April 2014

* A Cal State Northridge professor has some helpful advice for scoring a hooker in Thailand. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Apparently the person who made this “pitch perfect” film is a 1L at U.C. Irvine Law. I guess one has time for such pursuits when attending law school for free. [New York Times]

* Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minnow offers her take on the future of legal education. [Harvard Law School]

* You know how a gaggle of moderately attractive women will invariably have one hideous friend whose function is to make all the other girls feel better about themselves? I think that’s why the other Western states hang out with Utah. [WSJ Law Blog]

* File this under “More Totally Inappropriate Uses for Twitter.” [Bad Lawyer]

* While New York City is busy making cutbacks, let’s hope they don’t cut back on the constitutional right to a defense. [New York County Lawyer's Association]

Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold

Ohio judge Shirley Strickland Saffold got Judge of the Day honors here last month for nasty comments made anonymously on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website by someone with the handle “Lawmiss.” After Lawmiss made a comment about the mental state of a relative of a reporter, the reporter decided to find out who the person behind the account was. The AOL email address associated with the account was Judge Saffold’s. The Dealer outed her, running a story about all the things Lawmiss had said about trials Saffold had overseen and about specific attorneys, defendants, and other judges.

Saffold denied making the comments. Instead, Judge’s Saffold’s 23-year-old daughter claimed she was the one snipping about the antics in her mom’s courtroom, saying that she shares the AOL email address with her mother. The Plain Dealer got a hold of the browser history from Saffold’s courtroom computer, though, and discovered that she had accessed certain articles at the same time that Lawmiss made comments on them, which made her denials seem a bit dubious.

One of the attorneys described by Lawmiss as a “buffoon” with an “Amos and Andy mouth” is currently appearing before Judge Saffold, defending Anthony Sowell, an alleged serial killer. He has filed multiple motions that Saffold recuse herself from the case. She both refused to step down and sued the Plain Dealer for $50 million for invasion of her, ahem, daughter’s privacy. Saffold wrote to the court yesterday arguing that she not be removed from the case.

The Ohio Supreme Court was not convinced, though…

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Life outside of lockstep is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. A lockstep system for compensating and promoting associates has its drawbacks, to be sure. But at least it offers the virtues of transparency and predictability.

Earlier this week, we covered the arguably amorphous definition of “merit” at WilmerHale, one of several leading law firms to abandon lockstep. Today we turn our attention to Winston & Strawn, another prominent firm that has moved to a more “merit-based” system of compensation.

Back in February, we described Winston’s compensation scheme not as a box of chocolates — that would be sweet and delicious! — but as a black box. Among associates, nobody really knows what anyone else is making. As stated in the firm memo, “Individual associate salaries will be determined on a case by case basis based on seniority, performance and productivity factors and will be communicated separately to each associate.”

We now have a better sense of what’s going on at Winston, thanks to the recent release of individualized salary info (and some comparing of notes among Winston associates). And not everyone is happy….

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And additional info on stealth layoffs.

While the economy was in freefall, an attorney at the SEC had a crisis of a different kind: his work computer had run out of room for his porn stash.

Thankfully, this was more easily solved than the mystery of Madoff’s returns. The SEC headquarters senior attorney, who spent up to eight hours a day surfing porn sites at work according to a recent SEC inspector general report, is a problem solver. He started downloading his porn directly to CDs and DVDs that he kept stored in boxes in his office. SEC attorneys know how to get the job done!

He was not the only SEC employee obsessing over porn while the economy was being raped. Bess Levin has a whole collection of anecdotes from the Office of the Inspector General report, over at sister site Dealbreaker.

Can you blame them for turning to sites like “www.ladyboyx.com, www.ladyboyjuice.com, www.trannytit.com, and www.anal-sins.com”? They weren’t having much luck nailing economic criminals after all…

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Kyle Bristow, Toledo College of Law 1L

A first-year law student at the University of Toledo College of Law is apparently causing concern among some of his fellow students — not because of anything he has done on campus, but because of his past.

Before he was a 1L at the University of Toledo College of Law, Kyle Bristow was the chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom student chapter at Michigan State University. During his leadership, the MSU-YAF chapter became the first student organization designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A 2007 report by SPLC outlines the alleged actions that triggered the designation:

Acting in collusion with elder white supremacists like [Neo-Nazi Preston Wiginton], and with the financial and logistical support of a major conservative foundation, Bristow and a handful of cronies have roiled their campus and the surrounding community by hosting speakers like [British Holocaust denier Nick] Griffin, issuing vicious homophobic and racist insults, and staging publicity stunts masked as political demonstrations that seem inspired in equal parts by the movie “Animal House” and the Hitler Youth.

“He’s become a divisive force,” former MSU-YAF member Kari Lynn Jaksa, an MSU junior who describes herself as a Republican with strong libertarian leanings, says of Bristow. “Frankly, he’s embarrassing.”

You can see more allegations from the SPLC about Bristow and the MSU-YAF here, here, and here.

Of course, one man’s hate speech is another man’s conservative belief. It’s no surprise that Bristow feels unfairly persecuted by some of the Toledo law students asking questions about his past….

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It was bound to happen. New York is big, but it’s not that big.

I sent two law school students (from different institutions) out on a Courtship Connection date on Monday night, armed only with a descriptor of their date. She said she’d be in a black dress, and he said he’d be in a “light blue sweatshirt and blazer” (which struck me as an odd ensemble).

They both named copyright as their favorite law school class. They both want to practice entertainment law. If they weren’t on the track to become lawyers, she’d want to be a music producer, and he would want to be a musician. It seemed like the perfect match.

Alas, when they found one another outside of an (apparently closed) bar in Alphabet City, they recognized one another. Not only had they already met, they had already hooked up…

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Who will replace Justice John Paul Stevens? While pundits, savants, and oracles across the SCOTUSphere pontificate and read Article III tea leaves, FantasySCOTUS.net conducted extensive and detailed polling to predict the next Justice. We have invited our nearly 5,000 members –- who represent some of the closest and most ardent Court watchers -– to weigh in on the vacancy, rank the candidates on the short list, and give their views on the potential
nominees.

This is the second in a series of posts breaking down this data, as we attempt to add some certainty to the vast amounts of uncertainty emanating from the penumbras of the
upcoming vacancy.

Are Elena Kagan’s liberal bona fides established, or would Diane Wood be the better progressive pick? Glenn Greenwald, among others on the left, have written sharply that Kagan is not a proper progressive pick. Others on the left have rushed to Kagan’s defense, and Greenwald has replied in kind.

In this installment, we break down the picks based on self-identified ideologies: liberals, moderates, conservatives, and libertarians…

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When we reported on the silence of Mayer Brown regarding start dates for incoming associates, I specifically mentioned that Mayer Brown’s greatest gadfly — Mr. Chuck — had nothing to do with the story. Alas, that did not stop other people from assuming that Mr. Chuck was continuing his crusade to force Mayer Brown to say something about start dates.

Never one to shy away from the limelight, Mr. Chuck decided that the fact that he wasn’t a part of the story shouldn’t preclude him from making himself part of the story. Here’s the subject line of the email he sent to all Mayer Brown incoming associates last night:

Pls, This Was Not Initiated By Me (Today’s Mayer Brown Above-The-Law Fiasco))

No, Mr. Chuck didn’t start it, but damnit he’s going to end it make sure it continues…

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* First TBS gets Conan, now it’s getting the Final Four. When did TBS become something more than an outlet for Braves games? [Am Law Daily]

* It took about 41 minutes for a Brooklyn jury to reject busty New York 1 reporter Adele Sammarco’s claims of sexual harassment. [New York Post]

* People who post on message boards are not journalists, according to New Jersey. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Who might the lower uppers attack next? [American Lawyer]

* Judge Ana Gardiner resigns instead of facing an ethics probe about her relationship with a prosecutor. [ABA Journal]

* President Obama channeled his inner Enjolras at Cooper Union yesterday. With all the anger in the land, how long before the judgment day? Before we cut the fat ones down to size? Before the barricades arise? [New York Times]

We launched our second annual Law Revue contest earlier this month. Over 20 law schools entered the competition, including a couple from the Great White North — a special “eh” to our Canuck readers! — with each school submitting up to two videos.

Last night, your ATL editors had a special after-hours viewing. It wasn’t the most entertaining three hours of our lives, but it was funnier than White Chicks, and less painful than a second viewing of Avatar sans 3D glasses.

We watched and rated the videos, separating them into three categories: Good, Borderline, and Crap. We’ll bring you our top seven finalists — the cremé de la cremé — on Monday, when reader voting will begin.

Today, though, we bring you the sour milk entries. There are three entries we placed in the “crap” category that we felt deserved special, dishonorable mention…

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