October 2014

Charney S&C courthouse hearing Charles Stillman Daniel Alterman.jpg
What the hell was SHANETTA CUTLAR doing at yesterday’s hearing in Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney?
Has the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division decided to intervene in the case on Aaron Charney’s behalf?
(Okay, seriously: Leaving New York Supreme Court yesterday were Charles Stillman, counsel to S&C; Daniel Alterman, counsel to Aaron Charney; and Herbert Eisenberg, counsel to Aaron Charney (mostly obscured by “Shanetta”).)
Earlier: Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney: A Photo Essay (Part 1)

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgWe feel like we’re running an online group therapy session. Pretty much every week, another ex-employee of the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section (SPL) writes in to us, so he or she can vent their justifiable frustrations whine about the horrific challenging experience of working under super-diva Shanetta Y. Cutlar. Writing in to ATL seems to be a therapeutic experience for these people.
As we mentioned yesterday, one former SPL employee sent us a copy of their completed exit survey. We reprint it after the jump. But first, here’s an introduction to what you’re about to read:

I quit SPL largely because of Shanetta’s mismanagement of the section. I’m attaching a copy I kept of my exit survey — though some of the fields did not print in full, and I redacted some fields to remove info related to my personal identity.

Feel free to post any portions you’d like…. You might want to consider submitting a FOIA request for a full copy of this and any other exit surveys or other information related to evaluations / criticisms of Shanetta if you haven’t already done so.

In addition to the written exit survey, I had an exit interview with the front office when I left (which was over two years ago), and I stressed the issues people were having with Shanetta during that interview. So the front office has been aware of the issues with her at least since then, if not earlier.

Interesting. According to this tipster, the folks in the “front office” — i.e., the DOJ powers-that-be — have been aware of Shanetta Cutlar’s distinctive management style for quite some time.
Fortunately, they have had the wisdom to leave well enough alone — despite complaints from folks who just aren’t up to the task of enforcing our nation’s civil rights laws. May Shanetta Cutlar reign forever over the Special Litigation Section!!!
Excerpts from this disgruntled lawyer’s exit questionnaire, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shanetta Cutlar: The Perspective of an SPL Escapee”

New York Supreme Court 2 60 Centre Street 60 Center Street Above the Law.jpg

Here is the first set of our photographs from yesterday’s hearing in New York Supreme Court in the lawsuit(s) between Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell (litigation nickname still to be determined).
We’ve taken a page from the Lavi Soloway playbook: these photos are thumbnail images. If you click on the thumbail, you’ll be able to see a larger version of the picture, in all of its glory.
More photographs, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney: A Photo Essay (Part 1)”

H Rodgin Cohen 2 Chairman Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL legal tabloid legal blog.JPGMore ATL coverage of yesterday’s proceedings in Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney will be appearing shortly. Be patient.
Normally we’d apologize for the delay and beg your kind indulgence. But we have taken the advice of this commenter to heart. Having discovered our inner diva, we now say to you: You’ll get it when you’ll get it.
Our new high-handed attitude also means that we’ll be posting less frequently in the comments, to hold ourselves above the fray. But we will continue to discuss comments that catch our eye on the main page.
While waiting for more coverage from us, here are some Charney-licious links that you should check out (in addition to the ones we collected yesterday):
1. Destroyed Hard Drive Becomes Focus of Hearing in Sullivan & Cromwell Suit [New York Law Journal]
Very good piece by Anthony Lin, whom we had the pleasure of meeting after yesterday’s hearing. Money quote, on the issue of Aaron Charney’s hard drive (which we explained yesterday):

[Justice Bernard] Fried originally ordered Charney to produce an affidavit explaining the hard drive’s destruction by the end of Thursday, but he later extended that time until Feb. 14 in order to give Charney time to consult with another member of his legal team, noted criminal defense lawyer Michael Kennedy, on possible Fifth Amendment issues…

Kennedy has also represented a number of high-profile clients, including Robert Durst, the real estate heir convicted of murder in Texas.

So the speculation of some of you, concerning possible criminal exposure for Charney in this case that might warrant careful consideration of Fifth Amendment issues, was not entirely off-base.
2. Charney/S&C Takes New Twists and Turns [Leonard Link]
What substantive law will apply to Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell [Leonard Link]
A pair of excellent, substantive posts by Professor Arthur Leonard of New York Law School. Professor Leonard is both a legal academic and a journalist.
Recently he wrote us about a prior item of ours:

I was just scrolling back through your coverage and noted your speculation about my article concerning the Charney case in Gay City News.

I wrote my article based entirely on reading the complaint, which was given to me by a colleague on the day it was circulating on-line. My article was not based on other media coverage, which hadn’t occurred yet when I wrote it. Gay City News is a print weekly, and so articles may be written days before they appear….

Your speculation about who at NYLS gave me the complaint is totally incorrect. There are half a dozen gay faculty members here, and [William] LaPiana had nothing to do with cluing me into the story.

New York Law School: It’s just like S&C. It’s way the heck downtown, and it has oodles of gay people.
(But hopefully gays at NYLS are treated better than Aaron Charney was allegedly treated at S&C.)
3. Controversy Continues: LeGal, Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell [Soloway]
Lavi (pronounced LAY-vee) Soloway has been doing a great job covering L’Affaire Charney — despite having a demanding day job, as a practicing immigration lawyer.
We saw him in the courtroom at yesterday’s hearing. He’s quite cute, very young-looking for 40, and he dresses very well.
And he takes good photographs , too. Be sure to click on the thumbnails to see the true quality of each image.
4. Daily Intelligencer [New York Magazine]
Contains a shout-out to an earlier post of ours, which it describes as containing “[a]nonymous trash-talking” and “tawdry mixed metaphors.”
Why thank you, NYM! We do try around here.
5. Desperate Attorneys [Law Firm Diversity]
A brief item about the case, from a legal blog that appears to be on its last legs (per the author, Mr. Thorne, who claims to have lost business due to his blogging).
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Aaron Charney and S&C (scroll down)

Anna Nicole Smith J Howard Marshall Anna Nicole Smith J Howard Marshall Anna Nicole Smith pic picture photo photograph.jpgAs we mentioned yesterday, victorious Supreme Court litigant Anna Nicole Smith has passed away. She was 39, and the circumstances of her death are still being investigated. Here were some of your comments:

“ANS, we’ll miss you. We celebrate your reunion with your son, and we mourn your separation from your newborn daughter. Thanks for showing us all that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.”

“I feel so bad about the fact that there is a little baby with no mom.”

“This is our Princess Di, people!”

By email, we received this interesting news:

Anna Nicole Smith’s late husband, J. Howard Marshall, was a big donor to Yale Law School [where he once served as assistant dean and taught Trusts and Estates].

When he died, and it immediately became clear that there would be a dispute over the estate, there was an internal debate whether Yale Law Dean Tony Kronman should attend both of the dueling memorial services — the staid family affair, and the one featuring Anna Nicole Smith spilling out of her dress and singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.” I believe he only went to the former.

Also, there is a great picture of the happy couple from around the time of their engagement or marriage. He looks old and frail but has the biggest s***-eating grin you have ever seen.

We think we’ve found that photograph. Is this the right one?
Anna Nicole Smith Dead At 39 [Access Hollywood via Drudge Report]
Earlier: Breaking: Anna Nicole Smith, Successful Supreme Court Litigant, Has Passed Away

Yesterday we opened a reader poll, asking for your help in picking a nickname for the ongoing litigation between megafirm Sullivan & Cromwell land its gay ex-associate, Aaron Charney. Upon further review of the options offered and the interim results, we’ve decided to run a second poll.
It’s a pseudo-runoff, in that it includes two of the top three vote-getters from the last poll. But we’ve added two other options that weren’t included in the original poll, but may enjoy substantial support.
Here’s the new — and, we promise, the final and binding — Charney v. S&C nickname poll:

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThank God it’s Friday. In addition to the imminent arrival of the weekend, Friday also means more associate pay raise announcements (or at least that’s our guess).
Which big firms have not yet announced increases in base salaries for their associates? We’d expect to see a few of the stragglers move today, probably in the afternoon or early evening.
Please let us know about new developments — or confirm old ones for us — by email. And post your thoughts and predictions in the comments. Thanks.
Update: We haven’t verified the data ourselves, so we can’t vouch for it 100 percent; but in the comments, one of you has posted this helpful list “of Vault 100 firms that have not yet matched the Simpson bump.”

* Spector trial may be on tv. [CNN]
* WSJ Law Blog on the death of Anna Nicole Smith. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Press, meet the cross-examination. [AP via Findlaw]
* Thank you for suing. [AP via Findlaw]
* And you too. [The Boston Globe via lexisONE]

* Between the carrot and the stick, it’s always the stick that prevails. [Truth on the Market]
* One could hardly confuse Keith Urban the New Jersey oil painter with Keith Urban the Australian country singer. One paints, and the other sings is married to Nicole Kidman. [AOL Music]
* I wonder what the Lithuanian blog community is like, because US blogs would be out of control if the same amendment were to pass here. [Essentially Contested America]
* Biglaw associates, judges, law professors–none of us are above whining about salaries. [MoneyLaw]

Anna Nicole Smith pic Anna Nicole Smith photo Anna Nicole Smith photograph former topless dancer Supreme Court Above the Law Above the Law.jpgPlease observe a moment of silence for one of the most celebrated litigants in the history of the Supreme Court. Anna Nicole Smith was a fascinating personality, and one of the great beauties of our time.
From the Associated Press:

Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy playmate whose bizarre life careened from marrying an octogenarian billionaire to the untimely death of her son, died Thursday after collapsing at a South Florida hotel, one of her lawyers said.

Smith, 39, collapsed and was unresponsive while staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino, said the attorney, Ron Rale. She was rushed to a hospital.

Smith had been a tabloid staple even before she became Playboy’s playmate of the year in 1993. Readers were fascinated by her bombshell good looks, her marriage to an elderly billionaire and subsequent court fight over his estate, her weight fluctuations, and last year, the sudden death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith.

A former topless dancer, she made her name squeezing into Guess jeans. She resembled the late actress Marilyn Monroe, a similarity played up in her Guess magazine ads, billboards and department store displays.

But unlike most other “tabloid staple[s],” Smith’s significance was legal as well as cultural. How many people can claim to have appeared in both Page Six and U.S. Reports? As the petitioner in Marshall v. Marshall, Anna Nicole Smith helped clarify (1) the scope of the “probate exception” to federal jurisdiction, and (2) its applicability to cases that do not directly involve the administration of a will or estate.
We overuse the word “fabulous” around here. But just like Justice Potter Stewart, “we know it when we see it” — and Anna Nicole Smith was it. She will be missed, by celebrity and Supreme Court groupies alike.
Update (5 PM): A most interesting comment:

Her ex-husband was a graduate of our host’s alma mater — Yale Law School. That makes her 2 degrees of academic separation from him.

J. Howard Marshall was an early figure in the legal realist movement and for a little while, an assistant dean at YLS and a colleague of William O. Douglas.

Anna Nicole Smith dies after collapsing at hotel [Associated Press via New York Daily News]
Marshall v. Marshall [Oyez.org]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Anna Nicole Smith (scroll down)

Page 15 of 21521...111213141516171819...2152