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Atheist Group's 'Cross at Ground Zero' Appeal Loses in 2nd Cir.

An atheist group has lost its appeal in the Second Circuit, where it sought to have "The Cross at Ground Zero" -- the well-known steel-beam cross from the World Trade Center wreckage in New York City -- removed from the September 11 museum.

"The Cross at Ground Zero" was a steel beam found among the debris of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that formed the shape of a Latin cross. It quickly became a rallying point.

After several years at the Ground Zero site, the cross was moved to a warehouse, where it remained with other artifacts from the site until it was moved to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

Another one bites the dust. Earlier this year J.P. Morgan and the DOJ reached a $13 billion settlement, and yesterday U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the DOJ and Citigroup have reached a settlement regarding federal investigations of mortgage securities.

The $7 billion settlement is much more than the $363 million Citi initially offered, and a bit more than half of the $12 billion the DOJ countered with, reports The Wall Street Journal. Let's take a look at the settlement in more detail.

Maybe you've practiced at a firm for a few years and you're ready for something different, or maybe you've always dreamed of arguing a case before the Supreme Court. But one thing's clear -- you've decided to start your own appellate practice.

So, go ahead and hang out a shingle, but if you think that's going to be enough to drive business, think again.

On Friday, the SEC filed civil charges against billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen for failing to supervise two employees, criminally charged with insider trading, that occurred on his watch.

Cohen, known as one of the most successful hedge fund managers, has an estimated net worth of $9 billion, and his company SAC Capital Advisors LP, oversees $15 billion, Bloomberg reports. Since founding SAC in 1992, he has seen a 25% return in his investments each year.

Bloomberg reports that Professor John Coffee, of Columbia Law School, noted: "The SEC is aiming at his kneecaps, not his jugular ...This is a little like catching John Dillinger entering a bank with a submachine gun and charging him with double parking."

When Judges Clash: 2nd Circuit Dissentals Edition

Judicial clashes can be pretty amusing, particularly because we expect judges to be stoic and unflappable. But clearly there has been some flapping on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last August, a split Second Circuit panel upheld a high school field hockey coach’s 30-year sentence for attempting to produce child pornography. Circuit Judge Reena Raagi wrote the majority opinion, explaining that the sentence, which fell within the Guidelines range, was reasonable because “no limitation shall be placed on the information concerning the background, character, and conduct of a person convicted of an offense which a court of the United States may receive and consider for the purpose of imposing an appropriate sentence” within the prescribed range.”

Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs dissented, arguing that the sentence unfairly reached beyond “the offense of conviction,” which “amounts to a single act of attempted sexting.”

Seven Suggestions for Surviving Sandy in the Second Circuit

Hurricane preparation is turning into an annual event on the East Coast.

With just hours to go before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall, we have a few practical suggestions for those of you who have decided to hunker down and wait out the storm.

Federal Judge Offers Inside Look at Courts 'Disrobed'

Disrobed is not a legal bodice-ripper, as its title might suggest. (Come to think of it, there’s a serious void of legal bodice-rippers.) Instead, it’s an inside look at the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, presented through the eyes of Senior Judge Frederic Block.

Judge Block should have an interesting perspective on the inner workings of the federal courts: Appointed to the district court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Judge Block spent nearly 20 years as a federal judge, presiding over big-name cases, like the Crown Heights Riots trial and the trials of mafia boss Peter Gotti and nightclub magnate Peter Gatien.

3 Tips to Help Lawyers Survive the Summer Heat Wave

With the heat wave sweeping the country right now, you might be wondering: How can an attorney beat the heat in triple digit temperatures?

The best solution may to be turn to tactics your Southern (and prepster) colleagues have been employing for years: summer dressing.

Second Circuit Taking Pro Bono Panel Applications

We have a quick announcement today from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals regarding pro bono opportunities.

If you’re interested in serving on the Second Circuit’s Pro Bono Panel, read on.

Valentine's Day Tips for Second Circuit Attorneys

Can a Second Circuit attorney balance an appellate practice with a love life? Yes, according to former Cravath, Swaine & Moore litigation associate Lauren Willig.

Willig’s opinion carries weight here. In addition to being admitted to practice in New York and before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Willig is the New York Times best-selling author of the Pink Carnation series of historical romance novels.

We asked Willig for Valentine’s Day tips for lawyers who are still planning for next week’s saccharin sweet celebration. Here are her suggestions: