Bad Ideas

Hillary The Movie Above the Law blog.jpg* Actually, Judge Lamberth, calling a presidential candidate as “a European socialist” constitutes an endorsement — at least at most American law schools. [AP via WSJ Law Blog]

* News you can use: under the “Free File” program, opening tomorrow, the IRS and its private-sector partners will provide free tax preparation and electronic filing services to qualifying taxpayers (AGI of $54,000 or less — sorry, Biglaw denizens). [TaxProf Blog]

* The law school essay question: an unrecognized art form? [PrawfsBlawg]

* Practice pointer: don’t “recreate” correspondence to use as evidence in your case. Dramatic reenactments belong on television, not in court. [Feminist Law Professors]

* We just got called “the Matt Drudge of the legal world.” Our thanks to Neil Squillante for making our day. Now where did we put our animated siren GIF? [TechnoLawyer]

The firm of Dewey Ballantine was never known for being particularly PC. From a 2004 article by Anthony Lin, for the New York Law Journal:

Nearly one year after lawyers at Dewey Ballantine infuriated members of the Asian-American community by performing a stereotype-laden parody song at their annual dinner, the law firm is again dealing with allegations of racial insensitivity….

On Monday, an employee sent a firmwide e-mail advertising the availability of some puppies for adoption. Douglas Getter, a London-based American who heads Dewey Ballantine’s European mergers and acquisitions practice then sent a firmwide reply.

“Please don’t let these puppies go to a Chinese restaurant!” Getter wrote in his e-mail.

Adolf Hitler Dewey LeBoeuf Zieg Heil Sieg Heil Above the Law blog.jpgNow Dewey has merged with LeBoeuf Lamb. Happily, it appears their firm cultures are a good match. Check out this email exchange appearing below — and note that Partner X came from the LeBoeuf Lamb side of the marriage….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey & LeBoeuf: A Bunch of Nazis?”

gorilla lawyer ad advertisement advertising Above the Law blog.jpgThe ethical rules governing advertising by lawyers are designed in large part to protect the public from misleading pitches. But maybe it’s the lawyers who need protecting — from themselves.
If these lawyers scratch themselves inappropriately during meetings, or hog the cold cuts at lunch, don’t say they didn’t warn you.
Magilla Gorilla, Esq. [copyranter]
Earlier: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My — Is It a Law Firm Ad Campaign?

Conde Nast Building Four Times Square 4 Times Square Skadden Arps Above the Law blog.jpgWondering where to spend New Year’s Eve this year? Well, if you’re in New York City, do you have any friends over at Skadden? Surely you must. Considering that the firm recently passed the 2,000 attorney mark, everyone has friends at Skadden (if they don’t work there themselves).
From an internal email by “New York office guru” Wally Schwartz, posted at the Skadden Insider blog:

Since our 4 Times Square office is located in such close proximity to New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebration many employees have rung in the New Year by viewing the festivities from our offices. For the most part these gatherings have been enjoyable and appropriate. However, during last year’s celebration there were several problems caused by an excessive number of guests, and, in some cases, excessive drinking.

[T]he following policies are being implemented for this year’s celebration:

Each employee is limited to inviting a maximum of three guests, each of whom must be registered with security….

Guests must be accompanied, or met, by their Skadden host in order to be admitted.

No alcohol will be permitted.

A New Year’s Eve celebration without booze? That sucks.
Moral of the story: If you’re spending New Year’s Eve at SASMF, get royally trashed before showing up at Four Times Square.
No vodka in the Skadden lemonade [Skadden Insider]

Hogan Hartson LLP Above the Law blog.JPGRemember those strange radio advertisements about Hogan & Hartson? We discussed them here and here. The ads went something like this:

Did you hire a Hogan and Hartson senior partner for bet the company liltigation? Was your case handled by a junior lawyer instead of the senior partner you thought you were paying for? Call 800-759-8611.

Well, Peter Lattman and the WSJ Law Blog have gotten to the bottom of this oddness. It turns out the ads, which ran in print as well as on the radio, were financed by a company called General Steel. Earlier this year, General Steel sued Hogan, alleging fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. From the Law Blog:

In July a judge in Denver dismissed all but one of the claims against Hogan and sent the remaining claim — essentially a fee dispute — to arbitration. Hogan says General Steel owes the firm around $300,000; General Steel wants its money back and more. Click here for the judge’s order; and here for the judge’s order denying General Steel’s motion for reconsideration. General Steel is also appealing the judge’s ruling.

Hogan & Hartson says it’s not surprised by the Times ad, which has also run in D.C. newspapers (and on the radio). During the settlement negotiations, Hogan says that Knight had threatened a “shock and awe” campaign against Hogan if it didn’t pay General Steel money to settle its claims.

We are “shock[ed] and awe[d]” — by the tackiness of General Steel. If we’re ever in the market for prefabricated commercial steel buildings, they’re definitely not getting our business.
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Dissatisfied Hogan & Hartson Client [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Remember Those Weird Radio Ads Mentioning Hogan & Hartson?
Lawsuit of the Day: Have You Been Injured… By Hogan & Hartson?

Mannequin Movie Above the Law blog.jpgStatutory interpretation is fun! Check out this wacky fact pattern, perfect fodder for a criminal law final exam, from Court TV News (via Blogonaut):

In a 5-0 ruling, the [South Dakota Supreme Court] overturned the conviction of Michael James Plenty Horse for indecent exposure because he didn’t attempt to arouse others when he tried to have sex with the mannequin in a dark, closed room at a YMCA in Sioux Falls, S.D.

On Nov. 14, 2005, Plenty Horse, then 19, went to the YMCA’s Alumni Room, which housed memorabilia and photos of local high school students, including a mannequin wearing a band uniform, on the second floor of the building.

Once inside the empty room, he closed the door, turned off the lights, took the mannequin over to a desk and began trying to have sex with it, according to court documents.

A security guard opened the closed door, turned on the lights and saw Plenty Horse on top of the partially undressed mannequin, his pants down and a wadded piece of paper in his hand, court documents said.

Plenty Horse immediately rolled off the mannequin and began adjusting his pants when he saw the security guard, according to the ruling. When questioned by police, he said he had not seen his girlfriend in a year.

Grounds for a temporary insanity defense? Wisely, his lawyers took a different approach:

Plenty Horse’s attorney argued throughout the legal fight that, while what the young man did with the mannequin would likely offend people, he did not “flash” his genitals “in hopes of being observed, thereby gratifying himself sexually.”

The defense succeeded in getting him off:

“Nothing establishes that his conduct was done with the specific intent to generate sexual arousal or gratification by the act of publicly exposing, displaying or offer to the public view, his genitals,” the ruling said. “Therefore, the defendant’s act, lewd though it may have been, does not fall within the purview of the indecent exposure statute.”

Good stuff. You can read the full opinion here (PDF, via How Appealing).
Sex with a mannequin? S.D. Supreme Court says keep it behind closed doors [Court TV via Blogonaut]
State v. Plenty Horse [Supreme Court of South Dakota (PDF) via How Appealing]

James Shull Judge James Michael Shull James M Shull Above the Law blog.jpgOn some days, the posts just write themselves. From Blogonaut:

James Michael Shull is no longer a Virginia Judge, thanks to the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court that unanimously upheld his removal from the bench.

Shull’s misconduct on the bench included ordering a woman to pull down her pants in open court during a hearing—ostensibly to view a claimed injury—exposing everything not covered by a pair of g-string panties the woman was wearing.

If she was humiliated, she deserved it. What was she doing in a g-string? Everyone knows that acceptable courtroom attire is a sober black skirt suit — with granny panties underneath.

Schull also decided child custody matters by tossing a coin in the air, initiated ex-parte contact with witnesses outside the presence of the attorneys for either side in a dispute, and was discourteous to litigants.

Independent of making them strip in open court, of course.
Judge Defrocked for Deciding Cases by Coin Toss, Making Woman Pull Pants Down in Court [Blogonaut]

National Boss's Day National Bosses Day Above the Law blog.jpgLooking for a way to earn some brownie points? Wish your boss a happy National Boss Day!
Yes, that’s right. Today is National Boss Day. Here’s some history:

• Began in 1958 when Patricia Bays Haroski, then an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Ill., registered the holiday with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

• Ms. Haroski chose October 16, her father’s birthday, as the date for National Boss Day because she felt he was an exemplary boss.

• National Boss Day has become an international celebration in recent years and now is observed in countries such a England, Australia and South Africa.

So secretaries, make sure the coffee you fetch today is piping hot. Associates, put your heart into that document review.
And answer the phone on the second ring when the assigning partner calls you at 6:30 PM. Since today is National Boss Day, it’s the least you can do.
National Boss Day 2007 [Hallmark]

I Love New York 2 Tiffany Pollard Tiffany New York Pollard.JPGWe just caught the second half of I Love New York 2 (previously discussed here and here). Wow.
Even by the debased standards of reality television, the show couldn’t be any more trashy. We felt our IQ plummeting as the minutes passed. We won’t tune in next week, since we don’t have the points to spare.
And no, we’re not TV snobs. Our favorite shows include ANTM, Gossip Girl, and Desperate Housewives. We like good trash TV as much as, if not more than, the next guy (or girl). But it has to be quality trash, if that makes any sense. (As for defining quality trash, we cite Justice Stewart: we know it when we see it.)
But look, don’t take our word for it. From a commenter (one of the few to opine on the show itself, as opposed to affirmation action, the legal academy, and the plight of minorities in America):

Since I’m not arguing about race, HLS, Obama or any of these issues, my post probably doesn’t belong. But I was personally quite amused to [see] a Big Law associate on my secret vice: vh1 reality programming….

Though I would have to say, seeing as how law firms are in the business of questioning the “good judgment” of associates, I think exhibiting an interest in dating NEW YORK [a/k/a Tiffany Pollard] is clearly a poor example of judgment.

She’s crazy, looks like a [transsexual] with a cheap breast enhancement, and did I forget to mention CRAZY?

Frighteningly enough, the exact same description — “crazy, looks like a [transsexual] with a cheap breast enhancement, and did I forget to mention CRAZY” — also applies to Tiffany “New York” Pollard’s mother, Sister Patterson. While we harbor a weakness for strong, African-American women, we want them to look like women (and work at the Justice Department).
And what about the fate of the two legal eagles on the show — David Otunga, a Harvard Law School graduate and former Sidley Austin associate, and Juan McCullum, a 2L at Mississippi College of Law? As you can see from the show’s Wikipedia page, which has already been updated with the results of tonight’s episode, they’re both still in the running.
And Christopher Columbus Langdell is turning over in his grave.
I Love New York 2 [VH1 (official website)]
I Love New York 2 [Wikipedia]
Earlier: Sidley Hates on Old People, Reality TV Stars
He Feels Pretty, Oh So Pretty

David Otunga Sidley Austin I Love New York Above the Law blog.jpgLaw firms love free publicity. Especially law firms that have been in the news for having to pay $27.5 million to settle age discrimination claims by former partners.
Or maybe not:

David Otunga, a 2006 graduate of Harvard Law School and former associate at Sidley Austin, appeared in the first episode of I Love New York 2 on VH1 last night.

In case you’re not familiar with the show, here’s a synopsis:

“Tiffany “New York” Pollard is jumping back into the dating pool to find the man of her dreams. A fresh crop of twenty men are brought together to compete for her heart and this time the selection process has a twist….some of the chosen contestants vying for New York’s heart have been hand-picked by online users and some have been chosen by Tiffany’s outspoken mother, Sister Patterson.”

Back to our tipster:

[Otunga] was brought in as one of three or four “Mama’s Boys” (potential suitors selected by New York’s mother) and nicknamed “Punk.” He told New York that he was perfect for her, since he was an HLS grad and a lawyer at “one of the top law firms in the world.”

Unfortunately, that law firm — Sidley Austin — didn’t appreciate his appearance on the show, and the firm recently “suggested” to him that it may be in his best interest to pursue his “acting career” instead of his legal career. He’s no longer on the firm’s webpage.

More after the jump.

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