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

And We’re Back

computer desktop computer Above the Law blog.jpgDid you miss us? We hope so. But we also know, from reader emails and comments, that you greatly enjoyed the efforts of Laurie Lin and Billy Merck, who held down the fort in our absence. We thank them for their fantastic work.
We’re still in the process of catching up on legal news, blog reading, and email. It’s a Monday morning, so we need all the help we can get. If you have any suggested blog fodder, please send it to us by email. Thanks!

April 2007 calendar Above the Law blog.GIFWe’re going on vacation this week. It’s our first real vacation since we started at ATL (back in July 2006, a few weeks before the site launch in August).
While we’re gone, two guest editors will fill in for us. Both of them already contribute to ATL:

Laurie Lin, who writes Legal Eagle Wedding Watch; and

Billy Merck, who writes Morning Docket (in alternating weeks, with B Clerker).

We’re confident that Laurie and Billy will keep you entertained and informed while we’re away. Please help them out by submitting tips, story suggestions, and feedback, to the usual ATL address: tips AT abovethelaw DOT com.
Thanks for reading. See you in May!

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGWe’re interested in figuring out how many law clerks for the upcoming Supreme Court Term, October Term 2007, are women or minorities. But we don’t know all these folks personally (much as we might like to). So we need your help.
After the jump, you’ll see a list of the Supreme Court clerks for OT 2007. Check it out. Do you know any of these individuals?
Okay. It appears to us that of the 37 clerks, 14 are women. Is this correct? In terms of clerks with gender-ambiguous names, we’ve categorized the following as male: Aditya Bamzai (see here), and C.J. Mahoney (the “C.” stands for “Curtis”).
As for ethnicity, we’re speculating — based largely on surnames — that the following individuals are Asian American: Aditya Bamzai, Michael Chu, and Bert Huang (whom we know from college, so we’re pretty sure about him). But we’re sure that we’re missing other minority law clerks from our tally.
Can you help us out? If you know of any other OT 2007 clerks who are minorities, or if our tally of female law clerks is off, please note that in the comments (or send us an email).
Update: In case you’re wondering, we’re collecting this information for a freelance piece we’re working on. (In addition to writing for ATL, we freelance for various print publications on the side.)
The full list of OT 2007 clerks appears after the jump. Thanks in advance for your tips!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “October Term 2007 Clerk Hiring: A Request for Information”

Rose Garden White House Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s a beautiful April afternoon (at least here on the East Coast). You shouldn’t be in front of your computer right now.
But in case you are, here are a few quick items of interest:
1. Columbia Faculty Hire Faces Human Rights Questions [New York Sun]

We went to law school with Matt Waxman (OT 2000/Souter). It’s unfortunate that he’s the subject of such controversy, because he’s a true mensch — and one of the “good guys” with respect to human rights issues. As the Sun notes:

“The criticism of Mr. Waxman as insensitive to human rights concerns is seen as paradoxical in some circles since he dissented from aspects of the Bush administration’s policy on detainees and argued that the Geneva Conventions should be the official policy for all those in military hands.”

2. Another Development in Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney [Leonard Link]

There’s always something to say about the Aaron Charney / Sullivan & Cromwell litigation. In this excellent post, Professor Arthur Leonard offers some intriguing speculation about some recent (and bizarre) developments in the case.

3. Tampa stadium authority asks court for tighter security [ESPN.com]

The federal government is being represented by Jonathan Cohn (OT 2000/Thomas), another former O’Scannlain clerk, currently serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Appellate. Good luck, Jon!

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIn the comments to our last post on clerkship bonuses, there was a claim that WilmerHale has raised its clerkship bonus to $35,000.
That claim is true. This email went out yesterday:

From: Dunbar, Andrianna
Date: Apr 19, 2007 5:52 PM
Subject: Clerkship Bonus Update
To:

As part of our commitment to providing attorney compensation that is at or near the top of the markets in which we practice, the firm has increased its judicial clerkship bonus from $20,000 to $35,000. This increase reflects the value the firm places on hiring former judicial clerks, as well as our intention to continue to attract the best and the brightest legal talent. We are committed to making the firm as attractive as possible for former clerks, and we recognize that the amount of the clerkship bonus can be important.

We continue to hope that you will accept our offer to join us. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,
Andrianna

There was also a rumor that Skadden had raised its clerkship bonus to $60,000. As far as we know — we’re happy to be proven wrong — that comment was a joke (or wishful thinking).
If you hear of anyone else raising — either to $35,000 or, better yet, $50,000 (the new S&C and Simpson standard) — please email us. We will probably do an update on this in another week or two, depending upon the level of activity on this front. Thanks.

Alberto Gonzales 4 Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales Above the Law blog.gifToday is Friday, the favorite day of the week for high-profile government officials to announce their departures. E.g., Sandra Day O’Connor; Monica Goodling; Cully Stimson.
Might Alberto Gonzales resign as Attorney General today? We doubt it. Coming on the heels of yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, where AGAG took a real beating, it would look too reactive. It would be much more likely for some other DOJ official — e.g., Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty — to step down late this afternoon.
But a Gonzales departure is probably more likely now than ever. Over at Slate, the needle on the “Gonzo-Meter” — which measures the chance of an Alberto Gonzales departure — has moved farther to the right. The Slate folks explain:

We are bumping the meter up to 95. It may take the attorney general a few days to recognize that he did not exactly pull off a rout. But if the president was indeed waiting for his boy to turn this thing around today, the president must have been sorely disappointed. If anything, Gonzales probably lost support today. And if he persuaded even a single soul of his great competence, we’ll eat our meter.

Time for an ATL reader poll:


Gonzo-Meter: Al, You’re Not Helping [Slate]

Kevin Newsom Bradley Arant Rose White Above the Law Blog.jpgAll of this porn talk is making us feel dirty. So let’s turn our attention to more wholesome subjects.
Like the squeaky-clean Kevin Newsom, a devoted husband and father, and one of the country’s best appellate advocates. Newsom — who clerked for our former boss, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (9th Cir.), and Justice David H. Souter — currently serves as the Solicitor General of Alabama. The American Lawyer recently picked Newsom as one of the country’s top young litigators:

Kevin Newsom is only 34 and now practices far from the appellate hotbed of Washington, D.C., where he once worked as a Covington & Burling associate. Although he’s lost the three cases he’s argued so far before the U.S. Supreme Court, the former clerk for Justice David Souter nevertheless draws raves from leading appellate advocates. “He’s really, really good,” says Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin; another Supreme Court regular says that Newsom writes briefs with a novelist’s sense of language. His fellow Supreme Court clerks voted him the lawyer they’d hire if they needed an advocate. As Alabama’s SG, Newsom has argued nine cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He’s won seven—and the other two are pending.

Well, we’ve just learned that Newsom is moving on from the SG’s office. From a tipster:

Alabama SG Kevin Newsom will be joining the Birmingham law firm of Bradley Arant Rose & White. BARW now has three former SC clerks working in their appellate litigation section and appears to have cornered the market on this kind of work in the southeast.

Overall, this has been a good legal year for the state. UA law just jumped to 36 in the US News rankings, and earlier this year we hosted Richard Epstein and Justice Alito (Cass Sunstein, Justice Breyer, & Justice Thomas visited last year). Emory may be seen as the most undervalued law school, but we will have more grads on the COA this upcoming year (4).

We have confirmed this news with Newsom, so it’s more than just rumor. Check out his gracious statement to ATL, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Alabama SG Kevin Newsom to Bradley Arant”

Adriana Dominguez 2 Brooklyn Law School Playboy Above the Law blog.JPGRegular readers are very familiar, perhaps more than they’d like to be, with Adriana Dominguez. She’s the third-year student at Brooklyn Law School who appeared nude in a video for Playboy TV. You’ve seen a lot of her [quasi-NSFW] in the pages of ATL.
We recently had an interesting telephone conversation with a source inside Playboy concerning Ms. Domginuez. Our source had this to say:

“This is really a non-story. So she posed naked while still in school — big deal. It’s not like she was getting triple anal!!!”

Guess that’s the “gold standard” of the porn industry. If you’re reading this over lunch, our apologies.

“This has no relevance to her bar admission. What bar would bother looking into this? All she has to do [to be admitted] is pass a test and not perjure herself.”

Our tipster thinks this is all much ado about nothing — a trumped-up story. And a story, our tipster speculates, that was manufactured by Adriana herself:

“Adriana wanted to get a little notoriety, sell a story. She was reaching out for fame…. [The New York Daily News] didn’t call her; she hired someone to call them.”

Very interesting. More from our source at Playboy, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adriana Dominguez: From A Playboy Source”

We’re always interested in public opinion about the litigation between Aaron Charney and his former employer, Sullivan & Cromwell. We currently have this poll running:


But not many of you have voted — and we have a suspicion as to why.
So here’s a new and improved version, which we hope will generate higher voter turnout:

Oona O'connell law student Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve told you all about Adrienne, the Boston College law student who did a sexy swimsuit spread for a magazine. And we’ve been all over (hehe) Adriana, the Brooklyn Law School 3L who romped naked before the camera for Playboy TV.

But let’s set the record straight. The phenomenon of law students taking it off for the camera is nothing new.

Well before Adrienne and Adriana, there was Oona O’Connell. From a tipster:

“A first year associate at my firm told me about this… He went to U. Miami and knew a fellow law student who posed for Playboy.”

“Apparently, her name is Oona O’Connell (which could be either the name of her first pet or the street she lived on as a kid, if my porn-name generator is correct). She is a 3L at the University of Miami Law School, and she’s also a Hawaiian Tropic model. Apparently she was in the May 2006 issue of Playboy, and she may shoot a ‘feature’ for an upcoming issue.”

“The only female nudity at MY law school took place when the student ACLU girls went topless to protest a local nudity ordinance. They were not airbrushed. OY.”

More about this comely young law student, including links to her Playboy pics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Mini-Trend: Law Students in the Nude?”

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