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BUSINESS
July 20, 2012 | Chris Mondics
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.
NEWS
July 4, 2012 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
BUSINESS
June 29, 2012 | Chris Mondics, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
May 11, 2012 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
BUSINESS
April 8, 2012 | Chris Mondics
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.
BUSINESS
April 1, 2012 | Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
If Tuesday's oral arguments before the Supreme Court were a reality check for the Obama administration and its hopes for its health-care overhaul, Wednesday's session may have been the day that dreams were shattered. A close reading of the arguments would seem to suggest that the tide of battle, for the Obama administration at least, had worsened. Too many inferences sometimes are drawn from the tenor of the back-and-forth bantering between Supreme Court justices and lawyers arguing their cases.
NEWS
January 24, 2012 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Steven M. Dranoff, 68, of Society Hill, a personal-injury and civil-litigation lawyer, died Sunday, Jan. 22, of colon cancer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. For more than a decade, Mr. Dranoff headed Dranoff Associates in Center City. Over the years, by word of mouth, he became well-known as a lawyer in the Asian community and represented Korean, Vietnamese, and Cambodian clients, his wife, Carol Epstein Dranoff, said. Through his practice, he and his wife had several Asian friends.
BUSINESS
December 28, 2011 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
It has been almost two months since Philadelphia lawyer Michael Kwasnik was charged with stealing more than $1 million from an elderly Cherry Hill widow and accused in a lawsuit by New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors of many millions more. What comes through most from conversations with the people in the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics is just how satisfied they are with the way they have handled this matter. Kwasnik, according to the agency's own records, has been on its radar since at least 2006, with multiple allegations of fraud and misconduct.
NEWS
September 22, 2011 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
James C.N. Paul, 85, a Philadelphia native and former dean of Rutgers Law School in Newark, N.J., who helped found the first law school in Ethiopia, died of prostate cancer Tuesday, Sept. 13, at home in Trappe, Md. While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in the early 1960s, Mr. Paul made several trips as an Eisenhower Fellow and on behalf of the Peace Corps to universities in Ethiopia and other African nations. In 1963, he accepted an invitation from Haile Selassie University, now Addis Ababa University, to oversee the creation of a law school.
BUSINESS
September 2, 2011 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
As a Washington reporter for The Inquirer during the tumultuous years of the President Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings and, later, the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq, I certainly knew of Jerome J. Shestack, the prominent Philadelphia lawyer who died Aug. 18 at age 88. He had been the American Bar Association president in 1997 and 1998, and earlier had sat on the ABA screening committee that split on the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of...
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