October 8, 2012 |
John Thompson spent 14 years on death row in Louisiana's notorious Angola state prison before he was sprung by two Philadelphia lawyers acting on a hunch. Only hours after a Louisiana state judge issued a writ of execution for Thompson, a private investigator sent by his lawyers to search the files of the New Orleans district attorney found blood evidence showing that Thompson was not guilty of one of the charges. The murder conviction was overturned and Thompson won a $14 million jury award in a lawsuit alleging prosecutorial misconduct.
September 16, 2012 |
Like the rest of this so-called economic recovery, the rebound in the legal market is starting to feel like a grim slog. After signs of a rebound in late 2010 and last year, the reality for many law firms is that the pace of business expansion has slowed, maybe even stopped. Meanwhile, perhaps because of the presidential election, uncertainty has grown. Two new surveys by legal consultants at Wells Fargo Bank and the Hildebrandt Institute show how hard the comeback trail has been on some firms.
August 27, 2012 |
In a world rife with cynical self-promotion and self-aggrandizement, the Philadelphia Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic charity whose sole mission is helping others. The society provides financial assistance, food and encouragement to some of the region's poorest residents, putting biblical teaching into practice. In all, about 1,000 Philadelphia-area volunteers make home visits and provide other assistance, all to establish a personal connection with the people they help.
August 3, 2012 |
David M. Kozlow, an assistant federal defender in Philadelphia, was not just the frequent lawyer for a career criminal named Wayne Caldwell. Mr. Kozlow was "a very good friend," Caldwell recalled in an interview Tuesday. And that was even though Caldwell, by his own account, faced charges ranging from bank fraud to armed robbery and had been convicted twice since 1982. After being released from prison the last time, in 2005, Caldwell recalled that Mr. Kozlow "was the one who told me that 'the crime life was not the life for you.' " Mr. Kozlow convinced him that "I wasn't a good criminal, because I kept going to jail.
July 23, 2012 |
When the legal markets imploded in 2008, and law firms started to ratchet back on hiring first-year associates and filling summer classes, it wasn't at all apparent that law schools, too, would need to tighten their belts. Some law-school administrators bravely claimed that while it was true there were fewer legal jobs, the potential uses of a law degree were so varied that graduates would find a way to land somewhere. There was, at the same time, the hope that the job-market troubles would be temporary, that the economy would revive and things would return to normal.
July 20, 2012 |
In his stocking feet, lawyer Paul Clement couldn't be more than 5' 10". But in the world of conservative jurisprudence, he plays the role of a seven foot center. Clement argued the case for 26 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Business in their lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, a case he arguably lost. One of a handful of top Supreme Court specialists in Washington, he is the go-to lawyer for big companies with major commercial disputes as well as social conservatives seeking to build legal bulwarks around traditional American culture, as they see it. His fluent, on demand rendering of the factual and legal complexities of cases before the Supreme Court was on full display Monday evening at the Union League, the fancy Center City club for Philadelphia's business elite.
July 4, 2012 |
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s opinion Thursday upholding much of President Obama's Affordable Care Act should quiet for now critics who say the court acts out of raw partisan impulses. But in this hyper-politicized age, it is hard to imagine that will last. There's too great a distance between the public's perception of the court and how it actually works. One of the most fascinating undercurrents is the suggestion that Roberts was so focused on preserving institutional credibility that he switched his vote at the last moment.
June 29, 2012 |
In the tangled undergrowth of Pennsylvania judicial corruption, the 1980s roofers' union scandal occupies an especially dark and disturbing place. Eight judges were removed from the bench in 1988 after it was disclosed that union officials had handed them envelopes stuffed with cash. Some affected bewilderment that anyone would raise a fuss. Why, these weren't payoffs, they gamely protested: The envelopes with the secret coding on them, the better to avoid detection, were simply gifts reflecting the high esteem in which they were held.
May 11, 2012 |
U.S. District Judge Louis Pollak, a former dean of the Yale and University of Pennsylvania Law Schools and a seminal figure in the litigation emerging from the early civil rights movement, died Tuesday at his home in West Mount Airy after a long illness. He was 89. Judge Pollak, who began his legal career as a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge, played a critical role in the legal battles over racial segregation. He forged a close friendship with former U.S. Transportation Secretary William Coleman while the two served as Supreme Court clerks from 1949 to 1951 and then later when they went to work at the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
April 8, 2012 |
When the law firm of Offit Kurman began toying with the idea of expansion seven years ago, it comprised only a handful of lawyers in a small office in suburban Baltimore. The nation was well on its way to recovering from the recession of 2001-02, and the firm hatched an expansion plan that would take it south through the bustling, high-income suburbs north of Washington and on into northern Virginia. Then, it set its sights on Philadelphia. That was a counterintuitive strategy.