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

Joy Hanson Joy M Hanson Joy Hansen Larry Reeves Lawrence Reeves Laurence Reeves law librarians Above the Law blog.JPGThey can Shepardize like nobody’s business. They know the proper Bluebook form for CCH looseleafs, by heart. And they look really good in swimwear.

After announcing our Law Librarian Hotties contest, we received lengthy string cites of bookish beauties. From these nominees, we came up with slates of thirteen lovely ladies and six gorgeous guys.

After a first round of voting, we held runoff elections. And now, we proudly announce the winners.

Congratulations to the two hottest law librarians in America:




The runoff votes weren’t exactly suspenseful. Both Reeves and Hanson won by sizable margins:

Law Librarian Hotties Hottest Legal Librarian contest results Above the Law blog.JPG

No photo finish here; but the results strike us as eminently fair. Congratulations to our two deserving victors!

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of law librarian hotties (scroll down)

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe didn’t receive this information from a verified source at the firm, so please treat it as unconfirmed. We’re going to fact-check this information “blog-style”: we’re going to throw it out there, then wait for somebody to tell us it’s wrong (or to confirm it).
Anyway, here it is, from an email from an anonymous source:

On Tuesday, Williams & Connolly LLP raised its salaries across the board, retroactive to January 1. Starting salary for first-years is now $165,000.

1st years: 165,000.
2nd years: 180,000.
3rd years: 195,000.
4th years: 210,000.
5th years: 225,000.
6th years: 245,000.
7th years: 265,000.

You’ll note that these numbers are higher, at least in the most junior years, than what appears to be the new standard for Washington: 145/155/170/190. They’re also higher, at least in the first three years, than the new NYC scale (which also applies to the D.C. offices of New York firms): 160/170/185.
But this is consistent with the Williams & Connolly pay scale of years past. Their base salaries are somewhat higher than market; but they don’t pay year-end bonuses.
As noted, if you know this information to be incorrect — or if, on the other hand, you can confirm — please email us. Thanks!
Update: The information appearing above, concerning Williams & Connolly, has been confirmed.

Conrad Black Above the Law blog.jpgFormer media magnate Conrad Black is currently on trial in federal court in Chicago. Lord Black (at right) stands accused of fraud, racketeering, tax violations, obstruction of justice, and money laundering — serious stuff. He’s being defended by Edward Greenspan, one of Canada’s most colorful trial attorneys.
Greenspan — who went to law school with Black, by the way — can already claim the distinction of being “among Canada’s most famous lawyers.” And now “Fast Eddie” can add a new prize to his mantle: ATL Lawyer of the Day!!!
Greenspan recently got benchslapped in open court by a judicial hottie — and he clearly deserves some recognition for this achievement. For the gory details, we refer you to our big sibling, DealBreaker.
Congratulations, Mr. Greenspan! We look forward to more antics from you as the trial progresses.
Conrad Black Defense’s Routine Needs Tweaking [DealBreaker]
Où est Monsieur Black? [DealBreaker]

H Rodgin Cohen 2 Chairman Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL legal tabloid legal blog.JPGThank you, Sullivan & Cromwell, for not settling this case and putting the mess behind you. The ongoing saga of Aaron Charney v. S&C is providing lawyers across the country with hours of entertainment.
Each week brings some exciting new development or salacious revelation. And yesterday’s hearing in New York Supreme Court, before Justice Bernard Fried, was no exception to this rule.
Discussion and links, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: It Gets Better By the Day”

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgSome of you have wondered about the drop-off in ATL coverage of our favorite DOJ diva: Shanetta Y. Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section at the U.S. Department of Justice (“SPL”). Cutlar has been previously described in these pages as “deliciously imperious” and “a great diva,” and we’ve published a number of colorful stories about her.
We haven’t written much about Shanetta Cutlar lately because we haven’t gotten many new tips about her. Perhaps she’s keeping a low profile these days?
Fortunately, more grist for the SYC mill may be on its way, courtesy of Capitol Hill. From a tipster:

House Judiciary has an oversight hearing for Civil Rights next week. Not sure what day, but I’m trying to find out. I think SPL may be discussed.

And from another source:

The “scandal” of the firing of the US Attys will be the camel’s nose — a way to have full blown congressional hearings on DOJ, especially Civil Rights.

Oooh, exciting! We do hope that the House and Senate Judiciary Committees start sniffing around the Special Litigation Section. Maybe Chuck Schumer will become our truffle pig, unearthing tasty morsels about Shanetta Cutlar and her reign over SPL.
If you have any info about the upcoming oversight hearing — or, for that matter, any updates on what Shanetta Cutlar has been up to lately — please email us. Thanks.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Shanetta Cutlar (scroll down)

Janet Reno hairstyles Above the Law blog.jpgA friendly warning to Peter Lattman and the WSJ Law Blog: “Hey guys, step off our turf!”
In a post this morning comparing President Bush’s purge of U.S. Attorneys with President Clinton’s, the WSJ Law Blog includes the graphic at right, showing three different WSJ “hedcuts” of former Attorney General Janet Reno. They pose the following “Law Blog Bonus Question”: “Which of Reno’s three dot-drawings do you prefer?”
Despite the attempt to mask the inquiry as focused on “dot-drawings,” we see this post for what it really is. It’s a clear incursion into our blogging territory: evolving hairstyles of legal celebrities (e.g., Judge Janice Rogers Brown).
So back off, guys! We leave the options backdating and Vioxx litigation to you. Why can’t you leave the hair and make-up of former AGs to us?
WSJ Law Blog readers agree with us. Right now there are a ton of comments to the post, but only two address the “Bonus Question” — which one of them criticizes as “rather inappropriate.”
Inappropriate for an MSM blog about “law and business, and the business of law”? Sure. But certainly not inappropriate for an online legal tabloid.
Time for a poll. We know that ATL readers are very knowledgeable about hair. But just to be perfectly clear, in the graphic at right, the hairstyles are (left to right) Janet With a Perm, Janet With a Part, and Janet With Bangs.

Bush’s U.S. Attorney Purge Vs. President Clinton’s . . . Discuss [WSJ Law Blog]

Lewis Libby Scooter Libby I Lewis Scooter Libby Above the Law Blog.jpgOkay, ‘fess up. You didn’t follow the Scooter Libby trial that closely. It struck you as kinda confusing, kinda boring.
You didn’t read that much about the trial while it was going on — maybe an article on the day of opening arguments, and an article or two after the verdict. Whenever the Libby case came up at cocktail parties, you tried to steer the talk towards Britney’s shaved head, afraid of your ignorance being exposed.
Live in fear no longer. Just read this excellent Talk of the Town piece by Jeffrey Toobin, which tells you all you need to know about the case, in clear and concise fashion.
(We heart the MSM! They write about stuff like the Libby trial, so we don’t have to.)
Talk of the Town: Verdicts [New Yorker]

Lawdragon Lawdragon lawyer rankings Above the Law blog.jpgThis is interesting. Here’s the explanation, from Lawdragon:

Where did the nation’s leading lawyers and judges go to law school?

Here is the Lawdragon 25 Leading Law Schools, based on where members of the Lawdragon [rankings of top lawyers and judges] graduated law school….

Lawdragon reports on lawyers nationwide, with a heavy emphasis on the states where there are the most practicing lawyers: California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Washington, D.C., Florida and Massachusetts. Schools that produce the leading practitioners in those states thus show up in our ranking more prominently than in other assessments. That still shouldn’t obscure the significant impact the University of Texas, Georgetown and UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall have in their markets. And while Columbia and NYU get plenty of recognition for the excellent legal education they provide, they have enormous impact in the nation’s most important legal market, New York.

Finally, the plaintiffs’ lawyers and judges. We’ve got a philosophy that they count too, which explains in part the placement of regional juggernauts like Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, University of Miami, UC Hastings and Fordham Law School in the Lawdragon 25. Bottom line: if you want to get great training to actually go practice law, you have a range of choices, some of which might surprise you.

No set of law school rankings would be complete without quibbles over methodology. Check ‘em out over at Leiter’s Law School Reports.
Top Law Schools [Lawdragon]
Top 25 Law Schools Based on… [Brian Leiter's Law School Reports]
Top 25 Law Schools by Graduates Among Top 500 Lawyers & Judges [TaxProf Blog]

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyLavi Soloway’s eyewitness account is available here. Good stuff!!! There are a number of juicy new revelations, which we’ll have more to say about in a subsequent post.
In the meantime, feel free to discuss the case and developments from the hearing in this open thread. Our main reaction: We’re disappointed to learn that Edward Gallion is no longer involved in this matter (and might find himself in a bit of hot water, too).
Messrs. Gallion & Spielvogel, you will be missed.
What Happened to the Notes Taken at the Settlement Conference? [Soloway]

Ann Banaszewski Ann S Banaszewski Justice Antonin Scalia drunk driver drunk driving Above the Law.jpgHer high-profile father continues to criss-cross the country, preaching the gospel of originalism.
But Ann S. Banaszewski, daughter of Justice Antonin Scalia, probably won’t be doing much traveling in the next six months. Unless someone else is at the wheel.
(Justice Scalia, as far as we know, hasn’t gotten any traffic tickets lately. But rumor has it that he can be an impatient driver himself.)
Scalia Daughter Won’t Fight Driver’s License Suspension [Chicago Tribune]
Judicial SIGHT-ation: The Wheels of Justice Scalia [UTR]

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