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Mar 23, 2012
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Top U.S. judges may drown out healthcare debate

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By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

America’s verbose top judges could drown out the healthcare debate if they’re not careful. The most talkative Supreme Court on record will next week hear a hefty three days of oral argument on President Barack Obama’s landmark reform. If past patterns hold, the justices will spend more time testing each other than listening to the lawyers for each side.

Supreme Court arguments typically last an hour, a 1970 rule designed to keep cases moving and ensure the justices control the debate. Exceptions are made for the biggest cases. Presidential-tapes landmark United States v. Nixon, for instance, clocked in at four hours in 1974, while McConnell v. FEC, which upheld campaign finance laws in 2003, took eight lawyers four hours to hash out.

Mar 20, 2012
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Judges’ words can speak as loudly as actions

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By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Judges may not need a big stick. Delaware Chancellor Leo Strine and U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff have become known for tough and snarky rulings, including recent ones that thumped Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. They weren’t just venting, though. When ordinary legal constraints fall short, jurists can use the bully pulpit to right some wrongs.

Strine’s recent conflicts of interest opinion has become an instant classic. It railed against Goldman and others involved in the $21 billion sale of El Paso to Kinder Morgan. Though his decision went viral on Wall Street, the judge also took some heat for not actually blocking the deal after being so critical of the conduct.

Mar 16, 2012
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Greedy law schools taught jobless grads too well

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By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Greedy law schools may have taught their jobless graduates a little too well. Some disgruntled lawyers are suing their alma maters for exaggerating employment prospects. That seems fitting for a litigious lot with buyers’ remorse over a $120,000 education. The lousy job market isn’t the schools’ fault, but training these cheeky legal eagles to spread their wings may be.

On the surface, the suits seem a stretch. Scores of graduates from New York Law, Michigan’s Thomas M. Cooley Law and other lower-tier schools want refunds because they didn’t get the legal jobs they were supposedly promised. They cite school statistics touting more than 90 percent employment rates for recent graduates. The schools stress that the figures, while essentially accurate, guarantee nothing, and lawyers should have known the job market was shaky.

Mar 9, 2012
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M&A lawyers lob stones at Goldman from glass house

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By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

M&A lawyers tossed stones at Goldman Sachs from a glass house. Debate over how the bank played both sides of the El Paso sale to Kinder Morgan drowned out other hot topics at this week’s dealmaker jamboree in New Orleans. Bankers and chief executives took beatings over other conflicts of interest, too. For an event organized by and for mainly attorneys, however, there was surprisingly little self-reflection.

Mar 8, 2012
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Fortune 500 plays tough for home-court advantage

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By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

U.S. companies are playing tough for home-court advantage. Weary of fighting shareholders in multiple states, the Fortune 500 is forcing M&A lawsuits into its preferred forum, Delaware. But investors deserve a say in the matter. As the hot-button issue plays out before judges, deal-making lawyers and bankers will give it a hearing at their annual New Orleans confab this week.

Feb 14, 2012
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Steve Wynn comes up unlucky in business love, too

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By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Steve Wynn is coming up unlucky in love again. This time it’s business, not personal. The casino magnate has already divorced the same woman twice, the second time coughing up a $1 billion stake in Wynn Resorts. Now, his decade-long financial union with pachinko king Kazuo Okada is also on the rocks.

Feb 9, 2012
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Thermostat spat puts old heat on new cool

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By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

A patent spat over thermostats is putting old heat on new cool. Honeywell this week accused Nest Labs of stealing its ideas – though some seem obvious. Whether that proves to be the case or not, the upstart outdid the old-line firm by making a temperature controller of Apple-like elegance.

Feb 7, 2012
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A CEO’s phone mannerisms can reveal fibs

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By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

A chief executive’s phone manner can reveal fibs about company results. All it takes is a shaky delivery or uneven tone during an earnings call, new research suggests. They are among the tip-offs that a boss is being economical with the truth. The evidence isn’t reliable enough to land anyone in jail. But for investors seeking an edge, it may pay to listen closely.

Feb 1, 2012
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Google feeds regulators fresh meat to chew on

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By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Google is feeding U.S. regulators fresh meat to chew on. Antitrust concerns have swirled around the Internet search giant for years. Now, changes to its data-sharing policies are causing added alarm among lawmakers. Google hasn’t yet crossed any major legal lines but seems destined to find them.

Dec 19, 2011
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Directors and officers insurance declaws clawbacks

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Directors and officers insurance may be declawing clawbacks. Allowing regulators to recoup bosses’ undeserved rewards is central to U.S. financial reforms. But in addition to more standard risks, D&O polices are now covering salaries and bonuses lost in this way – at shareholder expense. Insurers deny helping executives skirt accountability. Investors, watchdogs and the courts may see things differently.

    • About Reynolds

      "Reynolds Holding is a Breakingviews columnist who writes from New York about the law in conjunction with Reuters Legal. Before joining Breakingviews, he was a national editorial producer for the Law & Justice Unit at ABC News, a senior writer for Time magazine and the executive editor of Legal Affairs, the first general interest magazine about the law. He spent more than a decade as an investigative reporter and columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, where he was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for explanatory writing. Before becoming a journalist, he practiced corporate law at the New York firm of ..."
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