Judicial Notice (01.21.23): Well Played, Counselor, Well Played
Lawyers fight MSG, S&C makes bank on FTX, a star partner leaves Cravath, and other legal news from the week that was.
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I had a busy week—in a good way. On Tuesday, I was a guest speaker at a Cardozo Law class, “How Judges Decide.” On Wednesday, I participated in a panel at the annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”), focused on what happens when the attorney-client relationship breaks down. On Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending a great New Year’s party hosted by LexFusion and Priori, attended by a “who’s who” of legal tech.
I was quoted in two news articles: the NYSBA panel was written up by Jane Wester in the New York Law Journal, and my tribute to Will Consovoy was quoted in his Washington Post obituary by Emily Langer. My co-host Zach Sandberg and I also recorded a great new episode of Movers, Shakers & Rainmakers, featuring the inspirational Layli Miller-Muro. She founded the Tahirih Justice Center, which has helped more than 30,000 immigrant survivors fleeing gender-based violence.
Now, on to the news.
Lawyers of the Week: the attorneys suing MSG Entertainment for booting lawyers from MSG venues.
In last week’s Judicial Notice, I wrote about how MSG Entertainment is using facial-recognition technology to bar lawyers from its venues—specifically, lawyers who work for firms with pending lawsuits against MSG, whether or not those lawyers are personally working on the MSG matters. This struck me as pretty repugnant, although not necessarily illegal.
But you can’t keep a good lawyer down—or out, as the case may be. As reported by my former colleague Kashmir Hill for the New York Times, lawyers at three different law firms have dusted off a 1941 New York law that prohibits “[w]rongful refusal of admission to and ejection from places of public entertainment and amusement.” The law was originally passed to protect theater critics who were being barred from shows put on by producers whose previous productions the critics had panned. But lawyers are experts at finding new applications for old laws, and so far, their strategy is working: they have secured preliminary injunctions allowing them to attend a variety of shows at MSG venues. Good on them.
Runner-up for Lawyer of the Week is another ingenious advocate, Massachusetts immigration lawyer Rachel Self. Remember the 49 mostly Venezuelan migrants that the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fl.) flew from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, in what DeSantis critics decried as a cynical publicity stunt to play up the border crisis for political gain? Working together with Javier Salazar—the sheriff of Bexar County, Texas, who is looking into possible violations of law related to the migrants’ treatment—Rachel Self has gotten them “U visas,” available to crime victims to allow them to assist authorities investigating illegal activity. As a result, they will be able to remain legally in the United States for at least the next few years—surely not what Governor DeSantis intended when his people put those migrants on a plane.
In law-student news, Jordan Marshall Taylor, 29, a 1L at CUNY Law, has been missing since January 6. If you have any information about his whereabouts, please call the NYPD at 800-577-8477.
In memoriam: leading antitrust lawyer Stephen Neuwirth, who chaired the worldwide Antitrust and Competition Law practice at Quinn Emanuel, passed away at 60 from pancreatic cancer. May he rest in peace.
Judge of the Week: Justice Hector LaSalle.
In the judicial world, the big news was the (inconclusive) SCOTUS legal investigation, which I analyzed at length on Friday. Please note the update appended to my story; the justices were questioned as part of the investigation (although they weren’t asked to submit affidavits or turn over personal devices, it seems).
After that, the week’s major story, at least here in the New York metropolitan area, was the New York Senate Judiciary Committee’s rejection of Justice Hector LaSalle, Governor Kathy Hochul’s nominee to serve as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, i.e., New York State’s top judge. Although Democrats control the Committee and Governor Hochul is a Democrat, Justice LaSalle was voted down, 10-9. Per Politico, this is ”the first time New York lawmakers have denied a gubernatorial nominee to the state Court of Appeals under the current system that started in the 1970s.”
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