June 22 - 30, 2008

June 30, 2008
BYLINE: Vivian Berger
“On June 25, almost 18 years after enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3195, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), by a 402-17 vote. According to its drafters, the U.S. Supreme Court had flouted congressional expectations that the ADA would ‘ “provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities,” ’ and establish a broad shield for its intended beneficiaries. The ADAAA, designed to reverse judicial inroads on the ADA, now awaits Senate action — and, one hopes, prompt approval by President Bush. Indeed, it is high time that Congress give back what the justices have taken away. In fairness, the court has not wholly ignored the ADA's expansive remedial intent; it has, for example, applied the act to state prisoners and people seeking access to courts. But as a result of grudging construction, the ADA's workplace provisions (Title I) fall far short of furnishing the protective umbrella envisioned by the act's architects. … Vivian Berger is professor emerita at Columbia Law School.”

NEW YORK SUN: 'Legal Nightmare' Feared in Russia
June 30, 2008
BYLINE: Julie Satow
“The final stages of a $22.5 billion battle pitting the Bank of New York Mellon against the Russian Federation will begin today in a Russian court. … ‘This is a legal nightmare,’ a professor of law at Columbia Law School, John Coffee, said. ‘Everyone who hears about it is frightened because the Russians are writing the rules as they go.’ ”

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Expect U.S. economic woes to linger into 2009
June 30, 2008
BYLINE: David R. Francis
The financial troubles in the United States are far from over. The economic downturn, probably already a recession, could last deep into 2009, with rising unemployment and continuing business failures…. ‘We have to get private markets working again,’ says John Coffee, a finance professor at Columbia University in New York. Wall Street has not responded adequately to revive the process of ‘securitization,’ where banks and other financial institutions package a bunch of loans, such as mortgages, into a security that can be sold to investors. Professor Coffee is concerned that the housing market is becoming too dependent on ‘dangerously overextended’ government-backed entities such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration. He wonders if the federal government will end up with a huge bill for failed mortgages.”

CRAIN’S FINANCIAL WEEK: Smaller raters cry foul over SEC’s proposed disclosure requirements
June 30, 2008
BYLINE: Neil Roland
“A Securities and Exchange Commission plan to spur competition among credit rating agencies after the subprime debacle is drawing fire from industry participants who say it may help bigger firms at the expense of smaller ones. … The SEC plan has prominent defenders, such as Columbia University law professor John Coffee, who contends it will foster competition by opening up data about structured loans to rating agencies and investors such as pension funds and insurance companies. Mr. Coffee, who has testified before Congress on the subject, said in an interview that the plan ‘will create a more level playing field,’ much as Regulation FD has done for stock analysts. Regulation FD requires companies to disclose market-moving information to everyone at the same time, rather than just to favored analysts. Mr. Coffee didn’t think Egan-Jones would be adversely affected, saying ‘investors will use the firm as a watchdog and not be concerned that their information is not unique.’ ”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: How gun makers can help us
June 29, 2008
BYLINE: Jeffrey Fagan and Stephen Sugarman

This year, about 12,000 Americans will be shot to death. It's a staggering figure, and even though lawmakers have continued to pass gun-control laws to try to bring the number down, they have not significantly reduced the murder rate. Indeed, for the last decade, guns have steadily remained the cause of about two-thirds of all homicides. … We propose a new way to prod gun makers to reduce gun deaths, one that would be unlikely to put them out of business or to prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns. By using a strategy known as ‘performance-based regulation,’ we would deputize private actors -- the gun makers -- to deal with the negative effects of their products in ways that promote the public good. … Jeffrey Fagan is a professor of law and public health at Columbia University.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: Regulators need to shed light on derivatives
June 29, 2008
BYLINE: John Coffee
Worldwide, if securities regulators believe in one thing, it is the value of transparency. Sunlight, they know, is the best disinfectant. But sometimes in confusion they pull down the blinds. This has just happened in the US and, as a result, transparency in the market for corporate control is in danger. Unlike other regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission has chosen – at least provisionally – to disregard equity derivatives and thus allow acquirers to use them to outflank the early warning disclosures that the US (and most other big countries) impose on the assembly of a potentially controlling block of stock. … The writer is the Adolf A. Berle professor of law at Columbia University Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Center Seeks New Dialogue On Abortion, Sex Education
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Thomas Adcock
“Step one in its long-term goal of reframing controversial subjects such as abortion and sex education as matters of public health policy and basic human rights is set for July 21, when the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights welcomes Khiara M. Bridges to work as the first recipient of a new two-year fellowship. The fellowship, which provides an annual salary of $55,000, is jointly underwritten by the center and Columbia Law Schoolfor the purpose of encouraging scholarship as strategic underpinning for advocacy in courtrooms around the world.”

June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Adam Liptak
“The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a law meant to level the financial playing field when rich candidates pay for their own political campaigns…. Led by those justices, “the court is increasingly hostile to campaign finance reform,” said Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School. “It underscores the importance of Alito’s replacement of O’Connor.”

June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Brian Kalish and Matt Kelley
“Former Republican Senate leaders Rick Santorum and Bill Frist continue to raise and spend big money, but little of it has gone to GOP candidates …. The Federal Election Commission requires PACs to file reports on a quarterly or monthly basis, and that information is available at Richard Briffault, who teaches election law at Columbia Law School, said more information should be made readily available to donors on political committees. ‘It's something people ought to know about,’ he said.”
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Michael Doyle
“Wealthy political candidates caught a break yesterday as the Supreme Court struck down a campaign finance rule that benefits their opponents…. ‘It is potentially a blow to public financing systems, which were already undermined earlier this week by Barack Obama's decision not to take presidential public funding’ this fall, Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault said.”
This story appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Sacramento Bee and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Fredreka Schouten
“A Supreme Court decision Thursday striking down a law that attempted to level the playing field when wealthy candidates pump their money into campaigns signals a willingness of the nation's high court to chip away at other campaign-finance limits, experts say…. Hasen and Richard Briffault, who teaches at Columbia Law School, said the ruling also could endanger local and state public-financing systems that increase contribution limits or give more taxpayer money to opponents of self-funded candidates.
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Michael McDonald
“UBS AG was attempting to liquidate an $11 billion ‘albatross’ of auction-rate bonds by selling the debt to individual investors as the market for the securities started to collapse, according to company e-mails…. ‘Here you've got these e-mails, and that could give prosecutors a more favorable forum,'’ said John Coffee, a Columbia University professor who specializes in corporate law.”
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Jonathan Birchall
“InBev, the world's largest brewer, said yesterday it would launch a hostile bid for Anheuser-Busch as its US rival rejected its $46bn bid as ‘financially inadequate’…. John Coffee, a professor of corporate law at Columbia University, said the move to request the ruling from the Delaware courts was highly unusual, and characterised the filing as ‘an initial opening tactic’ by InBev's legal team.”
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Adam Lisberg
“The landmark Supreme Court ruling that Americans have a fundamental right to own guns could open the floodgates to challenges to New York City's tough gun laws… ‘The NRA has its precedent, and now it's going to use it to try to strike down various restrictions around the country,’ said Columbia Law School Prof. Nathaniel Persily. ‘We don't know what the next shoe to drop will be.’”
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Vikas Bajaj
“No one is dusting off those valiant titles once bestowed on Eliot Spitzer, honorifics like ‘The Enforcer’ and ‘Sheriff of Wall Street.’ But slowly, even a bit gently, Mr. Spitzer’s successor as the attorney general of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, is shaking up the financial industry.… John C. Coffee, a law professor at Columbia, said Mr. Spitzer was the first to use the Martin Act to turn the attorney general’s office into ‘the country’s second securities regulator.’ But he added that Mr. Cuomo appears to be more effective. ‘He had shoes to fill, and he has filled them fully and without the same adversarial style that made settlements difficult’ for Mr. Spitzer, Mr. Coffee said.”
June 27, 2008
BYLINE: Douglas Turner and Robert J. McCarthy
“In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday backed congressional candidate Jack Davis’ suit to declare unconstitutional the so-called ‘millionaires amendment’ in the bipartisan campaign finance law…. Reform groups and Davis’ 2008 opponents all denounced the ruling. Columbia law professor Richard Briffault said the decision ‘accelerates the court’s turn against campaign finance reform.’”
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Elizabeth DiNovella
“Broadband is like our current energy crisis: Production is set by a tiny cartel that pushes prices high and keeps them there, says Tim Wu, Columbia law professor. ‘I want to point out how much we pay for bandwidth and how little we get.’ Wu spoke at the launch of Internet for Everyone, a campaign pushing for fast, cheap broadband access for everyone nationwide.”

June 25, 2008
“PRATT: A victory today for former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso. New York State’s court of appeals threw out most of a lawsuit against him, seeking to recover much of Grasso’s $187 million pay package. …Jack Coffee, Law Professor, Columbia University: The two remaining causes of action that they let stand require either that you prove that Mr. Grasso knew of the unlawfulness of the payments he was receiving or that he did not act in good faith. That’s a very high standard of proof and it means the case can go to trial, but the odds are very much against the attorney general and it greatly reduces the settlement value of the case.”
June 25, 2007
BYLINE: Andrew C. Schneider, Mark Sfiligoj
“Europe is following in America's footsteps down a trail of economic woes: Sluggish growth, rising inflation and unemployment….. As Karl Sauvant, executive director of the Columbia Program on International Investment, explains: ‘Corporate strategies are typically strategies that go for several years and are not necessarily directly affected either by the exchange rate or by [an economic] downturn. If a company feels it has to be in the U.S. in the longer term, even if the current picture doesn't look good, it may be prompted to go in.’”
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Kitty Pilgrim
Kitty Pilgrim reports on the outcome of a CSX shareholder vote to keep the board of directors or elect five new members, and interviews Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee
June 25, 2008
“In August 2001, when in-house accountant Sherron Watkins warned Enron CEO Ken Lay that the company might implode in a wave of accounting scandals,' Lay asked the firm's regular law firm, Vinson & Elkins, to do a 'preliminary investigation.'…In a forthcoming Stanford Law Review article titled 'The Market for Bad Legal Advice,' Columbia Law School professor William Simon cites [Charles] Wolfram's opinion as just one example of patently bad advice offered in exchange for lucrative compensation by academics whom he contends are becoming 'enablers of pernicious ... practices' ...... Simon's article, whose take-no-prisoners tone left me slack-jawed, contends that there is a systemic, recurring problem that arises when well-heeled clients go shopping for expert exonerations--sometimes prior to doing something shady…I find Simon's analysis of what's wrong with legal ethics testimony to be not just dead-on but cathartically so.
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Ashby Jones
Why is Dick Grasso smiling? Possibly because earlier today he inched closer to being able to retain at least a portion of his $187 million compensation package,… ‘The settlement value is greatly reduced’ because of today’s decision, says John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University. ‘For Cuomo, I’m not sure he’d want to take the risk to go to trial in a case where he needs to make a high showing and he could be embarrassed by losing.’ Coffee thinks the ruling takes away some of his office’s power to bring such cases. So, in his opinion, Cuomo should try to settle this case quickly and spend more of his time pushing the legislature to give his office more authority in policing not-for-profit institutions in New York.
June 25, 2008
Last year, Barack Obama pledged to use public financing for his campaign to become President of the United States. Last week, Obama’s campaign announced that it will NOT use public funding but rather privately fund his presidential election. We discuss the implications of this decision …Our guests are …NATE PERSILY, Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia Law School.
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Joel Stashenko and Noeleen G. Walder
“A significant portion of the state's case against Richard A. Grasso and his lucrative compensation package as the former chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange was thrown out yesterday …. Professor John C. Coffee of Columbia Law School said yesterday's ruling would ‘greatly reduce the value of the settlement’ for the attorney general but not leave a ‘negative mark’ on Mr. Cuomo's resume were he to conclude the litigation….However, Mr. Coffee added that the ruling has implications that reach beyond the Grasso case. He said the decision damages the attorney general’s parens patriae authority and his power to bring nonstatutory claims against not-for-profits.
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Angela Greiling Keane and Mike Ramsey
“CSX Corp.'s proxy fight with two hedge funds spilled past the end of the voting, as the railroad called the tally ``too close to call'' while the investors said they won four board seats…. ``Several weeks is very unusual and will raise suspicions that CSX is going to try to get shareholders to change their votes and somehow backdate them,'' said John Coffee, a corporate law professor at Columbia University in New York.
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Greg Farrell
“Dick Grasso, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, might be able to keep his $188 million pay package after all…. ‘This case could still go to trial,’ says John Coffee, an expert in securities law at Columbia University. ‘But now it revolves around whether Mr. Grasso knew he was receiving unlawful compensation. That’s a much higher burden of proof.’
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Marcia G. Yerman
“The Paley Center for Media in New York City was the location for a three-hour forum entitled ‘From Soundbites to Solutions: Bias Punditry and the Press in 2008 Election.’… Patricia J. Williams, author, Columbia University law professor, and columnist for The Nation offered, ‘Race was gendered and gender was raced.’ She illuminated how Obama differentiated himself from the Clinton camp as he ‘spoke a slightly different language’ that reflected ‘cosmopolitanism and globalism.’ She defined Obama as ‘post-race’ adding that in our attempt to categorize Obama ‘we invisibilize the diversity of Americans.’ She questioned why there was a catering ‘to a narrative that women will never get to the White House.’, and columnist for offered, ‘Race was gendered and gender was raced.’ She illuminated how Obama differentiated himself from the Clinton camp as he ‘spoke a slightly different language’ that reflected ‘cosmopolitanism and globalism.’ She defined Obama as ‘post-race’ adding that in our attempt to categorize Obama ‘we invisibilize the diversity of Americans.’ She questioned why there was a catering ‘to a narrative that women will never get to the White House.’
June 25, 2008
BYLINE: Katherine Q. Seelye
“Several leading lights of the Internet world believe that access to broadband is a civil right, like water, roads and sewage treatment, and have renewed their call for making such access a national priority. To further their goal, they have introduced a Web site,…. The advocates of …included… Timothy Wu, a law professor at Columbia
June 24, 2008
BYLINE: Julian Sanchez
“An all-star panel of Internet academics, activists, and entrepreneurs gathered at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York today to launch Internet for Everyone, a campaign calling for a national broadband policy to bridge the ‘digital divide.’ The group—the members on hand today included such luminaries as Vint Cerf, Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain, and Tim Wu—is urging political action to provide universal, affordable high-speed broadband in the United States.
June 24, 2008
BYLINE: Wendy Davis
“‘Is bandwidth similar to oil? Yes, in one important respect,’ says Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law. ‘Production is controlled by a tiny cartel that sets prices high and keeps them there,’ Wu said today at a press conference about broadband access at the Personal Democracy Forum. The analogy impressed fellow speaker Vinc Cerf, widely credited as the father of the Internet. ‘Wow. That’s cool, Tim,’ he responded. Both were speaking at the launch of Internetfor

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: U.S., Mexico Clash Again in Court Over Executions
June 24, 2008
BYLINE: Marcia Coyle
“Lawyers for the United States and Mexico are back in the International Court of Justice over Mexico's unusual request for an order to delay the imminent executions of five Mexican nationals on Texas' death row because the United States remains in default of its treaty obligations. … In its filings with the court, Mexico contends there is a dispute now about what the Avena judgment requires: Is it an ‘obligation of result’ or an ‘obligation of means,’ said international law scholar Lori Fisler Damrosch of Columbia Law School. The United States' position, according to Mexico, is that the Avena judgment requires a means of providing review and reconsideration of the sentences, and the United States provided the means -- the presidential memorandum -- and it didn't work, Damrosch said. ‘Mexico wants to say the judgment itself requires a result: review and reconsideration, and it hasn't happened yet,’ she said. The Columbia law scholar said she would be ‘astounded’ if the United States did not argue first that the ICJ no longer has jurisdiction because the case ended four years ago and raised objections as well to any measures for delaying executions.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Broadcom co-founder Samueli pleads guilty in stock options fraud case
June 24, 2008
BYLINE: E. Scott Reckard and Christopher Goffard
“Technology billionaire and philanthropist Henry Samueli pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of lying to regulators about his role in an alleged plot to secretly reward his Broadcom Corp. employees by manipulating stock options. … ‘There are people who come back from criminal convictions, but usually only after a long period of penance and full admission of responsibility,’ said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor and expert in white-collar crime. ‘But if he continues to give away a billion dollars in a thoughtful manner, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who will forgive him.’ … Columbia University's Coffee noted that it was common for white-collar defendants to be charged not for what they originally did but for their actions afterward. That happened with Samueli. ‘Most of these high-powered people who rise to that level of stature have perfected their ability to talk their way out of problems,’ Coffee said. ‘That's a fatal mistake when you're dealing with the government. You've got to shut up.’ ”

BLOOMBERG: Apollo's Leon Black Sued By Huntsman Over Broken Deal
June 23, 2008
BYLINE: Jason Kelly and Jack Kaskey
“Leon Black, founder of Apollo Management LP, was sued for more than $3 billion by Huntsman Corp., escalating the fight over his attempt to abandon a takeover of the chemicals maker. … ‘It's an attempt by the seller to get the case out of Delaware and into a friendlier court,’ said John Coffee, a Columbia University Law School professor. ‘In a one-horse town, it's usually predictable who the judge will be. This follows the game plan for Clear Channel.’ ”

CRAIN’S FINANCIAL WEEK: Low odds for NYSE effort to ease SarbOx
June 23, 2008
BYLINE: Neil Roland
“NYSE Euronext plans to lobby Congress next year to relax the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for small and mid-size companies. … ‘I doubt that Congress would be receptive to arguments for change because they have too little merit,’ Columbia University law professor Harvey Goldschmid, a former Securities and Exchange Commission member, said in an interview. … In addition to Mr. Goldschmid, other securities-policy experts who predicted the NYSE would have little success in swaying Congress to modify Sarbanes-Oxley were New York University economics professor Lawrence White, Columbia University law professor John Coffee and Georgetown University law professors Donald Langevoort and James Angel.”

REUTERS: Dealtalk: BCE's banks and buyers value money over reputation
June 23, 2008
BYLINE: Jessica Hall
“At the end of the day for Wall Street, the only thing that matters is money. … ‘The legal battle has ended, we are now turning to the economic battle. Both the private equity and lenders are no longer as interested in the deal as they once were,’ said Columbia University Law School Professor John Coffee.”

BROADCASTING & CABLE: Free Press to Debut
June 23, 2008
BYLINE: John Eggerton
“Free Press Tuesday will launch an initiative to get the public at large better informed about and more involved in the broadband-rollout debate. … Among those slated to make appearances in support of the initiative are FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, Google chief technology evangelist (yes, that is the title) Vint Cerf, Free Press' Josh Silver and others familiar to the witness lists of Hill hearings on the Internet, including Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig and Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu.”



FINANCIAL TIMES: How the food crisis could solve the Doha round
June 23, 2008
BYLINE: Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya
“With the Doha trade round in danger of slipping from our grasp, the temptation is to grab hold of any opportunities for optimism. It has therefore become commonplace to assert that the food crisis, while a tragedy, is a shot in the arm for Doha. But of the three arguments that can be offered in support of such a pleasing proposition, only one passes muster; and even in this case, the argument is not a slam-dunk. … Jagdish Bhagwati, university professor, Columbia University, and senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, has just published Termites in the Trading System: How Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade (Oxford).”

NEW YORK TIMES: To the Trenches: The Tort War Is Raging On
June 22, 2008
BYLINE: Jonathan D. Glater
“IN a Washington ballroom bedecked with flags honoring explorers who overcame oceans and mountains to pursue international trade, Thomas J. Donohue congratulated the assembled modern merchants — a group of executives, lobbyists and lawyers — for challenging a more mundane adversary. … The tort wars over such questions have waxed and waned for decades since the Industrial Revolution and the concurrent growth in industrial-scale accidents, said John Witt, a law professor at Columbia University. ‘There are commencement addresses at law schools in the 1890s,’ Professor Witt said, ‘where old railroad lawyers are lamenting the rise of a new class of oftentimes immigrant lawyers who don’t have access to the old ways of getting clients, and they strike out on this new business model’ of actively seeking clients and charging them a fee that is a percentage of whatever was won in court.”

Back to top

June 15 - 21, 2008

WASHINGTON POST: White House Dismissed Legal Advice On Detainees
June 21, 2008
BYLINE: Michael Abramowitz
“Senior lawyers inside and outside the Bush administration repeatedly warned the White House that it was risking judicial scrutiny of its detention policies in Guantanamo Bay if it did not pursue a more pragmatic legal strategy that considered the likely reaction of the Supreme Court. … ‘Through misjudgment and overreaching, the White House ended up with the very result it sought to avoid -- heavy judicial involvement and erosion of deference to the president's view of wartime necessities,’ said Matthew Waxman, who worked on detainee affairs at the State Department and the Pentagon before leaving last fall to teach law at Columbia University.”

REUTERS: Wall St. relieved but concerns over BCE deal remain
June 20, 2008
BYLINE: Anupreeta Das
“If relief was the first emotion the would-be buyers of BCE Inc…felt after Friday's court decision allowing the $34.1 billion deal to proceed, anxiety may have been the second. …  In an interview prior to the decision, Columbia University Law School Professor John Coffee said concerns about financing would continue to hamper the deal after the court ruling. ‘There probably will be some banks quite happy that the debt holders may be able to veto the transaction,’ he said.”

CNBC: Bear Stearns Hedge Fund Indictments
June 20, 2008
“Discussing the Bear Stearns hedge fund indictments, with Ross Intelisano, of Rich Intelisano LLP, and John Coffee, Columbia Law School professor.”

NEW YORK SUN: U.S. Sees Crime in the Credit Crisis
June 20, 2008
BYLINE: Julie Satow
“Marking what some say is the start of the criminalization of the credit crisis, federal prosecutors indicted two Bear Stearns hedge fund managers yesterday and announced that more than 400 real estate lawyers, appraisers, and brokers have been arrested in recent months. … ‘The defendants told investors that the market offered great “buying opportunities;” well, at the time it was true, irregardless of whether these hedge funds were very good vehicles to actually make those purchases,’ a professor of law at Columbia Law School, Merritt Fox, said. ‘There is a doctrine called puffing, where those selling securities put things in a good light, which is perfectly legal unless they say something dishonest.’ ”

NEW YORK TIMES: Balco Prosecutors Target Trainer’s Wife
June 20, 2008
BYLINE: Michael S. Schmidt and Duff Wilson
“Greg Anderson remained behind bars for 13 months rather than cooperate with prosecutors who wanted him to testify about performance-enhancing drugs he was suspected of giving Barry Bonds. … Daniel C. Richman, a professor of law at Columbia University and former federal prosecutor, described the letter to Gestas as ‘an unsubtle conversation starter.’ He added: ‘What the prosecutors are trying to do is send a signal to Anderson that he is not the only one that is at risk if he doesn’t cooperate, but his wife is exposed, too. Although it may be seen as a bluff, oftentimes the government has built up information on some other wrongdoing.’ ”

GLOBE AND MAIL: How IMET Found Its Groove
June 20, 2008
BYLINE: Paul Waldie
“Kevin Harrison almost made it as a professional hockey player. Now he is stickhandling one of the most problem-plagued RCMP units in the country, and he's hoping that a series of criminal charges laid yesterday in two high-profile cases of alleged corporate fraud will help improve its image. … ‘The proof is in the pudding: Can they convict these defendants?,’ said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University in New York. Canada's ‘track record in this regard has not been good, and convictions would mark a real departure from past performance,’ he said.”

BLOOMBERG: Ex-Bear Stearns Fund Managers Indicted for Fraud
June 19, 2008
BYLINE: Patricia Hurtado and Thom Weidlich
“Former Bear Stearns Cos. hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin were indicted for mail fraud and conspiracy in the first prosecution stemming from a federal investigation of last year's mortgage-market collapse. … ‘The e-mails tell a damning story of these managers' awareness of the dire state of the funds, even as they talked them up among investors,’ said Dan Richman, a former federal prosecutor and now a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. ‘There is a lot of political pressure on the Justice Department to move forward in this area.’ … Columbia Law School professor Richman said the defendants will likely ‘say that they were acting in good faith, based on a faulty understanding of the market.’ ”

NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER: Mortgage Fraud Sweep Nets Hundreds of Arrests
June 19, 2008
“JUDY WOODRUFF: The government's crackdown on mortgage fraud. Ray Suarez has our story. RAY SUAREZ: … For more on this, we turn to Dina Temple-Raston, who has been covering the indictments for NPR, and John Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia Law School.”

GUARDIAN: US elections: Obama eyes the millions by rejecting public financing
June 19, 2008
BYLINE: Daniel Nasaw
“Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama today said he would forgo public campaign financing for his general election fight against John McCain, relieving himself of spending limits and opening up the floodgates to millions of dollars in donations. … Obama is the first candidate since the public financing system was established by congress in 1974 to opt out of the system, said Richard Briffault, a campaign finance expert at Columbia University law school. … Obama is thus gambling that he'll be able to net more than $84m to fund his travel, advertising and staff in the two months between the late August convention in Denver and the November election. ‘Given how successful they have been, they can raise far more than that at low cost,’ Briffault said of Obama's fundraising team.”

MARKETWATCH: There will be blood
June 19, 2008
“The public has heard a lot about, but not much from, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, the two Bear Stearns managers accused of misleading investors of hedge funds that ultimately imploded last year. … ‘As a case becomes well known, prospective jurors might hear of it and tend to assume guilt,’ said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University.”

AMERICAN LAWYER: Curtis Mallet's Oil Baron
June 19, 2008
BYLINE: Daphne Eviatar
“It was a dreary January afternoon,and George Kahale was looking forward to a relaxing deep-tissue massage and some decompression in the steam room at his Manhattan gym. … ‘You have a very complex international investment law system, which is evolving very rapidly,’ says Karl Sauvant, executive director of the Columbia Program on International Investment. ‘You really need top-of-the-line expertise to understand what is happening.’”

FOX NEWS: Watchdog Web Site Goes After the Mormon and Scientology Churches
June 18, 2008
BYLINE: Michael Park
“ — a watchdog Web site that leaks corporate and government documents — hasn't officially launched, yet it has already uncovered human-rights violations in China, claimed to have swayed Kenya's Dec. 2007 elections and exposed the inner workings of the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. … If it were to come to a legal battle in the U.S. with either the Scientologists or the Mormons, Columbia University intellectual-law professor Jane Ginsburg said, Wikileaks likely would claim strong protections under U.S. fair-use laws, which give leeway for whistle-blowing groups that use even copyrighted materials to back up their claims of corruption or abuse.”

SWISS TV: Ehemaliger UBS-Angestellter vor US-Gericht (Prof. John Coffee at 2:03)
June 18, 2008
HOST: Arthur Honegger
"Der angeklagte, ehemalige UBS-Kundenberater Bradley Birkenfeld will Informationen an die amerikanische Justiz weitergeben."

REUTERS: Canada court grills BCE, bondholders over buyout
June 18, 2008
BYLINE: Randall Palmer
“Canada's top court delayed a ruling on Tuesday on whether to approve or reject the buyout of the country's largest telecom company, BCE Inc …, a decision that could elevate the rights of bondholders and make takeovers more difficult. … Columbia University Law School Professor John Coffee said the court's reserving of judgment was not a surprise. ‘This isn't something you can just snap judgment on,’ he said. ‘If the decision (against BCE) gets reversed, Wall Street goes back to its existing expectations.’”

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: America for sale?
June 17, 2008
ANCHOR: Brian Williams
“BRIAN WILLIAMS: Right now the dollar is very weak compared to other currencies around the world. … JOHN COFFEE: I think it’s a long-term trend that we’re going to see more and more foreign acquisitions within the U.S., and these will include the so-called iconic brand names.”



June 17, 2008
BYLINE: James Barron
“The speaker was Marvin Markus, the chairman of the New York City Rent Guidelines Board….He was presiding at the second of two scheduled public hearings that gave landlords and tenants a microphone and three minutes…. Mary McCune, a staff lawyer at the Columbia University-Legal Services for New York City West Harlem Community Advocacy Partnership, said she has seen ‘drastic changes’ in the three years she has worked in Harlem…”
The partnership is run under the direction of Ellen P. Chapnick, Columbia Law School’s
Dean for Social Justice Initiatives.
NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: SEC Diplomacy (subscription required)
June 16, 2008

BYLINE: John C. Coffee Jr.
“Few federal agencies conduct their own foreign policy, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as usual, is a case apart. Earlier this year, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McGreevy agreed on the outlines of a common policy, known as ‘mutual recognition,’ under which the SEC will grant foreign exchanges and broker-dealers liberalized access to the U.S. market without requiring them to register with the SEC. In effect, the SEC will rely on the foreign regulator's standards and oversight capability, but only if the foreign regulator qualifies in the SEC's judgment as a ‘high-quality regulatory regime.’ To implement this new policy, the SEC plans to negotiate a ‘memorandum of understanding’ on a country-by-country basis with those countries that it deems to possess adequate regulatory systems. Negotiations are already well under way with Australia, whose memorandum the SEC hopes will serve as a template for future negotiations. … John C. Coffee Jr. is the Adolf A. Berle Professor at Columbia University Law School and director of its Center on Corporate Governance.”


AMERICAN UNIVERSITY RADIO: The Diane Rehm Show: Detention of Terrorism Suspects (Prof. Waxman at 9:48)
June 16, 2008
HOST: Diane Rehm
“Tuesday the Senate will hold hearings on the origins of harsh interrogation techniques and last Thursday Guantanamo prisoners won the right to challenge their detention in federal courts. … Guests: … Matthew Waxman, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs (2004-2005); also held high ranking positions in the Department of State and National Security Council; currently, professor of law at Columbia University.”

FINANCIAL WEEK: SEC preparing to lasso credit rating agencies
June 16, 2008
BYLINE: Neil Roland
“The Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to approve rules to tighten oversight of credit rating agencies, including a controversial plan to create a different rating system for complex securities that is opposed by a Republican commissioner and a Wall Street group, according to several observers. … One reason the rules appear likely be approved: The commissioner who opposed the rating system plan, Paul Atkins, has announced his retirement and will probably be gone by the time the rules are considered, said Columbia University law professor John Coffee and Georgetown University law professor James Angel. … ‘The rules should be easily adopted,’ Mr. Coffee said. … ‘I think the Democrats will have no problem with this proposal,’ Mr. Coffee said. And Mr. Paredes ‘may not want to cross the chairman on his first vote,’ assuming Mr. Cox continues to support the proposals, he added.”

NEW YORK TIMES: The Associated Press to Set Guidelines for Using Its Articles in Blogs
June 15, 2008
BYLINE: Saul Hansell
“The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright. … ‘The principal question is whether the excerpt is a substitute for the story, or some established adaptation of the story,’ said Timothy Wu, a professor at the Columbia Law School. Mr. Wu said that the case is not clear-cut, but he believes that The A.P. is likely to lose a court case to assert a claim on that issue. ‘It’s hard to see how the Drudge Retort ‘first few lines’ is a substitute for the story,’ Mr. Wu said.”

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Should telecoms patrol Internet?
June 15, 2008
BYLINE: Elise Ackerman
“Forget that warm and fuzzy slogan about reaching out and touching someone. The biggest U.S. telephone company is increasingly pitching its ability to keep the bad guys away. … The security services are ‘a form of centralized control that can be misused,’ said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School. ‘But the general consensus is that when these are done in good faith for the purpose of preventing attacks on the network, that's great.’”

MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: America's prison for terrorists often held the wrong men
June 15, 2008
BYLINE: Tom Lasseter
“The militants crept up behind Mohammed Akhtiar as he squatted at the spigot to wash his hands before evening prayers at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. … In late 2004, Pentagon officials decided to restrict further interrogations at Guantanamo to detainees who were considered ‘high value’ for their suspected knowledge of terrorist groups or their potential of returning to the battlefield, according to Matthew Waxman, who was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, the Defense Department's head official for detainee matters, from August 2004 to December 2005. ‘Maybe three-quarters of the detainees by 2005 were no longer regularly interrogated,’ said Waxman, who's now a law professor at Columbia University.”

ORLANDO SENTINEL: Puerto Rico wants U.N. to prod U.S. on island's fate
June 15, 2008
BYLINE: Jeannette Rivera-lyles
“The stage is almost set for Puerto Rico to make its case for self-determination before a worldwide audience. … ‘The struggle against colonialism requires getting the world's attention and the nation's attention,’ said Christina Duffy-Burnett, a constitutional expert at Columbia University's law school. ‘But . . . it is Congress that holds the key to solving Puerto Rico's problem.’”

BRIAN LEITER'S LAW SCHOOL REPORTS: Graetz from Yale to Columbia
June 15, 2008
BYLINE: Brian Leiter

“Michael Graetz, perhaps the leading senior figure in tax law in the U.S., at Yale Law School has accepted a senior offer from Columbia Law School.”

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June 8 - 14, 2008

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: Foreign Policy: A Campaign Primer
Issue of June 13, 2008
BYLINE: David Glenn
“Presidential campaigns are usually eager to provide mind-numbingly detailed domestic-policy proposals. … Michael W. Doyle, a professor of law and political science at Columbia University, agrees that preventive war can sometimes be legitimate, but he believes the Iraq war has been illegitimate and disastrous. In Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict (Princeton University Press, May), Doyle argues that when potential threats arise, governments should hold open and honest debates both domestically and before the U.N. Security Council. He concedes that the Security Council might sometimes wrongly veto a proposed preventive action — but even so, he says, nations should go through the channels of legitimate international organizations.”

June 13, 2008
HOSTS: John Hockenberry and Adaora Udoji
Today legal scholars are trying to take a look at an historic decision that the Supreme Court handed down and understand its true significance. … Sarah Cleveland is Columbia Law School’s Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights.”

WASHINGTON POST: Administration Strategy for Detention Now in Disarray
June 13, 2008
BYLINE: Michael Abramowitz
“In the days following the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush and his advisers sought to create an unprecedented parallel system to detain suspected terrorists far from the normal scrutiny of the U.S. judiciary. … Matthew Waxman, a Columbia University law professor who formerly worked on detainee policy in the Bush administration, said he hopes the court's decision will present an opportunity to address problems at Guantanamo Bay. ‘This administration has repeatedly passed up opportunities to work with Congress and our allies on sensible detention policies,’ he said. ‘The long-term result has been to strengthen neither presidential power nor our counterterrorism policies.’”

WASHINGTON POST: Detainees Now Have Access to Federal Court
June 13, 2008
BYLINE: Josh White and Del Quentin Wilber
“Defense attorneys for the 270 detainees at Guantanamo Bay said the Supreme Court decision yesterday that granted detainees habeas corpus rights was a watershed moment that will allow the men, some held for as long as 6 1/2 years, to challenge their detentions before a civilian judge. … ‘The most problematic cases are going to be those that fall in that middle, those who are unlikely to be prosecuted, yet are unlikely to be transferred or released anytime soon,’ said Matthew Waxman, a Columbia University law professor who oversaw detainee affairs at the Pentagon earlier in the Bush administration. ‘The big question is: What next? I hope the government uses this as an opportunity to turn the page on Guantanamo.’”

NEW YORK TIMES: Detention Camp Remains, but Not Its Rationale
June 13, 2008
BYLINE: William Glaberson
“The Guantánamo Bay detention center will not close today or any day soon. … ‘To the extent that Guantánamo exists to hold detainees beyond the reach of U.S. courts, this blows a hole in its reason for being,’ said Matthew Waxman, a former detainee affairs official at the Defense Department.

WALL SREET JOURNAL: High Court Rebuffs Bush Over Detainees
June 13, 2008
BYLINE: Jess Bravin
“The Supreme Court ruled that foreign prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay may challenge their detention before a federal judge, a historic decision that rebuffs the Bush administration's years-long effort to curtail the legal rights of terrorism suspects. … ‘One of the open questions is: What does this decision mean for detainees held elsewhere in the war on terror?’ said Matthew Waxman, a law professor at Columbia University and a former detainee-affairs chief in the Bush administration's Defense Department. ‘This should serve as a warning to this administration or the next that it needs to put its rules and policies on sound footing,’ he said.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Basis for offshore prison is undercut
June 13, 2008
BYLINE: Peter Spiegel and Josh Meyer
“The Bush administration may not be legally required to shut down its detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But now there appears to be little legal reason to keep it open. … ‘Given the history, I think there's likely to be intense debate within the administration over this question,’ said Matthew Waxman, a former Pentagon detainee affairs official who is now a law professor at Columbia University. ‘Will it happen in this administration? I hope so, but I'm pessimistic.’ … ‘A big argument for keeping Guantanamo open was to keep those detainees beyond the full reach of U.S. courts, and this decision rips that argument away,’ said Waxman, one of the former Pentagon officials.”

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: Law-and-order appointee now known for greater rights
June 13, 2008
BYLINE: Bill Ainsworth
“California Chief Justice Ronald George doesn't go before voters for confirmation for two years, but the November election could serve as a referendum on the two most important decisions of his 12-year tenure. … ‘This is a very traditional decision,’ said Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York. ‘It rejects separate but equal relationship rules.’”

CNN: Situation Room
June 12, 2008
ANCHOR: Wolf Blitzer; REPORTER: Mary Snow
“BLITZER: A bitter fight is shaping up right now as a European company is making an unsolicited take-over bid for one of America's most well known corporate brands. … JOHN COFFEE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: I think we have to recognize that we're in a global world. And in a global world, national boundaries don't count as much as they used to.”

NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL: Tax expert heads to Columbia Law School
June 12, 2008
BYLINE: Leigh Jones
“Columbia Law School has brought aboard tax expert Michael J. Graetz as a faculty member from Yale Law School.”

THE AM LAW DAILY: In Human Rights, the Cup Is Two-Thirds Full
June 12, 2008
BYLINE: Michael Goldhaber
“…Last night Columbia Law School (itself celebrating a sesquicentennial) marked the tenth year of its Human Rights Institute with a good-news-bad-news panel discussion by Columbia University alumni in the field of human rights, held at New York's Morgan Library. Peter Rosenblum, who codirects the Human Rights Institute, framed the discussion with a nostalgic lament.”

SNL INTERACTIVE: SEC proposes new rules for ratings game
June 11, 2008
BYLINE: Zach Carter
“The SEC on June 11 held an open meeting to consider a package of new rules intended to foster competition among credit rating agencies and improve public disclosures concerning rating methodologies and procedures, but some legal experts believe the rules will do little to improve an industry that has seen its reputation badly tarnished by the subprime mortgage crisis. ‘They're fairly modest and marginal,’ Columbia University Law School professor John Coffee told SNL in a recent interview, referring to the proposed rules. ‘The SEC essentially felt that they don't have to take any significant steps.’ Coffee added, ‘We're not going to have either housing finance or securitized finance get on its feet again, or have rating agencies be made more credible without some stronger interventions.’”


June 11, 2008
“Michael J. Graetz, the Justus S. Hotchkiss Professor of Law at Yale, is leaving Yale after nearly 25 years to join the faculty at Columbia in 2009. …This is an enormous loss for Yale, especially when coupled with Anne Alstott's move to Harvard.”

FORTUNE: The man who beat the SEC
June 11, 2008
BYLINE: Telis Demos
“Phil Goldstein became a hedge fund manager thanks to a pair of gray sweatpants. … To protect themselves, hedge funds' Web sites offer only bare-bones information to the public - no description of holdings and certainly no information about returns. ‘The worry is that investors will get their appetites whetted and will try to buy into hedge funds in a secondary market,’ says John C. Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University. ‘The Web changes everything and makes it possible to sell things and resell to the entire world.’”

BUSINESS NEWS NETWORK: SqueezePlay (clip begins at 20:07)
June 10, 2008
HOST: Paul Waldie
“The Democratic Republic of Congo is a rich company when it comes to resources. … Peter Rosenblum is a professor at Columbia Law School and joins us from New York.”

CNN: Lou Dobbs: America for Sale? (Prof. John C. Coffee at 1:17)
June 10, 2008
REPORTER: Kitty Pilgrim


SLATE: iSurrender
June 10, 2008

“If my iPhone were a motorcycle, she'd be a chopper. I'm the owner of an unlocked, jail-broken iPhone 1.3 that runs on the T-Mobile network, fortified with third-party apps (like Tap Tap Revolution), adorned with Death Star wall paper, and running a natty customized interface named "Manhattan." Sure, not everything works perfectly (recently, the clock went off by an hour or so, for no apparent reason). But that's part of the fun of iPhone-modding, a vibrant scene that resembles the Apple II culture of the 1980s. Unfortunately, for me at least, it may all be coming to an end. After Monday's iPhone 2.0 debut, it's just a matter of time before I trade in my chopper phone for Apple's new 3G phone—and swallow that AT&T contract. … Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet?


PIONEER PRESS: Net hogs may have to shell out more
June 9, 2008
BYLINE: Leslie Brooks Suzukamo
“Should people who hog Internet bandwidth pay more than others for Internet access? At least one champion of open access thinks it might not be a bad idea. Usually, Internet intellectuals and cable companies get along like high-voltage power lines and water, but Comcast and Time Warner's tests to throttle Internet bandwidth hogs could make sense, says Tim Wu, a frequent critic of the cable and telecom industries. Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, was in Minneapolis Friday at the National Conference for Media Reform to talk about the future of the Internet. He said the tests recently announced by the cable companies do not violate ‘Net neutrality,’ the notion he popularized that says network service providers should not be allowed to favor certain Web sites or content over others by blocking access or giving priority.”

BOSTON GLOBE: I now pronounce you . . . friend and friend
June 8, 2008
BYLINE: Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
“IN THE AMERICAN hierarchy of relationships, friendship often seems distinctly second-class. … ‘There is an ethos that if something is important, the law should be on the scene,’ says Katherine Franke, a law professor at Columbia. ‘I think we should resist that urge.’”

MIAMI HERALD: Panel at NSU debates Puerto Rico's future
June 8, 2008
BYLINE: Lisa Bolivar
“Why are Puerto Ricans, who are United States citizens, pay taxes and vote in presidential primaries, not allowed the right of representation or a vote in the general election? … The talk attracted a capacity crowd who came to hear panelists Dr. Pedro Rosselló, former governor of Puerto Rico and current senator; Christina Duffy, law professor at Columbia University; Anthony Suarez, Barry University law professor who was Florida's first Puerto Rican legislator; and moderator Ediberto Roman, associate dean at Florida International University. … ‘Puerto Ricans pay federal taxes, Social Security, but they have no voice,’ Duffy said. ‘They do not pay federal income taxes, but they get fewer federal benefits, too. So Puerto Ricans have three issues before them: welcome full statehood, obtain independent status and become their own country, or retain their commonwealth status. But no political party in Puerto Rico supports the way things are now.’”

ARS TECHNICA: Tim Wu: iPhone central to ‘future of the Internet’
June 8, 2008
BYLINE: Nate Anderson
“At a conference this weekend, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law School prof who has done so much to popularize ideas about wired and wireless network neutrality, called Apple's iPhone the device ‘at the center of the battle for the future of the Internet.’ Wu was speaking at the National Conference for Media Reform here in Minneapolis, put on by the media reform group Free Press (Wu has just become chair of the Free Press board). It's not that he doesn't like the iPhone; he does, he owns one, and he's jailbroken it. The problem is control, or, more accurately, the lack of control that device users have over their own devices.”

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June 1 - 7, 2008

NEW YORK TIMES: Mukasey Declines to Create a U.S. Task Force to Investigate Mortgage Fraud
June 6, 2008
BYLINE: Eric Lichtblau
“Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey rejected on Thursday the idea of creating a national task force to combat the country’s mortgage fraud crisis, calling the problem a localized one akin to ‘white-collar street crimes.’ … John C. Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in corporate law, said that so far, the office of the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, appeared to have adopted a more aggressive approach to investigating possible mortgage fraud by major Wall Street firms than have his federal counterparts. ‘One area the attorney general should be concerned about is securities fraud at the core of our investment banking system,’ Professor Coffee said. ‘The allegation that deserves attention is that these firms were knowingly packaging these securities with the knowledge that the quality of the collateral had materially deteriorated without disclosing that change.’ The practice, he added, appears to reflect ‘a systemic problem, with the red lights blinking.’”

FORBES: Lipstick On A Pig
June 6, 2008
BYLINE: Maurna Desmond
“One of the things that made the American subprime crisis a crisis was the availability of mortgages to borrowers with dubious credit histories. … ‘Ordinarily, lenders have no interest in inflating a borrower's credit score, except when they are eager to assign their mortgages to underwriters who will securitize them and sell them in portfolios to investors all over the globe, said John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School who specializes in securities. ‘Lenders are subject to a moral-hazard problem because they have no reason to care about their borrowers' creditworthiness so long as they can quickly pass the loan along to remote investors.’ Coffee said that if there isn't proper disclosure that credit scores are being propped up, then investors who buy the mortgage-backed bonds are being defrauded. ‘If this kind of practice reduces the overall quality of a mortgage-backed security, and it later defaults, then someone is likely liable for materially misleading statements in the offering documents and this could be either the loan originator or the underwriter, or, most likely, both.’ … ‘Everybody knows how the Fair Isaac score works, more or less, so people are able to manipulate it,’ said Ronald Mann, a professor of law at Columbia University who specializes in commercial matters. ‘Indeed, several businesses have been built over the last few years based on that premise.’”

PSYCHIATRIC NEWS: With Precautions, Psychiatrists Need Not Shun off-Label Prescribing
June 6, 2008
“By focusing on patient care and providing appropriate informed consent, consultation-liaison psychiatrists can protect themselves from liability lawsuits regarding the use of antipsychotics and other medications for indications not approved by the Food and Drug Administratio (FDA). … The essential elements of informed consent are diagnosis, the nature and purpose of the proposed treatment, risks and benefits of the treatment, and alternatives to proposed treatment and their risks and benefits, according to Paul Appelbaum, M.D., the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law and director of the Division of Psychiatry, Law, and Ethics at Columbia University. … ‘The rule of thumb is to disclose major risks even if they are not terribly frequent and frequent risks even if they are not terribly major,’ Appelbaum recommended. Priapism due to trazodone, for example, has been a reason for many liability lawsuits against psychiatrists because of alleged lack of warning and clearly falls into the rare but major category, Appelbaum and Levenson agreed. Further complicating the informed consent practice is the question of the competence of patients with psychosis or dementia. Appelbaum suggested that psychiatrists apply the same judgment when informing a patient's family as they would when informing a competent patient. Appelbaum suggested the following wording as one of many effective ways to begin a discussion with patients about off-label prescriptions: ‘You should know that this medication hasn't been approved by the FDA for this purpose. We don't think of that as a major issue. Several studies have shown it's effective, and it's commonly used in these situations. But if you have any questions about that, I'd be happy to answer them.’”

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: New charges could be factor in Fumo case
June 5, 2008
BYLINE: Emilie Lounsberry and Craig R. McCoy
“State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo's legal predicament worsened today when federal prosecutors disclosed that a longtime Fumo confidant, jammed up with his own criminal tax problem, had agreed to cooperate with the government. … Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Columbia University Law School, said that turning a close associate like Cain could provide the government with a ‘major advantage’ at Fumo's trial. Along with their intimate factual knowledge, Richman said, such cooperators can provide a kind of personal narrative that makes dry documentary evidence come to life, connecting the dots for a jury. On the other hand, Richman said, Fumo's defense lawyers could argue that Cain's admitted status as tax cheat means that he shouldn't be trusted on the stand. Moreover, he said, the defense was sure to focus on the incentives for Cain in his deal with prosecutors.”

FORBES: Mixing Drugs And Stock Options
June 5, 2008
BYLINE: Wendy Tanaka and Elizabeth Corcoran
“Message to executives: Watch what's in that drink. … Legal observers suggested Wednesday that pairing the stock-options charges against Nicholas and Ruele with drug charges (just against Nicholas) was a bit of theatrics designed to hammer home a message. This is a ‘talking indictment,’ says John Coffee, professor of law at Columbia University. ‘It's done to influence the jury and press.’”

PC MAGAZINE: The Top Tech Issues of the Presidential Campaign
June 5, 2008
BYLINE: Chloe Albanesius
“The economy, the war in Iraq, healthcare, and … Net neutrality? … The term, coined by Columbia law professor Tim Wu, is the idea that everyone, regardless of prowess or financial standing, should have equal access to the Internet.”

NEW YOKR SUN: Straws in The Wind: The Atlantic Alliance
June 5, 2008
BYLINE: Daniel Johnson
“Will senior members of the Bush administration ever set foot on British territory again? … I just spent an evening at the London School of Economics for a lecture by Columbia Law Professor and Presidential Adviser Philip Bobbitt about his new book ‘Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century.’”

SPECTATOR: ‘If there’s a vote of no confidence on 42 days, we’ll win’
June 4, 2008
BYLINE: Matthew D’Ancona
“In a government stuffed with malfunctioning robots, nervous wrecks and preening Fauntleroys, Jacqui Smith shows every sign of being a fully paid-up member of the human race. … The Home Secretary is pursuing what Philip Bobbitt in his masterly new book Terror and Consent calls a ‘preclusive’ strategy: ‘stockpiling laws as well as vaccines’, as he puts it.”

BLOOMBERG: Ex-UBS Banker, Rating Fees, Lehman Denial: Compliance
June 4, 2008
BYLINE: Lisa Brennan
“Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS AG banker set to plead guilty for his role in a tax-evasion scheme, has talked for more than a year with federal prosecutors as they probe whether the bank helped wealthy Americans conceal income. … Columbia Law Professor John Coffee said yesterday that ‘the government will want considerable cooperation from UBS before it's willing to give the bank a deferred prosecution resolution.’ Coffee said that others are undoubtedly implicated in the scheme, since Birkenfeld has been talking to prosecutors for over a year and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9, but federal prosecutors ‘almost certainly will not say, as they want others to fear the worst and possibly agree to cooperate themselves.’ Birkenfeld will be expected to testify at any trials that may result, Coffee said. ‘But he has already told the prosecutors what they want to know,’ Coffee said.”

AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA: Marketplace: Lehman Bros. considers raising capital
June 3, 2008
HOST: John Dimsdale
“KAI RYSSDAL: The financial fallout from the subprime mortgage mess continues to rain down on Wall Street. … JOHN COFFEE: I wouldn't predict any imminent danger for Lehman. [DIMSDALE]: Columbia University's John Coffee says accumulating capital may merely be Lehman's way of making itself more expensive and therefore less attractive to buy. COFFEE: Lehman is uniquely positioned as the last independent bank that's within the range of the takeover market and by raising capital, it makes that at least marginally more difficult.”

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL: Newsbriefs: NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Joins Fulbright
June 3, 2008
BYLINE: Anthony Lin
“The legal director and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund has joined Fulbright & Jaworski as of counsel in New York. Theodore M. Shaw was a lawyer with the fund for more than 26 years, and the civil rights law group's director-counsel and president for the last four. … Mr. Shaw also has held teaching positions at the University of Michigan Law School, where he helped design the affirmative action policy upheld in 2003 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Columbia Law, where he will continue to hold a full-time position as professor of professional practice.”

This also was reported on the Web site of the National Law Journal on June 3.       

June 2, 2008
HOST: Marty Moss-Coane
“When is a pre-emptive war justified? We'll talk with MICHAEL DOYLE author of Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict. Doyle, who lives in Philadelphia, is a professor of International Affairs, Law, and Political Science at Columbia University in New York City. In his new book, he looks the criteria nations have most often used to justify first-strike wars, and how the Bush Doctrine expanded the conditions of when the US could launch a war. Doyle argues that 9/11 was a wake up call for the U.S. but that the Bush Doctrine went too far, and we should rethink when we launch a preemptive war.”

WASHINGTON POST: When Disadvantages Collide
June 2, 2008
BYLINE: Shankar Vedantam
“One hundred forty-three years ago, women's suffrage advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton faced a conundrum: With the Civil War over, Stanton had to decide whether to support the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, which enabled black men to vote -- at a time when white women such as herself still did not have that right. … Without the support of the racists, the amendment might have failed, said Kimberle Crenshaw, professor of constitutional and civil rights law at Columbia University and UCLA. … ‘At the end of the day, what is winning and what is losing?’ asked Crenshaw. ‘Yes, the 19th Amendment happened, but feminism lost its soul in the process.’ … Whether you are talking about Obama supporters such as Oprah Winfrey, or Clinton supporters such as Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), Crenshaw said, black women are accused of treachery: Clinton supporters are accused of being race traitors and Obama supporters are accused of being traitors to their sex. … ‘Who do you blame, who are you angry at?’ Crenshaw asked. ‘When you have a feminist who says, 'I will be damned if Sambo gets in before me,' she is mad at him.’”

Professor Crenshaw participated in an online discussion with the reporter today. Transcript available at

June 2, 2008
HOST: Marty Moss-Coane
“When is a pre-emptive war justified? We'll talk with MICHAEL DOYLE author of Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict. Doyle, who lives in Philadelphia, is a professor of International Affairs, Law, and Political Science at Columbia University in New York City. In his new book, he looks the criteria nations have most often used to justify first-strike wars, and how the Bush Doctrine expanded the conditions of when the US could launch a war. Doyle argues that 9/11 was a wake up call for the U.S. but that the Bush Doctrine went too far, and we should rethink when we launch a preemptive war.”

PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES: Book Reviews: The Trial in American Life
June 2008 Vol. 59 No. 6
BYLINE: Michael C. Harlow, M.D., J.D.
“The book The Trial in American Life examines the impact of high-profile trials on American culture. In this book, Robert Ferguson, a professor of law, literature, and criticism at Columbia University, explores how popular trials develop into an expression of consensus and discord for American society, with public sentiment often affecting a trial’s development and outcome.”

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