Shutdowns and Showdowns

The National Law Journal

2013 year in review

2013 was the year that made the legal, judicial and political scenarios in "The Good Wife," "Homeland" or "House of Cards" look, well, plausible.

Government shutdowns and congressional showdowns further drove down the country's estimation of its elected officials. We saw record highs — a $13 billion Department of Justice settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and, unrelated, the merging of 83 law firms. And we saw record lows — the smallest incoming law school class since 1975.

We also saw a series of firsts, some monumental — the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling requiring the federal government to recognize state-approved same-sex marriages — and others entertaining, if not downright silly — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reading "Green Eggs and Ham" during his filibuster.

It was also the year of public profanity, enough to make Miss Manners blush: a federal judge essentially told Congress to go to hell, and Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban verbally flipped off the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Through it all, lawyers, judges and legal educators were major players — leading from the bench, working behind the scenes, sealing deals and pushing their clients' interests. — Beth Frerking

Voir Dire
They may be beautiful and talented, but celebrities aren't immune to legal woes, especially intellectual property disputes.

The Year in Quotes
Can they say that? Our review of the some of the more remarkable comments uttered by newsmakers.

Supreme Court
Monumental rulings on civil and voting rights are helping to define the Roberts Court for some time to come..

Agencies
Federal securities regulators hit a losing streak in court, but at least the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a leader.

Judiciary
Retrenchments forced by the budget sequestration prodded a normally reticent judiciary to speak up for itself.

Law Schools
It was another tough year for law schools. But hope springs eternal—as evidenced by a grand opening in Indiana and plans for more.

Congress
The nation's lawmakers declined to pass many laws, but Senate Democrats launched a nuclear strike on the filibuster.

Bellwether
Mass torts were all the rage, and so were bellwether trials designed to make sprawling litigation more manageable.

Legal Biz
Some firms got hitched; others were left standing at the altar. Plus, John Edwards returned to the practice. A survey of 2013's notable business developments.

Opinion
Some highlights of the controversies that raged on the NLJ's opinion pages during 2013, from gun control to work-life balance.



HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR
From Yale's first Hispanic tenured law professor to a breakthrough ruling for same-sex marriage in Utah, this is the year that was. (Mobile users: click here.)

THE YEAR IN PHOTOS
Edith Windsor was one of the winners who posed in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and President Obama began his second term. Click the images below to enlarge. (Mobile users: click here and here.)