Ashcroft v. Iqbal and the Pleading Standard

Law professors teaching Civil Procedure this fall may have reason to revise their lecture notes covering the pleading standard in federal courts for the first time in a long time.  This pleading standard, as articulated in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 8(a), has presented a very low hurdle for plaintiffs since the Supreme Court addressed the issue in Conley v. Gibson in 1957.  That is, perhaps, until Ashcroft v. Iqbal , a Supreme Court detainee case decided this spring that may end up significantly heightening the pleading standard for federal civil courts.

Depending on where you look, you can find members of the legal community making different predictions of where the courts will land on Iqbal.  Some are dismissing the significance of the case, and others are declaring it a major obstacle for plaintiffs and a coup for corporate defense.

Continue ReadingAshcroft v. Iqbal and the Pleading Standard

The Balancing Act

RabideauxWhen discussing my participation as a law student blogger with Professor Jessica Slavin, she suggested readers might find the variety of responsibilities and challenges a part-time student faces interesting.  I balked at the idea of writing about my own attempt at work-life-school  balance.  For starters, it’s been done before.   Further, I want to avoid portraying my burden as heavier than those around me, as everyone is busy and dealing with pressures of their own.  The lawyers, law professors and law students who read this blog are all active people pulled in different directions and I didn’t suspect they would have much sympathy for the schedule I keep.

Then it dawned on me that the challenge of work-life balance is probably one of the few things all the readers of this blog have in common.  Full-time students have different pressures than part-time students, litigators face different challenges than estate planning attorneys, who are all under different professional pressures than Law School faculty or administrators.  However, we all know what it is like be put in a position to prioritize between professional and family or personal obligations.

Additionally, the birth of my son, Callan, in June brought new weight to the “life” side of the balancing act and makes the topic of work-life-school balance particularly timely and relevant for me.  I’ve always known time to be precious, but the stakes are indeed higher with a child in the house.  Perhaps it is my Catholic guilt, but the weeknights in the classroom or on the road for work, and the all-weekend study sessions now feel a bit like time I’ve stolen from my family.

Continue ReadingThe Balancing Act