April 2007

* Good news from the Tier 3 trenches: Southwestern University School of Law graduate Stefani is the winner of The Apprentice: Los Angeles, even though she is a trial lawyer and probably 10 years older than she says. Although I have yet to watch an episode, I’m annoyed that she spells her name with an “f” and an “i” and that she beat out the ethnic guy. [Black Prof]
* SNL Imus-themed skit, or just spectacularly disgraceful behavior? Unfortunately, despite being as unfunny as the former, the latter is all real-life. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* Long gone are the days when it was just girls doing it in the bathroom during prom. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Give the guy a break — he did use the drive-through. The silver lining is that he’ll no doubt be receiving lots of (hopefully new) underwear fan mail. [WRAL]
* There are times when “seamless web” is not the nifty food delivery service, “holistic” does not refer to new age massage therapy and legal blogs are for actual legal discourse. [Legal Theory Blog]

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Don Imus has hired a prominent litigator, prompting speculation that the dismissed DJ may be plotting legal action against his former employers (CBS and MSNBC).
The lawyer is Davis & Gilbert partner Martin Garbus, named by Time Magazine as “legendary, one of the best trial lawyers in the country.” According to BusinessWeek:

A brief sentence on Garbus’ personal blog, late Friday afternoon, noted that Garbus “represents Don Imus in a dispute with CBS”—a sentence that was later removed from the blog.
A ferocious litigator who has received numerous media citations as one of America’s leading trial lawyers, Garbus has represented clients as diverse as the comic Lenny Bruce, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Nancy Reagan, and pioneering rap group Public Enemy.

Even cooler than the thought of Nancy Reagan and Public Enemy eyeing each other from opposite sides of the Davis & Gilbert lobby: Garbus’ bio notes that he “won what is arguably the most important due process case of the 20th century, Goldberg v. Kelly (397 U.S. 254).”
He also blogs at The Huffington Post.
Sounds like Imus is in good hands.

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An inmate charged with beating an elderly man was mistakenly released from the Kentucky Correctional & Psychiatric Center in La Grange after a fake order was faxed to officials at the facility. The mistake went undetected for nearly two weeks.
In hindsight, it might not have required bloodhound-like detective skills to smell something fishy about that “order”:

It contained grammatical errors, was not typed on letterhead and was faxed from a local grocery store. The fax falsely claimed that the Kentucky Supreme Court “demanded” Rouse be released.

In the facility’s defense, its director noted that “misspellings on orders are common.” Hmmm.
Speaking of Kentucky, does the Kentucky Bar still require applicants to sit for the bar exam in court attire? We know from hard experience that Virginia does; we’re still having nightmares about sitting there in that freezing Roanoke Civic Center in our chic suit and rubber-soled shoes. When will this tradition die?

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The NYT’s public editor, Byron Calame, reviewed the paper’s coverage of the Duke lacrosse case yesterday, focusing on the review of the case that ran in the Times last August. Critics lambasted that piece for its uncritical reliance on a police officer’s memo written “from memory” four months after the witness interviews it described. (Among other things, that memo contradicted another officer’s contemporaneous notes on the accuser’s descriptions of her attackers — and substituted descriptions that miraculously matched the three indicted players.)
But all this has been hashed over elsewhere. We were most interested in Calame’s discussion of whether the Times has acted correctly by continuing to withhold the name of the accuser:

My first instinct was that The Times should strongly consider adopting a policy of naming false accusers. Then I decided that the mental health of the Duke accuser and the failure of Mr. Nifong to limit the harm she caused by doing his job responsibly combined to keep this case from being a good one on which to debate such a policy change. But I hope Times editors will soon consider holding a discussion, free of deadline pressure, about what purpose the tradition of not naming sexual assault victims serves when their accusations are proved to have no merit.

We don’t have a problem with decision of many news organizations to name the accuser once the players had been declared “innocent” by the NC Attorney General. That said, Calame makes a very good point: This was not the ideal time to create policy from scratch.

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The trend of on-site day care is catching on at law firms. Sounds like a good thing, right?
But take a close look at this article. The intro anecdote is all about how when work gets “too intense,” a 61-year-old founding partner unwinds by visiting the firm’s nursery to hang out with other lawyers’ kids! She calls it a “baby break.” Yes, the partner is a woman, so it’s not quite as creepy as it could be. But it’s still pretty creepy!
Firms already get every figurative ounce of their associates’ blood, sweat, and tears, and now they want to put our offspring in their human petting zoos? What’s next, partners harvesting associate placentas to make life-restoring lotions for their wizened skin?
Seriously, raise your hand if you want your kid serving as some kind of spa tonic for your co-workers. We’re getting a weird vision of tiny babies lined up in their cribs while lawyers in suits draw sustenance from their sweet little talcum-powder scents, sort of like in The Matrix.

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Sunday’s NYT sports section features a short interview with our favorite NFL referee, Ed Hochuli. Hochuli is a minor celebrity among football fans for two things: his brawny physique and the commendably detailed on-field explanations he gives when announcing penalties and other calls.
He’s also a partner in the Phoenix law firm of Jones, Skelton, and Hochuli.
From the interview:

YOU WORK AS A REFEREE AND A LAWYER?
I am a full-time civil litigator and a full-time referee. I go and defend in court. The two jobs have a lot in common.
YOU APPEAR TO TAKE WORKING OUT SERIOUSLY.
I do. I do cardio, at least an hour, sometimes more, every day. I lift weights four days a week for another hour.

If you want to feel like a total slob, read all the details of Hochuli’s diet and workout regimen here. And for the next time you’re debating whether to go for a run or merely dash down the hall to the vending machine, you can buy “What Would Ed Hochuli Do?” merchandise here.
Is it any surprise that this strapping specimen of manhood has fathered six children?
We wonder what Hochuli is like to work for. Are there any JSH associates out there who’d like to give us a report?

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A Boalt law student could be facing criminal charges after allegedly posting online threats toward Hastings:

UC Hastings officials were alerted on Wednesday afternoon of a blog post threatening a copycat murder-suicide in reference to the events at Virginia Polytechnic Institute Monday, said UC Hastings spokesperson Lorri Ungaretti.
“The threat did not specifically reference it, but it felt clear that that was what it was,” she said.
UC Hastings officials contacted the San Francisco Police Department as well as the San Francisco branch of the FBI, and cancelled classes for the rest of the day, Ungaretti said.
“The FBI investigated and found it was a student at Boalt and that it was a hoax,” she said. “Classes resumed as usual (on Thursday).”

Read the text of the threat, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Troubling Story from the West Coast”

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Good morning from Birmingham, which we’ve got all to ourselves because most of the state is in Tuscaloosa at football practice. We are honored to be filling in here while David takes a well-deserved vaycay.
Recent readers know us as the neww LEWW, but while wedding commentary may be our specialty (well, that and tax law, theoretically), we occasionally do skim the other sections of the paper. And although we won’t pretend to be quite as knowledgeable about the current hot legal scandals as David is, we’re every bit as good at avoiding the first-person singular!
As David noted, we’re also checking the mail, so please continue to send your tips, suggestions, and salacious gossip to the usual ATL address: tips AT abovethelaw DOT com. (Actually, the mail is supposed to be forwarding itself to us, but at the moment it’s not, so for now please cc kitchencabinetblog AT gmail DOT com. And if you sent anything last night or this morning, please re-send to both addresses.) We will, of course, zealously protect our tipsters’ identities, per ATL policy.

* Sports agent busted for smuggling Cuban baseball players. [ESPN]
* Is your bar licence up to date? [
Law.com]
* So a lawyer, an “oilman,” and a donkey named Buddy walk into a courtroom… [MSNBC]
* Ohio strippers have to learn new dance steps. [AP via Dispatch]
* UNC’s soccer coach uses some really rough language, as does the 4th Circuit. [ABA Journal e-report]

April 2007 calendar Above the Law blog.GIFWe’re going on vacation this week. It’s our first real vacation since we started at ATL (back in July 2006, a few weeks before the site launch in August).
While we’re gone, two guest editors will fill in for us. Both of them already contribute to ATL:

Laurie Lin, who writes Legal Eagle Wedding Watch; and

Billy Merck, who writes Morning Docket (in alternating weeks, with B Clerker).

We’re confident that Laurie and Billy will keep you entertained and informed while we’re away. Please help them out by submitting tips, story suggestions, and feedback, to the usual ATL address: tips AT abovethelaw DOT com.
Thanks for reading. See you in May!

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