Enron's Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay are soon to be the smartest guys in minimum-security prison. Maybe the verdict isn't all that shocking. Las Vegas oddsmakers had a guilty verdict listed as even money. Professor Bainbridge has devoted his law blog to analyzing the verdict. He notes that, like Martha Stewart, Lay and Skilling got in trouble not for breaking the law, but for lying about breaking the law. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog says Lay's real downfall was acting like such a jerk on the witness stand. Perhaps if he had taken a little responsibility for the collapse of Enron, they might have cut him some slack. The Sentencing Law and Policy Blog claims that Lay and Skilling could face life sentences. That seems harsh to me, as most of the people they ripped off were already poor! That's like stealing from a nursing home. It's a victimless crime.
Big ups to Daniel Solove, purported to be the first blogger to publish a blog post as a law review article. Earlier this month, Solove, of PrawfsBlawg, penned a piece about how the Multistate Bar Exam is the most widely read piece of legal writing. The humorous piece was then published in the Michigan Law Review, which, according to the Volokh Conspiracy's Orrin Kerr effectively answers "Can law blogs be scholarly?" with a resounding maybe.
From our Heart Cockle-Warming Department, we have a nice little tale that comes to us from Carolyn Elefant at MyShingle. The story is about a solo practitioner who defended a grandma who was swindled by her former attorney out of house and home. He took on a powerful four-attorney team and won a $4.7-million verdict. It's nice to see the little guy win once in a while, though I do have sympathy for the evil attorney who stole the old lady's house. He was going to use it to store all of his old neckties that he doesn't wear any more.
A debate has been going on over at Point of Law over whether or not it's necessary to license attorneys. The argument began on Ideoblog. The New York Times reported on an Ohio man who sued the school board over the education of his autistic son. He represented himself and won a $160,000 verdict. The Cleveland Bar Association wanted a piece of the action and sued for $10,000. Though the bar association dropped the case, the story sparked a post on Ideoblog that begged the question "If laypersons can represent themselves in court and win, why bother having licensed attorneys at all?" The gang at Point of Law took umbrage, arguing that the process of properly licensing attorneys preserves the court system, prevents legal malpractice, and ensures moral character and technical proficiency. Ideoblog countered that the cost of getting an attorney through law school and the bar exam is what drives the price of legal assistance through the roof. A Wall Street Journal poll on the same topic found a majority of respondents feel lawyers must be licensed. Though the State of New Hampshire has made it possible to practice law without passing the bar exam, I'm with the Point of Law crowd on this issue. I subscribe to the old adage that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. Also applicable is the lesser-known adage that a surgeon who operates on himself is going to make a big mess.
It's been a few months since the celebrity blogger known as Anonymous Lawyer was unmasked. He's now turned his blog into a novel, Anonymous Lawyer: The Novel. His blog is pretty funny. If that's any indication, the novel could be good despite the rather obvious title. According to people who read the manuscript, the whole thing is in blog form with no narrative. This could be the big trend for law bloggers, turning their modest Internet notoriety into lucrative book deals. So the successful lawyers who abandoned the practice of law to become bitter bloggers can now become successful and bitter novelists.
Coming to you from deep inside a volcano 400 miles beneath the ocean floor, this week's Inside Legal Blogs will shock and astound you...or at least irritate and perturb you. We've dredged through all the week's blogworthy news, and now we're distilling it into a pleasant and digestible format. Join us as we p ....
Inside Legal Blogs After millions of hours of tireless research, we are prepared to offer this new installment of our weekly blogwatch. In this edition of Inside Legal Blogs, we delve deep into the law blogosphere and reveal its greasy belly. Come with us on a magical voyage across the Internet in a hot-air b ....
Put on your work gloves, and hike up your pants. It's time once again to clean out the law blog gutters. Look at all these leaves stuck in here. What a mess. This might take a while. The law blog gutters get clogged from time to time, and that's when I come around to clear everything out so things can run smo ....
From the "How Dumb Can You Be?" files, Think Progress has a story that confounds the senses. Tom DeLay's legal defense fund send out a mass email praising Comedy Central satirist Steven Colbert, whose faux-conservative television character praised Tom DeLay and bashed a new film that purports to expose DeLay's corruption. Perhaps the DeLay camp missed the White House Press Correspondents Dinner, where Colbert lambasted Bush to his face. At any rate, it's good to see that DeLay has allies on his side, even if they are slightly fictional.
Next week, we're blogging live from war-torn Sudan. Don't forget to check in for updates!