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

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney.jpgAs 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:


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.”

Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: A Request for Information

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:
ATL poll results Columbia Texas UVA Georgetown Above the Law blog.JPG
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.)

sc3 Zachary Fasman Zach Fasman Zack Fasman Paul Hastings Above the Law blog.JPG
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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: A Substantive Report on the Hearing”

This poster caught our eye when we visited Columbia Law School earlier this week:
Sullivan & Cromwell Columbia Law School blood drive Above the Law blog.JPG
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!”

Columbia Law School Blood Drive [CLS Public Calendar]

Adriana Dominguez 2 Brooklyn Law School Playboy Above the Law blog.JPGWe’ve been enjoying the story of Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School student who made a nude video for Playboy TV. And based on the number of people who have been visiting ATL by Googling her, it seems that we’re not alone.
We’d like to “own” this story, covering every aspect of it, no matter how trivial (as we’ve been doing with the Aaron Charney case). If you have any firsthand information about Adriana Dominguez, even if not terribly exciting, please contact us (subject line: “Adriana Dominguez”).
Here’s one such tip we received:

“The New York Daily News keeps on referring to her as a ‘brainy blonde,’ but that’s not entirely accurate. First, it’s a dye job. Second, she’s not what I would call ‘brainy.’ I know someone who is in her International Law class, and let’s just say she’s not a star pupil. She should spend more time with her books and less time naked before the camera.”

After the jump, we’ve posted a screencap of her MySpace page. It’s not terribly revealing because access to her full profile is restricted to her friends. But for those of you who can’t get enough of her, check it out.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Jurisdiction Stripper: Tips on Adriana Dominguez, Please”

Next time you hear a cell phone go off in a movie or at the theater, and think to yourself, “What an a**hole!”, remind yourself: Someday YOU might be that a**hole.
Watch this video, from the start of the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court finals, which we attended at Columbia Law School earlier this week. Pay special attention to what happens around the 18-second mark:

Yes, that’s right. The judges entered the room, their robes billowing out behind them. The court crier made the very formal and grandiose announcement: “Oyez, oyez…” The room fell into a solemn silence. And then, at that precise moment, our computer — which was in the process of turning on — made that annoying Windows start-up noise. Loudly.
One could feel a wave of horrified embarrassment sweep through the audience. Justice Alito chuckled, so hopefully he wasn’t too offended. But we were mortified (and rightfully so).
In our defense, this was a complete accident. We were in the process of setting up and turning on our computer, and we didn’t know when exactly the judges would be arriving. We turned our computer on, and it began the start-up process (which can take a little while). Unfortunately, just seconds after we turned it on, the judges made their entrance. And even more unfortunately, as the silence settled over the room, our computer made that colossally loud cyber-fart.
In any event, our apologies, Your Honors! Please do not blame the CLS audience for this rudeness. It was completely our fault.
We took some rough notes on the proceedings. They will probably interest you only if you attended the Moot Court finals yourselves. Or if you care about the hairstyles of Article III judges.
If you want to see our commentary, it’s available after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wherein We Embarrass Ourselves at the Moot Court Finals”

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney.jpgOur recent post about Aaron Charney and his well-to-do family background generated tons of discussion (about 90 reader comments). We’d like to pass along two pieces of additional information on the subject.
From a tipster who went to the same temple in the Syracause area (Temple Adath Yeshuran) as the Charney family:

“The Charneys do quite well for themselves with their stores. They never seemed to be wanting for cash, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that he’s got a trust fund.”

If Charney does come from such an affluent background, it may explain his willingness to “roll the dice” by pushing forward with his lawsuit against S&C. Someone from more modest means might have taken a more modest settlement, then moved on to a job at another firm. But someone with family money to fall back on might be more willing to shoot for a seven-figure payday, knowing that he could ride out even a lengthy period of unemployment with parental help.
But our source also has this to add:

“I’m not sure if Aaron Charney’s father is the only owner of the clothing store chain. The business may be a family business with more than one owner.”

We looked back at Bob Kolker’s profile of Aaron Charney for New York magazine. Kolker identifies Charney as “[t]he only son of an owner of a small chain of men’s clothing stores in the Syracuse area.” The indefinite article — “an owner,” rather than “the owner” — leaves open the possibility of multiple owners.
So this might dilute Charney’s patrimony, if other branches of his extended family also have their fingers in the dynastic till. Unlike, say, a chunk of the Wal-Mart fortune, multiple heirs from multiple families could be quite dilutive of Aaron’s share.
Does anyone know if Aaron Charney’s father is the sole owner of the Charney chain of stores? Anyone care to estimate what the chain’s annual revenue might be?
As always, if you can shed more light on any of this, please drop us a line.
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: Aaron Charney’s Doing Just Fine, Thank You

Adriana Dominguez 2 Brooklyn Law School Playboy Above the Law blog.JPGPrompted by various comments, here are two more polls on Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School student turned stripper:

If you’re seeking a more substantive analysis of this morning’s hearing in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, check out this post by Lavi Soloway.
A Law Unto Itself ? Aaron Charney v Sullivan & Cromwell Returns to Court [Soloway]

Everyone seems to have an opinion on Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School student who made a video for Playboy TV. We’d like to get a more systematic handle on people’s views:

Page 495 of 21561...491492493494495496497498499...2156