- Mississippi federal indictments in Mikal Watts BP case include fraud charges (arising from multiple wire transfers) against man who a decade ago, when pastor of a Hammond, La. church, pleaded guilty to fraud charges arising from fen-phen client recruitment [Robin Fitzgerald, Biloxi Sun-Herald]
- Critique of Madison Fund project proposed by Charles Murray in new book By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, I get a mention [Philip Wallach, New Rambler Review, earlier on book]
- “So You Had Sex With Charlie Sheen and Want to Sue: 5 Legal Hurdles” [Eric Turkewitz, Hollywood Reporter]
- “[Online form provider] LegalZoom Fought the North Carolina Bar on claims of UPL and Won” [Ben Barton, BNA]
- After prison escape manhunt: “‘Psychic’ Sues Governor Of New York For Reward Money” [Bob Dorigo Jones]
- Suit challenges D.C.’s methods for seizing and disposing of houses over very small tax liens [Christina Martin and Todd Gaziano (Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed an amicus brief), Washington Post, earlier on business of tax liens here and here]
- Change in patent venue rules sought: “EFF asks appeals court to ‘shut down the Eastern District of Texas'” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica, more on E.D. Tex.]
Organized lawyerdom is gung-ho for stringent enforcement of UPL (unauthorized practice of law) laws — their own version of occupational licensure — but consumers fare less well when paralegals, automated forms providers, accountants and others are kept from offering competitive services [George Leef, Forbes] As I’ve argued before, part of the key to sorting out the UPL issue is to distinguish between lawyerly capacities which involve the power to wield compulsion or force against others — the capacity to initiate litigation being paramount among these — and less coercive capacities such as the performing of research and giving of client advice.
- Supreme Court agrees to hear case in which feds claim right to ignore deadlines for suit-filing because of Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA), passed in 1942 [my new Cato post, earlier]
- As we’ve advised before, don’t run 10K races while your claim of low-speed-crash injury is pending [Philly.com]
- Incentivizing complaint-filing: State Bar of California pushes “urgency legislation” empowering it to collect $2500 per enforcement action from targets of its efforts against unauthorized practice of law; association of non-lawyer preparers of legal documents calls it “a cleverly designed effort by the Bar to seek additional revenue from non-members of the Bar.” [Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee via KafkaEsq]
- Feds get earful on Hawaiian tribalization plan [KHON, Indian Country Today, more, earlier]
- BP: “Legal feeding frenzy continues four years after the spill” [Melissa Landry, The Hayride]
- Danke schön! “Overlawyered ist übrigens ein vorzügliches Blog, das sehr oft sehr gute Postings hat zu den Irrungen und Wirrungen des US-amerikanischen Rechtssystems” [Lawblog.de comment]
- There’ll always be a Berkeley: California city requires medical marijuana dispensaries to set aside some product for free use by indigent and homeless [Reason, KCBS]
John Steele at Legal Ethics Forum and Mark Thompson at League of Ordinary Gentlemen don’t see much substantiation to back up the allegation lodged by some critics that the Harvard professor and Senate candidate, who doesn’t have a Massachusetts law license, overstepped the rules on unauthorized practice of law in her consulting work.
Update: Thompson is now taking the allegations more seriously based on new information unearthed by William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection about Warren’s representation of a Massachusetts client on issues arising from Massachusetts law. But John Steele at Legal Ethics Forum does not find the representation as described (in a federal bankruptcy court) to raise UPL flags. For one state’s view on whether admission to practice before a federal bankruptcy court is a valid defense to charges of UPL concerning state-law issues ancillary to that practice, see also In the Matter of the Reinstatement of Mooreland-Rucker, Oklahoma Supreme Court, 2010 (thanks to a reader for the tip). More: Bader.
- Unauthorized practice of law (UPL) regulation tends to serve interests of lawyers, not consumers [Thomas Morgan, Gillian Hadfield and more, Eric Rasmusen, George Leef, William Henderson, all at last week’s Truth on the Market symposium; Bader/Examiner; related Greenfield on “lawyer practitioner” idea] In which I am described as a “voice of reason” on the notion of lawyer-deregulation [Greenfield, Bader/Open Market, earlier]
- Trial lawyer stimulus: Obama jobs bill requires states to waive defenses to lawsuits [Joel Griffith, Big Government]
- Because it’s done such a great job with drugs: government panel calls for heavier FDA hand in restricting availability of medical devices [Wajert, Beck, FairWarning] Better idea: “Moving to a Safety-Only [FDA] System” [Tabarrok on Boldrin/Swamidass]
- “Do we really need a breastfeeding discrimination law?” [Hyman]
- Welcome forum-shoppers: “St. Clair County [Ill.] Courthouse overflowing with out-of-towner law suits” [Madison County Record]
- Lawyers in black-farmer action deploy Cornell’s Theodore Eisenberg in quest for $90.8 million payday [BLT]
- “Ohio Man Sues Coworkers Who Won’t Share Mega Millions Lottery Win” [AOL; more on the evergreen lawsuit genre of co-worker lottery suits]