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

Paul McNulty Paul J McNulty Above the Law blog.jpegThat’s the gist of this lengthy, extremely interesting, thoroughly researched special report. It’s by one of our favorite reporters, Jan Crawford Greenburg — who’s on the verge of replacing Linda Greenhouse as undisputed queen bee of the SCOTUS press corps hive.
After reading the JCG piece, a devastating indictment of McNulty’s involvement in this debacle, one possible outcome presents itself as increasingly likely:

Alberto Gonzales stays on as Attorney General — but Paul McNulty’s head rolls.

A scandal this big needs to claim some victims before it dies down. Some high-ranking DOJ or White House officials must be sacrificed to the vengeful Senate Democrats. And, with all due respect, Kyle Sampson isn’t a sufficiently big fish. Nor is Monica Goodling, for that matter.
But the Deputy Attorney General of the United States? Now that’s another story…
Update: The question then becomes whether McNulty goes quietly. There’s a good case to be made that the answer is no.
DOJ Official Ignored White House Guidance [ABC News]
Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty biography [U.S. Department of Justice]
Paul J. McNulty bio [Wikipedia]

Just a quick administrative announcement about ATL March Madness. You can participate in the tournament, by voting for your favorite law school(s), by clicking here and here.
At this early point in the tourney, most match-ups are looking lopsided. The closest ones at the current time are Boalt Hall v. Michigan (Michigan leads, 51-49); Yale v. Texas (Texas leads, 53-47); and Harvard vs. Georgetown (Harvard leads, 52-48).
So you can still vote — but you need to act fast. We will close the polls tomorrow, Wednesday, March 28, at 3 PM (Eastern time). Good luck!
(If you’d like to see the brackets for the full tournament, we reprint them after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March Madness: When Round 1 Will End”

Monica Goodling 4 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPGIf so, we’d love to hear from you — please email us (subject line: “Monica Goodling”). Now that Goodling, who served as the Justice Department’s White House liaison (she’s currently on leave), has announced her intention to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege, the public is hungry for more details about this mystery woman of the DOJ.
So what we do know about Monica Goodling — besides her weakness for Ralph Lauren clothing and red plastic cups?
Dan Froomkin, over at White House Watch, offers up a detailed and comprehensive write-up (with numerous links). He explains why Beltway insiders are once again fixated on a young woman named Monica:

Will another presidency be tripped up by another Monica?

Juries in criminal cases are sternly lectured not to assume guilt when a defendant takes the Fifth. It is, after all, a Constitutional right.

But when a fairly minor player in what had heretofore not been considered a criminal investigation suddenly admits that she faces legal jeopardy if she tells the truth to a Congressional panel? Well, in that case, wild speculation is an inevitable and appropriate reaction.

The WSJ Law Blog also has a nice round-up:

Who is Monica Goodling? She’s a White House liaison for AG Alberto Gonzales and is currently on leave. Emails released by the DOJ last week showed she played a central role in the dismissals. Thanks to this story, we also know that she’s 33, a 1995 graduate Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and received her law degree at Regent University, the Virginia Beach, Va. school founded by Yale Law School graduate Pat Robertson.

Such credentials led one ATL commenter to wonder:

What I want to know is how a 1999 graduate of the purported “law school” at a purported “university” founded by Pat Robertson has acquired the title of “Senior Counsel” to this nation’s Attorney General.

More on Monica, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do You Know Monica Goodling?”

Shiftiness and greed, from an aspiring lawyer-cum-businessman? Heaven forfend!
NYU Law Kid Wants to Help You Help Him [IvyGate]

Cardozo Law School Benjamin N Cardozo Yeshiva University Above the Law blog.JPGA juicy rumor started making the rounds yesterday. The claim was that Cardozo Law School had “uninvited” Sullivan & Cromwell, of Charney v. S&C fame, from participating in on-campus recruiting.
We received a few inquiries about it, so we decided to do some follow-up. We first contacted Kurt Rose, Cardozo’s recruitment program coordinator. He told us that he “cannot comment on that,” but referred to us to Susan Davis, a law school spokesperson.
Rose’s “no comment” got us all excited. Might we have a nice little scoop on our hands?
But when we spoke to Ms. Davis, she denied the rumor emphatically, saying there is “no truth to it at all.” She also mentioned that she received a call about it the other day and was mystified as to the origin of this gossip, since “it’s not true, no way, no how.”
So relax, Cardozo grads. S&C will still show up in person to reject you.
P.S. Cardozo is a fine law school, with many distinguished graduates — including one of our favorite bloggers, immigration lawyer Lavi Soloway. Soloway is being honored at an alumni reception tonight, where he and his law firm partner, Noemi Masliah, will receive the E. Nathaniel Gates Awarrd.
But Cardozo does not have a great record of sending its grads on to Sullivan & Cromwell (hence our quip). According to the S&C website, the firm has only one Cardozo graduate: Jeffrey Kaplan, who works in S&C’s D.C. office. In contrast, Cravath has six Cardozo lawyers: four regular associates, and two “discovery attorneys.” Weil Gotshal has four partners and one counsel who are Cardozo grads (and presumably a number of Cardozo associates; but associate bios didn’t come up in a search for Cardozo on the Weil website).
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law – Career Services [official website]

Menu Foods pet food recall dead pets Above the Law blog.JPG[Insert pro forma "dumb Canadians" joke here.]
(And if you’re a plaintiffs’ lawyer who would love to turn this into a class action, you’re too late — a class action lawsuit was filed last week.)
Woman Sick After Eating Recalled Pet Food [Canadian Press]
Class action suit filed against Menu foods [CNN]

Mean Girls Harvard LLM Above the Law.jpgLast week we wrote a little bit about internecine warfare going on within the Harvard LLM community. It’s a silly and trivial story — which is, of course, ATL’s stock in trade. So we intend to keep following it.
Today we’re happy to bring you an update. This email went around over the weekend:

From: [xxxx]
Date: 3/24/2007 5:12:01 AM
To: [LLM community]

Dear Fellow LL.M.s,

We would like to bring to your attention, an untoward incidence that augurs badly for the general reputation of the LL.M class. We fear, someone on this forum (God forbid) might be trying to cause antagonism between the diverse members of our community. Following our International Party, the advertisement flyers of this most successful event, were, apparently for the sake of ridicule, sent to a contemptible website — the one for which Dean Kagan cautioned restraint.

Alas, the writer has confused his “contemptible website[s].” The site that was the subject of Dean Kagan’s recent message is the site discussed in this Washington Post article. That site is not ATL (even if, one could argue, there isn’t much of a difference at the end of the day).
More from our irate LLM, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Oh How We Love Those Harvard LLMs”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGOn the heels of Sullivan & Cromwell’s announcement of its new $50,000 clerkship bonus, we will endeavor to find out what other large law firms are doing on this front.
If you know your law firm’s current clerkship bonus policy, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). We will serve as a clearinghouse for clerkship bonus information. We will collect your tips, organize them, resolve conflicts where they exist, and perhaps do some fact-checking where necessary.
(Our preference is for you to email this information to us, rather than to post it in the comments. Email allows us to pose follow-up questions of sources, which we can’t do with someone who posts a comment anonymously. As always, we do not reveal the names of sources, unless they request attribution. Thanks.)

Monica Goodling 2 Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPG(No, not THAT Monica — it’s a bit late for that, dontcha think?)
Breaking news from Bloomberg:

Monica Goodling, a counsel to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who helped coordinate the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys, will invoke her constitutional right not to answer Senate questions about the firings, her lawyer said.

Goodling, one of four Justice Department officials the agency said could be interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, will invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege not to answer the panel’s questions, John M. Dowd, her lawyer, said in a statement. Dowd said the committee had requested her testimony under oath.

The Associated Press also has a story, available here.
We’re going to play unfrozen caveman legal commentator, and ask: Based on what we currently know about the U.S. Attorney firings, how could Goodling’s testimony expose her to criminal liability, to place her in a position to invoke the Fifth Amendment? What are we missing here?
Here’s what her lawyer, John Dowd, has to say about the matter. From the AP:

The potential for taking the blame for the department’s bungled response “is very real,” Dowd said. “One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby,” he said, a reference to the recent conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff in the CIA leak case.

The lesson we took away from the Libby case was: “Don’t lie under oath.”
So doesn’t Dowd’s argument prove too much? What does Goodling have to worry about as long as she testifies truthfully?
P.S. We have nothing against the DOJ or the White House under the current Administration. To paraphrase the classic defense against charges of racism, “Some of our best friends are [Bushies]!!!”
We’re just confused, that’s all. Clearly there were some screw-ups here. But is anyone (aside from Daily Kos types) seriously arguing that the underlying conduct was criminal?
Gonzales Aide Won’t Answer Questions About Prosecutor Firings [Bloomberg]
Gonzales Aide to Invoke Fifth Amendment [Associated Press]

No, not Loyola 2L — Loyola Professor!
(And Ted Seto graduated from Harvard Law, where he served on the Law Review; so he can’t be dismissed as having a tier-two ax to grind.)
Understanding the U.S. News Law School Rankings [SSRN]
Theodore P. Seto bio [Loyola Law School]

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