bono counsel.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Arizona Revives Long-Failed Push to Split the Ninth Circuit

By Zoe Tillman |

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and members of the state's congressional delegation are teaming up to introduce legislation to split up the Ninth Circuit. Similar efforts in the past have failed to gain traction, but Ducey's office says the time is ripe to revisit the issue.

Full-time Job Offers to Summer Associates at Highest Rate in Decade

By Karen Sloan |

An impressive 95 percent of law students who spent last summer clerking at a law firm received an offer to work full-time at the firm after graduation.

John Cornyn.

Trade Secrets, Data Privacy Bills Win Senate Committee Approval

By Mike Sacks |

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved bills to implement a trans-Atlantic data privacy compact and to provide federal protection from trade secrets theft. The Judicial Redress Act would cement an "umbrella agreement" between the United States and the European Union to protect each other's citizens' data privacy rights. The committee also approved on Thursday the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

Andrew Perlman.

Law School's New Job Program Isn't 'J.D.-Lite,' Dean Says

By Karen Sloan |

It’s not high-level lawyering, but it's a job. Suffolk University Law School has partnered with legal process outsourcing firm Integreon Inc. to launch a new program in which law and undergraduate students work part-time on document review and other tasks while on the school's Boston campus.

Chuck McMichael raises a Confederate flag as Sons of Confederate Veterans and others commemorate Confederate Memorial Day in front of Caddo Parish Courthouse in downtown Shreveport, La., on Friday, June 3, 2011. They replace the flag every year on June 3, which is Jefferson Davis's birthday.

Louisiana Case Renews Push For Justices' Review of Death Penalty

By Marcia Coyle |

On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the death penalty, a new case, from Louisiana, is being offered to the justices. Tucker v. State of Louisiana asks the high court whether the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments.

D.C. Circuit Deals Blow to Big Tobacco

By C. Ryan Barber |

Almost two years ago, the Food and Drug Administration's ability to use a controversial report on menthol cigarettes nearly disappeared like a puff of smoke. But this month, a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit lifted an injunction on the FDA’s use of the report.

Brigham Young University.

Treatment of Ex-Mormons and Gays Spurs Complaint Against BYU

By Karen Sloan |

Brigham Young University has been hit with a complaint claiming that the law school's expulsion of ex-Mormons violates the American Bar Association's nondiscrimination rules. A group of university alumni called FreeBYU filed the complaint with the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar against Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School.

Thomas Tamm.

DOJ Lawyer Charged in Ethics Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Thomas Tamm, a former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer who leaked information to the press about warrantless domestic spying under President George W. Bush, is facing legal ethics charges in Washington. The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for its reporting on the surveillance program, which permitted the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States without a warrant.

Rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the day of oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. February 27, 2013.

Three High Court Fee Challenges: One Winner, Two Losers

By Marcia Coyle |

Attempts by Texas and Shelby County, Alabama, to collect or to block attorney fees for successful challenges under the Voting Rights Act failed on Monday when the justices refused to hear their petitions.

Energy Agency Hits 'Sweet Spot' in Electricity Regs, High Court Says

By Tony Mauro |

The Obama administration’s regulatory effort to reduce electricity use during times of peak demand won broad support from the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

Mary Leslie, left, kisses her wife, Stacey Haugland, after being married by Unitarian minister Nina Grey on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, at the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center in Bozeman, Mont. Gay couples began exchanging vows at county courthouses in Montana a day after a federal judge threw out the state's ban on same-sex marriage.  Credit: Bozeman Daily Chronicle/Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez via AP.

Montana’s $100K Fee Settlement in Marriage Case Pushes National Total to $13.6M

By Zoe Tillman |

Montana officials in October agreed to pay $100,000 in legal fees to lawyers who successfully argued against the state's same-sex marriage ban, according to a copy of the agreement recently obtained by The National Law Journal.

Supporters and protestors gather in 2008 on the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Supreme Court Blocks Restrictive North Dakota Abortion Law

By Marcia Coyle |

In less than a week, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear pleas from North Dakota and Arkansas to revive two of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. The justices on Monday declined to hear North Dakota's appeal of an appellate court decision striking down the state's ban on abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected—which can be as early as six weeks of pregnancy.

Anti-death penalty activists hold a four day liquid-only fast and vigil to mark the anniversaries of the 1972 Furman and 1976 Gregg Supreme Court decisions involving the death penalty. The vigil, organized by the Abolitionist Action Committee, coincided with court's last public session of the current term when the opinion in Glossip v. Gross was expected to be announced. June 29, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Justices Decline Sweeping Review of Capital Punishment

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up one of a new wave of cases that directly ask the justices to declare that capital punishment is unconstitutional. Without comment, the court denied certiorari in Walter v. Pennsylvania, an appeal by Shonda Walter of her death sentence for killing an 83-year-old Pennsylvania man in 2003.

<b>FIELDING QUESTIONS:</b> William Taylor III, attorney for former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, speaks to the media outside New York criminal court on May 20, 2011.

Sizzle And Steak At Zuckerman Spaeder

By Katelyn Polantz |

There's one law firm in Washington that, even with a new chairman, wants to remember the old days.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of the week's notable cases.

<b>TAB:</b> Lawyers who challenged same-sex marriage bans have earned millions in fees.

Same-Sex Union Foes To Pay Up

By Zoe Tillman |

Twenty-five states that unsuccessfully defended same-sex marriage bans in federal court have agreed or been ordered by a judge to pay more than $13.5 million in legal fees to the challengers.

<b>JUMP-START:</b> Ricky Tai expects to begin a job ahead of other grads.

Bellying Up To The Bar Exam Early

By Karen Sloan |

New York's novel pro bono program opens to out-of-state third-year law students.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

After 'Alice,' Are Software Patents the Answer?

By W. Edward Ramage |

Well-crafted intellectual property laws can accommodate computer-implemented inventions.

Challenges Ahead — and Adapting for Success — in IP Law

It's an era of growing pains for patent law. Legislators and the courts are grappling with parties sparring for rights amid rapidly evolving technology. However, in the case of at least one firm, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Don't Let Your Patent Appeal Get Lost in the Crowd

By Jon E. Wright and Pauline M. Pelletier |

New laws have opened the floodgates for challenges to the Federal Circuit. Will your client's stand out?

Dickstein Shapiro's Washington, D.C. offices at 1825 I Street, NW.

Dickstein's Biz Van Gelder Said She Helped With Bryan Cave Merger Talk, 'Not Sure' Why It Failed

By Katelyn Polantz |

Barbara "Biz" Van Gelder, the prominent Washington white collar litigator, said that Dickstein Shapiro's uncertain future was the reason she left. After Dickstein Shapiro failed to agree on a merger plan with Bryan Cave in December, Van Gelder decided it was time to change firms, she said. "I was committed to the Bryan Cave merger," she said. And the firm saw another departure Friday: the Washington managing partner.

South Texas College of Law in Houston, TX.

Librarian Sues South Texas College of Law for Racial Discrimination

By Karen Sloan |

A former law librarian at the South Texas College of Law has sued the school, claiming he faced racial discrimination on the job and was unlawfully terminated in 2014 after reporting the harassment.

Statue of the late Chief Justice John Marshall, with a snow blanket, looks out onto the park that bears his name.  February 8, 2010.

Snow Boots in the D.C. Circuit as Blizzard Approaches

By Zoe Tillman |

As Washington braced for a snow storm of potentially epic proportions on Friday, courts, law firms and federal government lawyers prepared for early closures.


Next Lawyer to Leave Dickstein Shapiro: Biz Van Gelder

By Katelyn Polantz |

White-collar lawyer Barbara Van Gelder—who goes by "Biz"—will leave Dickstein Shapiro for Cozen O’Connor Feb. 1, becoming the latest among a half-dozen departures from the struggling Washington law firm so far this year. Van Gelder is a senior counsel to Dickstein Shapiro and the head of its congressional investigations and white-collar defense practice.

The Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

For Lobbyists, a Busy Congress Means a Boom Year, But Squire Patton Sees Revenue Drop

By Katelyn Polantz |

The lobbying numbers are in, and the fears of Squire Patton Boggs are confirmed. Although every other law firm lobbying group among the largest in Washington saw their revenues rise in 2015, the legacy firm of the late Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. did not. Its year-end total dropped 20 percent. Squire Patton Boggs—whose Washington lobbying department has faced dozens of departures since 2013—is now the third-largest lobbying organization in Washington, behind Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Challenges Business Criticism About Robocalling Rules

By C. Ryan Barber |

The FCC believes concerns from companies and business advocates, suing over the agency's new "autodialer" rule, are unfounded. In a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the agency said businesses and industry groups are "incorrect that the commission's ruling necessarily sweeps in devices such as ordinary smartphones."

Downtown Pender, Nebraska. The three-story brick building in the center of the photo and the two-story white wood building to its left make up the Old Thurston County Courthouse, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Tribes Face Uphill Fights in High Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Their cases may not command the high profile of abortion, immigration, affirmative action and other challenges now on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision docket. But four tribal cases granted review by the justices have been called by some experts a “potential watershed” term for Indian law.

John Roberts Jr., left, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, right.

Supreme Court Rules For Class Action Plaintiffs

By Tony Mauro |

So far, so good for the plaintiffs’ bar in the latest batch of class action cases the U.S. Supreme Court is considering this term.

Quinn Emanuel Boosts Law Clerk Signing Bonus to $75K

By Katelyn Polantz |

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has upped the amount it gives to law clerks as signing bonuses this year, according to a letter the Los Angeles-based litigation firm sent to federal appeals court clerks. "Starting this year, we have increased our signing bonus for law clerks to $75,000," according to a January letter from the firm to federal law clerks obtained by The National Law Journal this week.

Sonia Sotomayor.

Supreme Court Rejects Kansas Court's Reprieve of Death Row Inmates

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a pair of Kansas Supreme Court rulings that reversed the death sentences of three convicted murderers. The 8-1 ruling in Kansas v. Carr and two related cases was written by Justice Antonin Scalia and did not bear the earmarks of a court that is ready to re-examine the constitutionality of the death penalty—as some had hoped after the court’s ruling last term in an Oklahoma case.

Elizabeth B. Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center

Elizabeth Wydra Named New President of Constitutional Accountability Center

By Tony Mauro |

Elizabeth Wydra, longtime chief counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, is set to succeed founder Doug Kendall, who died in September, as president.

Justices Refuse to Resolve Pharmaceutical Company's Work-Product Battle

By Marcia Coyle |

A seven-year fight between a pharmaceutical company and the Federal Trade Commission over documents in an antitrust investigation ended at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday when the justices declined to review questions concerning lawyers' work-product protections.

Anthony Kennedy.

Five Lessons From a 'Bizarre' Supreme Court Argument

By Tony Mauro |

By the end of oral arguments Tuesday in Heffernan v. City of Paterson, New Jersey, lawyers and justices agreed on one thing: The case was really odd. "This is a bizarre case," said Thomas Goldstein of Goldstein & Russell. "It is bizarre," Justice Antonin Scalia concurred. In the course of the hour, some of the exchanges posed lessons that practitioners can learn from.

Justices Refuse to Resolve Pharmaceutical Company's Work-Product Battle

By Marcia Coyle |

A seven-year fight between a pharmaceutical company and the Federal Trade Commission over documents in an antitrust investigation ended at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday when the justices declined to review questions concerning lawyers’ work-product protections.

Amy Berman Jackson.

DOJ Can’t Shield 'Fast and Furious' Docs From House Oversight Committee

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Department of Justice must turn over to Congress internal records about how the department responded to a congressional inquiry into the botched gun-walking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Five Dickstein Antitrust Lawyers Leave for Zelle's New D.C. Office

By Katelyn Polantz |

Dickstein Shapiro has lost a chunk of its antitrust practice, with five Washington lawyers departing for the small national litigation firm Zelle LLP.

Texas A&M University acquired the Texas Wesleyan School of Law in 2013.

Texas Wesleyan Law Grads Lose Diploma Fight with Texas A&M

By Karen Sloan |

Texas Wesleyan University School of Law graduates have lost a bid to force Texas A&M University School of Law&mdashwhich acquired their alma mater in 2013—to grant them new diplomas with the A&M name.

A young man chants in favor of immigration law reform during a massive rally held at the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 10, 2006.

Justices Take Obama Administration's Immigration Appeal

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court became another player in the contentious, election-year immigration debate as it agreed Tuesday to decide whether the Obama administration has the authority to delay the deportation of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Raising the Bar: The 2016 Pro Bono Hot List

“Faster, higher, stronger,” may be the Olympic creed, but it could also serve as the battle cry of the law firms on our 2016 Pro Bono Hotlist.

Jeremy Creelan of Jenner & Block.

Fighting for Upgraded Discharges for Vets

By C. Ryan Barber |

Jenner & Block partner Jeremy Creelan was watching "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" one night in the spring of 2014 when he was struck by a tragic catch-22 spotlighted in a segment.

Courtney Stewart of DLA Piper.

Leading Legislative Reform on Truancy

By Richard Acello |

Led by Austin of counsel Courtney Stewart, DLA Piper attorneys helped lead a legislative reform effort that resulted in the state of Texas decriminalizing truancy, or missing school.

Carey Child of Chadbourne & Parke.

Firm Buoys Anti-Trafficking Mission

By Mike Sacks |

Carey Child, senior counsel to Chadbourne & Parke, was performing his duties as treasurer for his sons' high school crew team when another parent said a Fairfax County, Virginia-based task force against human trafficking needed some legal expertise.

Anne Cappella, Weil, Gotshal & Manges partner

Ending Solitary Confinement in Calif.

By Tony Mauro |

Solitary confinement has become a hot topic for debate nationwide, especially after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy spotlighted it as exacting "a terrible price" from inmates, physically and mentally, in a June 2015 opinion.

Daniel Donovan of Kirkland & Ellis.

Firm Guards Voting Rights in Vital Case

By Marcia Coyle |

When the North Carolina NAACP and the Advancement Project challenged a North Carolina law imposing some of the most restrictive voting requirements in the nation, they knew they would need heavy-hitting litigation support from trial through potentially the U.S. Supreme Court.

Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells.

A Whistleblower's Advocate at SCOTUS

By Mike Sacks |

In January 2015, Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal secured a 7-2 win at the U.S. Supreme Court for former federal air marshal and whistleblower Robert MacLean.

Katherine Barrett Wiik of Robins Kaplan.

Team Nets Win For Transgender Patients

By Amanda Bronstad |

In a case of first impression, Robins Kaplan got a significant court ruling clarifying that the Affordable Care Act's civil rights protections extend to transgender individuals seeking medical care.

Norm Hile of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Firm Seeks Clemency For Death Row Inmate

By Katelyn Polantz |

California hasn't executed a prisoner since 2006. But since then, and for two years before, an Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe lawyer has devoted thousands of hours to the case of one man on the state's death row.

James Bromley of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Team Posts Win Over Conversion Therapy

By Richard Acello |

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner Jim Bromley led a team of attorneys to win a unanimous jury verdict over a firm that promised to convert young gay men to heterosexuality through "conversion therapy."

Tollie Besson of Paul Hastings.

Protecting Free Speech Worldwide

By Zoe Tillman |

At the start of 2016, 154 journalists and 162 "netizens" — bloggers and other web-based citizen journalists — were in prison for exercising their free speech rights, according to Reporters Without Borders. With the issue of free speech in mind, Paul Hastings teamed up with the Paris-based advocacy group to create the "Defence Handbook for Journalists and Bloggers."

<b>SURPRISE PICK:</b> Ex-FBI director Robert Mueller, above, is Judge Charles Breyer’s proposed choice as the VW settlement master. “I don’t think anybody saw this one coming,” said lawyer Frank Pitre.

Firms Line Up to Lead VW Suits

By Ross Todd and Amanda Bronstad |

More than 140 law firms have applied for leadership positions in litigation targeting Volkswagen A.G. over the company's "clean diesel" emissions scandal.

<b>CHALLENGED:</b> Pro-union supporters rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

No Perfect Union (Fees)

By Marcia Coyle |

Recent U.S. Supreme Court arguments over "fair share" union fees paid by nonmembers may have left union supporters believing their case may go the way of campaign finance and voting rights in the Roberts Court.

<b>WARNED:</b> Theodore McKee wants to minimize the risk of identity theft.

A Third Circuit Judge Protests, Alone, For Security

By Zoe Tillman |

Chief Judge Theodore McKee of the federal appeals court in Philadelphia has a savings account at PNC Bank. He'd prefer you not know that. In the latest financial disclosure report that McKee filed, in 2015, he tacked on a note of protest. Releasing the names of banks where judges have accounts, he said, puts their financial security at risk.

Headquarters of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.

Expert's $700K Award Signals Return to SEC Whistleblower Program Roots

By C. Ryan Barber |

By awarding more than $700,000 not to a corporate insider but to an industry expert, the Securities and Exchange Commission went back to the roots of its modern-day whistleblower program on Friday.

U.S. Supreme Court.

In Xbox Class Action, Justices Confront a Plaintiffs Tactic

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court added another class action case to its argument docket on Friday, agreeing to determine the fate of an "end run" tactic used by plaintiffs to appeal the denial of class certification. The court granted certiorari in Microsoft v. Baker, a dispute over a class action brought by Xbox 360 purchasers who blame the company for scratched discs.

Bob McDonnell.

Supreme Court Will Review Former Virginia Governor's Corruption Appeal

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell's appeal of corruption charges, setting the stage for a significant review of federal bribery statutes.

Ted Cruz, left, and Laurence Tribe, right.

Cruz Disses Laurence Tribe, Once His Prof at Harvard Law

By Tony Mauro |

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe once taught Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, but that did not prevent the Texas senator from taking a potshot at Tribe during Thursday night's televised GOP debate. In an email interview Friday, Tribe declined to comment on being in the spotlight. But he reiterated his earlier point that Cruz has been hoisted on his own petard, so to speak, as a fan of originalism in interpreting the Constitution.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse following deliberations in his corruption trial. October 27, 2008.

D.C. Circuit Questions Secrecy of DOJ Prosecution Manual

By Michael A. Scarcella |

An ethics manual prepared by the U.S. Justice Department for prosecutors in the aftermath of the botched case against Sen. Ted Stevens should remain a secret document unavailable to the public, the government told a Washington federal appeals court Thursday.

Bill Cosby.

Bill Cosby Hires Ex-Dickstein Rainmaker for Insurance Fight

By Amanda Bronstad |

Bill Cosby has brought in prominent insurance litigator Kirk Pasich to fend off two lawsuits filed by American International Group Inc. challenging its coverage of the comedian’s legal defense in defamation cases filed by women accusing him of rape and sexual assault.

Amit Mehta.

D.C. Judge Says Recusal in Tobacco Case Would Encourage 'Judge-Shopping'

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal district judge in Washington won't recuse from a regulatory fight between tobacco companies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The judge ruled on Wednesday that work his former law firm did for an anti-tobacco group was "too attenuated" from the case to disqualify him.

Jeffrey Fisher, Stanford Law School professor

Kentucky Ordered to Pay $1.1M in Fees in Same-Sex Marriage Case

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal district judge on Wednesday ordered the state of Kentucky to pay $1.1 million to lawyers who successfully challenged the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, one of a handful of million-dollar awards and settlements in these cases to date.

Capitol of Puerto Rico, in San Juan.

Justices Step Into Controversy Over Puerto Rico’s Status

By Marcia Coyle |

U.S. Supreme Court justices rarely have a unique connection to the underpinnings of cases that come before them. But Wednesday’s arguments undoubtedly touched a chord with Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Service members search through rubble on Oct. 23, 1983 after a suicide truck bomb attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The blast, the single deadliest attack on U.S. forces abroad since World War II, claimed the lives of 241 American service members.

Congress Can't Tell Courts How to Rule, Roberts Says in Iran Case

By Tony Mauro |

As chief justice, John Roberts Jr. champions the independence of the federal judiciary in speeches and annual reports. On Wednesday, he delivered his "don't mess with the courts" message loud and clear from the bench.

Mitt Romney.

Romney and Obama Agree: Court Should Toss Debate Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Mitt Romney, along with President Barack Obama and the Republican and Democratic national committees, are fighting claims that the exclusion of third-party candidates from general-election debates violates antitrust law.

Vincent Cohen.

Dechert Stakes D.C. White-Collar Presence in Hiring Top Prosecutor

By Katelyn Polantz |

Vincent Cohen Jr., the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia until October, will join the Philadelphia-founded law firm Dechert, the firm will announce today. Cohen's hiring allows Dechert to stake a stronger presence in the Washington white-collar universe. His former boss, Ronald Machen, went to Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. "They never put the vice president and the president in the same plane," Cohen told the NLJ, when asked why he didn't follow Machen to Wilmer. "We had to spread the love around."

French police officers look over a piece of debris from a plane in Saint-Andre, Reunion Island, on July 29, 2015. The wing was later found to be from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that went missing March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysia Airlines Sued By Family of American on Disappeared Flight

By Zoe Tillman |

The family of one of three American citizens on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 sued the airline on Tuesday in federal district court in Washington.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, from left, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor arrive before President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Obama Looks Beyond Supreme Court in Final State of the Union

By Tony Mauro |

With six U.S. Supreme Court justices in the audience, President Barack Obama on Tuesday night sidestepped any direct discussion of the court in his final State of the Union address. He briefly mentioned contentious legal issues, including voting rights, campaign finance and marriage equality.

A sign declares the boundary line of the Southern California Gas Co. gas fields where a gas well has been leaking methane daily near the community Porter Ranch, California.

As California Gas Leak Spews, Suits Pile Up

By Amanda Bronstad |

As a massive natural gas leak just north of Los Angeles continues to surge, plaintiffs attorneys across the country are filing suit over medical problems and lost property values.

A Lucky Few Will Make The Term’s Final Cuts

By Marcia Coyle |

Mid to late January sounds the arrival of a crucial, unofficial deadline for U.S. Supreme Court hopefuls: the last chance to have their petitions granted and decided in the current term.

(L-R) Chief Justice  John G. Roberts and Supreme Court justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor stand before President Barack Obama's State Of The Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

When Presidents Talk SCOTUS at State of the Union Address

By Tony Mauro |

Six years after President Barack Obama caused a stir by questioning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling at a State of the Union address, he is likely to mention the court’s name Tuesday tonight. Whether controversy ensues is hard to predict.

Duke University Law School in Durham, NC.

Duke Law School Pairs Up with Judicial Education Group

By Karen Sloan |

Duke Law School next year will begin co-hosting the Appellate Judges Education Institute’s annual summit, further sharpening its focus on the judiciary.

Samuel Alito, left, and Sonia Sotomayor, right.

Supreme Court Strikes Florida Death-Sentence Procedure

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Florida's death sentencing system, ruling that it improperly gives judges, rather than juries, the power to decide that a defendant's punishment should be death rather than life in prison. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the 8-1 decision in Hurst v. Florida, invoking the court's Ring v. Arizona precedent from 2002. The court said in Ring that facts resulting in an increase in a sentence to capital punishment must be determined by the jury.

U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

Ex-Federal Prosecutor Reinstated, Gets $805K and Back Pay

By C. Ryan Barber |

Nearly seven years to the day after he was fired, a former federal prosecutor in Cleveland reached a settlement Friday with the U.S. Justice Department in which will he receive full back pay, an additional $805,000 and an assignment as a work-from-home pardon attorney through May 2017.

People participate in a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, as the court heard arguments in the <i>Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association</i> case.

Will the High Court’s Union Case Be Another ‘Citizens United’ Knockdown?

By Marcia Coyle |

Predicting the outcome of U.S. Supreme Court cases is a risky business, which is why reporters so often hedge with verbs such as "seemed," "appeared," and "struggled." But sometimes past can indeed be prologue and that played out in arguments Monday in the court’s major union challenge—Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

An immigrant woman having what appeared to be a panic attack is helped by other immigrants as desperate asylum-seekers of three accepted nationalities queue to enter FYROM/Macedonia from Greece, on December 4, 2015.  Macedonia enacted new border restrictions that limit accepted asylum seekers to Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis.

Law Students Give Legal Aid to Syrian Refugees

By Karen Sloan |

Law students from around the country are assisting Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland—and gaining practical experience at the same time.

Robert McDonnell. July 9, 2013.

Republicans, Democrats Urge Justices to Take Ex-Va. Gov.’s Case

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court did not act on former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell's appeal of corruption charges on Monday—yet another sign that the justices are seriously considering his case.

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier addresses the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court after arguments in the same-sex marriage cases, Obergefell v Hodges.  April 28, 2015.

Tennessee Wants Law Firm Billing Records Unsealed in Gay Marriage Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Lawyers for the state of Tennessee want a federal judge to unseal the billing records of Ropes & Gray and other law firms that successfully challenged the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Lesa Curtis of Westchester, N.Y., right, who is pro agency fees and a former president of her union, rallies outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, as the court heard arguments in the 'Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association' case.

Conservative Justices Skeptical of Public-Employer Union Fees

By Marcia Coyle |

Conservative justices on Monday appeared ready to deliver a major blow to public-employee unions by striking down fees paid by nonmembers to cover their share of unions' collective-bargaining costs. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned that if the precedent set in 1977 falls, so do decisions upholding fees collected from lawyer-members of mandatory bars and student activity fees at public universities.

Robert Mueller, then FBI director, testifies on Capitol Hill in 2006. Mueller was named Monday special settlement master in Volkswagen litigation.

Wilmer's Robert Mueller Named VW Settlement Master

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge plans to appoint former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee settlement negotiations in the class actions filed over Volkswagen A.G.'s emissions scandal. Mueller, who was FBI director from 2001 to 2013, was not among the 28 names submitted by plaintiffs lawyers who have filed more than 500 lawsuits against Volkswagen.

Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building.

Class Action Accuses Judiciary of Overbilling for PACER Records Access

By Zoe Tillman |

The federal judiciary has long faced criticism for charging fees for online access to public court records. A new class action claims a computer error caused the system to overcharge users.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

Pelvic Mesh Maker Bets On Trials

By Amanda Bronstad |

After four years of litigation, most of the manufacturers of pelvic mesh devices have begun to settle thousands of cases in an effort to shrink the largest mass tort in the country. All, that is, except for Johnson & Johnson.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

T.S. Ellis, III.

Court Rejects SEC's 'Expansive' Whistleblower Definition

By C. Ryan Barber |

A Virginia federal trial judge weighs in on a question that has divided a pair of federal appeals courts: Does an employee need to directly contact the SEC to receive whistleblower status under Dodd-Frank? The answer, at least according to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, is yes.

Uber Faces Plaintiffs' Bid for Multidistrict Litigation

By Amanda Bronstad |

A new roadblock could lie ahead in Uber’s legal fight with its own drivers following a move by a New York plaintiffs attorney to coordinate a dozen lawsuits, including a high-profile class action in California challenging its employee classifications.

(l-r) Stuart Banner, Ted Olson, and Carolyn Shapiro.

UCLA Law's Supreme Court Clinic Snagged Four Cases This Term

By Tony Mauro |

With the U.S. Supreme Court accepting 75 or fewer cases for review each term, competition is fierce among law firms and law school clinics for the chance to write briefs on the merits and appear before the justices.

Allyson Ho.

Student Loan Guarantor Takes Agency Dispute to SCOTUS

By C. Ryan Barber |

The country's largest student loan guarantor has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a case that began as a seemingly routine debt dispute but now grapples with a question at the heart of administrative law: How much deference should judges give to agencies' interpretations of federal regulations?

Members of the California Teachers Association picket outside a meeting of the Academy of Personalized Learning Thursday evening in Redding, Jan. 15, 2015.

Will Justices Stand By Decades-Old Precedent in Union Challenge?

By Marcia Coyle |

As U.S. Supreme Court nominees, the Roberts Court justices, like their predecessors, paid homage to stare decisis: standing by prior decisions. But what will that mean when they re-examine a nearly 40-year-old precedent in the biggest union case in decades?

Men identified as victims of police torture under the command of retired Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, stand to be recognized by the Chicago City Council, Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Chicago. The council approved a $5.5 million fund to compensate victims of police torture.

Chicago Law Students Aid Victims of Decades-Old Police Torture

By Karen Sloan |

Two Chicago law schools have played key roles in obtaining justice for those tortured during the tenure of former Chicago police commander Jon Burge. Students and professors at Chicago-Kent College of Law and Loyola University Chicago School of Law have helped dozens of victims who were tortured into confessions by Burge's cabal of detectives—a group that became known as "The Midnight Crew."

Occupy the Courts demonstration, on the second anniversary of the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, outside the U.S. Supreme Court building.  January 20, 2012.

Supreme Court Petition Challenges Plaza Protest Ban

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court was asked Wednesday to overturn the federal law that prohibits expressive activity on its own marble plaza. "For well over half a century, visitors to the Supreme Court have had to conform their conduct while on the plaza to an unknown and unknowable standard," Jeffrey Light, the lawyer who filed the petition, told the high court. The case challenges a ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which upheld the law.

Rally outside the Supreme Court protesting the court's decision to uphold the federal ban on

Women Lawyers Tell Supreme Court About Their Own Abortions

By Tony Mauro |

More than 100 women lawyers joined in a brief to tell the U.S. Supreme Court about their own abortions and why their reproductive freedom was pivotal to their personal and professional lives. The extraordinary brief, filed Monday, was signed by former judges, law professors, law firm partners, public interest lawyers and law clerks, though none who clerked for the high court itself.

Volkswagen cars parked at a Volkswagen car dealership in Knoxville, TN.

DOJ Sues Volkswagen, Seeks to Join Emissions MDL

By Amanda Bronstad |

The Justice Department has sued Volkswagen A.G. claiming it violated the Clean Air Act by installing illegal defeat devices in nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles in the United States that were designed to cheat emissions tests.

Elena Kagan.

Lawsuit Seeks Emails Between Justices and Solicitor General

By Zoe Tillman |

A journalist is suing the U.S. Department of Justice for copies of any emails between past and present U.S. solicitors general and U.S. Supreme Court justices. Based on scrutiny of justices' papers that have been made public over the years, written communications between solicitors general and justices, if they occurred, were mainly about formalities—not case-related.

A sign of the National Wildlife Refuge System is seen at an entry of the wildlife refuge, where some vehicles are seen used to block access to the inside of the refuge, about 30 miles southeast of Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Armed protesters are occupying a building at the national wildlife refuge and asking militia members around the country to join them. The protesters went to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday following a peaceful rally in support of two Oregon ranchers facing additional prison time for arson.

Justices Turned Down Land Dispute at Center of Oregon Occupation

By Tony Mauro |

The legal dispute underlying the occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon made its way last year to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied review in March 2015. "This case bears no resemblance to any prior decision of this court invalidating a non-capital term-of-years sentence on proportionality grounds," the SG wrote.

<b>SHOWDOWN:</b> The justices will hear a challenge to Texas’ abortion clinic regulations.

SCOTUS v. Presidential Race

By Tony Mauro |

Barely catching its breath after a momentous 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court begins the new year under the politicized spotlight of a presidential election as it confronts blockbuster issues that include abortion, affirmative action, contraception and immigration.

Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington, D.C.

Civil Rules Guidelines Questioned

By Zoe Tillman |

An overhaul of federal court rules that regulate the exchange of information in civil lawsuits took effect Dec. 1. Now, the rollout of the changes is generating its own controversy amid questions about corporate influence and private access to the judiciary.

John Roberts, Jr.

Chief Justice Urges Culture Change to Speed Civil Litigation

By Tony Mauro |

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. on Thursday urged federal judges and lawyers to redouble their efforts to make civil litigation more just and efficient, admonishing them to change the legal culture and narrow the scope of discovery. Roberts' annual report on the federal judiciary focused entirely on the "just, speedy and efficient resolution of civil disputes," as he highlighted new revisions in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that are aimed at achieving those goals. They took effect on Dec. 1.

Eric Schneiderman.

Op-Ed: AG's Subpoenas over Climate Change Flout Constitution

By Michael A. Carvin and Yaakov M. Roth |

Liberals purport to venerate “tolerance” and “diversity”—until it involves tolerating diverse public policy opinions that deviate from liberal orthodoxy. The most recent example of this political correctness is the increasingly aggressive effort to brand anyone who does not pledge fealty to “climate change” orthodoxy as not just a heretic, but now a criminal, too.

Tom Wheeler.

Key Rulings in Agency Lawsuits Expected in 2016

By C. Ryan Barber |

From net neutrality rules to the Sally Yates memo, federal agencies came out with major policy announcements and found themselves in high-stakes litigation in 2015. But by the year’s end, there was too little time left to see how those policies would be put into practice, or how lawsuits with potentially vast ramifications would be resolved. Here are some of the top things to look out for in 2016 with four federal agencies: the Federal Trade Commission, Justice Department, Federal Communications Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Alexandra Lahav.

Q&A: Look for More Oversight of MDL Lawyers in 2016

By Amanda Bronstad |

Alexandra Lahav, a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, gives her predictions about what's around the corner in 2016. Lahav, a preeminent scholar on civil procedure and complex litigation who also has taught at Yale Law School and Stanford Law School, testified before Congress last year to oppose the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015, a pending bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C.

CFPB Urges Judge to Name Companies That Sued Agency Anonymously

By C. Ryan Barber |

Several companies in the credit-repair services industry should not be allowed to keep their identities secret in their suit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency told a federal judge in Washington this month.

Fired Federal Prosecutor Entitled to Reinstatement and Back Pay, Board Rules

By C. Ryan Barber |

A former federal prosecutor who challenged his dismissal from the U.S. Justice Department is entitled to return to his position and receive seven years' worth of back pay, the Merit Systems Protection Board ruled this month.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice James Clark McReynolds leaving his apartment for his usual daily walk.  February 1940.

The Supreme Court Group Photo That Never Was

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice James McReynolds, historically one of the court’s least liked members, was said to have been such a dedicated anti-Semite that he refused to sit next to Justice Louis Brandeis for a 1924 group photograph.

Credit: Dave Newman/

Texas Takes Star Billing in Term's Most Controversial Cases

By Marcia Coyle |

Every now and then, one state appears to dominate the justices' docket with a number of cases. Texas is center stage at the U.S. Supreme Court this term in some of the most controversial cases, and its solicitor general is directing the action.

Demonstrators celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments after the court announced its opinion in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.  June 26, 2015.

2015: The Year in Review

Landmark rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court. Multibillion-dollar tort settlements. Major moves and merger talks in Washington Big Law. A spirit of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill. This NLJ collection looks back at highlights from 2015.

<b>RESIGNED:</b> Judge Mark Fuller, right, was charged with domestic violence.

Cleaning House: Courts Self-Police

By Zoe Tillman |

It was a particularly busy year for judicial discipline in the federal courts. Three federal judges faced misconduct probes in 2015; one emerged unscathed.

<b>HISTORY MADE:</b> Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments before the court announced its decision in the same-sex marriage case of <i>Obergefell v. Hodges</i> on June 26.

Gay Marriage Defined the High Court Year

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

The historic ruling upholding a right to same-sex marriage defined the Roberts Court in 2015 by altering the legal, political and social landscapes for millions of lesbian and gay couples. But as that year drew to a close, the justices already had teed up another potential blockbuster year involving abortion, race, religion, unions and immigration.

<b>FINED:</b> BP this year agreed to pay $20 billion in fines—the largest in U.S. history—for the Deepwater Horizon disaster and cleanup of 3.1 million barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf.

Feds Snag Significant Tort Wins

By Amanda Bronstad |

Mass torts were at the heart of colossal legal settlements in 2015, particularly involving the federal government.

Justice Stephen Breyer in November delivers the keynote address at the 32nd annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

Breyer Avoids Questions About Donald Trump, Defends Court

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Sunday sidestepped questions about Donald Trump’s views on Muslims, but said he doubted anything like the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans would ever occur again. "This country has developed a stronger tradition of civil liberties" than it had when 70,000 Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps during World War II, Breyer told ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl in a segment that aired on ABC This Week.

<b>UPS AND DOWNS:</b> The embattled Dickstein Shapiro started the year with a renewed spirit but suffered blows along the way—including the departure in July of one of the firm’s biggest earners.

Lobbying, Litigators and Laterals: The Year in Legal Business

By Katelyn Polantz |

With sustained and modest fiscal stability across the legal industry last year, 2015 created a clean palette for many of D.C.'s largest law firms. Some redesigned their Washington-focused practices like lobbying and white-collar law, many added or lost groups of lawyers, and a few considered or closed on mergers. We look at the 10 top trends and business decisions that created buzz in Washington Big Law this year, from Dentons to Dennis Hastert.

Runners rush to media outlets holding copies of opinions in King v. Burwell. June 25, 2015.

Supreme Court Slideshow: Landmark Rulings, Big Protests

By Staff |

Year in review: A National Law Journal collection of photos from and stories about the U.S. Supreme Court, featuring fights over same-sex marriage, the death penalty, the Affordable Care Act and affirmative action.

(l-r) Nashville lawyers Bob Tuke (USMC), Martha Boyd (former Army officer), military spouse attorney Josie Beets, and Judge George Paine (US Army, Purple Heart recipient), part of the team of Tennessee attorneys supporting military spouse attorney licensing.  June 29, 2015.

Tenn. OKs Temporary Licenses for Lawyer Military Spouses

By Marcia Coyle |

On Jan. 1, lawyer-spouses of members of the military who face career obstacles because of geographic reassignments, will be able to practice law in Tennessee under a temporary license approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. March 4, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Financial Disclosures, Recusals and Opinion-Revision: The Year in Transparency

By Staff |

Justices pushed back on calls for greater transparency about recusals, and members of the court didn’t hide their aversion to the demand for live broadcasts of oral arguments and landmark opinion announcements, of which there were many this past year. The stories in this NLJ collection highlight the year in transparency—conflicts of interest and financial disclosure reports, a new openness about attorney discipline at the high court, and policy changes that reveal revisions to Supreme Court decisions.

Charges Narrowed in Case Against Supreme Court Protesters

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal district judge in Washington on Tuesday narrowed the scope of charges against five protesters accused of disrupting U.S. Supreme Court proceedings earlier this year. Charging documents say the defendants "did unlawfully make a harangue or oration or utter loud language in the Supreme Court Building." U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper said the terms "harangue" and "oration" were unconstitutionally vague.

Washington Redskins helmets lie on the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Landover, MD., on Sunday, October 25, 2015.

Ruling for 'The Slants' Bolsters Redskins' Trademark Case

By Zoe Tillman |

As the Washington Redskins fight to keep the team’s controversial trademarks, the Federal Circuit gave the team a boost when it ruled on Tuesday in a separate case that the government can’t reject trademarks just because they’re offensive.

U.S. Supreme Court justices. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Oyez, Oyez, They Said What?! The 2015 Quotable Supreme Court

By Mike Sacks |

U.S. Supreme Court justices have cited the prospect of being quoted out of context as one reason for their resistance to cameras in the courtroom. But who needs video when recorded audio, written transcripts and public appearances serve just as well to highlight snippets of the justices' most colorful utterances of 2015. Here's a look back from some of this year's commentary from the justices—from the bench, written rulings and from public remarks.

Kenneth Feinberg.

Judge in VW Case Seeks Deal Master

By Amanda Bronstad |

Volkswagen A.G.'s legal problems tied to its emissions scandal could be over before they've hardly begun.

David Schrader of Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Winner: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Last year, the firm's litigation group, led by Dan Grunfeld, beat back a $1.6 billion environmental case by the state of Texas against International Paper Co. over contamination of waters in Houston.

Original and counterfeit shoes at Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox.  December 18, 2015.

Law Firm Levity: Sterne Kessler Lawyer Pumps Up His Shoe Closet

By Katelyn Polantz |

Sterne Kessler has collected more than 5,000 pairs of shoes over three decades. Sometimes, they must saw the shoes in half.

Obama Commutes Sentences of 95 Prisoners, Pardons 2 Others

By Mike Sacks |

President Barack Obama on Friday commuted sentences for 95 prisoners, more than doubling his total number of commutations since entering office in 2009. The grants are largely for nonviolent drug offenses involving crack cocaine. Firearm possession factored into 18 of the prisoners' drug-related sentences and methamphetamine offenses accounted for 10 sentences.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Whistleblower Challenges SEC Over Award Claim

By C. Ryan Barber |

Three years after requesting a reward for tipping off financial regulators, a whistleblower has asked a federal appeals court in Washington to light a fire under the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission to force it to decide on the award application. In a petition filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Butzel Long partner Max Maccoby described the whistleblower's award request as the "tip of the iceberg" in a backlog that threatens to diminish the effectiveness of the SEC's compensation program for tipsters.

Kenneth Feinberg.

Volkswagen Hires Feinberg to Handle Emissions Claims

By Amanda Bronstad |

Volkswagen A.G. has retained Kenneth Feinberg to administer a claims program designed to compensate consumers for lost value to their vehicles and other economic damages caused from its recent emissions scandal.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission Building.

LifeLock to Pay $100M to Settle FTC Charges

By C. Ryan Barber |

LifeLock Inc., an Arizona-based identity theft protection company, has agreed to pay $100 million to settle charges that it violated the terms of a 2010 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

Abigail Ortiz, left, and Erika Alvarez, right, leave the Coconino County courthouse in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 after receiving a marriage license.

Arizona Agrees to Pay $300K in Legal Fees in Same-Sex Marriage Case

By Zoe Tillman |

The state of Arizona will pay $300,000 in legal fees after unsuccessfully defending the state's ban on same-sex marriage and the recognition of couples legally married in other states.

Thomas Milch.

Arnold & Porter Attempts to Reinvent Public Policy Group With New Hires

By Katelyn Polantz |

Arnold & Porter's most recent news looked a little out of the ordinary: The firm hired a group of 11 public policy specialists from Squire Patton Boggs. The firm decided months ago it needed more legislative weight, especially to complement its large health care regulatory practice. "We have decided that we needed to invest further in public policy in the health care space but also beyond the health care space," Thomas Milch, Arnold & Porter's chairman, told The National Law Journal this week. "The opportunity [to hire the Squire Patton Boggs group] presented itself unexpectedly a little bit, but not the subject matter. We had actually given it some thought," Milch said.

Complaint: SEC v. Martin Shkreli, Evan Greebel, et al.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday filed a securities complaint against pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Jars of marijuana buds sit on the counter at the Denver Kush Club early Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in North Denver, Colorado.

U.S. Urges Justices to Pass on Colorado Marijuana Law Dispute

By Tony Mauro |

The Obama administration on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to referee the dispute among Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado over the impact of Colorado's new law legalizing recreational use of marijuana. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said in a brief filed Wednesday that the court's "original jurisdiction," usually reserved for disputes over boundaries and water rights, was not the appropriate forum for resolving differences between states over marijuana laws.

This Sunday, Oct. 23, 1983 file photo shows the aftermath of a suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The blast, the single deadliest attack on U.S. forces abroad since World War II, claimed the lives of 241 American service members.  Victims of terror attacks, including the barracks bombing, have long sought iranian assets for damages.

Congress, White House Aligned in Supreme Court Against Iranian Bank

By Tony Mauro |

A rare alliance between both houses of Congress and the Obama administration is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to clear the path for American victims of Iranian-backed terrorism to recover damages from Iran's central bank. Friend-of-the court briefs by the House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to join a brief from U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. next week in Central Bank of Iran v. Peterson, set for argument on Jan. 13.

Van Jones, left, CNN Commentator and Founder of Criminal Justice Reform advocacy organization #Cut50, and Mark Holden, right, General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Koch Industries, at a panel on criminal justice reform at the Council of State Governments Justice Center's national conference at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, D.C.

Time Dwindles on Sentencing Overhaul, But Supporters Optimistic

By Mike Sacks |

A leading business advocate of criminal justice reform predicted on Wednesday that bipartisan legislation to overhaul sentencing laws will be approved early next year despite differences among Congressional supporters on the bill's final language. Mark Holden, general counsel and senior vice president at Koch Industries, told an audience at the Council of State Governments Justice Center's annual conference in Washington, D.C., that he envisions a "floor vote by late January, early February" in the House and Senate on corresponding criminal justice reform bills.

3M warming blanket Bair Hugger.

Surgical Warming Blanket MDL Sent to Minnesota

By Amanda Bronstad |

About 70 lawsuits filed over a widely used surgical warming blanket that plaintiffs lawyers say spreads infections have been coordinated in Minnesota.

Thomas Hale Boggs Jr.

Thomas Boggs' Estate Settles Claims With Woman Who Claimed Relationship

By Zoe Tillman |

The family of Thomas Boggs Jr. has settled a court fight over his estate with a Washington-area realtor who said she had a romantic and business relationship with the late superlobbyist.

Frederick Scullin.

N.Y. Judge Who Struck D.C. Gun Regs Wasn't Authorized to Hear Case

By Zoe Tillman |

A New York federal judge should never have been assigned to a case in the District of Columbia that challenged the city's gun-licensing scheme, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

Michael Santifer casts his vote via an electronic voting machine November 4, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas.

How Children Emerged as Key Players in 'One Person, One Vote' Case

By Tony Mauro |

Until last week, prison inmates and undocumented immigrants were the main focus of the debate before the U.S. Supreme Court over how legislative districts should be drawn. But during oral arguments in Evenwel v. Abbott, another segment of the nonvoting population emerged as a key part of the calculus: children.

The Heflin-Torbert Judicial Center in Montgomery, Alabama, where the Alabama Supreme Court sits.

Justices Step Into Dispute Over Parental Rights of Same-Sex Couples

By Marcia Coyle |

An Alabama Supreme Court’s refusal to recognize a lesbian’s nearly decade-old adoption in Georgia of three children may draw the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time into the rights of gay and lesbian parents.

ABA Urges High Court to Take on Seven-Year Work-Product Fight

By Marcia Coyle |

A pharmaceutical company is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step into a seven-year fight with the Federal Trade Commission over documents related to an antitrust investigation. And the American Bar Association urges the justices to do just that in order to prevent "serious undermining" of lawyers' work-product protection.

Smartphone Patent Wars Advance to Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

The high-stakes patent battle between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, with Samsung claiming that it did not infringe Apple's design patents and should not be punished with a $399 million penalty.

Adam Unikowsky.

High Court Stays Alabama Law Stripping Lesbian’s Adoption Rights

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put on hold an Alabama Supreme Court decision that would take away a woman’s adoptive rights to the three children she had been raising with her former lesbian partner of nearly 17 years.

<b>SUPPORTERS:</b> Proponents of affirmative action rally outside the high court last week.

The Justices Revisit Race

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

As the nation confronts racial tensions in the streets and on college campuses, the U.S. Supreme Court last week gave few hints of how it will decide two challenges with major implications for that struggle. But with an apparently divided high court, the outcomes may turn on Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Justices to Review Chemical Testing of Suspected Drunk Drivers

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether states can impose criminal penalties on someone who, in the absence of a warrant, refuses to take a chemical test to detect alcohol in his or her blood.

Tobacco Wars Lawyer Scores Another Verdict in Record-Setting Case

By Amanda Bronstad |

Attorney Michael Piuze stunned the plaintiffs bar when he got a record $28 billion punitive damages verdict in 2002 for a Los Angeles woman who sued Philip Morris after being diagnosed with lung cancer. On Thursday, a federal jury in Los Angeles awarded $900,000 in noneconomic damages on behalf of the woman’s daughter, Jodie Bullock.

Reggie Walton.

D.C. Federal Judge Takes Senior Status For Financial Benefits

By Zoe Tillman |

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington will take senior status at the end of the year. He said he made the change for financial reasons and won't reduce his caseload for now.

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo.

Businessman Can't Shield Mintz Levin Communication From Prosecutors

By C. Ryan Barber |

A Massachusetts businessman accused of bilking a federal disabled-veterans program cannot shield his communication with his lawyers at the firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled this week. A three-judge panel, upholding a trial judge's ruling, found that the "crime-fraud exception" applied.

Interior of the Supreme Court court room.

Hot Mic Captures Justices' Remarks During Court Protest

By Tony Mauro |

As demonstrators shouted at the U.S. Supreme Court during a public session in April, Justice Antonin Scalia said on an open microphone, "Give them stiff, stiff sentences," according to a tape and transcript of the incident that has surfaced in the prosecution of the protesters. Justice Clarence Thomas also chimed in. Referring to one of the demonstrators, he said, "That's the same guy from last time." As other protesters rose to shout at the court and were taken out of the courtroom by police, Thomas added, "Pretty soon we might have an empty room."

Antonin Scalia.

Reid Condemns Scalia's Affirmative Action Remarks as 'Deeply Disturbing'

By Mike Sacks |

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, on Thursday condemned as "deeply disturbing" a question that Justice Antonin Scalia asked from the bench yesterday in arguments over the University of Texas at Austin's race-conscious admissions program.

Attorney Gregory Garre, representing the University of Texas at Austin, at mic, along with the University President Gregory Fenves, fourth from right, and Vice President and professor Gregory Vincent, third from right, addressing media outside the U.S. Supreme Court after arguments in the case <i>Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin</i>, on December 9, 2015.

Urgency and Frustration as the Supreme Court Revisits Affirmative Action

By Tony Mauro |

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. was clearly impatient during oral arguments Wednesday in the latest case challenging affirmative action in higher education.

Ashley Madison Breach Cases Consolidated in St. Louis Federal Court

By Amanda Bronstad |

Lawsuits filed over the cyberattack of extramarital site have been coordinated before a federal judge in St. Louis. Avid Life Media Inc., the Toronto-based parent company of Ashley Madison, and some of the plaintiffs attorneys had pushed for the Missouri judge. Others had argued for districts in California and Illinois.

Proponents of affirmative action stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, on December 9, 2015.

Justices Show Deep Divide Over Race in University Admissions

By Marcia Coyle |

Taking a second look at the use of race in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared as deeply divided as it was during arguments three years ago. One key justice—Anthony Kennedy—suggested the case may be sent back to the district court in order to get answers to some of the justices' still unanswered questions about the continuing need to use race to achieve a diverse student body.

Anthony Kennedy.

Noteworthy Moments from the Fisher II Oral Argument

By Mike Sacks |

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in the second installment of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a challenge to the school's race-conscious admissions policy. We highlight key moments from the oral argument.

Bamboo grove.

FTC Cracks Down on 'Bamboo' Advertising Claims

By C. Ryan Barber |

In the latest round of enforcement against deceptive advertising, the Federal Trade Commission reached settlements Wednesday with four national retailers the agency accused of mislabeling rayon products as being made of bamboo. The retailers—Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and LLC—will be barred from making inaccurate claims about bamboo content and also be required to pay a combined $1.3 million in civil penalties.

Twitter page of Vincent Schmeltz.

Chicago Law Partner Proposes His Sanction for Tweeting Court Photos

By Zoe Tillman |

Vincent "Trace" Schmeltz III, the Barnes & Thornburg partner in Chicago who got in trouble for tweeting photos of a federal criminal trial, has proposed that his punishment include a $1,000 donation, legal training and pro bono service. "Mr. Schmeltz deeply regrets that this occurred and has learned a valuable lesson," a lawyer for Schmeltz said.

VW Cases Head to San Francisco

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judicial panel has picked U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in California’s Northern District to handle the litigation against Volkswagen A.G. over its emissions scandal.

John Redwine, 28, casts his ballot November 4, 2008 at the Church of Christ in Santo, Texas.

Justices Wrestle with Meaning of 'One Person, One Vote'

By Marcia Coyle |

In back-to-back arguments Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped back in time nearly a half century, questioning long-held assumptions and decisions on the meaning of the constitutional principle of "one person, one vote." The time travel was obviously frustrating to some justices and some of the lawyers in the two separate cases before them.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr.

When the Solicitor General Confesses Error

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court took note of a rare occurrence on Monday: a confession of error by the solicitor general. Such confessions take place only a couple of times a term, when the solicitor general disavows a position taken at earlier stages of a case and tells the justices that he or she should have lost instead of winning.

Large sign in Durango, Colorado, giving directions to a medical and retail marijuana dispensary. January 10, 2015.

Feds Slow to Roll Out Brief on Weed

By Tony Mauro |

Almost a full year after Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado over its legalization of marijuana, the litigation is languishing on the U.S. Supreme Court's docket as it awaits the views of the Obama administration. The unusual lawsuit, which invokes the high court's "original jurisdiction" over disputes between states, was filed last year on Dec. 18 last year. More than seven months ago, the justices on May 4 invited U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. to file a brief in the case. The average wait time for the most recent invited briefs submitted by the solicitor general's office was roughly four months.

Clemente Ruiz Nazario Courthouse, U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico, in San Juan (Hato Rey).

When a Federal Judge's Son is the Defendant, Courts Turn to Other Circuits

By Zoe Tillman |

When Pablo Casellas-Toro—the son of a Puerto Rico federal judge—faced criminal charges, judges from other circuits were brought in to handle the trial and appeal. It's a rare, but not unheard of, situation.

Justices Wary of Revising Redistricting Practices Nationwide

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday did not appear ready to completely discard the traditional way of drawing legislative districts nationwide, as it heard arguments in a Texas case that could recast thousands of electoral maps. The case before the court, Evenwel v. Abbott, is a challenge by two Texas voters claiming that legislative districts should be drawn so that they contain roughly equal numbers of eligible voters&MDASH;not just equal numbers of people.

Lisa Blue.

Q&A with Lisa Blue, 'Hillblazer' for the Clinton Campaign

By Amanda Bronstad |

Lisa Blue has always been captivated by politics. Her late husband, Fred Baron, a prominent trial lawyer in Dallas, was a Democratic fundraiser who played key roles in the presidential campaigns of John Edwards. Baron died in 2008. Blue's involvement in politics became more pronounced this past year after serving as president of the American Association for Justice, the nation's largest plaintiffs bar organization. Blue, who ended her tenure this summer, is now an influential fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. She talks with the NLJ about her support for Clinton and about legal issues for the 2016 election.

Salesman Hank Pham puts the price on a GE microwave in the appliances section of Howard's Appliance and Big-Screen Superstore in San Gabriel, California, on April 8, 2008.

GE Scraps Sale to Electrolux Late in the Game

By C. Ryan Barber |

For much of November, General Electric Co. had fought in federal court to defend the planned sale of its appliance business to Electrolux AB. But on Monday, with the case still pending, General Electric bailed on the $3.3 billion deal with the Swedish maker of Frigidaire, Kenmore and Tappan appliances.

Frank T. Sprague, an Independent Anishinabe Cultural Consultant, uses smoke to cleanse the negative thoughts displayed on quilt squares, on display by The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and the Monument Quilt Project, across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the case <i>Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.</i>  The quilt squares contain messages and stories by abuse victims.  December 7, 2015.

Justices Skeptical of Tort Suits in Tribal Courts

By Marcia Coyle |

In 2014, Neal Katyal scored the biggest victory for Indian tribes in the U.S. Supreme Court in at least 25 years. On Monday, his chances of another tribal win before a high court generally hostile to those interests appeared poor.

Paul Clement, left, and H. Bartow Farr, right.

Nevada Inventor's Tax Dispute Tests Power of State Courts

By Mike Sacks |

Two veterans of the U.S. Supreme Court bar sparred on Monday over the validity of a 36-year-old precedent that allows states to be sued in other states' courts. Las Vegas-based inventor Gilbert Hyatt, represented by Farr & Taranto's H. Bartow Farr, is fighting to hold onto a million-dollar judgment he won in Nevada state courts against the Franchise Tax Board of California. Bancroft's Paul Clement, representing the board, spent the bulk of his oral argument saying Nevada should not have been able to haul another state's agency into its courts in the first place.

Guns are seen near the site of a shootout between police and suspects in the San Bernardino shootings, December 4, 2015 in San Bernardino, California.

Supreme Court's Denial of Assault Weapon Case Won't End Gun Debate

By Tony Mauro |

Amid the renewed debate over gun control prompted by the San Bernardino shootings on Dec. 2, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday not to join the discussion.

Clarence Thomas.

Thomas Objects as Justices Turn Away Challenge to Assault-Weapon Ban

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied review of a closely watched gun rights case over the strong objection of Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. In a rare dissent from denial of review in Friedman v. City of Highland Park, Illinois, Thomas scolded lower federal courts—including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which ruled in the case—for misinterpreting the high court's 2008 decision that declared an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

<b>ON CALL:</b> The Internet Association is concerned the FCC's rules open up ride-share service Uber Technologies' computerized platform to litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Broad Array of Companies, Groups Fight FCC's 'Autodialer' Rules

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is considering the Federal Communications Commission's interpretation of a 1991 consumer protection law restricting use of automatic dialing equipment.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

<b>CONFIRMED:</b> John Paul Stevens at his Senate confirmation hearing in 1975.

Stevens' First Leading Role

By Marcia Coyle |

During his long career in the law, retired Justice John Paul Stevens has earned many accolades and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Free­dom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Add now to that list: film star.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

D.C. Circuit Judge David Tatel Confronts Net Neutrality For a Third Time

By Zoe Tillman |

For the third time since 2010, Judge David Tatel on Friday heard arguments in a case that tests the federal government’s authority to regulate the Internet. A few factors, including his colleagues' stock holdings, may have boosted his chances of being assigned.

Justices Will Resolve Feud Over Jenner & Block's Fee Award

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to referee a long-running dispute between Jenner & Block and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over $4.6 million in attorney fees awarded to a client of the law firm.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

College Accreditor Tells CFPB to Back Off From Inquiry

By C. Ryan Barber |

Drawing on the support of two Republican lawmakers and a former U.S. Education Department lawyer, a Washington-based accrediting organization said Wednesday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has no authority over the evaluation of colleges. The agency took the accreditor to court in October, setting up a fight over the scope of the agency's investigative authority.

A wall of TV's.

Online TV Streaming Service Loses Latest Court Fight with Networks

By Zoe Tillman |

Federal district judges in Washington and California have split on whether online television-streaming provider FilmOn X LLC is entitled to a cable license, setting the stage for appellate judges to again consider the legality of the service. Broadcasters defeated the company in Washington in follow-up litigation to the Supreme Court's Aereo ruling but lost in a California federal district court.

The justices' conference room at the Supreme Court.

How to Survive in Relist Limbo

By Marcia Coyle |

U.S. Supreme Court justices have looked at your petition for review a whopping seven times without deciding whether to take it. Are you in relist limbo without a chance of the redemptive four votes needed to open the courtroom gates?

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr's Seth Waxman

For 75th Argument, Waxman Might Win for Insurers in Health Data Dispute

By Tony Mauro |

Before former U.S. solicitor general Seth Waxman rose to argue his 75th case before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, it seemed to some that this milestone would be an uphill battle.

Dashiell Beardsley, right, feeds his ballot into a voting machine during early voting in Albuquerque, N.M.

Tenth Circuit Overturns Sanctions in Voting Rights Case

By Amanda Bronstad |

Plaintiffs lawyers who brought a challenge to a political redistricting plan in Albuquerque were wrongly ordered to pay $48,217.95 in attorney fees as a sanction for dragging out the litigation, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. A panel majority sent the case back to the trial court for further consideration. The dissent said no sanction should be imposed.

Tom Beall, vice president and chief intellectual property counsel for Corning Incorporated, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on trade secrets.

Senate Panel Sets Sights on Trade Secrets Protection

By Mike Sacks |

A federal trade secrets protection bill that’s championed as a safeguard of innovation and criticized as potentially harmful to unwitting employees got its first look Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Defend Trade Secrets Act gives federal courts the ability to order "seizure of property necessary" to stop the dissemination of stolen trade secrets.


Target Pays $39M to Resolve Data-Breach Litigation

By Amanda Bronstad |

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $39 million to settle litigation brought by banks and credit unions over its 2013 data breach. The proposed agreement, scheduled to go before U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in Minnesota for preliminary approval on Wednesday, is the first class action settlement involving financial institutions harmed by a data breach.

A riverboat that was to be part of a casino complex planned by the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe and Big River Enterprise. The boat, which was hit by a barge, was sold at a steep loss.

Wisconsin Law Firm Wins Key Ruling on Tribal Jurisdiction

By Amanda Bronstad |

In a case highlighting jurisdictional disputes between U.S. and tribal courts, a federal appeals court has granted a key victory to the Godfrey & Kahn law firm involving malpractice claims over a $50 million bond deal for a Native American tribe in Wisconsin.

Brendan Johnson

Q&A: Questioning Justice and Jurisdiction in Indian Country

By Marcia Coyle |

When he served as U.S. attorney for South Dakota and chairman of the U.S. Justice Department’s Native American Issues subcommittee, Brendan Johnson learned firsthand the quality of Indian tribal courts. Today, he doesn’t like the picture of tribal justice that a multibillion-dollar corporation is painting for the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs building. June 25, 2014. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Case Pulled from Docket Makes Its Way Back to Justices

By Tony Mauro |

The case that the U.S. Supreme Court unceremoniously yanked from its argument docket last month appears likely to return later this term.

Andrew Ceresney.

Google Exec, Securities Enforcer Clash Again Over Email Privacy Bill

By Mike Sacks |

A top Obama administration securities enforcer clashed Tuesday with Google Inc.'s information-security director over a proposed email privacy bill that has found bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. Andrew Ceresney, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division director, wants administrative carve-outs to the bill. Google's Richard Salgado, the company's director of law enforcement, supports the bill as written.

Railjet high-speed train at train station Salzburg, Austria.

Justices' Austrian Train Ruling Further Restricts Foreign Claims in U.S. Courts

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that an American woman injured in an Austrian train accident cannot sue the railroad in U.S. courts merely because she purchased her ticket online in the United States. The decision, the first signed opinion of the current term, is the latest in a series of rulings in which the high court has limited the use of U.S. courts as forums for adjudicating wrongs that took place primarily outside the country.

U.S. Postal Service truck.

Justices Examine When Clock Runs on 'Constructive Discharge' Claims

By Marcia Coyle |

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gets little respect and deference from the Roberts Court in general, and from its more conservative members in particular. But Justice Samuel Alito Jr.'s frustration seemed justified Monday when he asked during arguments why the agency doesn’t "just change the rule" that’s created a deep split in the lower courts over when someone who quits a job because of illegal discrimination can bring a claim for so-called constructive discharge.

Donald Verrilli Jr., Ilana Eisenstein and Ian Gershengorn

Solicitors General, Former and Current, Dominate December Arguments

By Tony Mauro |

It must have been a hectic Thanksgiving for the small group of lawyers at the U.S. solicitor general's office. They will argue in eight of the 10 cases the U.S. Supreme Court was set to hear in the session that began Monday.

Roberta Kaplan, partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison

Roberta Kaplan on Marriage Equality, Justice Kennedy and High Court Line-Standers

By Zoe Tillman |

Paul Weiss partner Roberta Kaplan made her high court debut when she argued against the federal Defense of Marriage Act in the U.S. Supreme Court. Kaplan spoke with National Law Journal reporter Zoe Tillman about her new book about the case.

A United States Border Patrol officer sits in his vehicle, surveying the new steel beam border fence overlooking the town of Nogales, Arizona.

Justices Want Feds' Views in Border Patrol Shooting Case

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked the Obama administration for its views on a controversial case that tests whether a U.S. Border Patrol agent violated the Fourth Amendment when he shot and killed a Mexican teenager standing on Mexican soil. The high court's action in Hernandez v. Mesa is a signal that the justices are interested in the dispute and could grant full review at a later date. Several U.S. government agencies were named parties at earlier stages of the case, but in the appeal now before the court, only the Border Patrol agent is named as a defendant.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

<b>INVESTIGATED:</b> An inspector general report in 2006 found that Amtrak failed to take steps to limit legal costs and review work performed by outside counsel. The carrier adopted a series of reforms.

Rare Fight Over Bar Discipline

By Zoe Tillman |

Most lawyers accused of an ethics violation in Washington accept an early, low-level sanction — the equivalent of a slap on the wrist — if it's offered. Not Marylin Jenkins.

<b>ON THE DEFENSIVE:</b> Volkswagen A.G.’s offices in Wolfsburg, Germany. VW faces 400 suits.

A Small Firm For VW's Big Problems

By Amanda Bronstad |

To defend itself in the biggest court ­battle in company history, Volkswagen A.G. has gone small.

<b>CHALLENGERS:</b> Bert Rein will argue again for Abigail Fisher, right, at the Supreme Court.

Race & Admissions: Round 2 at Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears a second round of arguments Dec. 9 on the use of racial factors in admitting new students at the University of Texas, it will mostly — but not totally — be a case of déjà vu all over again.

Sumner Redstone (February 10, 2014)

Power Lawyers Battle Over Sumner Redstone's Mental Capacity

By Amanda Bronstad |

A woman claiming to be the longtime companion of Sumner Redstone has turned to powerhouse entertainment lawyers Bertram Fields and Pierce O’Donnell to challenge the media mogul’s mental capacity to make decisions about his health care.

Judge Furman

Judge Denies Access to King & Spalding's Internal GM Notes

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has found that although there was probable cause to believe General Motors Co. committed a crime in failing to disclose a deadly ignition-switch defect, plaintiffs lawyers failed to prove that GM's outside lawyers at King & Spalding should have to turn over their internal notes and memos on the matter.

Opioid Makers Fight, Again, to Get City’s Suit Tossed

By Amanda Bronstad |

The makers of pharmaceuticals including OxyContin and Percocet are moving a second time to dismiss a groundbreaking suit filed by the city of Chicago that links the use of the opioids to a growing population of drug addicts.

Brief of the Week: Madden Video Games Hope for High Court Touchdown

By Jamie Schuman |

The maker of the popular Madden NFL video games is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the First Amendment protects it from lawsuits by athletes who want to be paid for the use of their likenesses.

Rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the day of oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. February 27, 2013. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Fee-Fight Fallout From Voting Rights Decision Reaches High Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 blockbuster voting rights decision has reached the justices in two multimillion-dollar battles over attorney fees.

Read Vincent Schmeltz's Response to Rule to Show Cause

By Zoe Tillman |

A committee of federal judges in Chicago will decide whether to punish Barnes & Thornburg partner Vincent "Trace" Schmeltz III, who was caught tweeting photos from a federal criminal trial. Schmeltz appeared in court Tuesday, where he apologized. On this page, read Schmeltz's response to the rule to show cause.

Vincent Schmeltz's Twitter page.

Chicago Law Partner Caught Tweeting From Federal Trial Apologizes

By Zoe Tillman |

A committee of federal judges in Chicago will decide whether to punish a white-collar partner at Barnes & Thornburg who was caught tweeting photos from a criminal trial. In a written response filed with the court, Vincent "Trace" Schmeltz III admitted tweeting photos of evidence. Schmeltz "formally apologizes" and is "sincerely remorseful for his conduct," his lawyer at Sidley Austin wrote in the document.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building

Medical Company LabMD Sues FTC Lawyers Over Data-Privacy Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

An Atlanta-based medical testing company that claims to have been put out of business under the weight of a Federal Trade Commission data-privacy investigation is now suing three agency attorneys for allegedly bringing a case based on "fictional" evidence.

G. Robert Blakey.  November 23, 2013.

Prominent Law Prof Sanctioned For D.C. Ethics Violation

By Zoe Tillman |

Law professor G. Robert Blakey—famous for writing federal anti-racketeering laws and investigating the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy Jr. and Martin Luther King Jr.—was recently sanctioned in Washington for advising a former student to disclose confidential client documents.

European Court of Justice.

Uneasiness After E.U. 'Safe Harbor' Decision

By Jeffrey W. McKenna and Shea G. Leitch |

The European Court of Justice rejects program that allowed for data transfer. The fallout is messy.

Jenna Greene, Litigation Daily

Rodeo Cowboys Invade 5th Avenue

By Jenna Greene |

It's hard to imagine a world more removed from Weil, Gotshal & Manges' Fifth Avenue offices in Manhattan than a dusty rodeo ring.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

Justice Antonin Scalia delivers a speech to first year law students at Georgetown Law Center, on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Scalia Sees Slippery Slope After Historic Gay-Rights Ruling

By Tony Mauro |

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested last week that allowing judges in a democracy to decide which minorities to protect could encourage pederasts and child molesters to seek constitutional protection, his remarks were offensive to some but old-hat to others.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

Advertisement promoting high fructose corn syrup, part of a campaign by the Corn Refiners Association  to convince people that high fructose corn syrup isn't dangerous.

Brawl Between Sugar and Corn Syrup Groups Settles

By Amanda Bronstad |

A court fight between the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup industries ended on Friday after both sides announced they had settled their dispute over competing advertising claims.

James Cole, left, and Sally Yates, right.

DOJ's 'Yates Memo' Goes Too Far, Former Deputy AG Says

By Katelyn Polantz |

James Cole, the U.S. deputy attorney general from 2010 until January, swung repeatedly at his Justice Department successor's signature reforms on white-collar criminal prosecutions Friday, calling them a departure from reality and "impractical." Cole, who spoke at an American Bar Association Section of Business Law meeting, said: "As the memo is put into practice, I think this all-or-nothing approach [on corporations earning credit for cooperating with the government] will prove to be impractical."

A young man chants in favor of immigration law reform during a massive rally held at the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 10, 2006.

Justice Dept. Wants Immigration Case Fast-Tracked in Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Against a contentious national debate over immigration and refugee policies, the U.S. Justice Department on Friday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's "unprecedented nationwide injunction" against the Obama administration's plans to temporarily defer deportation of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. The administration said the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit warranted "immediate review."

The MetLife building at 200 Park Ave.

Consumer Group Fights Secrecy in MetLife's Suit Over 'Too Big to Fail' Designation

By C. Ryan Barber |

A nonprofit consumer advocate on Thursday challenged extensive redactions and sealed filings in MetLife Inc.'s lawsuit in Washington federal court over the company's designation by financial regulators as "too big to fail." Better Markets said MetLife's lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and the Justice Department attorneys for the oversight panel "have created a litigation record largely shrouded in secrecy."

People walk under large banners hanging in an atrium at the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson, parent of Ethicon, maker of a power morcellator, in New Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

In a First, Women Compose Majority of MDL Committee

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has appointed the first plaintiffs steering committee in multidistrict litigation made up of a majority of women members, according to the lawyers in the case.

An advertisement for the daily fantasy sports site DraftKings, on display in New York, on  October 15, 2015.

Mass. AG Pushes for Fantasy Sports Restrictions

By Sheri Qualters |

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has proposed regulations for daily fantasy sports industry that would expose the companies to triple damages under the state’s consumer protection laws.

Justice Stephen Breyer delivers the keynote address at the 32nd annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, held at the Russell Senate Office Building. The award was given to Natalia Taubina, of Russia, seated-right, director of the Public Verdict Foundation. November 19, 2015.

Breyer, in Human Rights Lecture, Emphasizes Rule of Law

By Mike Sacks |

Justice Stephen Breyer spoke Thursday about the centrality of the rule of law to guarantee human rights, and its fragility even in the countries where it is most established. Breyer made his remarks at the 32nd annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award ceremony honoring Russian lawyer Natalia Taubina for her work on behalf of police abuse victims in her country. Forty-seven activists from 29 countries have received the award since 1984.

Former Chief Judge Richard F. Cebull makes a speech during a naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse in Billings, Montana, on June 23, 2011.

DOJ: Judge's Racist Emails Are Secret

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Department of Justice is fighting the public release of emails sent by former Montana federal judge Richard Cebull, who retired after reports surfaced that he sent a racist email about President Obama from his courthouse account.

Vanita Gupta, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing titled “The War on Police: How the Federal Government Undermines State and Local Law Enforcement.”  November 17, 2015.

Cruz's Subcommittee Grills DOJ Civil Rights Leader on Police Oversight

By Mike Sacks |

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division leadership came under attack during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Tuesday about the DOJ's relationship with state and local law enforcement.

$40.5M Fee to Plaintiffs Firms Upheld Against Western Union

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal appeals court has upheld $40.5 million in attorney fees in a settlement with The Western Union Co. over unclaimed money transfers.

Not Quite 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' in This SEC Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought fraud charges Tuesday against nine people who allegedly carried out a $78 million "pump-and-dump" scheme with stock of Jammin' Java Corp., a coffee company that was founded by one of Bob Marley's sons and uses trademarks of the late reggae legend.

Loretta Lynch, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on January 28, 2015.

'Significant and Robust' Refugee Screening in Place, Lynch Tells Congress

By Mike Sacks |

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, making her first appearance before the House Judiciary Committee for a wide-ranging oversight hearing, distanced the U.S. Justice Department from comments made last month by FBI Director James Comey on the country's ability to adequately vet Syrians who seek refuge in the United States.

Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins, during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 14, 2014.

How Arnold & Porter Walled Off a New Hire From the Redskins Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Court papers filed this week by Arnold & Porter offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the firm screened off a recent hire from the Washington Redskins trademark dispute. The new attorney clerked for the federal trial judge who oversaw the case and whose ruling is now on appeal.

Justice Antonin Scalia delivers a speech to first year law students at Georgetown Law Center, on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Elected Officials, Not Judges, Should Protect Minority Groups, Scalia Says

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Monday that allowing judges in a democracy to decide which minorities deserve protection could encourage child molesters and other unpopular groups to seek constitutional protection. During the talk Monday, Scalia also ridiculed recent proposals to cut law school programs to two years, suggesting instead that it might be better to go up to four years.

Sally Yates, left, and Alex Kozinski, right.

Justice Department Rebuts Judge Kozinski's Criticism of Prosecutors

By Zoe Tillman |

In a rare public war of words, top officials at the U.S. Department of Justice are pushing back against recent criticism about prosecutors' ethics from Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

<b>PLAYING DEFENSE:</b> Critics of the daily fantasy sports sites say they promote gambling.

Sports Sites Blitzed by Suits

By Amanda Bronstad |

FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. are facing about 40 class actions claiming that the online daily fantasy sport sites fraudulently enticed customers into participating in illegal gambling.

Duke University School of Law.

Duke Law School Gets $5M for Faculty Positions

By Sheri Qualters |

Duke Law School has snagged a $5 million grant to boost its number of faculty, with plans to attract an equal amount from donor matching gifts.

Justices' Eleventh-Hour Queries Scramble Oral Arguments

By Tony Mauro |

Twice in the last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown a last-minute wrench into planned oral arguments, causing lawyers to scramble to answer unanticipated questions from the justices as they prepare to make their case.

U.S. Supreme Court. June 29, 2015.

Three Decades Later, 'Batson' Lawyer Looks for 'Fine Tuning' of Juror Strikes

By Marcia Coyle |

Nearly 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors could not strike potential jurors because of their race, and the court announced a test for determining race-based strikes. After decades of experience, the decision in Batson v. Kentucky does "not work well," according to the lawyer who argued and won the case.

Justices Avoid Dispute Over Planned Parenthood Funding

By Tony Mauro |

Over the dissent of two justices, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to wade into a dispute over the refusal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to disclose documents about a federal grant to Planned Parenthood.