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Court and legal news roundup

image of a cat happily being scratched under the chin to represent the headline about an attorney turned pet psychic

This week in legal news

  • Big Law firm Brown Rudnick elects their youngest ever CEO
  • Former real estate lawyer finds happiness and a better salary as a pet psychic
  • A federal court of appeals rules that private school dress code requiring skirts for girls violates student rights
  • Facing supply chain issues and stiff competition from social media influencers, Revlon files for bankruptcy
  • Google leak alleging the development of a sentient AI has lawyers questioning implications


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Brown Rudnick elects Vincent Guglielmotti CEO, youngest ever at 41 years old

Tax partner Vincent Guglielmotti, the incoming CEO of Brown Rudnick, will be the youngest person ever to serve in this position. He will succeed the current CEO Bill Baldiga.

Baldiga’s successor was only one year old when Baldiga joined Brown Rudnick. Baldiga joined in 1983, while Guglielmotti joined the firm as an associate in 2008, making partner in 2013. Since 2019 Guglielmotti has served as managing director of the firm’s corporate and capital markets department. (Via

Guglielmotti has big shoes to fill as Baldiga’s leadership drove the company to record success. Baldiga will remain at the firm, restructuring his own practice. Guglielmotti plans to continue his tax practice, as well.

After leaving real estate law to become a pet psychic, former lawyer reports that she is happier and better paid

Nikki Vasconez is a former real estate lawyer in Philadelphia who hated her job. As an attorney, she made $75,000 a year and felt miserable. Now, she’s a pet psychic who charges $350 per hour and loves her career.

“When I’m communicating with the animals, sometimes I see images flash across my eyes or I’ll hear particular phrases,” she said. “I don’t hear their accents or tone of voice, but I can always sense their personality.” Vasconez was able to pinpoint why a cat was in pain—its tooth was hurting. An X-ray showed that the cat had an abscess that required the tooth to be pulled. She also correctly discerned that a horse named Cruse didn’t like his owner’s boyfriend and knew that the boyfriend didn’t like him. The horse owner confirmed that it was true. (Via ABA Journal)

Clients can also request that Vasconez contact their deceased animals and exotic pets, though she usually works with cats and dogs.

Court rules that North Carolina school can’t require girls to wear skirts

Parents of students at a North Carolina private school challenged a dress code that forbid girls from wearing shorts or pants. Now, a federal appeals court has ruled that the school did in fact violate female students’ rights because the skirt requirement excluded girls from educational opportunities. The court also stated that girls suffered “emotional and dignitary harm” from the gender-specific dress code.

“By implementing the skirts requirement based on blatant gender stereotypes about the ‘proper place’ for girls and women in society, CDS has acted in clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause,” the court ruling says. The dress code, according to the school, was put in place to instill chivalry and respect between boys and girls. It promotes that girls are “a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor,” said the school’s director Baker Mitchell, who was quoted in the lawsuit. (Via USA Today)

This lawsuit originated in 2016. A decision was reached in 2019 that found that the school was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. This ruling was overturned by a court of appeals in 2021, which stated that the law does not apply to dress codes.

The most recent ruling from the full appeals court overturned the appeals decision and ruled that the charter school, as a state actor, is subject to the Equal Protection Clause.

Revlon, mired in billions of dollars of debt, files for bankruptcy

Supply chain issues, fierce online competition, and mounting debt have led 90-year-old cosmetics company Revlon to file for bankruptcy.

The company’s sales lagged over the years and in 2021 fell 22% from its 2017 levels. It also made headlines two years ago when Citigroup Inc (C.N) accidentally sent nearly $900 million of its own money to Revlon’s lenders. Revlon, which had long-term debt of $3.31 billion as of March 31, said on Thursday it expected to get $575 million in debtor-in-possession financing from its existing lender base upon receipt of court approval. (Via Reuters)

This bankruptcy will only apply to US, Canada, and UK business units. Other international branches of the company are not affected.

After a Google engineer claims that the company has achieved sentient AI, lawyers ponder legal questions

A Google software engineer, Blake Lemoine, leaked conversations with a company chatbot called LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications). He claimed that the conversations prove that the AI is actually sentient and has the emotional and cognitive capabilities of a 7-year-old human.

This development has some legal professionals wondering what might happen when artificial intelligences are capable of breaking the law.

Let’s start with an easy one: A self-driving car “decides” to go 80 in a 55. A ticket for speeding requires no proof of intent, you either did it or you didn’t. So it’s possible for an AI to commit this type of crime. The problem is, what would we do about it? AI programs learn from each other, so having deterrents in place to address crime might be a good idea if we insist on creating programs that could turn on us. (Via Findlaw)

While we don’t have to answer that legal question yet, it’s an interesting thing to ponder.


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