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 Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, Washingtonian magazine, and New York magazine. 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." You can connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Posts by David Lat

Weblog Awards Winner logo Best Law Blog Above the Law blog.jpgSigh. It’s Monday, and it’s also a quasi-holiday (Veterans Day). Government lawyers, a significant chunk of our readership, generally aren’t in the office today.
So maybe that’s one reason we’re feeling lazy and unmotivated today. Another possible reason: we’re resting on our laurels.
Late last week, Above the Law was named Best Law Blog, in the 2007 Weblog Awards. Very exciting! Thanks to everyone who voted, in response to our repeated pleas.
Was the contest “a pretty silly affair,” as our erstwhile evidence professor, Brian Leiter, opined? Sure. Which makes ATL’s victory eminently appropriate, since this is a pretty silly blog.
So congratulations to us! And thanks again to everyone who voted.
P.S. To Professors Kerr and Volokh and their fellow Volokh Conspirators: Sure, we’ll buy a round of beer! Just find us at the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention later this week.
Best Law Blog [The 2007 Weblog Awards]
Does David Lat Owe Us Beer? [Volokh Conspiracy]
Did you vote for the “Best Law Blog” yet? [Brian Leiter's Law School Reports]

Aaron Charney solo firm headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law ATL.JPGSo just how large was the settlement in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell? Professor Scott Moss argued it was probably modest, while Professor Art Leonard believed it to be more substantial.
Here’s some evidence in favor of a larger settlement:

On Saturday at around 5 p.m., I spotted Aaron Charney in a cafe, in the bucolic town of Cold Spring, New York. I would have gone up and talked to him, but I realized who he was too late.

He was dressed in preppy fall wear, very J. Crew, with a wool hat. He was with two friends, and he was joking with them. He looked happy.

Well, how happy? Was it a $500,000 kind of happy, or a $2 million kind of happy?
Earlier: Just How Far Did S&C ‘Bend Over’ for Aaron Charney?

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgA day without bonus announcements is like a day without sunshine. And for a while it looked like today was going to be one dark day — perhaps fitting, given the stock market tumble.
But Kramer Levin has come to the rescue. Check out their bonus memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Kramer Levin Announces
(Bonuses Subject to ‘Merit’ and Hours Threshold)”

Ann Althouse Professor Ann Althouse diva divalicious Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s Friday, just shy of 5 PM Eastern time. Where are the bonus announcements? The silence is suspicious. If you’re sitting on bonus news that we haven’t reported, please reach out to us by email (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”). Thanks.
* Ann Althouse: We love it when she gets medieval — or should we say me-diva? — on a hapless blogger’s a**. [Althouse]
* Jesse Sneed: The Indiana University law student, who riddled his casebooks with bullets, is going home to grandma. [Blogonaut]
* Tim Wu: These ladies aren’t the only ones in love with the high-profile prof; Google thinks he’s pretty cool, too. [BusinessWeek]
* Barry Richard: S**tstirrer extraordinaire. [National Law Journal]

Alberto Gonzales 3 Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales Alberto Gonzalez Above the Law blog.jpgHe just wants your money. From the ACS Blog:

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will receive $40,000 for a speech at the University of Florida, according to the Independent Florida Alligator, UF’s student newspaper.

The November 19 speech will be paid for by student activity fees. (H/T The Blog of Legal Times)

Being an ex-AG: nice work if you can get it.
Gonzales to Receive $40,000 for Speech [ACS Blog]
Alberto Gonzales to Give Speech in Florida [The BLT]
Alberto Gonzales to speak at UF [The Independent Florida Alligator]

Here is the latest Job of the Week — actually, make that Jobs of the Week — courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. Because Lateral Link does no cold-calling and is more efficient than traditional recruiting firms, successful candidates receive $10,000 upon placement.
Positions: Junior Corporate Counsel and Senior Corporate Counsel
Employer: Software Company
Location: Irvine, California
Description:

(1) A corporate counsel (3-6 years experience) that will take responsibility for all aspects of product support for the MAS and Accpac product lines.

(2) A senior corporate counsel (8+ years) with strong academics, prior in-house experience and advanced interpersonal skills. This person will provide counsel on business issues, negotiating and documenting a variety of transactions and dispute resolution as well as supporting the Company’s North American operation in mergers and acquisitions activity.

More details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Jobs of the Week”

We enjoy keeping track of law firm screw-ups during the recruiting process. See, e.g., here and here.
But not everything that’s embarrassing is accidental; some tackiness is intentional. From a tipster:

“A friend of mine was recently rejected by Nixon Peabody. They broke the news by sending her the attached notice printed on an envelope-sized piece of cardboard.”

(Thumbnail image; click to enlarge.)

Nixon Peabody 2 rejection card AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.JPG
Makes sense to us. Why waste perfectly good letterhead on personalized rejection letters? Save the money for your theme song (mp3).
P.S. Speaking of the Nixon Peabody theme song controversy, we hear there’s a shout-out to it (and Above the Law) in the December 2007 issue of Playboy (p. 61).
Now, we haven’t seen this for ourselves, ’cause Playboy isn’t our cup of tea, you see. But if somebody would like to send us a scan of the relevant page, we’d be most grateful.
ATL has been mentioned in such publications as the New York Times and the Washington Post (which dubbed it “a must-read legal blog”). But an appearance in Playboy? This is our proudest moment.
Earlier: Public Humiliation, Courtesy of Your Friends at Wilson Sonsini
Fall Recruiting Snafu Watch: You Know They Really Don’t Want You When…

Anthony Ciolli Anthony Cioli AutoAdmit xoxohth Above the Law blog.jpgThere’s news to report in the lawsuit filed by two female Yale Law School students over various allegedly defamatory and threatening comments posted about them on AutoAdmit.com. The amended complaint, which was delayed in arriving, has finally been filed. You can check it out here.
For some thoughts on the amended complaint by Professor Dave Hoffman, who has established himself as the expert on all things AutoAdmit-related, see here. As Hoffman notes, the most significant change is the dropping of Anthony Ciolli as a defendant.
In response to this news, Ciolli issued this statement:

I am pleased to see that the Plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed me from this suit. Including me in the suit in the first place was legally unsupportable. I never posted a single defamatory or invasive statement. I told the plaintiffs that from the start, and I provided them with a sworn declaration to that effect.

Had I remained as a defendant, the only theory could have been rooted in a desire to overturn Section 230. As I was merely an employee of AutoAdmit, leaving me in the suit would have been akin to suing a Google employee for anything found on a web page hosted by that company – even if Google was not responsible for the content. The weakness of that theory was apparent to me from the beginning, as were the ramifications of its unlikely success — an explosion of liability for every internet service provider in America.

You can read the whole thing over at Professor Marc Randazza’s blog, The Legal Satyricon. Congratulations to Ciolli and to Professor Randazza, who was representing him, on the good news.
Former Penn Law Student Dropped from Autoadmit Lawsuit [Concurring Opinions]
Anthony Ciolli Dropped from Auto Admit Lawsuit [The Legal Satyricon]
Doe v. pauliewalnuts et al. [Amended Complaint (PDF)]
Earlier: What the Heck Is Going on with Doe v. Ciolli?
Has AutoAdmit Been Pwn3d?

document review Above the Law blog.jpgThat’s the question that Arin Greenwood — who previously brought us this great article, as you may recall — tackles in a long but interesting piece for the Washington City Paper, entitled Attorney at Blah. Greenwood writes:

For more and more law school graduates, this is the legal life: On a given day, they may plow through a few hundred documents—e-mails, PowerPoint presentations, memos, and anything else on a hard drive. Each document appears on their computer screen. They read it, then click one of the buttons on the screen that says “relevant” or “not relevant,” and then they look at the next document.

This isn’t anyone’s dream job, but more and more lawyers in big cities around the country are finding that seven years of higher education, crushing student loans, and an unfriendly job market have brought them to windowless rooms around the city, where they do well-paid work that sometimes seems to require no more than a law degree, the use of a single index finger, and the ability to sit still for 15 hours a day. Is this being a lawyer? It is now.

The best stuff is at the beginning, in which Greenwood paints a vivid (and hilarious) picture of a temp attorney’s daily grind of document review. The end of the piece, a description of the grim realities of the legal job market for most law school graduates, might be interesting to lay readers, but it will be all too familiar to anyone who’s heard of Loyola 2L.

Check out the full piece by clicking here.

Attorney at Blah [Washington City Paper]

Over at Bear Stearns, the powers-that-be have blocked employees from reading our sibling site, DealBreaker. This is not surprising. Given the mass layoffs, Bear needs to keep the survivors busy.
The good news, however, is that Bear Stearns employees can still read Above the Law (although query why they’d want to). See here.
We must confess that we’re kind of jealous. Why hasn’t any law firm blocked ATL? The prospect is hard to fathom, but could it be that we’re insufficiently trashy around here?
Bear Stearns Doesn’t Hate DealBreaker, Just DealBreaker Commenters/People Talking About The Sex Going On In The Bear Stearns 14th Floor Men’s Room [DealBreaker]

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