Legally sufficient

Closest thing to heaven

My fair city of Austin is notorious for being a stagnant and stale legal market for those young lawyers with the audacity to attempt to practice here. Practice groups at various firms tend to merely jump from one address along Congress to another, instead of firms actually adding to their headcounts.

The stories are legion of uber-qualified attorneys from Biglaw NYC firms and Ivy Law being turned away by the BigLaw and BigTex Austin branches because of the incredible geographical demand Austin perpetually generates. It was rare for BigTex/Law satellites to open entirely new offices in Austin–that is, until now.

It all began in early 2006 when Dechert opened its Austin office with the first group of Dewey (then Ballantine, now LeBoeuf) emigres.

In early 2007 after the shuttering of Jenkens & Gilchrist (which coincidentally, was the subject of our very first post here at the SMSB), Virginia-based Hunton & Williams reopened its Austin office with the remaining Jenkens lawyers who didn’t spin off their own boutiques or join Winstead’s ranks.

Also in 1997, the Arkansas firm of Mitchell Williams opened its doors in Austin, but only began to expand its Austin footprint in May with the acquisition of longtime Austin firm Long Burner Parks & DeLargy.

After the announced closing of the Dewey office earlier this year, the majority of the remaining Dewey alumni headed over to McKool Smith, but three found their way to King & Spalding’s new Austin branch just a few months ago.

Now, word out tonight is that several Akin & Gump lawyers, including the managing partner of the Austin office, are leaving to open Greenberg Traurig‘s Austin satellite on August 1.

While all of these office openings certainly prove the maxim that Austin firms merely trade lawyers instead of adding them, because five new firms now have an entrenched presence here in Austin, it is entirely likely that more capacity for lawyers yearning to live interesting and meaningful lives in the ATL will be created.

As long as they keep Austin Weird, they’re welcome within the City Limits.

Wouldn\'t have it any other way

* * * UPDATE * * *

Due to my own oversight, I neglected to mention the 2007 founding of Yetter & Warden’s (now Yetter, Warden & Coleman) Austin office by several former Weil appellate lawyers, including the national head of their appellate practice group, former Justice Thomas clerk and Solicitor General of Texas, Greg Coleman.

Thx to the Austin Business Journal and Tex Parte Blog

Where the magic happens

Both SCOTX Blog and the Texas Appellate Law Blog have discussed the Court’s new digitization project which–thanks to some equipment on loan from Thomson, Reuters, West & Law–has now made available for free oral argument audio going back to 1990. West will later make written transcripts linked to the oral argument video (currently available for free via live streaming or archived back to March 2007) text-searchable and available via a subscription.

SCOTX Blog notes there may be curious errors in some of the older (i.e., pre 2004-05 term) oral argument mp3s that result from the old practice of flipping the cassette tape over upon which the audio used to be recorded. This job was always delegated (perhaps unwisely) to the briefing attorneys, who sometimes forgot to flip the tape over in a timely fashion.

Most appellate attorneys will undoubtedly make good use of the audio archives while dutifully preparing for an upcoming oral argument, but for those of you who may be as easily entertained as I am, the online availability of the audio recordings presents a unique opportunity to listen to cool old matchups like, say, the epic showdown between former Chief Phillips and former Justice Hankinson last year in Crown Cork, or former Justice Enoch‘s oral argument in a cause that revisited an opinion he wrote when he was on the bench.

Thx to Blake Hawthorne, SCOTX Blog, and the Texas Appellate Law Blog

Say it aint so

Success ruins everything.

David Lat, a former AUSA and federal circuit clerk who I first began to follow in mid-2004 when he anonymously ran the Article III gossip blog, Underneath Their Robes (one of the seminal progenitors of the modern legal blog) until he was outed as the proprietor by Jeff Toobin. He went on to serve a stint editing Wonkette, and then became the founder and editor in chief of Above the Law, which has grown into the lowly law firm associate’s blogospherical check on BigLaw shenanigans.

Well, due to his success at ATL, Lat has been promoted to oversee all of ATL‘s parent company’s sites; thus reducing his ATL blogging load substantially and forcing him to:

brush my teeth, put on clothes, and schlep into an office each morning.

We here at the SMSB wish him well and curse thank him for seeding our own little degenerative blogging afflication. It’s not often that a person can create and ride a sea change in a profession, but Mr. Lat certainly has and we thank him for his diligent, entertaining, and status-quo-shattering work over these last few years.

Thx to the

Is that a shovel in your hand or are you just happy to see me?

Is that a shovel in your hand or are you just happy to see me?

Earlier this week, it took the Wisconsin Supreme Court 34 pages to explain that a corpse cannot consent to sexual intercourse. Even more amazing is that the High Court’s opinion reversed the decision of two lower Wisconsin courts … and was dissented from on the merits by two of the supreme court justices.

Incredibly, the grave-robbing defendants’ attorney commented that the majority opinion was–I’m not making this up–“dead wrong, as it makes the entire statute superfluous” (emphasis added). Indeed.

Thx to How Appealing and the Telegraph Herald

Elementary, my dear Stevens

Well, I have already planned to head up to Lubbock for the UTTTU game on November 1, but now it looks like I will be visiting the High Plains twice this fall.

Below, see the text of an email sent from outgoing TTU Dean Walter Huffman announcing that Justice Scalia will be speaking at the Texas Tech Law School‘s newly-established Sandra Day O’Connor Distinguished Lecture series:

On behalf of the Texas Tech University School of Law, I am extremely pleased to inform you that the second annual Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Distinguished Lecture will be presented by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia has agreed to follow the format established by Justice O’Connor and present an evening presentation to the community at large in addition to separate presentations and student events at the School of Law. A specific date for Justice Scalia’s visit to Lubbock will be announced later, but it will be in the Fall of 2008.

It is always an honor for the Texas Tech University School of Law to host a Justice of our Nation’s highest court, and it is a special privilege to host Justice Scalia. His articulate and aggressive defense of his position as a strict adherent to the fundamental principles established by the U.S. Constitution has made him one of the most well-known and oft-quoted members of the current court. He is arguably both the most colorful and the most controversial member of the court, and I am certain his presentations will be both informative and entertaining. I am equally certain that his visit will be an educational highlight that will last in our law student’s memories for a lifetime.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Tech Law Alum Mark Lanier for his extremely generous support of the Sandra Day O’Connor Distinguished Lecture. Simply stated, without Mark Lanier’s support and personal involvement, this very prestigious and important lecture series would not be possible.

Walter B. Huffman
Dean and W. Frank Newton Professor of Law

It is interesting to note that Mark Lanier is the main benefactor of the Sandra Day O’Connor Distinguished Lecture series, despite his less-than-generous treatment by some appellate courts.

Before I head north to the Staked Plains, I plan on boning up on my recent Scalia Stack of Stuff, including watching his full interview with Charlie Rose, reading the transcript of his interview with the ABA, and reviewing his recent comments on the Establishment Clause.

Of course, I’ll also have to enjoy again his dismantling of ACLU President, Nadine Strossen.

And last, but not least, I’ll have to decide on what to wear. It’s down to three t-shirts …..

NiceIpse Dixit

Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654, 726 (1988) (Scalia, J., dissenting).

PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 699 (2001) (Scalia, J., joined by Thomas, J., dissenting).

Minnick v. Mississippi, 498 U.S. 146, 166 (1990) (Scalia, J., joined by Rehnquist, C.J., dissenting).

Thx to Justice Scalia, TTU Dean Huffman, Mark Lanier, and CafePress

In our continuing series chronicling child actors gone good, we are pleased to introduce you to Isaac Lidsky, formerly known as Barton ‘Weasel’ Wyzell (aka, the new Screech) on “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”

At the bottom leftWow

Since then, Lidsky has gone on to graduate from Harvard College and Harvard Law School after completing a stint on the Harvard Law Review, clerk for Third Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro, and practice in the Justice Department’s Civil Division and later at Jones Day.

Henceforth, he will also be known as a SCOTUS clerk, where he will be clerking for retired Justice O’Connor during the upcoming term.

Oh, and he’s accomplished all this despite being legally blind for the past fifteen years. To donate to the vision-impairment foundation he created, go to Hope for Vision’s website.

Thx to Above the Law and the Legal Times


Just one more word about Heller and then I’ll stop I promise.

Most attorneys would consider it a lifelong honor to have any of their works cited just once in a SCOTUS opinion, or even merely mentioned in oral argument—the “Holy Grail” of citation as it were. But UCLA Professor Eugene Volokh (of Volokh Conspiracy fame) accomplished today one of the most impressive citational feats any lawyer could hope for.

Justice Scalia cited not just three times to Professor Volokh’s work, but to three different articles penned by the good Professor. That’s the juristic equivalent of winning not just the Kentucky Derby, but the Triple Crown. In fact, I think the SCOTUS majority’s citations to Professor Volokh’s work numbered just shy of its citations to Blackstone.

Ye ManThe Man

Truly an amazing feat by Professor Volokh and one worthy of awe and praise alike. Congrats to the Professor.

Thx to Professor Volokh and Justice Scalia

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