News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: Hunter Biden prosecutor elevated to special counsel; Charles Ogletree dies

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AP Hunter Biden February 2023_800px

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, boards Air Force One with the president in February 2023 at the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York. Photo by Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press.

Hunter Biden prosecutor given special counsel status

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that he has appointed the U.S. attorney investigating Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, as a special counsel. The prosecutor, David C. Weiss, is a holdover from the Trump administration. Weiss had already been granted authority to decide on charges, but he asked for a special counsel appointment Tuesday, saying his investigation had reached a stage where it was warranted, Garland said. Weiss has filed court papers indicating an “impasse” on a plea deal. (The New York Times, ABC News, Politico)

Harvard Law prof Charles Ogletree dies at 70

Harvard Law School professor and civil rights scholar Charles Ogletree has died at age 70. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease. According to the New York Times, Ogletree “helped reframe debates around criminal justice, school desegregation and reparations during the 1990s and 2000s, all the while mentoring a new generation of Black lawyers that included President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.” (NPR, the New York Times, Harvard Law Today, the Harvard Crimson)

Lawyer sentenced in Capitol breach

A practicing criminal defense lawyer in Americus, Georgia, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for participating in the U.S. Capitol riot Jan. 6, 2021. William McCall Calhoun Jr., 60, was sentenced Aug. 4 after he was found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding, a felony, as well as several misdemeanors. Calhoun had bragged on Facebook that he was with a crowd that took control of the Capitol in “a hand to hand hostile takeover” and “shut down their stolen election shenanigans.” A lawyer for Calhoun said his client had turned “his life over to Christ,” and he hopes to begin his rehabilitation process through faith in God. (U.S. Department of Justice press release, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Federal appeals judge isn’t impaired, neurologist says

A neurologist has said his exam findings were distorted by the committee that recommended suspension for Judge Pauline Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Ted Rothstein, a physician and a professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, says Newman “was eloquent, her responses were fluid and appropriate, and her examination did not indicate in any way that she was cognitively impaired.” (Bloomberg Law)

41% of Black women lawyers see workplace bias, survey finds

Thirty-six percent of Black women lawyers have personally experienced discrimination or bias in the workplace, while 41% have personally witnessed such bias, according to a survey with 163 respondents. Only 65% intend to remain in their current organization in two years. The survey was sponsored by the National Bar Institute. (The State of Black Women in the Law: 2023 DEIB Assessment Report, Kanarys press release)

Dechert offers deferred start dates to current summer associates

Dechert is allowing up to 20 current summer associates to push back their start dates for one year, which would mean starting at the law firm in fall 2025. Deferred associates who choose to work for a pro bono group or a nonprofit group would receive a $75,000 stipend plus benefits. Dechert appears to be the first BigLaw firm offering deferred start dates to incoming 2024 associates; at least six other firms deferred start dates for associates initially set to begin work this fall. (Bloomberg Law, Above the Law,, Reuters)

Vinson & Elkins requires four days per week in office

Vinson & Elkins is requiring most of its lawyers and business professionals to work in the office four days per week beginning Sept. 11. The law firm is offering a choice of Monday or Friday as the day for remote work. Other firms requiring four days per week in the office include Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Davis Polk & Wardwell; and Ropes & Gray. (, Bloomberg Law)

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