David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, New York magazine, Washingtonian magazine, and the New York Observer. 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." His first book, Supreme Ambitions: A Novel, will be published in 2015. You can connect with David on Twitter and Facebook.
We’re getting underway again, with the testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Some random audience member just shouted out: “Hi Senator Kyl!”
2:39: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who missed much of the morning session due to a funeral, is leading off the afternoon questioning. He reads a brief introductory statement (and barely looks up from his notes). Grassley gloats over how the DOJ tried to prevent a witness from testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, on which he also serves, but got slapped down by the courts.
(Wow, that accent is REALLY Midwestern. Anyone wanna go to the mal?)
2:49: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) wants to know what safeguards were in place to prevent improper political considerations from entering into the process re: which U.S. Attorneys to fire. He’s very animated, angry — he frequently raises his voice.
AGAG says that he relied upon people he trusted — and repeatedly mentions the Deputy Attorney General, Paul McNulty, and the big role the DAG played in this process. It seems to us that Gonzales wants to make McNulty the fall guy.
(Not a bad idea — McNulty is leaving the DOJ soon, anyway).
3:02: OMG, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) — a Republican, and a conservative one at that — just ripped AGAG a new one. Several new ones, actually. Some quotes:
“You should be judged by the same standards as these U.S. attorneys were judged, and suffer the same consequences.”
“Mistakes were made, and mistakes should have consequences.”
“[T]his was handled incompetently… Communication was atrocious.”
“The best way to put this all behind us is your resignation,” so we can “start with a clean slate.”
“I like you as a man, as an individual, but mistakes have consequences.”
OUCH. OUCH OUCH. Alberto Gonzales = pinata.
If this is what a Republican has to say, wait ’til the Democrats are up to bat next….
4:08: Sorry, our attention wandered… Lots of questioning about matters not related to the U.S. Attorney firings (because this is, after all, technically a general DOJ oversight hearing). E.g., Sen. Kyl asking about offshore gambling outfits; Sen. Specter asking about whether there’s any federal law enforcement angle to the Virginia Tech shootings.
Now, a ten-minute recess. Earlier: Alberto Gonzales: In the Hot Seat (Part 2)
Alberto Gonzales: In the Hot Seat (Part 1)
We’re picking up with where we left off, in our liveblogging of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
10:50: Sen. Herb. Kohl is REALLY going after AGAG. He cites poll data showing that approximately half of the American public wants Gonzales to resign.
Kohl is in essence asking: Why are you still here? He suggests to Gonzales that these poll results matter, because American people’s perceptions of the DOJ and whether justice is being done are very important.
Gonzales has a good line here: “You’re right, Senator. This is not about Alberto Gonzales.” He then says it’s about the work the DOJ is doing (to “protect our children,” of course).
11:00: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) tosses a bunch of softballs in AGAG’s direction. He’s the most friendly questioner of the morning thus far. He also notes that some time ago, a Democratic senator predicted that Gonzales would be gone as AG within a week. “And yet here you are, still Attorney General, a month later. And I’m glad to see that.”
11:08: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is up now. Her lilac blazer stands out in the sea of dark suits.
Feinstein tries to zero in on the precise extent of Gonzales’s involvement. Great line: “Who was the Decider?”
We love ourselves some DiFi!
Okay, time for a 10-minute recess — the first of the morning.
And now we’re back. More discussion, after the jump.
Here are the results of the various readerpolls we conducted concerning Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School student who appeared nude in a video for Playboy TV:
These results make sense to us. Dominguez’s participation in the Playboy really has no bearing upon her character and fitness, with respect to her bar admission. It wasn’t criminal, and we don’t live in the Victorian Age.
As for her legal career, if she’s a talented lawyer, who cares if she has, er, certain other abilities? Sure, one might question her judgment; but this was one mistake, and nobody’s perfect.
(But yeah, maybe she’s not that hot. And just because her doing this nudie video shouldn’t preclude her bar admission doesn’t mean people can’t look down on her for doing so.) Earlier: Adriana Dominguez: What Do YOU Think? The Jurisdiction Stripper: Two More Polls
We’re liveblogging Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s desperate fight for his political life testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is just getting underway. Our commentary will be added continuously to this post (until we eventually migrate to a new post). So just refresh your browser for the latest.
9:35: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), SJC Chairman, has been reading a lengthy introductory statement. It’s way harsh on AlGo.
(Nice tie, Senator Leahy — alternating mint and forest green stripes. And a crisp white shirt — not a button-down-collar, thankfully. Politicians dress so much better than judges.)
9:41: Leahy gets in a dig about the White House being content to turn U.S. Attorney’s Offices into outposts of the Bush Administration.
The camera cuts to Gonzales, whose lower lip juts out defiantly — and he shakes his head vigorously, to show disagreement with Leahy’s statement. Will the famously mild-mannered Gonzales actually display some cojones?
More discussion after the jump.
A criminal assault-and-battery complaint has been issued against attorney Stephen T. Kunian, a partner at the Boston law firm of Eckert, Seamans, Cherin, Mellott, for an incident in which he allegedly forced open the jacket of a woman during the Dec. 2, 2006, opening of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
But Kunian’s attorney said the allegations are “an attempt at character assassination” by a victim who has demanded $500,000 in damages.
The alleged victim in the case, independent museum curator Gloretta Baynes, filed a police report claiming that Kunian approached her on the night in question and opened up her jacket, exposing her bra. Baynes’ attorney, James S. Dilday of Boston, said she had the jacket zipped up to neck level but was not wearing a shirt underneath at the time.
Baynes is also claiming that Kunian’s hands touched her breasts at the time. Kunian allegedly said after the incident: “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you had a shirt on.”
Because she needs all the help she can get these days. Backlash and insurrection against New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse, the long reigning queen of the Supreme Court press corps, continue to grow.
For years, the courts construed 40 U.S.C. 6134 — which forbids “loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Supreme Court Building” — as prohibiting criticism of Linda Greenhouse. As a result, nobody within the legal or media establishment dared breathe a harsh word about her. But now, after decades of dominance, La Greenhouse is slipping — and increasingly vulnerable to attack.
Fueled by the success of the bestselling, critically acclaimed Supreme Conflict, Jan Crawford Greenburg — ABC News’s young, talented, and utterly gorgeous Supreme Court correspondent — is challenging Greenhouse for the title of America’s top Supreme Court reporter. Last month, a threatened LG tried to mount a snarky counterattack. But rather than damaging Greenburg’s reputation, it merely caused SCOTUS insiders to marvel at Greenhouse’s pettiness.
And now Greenburg’s challenge to Greenhouse is emboldening others. Some dare to claim that the empress has no clothes. Take Adam J. White of Baker Botts, a former Sentelletubby and legal commentator. White had this to say about Linda Greenhouse, in an essay for the Weekly Standard:
The law takes the long view, and so do its chroniclers — none more so than Linda Greenhouse, New York Times reporter and unofficial doyenne of the Supreme Court press corps. But Greenhouse’s recent essay on Chief Justice Roberts exemplifies the risks of racing to write the second draft of history before the first: By attempting to turn a single case into a moment of historic importance, Greenhouse misdescribes the record of one chief justice and severely insults another.
There was much speculation about where former White House counsel Harriet Miers, of the ill-fated Supreme Court nomination, would wind up.
Would Miers oversee the George W. Bush Presidential Library at her alma mater, SMU? Would she be nominated to the Fifth Circuit? Would she launch a new line of high-end eye make-up?
The suspense is now over. From the Dallas Morning News:
Ex-White House counsel and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers will rejoin her old law firm, Locke Liddell & Sapp, the firm announced Wednesday.
Ms. Miers had helped run the firm, based in Houston and Dallas, before joining President Bush’s staff in 2001. She will rejoin the firm’s public policy group and litigation group on May 1.
A Locke Liddell official said she will be based in Washington D.C. but also have offices in Dallas and Austin.
Congratulations, Ms. Miers!
(But why is she staying in D.C.? Why not return to her home state of Texas, home to her former lover, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht? As we previously suggested, “If she returns to Texas, she may be able to stir the embers of his passion.”) Harriet Miers To Rejoin Locke Liddell [Dallas Morning News]
Former Justice Department official Monica Goodling isn’t the only appealing female who’s hiring lawyers these days. Yet another damsel in distress, who has also been in the headlines lately, has obtained legal representation for herself.
Remember Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School student who made a nude video for Playboy TV? If you email Ms. Dominguez with an interview request, you receive this message:
I have no comment at this time. If you have any further questions, you can direct them to my attorney:
Brian Bloom Cozen & O’Connor (212) 509-9400 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sincerely, Adriana Dominguez
Why on earth has Adriana Dominguez hired a lawyer? We saw the video, and it was pretty trashy — but not criminal (although reasonable minds can differ).
Here’s the law firm bio of Dominguez’s attorney, Brian Bloom (Cornell 1999, Hofstra Law 2002):
Brian A. Bloom joined the New York Midtown office of Cozen O’Connor in March 2005 as an Associate in the General Litigation Department. He concentrates his practice in commercial litigation and intellectual property matters. Brian has represented various entertainers, musicians, and recording artists, including Eminem and (the Estate of) Tupac Shakur. Prior to joining the firm, he was a litigation associate at Fischbein Badillo Wagner Harding, LLP.
Tupac is probably turning over in his grave right now. Assuming he’s actually in it.
P.S. We’re guessing that Bloom and Dominguez are friends and that he picked up this matter as a favor to her (i.e., allowed her to refer to him as her attorney). But did he clear it with the powers-that-be at Cozen O’Connor, go through the requisite conflicts check, etc.? Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Adriana Dominguez (scroll down)
Are you a Biglaw associate who left the office early last night, relying upon your trusty Blackberry to keep you posted about what was going on back at work? If so, your reliance was misplaced. From the NYT:
Technical problems at Research in Motion cut off wireless e-mail service to millions of users of its BlackBerry hand-held devices in the United States for more than 10 hours overnight.
Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T Wireless, which has the largest BlackBerry customer base in the world, said the service was lost to all carriers in the United States around 8 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. RIM told AT&T Wireless that the problem that caused the shutdown was resolved by 6 a.m. Eastern time today. However, he said that the enormous backlog of e-mail messages that must now be processed would continue to delay or disrupt service for some users.
If you ask former Supreme Court clerks to name the three or four smartest justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg routinely makes the list. Former SCOTUS clerks on both sides of the aisle praise Justice Ginsburg for her intellect. She’s also regularly mentioned as one of the most “self-sufficient” justices (i.e., a justice who could still do her job effectively with little or no law clerk help).
But Justice Ginsburg is not infallible. Here’s an interesting IM conversation we had with a source earlier today (with actual screen names replaced by pseudonyms). Our source, identified below as “tipster,” was reading Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in Gonzales v. Carhart (PDF).
tipster: Ooh. Ginsburg is not good at math – see n.10.
ATL: Ha! 1/1 is a fraction…
tipster: “No, sweetie, if the numerator and the denominator are the same, that just equals 1. Now go back to Home Ec and stop trying to learn math.”
ATL: that’s funny — can I use that?
ATL: Per standard ATL policy, no attribution (unless you want it).
tipster: DON’T YOU DARE ATTRIBUTE.
ATL: Can I at least identify you as a liberal and an RBG fan when I make fun of her footnote 10? I don’t want to get attacked as a right-wing hack (since this is equal-opportunity snark).
tipster: Not like anyone will believe you have liberal friends.
ATL: But I do! I have more liberal friends than conservative ones.
tipster: “some of my best friends are *shudder-gag-vomit* liberal”
(That last line by our tipster was sarcastic, for those of you who are sarcasm-impaired. Thank you.) Earlier: Breaking: Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Partial Birth Abortion Act
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.
The JOBS Act created new tools for companies to publicly advertise securities deals online. As a result, thousands of new deals have hit the market and hundreds of millions in capital has been raised, spurring a wealth of new business development opportunities for attorneys.
Fund deals, startup capital raises, PIPE deals and loan syndicates are just a handful of the transactions benefiting from the JOBS Act. InvestorID FirmTM is a platform designed to help attorneys equip their clients with the workflow, marketing and compliance tools to publicly solicit a securities offering online. By providing clients with the tools to painlessly navigate the regulatory landscape of general solicitation, InvestorID FirmTM helps attorneys add value above just legal services.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) went into effect in 2013 and permits Regulation D offerings of securities to be advertised publicly. This means that funds and companies can now use social media, emails and web sites to market transactions to new “accredited” investors.
However, with these new powers come new pain points. InvestorID FirmTM provides a secure, fully hosted, cloud-based platform with a breadth of tools for your clients, including: