October 2014

Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgA detailed excerpt, plus a link to the full opinion, can be accessed here (via How Appealing). Money quote:

[T]he picture and the few words imprinted on the Brandt T-shirt are no more expressive of an idea or opinion that the First Amendment might be thought to protect than a young child’s talentless infantile drawing which Brandt’s design successfully mimics. Otherwise every T-shirt that was not all white with no design or words… would be protected by the First Amendment, and schools could not impose dress codes or require uniforms without violating the free speech of the students, a proposition sensibly rejected in the Blau case.

“[T]alentless infantile drawing”? Judge Posner, that was way harsh.
You had to rule against the plaintiffs based on the caselaw; fine. But did you really have to insult their artistic abilities? Kids are like district judges: their feelings are easily hurt.
(If you’re not familiar with this bizarre but amusing litigation, read our earlier post, available here.)
Rulings of Note from the Seventh Circuit [How Appealing]
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Gifties v. Tards

Writing About the Law New York Law School NYLS Above the Law.jpgOops, we forgot to post our write-up of the final panel of Friday’s conference at New York Law School.
Afternoon Panel (2:15-3:30): Beyond the Bluebook: The Future of Writing About the Law
“In a world increasingly dominated by blogs and online publications, does traditional legal scholarship have a future? Will legal scholars abandon the traditional law review to write for a popular audience, and if so, why? What will this brave new world look like?”
Panelists and Moderator:
* Bernard Hibbitts, Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Editor in Chief of Jurist.
* Rosa Brooks, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center and op-ed columnist, Los Angeles Times.
* Jack Balkin, Professor, Yale Law School and Founder and Director of the Information Society Project.
* Lawrence B. Solum, Professor, University of Illinois College of Law and author of Legal Theory Blog.
* Rodger Citron (Moderator), Assistant Professor of Law, Touro Law Center.
For those of you who are interested — which, we realize, is probably a small, wonky group — a brief discussion appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond the Bluebook: The Future of Writing About the Law”

Thomas Jefferson Sally Hemmings Sally Hemings UVA Law Sex Survey Above the Law.JPGIs there anything to do in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia, other than hump like bunnies? A recent study suggests the answer to this question is “no.”
Over at the University of Virginia Law School, student bodies are gettin’ busy. The Virginia Law Weekly, UVA’s student newspaper, recently administered a sex survey. It was taken by approximately half of the law school — an impressive response rate. The survey revealed the following:

[A]lmost 64% of law students are currently involved in a sexual relationship, and most of us (52%) are having sex at least once a week. But even though a full 70% of students report that they are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their sex lives, apparently that’s not enough. Fifty-nine percent of respondents told us that they want to have sex more often.

Please, kids — let’s not get greedy. After all, you’re in LAW SCHOOL. And you need to leave yourselves SOME time to hit the books, so you can land that coveted Wilkinson clerkship.
Additional highlights from the survey, from TJ’s Double Play:

* Who are the nine dudes and two girls who are awesome? And by awesome, we mean slept with more than 30 people.

* About 30 percent of both law school men and women have cheated on a partner. Finally, gender-equity. Plus, since we’re going to be lawyers, screwing people is what we do best.

* Sixty-five percent of law students do not think oral sex is sex. In that case, We would love to not have sex with you.

* The average law school guy has had six partners and the average girl has had five, well beyond the national average of about three. Again, screwing people is what we do best.

* 1Ls make up fifty percent of the law school’s virgins. Explanation: $3100 a week at your summer job will work wonders for your sex life.

* Thirty percent have had anal sex, which just goes to show that the butt is the new oral. See, The Bottom Line.

For more titillating tidbits, read the full post at TJ’s Double Play, the Virginia Law Weekly article, or the underlying raw data.
UVA Sex Survey [TJ's Double Play]
2007 Sex Survey Results Show Busy, Insatiable Student Body [Virginia Law Weekly]
UVA Law Sex Survey Raw Data [Survey Monkey]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThe associate pay raise story seems pretty played out at this point. We’ve certainly grown tired of covering it.
But in case it still interests you, here are two links (the second is old; we found it while cleaning out our inbox):
1. Atlanta-Based Firm Raises Salaries Twice in Two Weeks [Fulton County Daily Report]

“Troutman Sanders has matched the $130,000 starting salary for associates that earlier this month became the new top rate at several big Atlanta firms, said the firm’s managing partner, Robert W. Webb Jr.”

2. McKenna Long joins latest round of pay raises [Fulton County Daily Report]

“McKenna Long & Aldridge has joined the latest round of associate pay increases. The firm has raised starting salary in Atlanta to $130,000, effective Feb. 1, said William Clifford, a spokesperson for the firm. The firm has 55 associates in Atlanta.”

The firm also raised pay in its Denver office from $115,000 to $130,000 and raised pay in its California and Washington offices from $135,000 to $145,000. Bonuses will remain the same, said Clifford.

And here’s an open thread, in which you can say whatever still needs to be said with respect to associate compensation.
C’mon, folks — let’s debate appropriate base salaries for senior versus junior associates, once more with feeling!
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of associate base salaries (scroll down)

Patek Philippe watch timepiece Above the Law.JPGWe sure do love pro se litigants. Like the guy who filed this notice of appeal. Or the loon who filed this lawsuit against Arm & Hammer. And, of course, there’s Aaron Charney (although he now has counsel).
Today we introduce you to Michael Melnitzky, who served as the principal art conservator at Sotheby’s for almost three decades. From the NYT:

[W]hen his wife filed for divorce in 1994, Mr. Melnitzky became something else: a litigator. A prolific one. And although he has no law degree and only himself as a client, he has never been busier.

Through a series of self-fashioned lawsuits and appeals, issues that might have been settled with his divorce have gone on for 13 years, 3 years longer than his marriage.

He has sued virtually everyone involved: one of his former lawyers, his wife’s lawyer, three banks, five judges and a psychiatrist appointed by the court to evaluate his mental health. In unrelated cases, he has sued a neighbor, a thrift shop, the city and his former employer. And he has almost always lost.

Unlike so many pro se litigants, Melnitzky is neither incarcerated nor impecunious. But in terms of his psychology, he fits the pro se profile:

At a recent hearing, an opposing lawyer called him a “serial litigator” who was turning the legal system into a “hobby” at the expense of the people he sued.

Mr. Melnitzky takes exception to such characterizations, as he does to the mention of obsession.

“It’s not an obsession; it’s a cause,” he said. “Would you call the fight against Nazis an obsession?”

Melnitzky is a Holocaust survivor. But despite that fact, we respectfully question whether it’s appropriate to compare the worldwide struggle against Fascism and genocide to litigation over a watch collection (even a very nice one — it includes timepieces by Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin).
The Marriage Lasted 10 Years. The Lawsuits? 13 Years, and Counting. [New York Times]

What do you think of this cartoon, by cartoonist Jim Herrick, which appeared in last month’s Kentucky Bar Association magazine — and is now the subject of significant controversy?
Legally Insane cartoon comic by Jim Herrick Above the Law.JPG
We chuckled over the cartoon (although we didn’t quite guffaw). We don’t find it offensive in the least, and we think it was perfectly fine for the Kentucky Bar Assocation to run it.
But considering that we find almost nothing offensive, we may not be the best people to ask. What are your thoughts?

Trial lawyers find nothing funny in cartoon [Louisville Courier-Journal]

Anna Nicole Smith ANS pic Anna Nicole Smith photo Anna Nicole Smith photograph former topless dancer Supreme Court Above the Law Above the Law ANS.JPG* Are we really gonna let this guy spend 10 years in jail for a BJ? [New York Times via How Appealing]
* Bizarre Anna Nicole Smith saga continues to be so. [CNN]
* Portland lottery winners fight for their right to party. [CNN]
* XM gets Sirius about making profits; will the merger be allowed by regulators? [Washington Post]
* Parker Posey’s character in “The House of Yes” would appreciate this. [AP via Yahoo!]

Aaron Charney solo firm headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law ATL.JPGHere are the latest news articles about the litigation between gay M&A lawyer Aaron Charney and his former employer, Sullivan & Cromwell:
1. Sullivan Associate Is a Right Charney [TheLawyer.com]
Scroll down to the second item. It includes a shout-out to ATL — and quotation of an anonymous ATL commenter. Might you be the person they’ve quoted?
(Also, can someone explain the article title to us?)
Update: Thanks for all of the enlightening responses.
2. Two Cases Cast Light On Charney [Gay City News]
An interesting, highly substantive article from Professor Arthur S. Leonard (whom we had the pleasure of meeting at the recent NYLS conference on writing about the law). Professor Leonard discusses two recent state appellate court decisions that were both decided in favor of the plaintiffs. Money quote:

Aaron Charney’s allegations against Sullivan & Cromwell describe similar sorts of incidents, although it seems from his complaint that the number and severity of incidents are somewhat less than [the plaintiffs in the two other cases] alleged against their employers.

On the other hand, Charney is suing under New York City’s human rights ordinance, amended in 2005 to make clear that courts interpreting the city law are not bound by rulings from other jurisdictions, and are expected to give a liberal reading to the law’s protections, especially regarding claims of retaliation.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Brokeback Lawfirm (scroll down)

law library Above the Law.jpgAs a legal blog, we’re all about due process and notice.
Hence this post. You are hereby notified that the nominations period for our law librarian hotties contest will close tomorrow, Tuesday, February 20, at 5 PM (24 hours from now).
To find out how to nominate a librarian hottie — include yourself, since self-nominations are welcome — click here. Thanks!
Earlier: Above the Law Hotties: Law Librarians!

Happy Presidents’ Day, everyone!
* Huge corporations can have crappy lawyers, too. [Times Select (pass-through link) via How Appealing]
* A warning for Sullivan & Cromwell: “[A]**holes breed like rabbits. Their poison quickly infects others; even worse, if you let them make hiring decisions, they will start cloning themselves.” [Law.com]
* But not every S&C partner is an a**hole. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Benjamin Wittes dissents from Jan Crawford Greenburg re: President Bush’s influence on the Supreme Court. [The New Republic (subscription)]
* Controversy over the Thursday Night Massacre (of U.S. Attorneys) continues to reverberate throughout Washington. [Washington Post]

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