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

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]

Uncle Sam Above the Law legal blog tabloid.jpgIn addition to our Law School March Madness, we have a few other things going on at ATL where your participation would be most welcome:
1. Please take our reader survey. It’s quick, painless, and of great help to us.
2. Please submit a nomination for our U.S. Attorney hotties contest. We have a fair number already, but we’d like a few more before we launch the contest. Submission details appear here.
3. Please consider writing Legal Eagle Wedding Watch (see here). We’ve already heard from a number of great candidates, but we’ll accept additional applications for another day or two before deciding.
(And thanks for the plug, Ilya!)
4. Please vote in some of our still-open polls. We didn’t realize we had so many open; we’ll be closing a bunch soon. Here they are:
(a) Are first-year associates overpaid?
(b) What were your 2006 billable hours?
(c) Is a $200,000 bonus for a Supreme Court clerkship too high, too low, or just right?
(d) What should Aaron Charney do next?
(e) Whom do you support in Charney v. S&C?
(f) Assuming Aaron Charney’s allegations are true, how much would you award him?
5. Finally, if you have firsthand knowledge of two S&C partners with major roles in the Charney drama — Vince DiBlasi or Stephen Kotran — please share it with us.
We’ve heard from a number of tipsters about DiBlasi, but we have practically nothing on Steve Kotran, so info about him would be especially welcome. Thanks!

This morning we announced, with much fanfare, the arrival of ATL March Madness: Law Schools. We posted the brackets, which you can review by clicking here, and we opened the polls in one half of the draw.
Now we bring you the other half of the tournament. Here’s the first poll, pitting the Midwest against the South:


The rest of the polls — including a clash of the titans, between Harvard and Georgetown — appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March Madness: Law Schools, Round 1 (Part 2)”

Ritz Carlton hotel Marina Del Rey Above the Law blog.JPGIf you’ve been rooting for Aaron Charney in the Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell litigation, you have a duty to change your allegiances — at least for the rest of March.
Why? Because March, in case you didn’t know, is Law Firm Appreciation Month!!!
We didn’t realize this until we received this press release, from a public relations person at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey:

THE RITZ-CARLTON, MARINA DEL REY TIPS THE SCALES DURIING LAW FIRM APPRECIATION MONTH

MARINA DEL REY, Ca. – March 2007 – Indulge in a waterfront luxury hotel experience during Law Firm Appreciation Month at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. Let the ladies and gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey relieve the pressures of legal professionals’ daily work agendas and demands with special amenities provided during the month of March. Simply relax and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul in the comforts of the hotel’s recently remodeled accommodations, which offer all the personalized amenities you deserve and breathtaking views of the marina and city skyline that you crave.

The promotion includes a complimentary upgrade, subject to availability, and a shoeshine. Sounds nice enough, even if not mind-blowing.
But some are less than impressed. From one of our favorite hotel blogs, HotelChatter:

Sounds kinda like some half-assed appreciation to us, especially since that room upgrade happens only when its available. And while shoeshines work just fine for men, one female lawyer said she would be happier with a pedicure and a glass of wine.

Thanks, Alison….
The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey [official hotel website]
Ritz-Carlton Shows Some Restricted Appreciation for Lawyers [HotelChatter]

  • 26 Mar 2007 at 1:22 PM

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