"Change has come to America."
Addressing a quarter million jubilant supporters on an unseasonably balmy November night in Chicago, Barack Obama summed up his historic election with that simple phrase.
4. You're Fired
The list seems endless, but some of the country's most reputable law firms--including Blank Rome, Reed Smith, and Clifford Chance--have suffered cutbacks of both lawyers and staff--most as a result of the 2008 economic downtown.
6. Tangled Web
The number of closely watched online copyright and trademark cases in 2008 is indicative of how the law has not kept up with technology.
8. Discovery Gone Wrong
Chipmakers Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Corp. are no strangers to facing off in complex IP litigation. As rivalries go, they are on par with the Yankees and Red Sox.
10. Stoneridge Standard
The Supreme Court's Jan. 15 decision in Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta finally answered the question of whether third parties could be held liable for the fraudulent actions of their clients under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. And the answer--"no"--came just in time to restrict an expected tidal wave of litigation growing out of the credit crisis.
12. Legislation in Limbo
Considering that more than 30 labor and employment bills were floating around Capitol Hill this year, legislators passed remarkably few actual changes in federal employment law.
14. Taking the Lead
In recent years, first denial and then inaction have been hallmarks of the federal government's approach to climate change. This year it looked like that might change. The Supreme Court gave the EPA authority in 2007 to regulate greenhouse gases under the 1970 Clean Air Act, and the agency was prepared to announce in July that the act provided a workable and effective way to address climate change. But after consulting with the White House, the EPA did an abrupt about-face, saying the law is "ill-suited" for greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, Congressional investigations found White House officials had refused to open EPA e-mails and attempted to suppress research that made clear the need for climate change controls.
16. Lying Lawyers
Many lawyers--both in-house and outside--closely watched this year as the drama involving plaintiffs firm Milberg (formerly Milberg Weiss) continued to unfold, not only in the legal media but also in the mainstream press.
19. Taking Care of Keywords
E-discovery feels overwhelming to in-house counsel, outside counsel and everyone else involved in ongoing litigation. Short of throwing your computer equipment out the window, no one can stop e-discovery's increasing burdens.