David Lat

David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, New York magazine, Washingtonian magazine, and the New York Observer. Prior to ATL, he launched Underneath Their Robes, a blog about federal judges. Before entering the journalism world, he worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in New York; and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. David graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has received several awards for his work on ATL, including recognition as one of the American Lawyer’s Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years; one of the ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels, a group of pioneers within the legal profession; and one of the Fastcase 50, "the fifty most interesting, provocative, and courageous leaders in the world of law, scholarship, and legal technology." His first book, Supreme Ambitions: A Novel, will be published in 2015. You can connect with David on Twitter and Facebook.

Posts by David Lat

law_school1-e13663075495591-RFThe past few years have been challenging for U.S. legal education. Law school applications have fallen by 37 percent since their 2010 peak. As a result, law schools have had to accept weaker students, shrink their entering class sizes, or both. Smaller entering classes have meant reduced tuition revenue, which has resulted in layoffs of faculty and staff and even news of a campus closing.

But is legal education about to make a comeback? Survey says….

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Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas

Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas

You are obliged to see the pictures to come to a conclusion. You cannot simply ignore what it is that these images depict.

Suzanne Cote, independent counsel to the Canadian Judicial Council commission investigating Justice Lori Douglas, urging the commission members to view the nude photos of Justice Douglas [link is safe for work; just detailed descriptions of the images, not actual pictures]. Douglas’s lawyer, Sheila Block, objects to further viewing of the photographs and wants them destroyed.

Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David LatLast night, in the beautiful D.C. offices of Arnold & Porter, Above the Law held its second annual Supreme Court round-up event. I discussed October Term 2014 with two of the most distinguished advocates practicing before the Court today, Lisa Blatt of Arnold & Porter and Tom Goldstein of Goldstein & Russell (and SCOTUSblog fame too). Although this Term is not the most thrilling Term ever — which could change, based on the cases that get granted certiorari over the next few weeks — Blatt and Goldstein produced a sparkling conversation full of ample insight and laughter.

Thanks to Lisa Blatt and to Tom Goldstein for participating, to our readers for attending, to Arnold & Porter for hosting, and to Special Counsel eQ for sponsoring. Keep reading to check out photos….

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Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat* Some observers do not appreciate the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Delphic pronouncements on a slew of hot-button issues. [New York Times]

* The New York Court of Appeals does international banks a solid — but is it bad policy? [Reuters]

* Fired Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi hires Dentons to sue CBC, which dismissed him over allegations of sexual misconduct. [American Lawyer]

* Is post-Citizens United money polluting judicial elections? [New York Times via How Appealing]

* An Englishman sues Sotheby’s, alleging that the auction house negligently failed to inform him that a painting he sold through Sotheby’s was by Caravaggio and worth millions. [BBC]

* If you’re a lawyer looking for extra income, check out Avvo’s new service, which offers consumers on-demand legal advice for a fixed fee. [Law Sites via ABA Journal]

* Is it reversible error for a judge to refuse to ask voir dire questions related to sexual-preference prejudices? [Southern District of Florida via How Appealing]

Left to right (but not in ideological terms): Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Left to right (but not in ideological terms): Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Clarence Thomas.

The day before he got turned away from Sunday brunch, Justice Samuel Alito and two of his Supreme Court colleagues, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, received Yale Law School’s Award of Merit for their contributions to the legal profession. The three justices then participated in a great joint interview conducted by Professor Kate Stith.

We covered the proceedings on Twitter (see @ATLblog and @DavidLat), and we shared with you write-ups from Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, and Tony Mauro of the Legal Times. But for the SCOTUS devotees among you who are not yet satisfied, keep reading for even more about this very special event….

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Justice Breyer at the 92nd Street Y.

Justice Breyer at the 92nd Street Y.

Last week, I attended a most enjoyable film screening with Justice Stephen G. Breyer. The event, part of the annual film festival of the Forum on Law, Culture, and Society, took place at the 92nd Street Y here in New York. After the audience watched one of the justice’s favorite films, Justice Breyer sat for an interview with Thane Rosenbaum, the law professor and novelist who serves as director of the Forum.

What movie did Justice Breyer nominate? And what did he have to say, about such hot-button topics as Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, in the post-movie conversation?

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Justice Samuel Alito

Justice Alito: no blueberry pancakes for you!

I’m a big fan of Justice Samuel Alito. He’s a brilliant thinker, a tremendous writer, and an incisive questioner (as I learned arguing before him when he sat on the Third Circuit, and as anyone can learn from listening to audio recordings of Supreme Court arguments). I’m also a devotee of his delightful wife, the stylish and vivacious Martha-Ann Alito.

This past weekend, the Alitos returned to his alma mater, Yale Law School, where Justice Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor received the Yale Law School Association’s Award of Merit for their contributions to the legal profession. The three justices then participated in a lively and insightful conversation, skillfully moderated by Professor Kate Stith (and live-tweeted by yours truly; see @ATLblog and @DavidLat).

Members of the audience expressed admiration for Justice Alito and his sly sense of humor. But beyond the ivory tower, not everyone admires the justice — or even has the ability to recognize him.

Earlier today, Justice Alito got bounced out of a brunch joint….

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Say farewell to 4 Times Square.

Say farewell to 4 Times Square.

Biglaw is getting less big when it comes to office space. As we recently mentioned, law firms are spending less on their real estate. They’re renting smaller spaces, often outside the central downtown areas they’ve traditionally favored. As the American Lawyer put it, “[a]s a result of tightening market conditions, some firms are gravitating to ‘unorthodox’ locations in areas right outside the central districts they usually prefer.”

Consider the move that Skadden Arps just announced for its Manhattan headquarters. It’s going to an area that is certainly “unorthodox,” perhaps downright icky….

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Bingham new logoOver the past few months, we’ve offered extensive coverage of Bingham McCutchen, the once high-flying law firm that’s now struggling to survive. Bingham has remained mainly mum during these trying times.

This week, however, managing partner Steven Browne — who took over earlier this year from Bingham’s longtime leader, Jay Zimmerman — has been on a charm offensive. He gave interviews to the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal, which along with the American Lawyer ran long pieces on the state of affairs at the firm. We’ll share with you the new and most notable material from all three stories.

Before we get to the substantive stuff, though, let’s check out the Wall Street Journal’s interesting choice of a photo for its Bingham piece….

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steak beef meat steakhouse

[R]eading the record with just a dash of common sense tells us that chefs who happen to be American citizens surely have the capacity to learn how to cook Brazilian steaks and perform the relevant related tasks. To maintain otherwise, as Fogo de Chao does, is to imply that Brazilian chefs are essentially born with (or somehow absorb during their formative years) a cooking skill that cannot be acquired through reasonable training, which seems an entirely untenable proposition.

– Judge Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Cir.), dissenting in an interesting case regarding whether certain foreign chefs can qualify for the L-1B visa, granted to workers with “specialized knowledge.” Why does this feeder judge hate… food?

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