By Erin Geiger Smith
It's no joke: There was a contest in New York City recently
to crown America's funniest attorney.
The winner, according to an amusing post by The Careerist columnist Vivia Chen, was Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher associate
Goutam Jois. Unfortunately, we don't have a transcript, so we
can't judge for ourselves if "funniest attorney" means funny
ha-ha or just funny law. It sounds like the jokester's
colleagues at Gibson haven't been privy to his act
either. According to Chen, Jois didn't tell anyone at the firm
that he sometimes moonlights as a stand-up comedian.
Chen's piece does provide a few comments from Jois that most
non-associates would find amusing but his big-law colleagues
probably know only as harsh reality. He said he sometimes leaves
work at six, does a stand-up bit, then heads back to the office,
all the while "checking (his) BlackBerry at a club before I go
on stage." Where did Jois learn this dedication to both work and
play? His previous firm, Cravath, Swaine and Moore! "I remember
when I first started practice, a Cravath partner said that you
have to make it a priority to go on trips, see friends, and have
a life," he said.
Jois isn't the only New Yorker big-law-type finding an
attorney/comedian balance. All told, there were about 50
entrants in the contest, including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer &
Feld partner Ira Kustin. Other practitioners seem to prefer
dispensing their one-liners under the cloak of anonymity. More
than 13,000 people, for instance, follow the musing of one
@amaeryllis, who sometimes tweets about working in "biglaw" but
does not give her name.
Between the lines
By Dan Brillman
Twelve years after the embarrassing disaster in Florida and
43 years after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, the nation
that made democracy famous cannot prevent six-hour waits to cast
How is this happening? It's not like the election snuck up
on organizers. The ABA Journal suggests, through links, that
maybe it's time Congress got involved.
There have been claims from the left that long lines are
tantamount to a poll tax and therefore a violation of the Voting
Rights Act. But intent could be difficult to prove in court and,
besides, partisan cries seem to have largely fizzled due to
President Obama's victory.
The president remarked in his acceptance speech that "we
have to fix" the situation, and legislation seems the obvious
course. Other battles over the constitutionality of voter ID
laws may make more headlines, but perhaps a law getting the
basic process right should take precedence to avoid scenes like
this and this.
The other Kim Dotcom case
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
Amid the uproar over the legal fate of Kim Dotcom, the
founder of file-sharing website Megaupload, another lawsuit is
brewing, reports Wired.com.
In case you haven't been following the saga, the government
in January indicted Dotcom for global copyright theft, shut down
Megaupload and seized the company's assets. But in shutting down
the massively popular file-sharing site, it violated the
property rights of Megaupload's 60 million users and anyone who
stores data in the cloud, says the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, an international digital rights advocacy
Consider Kyle Goodwin, an Ohio videographer who said he lost
copies of videos when the government locked up Megaupload. In
May the EFF took up Goodwin's case, suing the government in
district court in Virginia. Its argument, points out Ars Technica, is that online data should be treated like tangible
property. In the past, courts have held that when governments
seize property, they must ensure that the rights of third
parties are protected. Goodwin used the site for backing up his
files and not for piracy, and therefore he should be allowed to
access the site's servers to help establish his case, argues the
electronic rights group.
After the EFF filed its papers, a judge tentatively blocked
the hosting company from deleting the data and ordered the
parties to come up with suggestions on how to return the
property of Megaupload users. But on Oct. 30, the government
filed a brief, arguing that Goodwin's property rights aren't
sufficient to demand access to the servers.
A hearing on the issue in Virginia federal court is expected
to be set any day. And any decision will have wide-ranging
implications. There is a possibility that data will not be
returned without the government viewing it first, says Wired,
raising significant privacy concerns, a development which could
"terrify" users of any cloud service, according to the EFF.
Spanish gay marriage, for now
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
Spain's Constitutional Court has upheld the country's gay
marriage law, Reuters reports.
In July 2005, Spain became the fourth country in the world
to legalize same sex marriage when its bicameral parliament was
controlled by the socialist party. The law drew the ire of the
conservative Popular Party, which filed a lawsuit maintaining
that marriage under the Spanish constitution means only the
union of a man and a woman. On Tuesday, the country's top court
voted 8-3 to dismiss the group's lawsuit.
As soon as the court's decision was made public, Spain's
justice minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said the government
would abide by the ruling, according to Spanish news agency EFE. But the president of one anti-gay marriage group, Family
Forum, said the court's decision undermines the trust that
Spaniards have in the constitution and that the group will
continue to challenge the law. By the end of last year, there
were more than 21,000 gay marriages that had taken place in
Summary Judgments for November 6
Summary Judgments for November 5
Summary Judgments for November 2
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