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

At this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, one of the Democratic senators invoked the bugaboo of Karl Rove. In arguing that the U.S. Attorney firings HAD to be politically motivated, the senator cited the involvement of Rove, whom he referred to darkly as “the ultimate political insider.”
Demonizing Karl Rove is a favorite political pastime of the left. But is the man really that scary? Check out his performance at last night’s Radio and TV Correspondents’ dinner:

MC Rove [YouTube via Wonkette]

Week Opinion Awards 1.JPG
Sir Harold Evans reaches out to choke Claire Shipman, while Jim Lehrer giggles girlishly. Tucker Carlson and Tom Friedman are bored off their gourds.
Sometimes it feels like all we do is attend parties — it’s that time of year here in DC. On Tuesday night, we schlepped up to Georgetown for the annual Opinion Awards, sponsored by The Week magazine.
In case you’re not familiar with it, The Week describes itself — accurately, in our view — as “a spirited newsweekly that distills the best of news, opinion, and ideas from the U.S. and international media. It’s smart, incisive, wry.” It reminds us a lot of The Economist, in that after you finish reading it, you feel caught up with what’s going on in the world. But unlike The Economist, you can actually read it in one sitting.
(Okay, that’s it for the plug. But we felt that we owed them a plug, since dinner was delicious).
We saw our former co-blogger, Alex Pareene of Wonkette, at the dinner. His entertaining write-up of the evening appears here. A gallery of professional photographs, by the talented Liz Gorman, are available here.
And some decidedly non-professional photographs by us, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Week Opinion Awards: A Photo Essay”

(We were a little distracted by a technical glitch with the site that some commenters pointed out. But we think it has been fixed now, so we’re back to blogging on the hearings.)
Since our last post, there have been some exciting developments. Sen. Pat Leahy’s questioning was pretty boring; he walked Sampson through a bunch of emails, deposition-style.
But things got more interesting when Sen. Arlen Specter took over. Playing his role as Senate moderate, he asked some questions that could be viewed as friendly, and some as hostile. Senator Specter got Sampson to admit that some of Alberto Gonzales’s prior testimony was not consistent with Sampson’s recollection.
Things got even hotter during Sen. Chuck Schumer’s questioning. In a “yes or no,” Perry Mason-esque line of cross-examination, Senator Schumer got Sampson to admit — under oath, and with apparent reluctance — that several of AG Gonzales’s prior statements were “not accurate,” or at least not consistent with Sampson’s recollection. Ruh-roh…
You could tell that Senator Schumer was scoring points because Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a smart and savvy former prosecutor and judge, piped up in the middle of Schumer’s questioning. Senator Cornyn angrily protested that Sen. Schumer was being unfair in not allowing Kyle Sampson, a witness testifying under oath, to answer questions fully. Exciting stuff!
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) is trying too hard. It seems like he is looking for something to be upset about.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sounds like Alec Baldwin with a lisp. He is vaguely ridiculous.
Okay, it’s lunchtime. In recess until 1:45 PM.
Earlier: Kyle Sampson Inside the Lions’ Den

D Kyle Sampson Kyle Sampson Kyle D Sampson Kyle Samson Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re liveblogging the Kyle Sampson testimony. Our commentary will be added continuously to this post, so just refresh your browser for the latest.
We have high expectations — and we’re not alone. From the NYT:

“I think it will be the most interesting testimony we have heard since Professor Hill,” Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said as he recalled Anita F. Hill’s appearance in the confirmation hearing for Clarence Thomas for a Supreme Court seat. “I can’t think of anyone else who has quite the drama.”

(Of course, some are trying to dial down expectations. Sen. Chuck Schumer is warning us that the Sampson testimony probably won’t produce the proverbial “smoking gun.”)
Our commentary on the hearing, plus links to various news accounts, will appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kyle Sampson Inside the Lions’ Den”

From the New York Times home page, as of 11:30 PM on Wednesday:
New York Times Kyle Sampson Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpg
Is this, like, a racial slur or something? Granted, it’s a buffalo-buffalo, not a water buffalo; but still…
The NYT subsequently fixed this photo screw-up (but not before an enterprising ATL reader took a screenshot). The Timesfolk replaced the buffalo-and-snowmobiles photo with a sinister-looking Kyle Sampson, accompanying Alberto Gonzales on an earlier visit to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sampson’s testimony begins at 10 AM today. We’re looking forward to it!
Former Key Aide Testifies Today on Gonzales’s Statements [New York Times]

(This is a continuation of an earlier post. We’ve broken up the four polls for formatting reasons.)

Earlier: ATL March Madness: Law Schools, Round 2

We just announced the results of ATL March Madness: Round 1. And you know what that means: Round 2!
Update: Two of the four polls appear below. For formatting reasons, we are moving the other two polls to a separate post.

Hey, guess what? Seyfarth Shaw held some “focus groups” with its associates, and the focus groups told them: WE WANT MORE MONEY!!!
And Seyfarth Shaw, despite prior expressions of reluctance, decided to go along. Their memo, announcing associate pay raises, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skaddenfreude: Seyfarth Shaw Leaves the List of Shame”

law school 2b tournament brackets.GIFThe first round of ATL March Madness is over. And we have some exciting results to announce — including a number of big-time upsets.
(If we had started the contest just a little bit later, we could have based it on the brand-new U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. But we didn’t, and there’s nothing to be done about that now.)
To see the current state of the brackets, click on the thumbnail image at right. Here are quick summaries of the eight match-ups that just took place:
1. Texas defeats Yale, 54-46
Oh well — upsets happen. Our alma mater gets sent home in the first round of the tournament. Ouch!
(But yeah, New Haven kinda does suck. The sky overhead was grey for all three years we were there.)
2. Michigan defeats Berkeley (Boalt Hall), 51-49
This one was a squeaker that went well into overtime. But in the end, the Wolverines devoured the sandal-wearing hippies of northern California.
3. NYU defeats Northwestern, 68-32
A veritable rout. Northwestern has been doing pretty well lately in terms of getting Supreme Court clerkships for its graduates. But the Biglaw placement opportunities available to NYU grads can’t be beat.
4. Columbia defeats Cornell, 71-29
An even bigger defeat. It’s tough to compete with the Manhattan heavyweights — but NYU and Columbia will face each other in the next round. Who will prevail in this enduring rivalry?
5. Chicago defeats Duke, 56-44
The weather sucks in Chicago; but you do get a pretty decent legal education. And the Duke campus was shaken by controversy earlier this year. (No, not THAT controversy…)
6. Georgetown defeats Harvard, 52-48
This battle of the behemoths concluded with a major upset: Georgetown took down the #3 seed, Harvard Law School. Perhaps HLS was hurt by the embarrassing antics of its LLMs?
7. UVA defeats Penn, 69-31
Want a Wilkinson clerkship? Go to UVA. Also, Penn probably wasn’t helped by that whole shooting incident.
8. Stanford defeats UCLA, 63-37
Northern California versus Southern California is one of our nation’s great regional rivalries. And this time around, the Bay Area prevailed.
After being ejected from March Madness in the first round, UCLA grads will have to content themselves with L.A.’s beautiful weather and plastic-surgery-enhanced population — and their school’s great track record of turning out judicial divas, like Judges Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Cir.) and Kim McLane Wardlaw (9th Cir.).
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We’re putting together the polls for round 2, which should be available shortly. So check back soon!
Earlier: ATL March Madness: Law Schools, Round 1 (Part 1)
ATL March Madness: Law Schools, Round 1 (Part 2)

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyWe had three ATL reader polls going concerning Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell:
1. What should Aaron Charney do next?
2. Assuming Aaron Charney’s allegations are true, how much would you award him?
3. Whom do you support in Charney v. S&C?
Anyway, we just closed ‘em. Thanks to everyone who voted.
You can review the poll results, and vote in the new version of our Charney v. S&C head-to-head match-up, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: ATL Poll Results”

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