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

From the New York Times home page, as of 11:30 PM on Wednesday:
New York Times Kyle Sampson Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpg
Is this, like, a racial slur or something? Granted, it’s a buffalo-buffalo, not a water buffalo; but still…
The NYT subsequently fixed this photo screw-up (but not before an enterprising ATL reader took a screenshot). The Timesfolk replaced the buffalo-and-snowmobiles photo with a sinister-looking Kyle Sampson, accompanying Alberto Gonzales on an earlier visit to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sampson’s testimony begins at 10 AM today. We’re looking forward to it!
Former Key Aide Testifies Today on Gonzales’s Statements [New York Times]

(This is a continuation of an earlier post. We’ve broken up the four polls for formatting reasons.)

Earlier: ATL March Madness: Law Schools, Round 2

We just announced the results of ATL March Madness: Round 1. And you know what that means: Round 2!
Update: Two of the four polls appear below. For formatting reasons, we are moving the other two polls to a separate post.

Hey, guess what? Seyfarth Shaw held some “focus groups” with its associates, and the focus groups told them: WE WANT MORE MONEY!!!
And Seyfarth Shaw, despite prior expressions of reluctance, decided to go along. Their memo, announcing associate pay raises, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skaddenfreude: Seyfarth Shaw Leaves the List of Shame”

law school 2b tournament brackets.GIFThe first round of ATL March Madness is over. And we have some exciting results to announce — including a number of big-time upsets.
(If we had started the contest just a little bit later, we could have based it on the brand-new U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. But we didn’t, and there’s nothing to be done about that now.)
To see the current state of the brackets, click on the thumbnail image at right. Here are quick summaries of the eight match-ups that just took place:
1. Texas defeats Yale, 54-46
Oh well — upsets happen. Our alma mater gets sent home in the first round of the tournament. Ouch!
(But yeah, New Haven kinda does suck. The sky overhead was grey for all three years we were there.)
2. Michigan defeats Berkeley (Boalt Hall), 51-49
This one was a squeaker that went well into overtime. But in the end, the Wolverines devoured the sandal-wearing hippies of northern California.
3. NYU defeats Northwestern, 68-32
A veritable rout. Northwestern has been doing pretty well lately in terms of getting Supreme Court clerkships for its graduates. But the Biglaw placement opportunities available to NYU grads can’t be beat.
4. Columbia defeats Cornell, 71-29
An even bigger defeat. It’s tough to compete with the Manhattan heavyweights — but NYU and Columbia will face each other in the next round. Who will prevail in this enduring rivalry?
5. Chicago defeats Duke, 56-44
The weather sucks in Chicago; but you do get a pretty decent legal education. And the Duke campus was shaken by controversy earlier this year. (No, not THAT controversy…)
6. Georgetown defeats Harvard, 52-48
This battle of the behemoths concluded with a major upset: Georgetown took down the #3 seed, Harvard Law School. Perhaps HLS was hurt by the embarrassing antics of its LLMs?
7. UVA defeats Penn, 69-31
Want a Wilkinson clerkship? Go to UVA. Also, Penn probably wasn’t helped by that whole shooting incident.
8. Stanford defeats UCLA, 63-37
Northern California versus Southern California is one of our nation’s great regional rivalries. And this time around, the Bay Area prevailed.
After being ejected from March Madness in the first round, UCLA grads will have to content themselves with L.A.’s beautiful weather and plastic-surgery-enhanced population — and their school’s great track record of turning out judicial divas, like Judges Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Cir.) and Kim McLane Wardlaw (9th Cir.).
We’re putting together the polls for round 2, which should be available shortly. So check back soon!
Earlier: ATL March Madness: Law Schools, Round 1 (Part 1)
ATL March Madness: Law Schools, Round 1 (Part 2)

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyWe had three ATL reader polls going concerning Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell:
1. What should Aaron Charney do next?
2. Assuming Aaron Charney’s allegations are true, how much would you award him?
3. Whom do you support in Charney v. S&C?
Anyway, we just closed ‘em. Thanks to everyone who voted.
You can review the poll results, and vote in the new version of our Charney v. S&C head-to-head match-up, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: ATL Poll Results”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWhen we were drawing up our LIST OF SHAME (latest version here), Squire Sanders & Dempsey got dropped along the way. To make the list more manageable, we limited it to firms with a significant New York presence.
Some readers appealed that decision. These two comments are representative:

“The updated List of Shame doesnt include some firms like Squire Sanders and others anymore. I wonder if that’s because they matched (I dont think they did) or because they don’t have big NY offices, so supposedly they shouldn’t be on the list to begin with. If it’s the second explanation that’s right, then we have to get them returned to the List of Shame”.

“PLEASE add Squire Sanders to the list. They’re actively seeking a larger New York presence (currently 2 associates). And they certainly suck as much as any of the other firms on the list. Give them the credit they’ve worked so hard to achieve. Pretty please.”

We’ve also heard, through the grapevine, about a general lack of transparency at SSD concerning associate compensation. So we thought that it might be worth poking around — especially in view of this recent comment:

A post on the Greedy Ohio website indicates that Squire Sanders has raised first year salaries outside of Ohio. Can anyone confirm or deny? Any add’l information?

Is this correct? Do you have any other information about Squire Sanders & Dempsey? If so, please comment on this post, or email us (subject: “Squire Sanders & Dempsey”). Thanks.
Re: any info on JD salaries [Greedy Ohio]

Law School in a Box Above the Law blog.JPGThe guy who wrote this Craigslist post, who wants out of Biglaw after only six months, is probably kicking himself right now.
Why did he blow six figures on an NYU legal education? Why didn’t he just buy this product instead?
P.S. We assume the CL posting is real. Of course, since it’s anonymous, it could very well be a fake.
P.P.S. Speaking of things that come in boxes, if you haven’t done so already — and if you’re not in the office — check out this SNL video (NSFW).
Law School in a Box [Mental Floss]
Lawyer From Top Firm, NYU JD, CA Bar, for Non-Legal Ent & Media Job [craigslist]
“Scrupulous Editing Abilities” [Prettier Than Napoleon]
Earlier: Non-Sequiturs: 03.27.07

Monica Goodling 5 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgIn our post from yesterday about Monica Goodling, we asked for insights and tidbits about this high-profile Justice Department lawyer. The post generated an avalanche of comments.
We also received a few emails (although not as many as we might have liked). Here’s one:

I went to high school near Messiah College, and I knew several people named Goodling who went to high school with me. According to U.S. Search, there’s a woman named Monica Marie Goodling who lived in York Haven, PA. The previous congressman from the district including York Haven was Bill Goodling, so she may be distantly related or a granddaughter.

Does anyone know if there’s any relation? We wouldn’t be surprised. It does seem that Monica M. Goodling is well-connected in Republican circles. According to one commenter, she previously worked as a lawyer at the Republican National Committee (RNC). Another claims that she owes her “considerable political mojo” to Karl Rove.
Update: A trusted source tells us that Goodling’s “mojo” comes “not from Karl Rove, but from Barbara Comstock, for whom she worked at the RNC. When Comstock moved to DoJ as head of the Office of Public Affairs, she brought MG with her as her assistant.”
Many of your comments about Monica Goodling were rather harsh. Here’s an email we received that we pass along to add some balance:

I feel compelled to write in, because of the number of people questioning [Monica Goodling's] intelligence and integrity (though I guess that’s to be expected in a public forum)….

Whenever I spend time with her, I am struck by her intelligence, her competence, her dedication to her country, her integrity, and her commitment to her values.

Anyone who knows her at all would not question whether she acted with integrity in this instance. For the people who question how she got her job, she got her job because she works extremely hard and is very good at what she does. I didn’t even know she went to Regent. She is just as smart as most Harvard and Yale grads I know.

We thank our sources for their contributions. Once again, if you have firsthand knowledge of Monica Goodling — as opposed to opinions based on what you’ve read (which we all have) — please drop us a line. Thanks.
DC Picnic Photos [Regent University]
Earlier: Do You Know Monica Goodling?

John Merrett Judge John Merrett gun pistol Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re giving this guy our “Judge of the Day” award, ’cause there’s no telling what he might do if he didn’t get it. From the Florida Times-Union:

A Jacksonville judge pulled a handgun in his courtroom after a spectator attacked a defendant.

The fracas occurred Friday after a crime victim’s father hurdled a railing and punched the handcuffed defendant.

Circuit Judge John Merrett then handed his gun to a clerk for safekeeping when he realized bailiffs had subdued the attacker. He met with the man in his chambers and later ordered him released without bail even though he was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors.

Judge Merrett is awesome. When he ran for office, he pledged that he would “do whatever was necessary to give defendants and the public speedy trials.” And that includes whipping out a pistol in open court!
Of course, a whiny PD complained about Judge Merrett exercising his Second Amendment rights:

Most judges in Duval County have concealed weapons permits and have gone through firearms training even if they don’t carry a gun. Merrett, a former assistant state attorney, said he has had extensive firearms training.

Duval County Public Defender Bill White said the incident was scary enough for lawyers in the courtroom that he plans to talk to the chief judge about disarming the judges.

Thankfully, this effort probably won’t get much traction:

The chief judge said he encourages all the judges to receive firearms training and obtain concealed weapons permits.

Let’s hope this trend of judges packing heat under their robes continues. There are some encouraging signs. We hear that a certain elderly female judge, in the Southern District of New York, has a fondness for firearms (and carries a concealed weapon). Fantastic!
P.S. We can’t say we’re entirely surprised by this story. Doesn’t Judge Merrett look like a bearded version of Scott Savol, the former American Idol contestant who was charged with misdemeanor assault?
Judge Pulls Pistol in Court [Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)]
Merrett takes lead as new judge in the 4th circuit [Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)]

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