In the wake of the east coast earthquake of 2011, the legal world seems to be back to its regularly scheduled programming. Courts are back in session, law firms have reopened, and government agencies are fully functioning. While some got a welcome day off yesterday, others only received a temporary respite from work.

Thankfully, the damage to the capital region seems to have been limited. At first it was reported that we may have had a Leaning Tower of D.C., but it turns out that the Washington Monument is just cracked. In other monument news, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials are closed for further inspection, and the National Cathedral has sustained “mind-boggling” damage.

We received a lot of tips from our readers about their earthquake experiences, but more importantly, we have the final results from our reader poll. We now know who we can blame for moving the earth and disrupting our day. And no, it wasn’t Obama’s Fault.

Find out who is responsible, after the jump….

We’ll get to the results of the poll in just a bit. First, we’ll share with you some of the highlights from our readers’ earthquake experiences.

Although the epicenter of the quake is said to have been near Richmond, Virginia, tremors were felt all along the east cost, as far south as North Carolina and as far north as Maine. As a Jersey girl living in Massachusetts, I had absolutely no idea what was going on because this was my first real earthquake experience. The building I live in is at least 100 years old, and I literally thought it was going to collapse. I was freaking out. Memo to self: do not move to California.

After the quake, a law professor here in Massachusetts suggested that maybe he was just “giving too awesome of a lecture.” I guess sometimes laughter is the best medicine. But in New York, we know that at least one law school was giving safety tips to its students. Kids at Cardozo Law School received this email from Vice Dean Edward Stein shortly after the first tremor was felt:

Edward Stein

From: Stein, Edward
Subject: Earthquake Update
To: Class of 2012, Class of 2013, Class of 2014, LLMs, SIPO, Visiting and Exchange Students

If you are at Cardozo today, you know that we just experienced a minor earthquake. This is due to a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that took place in Virginia at 1:53 PM. As the building safety manager noted in his PA announcement, there is no cause for alarm. Our building is fine.

If we experience another one, I ask that you remain calm, do not panic, REMAIN WHERE YOU ARE and take shelter. If you are indoors, stay there, take immediate shelter under your desk, a table, in public lobbies or exit stairwells. Stay away from windows, outside doors, large bookshelves or fixtures, etc.

We will keep you updated on the matter.

Earthquake survival tips are probably just as useful as walking instructions, right?

Meanwhile, we have news from a law student in D.C. on what happens when there’s an earthquake during the height of on-campus interviewing season. If this callback’s a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’? From our tipster:

Escape from D.C.

I know I’m not the only one this happened to, but I just experienced the D.C. earthquake during a callback interview at a Biglaw firm here in D.C.

It was an interesting experience; I had some interviews outside at the evacuation point before postponing the rest when the building closed. Everyone at the firm got a pretty big kick out of it and they were all incredibly poised and nice about the whole thing. At least I won’t have to deal with a behavioral interview question asking what I would do in an earthquake, nor will I have to fumble around for an icebreaker topic with the remaining interviewers.

And, as promised, here is the number one earthquake gem from our comments:

Stay calm. It was not an earthquake. It was actually just the ABA acknowledging that there are “problems” with the law school recruiting.

I don’t know if I want to live in a world where the ABA’s decisions cause nature disasters. Just think of what will happen the next time the ABA approves another Cooley Law campus — complete and total armageddon!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: what caused the earthquake that rocked the east coast?

Thanks to our über-scientific poll, we now know that everyone needs to go on a diet, because 42% of readers think that fat people caused this natural disaster. And with 39% of the vote, it seems that the douchebaggery of UVA Law students may have been a contributing factor to yesterday’s seismic action.

Maybe if we all lower our collars and our consumption of trans fats, we can force Hurricane Irene to change course. But I doubt it, so stay tuned for Above the Law coverage of the next natural disaster that could rock the legal world.

After earthquake, D.C. legal world heading back to normal [National Law Journal]
Earthquake Shakes D.C.; Courts and Law Firms Shut Down for the Day [Blog of Legal Times]
D.C. Police Officer: There’s Concern That Washington Monument May Be Tilting Following 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake [Fox News Insider]
Washington Monument Cracked, Closed Indefinitely [Atlantic Wire]

Earlier: The D.C. Earthquake of 2011!


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