October 2014

Happy Halloween! Unless you live in New Jersey.

Based here in New York, I’ve spent the last several days watching the news while drinking copious amounts of whisky (klassy hurricane tip: pour the whisky directly into the can of coke — it saves washing a glass later if you’re worried about losing water!). The stream of images showing devastated areas is truly horrifying.

Thankfully my bunker of an apartment survived unscathed, but that did not excuse me from my own share of post-traumatic stress. But in my case it was seeing a number of lawyers-turned-politicians parading across the news channels displaying their own law firm certified brand of crisis management and triggering flashbacks to my years in private practice.

When we suffer the zombie apocalypse (which could happen as early as next Tuesday) or any other movie-level disaster, if we continue to place executive power in the hands of lawyers, we’re all screwed….

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* Paul Ceglia lost ANOTHER lawyer, this time after Ceglia got arrested on fraud charges. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* A Las Vegas family court judge has been charged with conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering, for allegedly devising and participating in a $3 million investment fraud scheme. So much for that whole “lest you be judged” thing. [8 News Now]

* Hunter Moore, the patron saint of creepy revenge porn sites, has been sued by Storage Wars star Brandi Passante for defamation. [Los Angeles Intellectual Property Trademark Attorney Blog]

* Speaking of creepy sex, happy Halloween!… unless you’re a registered sex offender. [ABA Journal]

* This discrimination ruling may have established a new judicial precedent: the Jersey Shore test. God help us. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Remember to send us pictures of your legally themed Halloween costumes for our contest! [Above the Law]

The people out at Saint Louis University School of Law sure know how to get in the news. First, the law school dean resigns behind an epic departure memo. Then they hire a new law dean who is really a personal injury attorney. Then the personal injury attorney/law dean says he’s not a “butt boy” to the University President, Father Lawrence Biondi.

I think from now on the logo should read: “SLU Law: When the law stops being polite, and starts getting real.”

While New Jersey law students have been swimming to school, out in the heartland the kids are protesting the university president. And the law faculty issued a historic vote of “no confidence” in the university leadership…

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It drives me crazy that my kids had “Harvest” parties at school today. Harvest what? It’s Halloween for Chrissakes. Every calendar in the office here says it’s Halloween. It is not Harvest Day, and believe me, with the reduction of old-time husbandry and the growth of corporate farming, it is difficult to envision ConAgra holding a Harvest Festival. Anyway.

I am not in a good mood of late. The hurricane has really put a damper (seriously, no pun intended) on the spirits of a lot of folks in the Northeast. Spare me the “it’s about time New York got its comeuppance” crap; this is serious stuff. Politically savvy or not, when Chris Christie starts praising Obama and FEMA with apparent sincerity, you know that stuff just got real. For us in Western New York we had a crapload of leaves to shovel; first world problem, I know. You almost feel an embarrassment of riches when you have a sore back from yard clean-up and many people have no home to clean. But, Springsteen postponed his show here from last night until tonight which is a blessing, so there’s that. And my kids are going to be done trick or treating and in bed before the first notes of “Badlands” ring out.

But I digress. This is a Halloween post, and I should have some scary stuff to discuss….

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Today at least, Gregory Garre is dog’s best friend in the Supreme Court.

The Court heard two cases involving when dogs can use their noses to help fight the war on drugs. Garre argued both – back to back – for the State of Florida. Fresh on the heels of his representation of Texas in the recent affirmative action case, it was an impressive morning.

The first case presented the question of whether a dog – here, named Frankie – brought to the front door of a house, can sniff at the front of the house for drugs.

Garre came out of the box asserting that there is no legitimate expectation of privacy in contraband. That didn’t go so well….

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The East Coast clean-up from Hurricane Sandy is well underway. When reached for comment, the city of New Orleans said, “Clean-up? You guys need a wet-vac and you’ll be fine.”

In all fairness, you just have to look at the news to see how Sandy hammered the Northeast, especially New Jersey. Havoc abounds, and law schools in the Garden State are not immune from the disaster…

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Does anyone remember Hunter Moore, creator of IsAnyoneUp and the most hated man on the internet for a good swath of last year? His site, before he took it down in April, encouraged young people to submit naked photos of themselves or their friends. The photos were posted publicly along with screengrabs of Facebook pages and real names.

At least one copycat site has popped up: the extremely NSFW IsAnybodyDown.com. In some ways the site feels even more nefarious than its predecessor because of its semi-official takedown policy. The site links to a “Takedown Lawyer” who promises to get any photos removed from the site for somewhere between $200 and $300.

It so happens that this lawyer is a friend of the site’s owner and publicly admits to using a pseudonym to offer his services. Something seems suspicious here….

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Hey, don’t blame us. We didn’t make this list of the worst law schools in the country.

In the Above the Law Career Center, we just give law schools letter grades, based on user surveys completed by ATL readers. But the Daily Caller has compiled a list of the ten worst ABA-accredited law schools. Mwahaha.

One really strong point about this list is that it’s more outcome-oriented than other rankings. It’s not looking at LSAT scores and GPAs; it’s looking at bar passage rates, cost, and employment data.

So, send your angry emails to the Daily Caller, or your own administrators, if you are unlucky enough to be going to one of these schools…

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Partner meetings should be better. As I discussed in last week’s column, Biglaw firms tend to hold glorified lunches, sprinkled with some generic info-passing, instead of real informative meetings for partners.

It does not have to be that way — even if your Biglaw firm ascribes to a “partners are just our highest-paid employees” ethic. And especially if your firm is serious about involving partners in the firm’s business as much as possible in these days of behemoth Biglaw firms.

What kinds of improvements to partner meetings would I advocate implementing?

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