Weekly News Update


*Since his first wife vanished more than three decades ago, Robert A. Durst, the eccentric and estranged son of one of New York’s most prominent real estate dynasties, has lived under the suspicious gaze of law enforcement officials in three states. [NY Times]

*They say lawyers are the only people who can write a 50-page document and call it a brief. But that’s no longer a laughing matter. Lawyers who argue cases before the nation’s most influential courts are protesting a plan by the federal judiciary to shrink the size of briefs filed in appellate litigation. [Wall Street Journal]

*A judge in upstate New York has dealt a significant blow to the secrecy surrounding one of the creepiest tools currently in use by cops across the country. After drawn-out litigation with the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department is being forced to hand over a stack of documents about its use of Stingray devices, tools that mimic cellphone towers and allow cops to track people through their mobile devices. [Village Voice]

*Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion was that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The response from Congress to an appellate court’s decision in United States v. Newman, which overturned the insider trading convictions of two hedge fund managers, is perhaps more an overreaction. [NY Times]

*In a perfect world, the attorneys and the paralegals would both understand how technology works and they would work in an efficient harmony. That’s not always the reality, though. Is understanding technology a paralegal’s job or an attorney’s job? [Above the Law]

*With March Madness in our midst, it is normally the time of year when the NCAA can bask in basketball mania that sends billions in ad revenue to television networks and hundreds of millions of dollars back to college sports programs. But all that money is also a reminder that the NCAA has to worry about losing control of how large a share of that bounty should go to student athletes for playing big-time football and basketball. [San Jose Mercury News]

*For decades, law school graduates have endured a stressful rite of passage, spending the first 10 weeks after classes end taking cram courses in the arcane details of the law before sitting down for the grueling, days-long bar exam. But that standard, so long unquestioned, is facing a new round of scrutiny — not just from the test takers but from law school deans and some state legal establishments. [NY Times]

*With former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s arrest, some are seeing an opening for state legislators to return cameras to New York courtrooms. [Democrat & Chronicle]