1st Circuit

No, not that gavel...

* Dewey retired partners with unfunded pensions get a seat at the table for this bankruptcy circus? Yeah, but only because the U.S. Trustee did something unheard of and appointed a committee of former partners as creditors. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Yesterday was definitely a great day to be gay on the east coast. In addition to the First Circuit’s DOMA decision, a New York appellate court ruled that being called gay is no longer defamatory per se. [New York Law Journal]

* Milberg is the latest firm to dump Paul Ceglia of Facebook lawsuit fame, but Dean Boland, his other lawyer, says the Biglaw firm just “serve[d] as a distraction.” Somebody please give this man a dislike button. [Buffalo News]

* Humblebrag of the day by Judge Alsup of Oracle v. Google fame: he’s written lines of code “a hundred times before.” He also squashed Oracle’s API copyright infringement claims like bugs. [Courthouse News Service]

* Remember Kimberly Ireland, the Kansas attorney who falsely accused Judge Kevin Moriarty of waxing his gavel beneath the bench? She got a retroactive two-year suspension. [ABA Journal via Legal Profession Blog]

* Elizabeth Warren has confirmed that she told Harvard Law and Penn Law that she was a Native American, but only after she had been hired. She didn’t get any action of the affirmative variety, no sir. [Associated Press]

* Recent law school graduates are a little more desperate than we thought they were. At least 32 people have already applied for that BC Law job advertising a salary below minimum wage. [Boston Business Journal]

* Activision settled a lawsuit with two Call of Duty developers, but isn’t worried about an effect on its financials due to a strong third quarter performance. And you can thank your damn Elite packages for that. [PCMag]

During the United States Supreme Court arguments over Obamacare, the nation got a rare treat: the chance to see (or at least hear) Paul Clement in action. Clement, a former U.S. Solicitor General and current partner at Bancroft PLLC, delivered a brilliant performance before the justices, a veritable master class in appellate advocacy. As Carter Phillips, a veteran SCOTUS litigator himself, told us here at Above the Law, Clement “did a spectacularly good job” and “was just on his game… over a much longer period of time than most of us are required to do it.”

But even Clement couldn’t save Section 3 of the highly problematic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) from going down to defeat in the First Circuit. Before a panel with a majority of Republican-appointed judges, in fact.

Let’s find out who was on the panel, whether there were any dissents, and what the court concluded….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Even Paul Clement Can’t Successfully Defend the Defense of Marriage Act”

* “The road to this day has been long”… and hard. That’s what he said. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has finally been put to bed, and the next logical step would be to ditch DOMA. [PostPartisan / Washington Post]

* “Citizens United has been good for gay rights.” Well, at least it’s been good for something. Are we allowed to like the ruling in this case now? Bueller? Bueller? No? Okay, just checking. [New York Times]

* And another one gone, another judge bites the dust. $43K wasn’t enough to keep Justice Joseph Covello on the bench. How many more will it take to get a decent raise? [New York Law Journal]

* The First Circuit turned it around on Joel Tenenbaum, reinstating a $675K judgment against him. Charles Nesson couldn’t comment on the decision because he was crying. [Boston Globe]

* Ten-year sentence edition: Samuel Logan’s dad wishes he was still a judge on the Tenth Circuit so he could benchslap the sh*t out of his son for trying to seduce a 14-year-old. [Kansas City Star]

* John Banzhaf continues to fight for coeds’ right to party at Catholic University, but it’s not looking good because it’s hard to immaculately conceive when boys live in the same dorm. [WSJ Law Blog]


Long before I became a law blogger, I spent a good chunk of time working as a photojournalist. Periodically, I wound up photographing the police. Whether it was at an arrest at a football game, or an officer who suffered an unusual injury, officers rarely hassled me because I usually had a press pass and a big, professional-looking camera.

But anyone can film in public spaces. One of the most important — and overlooked — technological developments of the last five-odd years is the ease with which anyone can record police doing their jobs and throw the video on YouTube. The technology can be a great deterrent against police misconduct.

So it’s really, seriously disturbing when police try to intimidate witnesses into turning off their cellphone cameras. It’s even more nauseating when someone gets arrested for simply filming police activity. Luckily, a recent decision from First Circuit unambiguously told police to cut it out.

Keep reading for details about the man who was arrested for taping police in America’s oldest public park, as well as Judge Kermit Lipez’s benchslap of the officers who made the arrest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “First Circuit Has No Sympathy For Cops Who Say, ‘Don’t Tape Me, Bro!’”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Small Firms, Big Lawyers, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Let me tell you about a couple of cases I lost. Now, wait: before the Commentariat sharpens its knives (“This guy couldn’t get a big-firm job, then loses all his cases. No wonder he’s writing for ATL. Heh.” — Guest), let me point out a few things. In 17 years as an employment litigator, I’ve won plenty more cases than I’ve lost. But I didn’t learn as much from the cases I won; I learned much more from the ones I lost.

So this post covers the single most important lesson I’ve learned in litigation, and now I’m sharing it with you. You didn’t learn it in law school, and you’re not likely to find a CLE on it. But the lesson these two cases illustrate can prevent you from making the most common mistake lawyers make.

And learning that lesson will help you win more cases.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: It’s Not About the Law”

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Just two lawyer weddings show up on the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch this week, but both are vigorous, Ivy-licious contenders. There’s even a juicy clerkship in the mix to herald the approach of spring!

Here are our finalists:

1. Allison Podell and Bradley Saft

2. Dina Mishra and Benjamin Shultz

More about these couples’ qualifications, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 3.8: Upper Register”

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We’re bummed that we can’t write this week about the groom who arranges music for Yo-Yo Ma and Jay-Z. Or the one who’s associate counsel for the NBA.
But lawyer-lawyer couples abound, and we know those are the pairings ATL readers crave. Here are our finalists:

1. Lisa Kutlin and Alexander Goldenberg
2. Shauna Burgess and Jonathan Friedman
3. Elizabeth Frieze and Matthew Prasse

More about these legal lovebirds, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Smart Alex”

Nothing could win you over. Not Judge Bruce Selya’s impressive vocabulary, Judge Juan Torruella’s magnificent yacht, Judge Kermit Lipez’s niceness and decency, nor Judge Sandra Lynch’s personal charm steely intellect.
In the end, you all turned into prestige whores. You succumbed to his fancy title of “Chief Judge,” as well as his strong track record as a feeder judge to the Supreme Court:
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Congratulations to Chief Judge Michael Boudin, your favorite First Circuit judge!
Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: Who’s Your Favorite First Circuit Judge?

2007.jpgLast week was short, thanks to the New Year’s holiday; but it sure was busy. Here are some highlights from a very momentous week:
* No more jokes about Harriet Miers: the ill-fated ex-SCOTUS nominee has resigned as White House counsel. Speculation about her successor abounds.
* No more jokes about the Dewy Orifice: the ill-fated merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has been called off.
* Turns out that Chief Justice Rehnquist was a painkiller junkie. Once, while suffering withdrawal symptoms, he tried to bust out of a hospital in his PJs.
* Chief Judge David Levi, of the Eastern District of California, will be the new Dean of Duke Law School.
* All About Jan? Just as the aging Margo Channing’s reign over Broadway was threatened by the comely Eve Harrington, the aging Linda Greenhouse’s reign over One First Street is being threatened by the comely Jan Crawford Greenburg.
* Who knew? Law professors and legal bloggers sure know how to party! Photos of drunken legal academics available here and here.
* Cravath partner John Beerbower has enjoyed some amazing apartments over the years. Cravath partnership + Wealthy wife = $20 million, Park Avenue pad.
* Who’s your favorite First Circuit judge? Cast your vote here.
* If you’re a right-winger hoping that Justice Stevens will step down soon, don’t hold your breath.
* Today’s D.C. Circuit: Despite the occasional catfight, it’s not as bitchy as it used to be. Sigh.
* Oppressed law clerks, your Devil Wears Prada is on its way. Coming soon to a bookstore near you: Chambermaid, by former Third Circuit clerk Saira Rao.

First Circuit 1st Circuit 1st Cir seal.jpgIn reviewing our coverage of the federal judiciary, we noticed that we don’t give the First Circuit enough love. For those of you who haven’t memorized this map, the 1st Circuit includes four New England states and Puerto Rico.
Perhaps we don’t cover the First Circuit that much due to its small size. With spots for only six active judges, it’s the smallest of the thirteen U.S. courts of appeals. Or maybe we don’t write much about it because it’s a fairly collegial court — and we like to cover benchslappery.
Regardless of the reasons for it, we’d like to remedy this deficiency in our court coverage. As a first step towards that goal, we bring you this rather random reader poll:


We also invite you to send to us, by email, any good gossip or fun facts about the First Circuit and its members. Thanks!
Update (12:15 PM): As pointed out by this comment, and confirmed in his FJC bio, Judge Bruce Selya took senior status a few days ago (this past Sunday).
We’ll leave Judge Selya in the poll, because many votes have already been cast, and removing him would screw up the results. But if Judge Selya gets the most votes, we’ll declare him the “honorary” winner, and name the runner-up as your favorite active First Circuit judge.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website]

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