October 2014

Over the weekend, after spending several days in critical condition, New Haven police officer Dan Picagli passed away. Officer Picagli was the officer who was struck last Tuesday in a traffic accident by Judge John M. Walker, Jr.
Judge Walker sits on the Second Circuit and maintains his chambers in New Haven (where he also teaches at Yale Law School). He was driving home in his sport utility vehicle at the time of the accident.
Officer Picagli, 38, was a 17-year-veteran of the police force and a father of four. He was praised for his service by several public officials, including New Haven’s mayor and chief of police. In the words of Mayor John DeStefano, “Officer Picagli was more than a cop. He was someone who brought people together, who created a sense of community… His basic decency will keep his memory vibrant in our city.”
A copy of the obituary for Officer Picagli, which we obtained by fax from the New Haven Police Department, can be viewed after the jump. It contains information about funeral arrangements and memorial gifts in lieu of flowers.
ATL sends its sympathies and condolences to the Picagli family.
Injured Police Officer Dies In Hospital [Hartford Courant via How Appealing]
Youth Officer Loses Struggle After Being Struck by SUV [New Haven Register]
Police Officer Dan Picagli [The Officer Down Memorial Page]
Earlier: An Update on Officer Picagli and Judge Walker
Judge John M. Walker Hits Police Officer in Traffic Accident

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Officer Dan Picagli, R.I.P.”

ted olson theodore b olson theodore olson.jpgThis past Saturday, October 21, Washington superlawyer Ted Olson and his fiancee, Lady Booth, were married. The wedding ceremony took place at the stunningly beautiful Meadowood resort, in Napa Valley, California.
Olson, a giant of the Supreme Court bar, served as Solicitor General — the federal government’s top lawyer before the Supreme Court — from 2001 to 2004. He’s currently a partner in the elite D.C. office of top-flight firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Olson successfully litigated the landmark 2000 election case, Bush v. Gore, in the Supreme Court. On the losing side: renowned litigator David Boies. But presumably there were no hard feelings, since Boies showed up for the wedding festivities — along with many other legal luminaries.
Some legal celebrity sightings, from the Washington Post’s Reliable Source:

More than 300 guests attended the midafternoon ceremony on the golf course, including Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, former justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, legal commentators Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, legal names such as Robert Bork, Kenneth Starr, David Boise [sic], and Olson’s law partner Bill Kilberg. U.S. Appeals Court Judge Laurence Silberman performed the ceremony, and Wall Street Journal Publisher Gordon Crovitz served as best man.

This is Booth’s first marriage and Olson’s fourth. The couple will honeymoon in Hawaii.

We hear through the grapevine that the wedding was, not surprisingly, “a great time. It seemed like half of Washington was there!”
Other notable guests: Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, of the Fourth Circuit; Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, of the Ninth Circuit, and his ever-stylish wife, Maura O’Scannlain; Frank Fahrenkopf, former RNC chairman and current gaming industry superlobbyist, with his wife, Mary; current Solicitor General Paul Clement; and conservative pundit Laura Ingraham.
Despite the tremendous collective brainpower of these august guests, we hear that several of them were left scratching their impressive craniums by one wedding detail: the request on the wedding invite for “Napa Casual” attire.
These leading minds of the bench and bar can slice, dice, define and parse the most complex legal terms known to man. But throw two innocent little words at them — “Napa Casual” — and watch them panic.
If only every day could be a court day. Who doesn’t look good in black?
Update: You can check out photographs from the wedding by clicking here.
Napa Nuptials for Olson and His Lady [Washington Post]
Theodore B. Olson, Solicitor General bio [USDOJ.gov]
Theodore Olson [Wikipedia]

sinking ship milberg weiss.jpgWe’re vaguely troubled by the title of this WSJ Law Blog post (’cause it makes us think of this). But it does report on a notable move within the legal profession, so we will plow ahead.
From the aforementioned post:

Matthew Gluck is joining Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman as a senior partner, marking a significant hire for the plaintiffs’ law firm. Gluck had been a litigation partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson since 1973….

Milberg Weiss was indicted in May on fraud charges based on allegations that it paid plaintiffs to file cases. It pleaded not guilty and has vowed to fight the charges. Since the indictment, the firm has lost a significant number of partners and associates.

Gluck’s move continues the trend of breaking down the barrier between plaintiffs’ firms and Biglaw. Sometimes Biglaw associates might, after a few years of practice, move over to the plaintiffs’ side; but such moves at the partner level were much less common. Biglaw was Biglaw, plaintiffs’ firms were plaintiffs’ firms, and never the twain shall meet.
This may be changing. Gluck’s move, from Fried Frank to Milberg Weiss, comes not long after former Milberg Weiss name partner Patricia Hynes moved in the opposite direction — from Milberg Weiss to the New York office of Allen & Overy, the defense-oriented British firm.*
So why did Gluck make the move?

Gluck, 64 years old, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Cornell University. He told the WSJ’s Nathan Koppel he was soon facing retirement age at Fried Frank and wanted a new challenge.

Attempting to turn around a class-action-complaint mill under federal indictment would indeed qualify as a “challenge.” But the undaunted Gluck is surprisingly sanguine about Milberg’s future:

“I don’t know why people have left [the firm] except for panic,” he says. “It doesn’t strike me as rational.”

Not “rational”? Clients defecting en masse, partners fleeing in droves, courts taking the firm off cases, or refusing to appoint them in new ones… Call us Debbie Downer, but this doesn’t sound too promising.
Even if you question the original decisions of clients, partners, and courts to abandon Milberg in the first instance, here’s the problem: the prophecy of doom has turned self-fulfilling. Does the name “Arthur Andersen” ring a bell? Even though the accounting firm was ultimately vindicated in the Supreme Court, that vindication came too late.
But hey, Matt Gluck’s arrival is undoubtedly a good thing for Milberg. In addition to being an experienced litigator, Gluck has — as noted by Milberg Weiss managing partner Sanford Dumain — “superb credentials in the area of bankruptcy law.”
* Yes, Allen & Overy is one of the “Magic Circle” firms. There, we said it. Now wasn’t that fun?
Fried Frank Partner Comes In Through Milberg’s Out Door [WSJ Law Blog]
Milberg Gets Fried Frank Veteran [Wall Street Journal]
Against Tide, Lawyer Joins Milberg Weiss [New York Times]
Matthew Gluck bio [Martindale-Hubbell]

beer alcohol drinking.jpg* “I’m not as think as you guilty I am, occifer.” [Kansas City Star via How Appealing; New York Times]
* If she’s caffeine, I’ll be having decaf with my French Toast Fantasy this morning. [WSJ Law Blog]
* I’m not necessarily saying that taking a bus to a college town, pitching a tent, and hacking up a bunch of coeds in an attempt to become a “criminal superstar” was a “bad” idea; let’s just say it suffered from poor execution. [ CNN.com]
* Ok, when I said I wasn’t going to run for President, what I meant was, yeah, I’m probably going to run for President. [Washington Post; New York Times; Associated Press]
* I say that the bar owners are negligent. I mean, they’ve got the colleges and the rivers sitting right there. Can’t they see what’s gonna happen when they have $3 pitcher “drown your sorrows” night? [AP via Online Athens]

[Ed. note: After reviewing your applications for the position of Morning Docket writer, we picked not one but two excellent writers to provide you with an entertaining summary of the morning's legal news.
Today we're pleased to introduce Billy Merck. Billy will share Morning Docket authorship with B Clerker, whom you met last week. Welcome, Billy!]
Billy Merck comes to ATL from the real ATL (Atlanta, Georgia), or at least the ATL media market (more accurately, from the ATH, or the AHN (Athens, Georgia), if you’re into airport codes).
Billy is a double graduate of a large state university. He’s worked making sausage drafting legislation, as a judicial law clerk, and now as a sole practitioner. Although he’s never personally experienced Biglaw, he’s heard things, and he’s quite certain that he’s not missing that much. He nevertheless feels that he has a level of disillusionment with the law to rival the most downtrodden midlevel associate. He expects to cathartically channel all of this negative energy and frustration into insightfully snarky legal news nuggets to get your mornings started right.
As a bit of shameless self-promotion, Billy suggests you take a look at www.mercklaw.com. He also hopes that you enjoy his contributions to ATL, and he now needs to go pretend to do some real work.

If you’re sick and tired of reading about blogs, bloggers, and blogging, then just skip this post.
But if you enjoy or take interest in such meta-coverage, then this article, by Nathan Carlile of the Legal Times, should be right up your alley. It’s exhaustively reported, colorfully written, and a genuine pleasure to read. Our favorite part: the subheadings, which are simply brilliant.
(We have a few little quibbles, but we won’t burden you with them here.)
Happy Reading!
David Lat Takes on the Legal World One Post at a Time: Blogger and Ex-Lawyer Takes No Prisoners
[Legal Times]

evan caminker 4 evan h caminker dean caminker.JPGasha rangappa 2 asha rangapa asha ranggappa asha ranggapa.JPG* This week we crowned America’s hottest law school deans: Evan Caminker, of Michigan, and Asha Rangappa, of Yale. When contacted by ATL, both of them issued gracious statements.
* So there’s no contest for you to vote in over the weekend. But please participate in our informal reader poll, seeking to ascertain your Favorite Supreme Court Justice.
* Speaking of the justices, don’t they have more important things to fight over than grammar? And who knew that bright-line Nino could be so nuanced?
* A theme for this past week: Celebrities’ legal woes. E.g., Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan, Wesley Snipes, Madonna, and Anna Nicole Smith.
* Another theme: Getting off. E.g., Junior Gotti, Nathan Hecht, and the Duke lacrosse team (but from “innocent sexual activity”).
* Second Circuit Judge John M. Walker hits a New Haven police officer in a traffic accident. The matter is under investigation.
* Global warming practice groups — are they heating up? Or are they the next “Y2K” practice groups?
* Eh, what do you care? You can’t get a Biglaw job anyway — they’re all going to Canadians.
* Team ATL has a new recruit — and he’s proud to be an American. Meet B Clerker.
* If you hate kids, then stop reading here. But if you like ‘em, then click here, scroll down, and read about the amusing antics of attorney spawn.

cheesesteak public domain photo.jpg* But they’ll still believe what they see on MTV and read on MySpace. [MoJo Blog]
* Creative types, lawyers, and other copyright enforcers get together to fight crime. Coming to a city near you. [Boing Boing]
* Philly cheesesteaks and porn, caught in the crossfire. [QuizLaw]
* Possibly the oldest man in the world (until yesterday) attributes his long life to never cheating or saying anything bad about anyone. He was obviously not a lawyer. Or a blogger. [The Economist]
* For those of you who have been following this tragic, disturbing, local New York story, here is an update. Parents everywhere still wonder whether they would have done the same thing. [Associated Press]

john a gotti junior gotti.jpgThe third time, and the third hung jury, proves to be a charm for former Gambino family crime boss John Gotti (aka “Junior Gotti”). From the New York Times:

[F]ederal prosecutors announced today that they would not seek to retry Mr. Gotti for a fourth time. The decision enshrines the mob dauphin as a defendant even trickier to convict than his father, the Gambino family don, John J. Gotti, who beat the rap three times himself before being found guilty in 1992 and dying in a federal prison hospital 10 years later.

So what now? Is Mr. Gotti going to Disneyworld? Uh, maybe:

Mr. Gotti, who has acknowledged through his lawyers that he ran the Gambino family during stretches of the 1990’s, to return to a life as normal as his name will allow. At the end of his third trial in September, he told reporters he wanted to “move on” and expressed a desire to work with children.

His lawyer, Charles F. Carnesi, said today that Mr. Gotti may turn to academe. “He’s interested in pursuing a degree,” he said. “In social work or counseling or maybe something with the schools.”

Our suggestion: elementary school music teacher. If Junior Gotti can lead a packed courtroom in a birthday serenade of a federal judge, he should have no problem getting grade schoolers to sing their little hearts out.
No Fourth Trial for Gotti, Prosecutors Say [New York Times]
Earlier: Happy Birthday, Judge Scheindlin
Related: TV, Movies, and the Mob: Some Quality Time with Gerald Shargel

asha rangappa 2 asha rangapa asha ranggappa asha ranggapa.JPGAfter declaring the two winners of our hottest law school dean contest, Asha Rangappa of Yale and Evan Caminker of Michigan, we contacted them for comment.
Earlier this week, we shared with you Dean Caminker’s reaction. And now we’re happy to bring you this official statement from Dean Rangappa (who has been traveling):

I was surprised and flattered to hear that I was named America’s hottest female law school dean. It’s heartening to know that, despite the terrorists’ attempts to destroy our way of life, a healthy objectification of lawyers continues unabated on the pages of ATL. Keep up the good work!

Much thanks, Dean Rangappa!
And readers, please heed the dean’s wise words. If you fail to vote in our next hotties contest, then the terrorists have won.
Earlier: Prior coverage of Law School Dean Hotties (scroll down)

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