Bad Ideas

Mrs Henderson.jpgThis summer associate (or “vacation schemer”) story comes to us from across the pond. An attorney in the London office of Shearman & Sterling had an interesting take on appropriate summer associate events.
Legal Week reports that a bunch of Shearman partners and attorneys took the “trainees” out to the bars one Friday last month. As the night wound down, one of the attorneys decided to take a female summer to The Windmill (NSFW). Not a wise decision:

Shearman & Sterling has dismissed an associate in its London office after a vacation scheme student made a formal complaint about his behaviour during a night out.

The student, who has subsequently accepted a training contract position with another firm, lodged a formal complaint to Shearman alleging that she was taken to Soho strip club The Windmill by the associate last month.

An internal investigation at Shearman has resulted in the associate in question being dismissed for bringing the firm into disrepute.

The attorney in question should have done more to defend himself. He could have cast this as a highly reputable outing… or at least a little bit reputable. The Windmill is not just any old strip club; it’s an historic strip club. From its (NSFW) website:

Great Windmill Street in London’s Soho… where Laura Henderson was to create her world famous theatre staging the first nude stage shows in London in 1931….

[A] host of great British comedians began their careers at the Windmill. Among them were Peter Sellers….

[T]he story of Mrs. Henderson has been made into a hugely successful film starring dame Judi Dench, nominated for Hollywood’s presige’s [sic] Oscar.”

We’d think that mentioning the names ‘Peter Sellers’ and ‘dame Judi Dench’ in England would lead to all being forgiven.
Perhaps it would have been wiser to take a male summer, who could have better appreciated the “historic nature” of the club. But hey, you never know. Some female summer associates, far from having a problem with strip clubs, actually enjoy performing at them.
Shearman sacks associate after student strip club complaint [Legal Week]
Earlier: Summer Associate of the Day: Girl Gone Wild

pearl necklace Wachtell Lipton Rosen Katz.jpgBased on your feedback, it seems that the story of office sex between two Skadden summer associates may just be urban legend. But we don’t feel that bad, since it’s a story that very well could have happened — and surely has, in other years or at other firms.
As promised, we’re going to make it up to you with a story from our former firm that is similar to the Skadden one. Having heard this tale from multiple sources during our time there, with no divergences in the pertinent details, we believe it to be true (although we do admit it’s old, from the mid-1990s).
The story, while perfectly safe for work, does include reference to a specific sexual act (hinted at by the image at right). If this offends your sensibilities, please stop reading here. We try to keep the ATL front page PG-rated.
But if you’re cool with this, read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Associate of the Day the Mid-1990s: The Necklace Maker”

Ms. B copy.jpgThis may not happen to men, but many a woman has put on an outfit and discovered later that it is more sheer than she realized in the dim light of her home. In sunlight, or in an office’s bright fluorescent glow, the underthings suddenly become visible — if one is lucky enough to be wearing underthings. Usually, a good friend will point this out to the inadvertently scandalously-clad woman.

A reader sent us an excerpt from a recent deposition transcript, currently making the rounds by email, which apparently captures an occurrence of just this sort. It seems that the not-to-be-named lawyer, aka “Ms. B” (pictured), did not have a good friend to point out the sheerness of her attire.

Instead, an expert witness did so, at the end of a long deposition. Then “Ms. G,” counsel to the witness, echoed her client’s concerns.

The exchange got a little testy. Check out the depo transcript, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Respectfully, I think he’s just referring to the fact that he can see your breasts.’”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgEveryone’s written about this story already; we don’t have much to add. Maybe we’ll write more later if the spirit moves us, but we’re not feeling terribly inspired right now.

In the meantime, check out the numerous links collected below, opine in the comments, and take our poll. We’re curious about what you think of legal hotties contests. We’ve done a few around here, including contests for America’s hottest ERISA lawyer and hottest law school dean, but we haven’t held one in a while. Whether we do more may depend upon the results of this poll.

For those of you who approve of, and never got the chance to vote in, the Skadden “Hottest Female Associate” contest — nominees here, winner here — it has been resurrected over at Gawker. Vote for your favorite SASMF hottie over here.

Not so hot [Skadden Insider]
The votes are in: It’s Mattie [Skadden Insider]
At Law Firm, Please Keep The Lady Objectification To A Low Roar. At Gawker, Go Right Ahead. [Gawker]
Blog Suspends Skadden ‘Hot Associates’ Contest, Says Memo Prompted Decision [ABA Journal]
Skadden Kills Blog’s ‘Hot Associate’ Contest [Legal Pad]
Skadden Blog’s ‘Hot Associate’ Contest Is Put on Ice [American Lawyer]
Skadden red-faced after ‘hottest lawyer’ row [Legal Week]
Skadden Insider: Hot or Not? [WSJ Law Blog]

Star Simpson MIT student fashion Above the Law blog.jpgIn the wake of our recent post about a dubious defense, here’s another one:

A lawyer for an MIT student held at gunpoint after she walked into Logan International Airport wearing what authorities believed was a bomb asked a judge to throw out the charges Friday, saying the device was a legitimate form of free speech….

Thomas Dwyer Jr., a lawyer for Simpson, said his client didn’t think her shirt would scare anyone. He said she’d been wearing the shirt for several days on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, and it had not alarmed anyone….

“People make these objects part of their identity. It’s a part of their personal expression,” he said. “They are legitimate forms of First Amendment expression.”

Writes Blogonaut:

[A] 9mm round from an airport police handgun might be a legitimate “free speech” reply to a person with a battery-powered rectangular device on their chest with flashing lights and apparent plastic explosive in their hands.

The marketplace of ideas. Ain’t it grand?
P.S. Is the Tom Dwyer involved in this case the well-regarded Thomas E. Dwyer, Jr., of Dwyer & Collora (formerly Dwyer, Collora & Gernter, before Nancy Gertner was appointed to the federal bench)? If so, we’d expect a former state and federal prosecutor to offer a more compelling defense.
P.P.S. In fairness to Dwyer, another argument he’s making — that state law does not clearly define a “hoax device” — seems stronger.
Woman charged with wearing fake bomb says device was free speech [Worcester Telegram via Blogonaut]
Earlier: From the Department of Dubious Defenses

* New accounting rules for M&A. [DealBook]
* Lilly contemplates $1 billion payment to settle civil and criminal investigations relating to its marketing of Zyprexa. [New York Times]
* NYPD officer accused of pimping child. [MSNBC]
* Ex-priest jailed for murder via exorcism. [CNN]
* Indiana man arrested for making his own crosswalk. [The Indy Channel]
* Nader takes steps toward another run for the presidency in 2008. [Bloomberg]

vote ballot Above the Law blog.jpgLast week was a busy one in terms of bonus news. In addition, we were prevented from publishing as much as we wanted by technical difficulties (which lie outside the jurisdiction of your undersigned blogger, a mere writer and not a tech person).
Our recent neglect of the “misbehaving lawyers” beat has given rise to a backlog of possible Lawyers of the Day. We’ve decided to clear the backlog by tossing out five nominees and having you vote on who should get the honor.
Click on each lawyer’s name to read more about their alleged misadventures. Then vote on who should be our Lawyer of the Day.
1. Todd Paris: This North Carolina lawyer was held in contempt after a judge caught him reading Maxim [quasi-NSFW] in court. “When [Judge Kevin] Eddinger gave Paris a chance to respond he apologized and ‘stated in his view the magazine was not pornography, was available at local stores and that he did not intend contempt,’ the [contempt] order said.”
2. Beth Modica: “A former suburban prosecutor and PTA president had sex with two underage boys, joined many other teens in booze and pot parties and kept it all a secret from her police chief husband, officials said Tuesday. Beth Modica, 44, was indicted on 35 counts alleging statutory rape, criminal sex acts, sex abuse and endangering children. Wearing an olive-gray suit and handcuffs, she pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Rockland County Court and was ordered held on $75,000 bail.”
3. Mikal Hanson: “Pierre police early Thursday morning arrested an assistant U.S. attorney, who is accused of drunken driving and speeding. Mikal Hanson, 52, an assistant U.S. attorney in Sioux Falls, was stopped by police shortly before 1 a.m. for speeding, said Pierre Police Chief Elton Blemaster. The arresting officer could smell alcohol on Hanson and asked him to perform field sobriety tests, Blemaster said. ‘Mr. Hanson didn’t complete them as instructed,’ he said.”
4. Canadian Senator Mobina Jaffer: “Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer is under investigation by the Law Society of British Columbia for allegedly overbilling one of her legal clients, including charging for 30 hours of work in a single day…. Jaffer has been called before the law society to account for more than $6 million in legal bills charged to her former client, a Catholic missionary order known as the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.”
5. Jay Grodner: From the Chicago Tribune (via Blackfive.net):

Jay Grodner, the Chicago lawyer who keyed a Marine’s car in anger because the car had military plates and a Marine insignia, finally got his day in court last week. Grodner pleaded guilty in a Chicago courtroom packed with former Marines. They came to support Marine Sgt. Michael McNulty, whose car Grodner defaced in December, but who couldn’t attend because he’s preparing for his second tour in Iraq….

“You caused damage to this young Marine sergeant’s car because you were offended by his Marine Corps license plates,” said Judge [William] O’Malley….

“That’s because there is a little principle that the Marine Corps has had since 1775,” the judge continued. “When they fought and lost their lives so that people like you could enjoy the freedom of this country. It is a little proverb that we follow: “No Marine is left behind.

“So Sgt. McNulty couldn’t be here. But other Marines showed up in his stead. Take him away,” said the judge and former Marine.

So those are the five contestants. Here’s the poll:

world's greatest dad mug Above the Law blog.jpgDefendants in deep doo-doo come up with all sorts of innovative defenses. Last week, we learned that fashion mogul Dov Charney, accused of sexually harassing a former employee, claimed in a deposition that when he appeared before the plaintiff wearing nothing but a strategically placed sock, he was merely testing a new line of underwear.
But this is even more dubious. At a murder trial underway in New York, a father accused of killing his seven-year-old stepdaughter has introduced into evidence a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug she once bought for him.
If the mug has writing on it, you must acquit.
‘World’s Greatest Dad’ Mug Seen In Nixzmary Trial [wcbstv.com]
Implausible defense department [Overlawyered]

The tipster who forwarded this invite to us pretty much said it all: “Weil: Are you joking?”
Weil is currently ranked #9 on the Vault 100. How many spots should they be docked for this?
(In case you’re wondering, yes, we did contact the firm for comment. We did not hear back from them.)
Star Jones Reynolds Above the Law blog.jpgWEIL GOTSHAL & MANGES — INVITATION TO DIVERSITY RECEPTION FEATURING STAR JONES
Please join us at our diversity reception for first year law students next Tuesday, January 22nd! Please also note that the time for the reception has changed to 6:00pm to 9:00pm.
Our guest speaker, Star Jones, will be arriving at 6:00pm to mingle, so plan to be there early! Further details are below.
For those of you who cannot view the JPEG, here are the details for the event:
Location: STK
Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Special Guest Speaker: Star Jones of truTV (formerly Court TV)
RSVP by Friday, January 18 to [xxxx] or (212) 833-[xxxx]
[xxxx]
Legal Recruiting Coordinator
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
767 Fifth Avenue
Star Jones Reynolds [Wikipedia]
Star Jones [official website]

Life's Short Get A Divorce billboard Fetman Garland Above the Law blog.jpg

As you know, here at ATL we have a weakness for lawyers who pose in the nude. So today’s pick for Lawyer of the Day should surprise no one. From Legal Blog Watch:

Remember the racy billboard ads posted by Chicago law firm Fetman, Garland & Associates that raised so much controversy last spring? The ads featured two photographs, centered on the chest of a scantily clad man and woman with the slug line, “Life’s Short. Get A Divorce.”

Now, one of the firm’s principals, Corri Fetman, has revealed something else about her firm’s revealing ads. In this press release issued today, we learn that “the sexy female in the ads is none other than Corri herself.” Fetman first shared “the naked truth” about the ads in the February 2008 issue of Playboy, which includes another law firm ad, a “provocative nude pictorial of Corri” and a new online column by Fetman, entitled Lawyer of Love.

Carolyn Elefant disapproves:

[I thought] that Fetman’s billboard ad was an effective form of advertising, because it made a point clearly, provoked an emotional response and generated buzz. But the nude spread in Playboy goes too far. As a pure marketing ploy, I’m hard pressed to figure out what kind of clients Fetman is trying to target by posing nude in Playboy.

Horny male ones? Surely men in need of matrimonial counsel are disproportionately represented among the ranks of Playboy readers.
Elefant anticipates this argument:

Even if her spread did generate some decent clients, Fetman would spend hundreds of hours culling through all kinds of calls from various perverts and weirdos contacting her for reasons other than aggressive legal representation.

Hehe. Hey Beavis. She said “aggressive legal representation.”
Lawyer With Racy Divorce Ads Exposed — Literally! [Legal Blog Watch]
‘Life’s Short, Get a Divorce’ Attorney Corri Fetman Bares All for Playboy.com [EarthTimes.org (press release)]
Corri D. Fetman bio [Fetman, Garland & Associates]

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