November 2009

Tiger Woods golf AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpg* Welcome back from the holiday weekend. Hope your Thanksgiving was better than that of Tiger Woods. [TMZ]
* Some background on Tiger Woods’s lawyer, Mark Nejame, “the Johnnie Cochran of Central Florida.” [Business Insider]
* Meanwhile, Rachel Uchitel — the alleged mistress of Tiger Woods — has hired celebrity attorney Gloria Allred. [People]
* Federal judges Frank Easterbrook, Richard Posner and William Bauer will likely be on the witness stand in the death threat trial of blogger Hal Turner. [New York Daily News]
* Kansas attorney is being investigated for “explosive” closing. [Hutchinson News via ABA Journal]
* Suspect in Washington state cop killing has troubling criminal history and grant of clemency from then-Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. [Seattle Times]
* Will Jennifer Lopez’s honeymoon tape be entered into the public record today? [Radar Online]

Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgBack in July, we wrote about Robert Bowman, whose application for admission to the New York bar was derailed by debt. A panel of five appellate judges concluded that, in the words of the New York Times, “his student loans were too big, and his efforts to repay them too meager, for him to be a lawyer.
Bowman sought reconsideration of the ruling. His effort was unsuccessful.
Details after the jump.

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Michaele Salahi Michele Salahi Michelle Salahi Salehi Joe Biden Vice President Joseph Biden Facebook.jpg* The job market is difficult for law school graduates? You don’t say. [ABC News]
* A former UBS banker, on his way to prison for 40 months for helping rich folks evade taxes, might end up with a billion-dollar whistleblower reward when he comes out. [New York Times]
* Hundreds if not thousands of lobbyists may get bounced from federal advisory panels as part of the Obama administration’s lobbying reform effort. [Washington Post]
* It turns out the White House gate crashers — Tareq Salahi and his wife Michaele Salahi, pictured at right with Vice President Biden — have a long history of legal woes, with involvement in at least 16 civil lawsuits. [CNN]
* AIG and its former CEO, Maurice Greenberg, reach a settlement. [New York Times]
* The Honduran Supreme Court has weighed in against restoring ousted President Manuel Zelaya (although the opinion is just a recommendation, not a binding judgment). [AP]
* About 100 suspects are being sought for the election-related killings in the Philippines that left at least 57 unarmed civilians dead (including lawyers and journalists). [CNN]

redskins logo.jpgFor most of us, today is Thanksgiving! For a small segment of the population, today is the 2009 National Day of Mourning. The United American Indians of New England describe the day as:

An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.

The arrival of white folks from across the sea led to a Native American holocaust, theft of native lands, and the trivialization of Native American culture for the sake of national and college team mascots.
We’ve written a few times about the Native American battle to get the Washington Redskins football team to change its name. After a 17-year battle, the Native Americans lost a trademark suit against the team. The Supreme Court denied cert for the case earlier this month, meaning that the Redskins and their attorneys at Quinn Emanuel kept their laches victory. (As you certainly remember, not everyone at Quinn was pleased about that.)
In our post about the Supreme Court ruling, we asked:

Are we really going to make it through this entire case without any judge having to rule on whether or not it is appropriate to put “redskins” on a football helmet? Maybe not.

Drinker Biddle & Reath partner Philip Mause, who is representing the Native American plaintiffs, has another petition regarding the Redskins name pending before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The Board previously ruled in 1992 that “redskins” is defamatory and cannot be trademarked. But that decision was overturned in federal court due to the laches issue. The new case, though, is led by Amanda Blackhorse of the Navajo Nation; Blackhorse and her co-petitioners were in their late teens and twenties when they filed their petition, so the courts won’t be able to dismiss the case based on the time elapsed/age issue.
This petition means there might be a Drinker Biddle v. Quinn Emanuel, round two. We’ve got an interview with lead petitioner Amanda Blackhorse after the jump.

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Ben Kuehne Miami defense lawyer attorney.jpg* All charges have been dropped against prominent Miami defense lawyer Ben Kuehne (pictured), but questions remain regarding the government’s commitment to the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. [Daily Business Review]
* The ABA supports Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try KSM and the other accused 9/11 co-conspirators in federal court. [ABA Journal]
* Speaking of the ABA, president Carolyn Lamm has responded to critics of her work for the government of Uzbekistan. [Foreign Policy]
* Tareq and Michaele Salahi may not have broken any laws by crashing a White House state dinner earlier this week, but they’ve had brushes with the law before — a feud over the family winery, involvement in a business bankruptcy, and even a connection to a Lawyer of the Day (Tareq claimed his mother’s lawyer slugged him). [Reliable Source / Washington Post]
* A politician who stands accused of involvement in election-related killings in the Philippines, some of them targeting lawyers and journalists, has surrendered to authorities. [New York Times]

Thanksgiving turkey Above the Law blog.jpgGreetings, Above the Law readers. Please accept our wishes for a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

We hope you aren’t spending much time in front of the computer today (or tomorrow, which is effectively a holiday too). But if you are — for some depressing reason, like work — feel free to bemoan your fate in the comments.

We will keep you company over the next two days. We won’t be writing as much as usual, but we will be publishing a few posts for those of you who happen to be around.

This year has been a tough one for the nation, as well as for many ATL readers. Despite the difficulties, please take time to reflect upon what you’re thankful for. Some possibilities: your job, if you still have it, even though you might not love it; your bonus / partnership draw, if you’re getting one, even if it’s smaller than last year; your health, even if it could be better; your family, even if you want to throttle them sometimes; and your friends. (These are just obvious starting points; feel free to list more blessings in the comments.)

As for your ATL editors, we are obviously thankful for you, our readers. Our audience is sizable, devoted, and growing: our 2009 traffic year-to-date is up by over 120 percent over last year (i.e., it has more than doubled).

Thank you for your site visits and pageviews, your comments (even the mean ones), and all the great tips you send us (often by email, but by many other methods as well). To the extent that this site is a useful source of information and/or entertainment, it’s because of you. So, thank you — and Happy Thanksgiving!

President Barack Obama pardons turkey named Courage.jpg* This lawsuit is pretty awesome: flip the bird to a cop, collect $50,000 (okay, $10,000 after attorneys’ fees; but still, pretty awesome). [Gawker]
* Speaking of the bird, here’s one presidential pardon that won’t be controversial. [Washington Whispers via Wonkette]
* We didn’t get that this was satire until we looked at the comments. [Simple Justice]
* Don’t impersonate someone in an internet forum, unless you’d like to get sued. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]
* Who says judges can’t slash mortgage principal? But stay tuned for an appeal. [New York Post]

Roman Polanski Adrien Brody.jpgWomen of Switzerland, lock up your daughters. Roman Polanski has been granted bail, after a court approved his bail offer of $4.5 million. (For now, he’s still in jail; his release date has not been set.)
Once released, Polanski will be under house arrest. So, good parents of Switzerland, maybe there’s no need to lock up your daughters. Just don’t let them anywhere near Polanski’s ski chalet in Gstaad.
Getting released on bail is a nice result for Polanski, since it was widely expected that he’d remain stuck in the pokey. Perhaps he was represented by the Zurich office of Lindeman, Alvarado, & Frye? (Gavel bang: commenter #16.)
We suspect that ATL readers are displeased by this development. In a reader poll from September, almost three quarters of you expressed support for continuing to pursue and prosecute Polanski.
How does writer-turned-kinda-lawyer Elizabeth Wurtzel feel about all of this?

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2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGIs announcing associate bonuses on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a trend in the making? Will we get a few more announcements this afternoon, to match those by Davis Polk and now Debevoise & Plimpton?
Debevoise has had a relatively busy year, from what we understand. But is there life after Siemens? Being conservative with bonuses may be a wise move, unless the firm has lined up another mega-matter to ride out the storm.
So Debevoise has decided to match the Cravath-level bonuses. The full Debevoise memo appears after jump.

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Paul Weiss 1285 6th ave.jpgYou know who is in a strong position right now? Companies that are renting a large amount of office space in Manhattan. The real estate market is terrible, and landlords are offering sweetheart deals to keep tenants in the building.
Paul Weiss was apparently looking for an office upgrade, but the owners of 1285 6th Ave. convinced the firm to stick around. Crain’s New York Business reports:

In one of the largest real estate deals of the year, law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison reached a deal to renew its lease and take an additional two floors at 1285 Sixth Ave. for a total of about 550,000 square feet, sources close to the transaction said.

That doesn’t sound like a bad deal. It’s one that will save the firm the expense of relocation. And the fact that Paul Weiss is getting extra floors can’t be a bad thing, right? Maybe they’ll have to hire more lawyers for that additional space?
Paul Weiss had a lot of options for office space. After the jump, we look at the midtown ghost town.

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