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World Record Academy Names World's Oldest Law Firm

The world's oldest law firm is one you've never heard of: Thomson Snell & Passmore. The England-based law firm has offices in the towns of Dartford and Tunbridge Wells near London.

Part of the reason you might not have ever heard of the firm is because the firm has changed its name a number of times throughout its long and storied life. Well, you would expect something like that from a law firm has been around since Shakespeare was writing his sonnets.

It's been over 300 years since the Salem Witch Trials. Today, children parade down the street in witch costumes, Hollywood's leading actresses line up to play sorceresses, and Seattle-area high schools consider opening football games with satanic invocations.

A witch even sued a warlock in Salem District Court -- and won! Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned witch burnings?

ACLU Sues CIA Torture Program Architects

Approximately one week ago, the ACLU filed a complaint against the engineers of the CIA's notorious torture program on behalf of three men who claimed they were victimized by the CIA's brutal interrogation techniques.

It is believed to be the first legal suit that is directly related to the 2014 release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report regarding CIA torture of suspected terrorists.

An underage sex scandal quickly became a billion dollar extortion attempt involving a former federal judge, a retail magnate, and Alan Dershowitz -- at least according to Dershowitz himself. The famous lawyer testified under oath last Thursday that Paul Cassell, a former federal judge and current Utah law professor, and Brad Edwards, a Florida lawyer, tried to use him as part of a "criminal conspiracy" to extort one billion dollars.

You might remember the Dershowitz from his defense of Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, and O.J. Simpson -- or maybe from his almost 50 years teaching at Harvard Law. The current controversy stems from another controversial Dershowitz representation, this time of Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of organizing an underage sex ring.

Kansas may be without a state court system soon, if the governor and legislature get their way. The courts face a total loss of funding after a judge struck down a change to the way chief judges were selected. In an attempt to prevent that ruling, the state legislature passed budget legislation in June that would make the court's budget "null and void" should the law be invalidated.

Besides just selecting new chief judges, Kansas court's system is also responsible for simple things like conducting criminal trials, granting divorces, and probating wills -- services that might be harder to provide should all funding disappear.

Last week we looked at the many celebrities who graduated law school, from Gerard Butler to Jerry Springer. But for every budding actor, singer, and talk show host who made it through three years of law school, there are plenty of famous men and women who said, simply, "Screw this!" and dropped out.

They're hardly failures, either. Famous law school dropouts include Supreme Court Justices, Presidents (lots of Presidents), and some of the world's most famous movie stars.

If you were flipping through Seattle radio stations last Friday, you may have happened upon KEXP's deconstruction of the Beastie Boys' album Paul's Boutique. To celebrate the 26th anniversary of that album's release, the independent radio station played every track of Paul's Boutique, along with every track that was sampled on the album. It took them 12 hours.

Paul's Boutique, like many hip hop albums at the time, was packed with samples, references, and riffs off other artists' work. Within three years of its release, that style of music would have largely disappeared, a victim of litigation as much as changing tastes.

May you live in interesting times, the old Chinese curse goes. Interesting times these are, with rapid judicial and societal shifts, particularly around gay rights and same-sex marriage -- and only Scalia would view that as a curse.

This morning's Supreme Court declaration that the fundamental right to marriage extends to same-sex couples highlights just how much things have changed in such little time.

The Magna Carta, that "Great Charter" which first codified fundamental rights such as due process, speedy trials and trial by jury, turns 800 this Monday. The document, which helped settle a dispute between the English monarchy and rebelling nobility in 1215, gave rise to modern rule of law, constitutions and at least one royal beheading.

What better way to celebrate the Magna Carta's 800 years than with 800 American lawyers? And no, they won't be the victims of human sacrifice on the fields of Runnymede, they'll just be attending a conference -- a very historical conference.

Just in time to update your summer reading list, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has declassified "Osama's Bookshelf." The list details the 400 some pieces of writing Osama had on hand when his bunker was raided and he was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011. So, what beach reads could you take from Bin Laden's library?

Amongst the list are some predictable jihadist texts, which frankly are a bit too heavy for a summer read. There's also several conspiracy texts and a lot of pieces about Osama himself. Perhaps most surprisingly, Osama bin Laden seems to have been studying the law.