October 2014

MacEachern.jpgOrange County Superior Court Judge Kelly MacEachern is no longer listed among the judges on the court’s website, but you can still Google her bio. We suspect that only in California would a judge list “rollerblading” as her number one interest.
MacEachern was removed from office yesterday for filing “false and misleading expense claims for a legal conference in San Diego,” then lying about it when she got caught. Oh, the tangled webs we weave.
The conference didn’t get off to a good start for her. From the L.A. Times:

[MacEachern] tried to enroll in two classes — “Excellence in Judging” and “Statements of Decision” — during the weeklong San Diego conference, according to the commission.

About a week later, she was informed that she was denied entry into the “Excellence in Judging” course, held Monday through Wednesday, because she lacked the required experience of eight years or more on the bench.

Denied entry into “Excellence in Judging?” How odd.

She was, however, accepted into the one-day “Statements of Decision” class and was told the state would directly pay the Hyatt Regency for one night’s stay, up to $110.

MacEachern decided to stay at the hotel for a week anyway, and included the three “unauthorized nights” in her reimbursement request. Perhaps she needed the time to rollerblade in San Diego.

In a series of e-mails with the court’s travel coordinator, Rick Valadez, MacEachern reported that when she arrived at the conference, “there was a mix-up with my registration,” so she “just sat in on the Judicial Excellence class on Monday.” She also said she sat in on a domestic violence class Thursday.
MacEachern, confronted by Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Nancy Stock after an investigation by her office, conceded that she had not attended either of the classes and that her e-mail to Valadez was misleading, according to the commission. She then withdrew her claim.

“Mix-up” is a great catchall phrase that usually allows for back-pedaling. Unfortunately, it’s hard to back-pedal out of trying to bill the state for your personal vacation. Oh well, more time for rollerblading!
Orange County judge is removed from bench [Los Angeles Times]

heller dc gun control 1.jpg
Today, barring some unforeseen development, the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its decision in the D.C. gun control case, District of Columbia v. Heller. Heller is truly a blockbuster case, and the ruling — the Court’s first major pronouncement on the Second Amendment in 68 years (or arguably ever) — is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the entire Term.
When Heller was argued back in March, numerous people camped out overnight to secure seats in the courtroom for the historic proceedings. As you may recall, we took an ATL Field Trip to visit them (see here and here). We now revisit that day, in advance of the opinion hand-down later this morning, and pass along some photos we took of the Heller campers (and neglected to share before).
The mood among the crowd in front of One First Street was festive. The group included law students and recent alumni from Harvard, Duke, Georgetown, and GW law schools. The first seven people in line had camped out the night before our visit, meaning that they wound up sleeping in front of the Court for two consecutive nights to snag their coveted seats. There were also numerous members of the media present (e.g., a Swiss TV crew).
We took an informal survey of the first 20 campers, to find out their views on the case. Fifteen of the 20 supported Heller and an individual right to bear arms (although their views differed somewhat on what might constitute reasonable regulation). Four were in favor of the D.C. gun ban in its current form. One described himself as a “swing vote,” a la Justice Kennedy.
We also took some photographs. The picture appearing at the top of this post is of Richard Hohensee, previously introduced to ATL readers here. You can see the rest of the pics, which together constitute a photo essay of sorts about the Heller case, by clicking here (or on the Picasa web album link below).
Photo Album: District of Columbia v. Heller [Picasa]

Uncle Sam Wants You for Biglaw Recruiting.jpgWe resume our series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys. If you have a law degree, but can’t get into / aren’t interested in Biglaw or contract attorney work, what are some other good options?
One of you snarkily suggested manager at Legal Sea Foods (which, by the way, has excellent clam chowder). But in an effort to cabin the universe of possibilities, we’re going to focus on fields where a law degree adds significant value or is at least somewhat relevant.
Thus far we’ve discussed working as a law librarian or for a major accounting firm, two fields popular with holders of J.D. degrees. If you have a suggested alternative career path, please email us (subject line: “Career Alternatives”), and include some basic info about the field that you’re nominating (e.g., how to get into it, pluses and minuses, salary data, etc.).
Today we’re going to focus on the people who bring you aboard in Biglaw: law firm recruiting coordinators (or, to use the NALP terminology, “legal recruitment and attorney management professionals”). They’re the law firm employees who work with law schools to set up the fall interviewing process, coordinate on-campus and callback interviews, run summer associate programs (read: plan awesomely fun events for aspiring pro wrestlers), and generally oversee the process of hiring and recruiting qualified attorneys at major law firms.
(Note: Also falling under the broad terms “legal recruiter” or “recruiting professional” are people who work for legal search firms / headhunters — e.g., Kinney, Lateral Link, Mestel. We’ll discuss them in a future post.)
If you’re curious about opportunities in law firm recruiting departments, read more, after the jump.

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Monica Lewinsky Monica Lewinsky Monica Lewinsky oral sex blow job Bill Clinton impeachment.jpgCurvaceous beauty Monica Lewinsky, who will go down in history as the world’s most famous intern, once joked about going to law school. Instead she went to the prestigious London School of Economics, from which she graduated with a master’s degree in social psychology.

Interestingly enough, Lewinsky wrote a law-related thesis: “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third Person Effect and Pre-Trial Publicity.” So maybe she’s leaving the door open to law school at a later point in time.

If Lewinsky decides in favor of a legal education, she might want to consider Washington College of Law (WCL), at American University. Based on an amusing instant-messenger chat that has been making the rounds recently — we received it from half a dozen different sources, so it’s in wide circulation — it seems she’d fit right in.

If you have delicate sensibilities, stop reading now. But if not, check out the quasi-racy IM conversation, after the jump.

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library Above the Law blog.jpgAs we announced yesterday, we’re doing a series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys. If you have a law degree, but can’t get into / aren’t interested in Biglaw or contract attorney work, what are some other good options?

We kicked off the series with a post about job opportunities with accounting firms. If you have a suggested career path, please email us (subject line: “Career Alternatives”), and include some basic info about the field that you’re nominating (e.g., how to get into it, pluses and minuses, salary data, etc.).

Back to law librarians. Longtime ATL readers know that they’re hot, as reflected in our law librarian hotties contest (male nominees here, female nominees here, and winners here). And it sounds like their profession is, too. From an enthusiastic law librarian, who works for a university:

Don’t forget law librarianship. Great hours, low stress, academic lifestyle, and the chance to abuse law students at will. Nothing could be finer.

Seriously, this a great profession. The work is interesting, law students and professors are intelligent and fun to work with, the stress level is low, the pace is comfortable, and I feel like I’m doing positive things for people. I have fun at work every day, and get many of the benefits of the law school academic lifestyle in spite of only having been in the middle of my class at [a top 30 law school]. There are plenty of jobs, many in very nice places to live. I highly recommend it.

Sounds promising — especially the part about abusing law students. Read more, after the jump.

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Kozinski.jpgWe have. So, barring major new developments, we’re cutting back on our coverage of the controversy surrounding Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit. As we suggested yesterday, the story is petering out anyway; but if you’re still interested in following it, check out Patterico’s Pontifications, which has been offering excellent, wall-to-wall coverage.
Before we take our leave of this tale, here are a few notable links:
1. Judges Named To Head Kozinski Inquiry [AP]
This is the only real news to emerge since our last post. Chief Justice John Roberts, responding to Chief Judge Kozinski’s request for an investigation, has named five jurists to the investigatory panel: Chief Judge Anthony Scirica, Judge Marjorie Rendell, and Judge Walter Stapleton, of the Third Circuit; Chief Judge Harvey Bartle III (E.D. Pa.); and Chief Judge Garrett Brown Jr. (D.N.J.). This is a solid group of judges; expect their investigation to be thorough and proper.
2. Cyrus Sanai: Kozinski investigation “is part of a litigation strategy” [Overlawyered]
The Kozinski archenemy who tipped off the Los Angeles Times to the judge’s website — L.A. lawyer Cyrus Sanai, who has been feuding with the judge since 2005 — is a real piece of work. At Overlawyered, Ted Frank chronicles how Sanai has been benchslapped by numerous judges, both federal and state, at the trial and appellate levels. Sanai blames the mountain of adverse on rulings on bias. Frank writes:

One has much sympathy for Cyrus Sanai, who has suffered the extraordinary misfortune of four trial judges in three different jurisdictions who are biased against him, and that does not include the appellate judges like the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Gerry Alexander; Washington State Court of Appeals judges Marlin Applewick, Anne Ellington and William Baker; or Judge Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit, all of whom Sanai has accused of bias. We wish that a just result is reached in Sanai’s various appeals, and pray that a just result is reached if a California legal disciplinary body ever decides to investigate what biased judges have been saying about Sanai.

3. Who’s at Fault For the Kozinski Kerfluffle? [Simple Justice]
Scott Greenfield writes:

David Lat, who has feasted on unsubstantiated gossip at Above the Law as well as his blog dedicated to sifting the salacious from the judicious, Underneath Their Robes (where he blogged anonymously as Article III Groupie, or A3G as he came to be known), joins the chorus [of Kozinski defenders]. But does the former AUSA explain his sudden conversion? Isn’t this the guy who is first on line (and online) to publish a smear of any lawyer or judge? In fairness, Lat’s connection to Kozinski is well-known to his long-time followers, but the new reader would be left out in the cold.

As Greenfield suggests, we view our connection to Chief Judge Kozinski as very well-known, and therefore not worth belaboring. But if he wants some sort of formal disclosure, here it is.
Disclosure: We have a great deal of respect and affection for Chief Judge Kozinski, whom we consider a friend. He helped launch our blogging career with his support of our first foray into the blogosphere, Underneath Their Robes (started four years ago this month). Our coverage of him is biased. If you’d like to read harsh personal attacks upon Chief Judge Kozinski, you should look elsewhere.
Above the Law is an independent blog. Unlike MSM-sponsored blogs such as the WSJ or the BLT, ATL makes no claim to “objectivity.” Considering that we opine daily on all sorts of topics, in ways that would be unacceptable for pure news reporters to do, we don’t see how anyone could mistake ATL for an objective news source. But if you want an express disclaimer of objectivity, consider this it.
Finally, we’d like to clarify our views of the “Kozinski Kerfluffle,” as Greenfield aptly dubs it. Consistent with our general antipathy to privacy, we don’t entirely agree with observers who see what Sanai and the L.A. Times did as an egregious privacy violation. On this we agree with Ted Frank:

I don’t think I fully endorse Lessig’s view on this — accessing a directory on a public website may be slightly creepy, but it’s not the same as breaking and entering a house to peer inside the photo albums in the den; it’s not even at the level of obnoxiousness as a guest inspecting the medicine cabinets of a host’s bathroom.

What we do think, however, is that the whole matter has become completely overblown. All it shows is that federal judges enjoy the occasional dirty joke and have risque material on their computers — in other words, “they’re just like us.” Considering that we launched a blog devoted to this very proposition four years ago, we find it hard to get that excited about it now.
4. Defending Judge Kozinski, and Online Privacy [The Lede / NYT]
ATL gets a shout-out from Mike Nizza in the Lede, a New York Times blog, in this concise round-up of the latest developments.
Judges named to head Kozinski inquiry [AP]
Cyrus Sanai: Kozinski investigation “is part of a litigation strategy” [Overlawyered]
Who’s at Fault For the Kozinski Kerfluffle? [Simple Justice]
Defending Judge Kozinski, and Online Privacy [The Lede / New York Times]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (scroll down)

accounting accountant CPA.jpgJust how versatile is a law degree? To quote one applicant for our new writer position: “If I had a nickel for every time someone told me ‘you can do a lot with a law degree,’ I’d have enough to pay for about a semester of law school.” [FN1]
As just discussed, many law school graduates are up to their ears in educational debt, but can’t land — or don’t want — Biglaw gigs. If they aren’t interested in working as contract attorneys, what other options are available to them?
To help answer this question, we’ll be doing a series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys. If you have a suggestion for one, please email us (subject line: “Career Alternatives”). Please include some information about the alternative career path you’re nominating — e.g., how to get into the field, pros and cons, how much it pays, etc. — so if we use your suggestion, we have some material to kick off the conversation.
Today’s career alternative: working for an accounting firm. The Big Four accounting firms hire a fair number of J.D. holders. One popular specialty for lawyers at such firms is tax, where a legal education, although not essential, comes in handy.
If you’re curious about this possible career path, read more, after the jump.

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  • 16 Jun 2008 at 5:44 PM

Non-Sequiturs: 06.16.08

* The fall guys for Bear Stearns: hedge fund managers. [Ideoblog via Dealbreaker]
* An AutoAdmit update, and a cautionary tale for anonymous commenters: the motion to quash of “AK47″ has been denied. [Big Law Board]
* Leona Helmsley’s “rich bitch” is a bit less so (rich, that is; still a bitch, as far as we know). [New York Post via WSJ Law Blog]
* Justice Talking no more. [Justice Talking]
* Check out Blawg Review #164, especially if you’re a James Joyce fan. [cearta.ie via Blawg Review]

Blackberry 8800 Crackberry Treo iPhone wireless handheld device.jpgLast week’s post about Biglaw and iPhones got us thinking about another device that lawyers love (and love to hate): the Blackberry.
Ah, Blackberries: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. The little devices liberate you, allowing you to leave the office while remaining in touch with work. For example, if you work in midtown Manhattan, and if you’re having a slow day — or week, or month (take our survey on slowness) — you can step out for a quick visit to the MoMA, or get some holiday shopping done on Fifth Avenue. If you’re needed, the Bberry will vibrate, and you can be back in your office within minutes (i.e., in less time than it takes for that septuagenarian partner to return from his newspaper-reading bathroom break).
But Blackberries aren’t a total blessing. They make it that much harder to truly leave the office behind. People check them at the dinner table, or during their kid’s school play. You’d also be surprised by the number of exotic vacation destinations that have strong, consistent Blackberry reception.
This got us thinking: What are some of the strangest places and/or situations that you have sent and/or received Blackberry messages from? Here are three real-life examples we’ve heard about:

1. An associate has all four of his wisdom teeth removed (in a single procedure, to obviate the need for multiple, time-consuming visits). Minutes after the painful procedure is over — before the anesthesia has even worn off, and while still seated in the dentist’s chair — he’s shooting off emails to paralegals about binders.

2. An associate gets married. He and his wife jet off to a tropical locale for their honeymoon. He takes his Blackberry with him, then proceeds to send dozens of messages from the beach. (Hopefully he didn’t get sand in the device — or take the Blackberry into the honeymoon bed.)

3. A partner goes out on maternity leave. Half an hour after popping out her baby, ensconced in her comfy, adjustable hospital bed, she sends out a slew of work-related emails to her beleaguered associates.

Do you have a tale to tell about Blackberrying from an unusual destination, or under extraordinary circumstances? If so, please share it, in the comments.

ACS.gifWelcome to the latest post in our recent series on the 2008 National Convention of the American Constitution Society. We attended lots of excellent events as part of the conference. Prior posts appear here and here.
One of our favorite events was the Saturday lunch panel, “Covering the Court.” It was moderated by Thomas Goldstein, of Akin Gump and SCOTUSblog fame, and featured the following distinguished members of the Supreme Court press corps:

  • Robert Barnes, of the Washington Post;
  • Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times;
  • Dahlia Lithwick, of Slate; and
  • Tony Mauro, of the Legal Times.
    For the Court-watchers among you, a detailed write-up is available below the fold.

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