Catch up with the ABA Journal’s 2017 Legal Rebels Trailblazers

LEGAL REBELS PODCAST

In each of the last 12 months, the ABA Journal has checked in with a group of legal professionals who have pioneered the use of technology for problem-solving, research and innovation, among other traits. Read about them and listen to our interviews with them.

Judge Herbert Dixon: Creating high-tech courtrooms

Herbert Dixon had already been eligible to retire for six years before doing so in 2015 after 30 years on the District of Columbia Superior Court. But the judge stayed on longer because he was having too much fun changing the way cases are tried by bringing high technology into the courtroom.

He likes showing young pups and others better ways to practice law.

Dixon doesn’t fit that epigram about old dogs and new tricks. He’s still proselytizing about high tech in courthouses and courtrooms, and he predicts its future.

» Read more about Judge Herbert Dixon.

Sam Glover: Lawyerist founder reports anecdata from the legal community

The website Lawyerist focuses on getting attorneys information they want. Determining what that is isn’t hard, says founder Sam Glover, because readers frequently tell him through the site’s discussion forum or on social media.

“Sometimes all you can get is anecdotes, asking as many people as you can find, to try and uncover information about stuff,” says Glover, who uses the term anecdata to describe some of the site’s reporting.

» Read more about Sam Glover.

Roland Vogl: CodeX co-founder caught the entrepreneurial bug

Born and raised in Austria, Roland Vogl fell in love with California almost from the moment he arrived in 1999 as a student at Stanford Law School. In particular, he was drawn to the entrepreneurial ethos of the Silicon Valley.

“The idea of … being immersed in the gung-ho spirit where people solve problems—not so much by policy and lawmaking but by building new systems—really appealed to me,” says Vogl.

Vogl co-founded CodeX—the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics in 2008 and is its executive director. In his words, CodeX functions as a network for people who want to use technology to change and improve the way the legal system works.

» Read more about Roland Vogl.

Stacy Stern: Justia exec finds real profit in making things free

Stacy Stern is in charge of revenues, among her other roles, at a successful for-profit company. But she tends to talk more about giving away products and services. It becomes obvious that she thinks giving is more important than receiving—not that Justia, the legal portal that she and her husband, Tim Stanley, created, isn’t out to make money.

But, philosophically at least, they turn the standard business model on its head. Profit for the company—which has 100-plus employees—makes it possible to put up more free stuff.

» Read more about Stacy Stern.

Lisa Solomon: Making the switch to an online legal research career

Plenty of lawyers hate to do legal research: It can be tedious and time-consuming, and one mistake can tank an entire case. For lawyers of a certain generation, the very sight of those two-toned, musty-smelling books that all look the same is enough to fill them with dread. For younger lawyers, electronic resources can be just as intimidating and mystifying.

Luckily for Lisa Solomon, she loves that kind of work.

» Read more about Lisa Solomon.

Paul Lippe: The ‘new normal’ was always about innovation

For years, Paul Lippe has been a leader in helping corporate law departments adopt the approaches used in the best and most innovative parts of their own companies—and in doing so, significantly changing the relationships with and the work done by their outside lawyers.

One of the original New Normal contributors for ABAJournal.com, Lippe’s career path has been all about change and innovation.

» Read more about Paul Lippe.

Richard Susskind: Law has a ‘rosy future’—if it embraces technology

For more than three decades, Richard Susskind has been one of the profession’s most prolific voices in support of implementing technology with legal services delivery. He’s the author of more than 10 books on the topic, and his next one will focus on technology in the courtroom.

“A better way of running state-based dispute resolution is largely using technology, rather than using traditional methods,” says Susskind, who is based in the village of Radlett, England, near London. “Rather than hiring a lawyer, one might instead have an online dialogue with the other party and a judge and resolve a dispute more rapidly.”

» Read more about Richard Susskind.

Michael Mills: From C-suite to co-founding Neota Logic

It’s common now for large law firms to have a chief knowledge officer to determine how technology can help lawyers do their jobs more effectively. When Michael Mills first took on that type of role for Davis Polk & Wardwell in 1990, hardly any others were around to imitate. The internet barely even existed.

As he recalls, the firm put him in charge of its tech strategy and lawyer training, development and assistance, a job he says was one of the first chief knowledge officer jobs in the law firm world (if not the first).

» Read more about Michael Mills.

John Tredennick: Catalyst founder took the lead in the ‘80s to bring tech to his law firm

John Tredennick started a focus on legal technology in 1988—back when law firms saw it as something limited to fancy computers and adding machines.

He asked Holland & Hart, the Denver-based firm where he was a partner, to add the words chief information officer to his title. Inspiration came from an American Bar Association conference.

“The thing I took out of the conference was one simple line: Leaders step forward; they are not selected,” says Tredennick. Technology, he told Holland & Hart, could be used strategically in litigation.

» Read more about John Tredennick.

Bruce MacEwen: Diagnoses and prescriptions for law practice ills

Bruce MacEwen is both a doctor and an epidemiologist in the world of BigLaw firms.

He can diagnose structural illnesses, including aspects of the partner-as-owner model, and he can point to unhealthy customs and practices, such as when aversion to failure becomes its cause. He also can give advice and guidance for getting better and surviving or, in some instances, provide a dispassionately detailed autopsy.

MacEwen’s authoritative blog, Adam Smith, Esq., provides plenty of examples and a wealth of analysis and advice. The titles of his books illustrate the curve of his interests: Growth Is Dead: Now What? (2013), A New Taxonomy: The Seven Law Firm Business Models (2014), and Tomorrowland: Scenarios for Law Firms Beyond the Horizon (2017).

» Read more about Bruce MacEwen.

Robert Ambrogi: His blog points lawyers to tech’s opportunities

Robert Ambrogi likes to say he took a nontraditional path to becoming a legal journalist. Namely, he went to law school.

“I had been in journalism before going to law school,” says Ambrogi. “I was running a little newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts, and working a second job to pay the bills. I had an adviser at the time, and he urged me not to get a master’s degree in journalism but to get a degree that could teach me how things worked and how things functioned. He suggested law school, which was something I had never thought of.”

» Read more about Robert Ambrogi.

Adriana Linares: IT coach who translates tech for lawyers

Adriana Linares considers it a badge of honor to work in the legal profession without being a lawyer.

Linares founded LawTech Partners in 2004 after several years in the IT departments of two of the largest firms in Florida. Now she travels across Florida, throughout the country and sometimes abroad as a law practice consultant and legal technology coach.

“Lawyers, as far as I’ve ever seen, certainly understand how to research and apply law in a way that helps their clients,” she says. “But where they might need my help is identifying tools and services that will help them with their practice management.”

» Read more about Adriana Linares.



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Chemerinsky: The most important SCOTUS stories of 2017

U.S. Supreme Court

Erwin Chemerinsky

The end of the year inevitably brings lists, such as of best movies and books, so I cannot resist looking back at 2017 and identifying the most important stories concerning the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nomination and confirmation of Neil M. Gorsuch: By far the most important development of 2017 was President Donald Trump in January nominating and the Senate in April confirming Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. What preceded this nomination was unprecedented in American history and will have long-lasting implications for the confirmation process.

Prior to 2016, there were 24 instances in which there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court in the last year of a president’s term. In 21 instances, the Senate confirmed the nominee. But never before, until President Barack Obama’s nomination of D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland, had the Senate said that it would hold no hearings and no vote on a nominee. This likely will mean that from now on, whenever the president and the majority of the Senate are from different political parties, the Senate will not consider any Supreme Court nominations in the last two years of a presidential term. The electoral map makes it difficult for Democrats to take control of the Senate in November, but if they do, no one President Donald Trump nominates during the last two years of this presidential term has a chance at confirmation.

Until Gorsuch, there never had been an actual filibuster of a Supreme Court nomination. There had been 48 votes against the confirmation of Clarence Thomas in 1991 and 42 against Samuel A. Alito in 2006, but in neither instance did the Democrats filibuster. The Democrats, though, chose to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination and Republicans changed the Senate rules to eliminate the possibility of filibusters for Supreme Court nominations (as Democrats had done for lower federal court judges during the Obama presidency). The result is that when the president and the Senate are of the same political party, there is no need to nominate someone who can garner any support from the other party.

Since being sworn in on April 10, Justice Gorsuch has consistently been a very conservative vote. In fact, thus far, he has voted with Justice Clarence Thomas 100 percent of the time.

The Supreme Court and the Trump presidency: It obviously takes time for cases to make their way to the Supreme Court, and so cases challenging Trump administration actions generally have not yet made their way to the high court. But 2017 saw important interactions between the Trump administration and the Supreme Court.

In a number of high-profile cases, the Trump administration shifted positions from those taken by the Obama administration. For example, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. concerned the Obama administration’s interpretation of federal civil rights laws to prevent schools from discriminating against transgender students, a position that had prevailed in the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court granted review, but before the case could be heard, the Trump administration reversed the federal government’s position and the case was dismissed.

In three cases involving whether the National Labor Relations Act’s protection for collective action precludes employees from requiring that employees sign arbitration agreements, the Trump administration shifted away from the Obama position and took the employers’ side. This led to the unusual result of having the two parts of the federal government—the solicitor general’s office and the National Labor Relations Board—arguing on opposite sides of the same case.

The primary Supreme Court rulings so far have been preliminary ones involving immigration issues, and the Trump administration has fared pretty well. After two federal appeals courts upheld injunctions against the second version of the travel ban, the Supreme Court on June 26 granted review in both cases and partially lifted the injunctions. The court said the injunctions could remain in effect for those with bona fide relationships to individuals or institutions in the United States, but the injunctions would be lifted for those without such relationships. Before the cases could be heard, the travel ban (which was for a limited period of time) expired and the court dismissed the cases as moot. A new version of the travel ban then was issued and this is being challenged in the courts. This time, though, the Supreme Court, by a 7-2 vote, allowed the entire travel ban to go into effect.

Race and the court: A stunning number of cases last term affected issues of race. They arose in many different contexts. Perhaps they reflect a court that is showing itself to be more sensitive to racial issues.

In Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, the court held that a jury verdict can be impeached based on alleged racist statements by a juror during jury deliberations. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the court in a 5-3 decision, powerfully declared the need to eradicate considerations of race from the criminal justice system and concluded that a hearing should be held when there is evidence of racial bias in jury deliberations. Justice Kennedy declared: “The court now holds that where a juror makes a clear statement that indicates he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant, the Sixth Amendment requires that the no-impeachment rule give way in order to permit the trial court to consider the evidence of the juror’s statement and any resulting denial of the jury trial guarantee.”

In Buck v. Davis, the court found ineffective assistance of counsel based on the defense lawyer’s use of an expert who had made a racist statement in his report and in court. Chief Justice John G. Roberts wrote: “But when a jury hears expert testimony that expressly makes a defendant’s race directly pertinent on the question of life or death, the impact of that evidence cannot be measured simply by how much air time it received at trial or how many pages it occupies in the record. Some toxins can be deadly in small doses.” Perhaps most importantly, the court was emphatic that “it is inappropriate to allow race to be considered as a factor in our criminal justice system.”

Another important case about race, though in a very different context, was Cooper v. Harris, which involved the use of race in drawing election districts. Cooper v. Harris will have important political consequences, especially in Southern states. The court emphatically held that except in the most extraordinary circumstances, the government cannot use race in drawing districts. The composition of the court’s majority was unusual: It was a 5-3 decision, with Justice Elena Kagan writing for the majority, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Rarely in his 26 years on the court has Justice Thomas joined with liberal justices to create a majority. Justice Kagan said race cannot be used in drawing election districts even if the goal is giving an electoral advantage to the incumbent political party.

Finally, the most important free speech case of the year, Matal v. Tam, also involved an issue of race. The case involved a dance-rock group comprised of Asian-Americans, that wanted to call themselves “The Slants,” with “slants” being a derogatory term often directed at Asian-Americans. Simon Tam, the leader of the band, said the goal was to appropriate this term back to the Asian community. They were denied registration of the trademark on the ground that this is a term disparaging to Asians. The Lanham Act, the statute governing registration of trademarks, prohibits registration of a trademark that “consists of … matter which may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.”

The court unanimously held that this provision of the Lanham Act was unconstitutional on the ground that it was viewpoint discrimination. The court was emphatic that the government cannot regulate speech or deny benefits for speech on the ground that it is offensive, even deeply offensive. Although there were separate opinions by Justice Alito and Justice Kennedy, each joined by three other justices, all eight participating justices found the law was impermissible viewpoint discrimination: The Slants could have registered a trademark for a name of a band that was favorable to Asian-Americans, but not derogatory.

Cases argued but not yet decided: Several potential blockbuster cases were argued in 2017, but will not be decided until 2018. In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court will decide whether it violates the First Amendment to force a bakery, whose owner opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds, to make a cake for a gay couple to celebrate its wedding. In Gill v. Whitford, the issue is whether federal courts can adjudicate challenges to partisan gerrymandering and, if so, when that practice violates the Constitution. In Carptenter v. United States, the question is whether police need to get a warrant before receiving information from cellphone companies that can be used to pinpoint a person’s locations and movements.

All of these likely will make 2018 a momentous year for the court. But these decisions will be overshadowed if rumors of Justice Kennedy retiring come true. Above all, 2017, showed that this is still the Anthony Kennedy court. Once more, he was the justice most often in the majority—97 percent of all of the decisions. Whether he will continue to serve is likely the most important story about the court in the coming year.

Erwin Chemerinsky is dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. He is an expert in constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He’s the author of seven books, including The Case Against the Supreme Court (Viking, 2014).



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9th Circuit rules against third travel ban

Immigration Law

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump. Shutterstock.com

Once again, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a Trump administration attempt to restrict travel from six Muslim-majority nations.

“We conclude that the president’s issuance of the proclamation once again exceeds the scope of his delegated authority,” the court wrote in a per curiam opinion.

“The proclamation, like its predecessor executive orders, relies on the premise that the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) vested the president with broad powers to regulate the entry of aliens,” the court wrote. “Those powers, however, are not without limit.”

The San Francisco-based court, however, stayed its decision in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent orders letting the travel ban take full effect.

The ruling (PDF) late Friday said that the travel ban should not prevent individuals from Iran, Libya, Chad, Syria, Somalia and Yemen with “bona fide” ties to the United States from traveling here. These could be either close relatives such as grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins as well as people with a “formal, documented” and ordinary relationship with a U.S. entity such as a university.

The full travel ban also applies to nationals of North Korea and to certain people from Venezuela, but the Hawaii district court did not block that part of the ban.

In so ruling, the appeals court rejected several arguments that the decision was legally unreviewable, noting that such an argument “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.” It also declined to reach an argument that the travel ban violates the First Amendment by discriminating against Muslims.

The panel was made of Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez.

The case is Hawaii v. Trump.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard a separate case related to the ban—International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump—earlier this month.



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Sessions rescinds letter warning local courts about fees and fines imposed on poor people

Attorney General

Attorney General Jeff Sessions/Shutterstock.com.

Updated: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded a “Dear Colleague” letter that warned state and local courts about constitutional concerns regarding fees and fines imposed on poor defendants.

Sessions rescinded the letter along with 24 other documents he found “unnecessary, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper,” according to a statement. The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News have stories.

The letter, issued in March 2016 by the U.S. Justice Department, had urged courts to review procedures regarding fines to make sure they comply with “due process, equal protection and sound public policy.”

The letter said courts shouldn’t incarcerate a person for nonpayment without first determining whether the person is indigent and whether the failure to pay is willful.

Sessions’ statement said he has “ended the longstanding abuse of issuing rules by simply publishing a letter or posting a web page.” Congress has provided for a regulatory process “and we are going to follow it,” Sessions said.

“Therefore, any guidance that is outdated, used to circumvent the regulatory process, or that improperly goes beyond what is provided for in statutes or regulation should not be given effect,” he said.

ABA President Hilarie Bass released a statement on Friday expressing disappointment in the decision to rescind the fees and fines, and asks the Justice Department to reconsider.

“These monetary punishments do nothing to protect the community while placing an unfair and unjust burden on people of lesser means,” the statement said. “Fees and fines that do not take into account a defendant’s ability to pay lead to the criminalization of poverty.”

Fees assessed for minor infractions, such as traffic tickets, can “spiral into thousands of dollars” and lead to unnecessary jailing of those unable to pay, the statement also said.

“Bail set without consideration of financial circumstances can lead to detention of the poorest rather than those who are the most dangerous or those posing the highest flight risks as intended. … If we, as a country, are to live up to the ideal of equality under the law, then there cannot be a price on justice,” the statement noted.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. with statement from ABA President Hilarie Bass.



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The top 10 legal stories of a very newsy 2017

ABA Journal

top 10

It’s hard to imagine a year more packed with major legal news than 2017, much of it generated by President Donald Trump’s administration. We may never get used to the frenetic pace. Here are 10 stories—themes, really—that dominated legal news reports.

  1. President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. That, said Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, on 60 Minutes was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.” reported at the time. On Jan. 27, the president dined alone with Comey and asked, the former G-man says, for his “loyalty.” The rest is history, though still being written. Short version: Michael Flynn soon would be fired; Comey later would be fired; and Robert Mueller then would be hired. Fireworks began with the Oct. 30 indictment of Paul Manafort, who had managed Trump’s campaign, and a business associate of Manafort’s in consulting work for the pro-Russian government in Ukraine, concerning an alleged money-laundering conspiracy and false statements. A couple of hours after they were in custody and charged, Mueller’s follow-up punch was a guilty plea/deal, secret since earlier that month, from George Papadopoulous, a member of Trump’s foreign policy advisory council during the election campaign, for lying to the FBI about contacts with the Russian government. Manafort declined to enter a plea deal. But the already roiling White House grew tumultuous Dec. 1 when Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge for agreeing to cooperate in an investigation that possibly could reach high up in the administration.

  2. A cascade of revelations concerning Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men wrought huge change in the climate of public concern over sexual assault and harassment. Amid the litany of allegations, apologies, denials and firings, high-profile lawyer David Boies’ work for Weinstein led to questions of a conflict of interest and Boies losing the New York Times as a client. The “Weinstein effect” went viral worldwide, fueled by the fast-growing #MeToo testimony of victims, including U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. The furor has prompted criminal investigations and litigation. And on Dec. 18, the same day that Judge Alex Kozinski retired abruptly from the 9th U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals amidst complaints of sexual misconduct, the federal judiciary revised the handbook for federal court law clerks, noting that confidentiality requirements do not prevent them from filing sexual harassment complaints against judges. This climate change just might be irreversible.
  3. President Trump’s travel ban has been a frequent flyer through the courts. Exactly one week into the job, he ordered the ban mostly targeting majority-Muslim countries. The ban drew thousands of attorneys to U.S. airports to help foreigners trying to enter the country along with vociferous opposition from the ABA. Trump harshly criticized judges and the judiciary, but the Department of Justice also filed do-overs, hoping to gain court approval. In December, the U.S. Supreme Court said the latest version can remain in place while federal appeals courts look at it, possibly indicating the ban eventually will fly at the high court.
  4. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch came out guns a-blazin’, then 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner retired with a bang. Typically, new justices on the high court politely insinuate themselves among their colleagues and within the institution. Instead, Gorsuch, who clerked at the high court, spoke early and often, took jabs at colleagues with mini-lectures and comments in his writing and in court, and according to some published reports clashed face-to-face with Justice Elena Kagan in conference. But Clarence Thomas, in a rare interview, defended him as “a good man.”

    And typically, prominent federal appeals court judges who have served for decades retire in celebratory fashion. Posner suddenly announced his retirement on Friday, Sept. 1, effective the next day, over what he called “difficulty” with his colleagues on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Posner, perhaps the most prolific writer in the American judiciary’s history, has authored 40 books, mostly about law, economics and politics, and more than 3,300 judicial opinions—both conservative and liberal. He self-published a book to explain his views on pro se litigants and those of his former colleagues.

  5. President Trump came into office with a lot of vacant federal judgeships, and is refashioning the judiciary. Among other things, there has been a significant drop in nominations of women and minorities. The White House is not submitting its nominations to the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which has been rating federal judge candidates since the Eisenhower era. That hasn’t stopped the committee’s work, and it rated Neil Gorsuch as well qualified, while finding at least four candidates as not qualified. The rating system faced some harsh words from members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and the New York Times reported that Trump was considering asking his nominees not to participate in standing committee interviews. By year’s end, the Senate approved the nomination of one candidate with a not-qualified rating, while Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said another would not be confirmed.
  6. After 64-year-old Stephen Paddock managed to fire into an outdoor crowd of 22,000 at a Las Vegas country music concert, killing 58 people, litigation quickly followed, its success uncertain. And while Massachusetts banned bump stocks, the device that helped Paddock fire over 1,100 rounds in 10 minutes, the U.S. House of Representatives went a different way, passing a concealed weapon reciprocity bill in December that would allow gun owners with state-issued concealed carry permits to do so in any state. It’s a bill the ABA opposes.
  7. President Trump’s deregulation efforts have gone root-and-branch at the deconstructing “the administrative state,” and the pace of new regulations has slowed. First came the president’s tall, Sharpie-pen thick signature on an executive order requiring that every new regulation be offset by eliminating two old ones. Trump also targeted a couple of prominent agencies for regulatory rollback, installing directors who are diametrically opposed to the way the agency missions have been carried out. Longtime Environmental Protection Agency foe Scott Pruitt became its director, who has announced his plan to repeal President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Trump later named Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mulvaney has survived an attempt to block his appointment.
  8. Some law schools got failing grades in legal education. The Charlotte School of Law closed in August 2017 when the North Carolina attorney general’s office said it was required to under state law. The for-profit school had faced mounting challenges from since the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar placed it on probation in 2016, finding it out of compliance with admissions standards. Later, the U.S. Department of Education pulled its student loan funding, the University of North Carolina system set a deadline for it to meet accreditation committee requirements, and the state attorney general began a civil fraud investigation. Finally, the council of the Section of Legal Education rejected the school’s proposed teach-out plan, the deadline was missed and the school’s license was not renewed. But CSL wasn’t the only law school facing accreditation troubles in 2017. Nine law schools received public notice that they were out of compliance with accreditation standards, compared to just three the previous year. And by December, Whittier Law School in California reported it was closing, and Valparaiso Law School in Indiana announced it would not be enrolling a 2018 1L class.
  9. President Trump pardoned a fellow fan of wall-building, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, just weeks after the controversial lawman was convicted of criminal contempt of court for violating a federal judge’s order to stop his Maricopa County, Arizona, deputies from detaining citizens they suspected of being here illegally. ABA President Hilarie Bass said that the president’s broad pardon powers should not be used in a manner that undermines public trust in the justice system. “Pardoning a law enforcement officer who has disobeyed the courts and violated the rights of people he has sworn to protect undercuts judicial authority and the public’s faith in our legal system,” Bass said in a statement immediately after Arpaio’s pardon. But a federal judge ruled the pardon did not vacate his conviction.
  10. And it was another big year for law firm mergers, for reasons good and bad. By October, 68 law firm mergers had been announced; by mid-December, that figure had jumped to 95, four more than the record year of 2015. In the world of BigLaw, the 4,000-lawyer DLA Piper took in a Los Angeles boutique, while the most mega of megafirms, Dentons, at 8,500 lawyers, made three international mergers in just a few months: including Scotland’s largest independent firm, the 200-lawyer Maclay Murray & Spens.



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