January 2023


GST Collection Breaches Rs 1.5 Lakh Crore Mark In January


The Ministry of Finance announced the monthly collections of the goods and services tax ahead of the Union Budget on Wednesday.

The gross GST collected in January for transactions in December stood at Rs 1.55 lakh crore, rising from the previous month’s tally of Rs 1.49 lakh crore.

GST data is released with a month’s lag and pertains to transactions that took place in the preceding month.

Trends indicate that the last quarter usually registers increased collections. Monthly collections have continued to remain upwards of Rs 1.4 lakh crore since March 2022. The recent collections are higher than October’s collections and the April figures, making it the second highest collection ever.

Collections hovered around the Rs 1.5 lakh crore mark last month as well, missing the mark by a small margin.

Experts said that this was aided by manufacturing and consumption stability across states, and highlighted robust economic performance across key sectors.

January’s collection is 24% higher than the corresponding period last year. During the month, revenues from import of goods were 29% higher and revenue from domestic transactions, including import of services, were 22% higher than revenue from these sources during the same month last year.

E-way bills picked up during the month to 8.3 crore, which is the highest so far, up from 7.9 crore in the previous month.

The government’s budget estimates pegged the indirect tax target at Rs 13.30 lakh crore. Revised estimates for the fiscal will be revealed along with the country’s financial outlay for the next financial year in the budget.

The total tax target for the fiscal currently stands at Rs 27.50 lakh crore.

Break-Up Of GST Collections (as on 5 p.m. on Jan. 31)

  • Gross GST revenue: Rs 1,55,922 crore.
  • Central GST: Rs 28,963 crore.
  • State GST: Rs 36,730 crore.
  • Integrated GST: Rs 79,599 crore (including Rs 37,118 crore collected on import of goods).
  • Cess: Rs 10,630 crore (including Rs 768 crore collected on import of goods).

The ministry credited the healthy collections to various policy changes introduced during the course of the year to improve compliance.

“The percentage of filing of GST returns (GSTR-3B) and of the statement of invoices (GSTR-1) till the end of the month, has improved significantly over years,” according to a release.

In the October–December quarter, a total of 2.42 crore GST returns were filed till end of next month as compared to 2.19 crore in the same quarter in the last year.


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Spotify’s third-party billing option has now reached over 140 global markets • TechCrunch


In its fourth-quarter earnings, Spotify announced today its User Choice Billing program has now expanded to over 140 markets worldwide, allowing the streaming music service to reduce the commissions it pays to Google over Play Store purchases associated with its Android app. The User Choice Billing pilot program gives Android users the option to pay an app developer directly. It had been introduced last spring, with Spotify planned as an initial tester. But neither company had shared an update on the program’s progress until this past November when they announced Spotify would then begin to roll out its tests in select markets.

At the time, Spotify said the program would become available in only a few markets to start and would roll later out to others in the “coming weeks.” It did not share which markets would see the third-party billing option or when it expected the choice to reach its global Android app user base.

Today, the company confirmed it’s made solid progress on the program’s deployment. As part of its earnings announcement, where the company also beat on user growth targets with 205 million paid subscribers, it shared that its November deployment of User Choice Billing had then become available to users in “10+ markets.” Over the past several months, Spotify said it’s expanded the option to now over 140 markets around the world.

However, Spotify has not yet published a detailed list of countries where the program is offered but told TechCrunch it anticipates implementing the option in “every market” where it offers Spotify Premium today and where Google Play Billing is available. Currently, Spotify Premium subscribers can be found across 184 global markets, according to the company’s website.

Image Credits: Spotify

It’s not surprising that Google picked Spotify as a debut tester of its new billing offering, given the streaming music service has long been a fierce app store critic, sharing its complaints over the required commissions with the U.S. Department of Justice and E.U. regulators. If an outspoken voice like Spotify could be placated by a reduced commission on in-app purchases, Google hopes it could mitigate concerns over its alleged abuses of market power now being investigated.

In March, Google introduced the third-party billing option to Android app developers, as looming threats of antitrust litigation and increased regulation grew nearer. Already, the tech giant had been forced to support alternative billing systems in South Korea, with the passing of a new law, and was being sued by top app makers, including Fortnite’s Epic Games, over antitrust issues. However, the User Choice Billing option didn’t offer much in the way of savings for app developers, as Google only reduced the required commissions on app purchases and in-app payments by 4%.

This past November, Google said it was opening up the User Choice Billing pilot further to new markets, including the U.S., Brazil, and South Africa, and invited other developers to participate. Dating app Bumble then joined Spotify as one of the early adopters.

Developers who participate in the program have to follow certain UX guidelines Google sets which detail how to implement the feature in their apps. These guidelines currently require developers to display an information screen and a separate billing choice screen. The information screen only has to be shown to each user the first time they initiate a purchase, but the billing choice screen must be shown before every purchase.

While the general terms offer a 4% reduction on the commissions paid to Google when third-party billing is used, Spotify wouldn’t comment on its confidential deal with Google, only noting it meets the company’s “standards of fairness.” It’s unclear if the streamer has been offered more favorable terms as an early tester.

Spotify’s agreement with Google could potentially provide a boost in subscription revenues at a time when the streamer is facing an increased push from investors to increase its margins and make the service profitable. As Spotify chased investments in areas like ad tech, podcasts, audiobooks, and more over prior years, its losses widened last year leading its market cap to decline by over 60%.  In a note published to Spotify’s website this month, as the company announced layoffs impacting 600 people, CEO Daniel Ek admitted the situation was the result of being “too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth.” 

The company’s solid progress on user growth in the fourth quarter saw its shares pop after announcing results earlier this morning. In addition to its 205 million paid subscribers, up 14% year-over-year, it also announced total users were up 20% year-over-year to 489 million. Revenue came in at €3.17 billion, just ahead of estimates of €3.16 billion, but Spotify’s loss per share was 1.40 euros ($1.52), larger than the expected loss of 1.27 euros.


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Law \ Legal

Biglaw Associates, Partners Need To Change Their ‘Selfish’ Work Routines Now That They’re Expected In The Office


sad-upset-young-lawyer-summer-associate-law-student-stress-needs-helpWe got into a space [during the pandemic] where we had the ability to be completely selfish for a long time, and it was OK to do so. Unlearning some of those practices as we integrate back into society has been difficult for associates, partners, everyone. The slightest inconvenience feels like world war.

We, as society and the legal industry, are in a position where we need to commit to the change and endure some of the tougher, more inconvenient parts. That is, if they want to maintain a sense of community that brought them to their firm.

Ru Bhatt, a recruiter with Major, Lindsey & Africa who specializes in associate placement, in comments given to the American Lawyer, on the way that lawyers’ sensibilities and sensitivities have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the majority of Biglaw employees are expected to work in the office at least three days each week, a lot of their remote work behaviors must change, and quickly at that.

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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Kevin Durant wants Zion Williamson, Ja Morant in the Slam Dunk Contest


Kevin Durant says we need Zion Williamson and Ja Morant in the Slam Dunk Contest. The world agrees but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

The Slam Dunk Contest has waxed and waned over the years, in importance, quality, cultural impact, etc. But the one constant complaint has been that stars rarely participate and so we’re left watching the best dunkers among role players and fringe contributors. The last four players to win the dunk contest are Obi Toppin, Anfernee Simons, Derrick Jones Jr. and Hamidou Diallo.

LeBron James has never competed in a dunk contest. Ditto for Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. Zion Williamson and Ja Morant regularly produce as many highlight-worthy dunks as almost anyone in NBA history. We’ve never seen either in the dunk contest and modern precedent means that’s unlikely to change.

And that bothers Kevin Durant.

On a recent episode of the ETCs with Kevin Durant podcast he said, “We need Zion, we need Ja. I think the stars need to come back. It felt like there was stars in there every year when I was a kid.”

Zion Williamson and Ja Morant won’t be in the Slam Dunk Contest this year

Durant (and the rest of us) will likely have to wait at least another year to get our wish. Three participants have already been announced — rookie Shaedon Sharpe of the Trail Blazers, KJ Martin of the Houston Rockets and Max McClung of the G League’s Delaware Blue Coats.

The field usually includes at least four participants but there’s no reason to think Morant or Williamson would fill the final spot. There’s no real incentive to participation other than a personal desire to build your reputation in that particular way. For players like Morant and Williamson, with their eyes already on a title, there are just bigger fish to fry.

Check out The Step Back for more news, analysis, opinion and unique basketball coverage. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to our daily email newsletter, The Whiteboard.


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Net Profit Declines 60%, Misses Estimates


ACC Ltd.’s third-quarter net profit fell and missed analysts’ estimates.The cement-maker reported 60% year-on-year decline in net profit at Rs 113.19 crore, according to an exchange filing. That compares with the 149.46 crore consensus estimate of analysts tracked by Bloomberg.ACC Q3 Results FY23 (Consolidated, YoY)Revenue up 7% at Rs 4,536.97 crore vs Rs 4,225.76 crore, and compared to Bloomberg estimates of Rs 4,509.62 crore.Ebitda…


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Stripperweb, a twenty-year-old forum for sex workers, is shutting down. No one knows why. • TechCrunch


There are some people on the internet who don’t want to be found. That seems to be the case for the elusive, mysterious owner of Stripperweb, a twenty-year-old forum for exotic dancers and sex workers. With just one week of advance notice, the forum’s unknown owner announced that the website will shut down on February 1, erasing the decades-long digital footprint of a community on the margins.

“This place was a digital dressing room where I could listen in on thousands of interesting, profane, disgusting, inspirational, challenging and painfully true experiences,” said a forum moderator, who uses the screen name Optimist, in an email to TechCrunch. “I didn’t feel alone and isolated anymore. This was a digital home that accepts us all, no matter [how] broke, busted, or disgusted.”

The news of Stripperweb’s closure broke last week with a simple notice posted to the top of the website, which is decorated in innumerable different shades of pink.

“For over 20 years, Stripperweb has been one of the best resources for exotic dancers and webcam models on the internet. We’ve made the difficult decision to close Stripperweb effective February 1st. We urge you all to check out AmberCutie’s Forum as a possible new home after we close. Thank you to everyone who has made this such an amazing community.”

Longtime members and moderators acted quickly, driven by a slew of unanswered questions. Who posted the message? Why now? And why choose a seemingly random forum as a refuge?

Taja Ethereal, a Stripperweb moderator who uses the screen name PhatGirlDynomite!!!, took action immediately and offered to buy the site outright.

“The first offer was $12,000… I’m losing my head right now. He wouldn’t even come to the table for $12,000, to be paid out in 24 hours, in cash,” she said. “Even if this person is wealthy, why would you leave money on the table unless the site has already been purchased?”

Taja Ethereal said she knows that the owner saw her offer – but she still doesn’t know who the owner is, or if the site was already sold. None of the moderators know, even those like her and Optimist who have been on the site for decades, putting in years of labor to educate newer dancers about staying safe and getting paid.

Time is ticking. Some sex workers have swiftly taught themselves the Python programming language, writing scripts to scrape decades of data from Stripperweb for posterity. Others are diving deep into the earliest history of the forums, searching for clues as to who might hold the key to the most comprehensive, collaborative archive of what life is like for sex workers in the twenty-first century.

A Stripperweb member named cutiecam, who has been on the forum for over seven years, explained it succinctly: “This is a literal digital museum.” Another user, neverendingkneebruises, wrote on the forum, “I think almost every single dancer [came] across this website when they were starting, no joke… This site helped me get into the industry with standards and boundaries!”

Yet even in the face of five-figure cash offers and intense sleuthing, the owner of Stripperweb and their motivations remain a mystery.

‘Losing our communal memory’

For those in the know, the cultural value of Stripperweb’s poppy, retro pages has been obvious since its infancy. Now a criminology professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, Dr. Lisa Monchalin wrote a master’s thesis about Stripperweb in 2006, analyzing conversations from the forums to investigate the motivations of professional strippers. While sex work is often assumed to be a financial last resort, the conversations on Stripperweb proved otherwise, according to Monchalin’s study.

Stripperweb is an appealing source for academic research, since it provides such an unfiltered, honest look into a historically stigmatized profession. For the dancers who found each other on the forum, it’s also one of the only places they can talk openly about the challenges, victories and nuances of their daily lives. Despite the forum’s name, Stripperweb evolved to include a spectrum of different types of sex work, including camming, acting in porn clips and operating phone sex hotlines.

“Losing Stripperweb is losing our communal memory,” Marla Cruz told TechCrunch. Cruz is a dancer who turned to the forums for guidance when she entered the industry in 2017. “You could mention Stripperweb in any dressing room, and dancers would chime in about their experiences on the forum, or what they learned from the forum. It was that ubiquitous, that everybody kind of knew what it was, but for some of them, it was like, ‘Stripperweb is the Holy Grail of strippers’ knowledge. It’s my Bible.’”

The early lore of Stripperweb’s founding has already been lost to the detritus of the internet. But in that 17-year-old master’s thesis, Monachlin inadvertently preserved a now-forgotten relic of the early forum, which explains how and why the site was founded.

The story of Stripperweb begins in 2001. Pryce, a college student who programmed websites as a side gig, heard from his dancer friends that they couldn’t find a good, central community online.

“One day […] Pryce mentioned creating a better site – one that was positive, full of quality advice, and one that gave exotic dancers new tools to help them do their job better and make more money,” reads the origin story reprinted in Monchalin’s thesis.

Sure enough, a user who goes simply by “Pryce” served as the admin of the forums for many years. A WHOIS domain lookup reveals that the website is owned by someone who uses the email pryce@stripperweb.com, but that address – as well as every other Stripperweb email address – is no longer active.

In a post commemorating the ten-year anniversary of Stripperweb in 2012, Pryce echoes the founding story captured in Monchalin’s thesis.

“StripperWeb first opened to the public on January 4th, 2002. Things have certainly changed since then,” Pryce wrote. “I was just a college kid trying to figure out what the Internet could be used for. At the same time, a group of exotic dancers were in need of a virtual hang out to call home. After 6 months and a LOT of late nights, we had a whopping 74 members! That was incredible in those days. Fast forward 10 years, thanks to the growth of the Internet, social media, and all of you posting – we now get 30-50 new members DAILY.”

Pryce wrote that a man named Wayne, “an experienced consultant with access to quality resources,” would lead a team of developers and administrators who would take over his role. Members also recall an admin named Bob managing the forums after Pryce’s departure.

Pryce, Wayne and Bob did not respond to requests for comment, sent via email and Stripperweb’s direct messaging system.

As the forum approaches its final days, one section of that ten-year-old post sticks out. Pryce offers thanks to someone he calls “The Other Owner,” in quotes.

“Thank you so much for your support over the past 6 years. You offered to carry most of our financial burden at a critical time,” Pryce wrote. “Since then, no matter what, you have stayed true to your words and continued to help significantly. I respect the loyalty you have shown. Additionally, at times when the site needed extra funds to complete hardware upgrades or software updates, again you contributed. I thank you on behalf of the community.”

That ten-year commemorative post was Pryce’s last on the forum; his profile shows that he has not logged in since 2013. Taja Ethereal said she believes that this “other owner” is still in control of the site.

Optimist remembers this time on Stripperweb as “a long, strange tale.” These days, the forum is overwhelmingly dominated by conversations among actual sex workers. But according to Optimist, the forum used to have a robust, bright blue counterpart to the pastel pink pages where so many dancers have found refuge.

“The site used to be twice the size it is now because there was a blue board to match the pink board,” she told TechCrunch. “The idea was that the customers had their own area, and we had our area.”

Some men on “the blue side” simply exchanged tales of their experiences in clubs; others tried to arrange meetups with the dancers, who then asked Pryce to close off certain areas of the forum for privacy reasons. But Optimist says he refused.

In some threads from the blue board — which still exist, mostly inactive, in the deep recesses of Stripperweb — men discuss whether or not it’s okay to track down girls from the forums at their clubs. Others debate whether getting a dancer’s number means she’s romantically interested, or if she just wants to text you to come in on a slow night. On other forums, the men compare notes about their “free” sex lives. Taja Ethereal still refers to male customers who intrude on Stripperweb conversations as “blues.”

Optimist added, “[Pryce] claimed it was a stripper support site that he and his stripper girlfriend created for the community. But we had no control over it or [means of] protecting ourselves beyond using avatars and fake names.”

The “pinks” and “blues” as seen on Stripperweb, documented on January 30, 2023

‘COVID is like this generation of strippers’ 2008’

A lot changed over the years on Stripperweb. When the forum first opened in 2002, Internet Explorer held 95% of the market share for web browsers, Mark Zuckerberg was an unknown high schooler, YouTube didn’t exist and the top-selling cell phone was the Nokia 6610, which could only hold 75 text messages.

The sex industry itself has changed a lot too.

“There used to be a lot of money in stripping,” Optimist said. “Average girls were walking into good regional clubs and walking out with at least $1,000 per shift on average. So we had women putting their ‘vanilla’ careers aside to make two to four thousand dollars a week.”

When the 2008 recession hit, the industry was sent into a tailspin. Though Cruz was not in the industry at the time, she learned about the economic impact on strip clubs from old Stripperweb forums, as well as elder dancers from work.

“The site has been running since the early aughts, and what’s interesting is that if you actually look through the years, you can kind of see the ebbs and flows of engagement,” Cruz said. “You see these two really big breaks in 2008 for the recession, and then 2020 under COVID.”

In the midst of the 2008 downturn, Page Six wrote of a “lap deficit” and declared that “Wall Street’s financial crisis has trickled down to Manhattan’s mammary meccas.” In other words, fewer big spenders could pay for lap dances.

“I worked at a club where there were a handful of 40- to 50-year-old dancers who had been dancing for 20 years,” Cruz said. When COVID hit in 2020, the older dancers reflected on their past experiences with a sudden economic shift. “COVID is like this generation of strippers’ 2008. It was a big bomb that went off and decimated everything, and all the dancers were kind of like, left in this wake to fend for themselves.”

As strip clubs closed down for the pandemic, some dancers took their talents online, working as livesteaming camgirls or as creators on adult clip sites. Naturally, the pandemic generated a boom in online sex work. The platform OnlyFans became a household name, bringing in $375 million in 2020, then $1.2 billion in 2021. The company has only continued to grow.

Cruz theorized that Stripperweb’s closure could be linked to the changing state of the industry, but there are a number of possible explanations, including the increasingly suffocating legislative changes to online sex work.

In 2018, former President Donald Trump signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) into law after it received bipartisan support in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislation overrides Section 230, the statute that renders social platforms immune to liability for what users post – under FOSTA, social platforms can be indicted for enabling illegal sex work.

Laws like FOSTA are positioned as ways to curb sex trafficking, but in practice, the policy has been shown to have made sex work less safe. In 2020, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed a study on the secondary effects of SESTA/FOSTA on sex workers.

“Sex workers have reported a reduced ability to screen potential clients for safety, and negotiate for boundaries such as condom use, resulting in reports of physical and sexual violence,” the bill says. “Many sex workers have turned to street-based work, which has historically involved higher rates of violence than other forms of transactional sex.”

To comply with the law, many credit card processors have cracked down on adult payments, even for legal online sex work.

“Liability is not just about whether or not something’s legal or illegal,” Cruz told TechCrunch. “If you’re a legal sex worker – if you do OnlyFans, or if you’re a stripper – and you have an account with Bank of America, for example, Bank of America can decide to shut down your account. You’re at high risk because you’re associated with adult services.”

Cruz thinks that whoever owns Stripperweb might have chosen to shut it down due to potential liability concerns under FOSTA, but the timing seems strange, since the law has been in effect for over four years.

“It could be something to do with FOSTA, like the hammer’s coming down,” said Taja Ethereal. “Every time you turn around, something’s becoming more difficult to do, like people losing their payment processors. We tried to be legit with adult payment processors – they are shrinking, shrinking, shrinking.” She added that one company she works with recently got banned from using Wells Fargo.

“It seems like the noose is getting tighter and tighter.”

‘This site is the most support they’ve ever had’

From advice for dealing with antagonistic customers, to guidance on how to navigate changing legislation, Stripperweb has continually served as a resource for workers in the adult industry. While some community leaders try to hunt down the owner of the forum to negotiate, others have resigned to the possibility of losing the forums forever. In the final days before the February 1 deadline, some denizens of Stripperweb have worked tirelessly to preserve its twenty years of forums as an everlasting archive, writing their own programs and leveraging tools from the Internet Archive to salvage as much of their history as possible.

Taja Ethereal set up two computers to run for twelve hours at a time, scraping as much data from Stripperweb as possible. She’s not the only one.

“A lot of people are archiving it, and then I have other people who I have hooked up with from Twitter. They’re sending these .zip files,” she told TechCrunch. “So basically, it looks like I’m gonna end up with two hard drives filled with files.”

Within days, much of the website was uploaded to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, though it’s not a complete copy of the site. Once all of the data is retrieved, another Herculean task awaits: organizing twenty years of unwieldy, retro internet forums.

Many of these conversations are merely historical relics – one thread about stripper safety from the early 2000s recommends that dancers invest in a cell phone – yet some advice from the forums is timeless.

“The most chilling thing about the site being destroyed instead of sold to a loving supportive group of industry women, is that for some newbie cammers and dancers, that site is the most support they’ve ever had,” Optimist said. “They literally come on to chat like we’re sisters or like elder family members.”

When the site shuts down, there won’t be a central place for forum members to go. The site’s vague notice about the shutdown offers a forum operated by a sex worker named AmberCutie as an alternative, but Stripperweb users seem unenthused, since her forum focuses specifically on camming, rather than other trades like dancing. It’s not clear why the site now points people toward that particular forum, but some users say it reflects how out of touch the owner is with what the community needs. AmberCutie did not respond to a request for comment.

Taja Ethereal wonders if the repository of advice on Stripperweb is exactly what led to its downfall. Dancers share tips on which clubs to avoid, what they should expect to be paid and how they know if they’re getting ripped off. She describes the website like an unofficial union. Last year, dancers at Star Garden in North Hollywood went on strike for eight months before receiving approval from the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an election to join the Actors’ Equity union. If they win their vote, they would become the first unionized strip club since 2013, when the Lusty Lady club in San Francisco closed.

Taja Ethereal says she became suspicious when she and other moderators wanted to upgrade sections of Stripperweb where dancers compare notes about which clubs are safe to work at, but their requests were denied or ignored.

“Why wouldn’t you want a resource so people can find out what’s a good club, what’s a bad club?” she said. “Other people have said that maybe that’s because strip club owners don’t want us talking about their clubs.”

As the community prepares for Stripperweb to close, the members of the forum are looking for a place to go – Taja Ethereal started a website called Cammodelweb, almost an homage to the forum she’s spent more than a decade moderating. As the mysterious, unknown owner lets the forum disappear, its members lament the loss of an accessible place for new sex workers to learn how to stay safe and take care of themselves.

“Right now, there are women living in precarious situations who need help getting hired, getting their hustle down before they end up homeless. Girls fly into a city on a ‘Strip Trip’ and need to know what to do,” Optimist said. “They’ll look up on Wednesday and 20 years of aunties who left their best advice will be gone.”


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Law \ Legal

Biglaw Staff Member Arrested In Sting Operation By Vigilante ‘Creep Catching Unit’


Handcuffs and FingerprintsWe have some alarming news to report on from California, where a staff member at one of the most successful Biglaw firms in the country stands accused of attempting to initiate sexual contact with a minor.

Micael Barnum, a legal secretary at Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office, was arrested on January 28 in Alhambra, California, in the wake of a vigilante sting by a group known as the Creep Catching Unit (CC Unit). The CC Unit claims that it used a social media account to lure Barnum to the L.A. suburb for an alleged sexual encounter with an underage boy. The American Lawyer has the details:

Barnum was arrested on a felony charge of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a crime involving the minor, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He was bonded out of custody on Sunday.

A MoFo spokesperson said the firm is aware of Barnum’s arrest: “Although to our knowledge nothing in the reports pertains to workplace-related conduct, Mr. Barnum was immediately placed on administrative leave from the firm pending further review.”

Morrison & Foerster Legal Secretary Arrested in Los Angeles Sting Operation [American Lawyer]

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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Stats prove the refs aren’t out to get the Lakers this year


The Lakers and the fans were rightly angry after a crucial missed call contributed to a loss against the Celtics. But there was nothing darker at work here.

You’ve probably seen the video. LeBron drives and gets hit on the arm by Jayson Tatum. No call is made. LeBron goes berserk, leaping in the air, looking for intervention before falling to the floor in frustration. Patrick Beverley, passive-aggressive rather than aggressive-aggressive, grabs a photographer’s camera and tries to show the referees what they missed.

In the end, nothing changed and the Lakers took a 125-121 loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

The Lakers and the fans were furious and they had every right to be. The league’s Last 2 Minute Report confirmed it was an incorrect no-call. It was bad enough that the NBA referees apologized through the official Twitter account of their union.

But it was just a terribly timed coincidence.

There is no anti-Lakers conspiracy among NBA refs

Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports combed through all the Last 2 Minute Reports for Lakers’ games this year and found that, generally, they’ve benefited from incorrect calls far more than they’ve suffered from them this season.

An industrious NBA Redditor took things one step further and compared those counts to a few other teams, finding the Lakers got incorrect calls in their favor a lot more often than most other teams, Not all of those calls are of equal significance but if you’re inclined to believe in a vast refereeing conspiracy, there’s more evidence of the Lakers benefiting from said conspiracy, rather than being punished by it.

Another wild fact making the rounds after Sunday night was that the Celtics were 39-2 in games refereed by the head official for the game against the Lakers. It turns out that was completely made up, and not based on anything.

Long story short — the Lakers lost a game because of a bad call. But it was an unfortunate coincidence, not an elaborate conspiracy.

Check out The Step Back for more news, analysis, opinion and unique basketball coverage. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to our daily email newsletter, The Whiteboard.


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