Categories : Holidays
Enter the U.S. Supreme Court, which today handed the team a victory it probably will value even more than yesterday’s 27-17 thumping of the Denver Broncos. According to CNN, the high court has declined to take the appeal of a Native American group that attacked the name as disparaging and sought cancellation of the team’s highly lucrative trademarks.
The group had prevailed at the Patent Office appeals board stage; that body nixed the trademarks. The team appealed through the courts, ultimately prevailing on a laches argument: In other words, the complaining parties waited too long to make their claim. The “Redskins” name was formally registered in 1967. The suit was filed in 1992.
Categories : Football
One of the greatest golfers ever quit at the age of 28 to be a lawyer.
Who, you ask? Bobby Jones, who in 1930 became the only golfer ever to record a “Grand Slam” in a single year.
A native of Atlanta, Jones was a golf prodigy, winning his first tournament at age 6. He kept playing and winning. He earned an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, where he was on the golf team. He earned a degree from Harvard. He went to law school at Emory, then passed the Georgia bar exam after only one year of study.
He had a pretty good year in 1930, winning four of the sport’s major tournaments at the time– the U.S. Open, the U.S. Amateur, the British Open and the British Amateur – a feat tagged a Grand Slam.
Maybe he figured there was nowhere to go but down, so he quit to concentrate on his law practice in Atlanta. He continued to play in the Masters over in Augusta every year until 1948, when bad health caught up with him. He died in 1971 at the age of 69.
The town of St. Andrews, Scotland, home of the “Old Course,” named Jones a “Freeman of the City” in 1958. To this day, the University of St. Andrews and Emory University, Jones’ law alma mater, have a close relationship. Every year, four students from St. Andrews spend a year of study in Atlanta, and four Emory students go to Scotland, all expenses paid both ways.
A tip of the golf cap to Steve Emmert for suggesting Jones for this column. And thanks likewise to Jim Segall, who pointed out Jones remained an amateur; item above corrected accordingly
Categories : Law as a Second Career
So you have a Blackberry and a Twitter account and you keep the world updated on your personal activities…constantly. If you’re a trial lawyer and you want to tweet live from the courtroom, think twice. At least if it’s in federal court.
And you might see if your judge thinks like a U.S. District Judge in the Middle District of Georgia, who last week ruled you can’t tweet from his courtroom. Judge Clay D. Land of Columbus said that twittering from court violates Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53. That rule says, “[T]he court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom.”
The word “broadcasting” is the rub. In U.S. v. Shelnutt, Land ruled, “The Court finds that the term ‘broadcasting’ in Rule 53 includes sending electronic messages from a courtroom that contemporaneously describe the trial proceedings and are instantaneously available for public viewing.” And the drafters of Rule 53 were looking past TV and radio broadcasting, he said.
So check the Blackberry at the door. In Columbus, anyway.
Categories : Social Media
Lots of news was committed this week, with the statewide GOP sweep on Election Day and an interesting batch of opinions from the Supreme Court of Virginia on Thursday. Here’s the weekly recap:
There’s a word you don’t hear very often in a political campaign. But in a Northern Virginia House of Delegates race, the incumbent Dem, Paul Nichols, was hopping mad that his GOP challenger, Richard Anderson, ran ads that Nichols had been arrested for, among other things, assaulting a cop. Nichols hit back that a judge had dismissed all charges and that he had had the records expunged. A special prosecutor is investigating whether Anderson’s campaign broke the law. (News & Messenger). By the way, Anderson prevailed on Tuesday night, by a 200-vote margin.
Hamilton goes down
Del. Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News, has been in the headlines for several months, and not in a favorable light. He became the subject of a House ethics investigation after it became public that he sought a job at Old Dominion University while he was seeking the appropriation that funded the position. After 21 years, voters told him to sit down and sent a political rookie, consumer lawyer Robin Abbott to Richmond. (The Virginian-Pilot)
High court highlights
The Supremes dropped 20 opinions on Nov. 5, one of which was a mulligan on a case from Henrico County involving a teen’s death and the duty owed by one set of parents to another for the girl’s safety. In Kellerman v. McDonough, the high court reheard the case then reached essentially the same result. The matter now will proceed to trial. (The VLW Blog)
The high court also censured Virginia Beach J&DR Judge Ramona Taylor for thwarting a juvenile’s right to appeal a bond ruling. (The VLW Blog)
And although former Norfolk Circuit Judge Chuck Griffith isn’t on the bench anymore, the Supreme Court still has him to kick around. In two cases in which Griffith found lawyers in contempt, the court reversed. (The VLW Blog)
Sign o’ the times
Trend Alert: We’ve been hearing anecdotally all year long that large law firms have been staffing their cases more leanly to cut costs to clients. Where before there might be four lawyers on a big case (a lead partner, a junior partner, a senior associate and a briefcase toter), now you’ll find maybe two lawyers instead. Then along comes a report that some firms are sending younger, less experienced associates to court to save money for clients. (NPR)
The judges in the Eastern District have selected Newport News lawyer Douglas E. Miller to be the new federal magistrate judge based in Newport News and Norfolk. He succeeds U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Bradberry, who is retiring. (The Virginian-Pilot)
County takes a $9 million hit
The owners of a mobile home park in Campbell County were awarded a $9 million verdict by a jury; the park owners claimed that chemicals from a county landfill next door had polluted the drinking water of park residents. A claim for attorneys’ fees is pending. (The News & Advance)
Categories : Weekly Recap
How about people who did something else first, then turned to Law as a Second Career?
First up in this new category is Josh Saviano, a former child actor from in the TV series “The Wonder Years,” set in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Saviano played Paul Pfieffer, best friend of Kevin Arnold, portrayed by Fred Savage. Saviano was 11 when the series debuted in 1988, and he and Savage essentially grew up on-screen. The show concluded in 1993.
Saviano later attended Yale and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. He is currently an associate with the firm of Morrison Cohen LLP, where he practices corporate and IP law.
And who says life doesn’t mirror art? In the last episode of “The Wonder Years,” a grown-up Kevin recounts what happened to all the characters. Paul Pfeiffer, he reveals, ended up going to Harvard Law and was a successful attorney.
Categories : Uncategorized
After Tuesday’s GOP takeover of state government, one question that may not have been asked much was this: What next for Tim Kaine?
Here’s what the governor will be doing: teaching, at least part of the time.
Yesterday at the University of Richmond, Kaine announced that he will be rejoining the UR faculty part-time to teach at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and at the UR law school. Kaine will leave office in January.
Kaine taught law at UR, including professional responsibility, when he was a practicing lawyer in Richmond before his election as lieutenant governor in 2001. He’ll teach one course a semester, starting at the Jepson school in the spring and moving to the law school in the fall.
Categories : Politics, University of Richmond
Yesterday of course was Election Day in the Old Dominion. The GOP swept all three statewide offices behind Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell.
The Republicans picked up three House of Delegates seats, with three more possible; in races in Fairfax, Lynchburg and Virginia Beach, challengers were ahead of Democratic incumbents by paper-thin margins. You can expect at least a few recounts before election season is over.
There are at least four new questions to ask since last night.
1. What Happens to Cuccinelli’s Seat?
Republican Sen. Ken Cuccinelli will be leaving the Senate to take his new post as Attorney General in January. That means there will there will be a special Senate election in Fairfax. Cuccinelli squeaked out a victory last time after a recount. Northern Virginia has been trending very blue in recent elections. On Tuesday, Democrat Creigh Deeds did well in the hyper-liberal bastions of Arlington and Alexandria, but by and large McDonnell carried Northern Virginia.
2. What Happens to Stolle’s Seat?
Sen. Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, was elected Sheriff of the city yesterday, getting about 70 percent of the vote. Presumably his seat will be up for a special election shortly as well.
3. What Happens with the Soon-to-be-Pending Supreme Court Vacancy?
Justice Barbara Milano Keenan remains on the fast track to get a seat on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. When/if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, there will be a seat on the Virginia high court. What happens now that there is a lame-duck Demo governor, an incoming Republican governor and a stronger GOP majority in the House? Outgoing Gov. Tim Kaine had tipped that he wanted to make the appointment, but all bets now may be off.
4. What About Bill Mims?
Attorney General Bill Mims was Bob McDonnell’s chief deputy before McDonnell quit to run for governor earlier this year. Undoubtedly there may be some role for Mims in the McDonnell administration, perhaps a cabinet post. Or maybe that Supreme Court seat that may open up any day now – Mims threw his name into the ring, and garnered substantial endorsements from bar groups, in 2007 for a seat that went to Justice Bernard Goodwyn and again last year when Kaine was mulling a vacancy that ultimately went to Justice LeRoy Millette.
Categories : Elections, Supreme Court of Virginia
The latest Lawyer Could-Have-Been is studly Scottish actor Gerard Butler.
Butler earned a law degree from the University of Glasgow, and he worked briefly at a law firm in Edinburgh until the acting bug bit.
Butler starred as King Leonidas in “300” and was the Phantom in the 2004 film version of “Phantom of the Opera.” Other starring vehicles include “P.S. I Love You” and “Law Abiding Citizen.”
A regular in the tabloids, Butler has been linked to a string of actresses/celebrities, including Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, and most recently, Lindsay Lohan.
It’s a fair bet that he wouldn’t have dated any of those women if he’d stayed at the law firm in Edinburgh…
Categories : Lawyer Could-Have-Beens
It’s four days past Halloween, and some people don’t want to give up their costumes.
Take, for example, the panhandler with a guitar on Main Street in downtown Richmond today. He was strumming and singing…while wearing a Big Bird head. Yes, Big Bird, the big yellow character from “Sesame Street.”
I walked by and, I promise this is true, he was playing “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Categories : Richmond, Street Scene