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

  • 23 Mar 2007 at 12:04 PM

Tad DiBiase: A Few More Details

Thomas DiBiase Tad DiBiase AUSA Above the Law blog.jpgLook, we were not trying to be coy in our last post. We are just trying, as one commenter suggested, not to get our asses sued.
Here is what we can tell you for now. The following facts have been confirmed with multiple sources:
1. Thomas “Tad” DiBiase is a prominent, well-connected assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He served (and may technically still be) the Director of Professional Development for the office, as well as Deputy Chief of the Homicide Section.
2. His duties as Director of Professional Development include making sure assistant U.S. attorneys all get their mandatory ethics and sexual harrassment training.
3. Earlier this week, something changed with respect to Mr. DiBiase’s employment status. We haven’t nailed this down yet. But if you send a message to his DOJ email address, you receive the following:

I will be out of the office until further notice. I will not be checking my email. Please call Glenn Kirschner at 514-xxxx regarding any homicide matters.

We’ll have more to share once we hear back from more sources. Since yesterday, we’ve left multiple voice-mail and e-mail messages for Mr. DiBiase (who still has DOJ voice-mail and email accounts); a lawyer we’re told is representing him; and Channing Phillips, the office spokesperson.
Nobody has gotten back to us — but you can’t accuse us of not trying to verify our facts. We are crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s on this one. We don’t want to be accused of reckless disregard with respect to anything.
(You may comment on this post. But please remember that, under Section 230, individual commenters — NOT ATL — bear legal responsibility for their own comments. Thank you.)
Earlier: Request for Information: AUSA Tad DiBiase

Poor James Sandman. He’s a partner at Arnold & Porter, one of Washington’s most prestigious law firms, and he’s president of the DC Bar. But ever since he wrote that mean article complaining about associate pay raises, nobody will sit next to him at parties….
(Okay, we jest. The seats next to Jim Sandman were subsequently filled. In fact, he was at our table — and we found him to be a most agreeable dinner companion. There were some associates sitting near him, and Mr. Sandman made no attempt to steal food from their mouths.)
AEF logo.JPGEarlier this week, we attended — and served as the emcee for — the annual benefit dinner of the Asian Pacific American Bar Assocation Educational Fund (AEF).
It was a wonderful event (and not just ’cause we won two Supreme Court bobbleheads in the silent auction). It featured inspiring speeches from Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, executive director of Boat People SOS, and Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii. It was tons of fun. And it raised money for AEF’s charitable and educational activities, including its public service fellowships for law students.
Of course we took lots of pictures. Check out the first batch — more will follow later — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The AEF Annual Benefit Dinner (Part 1)”

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyWe’ve reviewed the excerpts from the Aaron Charney deposition that were attached to Charney’s court filings from yesterday. We’ve culled out some highlights, so you can review them for yourself and reach your own conclusions.
(We realize, of course, that this is just Aaron Charney’s side of the story. But at this point, in the absence of deposition testimony from Gera Grinberg or any S&C lawyers, it’s all we’ve got. Obviously you should read it with the caveat that Charney isn’t exactly a disinterested witness.)
For starters, here’s Charney’s testimony about the alleged “we’ve represented the Nazis” comment by Sullivan & Cromwell partner Gandolfo “Vince” DiBlasi:
Aaron Charney deposition 1 Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law blog.jpg
Additional juicy excerpts, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: Highlights from Aaron Charney’s Deposition”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGHere’s an open thread to discuss compensation developments at intellectual property firms. We’ll kick off the discussion with this tip:

Morgan & Finnegan (following competitors Dickstein, Fitzpatrick Cella, Kenyon & Kenyon, and Fish & Richardson) is now at $160,000/year effective April 1. Most of the associates are in the New York office, so I’m not sure how this affects DC.

This year’s summer class is making more then 25% more than last year’s summer class. (The firm didn’t go to $135K for regular associates until the middle of last summer, and they didn’t adjust summer associate salaries.)

We don’t want to leave the IP folks out of all the fun. Please gossip away in the comments!
Earlier: Prior news about associate pay raises (scroll down)

Thomas DiBiase Tad DiBiase AUSA Above the Law blog.jpgWe may have something new and juicy to report in the near future. But we can’t say anything just yet — and must proceed with caution with this item.
The potential story concerns the U.S. Attorney’s Office here in Washington, DC. Thomas DiBiase, also known as Tad DiBiase, is (or possibly was) an assistant U.S. attorney in the office. He served (and may still serve) as Director of Professional Development for the office, as well as Deputy Chief of the Homicide Section. He has been described to us as a tremendously talented lawyer, with a bright future and excellent political connections.
Anyway, we are hearing some, er, interesting things about him. We’ve placed some phone calls and sent out some emails, but they have been unreturned so far. We tried contacting Channing Phillips, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia; a lawyer we were told is representing Mr. DiBiase; and Mr. DiBiase himself. Nobody got back to us (but we note our efforts for the record).
When we sent a message to Thomas DiBiase’s DOJ email address, we received this Out of Office AutoReply:

I will be out of the office until further notice. I will not be checking my email. Please call Glenn Kirschner at 514-xxxx regarding any homicide matters.

So we must turn to you, our readers. If you have some interesting information to share with us about Mr. DiBiase, please email us (subject line: “Tad DiBiase”). Thanks.

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL.JPGWe received the following email from the offices of Michael Kennedy, one of Aaron Charney’s lawyers, with a request to transmit it to ATL readers:

The Law Offices of Michael Kennedy have been contacted by individuals with first hand knowledge about the allegations set forth in the matter Aaron Brett Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Apparently, some witnesses have been apprehensive about coming forward with information.

If you have witnessed any of the events or observed the atmosphere of intolerance, harassment, or retaliation described in that complaint, then we would like to hear from you too. We may be contacted at our office, 212-935-4500, or at CHARNEYINVESTIGATION at GMAIL.COM.

Please note that the posting of this email should not be interpreted as our siding with Aaron Charney in this litigation. We are simply functioning as a clearinghouse for information about the case.
As ATL readers know, we post emails from our correspondents all the time. For example, we previously posted journalist Robert Kolker’s request for information about Charney v. S&C. And if Sullivan & Cromwell or the firm’s outside counsel, Paul Hastings, were to make a similar request of us, we would happily comply.

Samuel Alito 3 Justice Samuel A Alito Jr Above the Law blog.JPGAs reported last month by The BLT and Roll Call (subscription), Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and his wife, Martha Alito, are selling their million-dollar New Jersey home. Here’s the listing.
But if you were hoping to purchase a piece of history, you’re probably out of luck. The judicial manse appears to be under contract.
That won’t stop us, however, from engaging in a little ogling. Here’s what the listing originally looked like, before the photographs were removed:
Samuel Alito House Samuel A Alito Jr West Caldwell Above the Law blog.GIF
More about this supremely appealing residence, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Justice Alito’s House, Under Contract”

Do we pay too much attention to appearances here at ATL? Maybe. Who else would sponsor a U.S. Attorneys hotties contest?
But at least we’re honest about our superficiality — unlike jurors in criminal cases. From the Evening Standard (London):

Good looks could help guilty defendants dodge justice, researchers have said….

[A recent study showed] that attractive suspects were more likely to be acquitted, despite there being no extra evidence in their favour.

Sandie Taylor, the psychologist who conducted the study, said: “We set out to consider the influence of physical attractiveness and ethnicity of a defendant depicted in a photograph on mock jurors’ decisions of verdict, extent of guilt and sentencing….”

“Attractive defendants are, it seems, rated less harshly than homely defendants, so perhaps justice isn’t blind after all.”

Naomi Campbell 2 Above the Law Legal Tabloid nude naked pics photos.GIFAlso interesting:

The study showed that while the jurors were swayed by attractiveness, they did not let race cloud their judgment. Black and white suspects were treated equally. When black suspects were convicted, however, they were given longer sentences.

“It is interesting that being an unattractive black defendant only had an impact on sentencing and not on a juror’s verdict of guilt,” Dr Taylor told the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in York.

Upshot: If Naomi Campbell beats up another housekeeper and is tried before a jury, she’s getting acquitted.
Ugly defendants ‘more likely to be found guilty than attractive ones’ [Evening Standard via Drudge Report]

John Edwards Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re heading off for a lunch meeting. So we won’t be at our computer when former senator (and trial lawyer extraordinaire) John Edwards holds his noon press conference.
The Edwards campaign hasn’t disclosed what the announcement will be. But according to Ben Smith of The Politico, Edwards “is suspending his campaign for President, and may drop out completely, because his wife has suffered a recurrence of the cancer that sickened her in 2004, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Please use this open thread to discuss anything interesting that happens while we’re gone, including the Edwards announcement. We also hope Alberto Gonzales doesn’t step down as Attorney General while we’re away.
(Actually, maybe AG Gonzales will survive the U.S. Attorney firestorm. It seems that in the past day or two, the departure buzz has quieted slightly. Should Alberto Gonzales be upgraded from critical to stable condition?)
Update: Whoops! Even the MSM gets things wrong sometimes. Ben Smith’s mea culpa appears here.
Edwards to Suspend Campaign [The Politico]
Getting It Wrong [The Politico]

Legal Eagle Wedding Watch NYT wedding announcements Above the Law.jpgAs some of you may have noticed, we have fallen hopelessly behind in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. We’re over a month behind. We were hoping to catch up, but we’ve now reached the point where we must admit defeat.
(Do any of you hoard newspapers or magazines that you tell yourself you’ll read “eventually”? And then the pile just gets bigger and bigger, until you finally have to admit that it’s not happening, and take them all down to recycling? We’ve reached that point with LEWW.)
So here’s the thing. As one of you suggested in a comment, we’re putting Legal Eagle Wedding Watch on hiatus. It probably won’t be permanent, but it will likely last at least until the summer months, when lawyer weddings (and weddings generally) go into full swing.
But here’s one possibility we’ll leave open. If we can find a writer who would be willing to take over authorship of LEWW from us, then we will gladly hand over the column to him or her, starting now.
If you might be interested in writing Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, please email us (subject line: “LEWW Application”). Please tell us a little bit about yourself and explain why you’d be the ideal writer for this column. You can write under your own name or a pseudonym. And if you have ideas for taking the column in a different direction, changing the scoring system, etc., that’s fine too — we’d love to hear them. Thanks!

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