Legal Briefing: Utah's New Front in the Sovereignty War with the Feds

Legal BriefingA daily look at legal news and the business of law:

Utah Enacts Law Using Eminent Domain to Reclaim Federal Land

Utah has opened a new front in the sovereignty war several states are fighting with the federal government. Recent skirmishes include the multistate lawsuit against health-care reform legislation Congress has just approved and several states passing resolutions reminding the federal government of the 10th Amendment.

Utah's governor just signed into law bills that attempt to use eminent domain on parcels in federally preserved land that contains coal, oil and gas. Although the state's lawyers concede they have little chance of successfully defending the law, the state has reserved $3 million for the effort. I wonder if Utah taxpayers will find the money well spent.

The Maryland Legislature Wants a Law School Environmental Clinic to Name Its Plaintiffs

Angry that an environmental law clinic at the University of Maryland Law School has sued major Maryland poultry producer, Perdue Farms, the state's legislature wants to cut off $250,000 of the clinic's funding unless it names its clients. That demand puts the clinic in a bind -- it's unethical for lawyers to name their clients without clients' permission.

And in the Business of Law...

Increasing numbers of lawyers-turned-bloggers urge people not to go to law school, the ABA Journal reports. The jobs, quality of work, life quality, and pay the lawyers found after graduation don't live up to the pre-enrollment hype, and now they're saddled with massive debt from student loans.

The Justice Dept. announced that a Kentucky lawyer has pleaded guilty to securities fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

And Above the Law and Law Shucks have released their updated "This Week in Layoffs." They report 20 staff being let go at Ruden McCloskey but note no attorney layoffs. That brings the total for this year to 136 attorneys and 205 staff. Reporting on some recent research, the sites note that surprisingly, lawyers from top 10 law schools are perhaps more likely to be laid off than others.

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