Indicted financier R. Allen Stanford. (F. Carter Smith/Getty)
With summer just around the corner, The Am Law Daily has cobbled together a compendium of compelling tales for those inclined to catch up on their legal reading. While maybe not as substantial as the reading list recommended by JPMorgan Chase, consider this our attempt to find at least one interesting yarn for each member of our audience to while away their time.
Amazon.com has been under fire in recent weeks as a result of its hardball negotiating tactics with publishers, and now Ars Technica analyzes how the company got a controversial patent on white-background photography. On the flipside of the IP portfolio, Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors announced on its website Thursday that it would open up its patents to others in order to expedite the development and production of electronic cars.
Bloomberg reports this week on the strange saga of an investor who made an unsolicited phantom takeover bid for Allied Nevada Gold, subsequently sold an undisclosed stake in the company and has now allegedly fled to China. The Bloomberg story comes some six months after The Deal’s report in January that a company called “ China Gold Stone Mining Development Ltd.” claimed to have hired Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in connection with a $779 million bid to buy Reno-based Allied Nevada Gold.
Newsweek looked last month at the turf wars that have emerged between various federal regulators seeking to investigate the high-frequency trading industry, the subject of Michael Lewis’ best-selling “Flash Boys.” Now another Michael Lewis, the Mississippi lawyer who once took on Big Tobacco, has brought a class action suit against high-speed traders, according to The Guardian.
British telecom giant Vodafone recently waded into the government surveillance debate by releasing its first-ever transparency report, which shows that some countries can tap into telecommunications networks at will, according to the BBC and The New York Times.
The partnership that was once Hoefler & Frere-Jones is no more. New York magazine has the story on a legal battle that has split the famous type foundry.
The Economist’s masterful obituary editor Ann Wroe discusses with The Hairpin what’s involved in crafting the perfect eulogy. One of our personal favorites was the magazine’s piece last August on late French lawyer Jacques Verges, the so-called devil’s advocate who died at 88.
The so-called law school bubble has been well-documented in recent years, but Slate looks this week at the unsustainable tuition rates being demanded of the nation’s undergraduates.
A little more than two months after Japan agreed to suspend its government-backed whaling program in the Antarctic in the wake of an United Nations International Court of Justice ruling, the county has reversed course and announced plans to resume its annual whale hunt, according to the BBC, which also takes us to a far corner of the world to a long-lost whaling station in South Georgia.
Iraq is once again in shambles as a Sunni Islamist insurgency spilling over from the sectarian civil war being waged in neighboring Syria advances on Baghdad. Iraq’s embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose policies have been criticized for contributing to the escalating crisis, was profiled by The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins in April.
While many global law firms have long waited for India’s legal market to liberalize, the New York Review of Books reports that English is ceasing to become the language of power on the subcontinent. English literacy rates are stagnating, while local dialects are prospering, according to the publication’s Samanth Subramanian.
Anthony Lin, editor of sibling publication The Asian Lawyer, takes an in-depth look at the potential ramifications for global law firms that take on China in arbitration disputes. Business Insider, meanwhile, looks at how China needs what amounts to a series of miracles to continue its rapid economic growth.
Hogan Lovells is under new management. The firm’s new leader, Stephen Immelt, elected in December and the brother of the top boss at General Electric, spoke with the U.K.’s Legal Business this week about his plans for the legal giant. Hogan Lovells CIO Michael Lucas spoke separately with Forbes about his first 100 days on the job.
Michael Allen, a managing principal for legal recruiting firm Lateral Link, writes for Above the Law about the difficulties that merging law firms face in a postrecession market for legal services. On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.K.’s top 50 firms increased bank loans and borrowings by an average of 27.2 percent in 2012-13 as the average amount of time it took clients to pay their bills also increased, according to an analysis that global accounting giant Ernst & Young produced for Legal Week. ALM Media’s editor-in-chief, Aric Press, wrote this week on how Am Law 100 partners can develop new business.
Texas Lawyer reported this week on the start of a $51 million malpractice trial in Houston against Andrews Kurth stemming from the collapse of R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Last month Vice Media, the new media upstart reportedly on the verge of securing a major investment from Time Warner, took a close look into Andrews Kurth’s links to Stanford through Spencer Barasch, the head of the firm’s corporate governance and securities practice. Four years ago, an SEC inspector general’s report excoriated Barasch, a former regional SEC enforcement director, and Vice’s two stories on the topic detail the curious ties between the firm, Barasch and Stanford that get an airing in court this month.
U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor’s stunning loss in Virginia’s Republican primary this week could be good news for Hillary Clinton, according to Vox Media. Bloomberg reports that the fate of Cantor—who is married to a former Kaye Scholer associate—could see other Republicans take a turn to the far right. One of those who has already staked out that turf, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a former appellate litigation partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, officially renounced his Canadian citizenship this week.
Clinton, who has recently been making the rounds while touting her new book, took heat this week for claiming to be broke after leaving the White House in 2001. Meanwhile, Clinton administration papers released this week reveal details related to the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal.
Sports and Entertainment
Author and historian Taylor Branch’s piece in The Atlantic three years ago delved into the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s relationship with college athletes. Now a landmark case in that battle, O’Bannon v. NCAA, has gone to trial in Oakland. SI.com, which sought to separate fact from fiction while examining the litigation this week, taps legal analyst Michael McCann for his take on how a settlement in related litigation could affect the organization’s legal odds.
The 2014 World Cup kicked off Thursday in Brazil, but the controversy surrounding the world’s most popular sports tournament continues. Even if you know nothing about the game—and are tired of the related legal bills, New York Times op-eds and late-night comics’ jokes—the 61-page Goldman Sachs report mixing soccer and economic analysis is something to behold.
While much of the talk in the National Basketball Association is about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s legal troubles and the ongoing NBA Finals, Slate’s David Haglund delves into the question of why Delonte West—the subject of an insidious rumor that once drew the response of Squire Sanders—is no longer in the league.
Weekend Reading is assembled with contributions from The Am Law Daily’s readers, reporters and editors.