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

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?

Jonathan Dach

Jonathan Dach

The past few weeks haven’t been much fun for Jonathan Dach. This promising young lawyer, a Yale College (2008) and Yale Law School (2013) graduate, found himself fingered by the Washington Post as the alleged client of a Colombian prostitute.

Why would anyone care about a young man hiring a prostitute in a jurisdiction — Cartagena, Colombia — where prostitution is legal? This allegedly all went down during the visit by President Obama to Colombia in which a bunch of Secret Service agents got in trouble for patronizing prostitutes, so the claim is that the White House protected one of its own — Dach, a White House volunteer at the time, is the son of a big-time Democratic donor — while hanging the Secret Service agents out to dry. And Dach now works at the State Department on a portfolio of women’s issues, which adds to the awkwardness.

But are the allegations even true? Various folks, both within the Yale community and beyond it, are rallying to Dach’s defense — and forcefully denying the claims against him. What do they have to say?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Defense Of Jonathan Dach”

kirkland RFEarlier this year, we noted a number of departures of private-equity partners from Kirkland & Ellis, a traditional leader in the PE space (and the #2 firm in our new law firm rankings). But K&E has also picked up partners in this practice area as well, including Sean Rodgers and Rick Madden, plus Andrew Calder and Anthony Speier in Houston.

This week the revolving door spins again at Kirkland, with the departure of a lawyer who has served in leadership roles at K&E. Who is he, and where is he going?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Kirkland & Ellis Loses Another Prominent Private-Equity Partner”


DLA Piper won't 'like' this lawsuit.

DLA Piper won’t ‘like’ this lawsuit.

Biglaw firms love having Facebook as a client. The firms and lawyers that represent Facebook often brag about it on their websites and in conversation. The former scrappy startup is now an S&P 500 component with a market capitalization of $200 billion. It’s great to have Facebook as a client.

It’s less great to have Facebook as your courtroom adversary. But that’s exactly the position that DLA Piper finds itself in. Earlier today, the social-media giant filed a lawsuit against the Biglaw behemoth, as well as several other lawyers and law firms.

Why does Facebook want DLA to pay the piper?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit Of The Day: Facebook Sues DLA Piper”

goodbye farewell Ill miss you“Beware the serial lateral partner.” That’s conventional wisdom in some circles of the legal profession. Here’s a pattern you often see: someone who gets poached by one firm, presumably lured by a big pay package, then laterals to another firm after the period of guaranteed compensation runs out, to enjoy another few years of guaranteed comp.

Today’s lateral partner story is a bit different. This high-profile partner is leaving his new firm after less than a year there (surely to the great disappointment of any recruiter who might have been involved in his original move).

It’s a strange story. What could be going on here?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: A Recent Lateral Partner’s Mysterious Departure”

Ebola* Congratulations (and good luck) to our nation’s new ebola czar — who happens to be a high-profile lawyer. [ATL Redline]

* An update on the Charleston Law/InfiLaw drama. [Post and Courier]

* If they had only taken the pink underwear off the patient before he woke up, he wouldn’t have his panties in a bunch. [Huffington Post]

* Getting people to read law review articles is hard enough; why put them behind a wall? [TaxProf Blog]

* It’s funny that Floridian lawyers are having such a bad reaction to Bad Judge, since the show could actually be reality TV down there. [Daily Business Review (sub. req.)]

* Career advice: if you aspire to the federal judiciary, try to avoid writing blog posts about biting girls in the butt. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.)]

* Congrats to lawyer Lisa Smith on winning the Pitch Week book competition at the When Words Count Retreat! [Street Insider]

4 Times Square

4 Times Square

Today’s Lawyerly Lairs column is about a Skadden associate’s search for a home (other than 4 Times Square, where he surely spends most of his waking hours). The firm requires sacrifices of its lawyers, but it also offers rich rewards, including generous pay and ample prestige. There’s a reason that Skadden is a top 10 firm in our new law firm rankings.

Working at Skadden gives you the ability to buy a Manhattan apartment while you’re still in your early 30s. The home we’re about to view is not a lavish lawyerly lair, but it’s a perfectly respectable starter apartment.

Let’s have a peek, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: A Skadden Associate’s Housing Hunt”

Now that Bingham McCutchen appears to have found a savior, talk is turning to other firms that have experienced a lot of recent partner attrition. One such firm is Dickstein Shapiro, which lost the most partners to lateral moves in 2013 and has continued to shrink over the course of 2014.

Today brings word of more Dickstein departures. Who are the latest lawyers to leave?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Defections From Dickstein Shapiro”

Paul Clement

You would think that someone like Paul would be arrogant, full of himself, a hotshot, but he is none of those things. The truth is, it was the easiest thing in the world to work with him.

Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, commenting about former U.S. Solicitor General and current Bancroft partner Paul Clement, on the occasion of Clement’s 75th oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Edith Jones

I did not say such things because I have never believed them and have never said them.

– Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit, denying she made offensive comments attributed to her by an ethics complaint. A panel of federal judges dismissed the complaint, but various civil-rights groups and legal ethicists are appealing the dismissal.

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