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

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGEarlier this week, we wrote about Sullivan & Cromwell’s new $50,000 clerkship bonus. We have confirmed this news with multiple sources, so you can take it to the bank.
This message about the S&C clerkship bonus bump included an amusing digression:

“You may be interested to know that S&C just called its incoming associates who are clerking to inform them of the 50K bonus. Since I accepted my offer from them, I have never once heard a peep from them about salary.”

“But they did send me a Christmas basket. Which turned out to be pretty pathetic, consisting of a soda pop, a tin of caramel corn, a Hershey bar, and a dvd of The Paper Chase.”

“I’m still puzzling over the last one. Maybe they’re trying to insinuate that firm life isn’t much worse than law school?”

So which S&C partner is the Professor Kingsfield of 125 Broad Street?
Earlier: Skaddenfreude: Sullivan & Cromwell’s Clerkship Bonus

Remember this flyer, for the recent “International Party” sponsored by LLM students at Harvard Law School?
LLM party flyer Harvard Law School.jpg
Some of you, in the comments to our post, made some disparaging remarks about the English-speaking abilities of Asian LLM students.
But as it turns out, this flyer wasn’t written by the Asians. And many of them found it highly offensive.
For those of you who are curious, we provide the backstory — including an earlier version of the party flyer — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Harvard LLM Community: More Vicious Than the Cafeteria in ‘Mean Girls’”

William Shakespeare Hamlet Above the Law legal tabloid.jpgSome of you have inquired into the rest of our coverage of last week’s Trial of Hamlet, presided over by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Thanks for the reminder.
Well, here it is. It’s ridiculously late, and it’s probably of interest only to folks who also attended the event.
If you feel like it, you can check it out after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Supreme Court Hears the Trial of Hamlet (Part 2)”

Carol Lam 3 Carol C Lam Southern District of California San Diego Yale College Stanford Law School.JPGDebra Yang Debra Wong Yang Above the Law blog.jpgHere are three fun facts:

1. Until her controversial ouster, Carol Lam (far right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California (San Diego).

2. Until she was tempted away from government service by a $1.5 million offer from Gibson Dunn, Debra Wong Yang (near right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).

3. As far as we know, Eumi Choi continues to serve as First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Coincidence? We have to ask:

What is up with Asian-American women and leadership positions in California U.S. Attorney offices?

Their presence in these posts would seem like a great leap forward for diversity — but it’s causing problems. Just ask poor Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Here’s what Senator Schumer wrote in a recent letter to President Bush:

In an email to the White House, [former Alberto Gonzales aide Kyle] Sampson refers to a “problem” with Carol Lam.

What was this “problem” and was Lam’s firing motivated by her investigation into former Congressmen Randy Cunningham and Representative Jerry Lewis?…

Mr. Sampson’s email was sent the same day [May 11, 2006] that the Los Angeles Times had broken the news that Ms. Lam’s investigation of former Congressman Randy Cunningham (R-CA) had expanded to include Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

OOPS. Carol Lam wasn’t investigating Jerry Lewis. If you go to the article in question, you’ll see that the Lewis investigation was being conducted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles — then headed by Debra Yang.
When contacted for comment, Senator Schumer stated: “The notion that I have bias against Asians is ludicrous. My favorite restaurant in D.C. is Hunan Dynasty. And I know all of the waitresses there by name!”
Update: In response to these comments, we must clarify: the Schumer quote is a joke.
Schumer’s Five Questions [TPMmuckraker]
Lewis Surfaces in Probe of Cunningham [Los Angeles Times via Truthout]
Carol Lam: Not Targeted Over the Jerry Lewis Investigation [Patterico's Pontifications]

On the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, after his oral argument in Morse v. Frederick, Dean Kenneth W. Starr has an epiphany. He realizes why he decided to take on this case, pro bono.
It’s because his client, petitioner Deborah Morse — a curvaceous, dark-haired beauty — reminded him of a young woman he once loved, many years ago…
Bong Hits 15.JPG

This morning we posted the first half of our photographs from our recent trip to the Supreme Court. The rest of the pictures appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bong Hits 4 ATL: A Photo Essay (Part 2)”

Stephen Kotran Stephen M Kotran Steven Kotran Steve Kotran Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgGandolfo DiBlasi Gandolfo V DiBlasi Vince DiBlasi Above the Law Blog.jpgWe’re glad to see that our last post on Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell — concerning Gandolfo “Vince” DiBlasi’s alleged boast that S&C “defended the Nazis,” and would “crush [Charney] like a bug” — gave rise to such a comment clusterf**k lively reader discussion.
This raises the question (which has already surfaced in the comments):

Is there any truth to this allegation?

We have emailed Vince DiBlasi (near right, glasses) with a request for comment. But we doubt he’ll get back to us.
So to figure out whether he actually said these things, we hereby request some character evidence — from you, our readers. If you have any firsthand information about DiBlasi — what he’s like as a person, as a boss, as an adversary — please email us (subject line: “Vince DiBlasi”).
Now, we’ve written a fair amount about alleged “villains” at S&C — in addition to DiBlasi, M&A partners Alexandra Korry and Eric Krautheimer. But now we’d like to hear about a “good guy.” A tipster wrote to us:

The S&C partner you should be soliciting info on is not Krautheimer or Korry but STEVE KOTRAN. Stephen Kotran [far right, no glasses] is by far the most fascinating character in this story. After all, Charney’s initial complaint makes clear that at every phase Kotran bucked the system (refused to do what his partners wanted him to do) in order to do what he felt was right.

This is storybook shit! How many partners at top-tier law firms are made of such stuff? I, for one, would love to know more about the man who appears to be the lone hero of this story.

And so would we. If you have inside info about Mr. Kotran, please email us (subject line: Stephen Kotran).
We thank you in advance for your thoughts on Messrs. DiBlasi and Kotran — and we look forward to reading them.
Stephen M. Kotran bio [Sullivan & Cromwell]
Gandolfo V. DiBlasi bio [Sullivan & Cromwell]

We find this hard to believe, but there are people out there who are even more obsessed than we are with law clerks. Like this person.
The lists are not complete, and the information could be presented in a more user-friendly fashion. But we suspect that some of you will find this blog very interesting anyway. And it certainly has great potential as a future resource — a la the fantastic Wikipedia listing of Supreme Court law clerks.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this site going forward.
I Seek Validation Through Clerkship Placement [main page]

United States Attorneys US Attorneys Above the Law blog.JPGThe scandal surrounding the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys, while explosive and salacious, has presented us with some challenges. It’s a fast-moving story, and the information just keeps flooding in.
And because it’s such a huge story, the MSM has been covering it like crazy. We asked ourselves: What’s left for ATL to do?
Answer: Sponsor a U.S. Attorneys hotties contest!
Now that our Law Librarian Hotties contest is over, we must find a new group of legal professional hotties to rank. In light of all the public attention recently focused upon United States Attorneys, they’re an excellent subject for our next hotness competition.
Patrick J Fitzgerald 2 Patrick Fitzgerald Pat Fitzgerald Above the Law blog.JPGThere are many reasons to focus on chief federal prosecutors for a hotties contest. They’re clearly public figures, so they don’t present the same privacy concerns as so-called “civilians.” Their photographs are easy to find, because they’re always appearing before media outlets.
And, most importantly, some of them are pretty darn hot. For example, the hunky Patrick Fitzgerald (N.D. Ill.) helped make the Plamegate scandal worth following (with an assist from the scorchingly hot Valerie Plame herself). The apolitical zeal with which Pat Fitzgerald pursued the Scooty Libby prosecution was modern manliness at its best.
Carol Lam 2 Carol C Lam Southern District of California San Diego Yale College Stanford Law School.JPGThere are some fine offerings on the distaff side, too. The elegant Carol Lam (S.D. Cal.), according to her critics, was easy on immigration enforcement. But she’s pretty easy on the eyes, too!
(We could say more about Carol Lam’s hotness, but we won’t, ’cause she kinda looks like our aunt.)
We are now accepting your nominations of hot United States Attorneys. If you’d like to submit an attractive U.S Attorney for consideration, please review the rules and nomination guidelines, which appear after the jump. Thanks!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Above the Law Hotties: U.S. Attorneys!”

Bong Hits 1.JPG
The U.S. Supreme Court building at One First Street, on the morning of Monday, March 19. Like rock star groupies, SCOTUS fans camped out overnight for a chance to breathe the same air as the nine robed ones.
As we previously explained, we didn’t make it in to see the argument in Morse v. Frederick, aka the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case, before the Supreme Court on Monday. But our trip wasn’t a complete waste, since we did get some video footage (here, here, here, and here).
Oh wait — you HATED our videos. Well, at least give us credit for mixing things up a little around here. Every now and then, we like to try new things, to keep ATL from getting hidebound. Not every experiment works; but that’s why they call them experiments.
Anyway, hopefully you’ll like our still photography more. We’re post them in two batches. The first set of pictures, of Dean Kenneth Starr and two colleagues, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bong Hits 4 ATL: A Photo Essay (Part 1)”

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyPerhaps you’re sick of reading about the aborted settlement talks between Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell. Presumably you’ve already read our extensive coverage of the March 15 court hearing, at which the settlement talks took center stage, as well as the reports of Lavi Soloway (who effectively functioned as ATL’s New York correspondent for the hearing).
But if your appetite for all things Charney-licious continues unabated, then be sure to read this excellent article, by Anna Schneider-Mayerson of the New York Observer. It doesn’t contain much new material, but Schneider-Mayerson does a superb job of explaining a rather confusing series of events at the hearing, in clear yet engaging prose. Enjoy!
Update: We agree with the various commenters about the juiciness of this tidbit (and apologize for apparently missing it until now):

Michael Kennedy, an attorney for Mr. Charney, described an alleged “rant” by [S&C partner Gandolfo "Vince"] DiBlasi.

“That rant said, ‘Sullivan & Cromwell is invincible.’ That rant says, ‘We defended the Nazis, and nobody can do anything or cared. We’ll crush you like a bug,’” Mr. Kennedy said, quoting his client’s recollections at a Feb. 22 hearing in the New York State Supreme Court. “Those aren’t settlement negotiations; those are threats.”

First Thing, Kill All the Evidence [New York Observer]

Page 491 of 19971...487488489490491492493494495...1997