Copyright Troll Lawyer Pleads Poverty, Asks To Be Let Off The Hook

Brett Gibbs is not a likable guy. Together with John Steele, Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy, attorneys at Prenda Law (formerly known, among other things, as Steele Hansmeier, PLLC), he made life fairly miserable for thousands of potential defendants. Prenda sought out web users that allegedly downloaded porn illegally. The firm then filed copyright infringement lawsuits against the users, threatening a lawsuit that would rat the users out for downloading porn and also subject them to a substantial statutory penalty for copyright infringement. Prenda promised that it could make all of that go away for a few thousand dollars (you …

Americans Replace Student Loan Bills With Tax Bills

Americans now owe an astonishing $956 billion in student loan debt. The rate of student loan debt outpaced inflation last year – and keeps climbing. I should know: I am one of those still working to pay off student loan debt. I borrowed to pay for my education because I couldn’t afford to go otherwise. I understand that part of borrowing means paying back. I am fortunate in that I am in a position to pay my loans back – albeit slowly – because I have a job. With unemployment rates at near all-time highs, not every one is in …

Attorney Disbarred For Submitting Falsified Tax Returns For Financial Aid

Paying for private school can be painful. Losing the right to ever practice law again has to be worse. And yet, Bruce Paul Golden apparently weighed the two and opted for the latter. The former securities lawyer, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1969, was recently disbarred by the Supreme Court of Illinois for lying about his income in order to get financial aid for his child’s private school education. The former partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP misrepresented his income by as much as 90% to qualify for financial aid. How much aid? Less than $25,000 over …

When Is A Penalty A Tax? Sorting Through The SCOTUS Health Care Decision.

So first things, first. The Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a little background on the Act can be found here). It was a close decision, with the final vote being 5-4. The opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, who affirmed the decision along with (generally) Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. Justice Ginsberg wrote the concurring opinion. The dissenting Justices were (sort of) Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito. I say “generally” and “sort of” not to be funny but to be accurate: there were several questions at issue and the Justices did not vote consistently …

Sunday Mailbag: The Traveling Edition

Occasionally my mind is blown by what we can do with technology. Today is totally one of those days. I’m currently on a USAirways flight headed for Las Vegas where I’ll be speaking and mingling with about 1,400 other tax professionals at the Practitioners Symposium and TECH+ Conference in partnership with the Association for Accounting Marketing Summit (if you’re interested in what we’re up to this week, you can follow the conference on twitter using the hashtag #pstech – or follow me @taxgirl – but be forewarned that I will, of course, also be whining about missing my kiddos). I …

Legal Meltdown: Was Dewey Too Big to Fail?

Guaranteed $5 million pay packages with no strings. Borrowing from a number of banks to stay afloat. Lavish corporate offices. Unchecked spending. Questionable financials. Another [entity display=”Wall Street” type=”section” active=”true” key=”/wall-street”]Wall Street[/entity] meltdown? Not quite. This one is a law firm. And it’s huge. Until recently, Dewey & LeBouef, LLP, (formerly the separate firms of Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, now just referred to as “Dewey”) was one of the largest law firms in the world. Earlier this year, the firm touted more than 1,100 lawyers in 26 offices; it was considered one of the largest law …

Punishing Excellence: Transfer Pricing of Outright Sales

Michelle Phillips just won an A… or at least a nice note to her professor. Michelle’s entry on transfer pricing is one of two winning entries in my legal writing contest. Michelle is currently an LL.M. Taxation candidate at Boston University. Her transfer pricing tax prof is Richard Ainsworth. As you may know from yesterday, I received a number of great entries and I couldn’t pick just one so I opted for two. I was particularly impressed by Michelle’s entry because she made tricky subject matter understandable and interesting – most practicing attorneys can’t talk about transfer pricing in such …