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Bar Exam 2.0

What’s on the docket this week:

  1. Featured Story – Bar Exam 2.0
  2. 🗄 IP/Transactional – Recipes Aren’t Copyrightable, No Matter How Delicious They Are
  3. 🤺 Litigation – Judge Rejects Purdue Pharma’s $4.5 Billion Opioid Settlement
  4. 📲 Legaltech – Big Law is Split on Letting Lawyers Trade Crypto
  5. 🔪 Criminal/Politics – Biden is Confirming Judges at a Record Pace
  6. 💰 Finance/Econ/Regulatory – Zero Taxes, Golf, and Beaches Create a Crypto Island Paradise
  7. ⚖️ Ethics – Don’t Be An Axe Murderer

Featured Story: Bar Exam 2.0

The Bar Exam is an interesting beast and rite of passage for US lawyers. When I took it 12 years ago, I didn’t think it was that difficult. But I also took two months to prepare and am a very good standardized test taker. Other people find the Bar Exam to be extremely difficult.

But easy or difficult, the Bar Exam is not a good litmus test of what makes someone a good lawyer. The legal industry (and lawyers) are in a very different place than when the ABA began requiring formal exams in the 1920s, and the addition of the MBE in 1972. Most lawyers I know feel that the Bar Exam is more like a rite of passage hazing ritual than anything else. And the National Conference of Bar Examiners knows it.

Which is why they formally launched revamping the Bar Exam this year. The “Next Gen Bar Exam” is set to launch in 2026. The plan is to do away with the current exam’s three separate components—the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Essay Exam, and the Multistate Performance Test—in favor of an exam that better integrates knowledge and skills.

The “Next Gen Bar Exam” ditches family law; estates and trusts, UCC; and conflict of laws. Instead they want to test students in seven skills areas, including client counseling and advising; client relationships and management; legal research; legal writing; and negotiations.

How are they going to test these soft skills in a standardized testing format?

Right now the answer seems to be ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

🗄 IP/Transactional

Recipes Aren’t Copyrightable, No Matter How Delicious They Are

Chloe Coscarelli, the first vegan to win Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, finds herself in a copyright battle with her management company after restaurant plans went south, and they began posting her recipes online. Despite winning a cooking competition, she won’t be winning the case to copyright her prized recipes. Even the most exciting and unique recipe instructions and ingredients are still just facts and therefore aren’t copyrightable.

🤺 Litigation

Judge Rejects Purdue Pharma’s $4.5 Billion Opioid Settlement

The OxyContin maker faces another setback in the case against their involvement in the opioid crisis that has killed nearly 841,000 people since 1999. A federal judge has rejected the company’s bankruptcy settlement on the grounds that the court does not have the authority to release the Sackler family from liability in civil cases. This decision comes as good news for those affected by the opioid crisis, as it retains victims’ right to sue the family for their unlawful behavior.

📲 Legaltech

Big Law is Split on Letting Lawyers Trade Crypto

Investment in crypto has surged in recent years, but many law firms are not on the same page when it comes to trading policies. Sullivan & Cromwell is a top pick for many crypto companies seeking legal help, but its employees, who help enable their growth, are excluded from reaping the benefits of trading it. Other competitors like Latham & Watkins are taking a different stance by allowing their employees to trade without permission, adding to the uncertainty of future procedures regarding crypto trading in big law.

🔪 Criminal/Politics

Biden is Confirming Judges at a Record Pace

Biden is doing an exceptional job selecting judicial nominees and with the Senate’s backing, they are swiftly confirming the most diverse group of judges to date. These nontraditional judges will set up Biden’s transformation of the lower courts to have a profound impact on American law for decades to come, despite not being able to reverse Trump’s Supreme Court shake up.

💰 Finance/Econ/Regulatory

Zero Taxes, Golf, and Beaches Create a Crypto Island Paradise

After a meteoric year, crypto investors are looking to take a page out of hedge funds’ books and relocating to Puerto Rico for its savings opportunities on individual and corporate taxes. High earning investors in the U.S. pay up to 20% and 37% on capital and short term gains tax respectively, whereas in Puerto Rico they pay nothing. With opportunities like these, traditional investors and their crypto peers are likely to fuel the trend of moving to this island paradise going into 2022.

⚖️ Ethics

Don’t Be An Axe Murder

FYI – If you threaten to murder your spouse with an ax…and then show up at their house with an ax, that’s generally considered not cool.

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It also (thankfully) got the respondent disbarred. 🗑

Until next week, adjourned.


p.s. – please send me your stories, news, & tips for inclusion in future editions [email protected]