: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Law of Climate Change Getting Interesting – Practice Area Gains Adherents

As the National Law Journal noted in March in A Climate Change in Classroom: Houston law school offers class on ‘climate change litigation’ – there was a course in climate change litigation taught this spring:

Houston Law Center is offering its course for the first time this semester. It is co-taught by Stephen Susman, a partner at Houston’s Susman Godfrey, and by Tracy Hester, a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani, also in Houston. Susman, generally a plaintiffs lawyer, covers the litigation side, while Hester focuses on regulation issues, Hester said.

According to recent news reports it seems to be on it’s way to becoming the hot new practice area. Susman, who co-taught the course, sees big rewards for lawyers willing to pioneer the territory, “I can’t say for sure it’s going to be as big as the tobacco settlements, but then again it may even be bigger.”

Not everyone agrees, of course. The comments of the WSJ Law Blog: Climate-Related Legal Work Heats Up are worth wading through, just don’t breathe too deeply.

Judging from the swelling ranks of departments it’s a trend a lot of big firms judge worth following, or at least too risky to be left out of. The Dallas Morning News reports that Thompson & Knight and Vinson & Elkins have both started climate-change practices. According to the paper Susman may have already found a client to test out the idea.

Now he’s among several lawyers talking with a group of Inuits in northern Canada who have seen an entire island sink under rising seas from global warming. The tribe is weighing its options, including suing carbon-emitting corporations such as power companies for heating the planet, he said.

Friday Legal Link Round Up

Being a good ole boy pays. So is there an application I fill out???

The Washington Post’s Carrie Johnson traces the ins and outs of the referral system in D.C.’s tight-knit legal community and finds millions of dollars built on sometimes serendipitous relationships that go back decades in Their Own Defense: D.C.’s Clubby Attorneys Keep Corporate Work in the Flock.

It’s good to be in International Arbitration in Houston

Houston, We Have an Arbitration – The international arbitration practices of three Houston lawyers – Mark Baker of Fulbright & Jaworski , Doak Bishop of King & Spalding and Michael Goldberg of Baker Botts raise eyebrows on American Lawyers international arbitration scorecard.

More from The Case that Keeps on Giving

Ron Goldman’s family bankruptcy trustee sues gossip site that publishes O.J.’s If I Did It.

Um, do-over?

One lawyer learns that chilling effects can work both ways when his threat of a lawsuit backfires in a very public way. Welcome to the blogosphere sir!

Why Fix a Mental Health Problem Today when You Can Clean Up a Crime Tomorrow?

Grits for Breakfast takes a look at the numbers and wonders How many kids are in juvie hall for being mentally ill? Texas is one of the worst in the nation at providing mental health care for youth and Harris County (Houston) is one of the worst in Texas. Does it take a genius to connect the dots? Poor mental health cervices = more crime. But I suppose the upside is it gives our politicians something to ‘be tough’ on.

Volokh et al on working Appellate Practice

The ever-resourceful Eugene Volokh has recently had a number of posts on how to break into appellate practice – Breaking into Appellate Law and More on Breaking into Appellate Law, from a Sole Practitioner Appellate Lawyer Friend of Mine. Be sure to peruse the comments for some excellent insight as well.

Allow me to distill an overly-simplistic summary of the advice -

  1. Clerk, clerk, clerk.
  2. Write, write, write.
  3. Then beg, beg, beg your way onto appellate cases wherever you land right out of school.

If it’s not on your list of RSS reads by now, it really should be. No idea what I’m talking about? Here’s a primer on using RSS feeds for lawyers.

Where would you rather practice? Texas or New York

Yankees are casting dispersions aspersions on our fair Republic, er… state rather, at Simple Justice. (via Defending People and A Public Defender)

The Fallacy of Hard Tests

Just because I know how much my classmates for contracts will appreciate this, I’ll point out Unexpected Truths: The Fallacy of Hard Tests.

A great deal of fuss is often made about failing the bar exam. The news a few weeks ago was that Governor Patakis daughter passed the exam, but it is always mentioned that it was her second try. Similarly, John Kennedy, Jr. failed the New York bar exam twice, before finally passing it on his third try.

As one who took several medical licensure and specialist exams, and the Virginia bar exam, passing all, I might be inclined to pat myself on the back, but my former background as a mathematician won’t let me do that. I do remember, however, some remarks from a noted orthopedic surgeon about his own specialty exam: “It was a hellishly hard test, and went on for hours,” he said, ”but I’m really glad I passed the first time I took it. Only about 35 percent who took it passed the exam.”


The reason these tests are fraudulent—and the harder they are, the more they are fraudulent—is that for an extremely difficult test graded in that way, guessing tends to count much more than knowledge.

Read the whole thing for the analysis and decide for yourself.

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