Jay O'Keeffe

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Delegate Marcus Simon, a Democrat from Fairfax, has introduced legislation to bar anyone from acting as an student loan servicer without a license. The bill, H.B. 1760, would would prohibit qualified education loan servicers from Employing any scheme, device, or artifice to defraud or mislead qualified education loan borrowers; Engaging in any unfair or deceptive act or practice toward any person or misrepresent or omit any material information in connection with the servicing…
The brief in opposition is one of the great underappreciated joys of Virginia appellate practice. It comes at the writ stage, when we’re just trying to convince the Supreme Court that it should/should not grant a petition for appeal. We’re not necessarily arguing the merits. Sometimes, the petitioner will not yet have hired specialist appellate counsel. Even when they do, some nominal appellate lawyers fail to appreciate this distinction. So how do we dissuade the Court…
Raffi Melkonian, an appellate lawyer from Texas and the dean of #appellatetwitter, has been working on what he considers the hardest problem at oral argument: the judge who has misunderstood something and is angry about it. I'm listening to a series of oral arguments for "reasons," and I've decided the hardest OA problem is the judge who has misapprehended something but is also mad about it. Lawyers really get themselves into a jumble dealing…
Confession time: I have a strong prejudice against the default writing style at most BigLaw firms. I’d like to think that my intolerance is mostly justified, but I recognize that it’s at least partly unfair. To understand why, remember that I started my career at a BigLaw firm. I had a great experience working with talented lawyers on exciting cases. But I faced one major hiccup along the way. Early in my tenure, I was…
These snow demons are fixin’ to break the law. Gift certificates are great holiday gifts. Sure, they kind of say, “I care about you, but not enough to, you know, shop for you.” But they’re just so convenient. Your brother-in-law with an undergrad economics degree who answers phones for a living now might argue that gift cards reduce the deadweight loss associated with presents. His argument sounds plausible! That plus laziness is why I…
He was very clear about my role here. About who I’m supposed to be loyal to. Guess you could call it . . . my core drive. My kids call my mother-in-law Bebop. Long story. But relevant here, Bebop is not a shy woman. She has opinions. She likes to share them. And she does not have what my kids might call an “inside voice.” Nor is Bebop a lonely woman. She has lots of friends…
In many cases, the scariest part of litigation isn’t the threat of paying a judgment if you lose; it’s the certainty of paying attorney’s fees and litigation costs, win or lose. This prices most normal people out of litigation, and often drives people and small businesses to settle lawsuits even when they are likely to win on the merits. For this reason, many consumer-protection laws allow successful consumers to recover their attorney’s fees. That’s all…
This is a website about laws and legal decisions that affect consumers in Virginia. A had a professor in law school who would have called them “the ground rules for economic combat” between normal people and businesses like banks, credit card companies, payday lenders, and car dealerships–really, any company that sells anything. First lesson: the ground rules are unfair. In the world of consumer financial services, Virginia is a remarkably business-friendly state. Virginia CLE tells…
As I’m writing this, I’m attending the VBA’s Appellate Summit, a fantastic CLE that comes around every three years. This year, the appellate council made asked me to moderate a 50-minute panel about brief writing. They won’t make that mistake again! Thankfully, the outstanding–dare I say heroic?–contributions of panelists Judge Robert Humphreys, Don Jeffrey, and Elbert Lin saved the session from disaster (nothing could save it from my dad jokes). It turns out that a…
Over the weekend, Official Friend of De Novo(TM) Ross Guberman posted a challenge on Twitter: Who could come up with a fresh way to convey the idea that opposing counsel is on a fishing expedition? Challenge for a rainy Sunday: What's a fresh (and legitimate) way to get across the idea that "Plaintiff is on a fishing expedition" without that so-overused-that-it's-now-a-joke phrase? — Ross Guberman (@legalwritingpro) September 9, 2018 This tweet yielded some fun responses,…