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September

September 23 - 30, 2007

REUTERS: Court term has terrorism, death penalty cases
September 30, 2007
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The Supreme Court begins a new term on Monday and legal experts will watch to see if the court continues its conservative shift as it rules on blockbuster cases on the rights of Guantanamo prisoners and the death penalty. … `Like the guillotine and the electric chair, lethal injection was heralded as a scientific advance, only to result in cruelty in practice,’ Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf said.’’
This story was picked up by the Gulf-Times (Qatar), Yahoo and other media outlets. 

TAMPA TRIBUNE: Democrats Fight Sanctions
September 30, 2007
``Beleaguered by sanctions because of the state's Jan. 29 primary date, Florida Democrats are casting about for ways to strike back, and revealed a couple of possibilities Saturday. … `The legal hook is very difficult; a series of Supreme Court cases give the national party authority to choose how to seat its delegates,’ said Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor who specializes in election law. `The goal here is to shame the party into adopting more equitable rules.’’’

TAMPA TRIBUNE: High-Profile Attorney Joins Democrat Fight For Delegates
September 29, 2007
``Kendall Coffey, the former U.S. attorney for South Florida known for high-profile cases and some controversy, is preparing the lawsuit for Florida Democrats against their national party in the squabble over the state's primary date. … Some of those arguments will be based on a string of Supreme Court decisions known as the `White Primary’ cases, beginning in the 1920s out of Texas, said Columbia University School of Law professor Nathaniel Persily, one of the legal experts who has been consulted by Coffey.’’

BLACK ENTERPRISE: Subprime Lenders under Fire
September 29, 2007
``… In July, the NAACP filed a lawsuit charging a dozen lenders with `institutionalized systematic racism.’ … `Frankly, it will be very hard for a court to frame injunctive relief under the very broad mandate that they are seeking,’ says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York City. `This is likely to become a battle of statistical experts.’’’

WALL STREET JOURNAL: KPMG Judge Questions Laws, Tactics Used in Corporate Cases
September 28, 2007
``The federal judge in the case involving allegedly fraudulent tax shelters marketed by KPMG LLP said it may be time to re-examine laws governing corporate criminal liability and the tactics used by prosecutors to investigate those cases. … Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor, said Judge Kaplan's comments mirrored those already being raised by `serious legal commentators’ and bear more discussion.’’

NEW YORK TIMES: Verizon Rejects Messages of Abortion Rights Group
September 27, 2007
``Saying it had the right to block `controversial or unsavory’ text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program. … Timothy Wu, a law professor at Columbia, said it was possible to find analogies to Verizon’s decision abroad. `Another entity that controls mass text messages is the Chinese government,’ Professor Wu said. … [He] pointed to a historical analogy. In the 19th century, he said, Western Union, the telegraph company, engaged in discrimination, based on the political views of people who sought to send telegrams. `One of the eventual reactions was the common carrier rule,’ Professor Wu said, which required telegraph and then phone companies to accept communications from all speakers on all topics.’’

This story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog,International Herald Tribune and other media outlets.

NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Nino Selimaj Fights for Right to Display Picture of Regis
September 27, 2007
``Osso Buco owner Nino Selimaj, who recently received a threatening letter from Douglas Band, Bill Clinton's Fonzworth Bentley, that demanded he remove a photo of himself with Chelsea Clinton from the wall of his restaurant, has decided to stick it to the man. … We checked in with Columbia Law School professor Nathaniel Persily to find out what constitutional rights Seilmaj has. `As long as it was taken with her consent, it doesn't matter if she's a public figure,’ says Persily. `If I'm out on the street and I take a picture with a willing stranger and put it up in my place of business, there's no problem. … She's not endorsing the restaurant. The guy's just proud that he met her and he's putting her picture up.’’’

September 27, 2007
BYLINE: TIM WU
``It's hard to dislike the idea of free municipal wireless Internet access. Imagine your town as an oversized Internet cafe, with invisible packets floating everywhere as free as the air we breathe. That fanciful vision inspired many cities to announce the creation of free wireless networks in recent years. This summer, reality hit—one city after another has either canceled deployments or offered a product that's hardly up to the hype. In Houston, Chicago, St. Louis, and even San Francisco, once-promising projects are in trouble. What happened—was the idea all wrong?’’ … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?

CFO MAGAZINE: Does the SEC Have the Clout to Rule the Rating Agencies?
September 27, 2007
``During a Wednesday hearing, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox deflected senators' concerns that the SEC may not have the authority to intervene if a credit rating agency continually issues false assessments. … The SEC has the power to revoke an agency's NRSRO status, a surefire death penalty for a rater. It's unclear, however, whether the commission could prove why an agency deserved such treatment, according to John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor. Coffee suggested that the SEC develop a definition of a maximum default rate for each type of rating and use that standard to determine whether the agency's ratings for corporate bonds and structured finance products fall within that set range. Those with poor default rates should have their NRSRO status forfeited, he said.’’

EMPTY CLOSET (Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley blog): Columbia Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic condemns Ahmadinejad claim that there are no gays in Iran
September 26, 2007
''Columbia Law School’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic condemns the comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Monday’s World Leaders Forum at Columbia University. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s claim that Iran has no homosexuals is both absurd and dangerous. Persecution against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Iranians is running rampant under President Ahmadinejad’s regime, said Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg, who directs the Clinic.’’

BOSTON PHOENIX: Iran: The Next Crisis
September 26, 2007
``… The dean of Columbia Law School, David Schizer, in a carefully worded statement, made an undeniable point when he said: `Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards. A high-quality academic discussion depends on intellectual honesty but, unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven himself, time and again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true.’ … This newspaper can understand those, such as Dean Schizer, who wonder why Ahmadinejad was invited in the first place.’’

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Senators Question Credit Rating Agencies
September 26, 2007
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Executives from major credit rating agencies on Wednesday were accused by senators of being hampered by conflicts of interest that may have contributed to the mortgage market turmoil rattling investors worldwide. … Lawmakers are discussing overhauling the agencies business model. One idea, proposed by Columbia University law professor John Coffee, is for the SEC to calculate default rates for each rating agency and make that information public.’’
This story was picked up by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Forbes and other media outlets.

CNNMONEY: Credit rating firms grilled on Capitol Hill
September 26, 2007
``Lawmakers grilled credit rating agency executives Wednesday about their role in the subprime mortgage meltdown, particularly their cozy relationship with issuers of some of the securities that soured during this summer's crisis. … Other possible remedies emerged at Wednesday's hearing. John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University, suggested that the SEC publish real-time default rates, which would shine a light on the work of the rating agencies. He also believed that rating agencies should sell subscriptions to their ratings information to free them of potential conflicts by taking payment from debt underwriters.’’

THE DEAL: Congress holds rating agency hearings
September 26, 2007
``Looking for someone to blame in the subprime debt crisis? Take your pick. … Questioned on possible reforms to the ratings market, Columbia University law professor John Coffee said the SEC should calculate default rates for each rating agency and make that information available on its Web site. In addition, rating agencies that are especially inaccurate could have their SEC recognition revoked, he said.’’

 

JERUSALEM POST: Yays and nays after Ahmadinejad's Columbia speech
September 26, 2007
``Columbia University was struggling with damage control a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a controversial appearance on campus. … Michael Dorf, a Columbia Law School professor and expert on free speech, has been looking over Bollinger's introductory remarks with a fine-toothed comb. Reading between the lines, Dorf said it was clear Bollinger would not have invited Ahmadinejad to campus, and he used his introduction to make this clear. `Bollinger did not think it would be a valuable exchange of ideas, but [John] Coatsworth is the dean of the School of International and Public Affairs and can invite whom he chooses.’’’

FINANCIAL TIMES: How the 'walled garden' promotes innovation
September 26, 2007
``An intense iPhone buzz sent a high-pitched signal to Apple fanatics early this summer in the US. They hurled themselves into AT&T sales offices and are still giggly with technophile delight. … The iPhone is i-Phony, writes Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, in Slate magazine. Apple's business model is perverse. `If Apple wanted to be 'revolutionary',’ writes Mr Wu, `it would sell an unlocked version of the iPhone that, like a computer, you could bring to the carrier of your choice.’ Instead, Apple chose AT&T as its exclusive network, violating `network neutrality’.’’
This story was picked up by MSNBC and other media outlets.

FRESNO BEE: Homicide crime scene
September 26, 2007
``With 43 people killed this year, Fresno is on pace to hit a 10-year high for homicide and join a number of cities nationwide experiencing a resurgence in deadly violence. … Theories abounded about why homicide went down, as is the case now about why it's going back up: drugs, economic decline, gun availability. The most convincing one is the population boom among young people, said Jeffrey Fagan, co-director of the Center for Crime, Community and Law at Columbia Law School in New York. `Weapon availability hasn't changed. We don't have a drug epidemic. ... Unemployment hasn't changed,’ he said. `That leaves very few explanations, except for the birth bubble.’’’

NEW YORK SUN: New York Cases Emerge as Key in Coming Term
September 26, 2007
``When the Supreme Court kicks off its new term next week with two appeals out of New York, judges and education officials based in the city will be paying close attention. … Last term witnessed `the failure of the Roberts strategy’ a law professor at Columbia, Michael Dorf, said. `One thing to watch for will be whether he gives up on the idea that he will get consensus by deciding cases on narrower grounds. You may see him go to the Scalia view on writing broader opinions.'" 

WALL STREET JOURNAL LAW BLOG: Michael Vick & the “Dual Sovereignty” Doctrine
September 25, 2007
``Michael Vick should be studying the Houston Texans defensive schemes in preparation for Sunday’s game. Instead, the suspended Atlanta Falcons QB and his lawyers are having to wrestle with the Fifth Amendment and the “Dual Sovereignty” doctrine. … Is it unusual for a local prosecutor to bring criminal charges against someone who has already pleaded guilty to related federal crimes? Answer, courtesy of Columbia Law Professor Dan Richman: ‘It is indeed, but not unheard of. Usually where the locals and the feds each have an interest in a matter, the two will work out (sometime with loud voices) who will bring the prosecution.’’’

RADIO ECONOMICS: Dr. Karl Sauvant - Interview - Foreign Direct Investment and Political Risk
September 25, 2007
``Karl P. Sauvant discusses with James Reese the 2007 report `World Investment Prospects to 2011: Foreign Direct Investment and the Challenge of Political Risk’ a joint report from the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Columbia Program on International Investment. … Dr. Karl P. Sauvant is the Executive Director of the Columbia Program on International Investment, Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School…’’

CHRISTIAN POST: Prisons' Purging of Faith Books Faces Opposition
September 25, 2007
``Religious inmates, chaplains and lawyers are mounting criticisms against the federal order to remove non-approved religious books from prison chapels. `Religion and ties to religious institutions and networks of people with shared faith are important protective factors that increase the chance of successful re-entry from prison,’ argued Jeffrey A. Fagan, professor of Law & Public Health and co-director of Columbia Law School’s Center on Crime, Community and Law. `Denial of the chance to develop the justifying ideologies of religion, and entrée to social networks of people for whom religion is both a faith and a social and often an economic tie, places former inmates at greater risk for returning to social worlds and lifestyles of crime,’ he added.’’

NEW YORK SUN: New Clues Emerge on Mukasey's Views
September 25, 2007
``Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, the judge who is now President Bush's nominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey, allowed prosecutors to keep a man behind bars for 10 months without any criminal charges being filed against him. … Noting that the defense did not seek Attas's release, a former federal prosecutor who is a law professor at Columbia University, Daniel Richman, said: `This was a time of grave national threat and uncertainty and the defendant, for his own reasons, was not pushing this, making it very hard to find any fault with the way the judge handled it.’’’

FINANCIAL TIMES: Fallen angels of the US plaintiffs’ bar
September 25, 2007
``Nothing is easier than to ridicule America’s love affair with lawsuits: $54m for the man who lost his favourite trousers at the dry cleaners; billions for investors whose stocks go bad in the market – it is hard to defend such a system with a straight face. … It is `absolutely unjustified’ to suggest that the indictment proves the lawsuits brought by Milberg Weiss were fraudulent, says John Coffee of Columbia University law school, a securities law expert. The main victims were other law firms, possibly other plaintiffs, and the US legal system, which suffers whenever anyone commits perjury. He does not think corporate defendants `were hurt in any way that the law would recognise as injurious’ since other law firms had already sued them and would have controlled the cases if Milberg Weiss had not done so.’’

JERUSALEM POST: Ahmadinejad grilled in Columbia Q&A
September 25, 2007
``Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at Columbia University on Monday, evaded the question of whether he would seek the destruction of the State of Israel. … The dean of Columbia Law School, David Schizer, has been expressing opposition to the decision to invite Ahmadinejad. On Sunday, Schizer joined Jewish groups and others in criticizing the invitation. `Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards,’ Schizer said in a statement. `A high-quality academic discussion depends on intellectual honesty but, unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven himself, time and again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true.’’’

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Apple warns against hacking into iPhones
September 25, 2007
``Apple Inc. issued a warning Monday to iPhone customers who have found ways to uncouple Apple's device from the AT&T Inc. wireless service: If your iPhone breaks, don't come crying to us. … `Apple is in a tricky spot,’ said Columbia University law professor Tim Wu. `It's in their interest for people to unlock iPhones. It makes the phone more useful. But if Apple is seen encouraging that activity, who would want to do an exclusive deal with them again?’’’

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Builder aids stock bets against itself
September 25, 2007
``Normally a company might complain when speculators drive down its stock price. But home builder Standard Pacific Corp., underscoring the housing industry's woes, is helping investors place bets against its own shares. … `I don't know that there is any legal barrier to doing that, but it is going to greatly antagonize your stockholders,’ said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor.’’

STAR-LEDGER: Law professors, trooper union chief clash over profiling report
September 25, 2007
``A study that said state troopers continue to stop black motorists at `greatly disproportionate’ rates on the southern portion of the New Jersey Turnpike was endorsed yesterday by a panel of Columbia University law school professors, but dismissed as `junk science’ by the head of the troopers' union. … ACLU Legal Director Edward Barocas welcomed the endorsement of its study by a panel headed by Columbia law professor Jeffrey Fagan.’’

NEW YORK SUN: Legislatures May Act on Columbia
September 24, 2007
``As the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, prepares to address Columbia University today amid a storm of student protest, state and city lawmakers say they are considering withholding public funds from the school to protest its decision to invite the leader to campus. … The dean of Columbia Law School, David Schizer, in a statement called Mr. Ahmadinejad `a reprehensible and dangerous figure,’ and said it would be `deeply regrettable if some misread this invitation as lending prestige or legitimacy to his views.’’’

FOX NEWS: Iranian President Speaks at Columbia University
September 24, 2007
``BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Next on SPECIAL REPORT, a defiant Ahmadinejad addresses Columbia University to a mix of cheers, boos and, after a rough introduction, gives no quarter in a rambling address and blunt Q and A session. … ERIC SHAWN: The dean of the Columbia Law School, David Schizer, issued this statement against him, saying, quote, Mr. Ahmadinejad is a reprehensible and dangerous figure who presides over a repressive regime, is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers, denies the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of . It would be deeply regrettable if some misread this invitation as lending prestige or legitimacy to his views.’’

WALL STREET JOURNAL LAW BLOG: Columbia Law Dean Criticizes Ahmadinejad Invite
September 24, 2007
``Meet David Schizerdean of Columbia Law School. … Meet Lee Bollinger…president of Columbia University. … The two legal beagles have found themselves on the opposite sides of a fierce debate: whether Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should have been invited to speak at Columbia.’’

ABOVE THE LAW (blog): Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: To Speak or Not To Speak?
September 24, 2007
``Earlier today, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a controversial appearance at Columbia University. The decision to invite Ahmadinejad was defended by President Lee Bollinger, who criticized Ahmadinejad and his views while introducing him, but condemned by Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer.’’

WEEKLY STANDARD (blog): Columbia's Deans Respond
September 24, 2007
``A couple of interesting statements over the weekend in response to Columbia University president Lee Bollinger's decision to host Ahmadinejad. The first is from David M. Schizer, dean of Columbia's Law School …’’

FINANCIAL WEEK: Legal eagle grounded by own kickback schemes
September 24, 2007
``…Early last week, William S. Lerach, the once powerful and feared securities litigator responsible for netting multibillion-dollar cash settlements for shareholders of shamed companies like Enron and WorldCom, himself pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit fraud in a kickback scheme that paid people to serve as plaintiffs in his lawsuits. … `This [case] is about the past rather than the future of securities litigation,’ said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School.’’

FINDLAW: The Supreme Court and the Butterfly Effect
September 24, 2007
BYLINE: MICHAEL C. DORF
``Next week, the Supreme Court begins its third Term with John Roberts in the Chief Justice's seat. Court watchers wonder whether Roberts will be able to build on a string of 5-4 conservative victories last Term, and thus consolidate a conservative majority. How the Court decides the cases on its docket will, of course, have profound consequences for the parties involved and for those subject to the rules of law it lays down. Yet Supreme Court decisions can also have consequences well beyond the parties and principles directly involved.’’ … Michael C. Dorf is the Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University.

TIMES (U.K.): America’s class action lawyers end their days in the dock
September 23, 2007
``For a man who gives millions to charity, Melvyn Weiss is hated by a lot of people. … After years of digging, American prosecutors have brought charges against Weiss, 72, head of the New York law firm Milberg Weiss. … John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said both Weiss and his firm were in serious trouble: `Lerach made the sensible decision. Weiss is not accurately perceiving reality,’ he said. Coffee said that given the number and rank of the partners who had pleaded guilty, Weiss had `no realistic chance’ of seeing off the prosecution. `This firm used to be called Milberg Weiss Bershad Schulman & Lerach. Three of those people have pleaded guilty and one is dead,’ he said.’’

ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: A Matter of Life or Death: Death Still Arbitrary
September 23, 2007
``Of Georgia's 132 most heinous murders over a recent 10-year span, only 29 killers landed on death row. … University of Maryland criminologist Ray Paternoster worked with the newspaper to further analyze the data. Paternoster's work was reviewed by Jeffrey Fagan, a death penalty expert and professor at Columbia Law School in New York City.’’

JERUSALEM POST: Columbia: 'We would let Hitler speak'
September 23, 2007
``Saying Columbia University would have made a similar offer to Adolf Hitler were he in New York, a university dean defended the institution's decision to host Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on campus on Monday. … Peter Rosenblum, a human rights professor at Columbia's Law School…said: ‘There are horrible human rights issues that need to be addressed, and I wouldn't want the leader of this country to be able to divert attention from inside his own country by performances outside.’ …
`For any of us following human rights inside Iran, there is the pain of knowing this person is leading Iran in a way that is painful to so much of the country's population’…’

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September 16 - 22, 2007

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST: Bringing balance to justice Michael Mukasey is the best hope for restoring confidence as next US attorney general
September 22, 2007
``One of the first questions both Republican and Democratic politicians were asking this week when the relatively unknown Michael Mukasey was nominated by President George W. Bush as the United States' next attorney general was not so much: ‘Who on Earth is he?’ but `how do you say his surname?’ … `The president doesn't need any more controversy, he needs someone wise as his attorney general, someone acceptable to both sides,’ said James Tierney, director of the national state attorneys general programme at New York's Columbia Law School. `Mukasey is a safe and reasonable appointment based on what we know, but that's why we have these hearings.’’’

MORTGAGE INSIDER (Orange County Register blog): Attorneys general tackle subprime
September 22, 2007
``James Tierney, a former attorney general of Maine, is working with several current attorneys general on the subprime meltdown. He is head of the director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School. I quizzed him on what he’s doing and how state prosecutors hope to stem the tide of foreclosures and prevent future bad lending practices.’’

BLOOMBERG: SEC to Examine Effect of Investor Lawsuits on Economy
September 21, 2007
``The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will hold public hearings next year to examine whether shareholder lawsuits are making companies less competitive, hurting investors. … `I'd hate to see the discussion skewed in the wrong direction,' said former SEC Commissioner Harvey Goldschmid, who's now a law professor at Columbia University in New York. `The commission has traditionally talked about private litigation as essential to the effective functioning of the securities laws and this policy sentiment, hopefully, will drive any review of the litigation process.’’’

OBERLIN REVIEW: Off the Cuff: Theodore Shaw
September 21, 2007
``Theodore Shaw has been the Director-Counsel and President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund since 2004 and was worked for the Fund since 1982. … SHAW: The job I would have given my right arm for was the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, but you didn’t call them, they called you and one day I got a call from Jack Greenberg, who was then head of the Legal Defense Fund. He was Thurgood Marshall’s successor, and Jack asked me did I want to work with the Legal Defense Fund.’’
Jack Greenberg is the Alphonse Fletcher Professor of Law.

ABC NEWS: How the Rich Hide Their Wealth
September 21, 2007
``There are hundreds of people in the world whose names you might never know but who own millions -- if not billions of dollars. … The influx of Russian cash is flowing into London, says John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University Law School, because of uncertainty. ‘Putin some day will be out of power,’ Coffee says. `You don't know … on which side you'll be of his successor. And if you can have $100 million in London, you can live quite happily out of the country.’’’

USA TODAY: SEC subpoenas Apple's Jobs in backdating probe
September 21, 2007
``Apple CEO Steve Jobs' legal involvement in a stock-options backdating case isn't quite finished. … According to Jack Coffee, securities law expert at Columbia University, Jobs' deposition is significant because it will require him to give testimony under oath in the case. If anything he says turns out to be false, he could have some legal exposure down the road. However, he adds, the charges against Heinen are relatively minor: The SEC has accused her of falsifying Apple's books and records. Coffee predicts that the case will eventually be settled out of court, which would frustrate people who want to know what Steve Jobs said under oath. `Depositions are kept confidential until the moment of trial,’ he says.’’

September 21, 2007
``The recent killing of Iraqi civilians by private American security contractors reveals one of the biggest changes in modern US war-fighting – its increased reliance on private companies. …In recent congressional testimony, Scott Horton, an international lawyer who teaches at Columbia University in New York, explained the growth in reliance on military contractors. …`Before the ... surge, for instance, the total community of contractors in Iraq was around 100,000, and the number of uniformed service personnel was around 125,000,’ Mr. Horton said. `This represents an extremely radical transformation in the force configuration.’’’ 
 
September 21, 2007
``Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has been subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to give a deposition for an SEC civil lawsuit that charges Apple's former top lawyer with illegal stock-option backdating, according to a source close to the case. …giving a deposition could put the executive into a precarious position. `If you testify under oath, perjury, obstruction of justice and false statement (charges) could be brought against you’ if any of the testimony is found to be untrue, said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance. `Martha Stewart managed to avoid testifying under oath but she was still convicted of (making) false statements to regulators about a subject they were investigating.’’’
 
September 20, 2007
``Former Morgan Stanley and Janney Montgomery Scott LLC employees were among 41 people and firms charged or sued in a two-year probe of stock-loan workers who allegedly took millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks. …`It’s a direct byproduct of the tremendous growth in short- selling, and the greater need to engage in covered shorts as opposed to naked short-selling,’ said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University. `It’s not a securities fraud prosecution, it’s a simple, old-fashioned kickback prosecution.’’’

REUTERS: Nasdaq-Dubai deal may be a sign of things to come
September 20, 2007
``The agreement between Nasdaq Stock Market (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Borse Dubai to buy stakes in one another to create a group of exchanges linking the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia may be a sign of things to come in cross-border dealmaking. … `This kind of exchange in the sense of swapping stakes, this reciprocal cross holding, is possibly a substitute for a straight merger because there would be political difficulties in a straight merger,’ said international securities expert John Coffee, a Columbia University Law School Professor.’’

September 20, 2007
``Directorship magazine has recently published The Directorship 100, a list of the 100 most influential players in corporate governance.  The list and the reasons for the inclusion of each member appear in the September issue of the magazine. …The list also includes two legal academics other than Bebchuk: Columbia Professor John Coffee and Stanford professor and former SEC commissioner Joseph Grundfest.
 
September/October 2007
``If science proves sexual orientation is more fluid than we’ve been led to believe, can homosexuality still be a protected right? … according to Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic at Columbia Law School, there's a far more fundamental reason for courts to protect gay people. `Sexual orientation does not bear on a person's ability to contribute to society,’ she notes. `We don't need the science to make that point.’’’
 
September 20, 2007
``William S. Lerach, in agreeing to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in connection with a kickback scheme that paid people to serve as plaintiffs in lawsuits, insisted that the firm he founded in San Diego in 2004 be shielded from prosecution. `The rise and fall of the lawyer Wall Street loved to hate,’ said Columbia Law School professor John Coffee, `has the sense of a Greek tragedy.’’’
 
September 19, 2007
``The Future of Music Coalition’s annual policy summit … offers musicians, industry analysts, and fans a chance to chew on many of the issues that matter to college music listeners…. Also on the docket was net neutrality ….Tim Wu, a professor of law at Columbia University, made an argument in favor of the principle that likely struck a chord with many summit attendees: Legislation was needed, he said,`to save the Internet from being like commercial radio’’’
 
September 19, 2007
`` A single Canadian securities regulator won't strengthen criminal enforcement in the country because the justice system takes white-collar crime less seriously than the U.S., said Doug Hyndman, chairman of the British Columbia Securities Commission. … Canada loses about C$10 billion ($9.8 billion) a year in economic output and 65,000 jobs because of its fragmented securities regulatory system, according to a study presented to the federal government in June by Columbia University Law School professor John Coffee.
 
September 19, 2007
Byline: Sherry F. Colb
``Prosecutors allege that Jeff forced a 14-year-old girl to marry her older cousin, who subsequently forced the girl to have intercourse with him. …Jeffs’s arrest could signal a new willingness on the part of our public institutions to prioritize children’s rights over absolute religious prerogative. It could also …highlight a dark side to polygamy - one that belies the claims of those who defend it as a `private’ matter between consenting adults.’’ Sherry F. Colb, a FindLaw columnist, is a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School
 
September 19, 2007
`` Despite pleas by a Department of Justice official and two legal scholars to slow down, the Senate Judiciary Committee's top Republican is pushing for a quick vote on legislation that would limit federal prosecutors' ability to pressure cooperation from companies under investigation for corporate fraud…. Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School, added that the `highly speculative’ effect of Specter’s proposal `counsels against legislative action at this time.’ Richman noted that employees’ rights to confidentiality are not absolute.’’
 
September 19, 2007
``A day after a surprising plea deal from class-action powerhouse William Lerach, federal prosecutors are preparing to file charges Thursday against the last big target in their criminal case, Melvyn Weiss…. `It is a very attractive plea agreement,’ said Columbia University law professor John Coffee. `To some, this looks like the man taking the bullet for his firm.’ But it's also clear what made the bargain attractive for prosecutors. …(I)t assures that Lerach will serve time … and never practice law again.
 
NEW YORK TIMES: To Some, Hiring of Top Criminal Lawyer Suggests Worries in Deutsche Bank Case
September 19, 2007
``Criminal defense experts said yesterday that the Bloomberg administration’s hiring of a widely respected defense lawyer to represent the city in the criminal investigation into the fatal Deutsche Bank fire last month suggests that it is concerned that prosecutors are focusing on city agencies as possible defendants. … Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor and a professor of law at Columbia University Law School, said the city was well-served by hiring outside criminal lawyers. ‘Whenever a criminal prosecutor is investigating or even close to using a grand jury in a case,’ he said, `it makes sense for an entity, whether a government entity or any other, to have really experienced criminal counsel.’’’

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: Prison sentence part of lawyer's plea deal
September 19, 2007
``The fall of San Diego trial lawyer William S. Lerach may end his reign as Wall Street's king of pain, but the class-action lawsuit industry he helped create has become an established reality for corporate America. … `From a historical perspective, this is the fall of a titan,’ said Professor John Coffee of the Columbia University School of Law. `Bill Lerach did not invent the securities class-action lawsuit. But he converted it from being an irritant and a nuisance to public corporations to being a major threat.’’’

THE DEAL: Specter Pushes Bill to Curb Corporate Prosecutors
September 19, 2007
``Despite pleas by a Department of Justice official and two legal scholars to slow down, the Senate Judiciary Committee's top Republican is pushing for a quick vote on legislation that would limit federal prosecutors' ability to pressure cooperation from companies under investigation for corporate fraud. … Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School, added that the ‘highly speculative’ effect of Specter's proposal `counsels against legislative action at this time.’ Richman noted that employees' rights to confidentiality are not absolute. The `company controls the privilege’ and employees should be informed `they lack legal protection in this regard.’’’

WASHINGTON POST: FASTER FORWARD (blog): Debating the Future of Music
September 18, 2007
``I spent most of Monday in an auditorium at George Washington University, attending the Future of Music Coalition's annual policy summit. … The last panel discussion of the day focused on net neutrality, and included one of the most concise definitions of that argument. Columbia University law professor Tim Wu said the point of net neutrality--in which Internet providers would be legally required not to discriminate against particular types or sources of Internet traffic--was ‘to save the Internet from being like commercial radio.’’’

``Columbia Law School said it will officially launch KeepYourCopyrights.org on September 19, a resource designed to help artists and writers retain control of their copyrights and manage those rights throughout their careers. The site is the work of Columbia Law School professors Jane Ginsburg and Timothy Wu, and is a response to the digital era, which has enabled and inspired more creativity while also creating more copyright pitfalls.

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Support for Mukasey Is Strong in N.Y.
September 18, 2007
``New York attorneys who have worked with Michael B. Mukasey and argued before him as a federal judge said the White House made the right choice in nominating him yesterday as the next U.S. Attorney General. … `Washington doesn't understand what the Southern District is all about and Mike is an exemplar of the best of that office, somebody who can send the message out clearly to federal prosecutors that professionalism will dominate the decision-making at the department,’ said Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School who is a former Southern District prosecutor.’’

Michael B. Mukasey teaches trial practice as a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School.

INTER PRESS SERVICE NEWS: Bush Opts for "Confirmable" Attorney-General
September 18, 2007
``The nomination Monday by President George W. Bush of retired federal judge Michael B. Mukasey for the top spot at the U.S. Justice Department is a departure from business as usual for the administration. … Scott Horton, a Columbia Law School lecturer and self-proclaimed civil libertarian and human rights advocate, espouses this view in his blog on the Harper's Magazine website, where he wrote that there is `no shortage of things to dislike about’ Judge Mukasey, but he should be praised and confirmed because of his `judicious personality’, or his ability to listen carefully and form sound legal judgments.’’

September 18, 2007
``The first spring after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York spoke out in favor of the assertive but highly controversial legal strategies the Bush administration was using to detain hundreds of Middle Eastern men as terrorism suspects. … Mukasey `has longstanding ties and love and respect for the U.S. attorney's office,’ said Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia law school professor and former federal prosecutor in New York.’’
 
September 18, 2007
``First came John Ashcroft, who as attorney general invoked patriotism as he assaulted privacy, due process and anyone who disagreed with him. … `In New York legal circles he has a tremendous reputation as a straight-shooting judge and a smart and decent lawyer,’ says Daniel Richman, Columbia University law professor and a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan. That reputation alone will help restore morale at the Justice Department and confidence beyond it, predicts Richman.’’
 
September 18, 2007
``In choosing his new attorney general, President Bush departed Monday from one of his more unshakable core values: the known commodity. … Mukasey, they say, is a product of the tightknit community of federal prosecutors and judges in the Southern District of New York, where distance from Washington is a point of pride. … That's no coincidence, said Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman, who has worked with Comey and Fitzgerald. `There are many people in Washington who think the Southern District of New York is a bunch of loose cannons who don't listen enough to their political masters,’ Richman said.’’
 
September 18, 2007
``The lack of a single securities regulator in Canada costs the economy as much as $10 billion and 65,000 jobs a year, according to a U.S. securities law expert commissioned to advise the federal government. John Coffee, a professor at Columbia University Law School in New York, said Monday he based his figures on various existing studies. ‘There is a discount on Canadian securities,’ he said. `You have to sell more of your stock to raise the same money in comparison, say, to a similar U.S. company. And you may have to pay more on your debt rate, too.’’’

September 17, 2007
``MARGARET WARNER: `For more on Michael Mukasey and what kind of attorney general he might be, we're joined by two lawyers who have argued before him in court. Mary Jo White was U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York from 1993 to 2002. She's now in private practice in New York City. And Daniel Richman was an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district from 1987 to '92. He's now a professor at Columbia Law School.’ …DANIEL RICHMAN: `He is a no-nonsense, straight-shooting, extraordinary jurist. He is smart and, I think more importantly, can keep a case or a large bureaucracy going along the right tracks.’’’
Mary Jo White graduated from Columbia Law School in 1974.
 
September 17, 2007
``Comments by Professor Dorf of Columbia Law School are here. … The exchange speaks for itself, though I will offer my opinion that Professor Althouse correctly identifies some peculiarities in Professor Dorf's assumptions. (UPDATE: But do see Professor Dorf's sensible remarks in the comments section.)’’

CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY: Democrats Tread Lightly on Mukasey
September 17, 2007
``Senate Democrats face a delicate political situation as they weigh their strategy for handling President Bush’s nomination of former federal judge Michael Mukasey to succeed Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general. … `He is precisely the kind of person who we need right now,’ said Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor who knows Mukasey.’’

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: TAXATION OF DAMAGES: End the inequity
September 17, 2007

BYLINE: VIVIAN BERGER
``House and Senate committees are considering the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act of 2007. The CRTRA would remedy anomalies in the treatment of damages obtained by employment discrimination victims and other civil rights plaintiffs, which disadvantage them by comparison with victims of physically injurious torts. A section of an earlier version, enacted in 2004, went part way toward rejecting this harsh approach by ending taxation of attorney fees to both the lawyer and the client. Congress should finish the job this session. Passage of the two remaining provisions — one dealing with noneconomic, the other with economic harm — would aid both workers and defendant companies while striking a blow for tax equity.’’ … Vivian Berger, an NLJ columnist, is professor emerita at Columbia Law School.

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September 9 - 15, 2007

WASHINGTON POST: Mortgage Mess Unleashes Chain Of Lawsuits
September 11, 2007
``When something goes badly on Wall Street, people wind up in court. And the subprime mortgage mess is no exception. … The obstacles to winning a case against credit-rating agencies are particularly daunting, according to John C. Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University. In past cases, the raters have invoked constitutional protections of free speech, comparing their evaluations of a company's debt to judgments made in a newspaper editorial. ‘Credit-rating agencies have never been held liable in any class-action suit since the beginning of time,’ Coffee said. `They have had virtual legal immunity to any kind of statement.’’’

RADIO ECONOMICS: World Investment Prospects to 2011: Foreign Direct Investment and the Challenge of Political Risk
September 11, 2007
``Press Conference, Sept 5, 2007: The Columbia Program on International Investment has partnered with the Economist Intelligence Unit, a member of The Economist Group, to publish World Investment Prospects to 2011: Foreign Direct Investment and the Challenge of Political Risk.’’

ATLANTIC FREE PRESS: Gorilla Radio Podcast
September 11, 2007
``This week on GR, American Human Rights lawyer and Harper's Magazine contributor, Scott Horton on the strange case of the railroaded governor, Don Siegelman. … A New York attorney known for his work in emerging markets and international law, especially human rights law and the law of armed conflict, Horton lectures at Columbia Law School.’’

KOMMERSANT (Russia): Protectionism Can Undermine FDI Growth in Russia, China – Analysts
September 11, 2007
``Direct foreign investment is likely to surge in Russia and China in the next few years, although the growth could be undermined by protectionist sentiment in emerging and developed markets, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Columbia University said in a survey on direct foreign investment (FDI). The analysts expect global FDI to recover from a deep slump and start growing fast from 2009.’’

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Several schools adjust their curriculums
September 10, 2007
``Law schools nationwide are tweaking their curriculums to solve a growing and nagging problem that has surfaced on many campuses: second- and third-year students becoming disengaged. … `The global economy is becoming more interconnected, so thinking how to teach comparative and international law becomes more and more important every year,’ said Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer. Schizer said Columbia has an ongoing strategic initiative to build up its international law department, which has included hiring a record seven new faculty members during the last year.’’

FINDLAW: The Homage Vice Pays to Virtue: Lessons of the Michael Vick Story
September 10, 2007
BYLINE: SHERRY F. COLB
``Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick recently pleaded guilty to a federal dog-fighting charge. … A case such as this leaves me torn between two competing emotions. I am pleased to learn that people are taking animal cruelty seriously enough to want to punish a previously-popular figure and thereby express outrage at the inhumane world of dog-fighting. Yet I am disturbed by the utter failure of most people condemning Michael Vick to consider their own role in perpetrating animal cruelty.’’… Sherry F. Colb, a FindLaw columnist, is a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School

 

TORONTO STAR: What's Canada to do as globalization recedes?
September 10, 2007
``The climate for foreign takeovers is changing in a reaction against globalization, and this change is most pronounced in the world's richest countries now worried about where they will fit in a future world of shifting economic power. … A new report on world investment prospects to 2011 from the Economist Intelligence Unit and Columbia University's Program on International Investment, concludes that while foreign direct investment will continue to grow, `the risk of protectionism is now appreciable, the global geopolitical climate appears more threatening, and the outlook for securing a stable and co-operative international trading and investment environment is worse than in the recent past.’’’

 
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September 1 - 8, 2007

KOREA TIMES: S. Korea Ranked 31st in Foreign Investment Outlook
September 7, 2007
``South Korea’s outlook for foreign direct investments (FDI) in the next couple of years ‘will remain well below the country's potential,’ according to a recent global investment forecast. … The report was prepared in cooperation with the Columbia Program on International Investment, after conducting a survey of 600 investors world-wide.’’

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Nifong Reports to Jail
September 7, 2007
``In perhaps his lowest point of the Duke lacrosse debacle, former prosecutor Mike Nifong walked into jail to serve a 24-hour contempt sentence on Friday, soon after it was revealed that the three players he falsely accused of rape are seeking $30 million from the city. … Katherine Franke, a Columbia University civil rights law professor, said while the players' reputations were damaged in a national setting, the settlement request is beyond normal standards of about $1 million. `It strikes me as well off the charts from what one would normally get in a case like that,’ Franke said. `But it's the political nature of the case: How much is it worth to the city to get rid of this case given the outrage?’’’

This story was picked up by the
Washington Post, Guardian, Seattle Times and other media outlets.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: DOJ Against Regulating Internet Traffic
September 6, 2007
``The Justice Department on Thursday said Internet service providers should be allowed to charge a fee for priority Web traffic. … `It's not very surprising considering this Justice Department has been committed to eliminating regulatory oversight of almost every industry,’ said Timothy Wu, a Columbia University law professor who favors some form of Net neutrality. Wu said he thinks the FCC and Congress ultimately have ‘shared responsibility’ in this matter.’’

This story was picked up by Forbes, International Herald Tribune, Sydney Morning Herald, BusinessWeek and other media outlets.

REUTERS: Global FDI to hit record $1.47 trln in 2007-survey
September 5, 2007
``Global foreign direct investment flows will hit a record $1.47 trillion in 2007, finally recovering from the 2000 market crash before slipping next year due to market turmoil, a survey shows. … Unlike 2000, FDI growth is expected to rebound albeit at a slower pace to $1.6 trillion by 2011, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Columbia University's Program on International Investment. … `(The slowdown) is largely the result of financial market turmoil and related uncertainty. But, the increase in protectionist feelings certainly plays a role because of an increased skepticism toward cross-border M&A,’ Karl Sauvant, executive director of the CPII told Reuters.’’

WALL STREET JOURNAL: REAL TIME ECONOMICS (blog): Study: Market Turmoil to Threaten Foreign Investment
September 5, 2007
``
Volatility in financial markets will depress global foreign direct investment through next year before growth returns at the turn of the decade, according to a new study by the Columbia Program on International Investment and the Economist Intelligence Unit.’

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: Camec Drops Katanga Offer Over Congo License Row
September 5, 2007
``Central African Mining & Exploration Co. PLC (CFM.LN) Wednesday said it was dropping its hostile takeover bid for Katanga Mining Ltd. (KAT.T) one week after the Democratic Republic of Congo's government took steps to revoke Camec's mining licenses. ... Peter Rosenblum, a consultant for the Atlanta-based Carter Center's project in the DRC, said Camec was aware of the review process and that the ministry had ordered companies not to change ownership or share structure during the review. 'It's unfortunate that the first salvo is coming from the Ministry of Justice before the whole contract review has been completed. But it's hard for anyone to be sympathetic to Camec,' Rosenblum, also a Columbia Law School professor, said from New York.''

ABA SITE-TATION: AltLaw: Free Online Federal Case Law
September 4, 2007
``AltLaw is a project dedicated to making federal case law available and searchable at no charge online. … A joint-project between the Columbia Law School’s Program on Law and Technology and the Silicon Flatirons Program at the University of Colorado Law School, the project is in ‘Beta’ stage, a work in progress.’’

September 3, 2007
``Whoever succeeds Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general will quickly discover that the job resembles being the captain of a ship whose officers have fled for the lifeboats. … “You very much want someone who can hit the ground running,” said ColumbiaUniversity law professor Daniel Richman.

LEGAL TIMES: What Does DOJ Need Now?
September 3, 2007
BYLINE: NICHOLAS M. GESS and JAMES E. TIERNEY
``
The next attorney general of the United States will inherit a Department of Justice demoralized by the sidelining of career lawyers who have dedicated their lives to fair law enforcement. Too often replaced by inexperienced political appointees, many senior lawyers in both the criminal and civil divisions, lawyers who have guided former attorneys general of both parties, have retired. Although this administration has precious little time to bring real change, some measures must be undertaken immediately.''

FINANCIAL TIMES: The Week Ahead
September 3, 2007
``WEDNESDAY… A report on `world investment prospects to 2011: foreign direct investment and the challenge of political risk’ from the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Columbia Program on International Investment is released.’’

ST. PETERSBURG TIMES: The Right Time to Fight Crime
September 2, 2007
``
The brash-talking former mayor, the candidate vying for the title of real law-and-order star, has made it a centerpiece of his campaign: Under his leadership, New York City ascended from crime capital to America's safest big city. … `Demographics have an awful lot to do with this, and these are very, very large social forces,’ said Jeffrey Fagan, co-director of the Center for Crime, Community and Law at the Columbia Law School in New York. `It's hard to imagine policing, no matter how smart and effective it is, giving the kind of leverage ... to move a macro force like crime.’’’

NEW YORK COUNTY LAWYER: NYCLA Holds Public Forum on the Family Court
September 2007
``NYCLA and Columbia Law School’s Multi-Disciplinary Center for Excellence in Child and Family Advocacy co-sponsored a public forum on July 13 at the NYCLA Home of Law to discuss the recommendations and working group reports from the October 2006 NYCLA Family Court Conference, “Family Court in New York City in the 21st Century: What Are Its Role and Responsibilities?” After welcoming remarks by Ann B. Lesk, NYCLA President Elect, and an overview by Jane Spinak, Clinical Professor at Columbia Law School, forum participants discussed the recommendations in both a national and local context. ... Prior to the forum, a symposium issue of the 'Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems' containing the Family Court Conference recommendations, working group reports, commissioned articles and replies was distributed to the 110 attendees.'' Back to top