Morning Docket: 07.03.20

(Image via Getty)

* Tennessee has become the second state in the country to delay the administration of the summer bar exam. [Nashville Post]

* A New Jersey lawyer has been disbarred for converting $92,000 from his attorney trust account. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* A Manhattan judge (before whom I argued my first motion years ago!) has dismissed a conservative group’s defamation lawsuit against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. [New York Daily News]

* Joe Biden’s campaign is preparing an army of lawyers as part of voter protection efforts. [CNN]

* The ACLU has filed a lawsuit seeking to delay an execution because the inmate’s Buddhist priest is at risk of complications should he contract COVID-19. Have to give props to those lawyers for a creative argument. [Hill]


Jordan Rothman is a partner of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diaries, a website discussing how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan through email at jordan@rothmanlawyer.com.

‘This Is A Very Complicated Case, Maude. You Know, A Lotta Ins, A Lotta Outs, Lotta What-Have-Yous’ — See Also

Editor’s Note: Due to the holiday, Above the Law will not be publishing tomorrow. That also means this ends ATL’s unofficial week-long See Also tribute to the Big Lebowski. Something I’m pretty sure only Joe Patrice and I cared about.

Latest Twist In Highly Publicized Vandalism Case: Attorneys arrested for throwing a molotov cocktail get to go home.

Why Is The Federal Judiciary So Homogenous? And what can we do about it.

Zoom Life Is Here To Stay: What you need to know.

The Lawsuit Over Aunt Jemima: And her legacy.

Firm With An ‘Aggressive Growth Trajectory’

Ed. Note: Welcome to our daily feature Trivia Question of the Day!

According to data collected by the 2020 NLJ 500 ranking, which law firm increased its headcount by an impressive 40.8 percent?

Hint: The managing partner said in October, “We’re on an aggressive growth trajectory,” and last year, the immigration-focused firm began an alliance with Deloitte.

See the answer on the next page.

Simon & Schuster Wins Another Round As Appeals Court Lifts Stay On Mary Trump’s Book

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Odds that George Conway gets his wish to review an advance copy of Mary Trump’s book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man (affiliate link) went up substantially yesterday as Presiding Justice Alan D. Scheinkman of the Supreme Court of New York’s Appellate Division revoked the temporary restraining order against Simon & Schuster.

The president’s brother Robert Trump, the putative plaintiff seeking to halt publication of the tell-all about the president and his family, argued in his motion for a TRO that Simon & Schuster is an “agent” of Mary Trump. Which was probably news to her actual agent, Jay Mandel of WME, who sold the book to S&S at auction. But more to the point, none of the case law has treated the publisher as an “agent” of an author, and saying it doesn’t magically make it so. The government was unable to persuade a court that S&S was John Bolton’s “agent” two weeks ago, and the Trump family won’t have any better luck this time.

“While the plaintiff has alleged, in effect, that S&S is Ms. Trump’s agent, the evidence submitted is insufficient for this Court to determine whether the plaintiff is likely to succeed in establishing that claim,” Justice Scheinkman wrote. “So, while the plaintiff is entitled to have the temporary restraining order bind any agent of the plaintiff, this Court will not name S&S as being such an agent.”

Because S&S is neither party to the confidentiality agreement entered into when the family settled its legal dispute over patriarch Fred Trump’s will, nor an agent of Mary Trump, it can’t be bound by the 20-year-old document.

S&S is not a party to the settlement agreement. The only basis offered by the plaintiff to extend the temporary restraining order to S&S are the allegations that S&S “intends to act” on Ms. Trump’s behalf in causing the publication of the book and that S&S is acting at Ms. Trump’s direction and in concert with her. However, these allegations are conclusory and not supported by any specific factual averments. Unlike Ms. Trump, S&S has not agreed to surrender or relinquish any of its First Amendment rights.

And while this order only affects S&S, the claim for injunctive relief against Mary Trump isn’t looking all that steady either. Noting that “whatever legitimate public interest there may have been in the family disputes of a real estate developer and his relatives may be considerably heightened by that real estate developer now being President of the United States and a current candidate for re-election,” the court says it may have to review the manuscript in camera to weigh the public interest against the family’s right to enforce a decades-old contract meant to protect its privacy.

So the order against Mary Trump stands, in modified form, pending a hearing next week and with the caveat that the lower court’s TRO “should be reassessed by the Supreme Court in view of the defendants’ answering papers.” Mary Trump’s counsel, First Amendment lawyer Ted Boutros, promises to file that answer today.

“It is very good news that the prior restraint against Simon & Schuster has been vacated, and we look forward to filing our brief tomorrow in the trial court explaining why the same result is required as to Ms. Trump, based on the First Amendment and basic contract law,” Boutros said yesterday.

But while the outcome of that hearing may impact Mary Trump’s ability to do publicity, it won’t restrain S&S from publishing. Which brings us back to George Conway, and the half of DC which will probably get its hands on an advance copy of the book within days.

Two weeks ago, the court refused to restrain publication of Bolton’s book based on the oft cited precedents of The Horse Is Out of the Barn and The Genie Is Out of the Bottle (cf. You Can’t Put the Toothpaste Back In the Tube). Too Much and Never Enough is scheduled for release on July 28, which means that it’s already started to ship to publishers and reviews and excerpts will soon appear in every major paper in the country. At which point the issue of prior restraint will be moot, because it won’t be prior any more.

So, while there are important First Amendment principles at stake here, as a practical matter, the TRO on Mary Trump is irrelevant. The book is coming out, and the only thing Donald AHEM we mean Robert Trump has achieved here is to bump it up to Number 4 on the Amazon bestseller charts. Which is just three spots behind John Bolton’s book.

Well played, President Streisand Effect.

Check out the decision here…


Elizabeth Dye (@5DollarFeminist) lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.

‘But Without 230 Reform, Websites Have No Incentive To Change!’ They Scream Into The Void As Every Large Company Pulls Ads From Facebook

One of the most frustrating lines that we hear from people criticizing internet website content moderation is the idea that thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, websites have no incentive to do any moderation. This is a myth that I consider to be the flip side of the claims by aggrieved conservatives insisting that Section 230 requires “no bias” in moderation decisions. The “no incentive” people are (often lawyers) complaining about too little moderation. For reasons I cannot comprehend, they seem to think that the only motivation for doing anything is if the law requires you to do it. We’ve tried to debunk this notion multiple times, and yet it comes up again and again. Just a couple weeks ago in a panel about Section 230, a former top Hollywood lobbyist trotted it out.

I’ve been thinking about that line a bunch over the past few days as a huge number of large companies began pulling ads from Facebook as part of a “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign put together by a bunch of non-profits.

Over 200 companies have said they’ve joined the campaign and pulled their Facebook ads, including some big names, like Unilever, Verizon, Hershey, The North Face, Clorox, Starbucks, Reebok, Pfizer, Microsoft, Levi’s, HP, Honda, Ford, Coca Cola and many, many more. Now, the cynical take on this is that with the current economic conditions and a global pandemic, many were looking to pull back on advertising anyway, and joining this campaign was a way to do so and get a bit of an earned media boost at the same time.

But many of the companies are putting out statements demanding that Facebook change its practices before they’ll bring back ads. Here’s an open letter from Levi’s:

As we near the U.S. election in November and double down on our own efforts to expand voter education and turnout, we are asking Facebook to commit to decisive change. Specifically, we want to see meaningful progress towards ending the amplification of misinformation and hate speech and better addressing of political advertisements and content that contributes to voter suppression. While we appreciate that Facebook announced some steps in this direction today – it’s simply not enough.

That’s why we are joining the #StopHateForProfit campaign, pausing all paid Facebook and Instagram advertising globally and across all our brands to “hit pause on hate.” We will suspend advertising at least through the end of July. When we re-engage will depend on Facebook’s response.

I’m not convinced this campaign is necessarily a good idea, but at the very least it should put an end to people — especially prominent experts — claiming that there is “no incentive” for sites to do a better job with their content moderation practices. There are always non-legal incentives, including keeping users happy — and also keeping advertisers happy.

‘But Without 230 Reform, Websites Have No Incentive To Change!’ They Scream Into The Void As Every Large Company Pulls Ads From Facebook

More Law-Related Stories From Techdirt:

Senate Waters Down EARN IT At The Last Minute; Gives Civil Liberties Groups No Time To Point Out The Many Remaining Problems
Brazil’s Proposed ‘Fake News’ Law Says Internet Users Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Demands Constant Logging From ISPs
Parler Speedruns The Content Moderation Learning Curve; Goes From ‘We Allow Everything’ To ‘We’re The Good Censors’ In Days

New Global Legal Tech Report Charts State of Legal Tech Across Asia-Pacific Region | LawSites

In April I reported on the release by the Global Legal Tech Report of its report on Australia, the first in a planned series of regional reports on legal tech worldwide, which will culminate in a global report in November.

Now, the GLTR has released reports covering Asia and New Zealand. When considered alongside the Australia report, they provide an overview of the state of legal tech across the Asia-Pacific region.

Taken together, the GLTR’s reports on Asia, Australia and New Zealand show that the majority of legal tech companies in the region are providers of integrated solutions rather than of point solutions.

  • In Asia, 67% are integrated solution providers as opposed to 23% that are point solution providers.
  • In Australia, 50% are integrated solution providers versus 33% that are point solution providers.
  • In New Zealand, 54% are integrated solution providers versus 38 percent that are point solution providers.

But while the broad types of products are similar across the region, there was notable variance when companies were asked how they classify their products. In Asia, the largest segment of products are document automation (56%), compliance (41%), practice management (41%), legal operations (38%) and collaboration (38%).

In Australia, the greatest number of products were in document automation (12%), legal operations (8%), legal analytics (6%), and then several products all at 5%: practice management, case management, expert systems, access to justice, collaboration, marketplace, compliance, client relationship management and knowledge management.

In New Zealand, the dominant product types are compliance (62%) and knowledge management (54%), followed by document automation (46%), legal analytics (46%), and contract lifecycle management (31%).

Asian Companies Larger

Perhaps not surprisingly, legal tech companies in Asia are larger than those in Australia or New Zealand. In Asia, the average number of full-time employees at a legal tech company is 117.3, as opposed to 45.5 in Australia and 14.2 in New Zealand.

But on a median-employee basis, the differences are less drastic. Asian legal tech companies have a median number of 10 full-time employees, while those in Australia have 7.5 and those in New Zealand have eight.

With regard to access to funding, GLTR found that Asian and Australian companies have greater access than New Zealand companies. In Asia, 44% of legal tech companies say they have raised funds. In Australia, that number is 41% and in New Zealand it is 31%.

AI Not Dominant Tech

A particularly interesting section of these three Asia-Pac reports is one that looks at the technologies that underlie legal tech companies’ products. With so much attention given to artificial intelligence in law, the dominant technology is not AI but is database technology, with databases being the underlying technology for 77% of products in Asia, 42% of products in Australia, and 69% of products in New Zealand.

AI underlies 62% of products in Asia, 22% in Australia, and 23% in New Zealand.

In all three regions, legal tech companies are looking to expand sales of their products overseas. The reports show that this is true for 82% of Asian companies, 72% of Australian companies and 77% of New Zealand companies.

Few Founders Are Women

When I reported in April on the Australia report, I noted that one disappointing finding was that women are under-represented as founders or cofounders of legal tech companies, making up just 30%. While I was reporting on a preliminary version of the report, the current version puts the number of female founders in Australia even lower, at 21%.

In Asia, the number is only slightly better, with women making up 30% of founders, and in New Zealand, the number is lower, with women making up just 17% of founders.

Pricing Models

As for how these companies price their products, the most common models overall are licenses and user-based subscriptions. By region, the top three pricing models are:

  • Asia – license (16%), user-based subscription (16%), and both bundled pricing and usage-based subscription at 12%.
  • Australia – user-based subscription (21%), license (17%), and transaction fee (13%).
  • New Zealand – user-based subscription (23%), usage-based subscription (20%), and license (17%).

The three reports — which cover much more than I’ve discussed here — are available for purchase from the GLTR website at a cost of $399 each.

Due next is the report on Africa, with reports still to come on Europe, North and Central America, South America and the United Kingdom. A global report will be released later this year. All reports can be purchased as a bundle for $1,500.

Make Money Mondays: Replace What’s Not Coming Back With Something Better

In one fell swoop, COVID-19  put an end to salad bars, hot-food buffets and other types of self-serve operations that have become popularized in takeout restaurants and grocery stores over the past decade.  And even as establishments reopen, self-serve buffets may be thing of the past because it’s nearly impossible to control the spread of germs with shared-serving utensils and customers breathing all over the glass.

So what’s to become of the spaces that once housed buffets? On a recent trip to the Harris-Teeter near my house, I saw that the store had repurposed the hot food bar into a festive display of locally grown produce from area farmers’ markets.  Many customers, myself included were drawn to the colorful bounty which looks much more attractive than the dried out, greasy hot bar foods ever did.

As the pandemic ebbs and flows and normalcy starts to look a lot more like working from home, remote hearings and continued social distancing, law firms need to start thinking seriously about how to replace what’s old with something better. In other words, instead of just throwing up a client portal as a stop-gap, it may make more sense for firms to upgrade their online presence to make it more appealing.  Instead of preparing for in-person trials, firms may want to evaluate any benefits from online dispute resolution.  What’s more, as we go in that direction, maybe we will see some innovation in tools that are offered.

It’s going to be a long time before most people feel truly comfortable with in-person meetings.  To assume that September 2020 will look identical to September 2019 is irresponsibly optimistic.  It’s time to start thinking about business models that will work in uncertain time and start building that instead of going backwards.  Out with the old and in with the new.  As the display at Harris Teeter shows, the results can be spectacular.

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (So Let’s Talk Zoom)

Almost anyone, myself included, who spent a significant amount of time at any level of competitive policy debate, be it high school or college, likely has a soft spot for R.E.M.’s 1987 song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” This niche popularity stems from the almost assuredly apocryphal rumor that the lyrics were inspired after a member of the band witnessed some rounds at a high school debate tournament.  The connection would make sense since the cavalcade of horrors of which Michael Stipe sings in what could best be described as a verbal fever dream are, both in text and tempo, similar to what you can hear in the “tournament of lies” across high school and college campuses each weekend.

Sadly, what used to be limited to overtired students and college alt-rock bands can now be found on the front page, or for most people, the app version, of every newspaper in the country. A look at the general state of affairs in the United States at the halfway point of 2020 makes one wonder if we are all actually a portrait hidden away in a locked room, absorbing the sins of an unaging and outwardly happy alternate United States. The murder of yet another African-American, George Floyd, at the hands of, or in this case, the knees of, the Minneapolis police has touched off the largest public protests in the past half century of American history. In fact, these protests against racial injustice and police killings have spread throughout the world with the straightforward message that, unfortunately, goes unheeded by a portion of the population — Black Lives Matter.

In addition, Americans are enduring the worst economy since the Great Depression with unemployment forecast to stay at high levels for the foreseeable future. And lest we forget, as seemingly many Americans have, there’s COVID-19, which is killing hundreds of Americans each and every day.

Earlier this year, I mentioned to a colleague that my theme for 2020 was that “it is only going to get worse.” Prognostication is typically not my strong suit, see, e.g., the 2016 presidential election and every NCAA Men’s College Basketball bracket I have completed since elementary school in which I have Kansas as the eventual national champion — I did turn out to be rather prescient in 2008. However, while there is still six months remaining in 2020, I’m thinking I might have knocked this one out of the park.

Nor does it seem as if I am alone in my pessimism, as “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” once again charted on both the iTunes and Billboard Top 100. So in the face of these extraordinary times, it obviously makes sense to … talk about Zoom? Yes, discussing the intricacies of a video conferencing platform seems a bit out of place when the world is, both figuratively and literally, on fire, but seeing as how COVID-19 does not seem to dissipate based on collective boredom, we are all going to be Zooming for the foreseeable future.

Like many a failed media experiment, I recently pivoted to video, recording some Zoom interview tips for Vanderbilt Law students. Only those who are enrolled at VLS will get the rare opportunity in 2020 to see me wearing a shirt with buttons, but I can still relay some tips to the Above the Law readership that will hopefully help you stand out in your next Zoom interview.

The ubiquity of Zoom in our pandemic era is so vast, no less an authority than iconic fashion designer Tom Ford used the pages of the New York Times to provide tips on how to look one’s best on a computer screen.  Those historical tomes you promised you would finally get to during quarantine — but instead you have been binging 30 Rock on Peacock — are great for elevating a laptop so that the webcam is higher than your head and can be pointed down to your eyes. Ford also noted that lighting is key, thus a lamp in the background or even a selfie light affixed to the computer are vital to ensure that you can be seen during your interview.  A bit of face powder was the final suggestion, but I would say to follow that advice only if you know what you are doing. Legal employers are looking for future attorneys, not amateur clowns.

Surprisingly, the fashion designer did not discuss what people should wear on Zoom calls. Simply put, dress for a video interview in a manner similar to going to an in-person interview. This means not just the portion that will be visible on screen but proper dress from head to toe. While I can understand the desire to pair a shirt and tie with mesh shorts, employers have been known to ask candidates to stand up during video interviews to ensure they are dressed in a manner that indicates the interview is being taken seriously. Even if an employer does not engage in such an admittedly bizarre ritual, there is a significant chance you might have to get up in the midst of the interview, thus displaying the entirety of your outfit. I have to use both my hands to count the number of times since the onset of COVID-19 that I have had to get up during a Zoom meeting to pick up/tend to/deal with one of my kids.

While personal attire is important for a Zoom interview, it is equally important to be conscious of how the rest of what is on camera will look to the interviewer. In the absence of sporting events, evaluating the Zoom backdrops of total strangers appearing on TV has now become the great American pastime. Ideally, aim for something professional looking that has slightly more personality than a typical doctor’s office waiting room, while being careful not to go too far in the opposite direction either.  Attempting to secure long-term employment is not the time to deploy pictures from your trip to Niagara Falls as a virtual background. In addition, avoid the hostage-video look, as it is hard for an employer to determine if they want to hire a candidate if the interviewer is spending the entirety of the Zoom call trying to discern if secret messages are being blinked out in the hopes of liberation.

As for the interview itself, eye contact is of vital importance in an actual interview and the same holds true for an interview of Zoom. But remember that your webcam is not located directly on the face of your interviewer. Figure out where your webcam is located and affix your gaze there when answering questions. Next, make liberal use of the mute button. Do not turn on your audio when initially connecting and only keep it on when you are speaking. No need to subject your interviewer to the neighbor’s lawn mower or other background noises. But while the mute button should be frequently used, the same cannot be said for your video option. Avoid turning off your video unless absolutely necessary and make sure to inform your interviewer if you do need to turn it off for a moment.

While every in-the-webcam frame will be visible to your interviewer, that does not include everything in the room. Take advantage of that and have some notes just off screen to which you can refer. The notes can be as basic as some facts about your interviewer or just how to pronounce the employer’s name. In a typical interview, you might well take notes, and since you are in front of your computer, the natural instinct is to want to type some notes as the conversation proceeds. Avoid that instinct. The sound of your typing will likely be picked up by your microphone, and those staccato keyboard strokes can be remarkably distracting. Go with the tried-and-true paper-and-pen method.

Finally, treat the aftermath of a Zoom interview just like an in-person interview. Thank those who took the time out of their schedule to meet with you, even if they did not speak during the video conference.

Look, I get it. Things are pretty bleak right now. Everybody Hurts.  Conforming oneself to Zoom interview etiquette can seem to be, literally, the least important thing in the world right now. But since the official American policy on COVID-19 is seemingly to just give up doing anything about it, Zoom is going to play a massive role in the employment prospects for the law school classes of 2021, 2022, and perhaps even 2023. So unless you have some musical talent and can find a college alt-rock band to join right before they become meteoric rock stars, it is probably worth perfecting you video interview technique.


Nicholas Alexiou is the Director of LL.M. and Alumni Advising as well as the Associate Director of Career Services at Vanderbilt University Law School. He will, hopefully, respond to your emails at abovethelawcso@gmail.com.

Aunt Jemima And Her Social And Legal Legacy

A store window in Englewood, New Jersey (photo by David Lat).

Many companies are changing or removing their brand names and logos in an effort to distance themselves from racial stereotypes. These long overdue actions are propelled by the Black Lives Matter movement, which over the past several months has awoken governments, individuals, and corporations to do more in the fight for racial equality.

Among the brands making a change from stereotypical and racist depictions of black servitude are Uncle Ben’s Rice, Mrs. Butterworth, and the famous, Aunt Jemima line of pancake and syrup products, the latter of which is no stranger to either the breakfast table or the news. For years, Quaker Oats, the company that owns the brand, has fielded complaints about the image portrayed by its breakfast brand. Aunt Jemima, who was once even pictured in a bandana and apron, harkened to a time of slavery and plantations. The company has just announced that it will donate at least $5 million over the next five years to support and engage in the black community in addition to changing the name of the Aunt Jemima brand.

The character of Aunt Jemima was inspired by a character from the song “Old Aunt Jemima.” Nancy Green, a former slave, is thought to be the first woman to travel the country portraying Aunt Jemima, as part of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Lillian Richards of Hawkins, Texas, was  an employee of Quaker Oats, and she portrayed Aunt Jemima beginning in Dallas in 1925. In 1926, Quaker Oats purchased the Aunt Jemima Mills Company. Richards became synonymous with the Quaker Oats brand and traveled the country doing demonstrations and making appearances. Her family was reportedly not consulted prior to the brand change announcement.

Aunt Jemima was portrayed by several brand ambassadors through the years, as the brand developed and it officially trademarked the name “Aunt Jemima” in 1937. It opened  a restaurant in Disneyland and developed a frozen food line. In 1989, Aunt Jemima’s appearance changed and she sported pearl earrings and a lace collar, as opposed to the bandana and apron of years passed. In 2001, PepsiCo purchased the brand.

This is not the first time that the Aunt Jemima brand has made news. In 2015, the alleged great-grandsons — Dannez W. Hunter and Larnell Evans, Jr. — of deceased brand ambassador, Anna Short Harrington, who played Aunt Jemima in the 1930s, sued PepsiCo and Quaker Oats, for royalties, with damages estimated at $3 billion. They lost the case as they could not provide any evidence that they represented the estate of Harrington in any capacity. They attempted to prove a connection via a photograph. Many did not fault the would-be heirs, who encountered much difficulty in tracing their genealogy. It can be arduous for relatives to prove relationships, especially at the instant time, when home births were common, birth certificates not written, and family records unpreserved.

The claimants argued that the Aunt Jemima image was based off of their relative’s face. Quaker Oats, argued that she is based on a  fictional character. U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang in dismissing the claim, due to their lack of standing, did not focus on otherwise sticky issues such as the origins of the pancake recipe or whether Harrington had a contract with the company.

That lawsuit provides several important lessons with regard to estates. In order to sue on behalf of an estate one needs standing. In order to achieve standing as a personal representative, executor, or administrator of an estate, one needs to demonstrate to the probate court that they are either nominated under a valid agreement or next of kin. At that juncture the court will issue Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration which will allow one to file a lawsuit on behalf of an estate.

Legal standing aside, Harrington’s great-grandchildren have again made the news, expressing disappointment as to Quaker Oats’ recent announcements. They have argued that the removal of the image represents an erasure of their great-grandmother’s black history and that the company has profited for decades off of images of slavery, calling the matter an injustice. Surely the name and branding changes will spark legal issues headlines to accompany our morning breakfast pancakes and syrup.


Cori A. Robinson is a solo practitioner having founded Cori A. Robinson PLLC, a New York and New Jersey law firm, in 2017. For more than a decade Cori has focused her law practice on trusts and estates and elder law including estate and Medicaid planning, probate and administration, estate litigation, and guardianships. She can be reached at cori@robinsonestatelaw.com.

Suspended Biglaw Associate Accused In Molotov Cocktail Attack Released To Home Confinement

When we last checked in on furloughed (and later suspended) Biglaw associate Colinford Mattis and housing attorney Urooj Rahman, both charged for their involvement with a Molotov cocktail attack on a police vehicle in Brooklyn, New York, they’d been sent back to jail after originally being released to home confinement on $250,000 bond. The pair were indicted on charges of arson and use of explosives, and each pleaded not guilty. Earlier this week, their fortunes changed once again thanks to a decision made by the Second Circuit.

With support from former federal prosecutors, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and more than 850 people currently or formerly affiliated with New York University School of Law, Mattis and Rahman eagerly awaited news from the appellate court. The New York Law Journal has the details on what happened:

Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday affirmed the ruling of a district court judge who found that the attorneys accused of firebombing an empty New York City Police Department vehicle can be released to home confinement, vacating an earlier stay that sent the lawyers to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.

Judges Peter Hall and Gerard Lynch wrote that they “would not have necessarily reached the same conclusion” as U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie of the Eastern District of New York, who released Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman to home confinement on a $250,000 bond, but they were left without a firm conviction that Brodie committed clear error.

Judge Jon Newman dissented, writing that even if the court did not reverse based on clear error, it should remand so that the district court could make “some explicit indication” as to whether the presumption of detention had been rebutted.

Mattis’s and Rahman’s families were thrilled to learn that the lawyers would be returning home from jail. We’ll continue to follow this interesting case as it progresses through the courts and provide updates when available.

Lawyers Accused of Molotov Cocktail Bombing Can Return Home, 2nd Circuit Rules [New York Law Journal]

Earlier: Lawyer Charged In Alleged Molotov Cocktail Firebombing Caught On Camera In Controversial Interview
Suspended Biglaw Associate Accused In Molotov Cocktail Attack Sent Back To Jail
Furloughed Biglaw Associate Charged In Molotov Cocktail Attack Released On $250K Bond
Furloughed Biglaw Associate Charged In New York Molotov Cocktail Attack


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.