August 2014

Catcher in the Rye JD Salinger.jpegJ.D. Salinger, the celebrated (and reclusive) author of The Catcher in the Rye, passed away yesterday. He was 91.
Salinger died of natural causes at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire, according to a statement from Salinger’s literary representative.
Is there a legal angle here?

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Howrey logo.JPGThe Great Recession just wouldn’t be as fun without the occasional employment discrimination lawsuit. The Blog of the Legal Times reports that Howrey is getting slapped with a discrimination lawsuit from one of its former associates who — surprise — hasn’t been able to find employment since the firm let her go:

Kamisha Menns, a black woman born in Jamaica, says in the complaint, filed in D.C. Superior Court today, that Howrey violated the D.C. Human Rights Act by retaliating against her, creating a hostile work environment, and inflicting emotional distress, both intentionally and negligently. Menns has asked for $30 million.

You’d expect a major D.C. firm like Howrey to be very politically correct. Aside from the occasional Obama joke (it’s racist to joke about Obama — j/k — or am I?), I wasn’t sure what form this alleged discrimination would take.
Alas, it appears that Menns’s troubles started in Brussels. That’s a shocker! Given how wonderfully the Belgians managed their colonial empire in Congo and Rwanda, I can’t imagine that anything could possibly go wrong for a young black woman in that country….

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In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.


Barack Obama

On Monday, we offered you this colorful photo and asked for caption suggestions:
rainbow office view somewhere over the rainbow.JPG
We got quite a spectrum of submissions. Check out our eight finalists, and vote for your favorite, after the jump.

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Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com.

pls hndle copy 2.jpgDear Pls Hndle,
Recently, I was at a bar after work with a few other associates from my firm who are on the same case as me. I was drunkenly flirting with one of the midlevels on the case, whom I thought was flirting back with me (give me a break, I was working off little sleep and too many beers), but when I went to kiss her, she recoiled in horror and said something like “get away, what the hell are you doing?”
Needless to say, it was not my finest hour and it was a dumb move. I am now freaked out that this associate will say something to HR or give me a bad review (I’m junior to her) and I’ll be pegged as a womanizer/sexual harasser and fired. So…do you think it’s better to bring this up with her and clear the air upfront or just say nothing and hope it never comes up?
Slick Willy

Dear Slick Willy,
Tempting as it is to believe that women at your firm (or elsewhere) walk around with Life Alert rape buzzers and names of employment lawyers on speed dial just itching for co-workers to so much as BREATHE at them the wrong way so they can press the buzzer, have a security team swoop in, strip you of your professional license, fire you immediately and put out a Megan’s Law alert, that is just not the case. You were drunk, you tried to make a move on a girl and she told you to get off. This happens literally millions of times a day, in bars and marital bedrooms throughout the world. Welcome to Planet Earth.
I know you’re worried that this will somehow get you fired, but I think most female attorneys in this midlevel’s position would just ignore the situation, make fun of you in an email to ten friends and call it a day. If you DO talk to her about it, what could you possibly say? “Not that you were worried, but I just want to reassure you that I won’t attempt to molest you again. Please don’t report me to HR”? That conversation will embarrass the both of you and only increase the size of her email distribution list. If she was, for some strange reason, planning on reporting you to HR anyway, a groveling/awkward apology wouldn’t stop her.
Your gross kiss happened in a bar, outside of work, and she has zero reason to give you a bad review for your extracurricular shenanigans as long as you conduct yourself in an extra-professional fashion going forward. That doesn’t mean you should start addressing her as “m’lady” or throw your jacket over a puddle in front of the water cooler. Just act like a normal human being, and either nothing will come of this situation or we’ll see you on the sex offender registry.
Your friend,
Marin

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: Can I Touch You There”

President Obama at State of the Union.jpg* As we noted last night, Supreme Court bashing in a State of the Union address is a rare thing. Though Obama is following in Roosevelt’s footsteps once again. [BLT]

* Linda Greenhouse’s take on Justice Alito’s reaction to the SotU. [New York Times]

* Florida Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein pleaded guilty yesterday. He finds out how much time he’ll be spending in prison in May. [Miami Herald]

* Do not copy Kaplan DVDs and sell them on eBay. [Wired]

* Nationwide Dissolution Watch: John Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards. [ABC News]

* Brittany Murphy’s husband plans to file a wrongful death suit against Warner Brothers. [Daily Beast]

* Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t want to host a terror trial. [City Room/New York Times]

* R.I.P., Louis Auchincloss. [Washington Post and WSJ Law Blog]

Thomas Porteous Judge G Thomas Porteous Jr Eastern District Louisiana.jpgJudge G. Thomas Porteous (E.D. La.), the only Judge of the Day Hall of Fame honoree who is still actually a judge, may soon join Edward Nottingham, Samuel Kent and Elizabeth Halverson as a former judge.
From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

The House Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved four articles of impeachment against U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous. The panel, consisting of 23 Democrats and 16 Republicans, sent the articles to the full House of Representatives.
A vote by a majority of the 435-member House to impeach Porteous, 63, would result in a Senate trial on whether to remove the New Orleans judge, a 1994 appointee of President Bill Clinton, from office. It takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove a judge from what otherwise is a lifetime appointment.

So what were the impeachment articles based on?

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Supreme Court SCOTUS State of the Union SOTU.jpgBarack Obama just finished up his first State of the Union address. Lots of interesting things: jobs, gays in the military, health reform capitulation c’mon we’re so close we’ve got to do something…. Oh, and nuclear power plants are back on the agenda. CHECK YOU RADIATION LEVELS.

But the biggest legal news, at least from the perspective of your Above the Law editors, was Obama’s smackdown of the Supreme Court — while six of the nine were sitting right in front of his face.

It was so harsh that it inspired Justice Samuel Alito to shake his head and to mouth the words “not true” at the president — very reminiscent of the “you lie” moment from the last time Obama spoke in front of a joint session of Congress.

The video and additional details — plus UPDATES, including a mini-debate between Kash and Lat, and a READER POLL — after the jump.

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Alito Mouths ‘Not True’ at the President”

aba_logo_K.gifEarlier this month, Mark Greenbaum penned a blistering op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, blasting the American Bar Association for not exercising greater regulatory control over law schools. Obviously, I’ve been publicly begging the ABA to do something about the proliferation of new law schools and new law students, hoping against hope that lawyers would be afforded the same kind of professional protection that doctors enjoy.
Apparently, ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm is sick of hearing lawyers and commentators complain about the ABA’s lack of regulatory oversight over the law schools they accredit. Lamm shot back at Greenbaum (and anybody else who thinks there are too many law schools). If you’re hoping for the ABA to step up and stem the tide of new lawyers, Lamm’s message is clear: don’t hold your breath. Here’s the opening to her full-throated defense of the ABA:

To the Editor:
You published a recent opinion piece by Mark Greenbaum. His analysis is premised on incorrect facts from which he draws flawed conclusions. He misstates the number of American Bar Association-approved law schools, ties it to what he describes as a “flood of graduates,” and insists the ABA should “block” new schools. He fails to acknowledge that in fact existing law schools have reduced voluntarily class size and therefore despite a minimal increase in the number of accredited law schools (7% over a 5 year period) first year enrollment grew by only two percent. Hardly producing a “flood of graduates”.

Greenbaum says that there are 200 ABA approved law schools. The ABA website also tells us that there are 200 ABA approved law schools. Lamm explained to Above the Law where she disagrees with Greenbaum’s numbers:

Mr. Greenbaum said: “Today there are 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S., with more on the way, as many have been awarded provisional accreditation.” There are 200 ABA-approved law schools. That number includes the six provisionally approved schools. And while he complained about an increase in the number of schools, as we pointed out, the relevant number is of students. Due to self-restraint by the schools, that number did not increase significantly. Greenbaum is even inaccurate in identification of ABA-approved schools in California. He says the new law school at UC Irvine is among ABA-approved schools. That school has not yet even applied for ABA approval.

Well, in fairness UC Irvine will seek provisional accreditation from the ABA in 2010 — which is the earliest possible time for them to do so.
Still, these are fair points, but not really the heart of the debate here. More from Carolyn Lamm after the jump.

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Apple iPad.jpg* We wonder if Harvard will start giving out free iPads in their bathrooms. [Gizmodo]
* Apple’s answer to the Kindle inspires some YouTube mining by Ann Althouse. [Althouse]
* Law firm leaders, unite! The PLI Law Firm Leadership and Management Institute 2010 has an impressive roster of speakers next week, including our very own Lat. [Practising Law Institute]
* Gawker’s lawyer argues that Deadspin’s photographic evidence of the size of Greg Oden’s penis has not damaged the Portland Trailblazer’s reputation. Indeed. We’re impressed. [Deadspin]
* Gearing up for the State of the Union, what’s the state of the presidency? [Balkinization]
* Smarter walrus commentary. [Instapundit]
* Former U.S. attorney (SDNY) David Kelley, who is now a Cahill partner, tells the Daily Show there are no rights for the mildly inconvenienced (at the 4:20 mark). [The Daily Show with Jon Stewart/Hulu via Gothamist]

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