Good morning. David Lat is in Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand for the weekend for what has been euphemistically called “elective surgery.” Rest assured, D-Lat will return Monday, safe, sound, and happy to blog, if having to sit on a comfy pillow to do so, and we should all be supportive of the very difficult decisions involved.
In the interim, Lat has asked me to fill in a few posts this Friday, and I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Ted Frank. Some fifteen years ago, I correctly identified the sequence at which Victoria, William, Xavier, Yolanda, and Zachary were seated at a circular table, filled in all corresponding ovals correctly, and was rewarded with a wheelbarrow of money to attend law school in a variety of bad neighborhoods in Connecticut and Massachusetts and Illinois. Because law interested me as a public-policy mechanism, I picked up a copy of The Economics of Justice while I was in a Chicago bookstore visiting that school, and smitten enough to decide to go there on what they called a “Public Service Scholarship.” A year of clerking and a dozen years of BigLaw taught me that litigation incentives actually create miserable public-policy results, and I’ve been writing about this problem on Walter Olson’s Overlawyered blog since 2003 and the Point of Law blog since 2004. In 2005, the American Enterprise Institute invited me to run their Liability Project directing research on the tort system and its effects; it’s a pay-cut, but the issue is important to me, and then there’s the whole Jewish guilt thing over not yet having done the public service I had hypothetically been awarded a scholarship for. And all of this has culminated in today’s guest-blogging opportunity on Above the Law, surely the highlight of my career, and worth a tenth of a point if Lat ever scores my wedding. More after the jump.
I like this site because I had an idea for one very similar in 2000 when I was working in California. The Internet bubble was a strange time: a friend of my then-wife was working for Amazon, and hired me and another friend to write book reviews for $150/pop. I didn’t quite understand how a 300-word review I wrote could generate $150 in profit for Amazon, but was happy to get paid to read books I’d be reading anyway, and that was the kind of cash that was floating around. How could I get some more of that money? Well, lawyers have a lot of money, lawyers are self-important, surely they’d want to read a site about the law that combined Page Six with Greedy Associates. It could even have blind items!
-Which guitar-playing junior partner successfully picked up an 18-year-old on the Los Angeles freeways by honking at her car from his convertible and encouraging her to pull off the 10 and exchange digits? Little did he know she was already dating associates at two other law firms.
-Which law professor reacted to news from the Clinton administration that he was too hot for a judicial nomination by leaving his wife and family for another professor?
-Which Century City partner has been immortalized in a book of short stories after macking on a writer at a law-firm retreat in front of her associate boyfriend?
Step 1: Collect blind items. Step 3: Profit! Then I decided it was a stupid idea and, besides, I had a big patent case to work on and a couple of Ninth Circuit oral arguments, and then the Internet market crashed, and I didn’t think of it again. Until today.*
*Actually, I’m thinking about this earlier this week, when I wrote this. Right now, I’m really watching a panel of Walter Berns, Lynne Cheney, and Robert Bork, and someone in Bangalore is arranging for this to be posted.