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

Aaron Charney full length Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law blog.jpgThe indefatigable Lavi Soloway has posted an excellent summary of the juiciest parts of the amended complaint just filed by Aaron Charney.
The best stuff is in the lede (all caps in the original; emphases added):

THE AMENDED COMPLAINT INCLUDES ALLEGATION THAT ON JANUARY 31, FORMER S&C ASSOCIATE, EDWARD GALLION, WHO HAD BEEN HIRED TO REPRESENT ASSOCIATE GERA GRINBERG, REVEALED TO CHARNEY AND GRINBERG THAT HE, GALLION, IS “A HOMOSEXUAL.”

GALLION IS ALLEGED TO HAVE DISCLOSED THIS FACT IN GALLION’S APARTMENT (???) AS GRINBERG, CHARNEY AND GALLION AWAITED THE ARRIVAL OF GALLION’S PARTNER, STEVEN SPIELVOGEL, WHO WAS TO ACCOMPANY THEM TO A SCHEDULED SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE. ALLEGEDLY, GALLION ALSO TOLD THEM THAT HE HAD NOT MADE PARTNER AT S&C BECAUSE OF ANTI-GAY DISCRIMINATION AND THAT WHILE HE WAS AN ASSOCIATE THERE HE HAD BEEN NICKNAMED “THE FAGGOT” BY A PARTNER AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER

You can read Soloway’s full post by clicking here. Good stuff!
Charney Files Amended Complaint Against Sullivan & Cromwell [Soloway]

Harvard Law Review Andrew Crespo Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re going to be doing a series of posts about the world’s premier journal of legal scholarship: the Harvard Law Review. We’ve learned that there are some unhappy campers over at Gannett House (at right), who are less than thrilled with the Review’s new leadership.
Here’s a preview of what’s on the way. From a tipster:

As you might remember, Andrew Crespo was recently elected president of the Harvard Law Review. Since then, he has taken a decidedly fascist approach to leadership and he is running the journal into the ground with a cabal of radical idealogues, making the outgoing editors nervous about the future reputation of the journal.

Some have taken to calling him “Crespolini,” after [Benito Mussolini]. In short, there is a crisis of confidence at Gannett.

As noted in some of the news coverage of his selection, Crespo is the first Latino to serve as HLR president. Fortunately, Mussolini was Italian.
More to come in subsequent posts (including internal HLR emails). If you’re at the Harvard Law Review and have information to share, whether pro- or anti-Crespo, please email us. Thanks.
Crespo Elected First Latino President of Harvard Law Review [Harvard Law Record]
First Hispanic To Lead Harvard Law Review [Harvard Crimson]
Harvard Law Review elects Crespo as new president [Harvard Law School (press release)]

H Rodgin Cohen 2 Chairman Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL legal tabloid legal blog.JPGYesterday Aaron Charney, the former Sullivan & Cromwell associate now suing his former employer for sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation, filed an amended complaint against the firm. To download copies of Charney’s latest filings, follow these handy instructions.
Some background about the new complaint, from an article by Anthony Lin in this morning’s New York Law Journal:

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bernard Fried dismissed Charney’s original pro se complaint without prejudice earlier this month, ruling that some of the ex-associate’s allegations and attachments were irrelevant and potentially violative of disciplinary rules. The judge gave Charney leave to replead his case.

Though Charney, now represented by four lawyers, excised the material cited by the judge, he added new allegations concerning events that took place after his initial complaint was filed, in particular a Jan. 31, 2007, settlement meeting.

Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: Back in the Saddle”


WilmerHale Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale Dorr Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve confirmed with sources here in DC that WilmerHale has raised associate base salaries in its Washington office. Associates were notified individually earlier this afternoon. Accordingly, there was no memo. (But if we’re wrong about that, or if a memo later materializes, please send it along.)
Because associates received individual notification, we don’t have salary numbers for all classes. But the sources we’ve spoken with have provided us with figures for their class years that are consistent with the $160K scale. So it’s safe to assume that WilmerHale in Washington is now on par with the two D.C. firms that previously raised: Akin Gump and Hogan & Hartson.
WilmerHale’s move leaves Arnold & Porter and Covington & Burling as the most prominent members of the DC List of Shame. Feel free to add others in the comments.
We don’t have confirmation for raises at WilmerHale in Boston yet. But rumor has it that (1) WilmerHale has raised in Boston too, and (2) the pay raise is effective June 1.
Please send us any additional details by email. Thanks.

In his recent post summarizing three new cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear, Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog mentions the docket numbers for two of them, as is his usual practice.
But he omits the docket number of one of the cases that was granted certiorari today:
Kentucky Davis Above the Law blog.JPG
Could someone be a little superstitious?
May 21 Orders [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
Court to hear three new cases [SCOTUSblog]
Supreme Court Grants Cert in Davis, Which Prohibits Tax Exemption for In-State Municipal Bond Interest [TaxProf Blog]
Court to Review Municipal Bond Case [Associated Press]

Clarence Thomas 2 Justice Clarence Thomas Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’ve done any significant amount of appellate work, surely you’ve argued before one of THOSE judges. A judge who asks questions at oral argument just for the sake of asking questions. A jurist in love with the sound of his or her own voice. They can be entertaining or exasperating, depending upon whether you’re in the gallery or at the podium.
But surely there must be a happy medium between showboat judges and Justice Clarence Thomas. From the AP:

Justice Clarence Thomas sat through 68 hours of oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s current term without uttering a word.

That’s saying something — or not — even for the taciturn justice.

In nearly 16 years on the Court, Thomas typically has asked questions a couple of times a term…. But the last time Thomas asked a question in court was Feb. 22, 2006, in a death penalty case out of South Carolina. A unanimous Court eventually broadened the ability of death penalty defendants to blame someone else for the crime.

Impressive. Is CT trying to set some sort of record?
A few more words — more than you’ll get out of Justice Thomas, at any rate — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Thomas To Be Played By Holly Hunter in SCOTUS Motion Picture”

We’ve previously brought you a number of video clips from various law school parody shows. E.g, Columbia; NYU; UVA.
But what about “the world’s premier center for legal education and research”? What can we expect from the parody show of the legendary Harvard Law School?
Someone emailed us this clip:

Our source proudly touted this clip as follows: “Harvard Law School takes it up a notch!!!” We say: It depends on what the meaning of “it” is.
But regardless of our quibbles with the number as a whole, we have nothing but praise for the scene-stealing songstress who appears at around 2:45. If that “JD/MRS degree” doesn’t work out for her, she should look into “American Idol.”
(If you liked this video clip, you’re in luck — more clips are available here. Knock yourself out!)
Harvard Law School Parody Love It (Harvard) [YouTube]
TheBendAndSnap’s Videos [YouTube]

Ebony and Ivory Above the Law blog.jpgSeveral commenters drew our attention to the Supreme Court’s quasi-amusing decision today in Los Angeles County v. Rettele (PDF). We also received reader email about it:

“In the per curiam opinion in LA County v. Retelle (PDF), we get a nice discussion of racial harmony in the context of naked white people being awakened early in the morning by cops executing a search warrant on a house that was previously owned by black criminal suspects.”

From the Court’s unsigned opinion, joined by seven justices:

“Because respondents were of a different race than the suspects the deputies were seeking, the Court of Appeals held that ‘[a]fter taking one look at [respondents], the deputies should have realized that [respondents] were not the subjects of the search warrant and did not pose a threat to the deputies’ safety.’ We need not pause long in rejecting this unsound proposition.”

“When the deputies ordered respondents from their bed, they had no way of knowing whether the African-American suspects were elsewhere in the house. The presence of some Caucasians in the residence did not eliminate the possibility that the suspects lived there as well. As the deputies stated in their affidavits, it is not uncommon in our society for people of different races to live together. Just as people of different races live and work together, so too might they engage in joint criminal activity. The deputies, who were searching a house where they believed a suspect might be armed, possessed authority to secure the premises before deciding whether to continue with the search.”

The SCOTUS reverses the Ninth Circuit? Happens multiple times each Term. Boring.
The SCOTUS summarily reverses the Ninth Circuit, in a per curiam opinion? Happens a few times each Term. Uninteresting.
The Supreme Court benchslaps the Ninth Circuit, for not being politically correct enough? PRICELESS.
(For more substantive analysis of Rettele, check out this post, by Orin Kerr.)
Los Angeles County v. Rettele [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
Supreme Court Reverses Ninth Circuit in Out-of-Bed-Naked Search Warrant Case [Volokh Conspiracy via SCOTUSblog]

Twin Falls Idaho Above the Law blog.jpgReaders of ATL disagree vehemently over the existence of God. But if God does exist, he has a delightfully sick sense of humor. From ABC News:

Twin brothers Raymon and Richard Miller are the father and uncle to a 3-year-old little girl. The problem is, they don’t know which is which. Or who is who. The identical Missouri twins say they were unknowingly having sex with the same woman. And according to the woman’s testimony, she had sex with each man on the same day. Within hours of each other.

When the woman in question, Holly Marie Adams, got pregnant, she named Raymon the father, but he contested and demanded a paternity test, bringing his own brother Richard to court.

But a paternity test in this case could not help. The test showed that both brothers have over a 99.9 percent probability of being the daddy— and neither one wants to pay the child support. The result of the test has not only brought to light the limits of DNA evidence, it has also led to a three-year legal battle, a Miller family feud and a little girl who may never know who her real father is.

Très trashy — but there’s an actual legal issue here. How was it decided?
Find out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Identical Twins in Paternity Fight”

Jack Weiss.jpgLate last month, we wrote about how Jack Weiss, a media and entertainment lawyer in Gibson Dunn’s New York office, was under consideration to head LSU Law School. Despite his dazzling resume, Weiss lacked faculty support — which Laurie Lin found surprising.
Now, a brief update. From the New Orleans Baton Rouge Advocate:

New Orleans native Jack Weiss will become chancellor of LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center this summer after his unanimous selection Friday by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Weiss, a New York partner for the Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher firm, which has about 800 lawyers, will take over for retiring Chancellor John Costonis as early as July 1, but at least before fall classes resume, Weiss said by phone from New York.

Law school faculty members, rendered irrelevant and ignored. Who’d have thunk it?
P.S. Weiss, who clerked for Chief Justice Warren Burger and John Minor Wisdom, joins a sizable club of former Supreme Court clerks who now occupy leadership positions in academia. For other examples, see here.
Weiss to head law school [The Advocate]
From the High Court to the Ivory Tower [Empire Zone/New York Times]
Earlier: LSU: Practitioner Versus Professoriate

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