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.
The U.S. Attorney firing scandal rolls on. The WSJ Law Blog has a good linkwrap, highlighing the latest developments.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is frantically preparing for his make-or-break testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow. Remember the musical montage in Back to School, in which Rodney Dangerfield is shown cramming for his final exams — studying while eating, while on the treadmill, while getting a massage? We imagine Gonzales’s preparation for his SJC testimony has been a lot like that.
Anyway, here’s the development that excited us the most recently: how the fantabulous Rachel Brand — Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy, a rising star in conservative legal circles, and the reigning Prom Queen of the Federalist Society — narrowly escaped being dragged into this whole mess.
Recently released emails show that Brand was considered as a possible replacement for one of the ousted U.S. Attorneys. From the New York Times:
Rachel L. Brand, by her own admission, has never prosecuted so much as a traffic case. But in January 2006, when Justice Department officials began to discuss removing some United States attorneys, Ms. Brand was proposed as the top federal prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan, an e-mail message released on Friday shows.
In the end, Ms. Brand, who heads the Office of Legal Policy in the department, decided that she did not want the position and was not nominated to succeed Margaret M. Chiara, then the top prosecutor for the district. Ms. Chiara was later ousted.
In declining to be considered, Rachel Brand showed the excellent judgment that has taken her so far, so fast. Had Rachel Brand replaced Margaret Chiara, she would have been the victim of a mainstream media pile-on. The New York Times editorial board would have derided her as a Bush Administration political hack with no prosecutorial experience (albeit a hack with impeccable academic credentials, including Harvard Law School and a Supreme Court clerkship with Justice Kennedy — no Monica Goodling, she).
We’re glad to see that Rachel Brand has managed to steer clear of this whole mess, with her excellent reputation intact, and her dazzling career prospects undimmed by this controversy. Go Rachel!!! Political Résumé, Not Court, Stood Out for a Contender [New York Times] The U.S. Attorney Mess: A Monday Morning Roundup [WSJ Law Blog]
Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, now back at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, is one of the nation’s top appellate advocates. He’s an amazing lawyer and a distinguished public servant. And he — together with his wife, the beautiful and brilliant Lady Booth — knows how to throw a killer wedding.
But Olson does seem to have an unorthodox sense of client conflict rules. From Howard Kurtz’s media column in today’s Washington Post:
Now it can be told: Matt Cooper thought that Time magazine’s strategy in the Valerie Plame leak investigation was “insane.” He was unhappy when his lawyer wanted to simultaneously represent I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the man whose identity Cooper was risking jail to protect. And Judith Miller got on his nerves.
Cooper, who has left Time, is now Washington bureau chief for Portfolio, the glossy business magazine from Conde Nast that makes its debut today. The launch is cloaked in secrecy….
Cooper says he realized early on that he would probably lose the subpoena battle over his refusal to testify about his 2003 discussions regarding Plame with White House aides Libby and Karl Rove. But Time rejected Cooper’s plea to compromise by seeking waivers of confidentiality from the officials. “Behind the scenes I desperately wanted to make a deal that could get us out of this mess,” he writes.
Norman Pearlstine, then Time Inc.’s editor in chief, decided to hire conservative lawyer Ted Olson. But Cooper’s opinion of the former solicitor general declined when Olson asked if he could also represent Libby, which Cooper saw as a conflict since “Libby’s defense ultimately involved my word against his.” Olson quickly backed off.
Our tipster notes: “I worked as an attorney at a federal agency in Washington for several years right after law school, and was frequently astonished by the casual approach to conflicts issues many private sector attorneys had there. Olson’s is the worst proposal I have seen in many years.”
But perhaps we’re missing something. We’re sure that some of you can come up with a defense of Olson’s ability to represent both Cooper and Libby. We welcome your thoughts in the comments. A Sorry Story, With Apology Yet to Come [Washington Post] Earlier: Lady and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Wedding Photos That Rock
This is tragic rather than funny. But it’s the subject of much gossip right now, and several of you have written to us about it. So here’s a quick post.
On Friday, Moshe Kanovsky, a 31-year-old lawyer from Brooklyn, jumped to his death, from the 69th floor of the Empire State Building. From the New York Daily News:
It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted Kanovsky’s suicide.
“He was interviewing a client,” said a man who works in the suite. “He just got up, opened the window and jumped.”
A police source said that Kanovsky met with the client in one room and jumped from another.
Jokes about the misery of Biglaw driving people to suicide would be misplaced:
Investigators questioned employees at Levine & Blit, a personal injury practice, and at Ashok Karmaker. Both law firms share a suite on the 69th floor where Kanovsky “did odds-and-ends work” for Karmaker.
We spent a fair amount of time at Columbia Law School last week. We attended their moot court finals, gave a talk sponsored by the Federalist Society, and enjoyed ourselves at their Law Revue (more on that — including a video clip — later).
Here are a few photographs we took while up at CLS. If you’re a Columbia student or alum (the people most likely to find these pictures interesting), or if you’re on the fence about whether to vote for Columbia in ATL March Madness, check out the pics after the jump.
This past Saturday, we attended our 15th high school reunion, at Regis High School. Here’s a brief blurb about the school: “Founded in 1914 by an anonymous benefactor and supported by the generosity of her family, its alumni and friends, Regis High School offers a tuition free Jesuit college preparatory education to Roman Catholic young men from New York metropolitan area who demonstrate superior intellectual and leadership potential.”
As one might expect from a school run by the Jesuits, Regis has graduated numerous lawyers over the years. Alumni include U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who handled the Valerie Plame leak investigation and Scooter Libby prosecution, and several members of the Southern District of New York bench (e.g., John Keenan, John Koeltl, Gerard Lynch, and Lawrence McKenna).
And here are four more attorney alums:
As we did previously, we have received a message from the offices of Michael Kennedy, the prominent criminal defense lawyer retained by Aaron Charney, with a request to transmit it to ATL readers.
Here it is:
IF ANYONE HAS INFORMATION ABOUT EFFORTS TO CREATE FALSE AFFIDAVITS IN THE CASE OF CHARNEY v. SULLIVAN & CROMWELL LLP OR SULLIVAN & CROMWELL LLP v. CHARNEY, PLEASE CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL KENNEDY AT 212-935-4500 OR AT CHARNEYINVESTIGATION AT GMAIL.COM.
We have no further comment on this post. We will simply reiterate what we said the last time around:
“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….”
“[I]f Sullivan & Cromwell or the firm’s outside counsel, Paul Hastings, were to make a similar request of us, we would happily comply.”
Congratulations to the two finalists for ATL’s March Madness: Columbia and UVA! Both of them emerged victorious out of the Final Four, in hard-fought contests:
And extra congratulations to Columbia for the excellent Law Revue they staged last night. We attended and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly — aided by a helpful 3L, who explained the inside jokes to us, and a modest amount of alcohol.
We urge the CLS Revue folks to put some of their best numbers up on YouTube. We’d like to blog about them and share them with the world.
So here’s the final poll for our March Madness contest. It’s for the championship, so please get out the vote.
(Same rules apply: Feel free to email or IM people and encourage them to vote. But no scripts, clickbots, or other non-human voting tools. Thank you.) GOOD LUCK!!!
Paul Hastings partner Zachary Fasman, counsel to Sullivan & Cromwell, leaving New York Supreme Court after yesterday’s hearing. As he passed us, he called out, “Go back to Washington!” It seemed half-playful, half-sincere.
As we mentioned yesterday, the Thursday morning hearing in Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell was a bit of a snoozefest. Nothing particularly shocking or funny happened. The parties’ arguments hewed closely to their written submissions (as they should have). Justice Bernard Fried issued no significant rulings from the bench.
There were several MSM reporters at the hearing, but none of them has written anything on it — perhaps because it was a non-event. (Blogger Lavi Soloway did do a quick post on it.)
Even if it wasn’t a blockbuster hearing, some of you have requested a substantive report anyway. We’ve done a quick write-up, which appears after the jump.
This poster caught our eye when we visited Columbia Law School earlier this week:
The point of the flyer is to encourage CLS students to participate in the upcoming blood drive (Monday, April 16, Drapkin Lounge, 11-5:30 — we encourage you to go). The strategy of the poster is to “shame” law students into participation, by showing that even the employees of a big bad law firm like Sullivan & Cromwell give blood at a higher rate.
You can’t really read the small black text in this photograph, so here’s what it says:
“Sullivan & Cromwell gave 48 donations of blood per 100 employees in 2006. 1230 students at Columbia Law School gave 25. Total. That is 2 from every 100 students.”
“Even accounting for the pints of associate blood that were set aside for drinking by Alexandra Korry, S&C still kicked our ass. Please give blood on Monday!”
OmniVere’s delivery of end-to-end technology & data consulting to position the company as a true differentiator in the global legal technology and compliance space.
CHICAGO, IL, September 29, 2014 – OmniVere today announced the creation of the company’s technology & data consulting arm and the addition of several industry-renown experts, including the former co-chairs of Berkeley Research Group’s (BRG’s) Technology Services practice, Liam Ferguson, Rich Finkelman and Courtney Fletcher.
This new consulting practice will provide and expand existing OmniVere eDiscovery consulting services to corporations, law firms and government agencies with a special focus on compliance, information governance and eDiscovery. This addition of this top talent now positions OmniVere as a true industry leader in the technology and data consulting space offering best-in-class end-to-end services.
Ferguson, Finkelman & Fletcher are nationally recognized experts and seasoned veterans in the areas of overall technology, electronic discovery, and structured data. At OmniVere, the team will be focused on all global consulting activities with respect to legal compliance, complex data analytics, business intelligence design and analysis, and electronic discovery service offerings.
The Trust Women conference is an influential gathering that brings together global corporations, lawyers and pioneers in the field of women’s rights. Unlike many other events, Trust Women delegates take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women to know and defend their rights.
This year, the Trust Women conference will take place 18-19 November in London. From women’s economic empowerment to slavery in the supply chain and child labour, this year’s agenda is strong and powerful. Speakers include Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking and many other influential leaders. Find out more about Trust Women here.