LAW-LESS FRIDAY: Conflicting signals for the health of the legal job market

Well, it isn't a post that is devoid of law as a subject, but no appellate decisions to digest here at any rate.

Two stories caught my eye over at  In the first, it is reported that young associate hiring is set to increase at law firm. Yay! But, in the second, a hint that large corporation general counsel are looking at refusing to pay for time billed by young associates.  That would impact the leverage model that large firms use.  I suppose one is a longer term trend while the hiring is immediate, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility that the net impact of service outsourcing and automation, coupled with events like the proposed refusal to pay for young associates, might result in the substantial restructuring of the legal market in the next couple of decades.

Law-less Friday: San Diego's arbitrary and capricious six-foot rule

I take my constitutional rights very seriously.  For example, I am more aware of first amendment rights after blogging for so long.  And who hasn't said "thank goodness" for that Fifth Amendment a time or three after a hazy Friday night?  But I've noticed that the contours (oh, the foreshadowing) of rights seem to get tested quite frequently in areas that many consider to be unsavory.  Thus, it is with great sadness that I report to you that in Coe v. City of San Diego (Sept. 28, 2016), the Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District, Division One), held that application of San Diego's six-foot rule was not arbitrary and capricious on the facts before it, affirming the revocation of a permit held by appellant Suzanne Coe.  What, you ask, is the six-foot rule?  I am glad you asked.  The six-foot rule states that it is unlawful for a responsible person to allow a nude person within six feet of a patron at a nude entertainment business.  In a nutshell, Coe's establishment violated the six-foot rule habitually since 2006.  San Diego finally pulled the plug, revoking her permit to operate. I am not going to explain operation of the no-touch and no-fondling rules. And I used to think that being a progressive, liberal state meant that everyone gets the freedom to express themselves however they want.

Law-less Friday (a day early): paragraphs you never thought you'd read in court opinions

Every now and then I look at a new appellate decision and experience the shock of reading something that I would have guessed was certain to never come up before seeing it in print.  So I was helping my daughter study for a history test the other day.  Her fifth grade class was in a chapter about American industrialization and the expansion of the United States to the Pacific (manifest destiny and all that). The war with Mexico received a mention in her study guide, along with a treaty entered into with Mexico at the end of the war, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  Trick question: what are the chances that an appellate decision today would rest, in part, on the need to examine the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo? You should say "zero," but, since I asked, you know that's not the answer.  The correct answer is, ding ding ding, 100%.

In Friends of Martin's Beach v. Martin's Beach 1 LLC (April 27, 2016) the Court of Appeal (First Appellate District, Division Two) considered issues arising in a dispute between private land owners and the public over an area of inland dry sand at a popular beach.  Here is the paragraph that resulted in my double-take:

The case presents a number of intriguing issues, among them the meaning of Article X, section 4 of the California Constitution and its application, if any, to lands for which title is derived from a provisional Mexican land grant confirmed by a federal patent issued in the 19th century. These issues require consideration of a federal statute known as the Act of 1851 and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which that Act implemented. The case also concerns the common law theory of dedication of land to public use and what facts suffice to establish the elements of such a claim. Creating yet additional interest, the State of California and its agencies contend in an amicus brief that they were indispensable parties to this action because it involves California tidelands and that the judgment rendered without them is void.

Slip op., at 1-2. As an aside, if these issues also sound "intriguing" to you, you are officially a law nerd.

Today's lesson: Never say never.

Law-less Friday: Irony and Hipocrisy are no bar to standing

We all need a bit of levity on Friday, so take a moment and enjoy one paragraph from City of Palm Springs v. Luna Crest (March 17, 2016), a recent opinion from the Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, that captures the humor sometimes hidden in the law.

Luna Crest, Inc. opened a medical marijuana dispensary in the City of Palm Springs without obtaining a permit to test whether the Palm Springs ordinance requiring such a business to have a permit was invalid.  Luna Crest sought an injunction against further enforcement, claiming that federal drug laws preempt the City’s ordinance.  The Court observed:

To be sure, as the City points out, there is a certain irony, if not hypocrisy, in Luna’s invocation of federal drug laws as a basis for invalidating the City’s permitting requirements, given Luna’s intention to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in violation of those very federal drug laws.  The City cites no authority, however, for the proposition that irony or hypocrisy alone may vitiate standing, and we are aware of none.  We turn, therefore, to the merits of Luna’s claims.

Slip op., at 5.  Never let someone challenge your standing just because of the irony or hypocrisy of your position.  Never.

Have a great weekend, and, as they say, smoke 'em if you got 'em.