August 2014

* “Living in sin” is a sex crime in North Dakota, which is absurd really, since people who live together end up leaving the door open when they’re using the toilet and spending Friday nights bleaching their facial hair while watching Law & Order, which seems conducive only to latent resentment and bitterness. [Bismarck Tribune]
* Oh, Prince Charles. Like your mother, you live in a bubble, except that yours is full of tampons, horses and Duchy Originals. [Yahoo! News]
* We girls do like them bad boys. Or maybe she saw one too many Prison Break episodes. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Janitor accidentally gets locked in a courthouse; sadly, this was no legal version of Career Opportunities (no girl) or From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (no co-conspirator), because he was there all by his own, lonesome self. [Poughkeepsie Journal]

law library librarians hot hottest hotties Above the Law legal blog.JPGEarlier this month, we began accepting nominations in Above the Law’s exciting Law Librarian Hotties Contest. We received some excellent submissions — librarians so hot that if you saw them in the stacks, you’d drop that Am. Jur. on your foot.

Now it’s time to announce the nominees. We’ll start with the women; the men will follow in due course. To kick things off, some words from a librarian at the U.S. Supreme Court:

To quote President Bush, “As Sam [Alito] and I both know, you can’t go wrong marrying a librarian.” Good luck to all your contestants!

You may not agree with most (or any) of George W. Bush’s actions. But marrying Laura Bush — who did have a “real job,” as a librarian (sorry, Teresa Heinz Kerry) — was probably one of the Decider’s best decisions.

If you’d like to follow the president’s lead, and find a librarian of your own to marry, we have some candidates for your consideration. To “check out” (hehe) America’s hottest law librarians, take a peek at what lies after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Librarian Hotties: Your Female Nominees”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIt’s time for a new thread on associate compensation developments, since the last thread was some time ago.
There doesn’t seem to be much to report lately. But here’s some fodder for discussion: a recent post at the WSJ Law Blog, concerning a Crain’s New York Business feature entitled “The Business of Law Report.” Money quote:

Following on our “Good Time for 2Ls” post last week, there’s a story, “2nd-Tier Schools Merit a Second Look.” “With demand for lawyers skyrocketing, recruiting and hiring on local campuses ranging from New York Law School to Hofstra, Rutgers and St. John’s has become as important to many elite firms as visiting high-echelon schools. Firms are learning to appreciate the background and experience of many students at these second-tier schools.”

We see that Loyola 2L has already condemned this as a siren song, luring the unwary to the rocks of a tier two law school. But we suspect that his is a minority view.
A Report on a Business of Law Report [WSJ Law Blog]
Good Times for 2Ls [WSJ Law Blog]

New York University Law School NYU Law School Above the Law.JPGUp in Cambridge, the students of Harvard Law School are trying to get those pesky undergraduates out of Hemenway gym.
But in New York’s Greenwich Village, the students of NYU Law School have a much more welcoming attitude towards college-age youngsters. In fact, that attitude may be TOO welcoming.
Yesterday a memo went out to all NYU law students from Yvette Bravo-Weber, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. It concerned the upcoming “Spring Fling” party, scheduled for March 8, and various changes being instituted this year — due to some, er, misbehavior from last year.
The memo is mildly amusing, due to the dry, clinical manner in which it discusses what we imagine was a bunch of drunken law students — and their underage guests — puking their guts out. You can check out the full NYU memo — with commentary from us, questioning the wisdom of these “reforms” — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “NYU Law School Administrators Impair the Student Body’s Professional Development”

Vanessa Bryant Vanessa L Bryant Judge Above the Law legal blog.jpgYesterday brought some good news for Connecticut state court judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant, nominated to the federal district court for Connecticut.
From the Hartford Courant (via How Appealing):

The influential judicial screening committee of the American Bar Association has reversed itself on the nomination of Superior Court Judge Vanessa L. Bryant to the federal bench, concluding that the judge it found not qualified a year ago is now qualified.

The chairman of the association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary said Tuesday that the new evaluation is the result of a routine re-examination of Bryant’s qualifications. That was triggered when Bryant’s nomination was resubmitted in January by President Bush after Congress adjourned last year without acting on it.

So Judge Bryant’s confirmation — which was never seriously in doubt, even back when she was deemed “unqualified,” due to the political support she enjoyed on both sides of the aisle — is now just a formality.
To refresh your memory, here’s some discussion of Judge Bryant’s earlier “not qualified” rating:

In confidential interviews, [ABA investigator Doreen] Dodson wrote, judges and lawyers described Bryant as “domineering and exasperated with lawyers,” “arrogant and unreasonable,” and “contentious and short-tempered.” Some also said she seemed overwhelmed by complex issues and wrote opinions that were hard to decipher. Dodson added that such complaints appeared consistently through her years on the bench.

Vanessa Gilmore Vanessa D Gilmore Judge Above the Law Above the Law judicial diva.jpgHmm… This description calls to mind a certain other jurist named Vanessa: Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore (at right), appointed by President Clinton in 1994, and recently discussed here.
Now, we harbor a healthy skepticism of the ABA ratings process. And we do acknowledge the concerns that have been raised concerning the anonymous nature of the earlier criticisms of Judge Bryant, which hampered her ability to respond to them at her Judiciary Committee hearings.*
But here’s a question on our mind, which we’ll just toss out there for all of you to debate:

If confirmed to the federal bench, might Judge Vanessa Bryant someday end up looking like the northeastern, Republican version of Judge Vanessa Gilmore?

* Speaking of anonymous criticism of judges, yes, we know: we are delinquent with our response to Judge Alex Kozinski’s open letter. Look for it tomorrow.
Opinion Reversed: Judge Is Qualified [Hartford Courant (via How Appealing)]
Dodd, Lieberman and Blumenthal endorse federal judge nominee [Associated Press]
Vanessa Lynne Bryant bio [Office of Legal Policy]
Earlier: The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore: A Delicious Judicial Diva

Skadden Power Money Lincoln Caplan Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we posted an interesting excerpt from Lincoln Caplan’s book, Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire, which discussed Sullivan & Cromwell. The excerpt concerned a closeted gay associate at S&C who committed suicide after being passed over for partner.
A comment on that post:

“Does this anecdote show anti-gay bias, or just that S&C partners are a**holes? The S&C lawyer who committed suicide was closeted.”

“Would the failure of partners to attend his funeral represent hostility towards gays? Or just general indifference by S&C partners to associates who don’t make partner?”

The “we’re not homophobes, just a**holes” line of defense probably won’t do wonders for S&C’s recruiting this fall. But one of you has brought our attention to an excerpt from later on in the book (pp. 160-61) that speaks more specifically to the issue of gays at S&C.
It concerns the late Jonathan Bowie, a partner at Skadden at the time of his passing. As one commenter noted, “Bowie was passed over for partner at S&C, that’s why he moved to Skadden. On a sad note, he later died of AIDS.”
From Skadden, by Lincoln Caplan:
Skadden Arps 2 Sullivan Cromwell Lincoln Caplan Above the Law.JPG
Unlike the S&C associate from the earlier excerpt, Bowie wasn’t “very closeted” during his time at the firm. He had a boyfriend at S&C, and “people knew” about him. So his story, and his being passed over for partnership, may be slightly more revealing than the prior anecdote.
Note our use of the word “slightly.” It’s worth pointing out that the above excerpt contains no clear, objective evidence of anti-gay bias at S&C. People get passed over for partner for all sorts of reasons. The anecdote rests entirely upon perceptions of S&C held by lawyers at a different, rival firm. And it’s over two decades old; a lot can change over 20 years.
We just thought it was interesting (as did the source who sent it to us). So we’ve posted it here for your consideration. You can decide how much weight to place upon it.
P.S. We try not to miss a single news article about the litigation between Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell. But we did fail to mention this interesting Gay City News article, by Professor Arthur Leonard, which appeared late last week.
Professor Leonard analyzes S&C’s recent motion to dismiss Aaron Charney’s complaint. We never offered our own thoughts on that motion, but we agree with much of Professor Leonard’s thoughtful analysis.
Charney Litigation Heats Up [Gay City News]
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Harvard Law School HLS seal logo.gifOh you Harvard Law School kids! We poke some fun at the (rather silly) proposal to rename the HLS sections, which are currently identified by numbers. And then we get grief for it in the comments, including a claim that we “have very little understanding of irony or satire” (even though the survey didn’t seem very satirical to us, aside from a single throwaway line about Hogwarts).*
Anyway, to satisfy any defensive HLSers, we’ll now publish a tip we received that makes the Law School seem slightly less ridiculous:

[I]t’s not the HLS administration’s idea to do this; it is basically the idea of a single 1L. I was at the student government meeting in which this idea was first proposed, and it came from a 1L section representative. Because 1L participation is strongly encouraged, no one wanted to shoot him down (even though many people thought the idea was silly).

Someone suggested sending out a poll to see if other students agreed, and if so, the student government would pass on the poll results to the administration. My hunch is that students will vote against it, and regardless the faculty/admin almost certainly would not support the idea. That’s the back story.

What a relief! Our faith in Harvard Law School’s wise (and super-hot) leader, Dean Elena Kagan, has been restored.
* That same comments thread also included an odd digression on whether there are too many undergraduates at the Hemenway gym. Funny — when we were in law school, undergrads in the gym were viewed as a GOOD thing…
Earlier: Wherein Harvard Law School Hits Itself Over the Head With a Silly Stick

* North Dakota legislators are not comfortable with these sitcom-like living arrangements the kids (and senior citizens) are doing these days. [MSNBC]
* If they think college students are vain, imagine how a study of law students would fare. [CNN]
* Hillary Clinton selects general counsel. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Is Big Food the next Big Tobacco? [ Law.com]

wall street plunge Above the Law blog.gifAs you can see from our Programming Note, we stepped away from the computer at around 3 PM today.
Which is just about the time the Dow Jones decided to take a 200-point plunge. The Dow ended the day down 416.02 points, or 3.29 percent — in terms of points, the worst day since the market reopened after 9/11. (The S&P 500 fell 3.47 percent, and the Nasdaq fell 3.86 percent.)
Coincidence? We think not. Apparently the stability of world financial markets requires us to keep ourselves planted in front of our computer all day.
Check out the excellent coverage of the market meltdown over at our big sibling, DealBreaker. John Carney hung out and got drunk with a bunch of traders. This “reporting” thing sure sounds fun!
Update: Matt Drudge is also trying to take credit for the stock market plunge, by linking to this article, Did the Drudge Report Help Tank the Stock Market?
Moments of Terror: A View From The Trading Desk [DealBreaker]
NYSE: Pay No Attention To That Thing That Happened Right Around 3:00 PM. It Was Glitch [DealBreaker]
A Data Backup Jolts The Blue-Chip Average [Wall Street Journal]
Wall St. Slide Fuels Worries on Economy [New York Times]

* This is in no way an admission that MTV is somehow partially responsible for your laziness and/or learning disabilities. [New York Daily News]
* More Heidi Fleiss-inspired antics! I keep forgetting this kind of thing is illegal — there should be a carve-out for the C-listed and below. [Los Angeles Times]
* This mom-of-the-year is kind of like a low-rent Joe Simpson, although we’re pretty sure Jessica isn’t faking. [MSN]
* The lurid nature of this trial may make the “sex, lies & videotape” qualifier okay, but that was, like, 18 years ago. Conversely, why do we remember Peter Gallagher only from The OC? [New York Times]
* Utah is that boring. [QuizLaw; Denver Post]

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