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NEWS
November 26, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
One veteran Philadelphia civil rights lawyer found the evidence exonerating Officer Darren Wilson murky. There were no accounts of Michael Brown's appearing to reach for a gun, no flash of something silver, the lawyer said. Another defense lawyer said he was both bemused and surprised to see all the attention paid by the grand jury to exculpatory evidence. "Did that happen because it was [about] a police officer?" the lawyer asked. "I think the answer is probably yes. " But a former prosecutor who won convictions against Philadelphia police for brutality was won over.
BUSINESS
November 26, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Morgan Lewis & Bockius L.L.P., the Center City-based law firm, announced Monday that it had finalized its acquisition of Bingham McCutchen of Boston, creating one of the world's largest firms and extending Morgan Lewis's dominance in the U.S. legal market. With the addition of 510 Bingham McCutchen lawyers, as well as about 250 additional staff, Morgan Lewis will have more lawyers in the United States than any other firm. Worldwide, the firm will rank among the top five, with just under 2,000 lawyers and revenue of about $2 billion a year.
NEWS
November 21, 2014 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - A decision is expected Friday on a lawsuit by the NCAA and professional sports leagues to block a New Jersey law that repeals a state ban on sports betting. U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp gave his time frame after hearing oral arguments in Trenton. Shipp previously granted a temporary restraining order sought by the leagues, which have accused New Jersey of trying to skirt a federal law that restricts sports betting to certain states. The state, however, points to language in a federal appellate-court decision issued last year that said New Jersey could repeal its ban. During Thursday's oral arguments, lawyers sparred over whether a law signed by Christie in October had simply repealed the state's prohibitions on sports betting or taken steps to authorize the practice.
NEWS
November 21, 2014 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mayor Nutter has nominated JoAnne A. Epps, dean of the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, to serve on the city's Board of Ethics. If, as expected, Epps is confirmed Thursday by City Council, the five-member board would officially be composed of lawyers. Epps would replace the Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, whose five-year term ends this month. Her nomination was a complete surprise, she said Wednesday. She would join the board at a busy time, as it is likely to have some oversight of and opinions about next year's elections, including the races for mayor, City Council, and city commissioner.
NEWS
November 20, 2014
CITY COUNCILMAN Kenyatta Johnson ignored the law by steering the purchase of city-owned lots to political insiders, one of whom was a member of a drug gang who served 15 years for third-degree murder, a lawsuit alleges. The suit was filed in Common Pleas Court late Monday night by Michael Pollack, owner of a development company named Bag of Holdings, which sought to buy parcels in Point Breeze in Johnson's 2nd District. The suit alleges a "pay to play" scheme in which Johnson steered city-owned properties to "insiders" and demanded that purchasers "use his preferred developers.
NEWS
November 19, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
After publicly asserting that she had followed the law, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane answered questions for more than two hours Monday before a grand jury investigating whether she or her office improperly released information to embarrass a political foe. Kane's testimony was private, but as she prepared to take the stand in a Montgomery County courtroom, she told reporters she would tell the special prosecutor "the facts and...
NEWS
November 16, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Call it a kind of law-firm Darwinism. A few years ago, it was possible to read any number of reports pronouncing the death of Big Law. Mammoth firms were too inefficient, too slow, and - most important for their clients - too expensive. And it is true, ever since the 2008 financial crisis caused corporate America to rein in its legal spend, some very big law firms have bit the dust. But the Morgan Lewis & Bockius L.L.P. announcement Friday that it plans to acquire much of Boston-based Bingham McCutchen also suggests some law-firm heavyweights will thrive in an era of tighter legal budgets and tougher competition.
NEWS
November 12, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is seeking to overturn a new state law that allows violent-crime victims to sue offenders whose speech continues to cause them "mental anguish. " In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Harrisburg, Abu-Jamal's lawyers said the measure - signed in October - violates the First Amendment rights of prisoners and was specifically targeted to silence him. Abu-Jamal, 60, is serving a life sentence at a state prison in Schuylkill County for the 1981 shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
NEWS
November 12, 2014 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Five Democratic legislators and the cities of Philadelphia and Lancaster have filed suit to block a new state law that greatly expands the ability of gun advocates - including the National Rifle Association - to challenge local attempts to regulate firearms. The law, passed in late October, gives the NRA legal standing to bring suits against local municipalities that enact their own gun laws and to require those municipalities to bear all legal costs should they lose. As the result of the law, gun control advocates say, municipalities that attempt to place restrictions on guns could face prohibitively costly court fees should those laws be found legally wanting.
NEWS
November 12, 2014 | BY JASON NARK, Daily News Staff Writer narkj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5916
THE CITIZENS up north in Potter County or in Greene County, about 300 miles west of Philadelphia, can usually count the number of annual homicides with one or two fingers. But any law-abiding citizen able to own a handgun there or anywhere else in Pennsylvania could file a lawsuit against Philadelphia, even if he's never been here, to challenge local firearms ordinances, thanks to a statute backed by the National Rifle Association that was signed into law by Gov. Corbett last week.
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