October 2014

* Some thoughts from our colleague Matt Levine on the Justice Department’s opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. [Dealbreaker]

* Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.), king of the benchslap — yes, we already covered his latest handiwork, so no need to email the “kindergarten party” order to us again — has blocked key parts of the Texas sonogram-before-abortion law. [How Appealing]

* Meanwhile, Allen E. Parker Jr., the lawyer on the receiving end of a recent Sam Sparks special in the abortion case, had this to say about His Honor’s saucy order. [Tex Parte Blog]

* Nice work if you can get it: a pair of incoming DLA Piper associates will get paid $145,000 to $160,000 to do pro bono work for a year. [Am Law Daily]

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

* Think you’re tough, NYC lawyers? “A D.C. attorney attacked a man with a live power line — downed by Hurricane Irene — during an altercation in which the lawyer used his car as a battering ram against his alleged victim, police said.” [Georgetown DC Patch]

* The ABA and Senator Chuck Grassley continue to be pen pals. Here is law librarian Mark Giangrande’s take on the ABA’s latest response. [Law Librarian Blog]

* Interesting analysis: “How the Media Treated Mexico’s Mass Murder.” [The Awl]

* I agree with Professor Eugene Volokh: “people are constitutionally entitled to speak the truth about others, even with the goal of trying to get them fired.” [Volokh Conspiracy via Instapundit]

* I found a special friend on OkCupid, but the site wasn’t as helpful to Alyssa Bereznak, who had an unfortunate experience dating a world champion of Magic: The Gathering. [Gizmodo]

* If you’d like to check out Billable Hours: The Movie, here’s your chance (until September 10). [NexTV]

* And if you prefer live entertainment, tomorrow night check out the September 1 showcase of Comedians-at-Law (bios here; maybe you know some of these guys). [Comedians-at-Law]

Having just celebrated our fifth anniversary, we would like to extend our thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law. We couldn’t have made it this far without them, so please show them your support:

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And no, we’re not talking about the guy who sits in the front row of Federal Jurisdiction and always has his hand in the air.

We’re speaking more literally — about a man with his hand not up in the air, but down in his pants….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Watch Out: There’s a Wanker in the Library!”


During 2011, Paul Hastings has been picking up partners. We previously mentioned their acquiring two prominent leveraged finance lawyers, Michael Michetti and Rich Farley, from Cahill Gordon. Additional hires, including Michael Baker from Shearman & Sterling and Steven Park from Finnegan Henderson, are listed on the PH website.

Like any large firm, however, Paul Hastings loses partners too. We’ve just learned of two partners who are ankling PH for Nixon Peabody.

Let’s find out who they are, get the backstory on their departures, and also obtain the 411 on some PH staff layoffs….

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(Plus Paul Hastings staff layoffs.)

Many litigators have a bias against settlement. It’s understandable. There’s no glamor in settling cases. No one is ever going to make a TV show called “The Settler,” about a young but scrappy underdog lawyer who fiercely negotiates tough-but-fair settlement agreements and always remembers to allow a 21-day waiting period if the plaintiff is 40 or over. (On second thought … better call my agent.)

Forget TV and movies. No lawyer has ever come home with the exciting news about settling a lawsuit (at least, no defense lawyer). “Honey, I settled the Devens case!” “That’s great, dear. Now go mow the lawn.”

In the midnineties, I was a junior associate working on a contentious sexual-harassment case. While we were able to win partial summary judgment, the main claims headed to trial in federal court. During the negotiations before the trial, the partner from my firm had a conversation with the plaintiff’s lawyer, who was that sort of rough-around-the-edges attorney who prided himself on spending a lot of time in the courthouse.

Looking to put my boss in place, the guy took a shot at our firm’s litigation style. Here’s what he said …

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: Real Lawyers Settle Cases”

[A] rush to open the practice of law to unschooled, unregulated nonlawyers is not the solution [to the justice gap]. This would cause grave harm to clients. Even matters that appear simple, such as uncontested divorces, involve myriad legal rights and responsibilities. If the case is not handled by a professional with appropriate legal training, a person can suffer serious long-term consequences affecting loved ones or financial security.

William T. “Bill” Robinson III, president of the American Bar Association (ABA), in a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Robinson’s letter responds to an NYT staff editorial arguing that “allow[ing] nonlawyers into the mix” could help address the justice gap, i.e., low-income Americans’ need for legal services.

The legal profession isn’t known for its sense of humor. On the contrary, most attorneys take themselves way too seriously. As a result, we see some pretty ridiculous attorney advertising that ends up being unintentionally funny. And while we’re happy to poke gentle fun at these websites and ads, our commentary isn’t always well received. Because another thing that lawyers aren’t known for is the ability to accept criticism.

Knoxville attorney Stephen A. Burroughs, a personal injury and auto accident lawyer and my new favorite person, is an exception to these rules. Anyone from the Knoxville area is likely familiar with Burroughs, having seen his serious, bearded face on billboards all over town.

The ads were so ubiquitous, and Burroughs’s gaze so smoldering and intense, that someone created a Facebook page devoted to Stephen A. Burroughs Memes, transforming Burroughs into Knoxville’s answer to The Most Interesting Man in the World. As the Facebook page gained popularity, the funny memes started pouring in.

Even better than the jokes, though, was Burroughs’s unexpectedly awesome response….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity When You’ve Got Swag”

Daniel Watkins: cleared of all charges.

Back in May, around the time of the Johnathan Perkins craziness at UVA Law School, we wrote about stalking and assault charges leveled against another UVA law student (and friend of Perkins), Daniel Paul Watkins. An ex-girlfriend and female classmate claimed that Daniel Watkins assaulted and threatened her.

At the time, we quoted a friend of Watkins who counseled caution in reacting to the charges. This source stated that “there is another side to the story, which has yet to surface,” and that observers should “keep an open mind” and “not pass judgment too quickly.”

As it turns out, these words were prescient. A judge just dismissed all of the charges against Daniel P. Watkins….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “UVA Law Student Cleared of Assault and Stalking Charges”

We have the makings of a trend: inappropriate contacts between participants in jury trials. These contacts can be problematic because a jury trial constitutes a delicate ecosystem, in which contacts and communications between actors are regulated strictly to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.

We recently mentioned a case where a juror got sentenced to community service after trying to friend the defendant on Facebook. Well, at least he didn’t try to “poke” her (although perhaps a desire to poke her is what prompted the problematic friend request).

Now we bring you news of, er, more intimate contact between a witness and a lawyer — which culminated in a mistrial….

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Photo of massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, a petite and pretty brunette, added after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mistrial in Massage Parlor Prosecution After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer — as a Client….”

* You don’t have the right to get half naked in an airport to protest the TSA’s policies. Aaron Tobey’s lawsuit has been stripped of its Fourth Amendment claims following a dismissal. [Washington Post]

* Paul Ceglia has to give Facebook every email he’s exchanged since 2003. If Ceglia’s like most men, lawyers at Gibson Dunn will get an interesting peek at his private life. [Wall Street Journal]

* An HIV/AIDS group has been charged with improperly spending federal funds. They were supposed to open a job training center. They allegedly opened a strip club. Problem? [Washington Examiner]

* Pit bulls are cute until they bite your face off (but they do get a bad rap because of bad owners). This ADA lawsuit may help overturn residential dog breed restrictions in Colorado. [ABA Journal]

* In a case of a playboy getting hustled, a man is suing over a $28,109.60 bar tab charged on his credit card at the Hustler Club. Talk about going tit for tat. [New York Post]

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