As Howard Bashman might say, “Programming Note”:
Over the next three days, we’re going to be attending various events at the Federalist Society’s 2006 National Lawyers Convention. It’s taking place right here in Washington, DC, a few blocks away from where we reside. So we’ll be splitting our time between our blogging HQ (our apartment) and the Mayflower Hotel (which unfortunately doesn’t have wireless internet in its public areas).
We’ll bring you dispatches about the different panels, speeches, and parties that we attend. Right now we’re running off to attend a panel discussion featuring celebrity law professor Tim Wu, among others. Hasta luego!

britney spears britney_spears naked nude breasts above the law atl britney spears topless.JPGTo any single celebrities out there who happen to frequent legal gossip blogs, we offer you this piece of friendly advice: Before getting hitched, make your future spouse sign a prenup.
Sounds pretty obvious, right? But consider this, from Forbes’s Prenup Primer:

Last week, Britney Spears filed for divorce from her two-year marriage to Kevin Federline, whose nickname has gone from “K-Fed” to “Fed-Ex.” [A] day later, actors Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe also filed for divorce.

The difference between the two: Witherspoon did not have a prenuptial agreement, and Phillippe will likely have a claim to a substantial portion of her $60 million estimated net worth. The estimated $29 million in earnings from her next film may also be at stake — her ex could get half.

But Spears did have a prenuptial agreement. In fact, it was a 60-page agreement that protects most of her estimated $100 million fortune. Britney could get away with paying Federline a measly $300,000, which he says he is owed, plus $30,000 a month for half the number of years they were married, which would amount to one year. That’s pocket change for Britney.

More about the Britney Spears prenup, from the Daily Mail:

Britney even staged an elaborate sham wedding, again to protect her fortune.

The event, on September 18, 2004, in the modest back garden of a friend’s house in the Los Angeles suburb of Studio City, was meant to be the “real thing.” But with Federline yet to sign the pre-nup, a proper wedding could not go ahead.

So, with the paparazzi on her case, Britney decided to stage the “fake” wedding — and drew up a watertight contract to ensure the ceremony was not legally binding.

The pair were then married for real in a secret ceremony on October 6 — after Federline had signed the agreement that banned him from making any future claim against any assets his wife had prior to their marriage.

British newspapers are way more fun than ours. We love the colorful description of Spears’s attorney, Laura Wasser, as “one of Hollywood’s most ruthless lawyers.”
For an impressively detailed analysis of the legal issues surrounding the timing of the Spears-Federline wedding(s) and prenup, check out Death and Taxes — The Blog.
World Exclusive – Every detail of Britney Spears’ pre nup and £65 million fortune [Daily Mail]
Divorce Docs Prove Britney Faked Her “Wedding” []
Prenup Primer [Forbes]
Sometimes I Run, Sometimes I Hide, Sometimes I Blog About Britney and K-Fed [Death and Taxes - The Blog]
The Role of the Prenup in the Timing of Britney Spears’ Divorce [TaxProf Blog]

red envelope Above the Law pictures pics photographs nude naked celebrities.jpgIn case you’re wondering, the email problems that we alluded to earlier today have been solved.
So if you have a Supreme Court justice sighting for Eyes of the Law, a law firm interview horror story, salary information for Skaddenfreude, or any other juicy gossip or funny story, please send it to us at our usual address:
tips AT abovethelaw DOT com
Or just click here. Thanks for your patience!
Earlier: Some Technical Difficulties: Issues With Our Email

red envelope Above the Law pictures pics photographs nude naked celebrities.jpgIf you’ve tried emailing us lately, your message may have bounced back to you. We seem to be having some difficulties with our email.
We’re not quite sure when these problems will be resolved (but they’re being investigated). In the meantime, we’ve set up a temporary email address that you can use to reach us for the time being:
abovethelawtips AT gmail DOT com
Or just click here.

Happy Monday, everybody. We’re guessing you’re still recovering from the weekend; so are we. (We had a bit too much red wine last night, and we fear we’re coming down with a minor cold.)
Anyway, before we plunge into matters of “substance,” a quick administrative announcement. The polls in our October 2006 Couple of the Month contest will close tomorrow at 3 p.m. — on Election Day, fittingly enough.
(ATL’s mitzvah for the day: We remind you that, regardless of your party affiliation, you should vote tomorrow. We think democracy is swell.)
If you haven’t done so already, check out the Couple of the Month competition and cast your vote, by clicking here. As you’ll see, we have now secured photographs for all five couples — including this photo of Katherine Dowling and Marc Axelbaum. Fantastic!
katherine dowling marc axelbaum

no swimming sign no diving Aquagirl Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIf you haven’t already done so, we recommend that you read this article (and not just ’cause we’re featured in it). It’s entitled Scuttlebutt Central, by Stephanie Francis Ward, and it’s from the November 2006 issue of the ABA Journal.
The piece is a fun and interesting read; check it out for yourself. We’ll just comment on one passage that caught our eye:

A Washington, D.C., corporate associate who asked to remain anonymous admits to reading legal gossip blogs daily — a habit he says isn’t unusual among his peers.

“There’s an allure of some of these stories — like the summer associate in New York who took off her clothes and jumped into the Hudson River — so there’s sort of a universal appeal,” he says.

Allow us to supplement the record. According to various reports, the summer associate in question was at the venerable firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. The incident took place at a charity benefit held at the Chelsea Piers sports and entertainment complex. It turned out to be a fairly big deal because the SA had to be fished out of the river (either by the Coast Guard or an NYPD police boat).
We’re not sure if she ended up getting an offer. But given what a summer associate has to do NOT to get an offer — e.g., first- or second-degree murder (manslaughter, no big deal) — we wouldn’t be surprised if she did.
More juicy details here and here.
Scuttlebutt Central: Legal gossip blogs appeal to a nation of associates hungry for the local scoop [ABA Journal]
Summer Stories [What's Up With Wake Law?]
Summer Associates [CU bLAWg]

[Ed. note: After reviewing your applications for the position of Morning Docket writer, we picked not one but two excellent writers to provide you with an entertaining summary of the morning's legal news.
Today we're pleased to introduce Billy Merck. Billy will share Morning Docket authorship with B Clerker, whom you met last week. Welcome, Billy!]
Billy Merck comes to ATL from the real ATL (Atlanta, Georgia), or at least the ATL media market (more accurately, from the ATH, or the AHN (Athens, Georgia), if you’re into airport codes).
Billy is a double graduate of a large state university. He’s worked making sausage drafting legislation, as a judicial law clerk, and now as a sole practitioner. Although he’s never personally experienced Biglaw, he’s heard things, and he’s quite certain that he’s not missing that much. He nevertheless feels that he has a level of disillusionment with the law to rival the most downtrodden midlevel associate. He expects to cathartically channel all of this negative energy and frustration into insightfully snarky legal news nuggets to get your mornings started right.
As a bit of shameless self-promotion, Billy suggests you take a look at He also hopes that you enjoy his contributions to ATL, and he now needs to go pretend to do some real work.

yale law school.jpgTurnout has been great in our three Law School Dean Hotties contests. In the women’s race — currently led by Asha Rangappa and Leah Jackson, with 39 and 31 percent of the vote, respectively — almost 7,000 votes have been cast. (Thanks, Fark!)
Things have also been busy on the men’s side. In the main contest, in which over 1,000 votes have been cast, Dean Evan Caminker of the University of Michigan enjoys a commanding lead (40 percent). The B-bracket race is the closest of all three contests: Walter Dickey (29 percent) has a small lead over Bryant Garth (26 percent). But pretty much all five contestants are in the running.
Now it’s time for us to announce when the polls will close. Voting will conclude on Wednesday, October 18, at 3 PM (Eastern time). This means that two more full days remain in which the candidates (and their supporters) can campaign.
As in our ERISA Hotties Contest, we will gladly accept and disseminate any campaign messages from the candidates. Just send them to us by email, and we will publish them in ATL. Thanks, and good luck!

mystery law clerk.jpg[Ed. note: Some time ago, we asked for your help with Morning Docket. After reviewing the applications, we've selected two delightful writers to handle MD duties. We're confident you'll enjoy their most entertaining contributions.
One of these writers will be making his debut in ATL's pages today, and he will nicely complement the existing ATL team. Your current writers -- to wit, ourselves and Stella Q. -- know a fair amount about trends in women's fashion and celebrity pregnancies. But our newest recruit brings a healthy dose of testosterone sports knowledge to these pages. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to B Clerker!]
B Clerker would like to thank ATL for the opportunity to share his incredible knowledge, wit, and exaggerated ego with the blog’s bright readership. He’s currently a law clerk, like many of you are or once were, but more of a “B” clerker than an “A.”
Clerker has worked stints at large non-profits, state and federal government agencies, political organizations, state and federal courts, a small-town firm, and a large DC firm, so hopefully he can relate to many of your own experiences. He’s attended both a large state university and a private prestigious one, and he loves both of these children equally. Since there is no “fantasy litigator” league on Yahoo (yet…), he enjoys fantasy football, like many lawyers and law students, and he would be happy to post exclusive tips upon request. His interests also include tennis, Ohio, and speaking about himself in the third person.
Clerker hopes that his contributions to the Morning Docket will be an (often subtly) humorous and informative source of legal and non-legal news. He does not drink coffee, but enjoys Coke Zero and forming conclusions. He looks forward to making your acquaintance, and can’t think of anything else to type right now.

yale law school.jpg* Our Law School Dean hotties contest is now underway. Vote on the women here, the men here, and the alternate male candidates here.
* Do you know anyone who is currently clerking for Justice Alito? If so, we’d like to hear from you.
* If you’re in law for the money, we recommend Korean transactional practice, at a big firm. You’ll probably make more than you would as a solo practioner or small firm lawyer.
* If money is your top priority, then don’t bother with the law; go work for Goldman Sachs . Partners there take home an average of $7 million a year. And still find time to beat up on small businessmen.
* ATL readers: Not as rich as Goldman Sachs partners. But pretty damn smart.
* Creative ways to get yourself criminally charged: (1) walk around your office buck naked; or (2) walk out of a restaurant without paying (after concluding that your seafood pasta dish was short on the seafood).
* But protesting while topless, that’s okay.
* Lori Alvino and Matthew McGill: We are not worthy. The happy couple tied the knot earlier this month. Their wedding guests included two sitting Supreme Court justices, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit, and two SCOTUS short-listers. (Yes, we’ve categorized this under Nauseating Things.)
* Some dispatches from the New Yorker Festival: Justice Breyer, with Jeffrey Toobin; legendary criminal defense lawyer Gerald Shargel, along with other experts on the Mafia; and some guy named Jon Stewart.
* There’s a new kid on the ATL block: Meet Stella Q. Welcome, Stella!

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