Greedy Associates: Legal History Archives
Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

Recently in Legal History Category

A few years ago, Kathleen Kane was a legal star. She started her career at Post and Schell, one of Philadelphia's elite firms, went on to become a successful assistant district attorney, and then became the first woman elected as the state's attorney general. She was, as the New York Times recently described her, "one of the most powerful women in Pennsylvania."

That is, until she was caught in a series of scandals involving everything from her illicit leaks, to state Supreme Court justices' pornographic emails. Last September her law license was suspended, on Monday she was found guilty of nine criminal charges, including perjury and criminal conspiracy, and yesterday she finally announced that she will be resigning her position as the top law enforcement officer in the state.

When 'Making a Murderer' was released last December, Wisconsin attorney Len Kachinsky soon became one of America's least favorite lawyers. The wildly popular Netflix documentary told the story of the prosecution of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the murder of Teresa Halbach. The treatment that Brendan Dassey, then a learning disabled 16-year-old, made for some of the documentary's most troubling scenes -- including scenes of Dassey's lawyer, Len Kachinsky, pressuring Dassey to confess and leaving him to be questioned alone.

Now, ten years after he was imprisoned, and just a few months after "Making a Murderer" brought renewed national attention to his case, Brendan Dassey's conviction has been overturned. In a 91-page opinion, a federal judge in Wisconsin threw out Dassey's conviction, going so far as to describe Kachinsky's misconduct as "indefensible." But Kachinsky has a defense. Indeed, he takes some credit for getting Brandon Dassey's conviction overthrown in the first place.

Prepping clients for their day in court often involves keeping them calm and focused on the big picture. Occasionally, you'll need to instruct clients on a few more basic matters as well: where to sit, how to address the judge, what to wear, and so forth. But here's some advice we you might want to add: leave your loaded guns at home.

A Sacramento man could have benefited from that counsel earlier this week. Terry Sosnowski was arrested at the Sacramento County courthouse earlier this week, after he arrived to court with a loaded weapon tucked away in his bag.

It just got harder to demean other attorneys on the basis of race, religion, sex, disability, age, or other factors, when engaging in conduct related to the practice of law. On Monday, at the American Bar Association's national meeting in San Francisco, the ABA adopted new rules that make it professional misconduct to engage in discriminatory behavior.

To some, the new rules are a needed bulwark against "too many 'honeys,' 'darlings' and other sexist remarks" in the legal profession, while others complain that they threaten attorneys' free speech.

There are plenty of stories out there about lawyers behaving badly -- lawyers who murder, lawyers who are arrested on drug charges, while in court, lawyers who live double lives as prostitutes.

But it's not just attorneys who act out every now and then. There are plenty of judges who can give the worst lawyers a run for their money. Here are just a few, from the FindLaw archives.

America is becoming an ever more diverse country, with increasing minority populations and a growing percentage of women in positions of power. But when it comes to the bench, state trial and appellate courts don't reflect the changing face of America, according to a new report by the American Constitution Society. Instead, today's judges look a lot like the judges from a decade, if not a century, ago: white and male.

So, which states have the least diverse judges and in what state courts are parties most likely to see themselves reflected in the judiciary's demographics? Let's take a look.

Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner is one of the few appellate judges to have become a household name -- if your household includes a legal professional or two, that is. And part of what makes Judge Posner so well-known is that he is rarely shy about expressing his opinions. His condemnation of the Bluebook, for example, has made many a law student's heart sing.

And the Bluebook isn't the only thing Posner has a problem with. In a recent post on Slate, the judge took aim at legal academics, the Supreme Court, and even the Constitution.

One of the world's greatest athletes passed away last weekend. Muhammad Ali, the three time world boxing champ, died on Saturday at the age of 74. Ali was more than just a thrilling boxer, he was an icon, a justifiably self-confident braggart, a war resister, and a civil rights advocate. And for a celebrity athlete, he had a closer connection to the law than many. His death came just shy of the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning his conviction for draft evasion.

Here's what lawyers can learn from his life and passing.

America is obsessed with where transgender people poop. In March, North Carolina made it a crime for anyone to use a bathroom that doesn't correspond to their sex at birth -- ostensibly to fight off the non-existent plague of predatory men in dresses lurking behind the commode. That set off a showdown with the Department of Justice over what rights are afforded transgender people, who simply want to pee in peace. Just yesterday, the Fourth Circuit urged a quick appeal to the Supreme Court in a case over transgender bathroom access.

But as the fight over trans rights enters courtrooms across the nation, only one judge can speak from her own personal experience. Phyllis Randolph Frye is an associate judge in Houston's municipal courts and the first openly transgender judge in the country. She recently sat down with the ABA Journal to discuss the latest front in transgender rights: the bathroom.

The American Bar Association is currently considering amending the Model Rules on attorney misconduct to make "discrimination and harassment" a professionally punishable offense. That's great, right? After all, pretty much no one is for discrimination and harassment.

Except the wording of the proposed amendment has many attorneys up in arms -- particularly over the inclusion of on "socioeconomic status." Here's why.