May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

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Quote of the Day - Any time three New Yorkers get into a cab without an argument, a bank has just been robbed. - Phyllis Diller
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There are 2033 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 48

The Subprime Crisis Started Where? What happens Now?

Our firm is dealing with the subprime mortgage crisis one case at a time.  Bear Stearns is dealing with the crisis with the support of the federal government and J.P. Morgan.  It's important to the larger economy for the fed to bail out a company that can cause a giant ripple in the fabric of banking, lending and funding.

The federal government as also adopted a mediation program to allow individuals and mortgage lenders to talk with one another to work out a solution to the issue of defaults on mortgages that should have never occurred in the first place.

But what of the real villains here? 

You know, the mortgage brokers who took big commissions on refinanced mortgages?  The individuals who refinanced their homes and took money out from the refinancing? 

There's at least one immediate punishment for the individuals who refinanced in California.  They lose the protection of the anti-deficiency statutes.  In other words, once you refinance your home, you no longer have the protection of "purchase money" if you default on your loan.  In that instance, the bank can not only foreclose on your house, but it can also pursue you for the unpaid balance owing on your mortgage, just because you elected to refinance. 

If you had not refinanced your home, then all that the bank could do is foreclose.  It could not pursue you for the difference between the unpaid mortgage and the funds it received from the sale of your house. 

But where did those big commissions the mortgage brokers go?  I don't know yet, but once I find out I'll let you know.  We're going after the mortgage brokers in our cases, and I'm very interested to know because the money went somewhere, not just lost through decreased property values.  Real money went into real pockets.  Now we have to find out who has it. 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 10:16. Comments Closed (1) |

So You Want To Be A Lawyer? Here Are Some Stats:

From the Law School Admission Council:  last year, 515,000 applications were submitted to law schools.  Approximately 140,000 LSAT exams were administered (there are repeat test takers in this number), required by the approximate 195 law schools for all applicants.  Some 84,000 students completed their applications to law school.  55,500 of those students were accepted into law school, about sixty-five percent.

On a regular basis Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions (a division of worldwide education services provider, Kaplan, Inc.) surveys its students about a variety of relevant topics.  In this particular case, Kaplan surveyed about 2,000 students who took the December LSAT.

With the elections this year, how many of those 55,500 law students will get involved in politics?  Who's looking for money?

Glen Stohr, the director of pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, says "law school remains a breeding ground for future politicians - but a significant gender gap remains."  Forty-two percent of LSAT takers reported they will "definitely" or "probably" run for political office, a breakdown by gender reveals that among male students, the figure jumps to 52 percent - versus a drop to 34 percent among female students.

Seventy three percent of LSAT takers said high income potential was a "very important" or "important" factor in their decision to attend law school.

The first number surprised me, but the second one didn't.  After all, the range of debt of law students after they graduate can run from $80K to $140K.  But then again, the top starting salaries for the upper one percent of students at the top of their class graduating from the top law schools can reach $160K.

With that kind of debt, it's tough to imagine anyone going into politics. 


Disclosure here:  Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions invited me to interview Mr. Stohr, in part because its sister company, Kaplan Publishing, is publishing my upcoming book.  More details and a proper announcement later, but in the meantime, it seemed like good material for a post.  Mr. Stohr is a lawyer, having graduated from ASU law school and both designs test prep courses and teaches them for Kaplan.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 00:07. Comments Closed (0) |

Lawyer 2 Lawyer Internet Radio Praises Paralegals

The work of a paralegal is never done.  Although paralegals cannot offer legal advice to clients like attorneys, they are considered the backbone of the law practice. Please join me and my fellow blogger and co-host Robert Ambrogi as we explore the important role of a paralegal.  

Lawyer2Lawyer welcomes Tita A. Brewster, Current President of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and Chere Estrin, CEO of Estrin LegalEd, to discuss a paralegal's importance to a firm, the hurdles paralegals face, the Richlin Security Service Co v. Chertoff case and the growth of this legal profession.  You can download the podcast here or just click on the link below.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 12:35. Comments Closed (0) |

An Alarming Employee Discrimination Verdict

There you are, ready to go home, and that damn alarm goes off again.  For the fortieth time.  You work at the City of Colton, California's wastewater treatment plant.  It's late and you just know the alarm is a false one.  It's been on and off that way for awhile.

The book says you go check.    Just hit the reset button and it'll go off.  Buzzzt.  There - silence once more. 

Whoop, whoop, whoop. 

There it goes again.  Well, the reset button didn't work.  What the hell.  Clock says it's time to go home.  At least you won't have to listen to that alarm anymore.

I'm not sure how it happened, but I imagine it went something like that.  Daniel Villanueva, the Lead Operator of the City's wastewater plant, went home instead and left the City's wastewater treatment plant in the alarm condition overnight. As a result, the wastewater system overflowed and City had to report that it violated the conditions of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to the California State Water Quality Control Board.

If Villanueva had gone to look at the cause of the alarm, then he would have found that the alarm was not false. Because he didn't, the City suspended him for five days.  Later during a budget crisis, the City cut more than 35 jobs, and in part due to Villanueva's poor performance, the City terminated him.

He sued the city under the Federal Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), claiming employment discrimination. The City filed a summary judgment, which the trial court granted.  On top of it, the City won an award of attorneys against Villanueva.  More than $40,000 worth.

Villanueva appealed, claiming in part he didn't have enough money to pay the attorney's fees and costs award, but the court of appeals sustained the trial court's ruling, reasoning that FEHA allowed an award of fees and costs to the winner, and Villanueva lost.

I've covered before why he lost; he didn't produce sufficient evidence of discrimination by the City.  Villanueva did submit some deposition transcripts and declaration, but the City objected and the Court upheld the objections, and excluded the submitted evidence.  Without proof, the City's evidence of a sufficient reason to fire Villanueva is more than sufficient to defeat his claims.

Case closed, alarm off. 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 01:44. Comments Closed (0) |

What Of A Fall From Grace?

What is the mark of a man?  For that matter, what is the mark of a woman?  Let's take a man named Eliot and a woman named Kristin, for example. 

This post is no piece of investigative journalism, so you'll have to satisfy yourself with news reports of Kristin and her $4,300 per hour price, which I may say is slightly more than I charge by day.  I suspect, however, that I'm not as much fun.  Verbally, on the other hand...

Admittedly, I want only to take a snapshot of  the man from a single perspective:  his approach to environmental matters, which tends to be very limiting but perhaps instructive beyond an occasional fault, or more than one fault.  Qualifiers aside, let's look:

Back in 2003, he sought to enforce Clean Air Act New Source Review laws.  He forced a change to the law.  His was an egalitarian approach, at least on paper.  Allegedly, he sued the EPA some 15 times over environmental laws.  He did not win each time. 

There were others who sued, too, and many claim Spitzer made enemies easily, and extorted money from big companies and equally so big government.  Many say he made demands without facts.  He was a man who many time did not give and who did not take and likewise got in the way.

Time will tell.  Even if pollution is a sin.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 00:17. Comments Closed (0) |

Is The Vatican Writing A Blog?

It doesn't look like one, but it is posted online weekly.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, March 10, 2008 at 00:32. Comments Closed (1) |

How About Brunch At The Waldorf-Astoria In NYC On Sunday, March 16?

MIPTC will be in New York just before St. Patty's Day, and Bruce MacEwen (who writes the constantly stunning Adam Smith, Esq.) and I plan to get together at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, March, 16, 2008 ,at the Waldorf Astoria for brunch.  We're meeting at Peacock Alley in the Main Lobby.  Somewhat fitting for bloggers, don't you agree?

So, we thought we'd make an open invitation to New York City bloggers or any other blogger who happens to be in the city to get together for brunch and have a modern-day Algonquin-style roundtable.  Just send me an email (jcraigwms at and let us know whether you can make it so we can make reservations. 

Looking forward to seeing you there. 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 17:42. Comments Closed (0) |

Lawyer 2 Lawyer Internet Radio Gets A Case Of The Me-too Evidence

Ellen Mendelsohn, a 51-year old manager for Sprint, was fired in company-wide layoffs and sued citing age discrimination. During the trial, five ex-employees claimed they had also been released because of their age or in lawyer terms "me-too evidence." 

Please join me and my fellow blogger and co-host Bob Ambrogi as we discuss this highly-publicized case with the experts: Attorney Michael Ketchmark, from Davis Ketchmark & McCreight, Attorney Jeannie DeVeney from Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP and Attorney George Lenard, from Harris, Dowell, Fisher & Harris, L.C.  We discuss the case and the unanimous decision handed down by the Supreme Court.  You can download the podcast here or just click on the link below.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 12:34. Comments Closed (0) |

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