October 2014

You know the old joke: How many Harvard men does it take to screw in a light bulb? Just one; he holds the bulb in place while the world revolves around him.

Many a Harvard man takes that approach to household maintenance, professional endeavors, and even dating. You’re not going to believe this, but some people who graduate from Harvard are real douchebags. Some of them think that just by dint of having gone to Harvard, people will love them, respect them, and shower them with jobs and money. They even make up special phrases for mentioning where they go/went to school, like “dropping the H-Bomb.”  Good God, get over yourselves. I’m sure glad my own blazing Harvard credentials, which I keep in special pouch around my neck, have never once prevented me from interacting with the little people in a way that makes them feel like we are all the same species. I’m magnanimous like that.

In all seriousness, there are of course enormous, self-important jackasses who graduate from Harvard, but there are also more than enough people who gladly buy into the Harvard mystique. Now there’s a dating site dedicated to bringing the Crimson and their sycophants together. As they say in Wicked, “they deserve each other.”

Let’s take a closer look….

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* Dahlia Lithwick wonders: Is Justice Ginsburg “The Mother of All Grizzlies”? [Slate]

* Five ways to write like David Boies and Ted Olson. [Legal Writing Pro (PDF)]

* Speaking of legal writing, do you share our love of corny Bluebook jokes? If so, read this. [Laws for Attorneys]

* And speaking of gays, and litigation, and people named Olson, Judge John Olson — a bankruptcy judge in Florida — just issued a saucy order, denying a recusal motion based on the fact that the judge’s fiancé (male) works for the firm representing the plaintiff. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Professor Stephen Bainbridge on summer associate programs: “When I was a kid, we didn’t get any stinking $150 cab rides.” [Professor Bainbridge]

* Vivia Chen doesn’t have much sympathy for the now openly gay Ken Mehlman. [The Careerist]

* Thanks to the kind folks at Abbey Spanier for making Above the Law their recommended blog of the week. [Twitter]

Meet Kate Carrara. Like a surprising number of other attorneys — e.g., Lev Ekster and Mia Bauer, of New York Law School, and Sam Whitfield, of GW Law — Carrara left the law to start a cupcake business.

Alas, it appears that Carrara, a 35-year-old graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law, has run into some trouble with the law. From the Philadelphia Inquirer (via the ABA Journal):

The popular vending truck run by Kate Carrara, known as the “cupcake lady,” needed to be confiscated because she had been warned where not to park and continued to break the rules, a top city official said Wednesday….

Carrara’s truck was taken Tuesday afternoon by officials from the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which said it was parked in University City without a vending permit for that area, said L&I Commissioner Fran Burns.

The truck was parked on Market Street at 33d Street. “She thought that spot was legal,” said Andy Carrara.

But as any law school graduate should know, ignorance of the law is no defense….

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Every good story needs a villain, which is why people love to hate traffic cameras.

Cold and unblinking, they stalk us like prey, hitting drivers hard in the wallet when they blow through red lights, make rolling stops or, as is sometimes the case, let someone else drive their car.

Frederick County, MD recently began mounting traffic cameras on school buses to ensure that drivers obey traffic laws meant to safeguard children as they cross the street. The cameras will be able to record a car’s front and rear license plate number, GPS position and speed as it passes, according to WTOP.

In February, six Maryland lawmakers proposed mounting traffic cameras on school buses statewide. However, the proposal has met opposition from civil libertarians, who are fighting to protect the rights of motorists to run down kids on their way home.

“There are some school buses which can extend their ‘stop’ sign without actually coming to a full stop themselves or turning on their yellow lights first, so a driver could be charged with ‘passing’ in the opposite lane when in fact the bus that was still moving or they simply had no warning,” wrote Ron Ely of StopBigBrotherMD.org, a group that opposes traffic cameras and sees them as manifestations of “unchecked government power” and “backdoor taxes,” according to their website.

“Statistically speaking, compared to other types of traffic accidents, the number of traffic fatalities involving children boarding school buses is very small,” Ely said, citing a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration which indicated children were at eight times greater risk riding with their parents than taking the bus.

We’d like to know if children being maimed is an acceptable risk, as long as they’re not being, you know, killed, as they rush home to play video games.

Read more and comment on AltTransport….

'And then I told him I'd file a motion to compel his a**....'

It’s important to think about — and not just think about, but save for — your retirement. This is especially true now that Social Security is looking less than alluring. (When I see that money taken out of my paycheck, I just kiss it goodbye, forever.)

When it comes to providing for associates and other employees, most large law firms take a fairly straightforward approach: they offer 401(k) accounts, but no matching employer contributions. One of the few Biglaw firms that provided a match, K&L Gates, stopped that policy back in 2007.

With respect to retirement provisions for partners, there’s more variation from firm to firm. Some shops provide for retired partners in very generous fashion. For example, retired partners at Wachtell Lipton can receive annual seven-figure payouts for many years after leaving the firm (although sources at my former firm tell me some of this money represents a return of capital to the retired partners, and as such will vary from partner to partner).

A million-dollar retirement benefit is no doubt very pleasing. But at other firms, aging partners are less content with their arrangements….

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The class of 2013 probably won’t return to Above the Law in full force until after Labor Day. But a couple of comments on last night’s LeBron James post alerted us to the fact that some of the new 1Ls are here with us now:

Maybe I’m missing something, but on what basis does the court in Washington, DC exercise jurisdiction over Gloria and LeBron? Shouldn’t their lawyers raise this issue before trying to dismiss the suit as meritless?

An ATL veteran provided the credited response:

Glad to see we have newly-minted 1Ls again. Now sit on my [manly man part] while I rub your international shoe.

Yep, it’s back-to-school time. Now that thousands of 1Ls have committed to going to law school, the question arises: What should these people do to get the most out of their legal education?

We’ve got theories, the legal blogosphere has theories, and we’re sure ATL commenters have theories. Let’s help these 1Ls get prepared for what they’ve gotten themselves into…

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With OCI in full swing, you should check out the firms below to see if it is one of the firms you have a callback interview with. Wondering how summer associates rated their summer experience at the firms you may be interviewing with? Check out the Career Center for valuable insight on summer programs, as well as firm-specific information that will be helpful in your interviews.

  • Out of the office by 6:00 p.m. and no weekend work faced the summer associates at this firm. When they weren’t working on “realistic work assignments,” summer associates attended several social events including a retreat at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta.
  • Vegans and sedentary individuals may not fit in with the summer associates at this firm. While summer associates commend the firm for being “open and honest,” a number of 2009 summer associates were asked to accept firm-sponsored fellowships and defer their start dates until January 2012.
  • Summer associates at this firm receive continuous feedback on work assignments and attend writing seminars, mock trials, and corporate transaction workshops. In addition to not getting work stuffed down their throats, summer associates brag that they attended far more events than their peers at other firms.
  • This firm reduced the length of its summer program and cancelled summer programs in a couple of its offices in 2010 and 2011. Summer associates fortunate enough to get a summer gig here usually worked on 11 to 15 assignments and are encouraged to work in different practice groups.
  • The good ol’ days are still alive and well at this firm, where summer associates get to live it up on yacht cruises and get prime seats to baseball games, symphony concerts, and musicals. The tradeoff for all the social events is the occasional “long night in the office,” but summer associates typically leave the office between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For information on summer programs and associate life at all the top firms, visit the Career Center.

Ed. note: This post is by “The Gobbler,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

I was asked to cover the lawsuit filed yesterday by the ACLU against the Obama administration regarding its policy of keeping a “kill list” and, to a larger extent, following up on it. Ashby Jones does a workmanlike summary of the basics here, providing links to background, discussion, and the complaint. Rather than rehash the facts, or lead a discussion of the latest embarrassingly naked moment in America’s long history of civil-rights-shrinkage during dips in the wartime pool, I thought I’d get creative. Sorry.

What follows is a screenplay depicting the rocky relationship between Mr. Anwar al-Aulaqi (pictured), the first American citizen added to the CIA’s naughty list; the ACLU, which, on Anwar’s behalf, alleges that the list and any action thereon violates several sections of the Constitution and international law; and the American Government. As the title suggests, it’s based on the plot and dialogue from Wedding Crashers. Christopher Walken will play the role of America, with Keir O’Donnell (a/k/a “Todd”) playing the role of Anwar. The supporting cast, in order of appearance: Vince Vaughn as ACLU, Owen Wilson as Center for Constitutional Rights, Ellen Dow (think “Rapper’s Delight” in The Wedding Singer) as Righty Conservative, Isla Fisher as Treasury, Bradley Cooper as District Court and Rachel McAdams as Court of Appeals.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ACLU, Suspected Terrorists and American Policy on Killing Them — A Wedding Crashers Screenplay”

Ed. note: This post is by “Juggalo Law,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

I have a confession to make. I don’t care at all about the environment. It’s true. Since I was in short pants, I’ve been aggressively indifferent to climate change, rainforests, oil spills and the plight of the Duck-Billed Platypus (“has feet like a duck…but it’s furry!”). This despite my parents’ solid liberal bona fides. This despite my presence at one Young Democrats meeting in 1998 (Earnest Goes to College).

And yet, guys? The Cooch is tripping. That’d be Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia. Yesterday, a state judge blocked his request to subpoena documents from a college professor studying climate change. Take it away, BLT:

Cuccinelli, a Republican, said he wanted the records in order to investigate whether the researcher, Michael Mann, made false claims in connection with state grant funding. Cuccinelli is a skeptic of human causes of global warming, an area that Mann has studied at the University of Virginia and elsewhere. Mann is now a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

This caps a rather newsworthy couple of weeks for The Cooch. He’s managed to raise the hackles of many an interest group in protecting the rights of Baby Jesus and all unborn critters not named Jesus. In doing so, he’s undoubtedly established himself as a rising star in conservative circles.

But what of his latest…err crusade?

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My name is redacted, but you can call me Morning Dockette. I’m one of the winners of the Morning Docket writer competition. Some of you may know me better as the Tuesday and Thursday finalist from last week’s trial run. In real life, I’m a law school graduate awaiting the results of the July 2010 bar exam. Perhaps most importantly to some of you, I’m a girl. To answer some commenters’ questions, I’m not a mom, and I’m not an angry feminist either, but I totally appreciate proper etiquette. In my spare time, I enjoy life’s guilty pleasures, like watching reality television and catching up on celebrity gossip. I’m also fluent in sarcasm.

I’m so excited to be writing for ATL, and I hope to bring you entertaining stories about the law each morning. I will continue to strive to write witty descriptions about these stories that are somehow both too long and too short, all at the same time. In all seriousness, I welcome your comments and critiques. You can reach me by email at MorningDockette@gmail.com.

Now, on to the links…

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