Browsing Tag

Supreme Court

Arkansas Centennial Half Dollar (Joe Robinson Version): A Forgettable Coin for a Forgotten Senate Giant

When we think of the most powerful Senate Majority Leaders in U.S. history, we tend to think of people like Lyndon Johnson, Robert Taft, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, or even modern Senators like Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.

Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas, however, has largely been forgotten about.

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Not So Mandatory After All?

This was originally going to run in the October issue of The American Lawyer, but it got killed for reasons unknown. I liked the story, though, and thought it would have been a good one, so I figured I’d post it here:

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion in April, upholding a mandatory arbitration and class action waiver clause in a consumer agreement, plaintiff’s lawyers and commentators reacted as if they had lost a loved one. The New York Times accused the Concepcion majority of barring Americans from enforcing their rights in court while Jeremy Heisler, a founding partner of Sanford Wittels & Heisler, called the decision “extreme” and feared the decision would have a chilling effect on employees reporting abuses.

But a funny thing happened on the way to mandatory arbitration land, where the results are secret, the rules of evidence and discovery are relaxed, and the costs are usually much lower than in litigation. Judges in both employment and consumer class actions have been refusing to follow Concepcion, often distinguishing their own cases on factual differences. In some cases, they’ve even attributed a broad consumer-friendly undertone to Concepcion.

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Pro Bono 2010

I wrote these four stories in my first few weeks as an intern at The American Lawyer. I got a lot of internal praise for these and I think they may have contributed to their decision to hire me on a full-time basis.

The Other Gay Marriage Case: Prop 8 in California may get all of the attention, but a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act brought by lawyers at Foley Hoag, Sullivan & Worcester and Jenner & Block could be the case to watch. By sheer luck, my story about the case (Gill v. Office of Personnel Management) was posted a mere half hour before the decision came down.

Solitary Men: Squire Sanders fights against 23-hour-a-day lockdown for the Angola Three.

A Scene from the Manchurian Candidate: Morrison & Foerster’s Gordon Espalmer represents victims of Cold War era mind-control experiments.

Innocence Beyond All Doubt: Law firms work to reverse the convictions of the “Norfolk Four.”