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 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.

Posts by David Lat

Adriana Dominguez 2 Brooklyn Law School Playboy Above the Law blog.JPGHere’s the promised follow-up to our earlier post about Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School 3L who has embarked upon a career as a Playboy TV stripper.
Remember the similarly named Adrienne — the Boston College Law School student who did a racy spread for Barstool Sports? Adrienne ain’t got nothing on Adriana. Adriana Dominguez doesn’t just do soft-core, Sports Illustrated swimsuit-style spreads; she takes it all off. And she works it for the camera.
More discussion, including some comments from her classmates at BLS, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Jurisdiction Stripper: More on Adriana Dominguez”

Anna Nicole Smith 3 Anna Nicole Smith photo photograph pic picture Above the Law Above the Law.JPGHere’s an interesting analysis of the underlying merits of the litigation over J. Howard Marshall’s estate. It contains some bome bad news for Anna Nicole Smith’s infant daughter, Dannielynn.
From a Legal Times piece by Professor Horace Cooper (who narrowly missed being a colleague of Kiwi Camara, and probably isn’t unhappy about that):

[T]here is little chance that this child will inherit millions. Why? Because Anna Nicole Smith’s legal claims on J. Howard Marshall’s estate were always tenuous.

And once the courts act, they will likely extinguish the claim altogether. That means Dannielynn is more likely to be saddled with legal bills and other debt from litigation associated with her mother’s estate than she’s likely to inherit any portion of Marshall’s estate.

We’ll spare you Professor Cooper’s detailed examination of the case, which deploys such fancy-pants legal terms as “de novo” and “res judicata.” We’ll just give you his bottom line:

A separate trial in the Bahamas is going forward to determine who Dannielynn’s biological father is. Once that is answered, will the biological father continue his efforts to secure custody after all the legal claims on the Marshall estate are extinguished?

I predict that once those claims are finally exhausted, even King Solomon himself might not have the wisdom to find a father for this baby.

And Judge Larry Seidlin is no King Solomon.
Anna Nicole’s Daughter Is No Million-Dollar Baby [Legal Times]

martini glass Above the Law blog.jpgIf so, then a reporter with a national newspaper would like to speak with you. Here’s the message:

I want to write about the social pressures on summer associates. Specifically, I understand that at a time when firms are competing harder than ever for the best candidates, it’s ratcheted up an already intense party circuit for summer associates.

I’ve heard incoming first-year associates often get nervous about whether they’ll be able to keep up and, more importantly, not get too drunk and blow it. I wanted to get your thoughts on the topic and find out if there were any examples of students doing anything interesting to prepare themselves (e.g., build up their tolerance) for the summer. I’m equally interested in whether there are groups of sober students for whom this is a particularly stressful time.

I can be reached by email at legal DOT story AT gmail DOT com. Thanks.

We think this will be an interesting story. There are tons of tales out there about summer associates who get wasted and do stupid things. E.g., Aquagirl. It would be refreshing to hear about prudent students on the other side of the fence, who consciously try to avoid getting trashed and making fools of themselves.
If you have some insights to share on this subject, please do contact our reporter friend, by email. Much thanks!

Adriana Dominguez 2 Brooklyn Law School Playboy Above the Law blog.JPGYes, we know all about Adriana Dominguez, the third-year student at Brooklyn Law School with a penchant for taking her clothes off. Dominguez is the subject of a Playboy TV striptease video that’s spreading from inbox to inbox like the clap wildfire. More details here, from the New York Daily News (of course).
We’ll post a more comprehensive write-up later today, which will include some comments we’ve received from her classmates. If you have firsthand knowledge of Ms. Dominguez, we welcome your input. You can reach us by email (subject line: “Adriana Dominguez”).
For people who can’t wait for their fix, here’s a (sanitized) screencap from the video. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy!
Update: After some reader complaints, we’ve placed the photograph of Adriana Dominguez after the jump. If you’re reading ATL in a reasonably private place, and want to see what all the buzz is about, click on the “Continue reading” link below.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Meet Adriana Dominguez: Aspiring Lawyer Cum Porn Star”

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney.JPGThings have been quiet lately on the Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell front, but this week brings an exciting event. This Thursday, April 12, in New York Supreme Court, Justice Bernard Fried will preside over the Mother of All Hearings: an omnibus hearing at which the parties’ various motions and cross-motions will be argued.
Happily, we will be up in New York on Thursday. We will attend the hearing and report on the proceedings.
So it’s full speed ahead in Charney v. S&C. Contrary to what some predicted — including ourselves, at various points in time — this case doesn’t look like it will be settling anytime soon. This raises the question:

How long will this litigation be dragged out?

(Which raises another question: How is Aaron Charney supporting himself in the meantime? We’re guessing he has ample savings, from his years at S&C, and perhaps some support from his family. But if you have more specific knowledge, please drop us a line.)
One of you suggested a poll, and we like the idea. Please cast your vote:

tax taxes Above the Law blog.jpgWe just finished our taxes (or our accountant just did), so we have taxes on the brain. Remember, everyone: tax returns are due on April 17 this year, instead of the usual April 15. (To learn why, click here.)
Considering the time of year, it’s appropriate that our Lawyer of the Day is one George E. Harp. Harp accomplished the impressive feat of losing two cases in Tax Court — his client’s, and his own — on the same day.
Congratulations, Mr. Harp!
(Okay, perhaps it’s not THAT impressive a feat. Harp seems to be one of those nutty tax protestors, with no viable arguments in defense of his failure, or his client’s failure, to file a tax return.)
A Tough Day in Tax Court: Lawyer Loses Two Failure to File Tax Return Cases — His Client’s and His Own [TaxProf Blog]
Tax Returns Are Due April 17 This Year [TaxProf Blog]

Washington Monument Above the Law blog.jpgA quick shout-out to a juicy story that we haven’t written much about so far (and no, it’s not ’cause we have anything to hide). It’s the tawdry tale of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka the “D.C. Madam.”
From ABCNews.com:

Alleged “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey has given an exclusive interview to ABC News [for an upcoming investigative report on "20/20"]….

Last October, federal prosecutors charged Palfrey with racketeering offenses in connection with the business, which she contends was a legal operation. From 1993 to August 2006, Palfrey ran a high-end escort service in the nation’s capital, charging a flat fee for 90-minute “dates” with women between the ages of 23 and 55 whom she termed independent contractors.

There has been some speculation that her clients may include high-profile figures — politicians, pundits, and other inside-the-Beltway types. Palfrey has done nothing to discourage such buzz:

Palfrey has claimed that her service’s clients were “upscale” and “came from the more refined walks of life.” In March, she made headlines by briefly offering to sell the phone records of her company, Pamela Martin and Associates, to the highest bidder. She withdrew the offer after a federal judge ruled the government could confiscate any proceeds.

We can’t wait until the phone records become public (as they inevitably will). To paraphrase what they say about politics, the ensuing scandal will be “just like Heidi Fleiss — for ugly people.”
“D.C. Madam” Speaks with ABC News [ABC News via DCist]

laptop computer web surfer Above the Law.jpgYes, we have seen Georgetown Law Professor David Cole’s recent Washington Post op-ed, complaining about students using their laptops to surf the web during class. This led him to ban laptops from his classroom.
It’s provoked lively discussion in the blogosphere. See, e.g., PrawfsBlawg; Obscure Store; WSJ Law Blog. So we’re creating this post to facilitate some comments discussion here at ATL.
(But we weren’t terribly excited to see the piece. It’s actually very similar to a New York Times op-ed that our contracts professor, Ian Ayres, wrote back in 2002.)
Laptops vs. Learning [Washington Post]
Lectures vs. Laptops [New York Times]
Laptops and law-school learning [PrawfsBlawg]
Georgetown Law Prof David Cole: “No Laptops for You!” [WSJ Law Blog]
Law professor: Why I don’t allow laptops in class [Obscure Store]

Okay, we changed our mind. As some of you suggested, having disqualified NYU and the University of Michigan, we will stage a semifinal between the two schools they previously defeated: UT Austin and Columbia.
So here are the new “final four” match-ups (the new Texas-Columbia contest, and the existing UVA-Georgetown one):

We’re all in favor of school spirit. We encourage you to email the poll to others and encourage them to vote.
But please do not employ scripts, clickbots, or other non-human voting tools. Thank you.

Sigh. We’re sorry it had to turn out this way. But perhaps it’s oddly appropriate for a ridiculous poll to have a ridiculous ending
According to the folks at Vizu, and as noted by many commenters, both NYU and the University of Michigan were guilty of improprieties in their recent March Madness match-up. As a result, we are disqualifying NYU and Michigan from competition.
The two schools duking it out in the other semifinal, UVA and Georgetown, will BOTH advance to the finals. Here’s the tournament history:
law school 4a tournament brackets.GIF
Update: The commenters have convinced us. We’ve decided to let the schools that NYU and Michigan previously defeated, Columbia and Texas, face off in a semifinal. You can vote in that match over here.
Earlier: ATL March Madness: The NYU-Michigan Poll

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