Blogging

FIRST! Assistant United States Attorney.

First amongst weird creation myths is that of the Mbombo god, who is said to have vomited up pretty much all of our world. Similarly, the story of how this website has been… thrown up is worthy of retelling. At its essence, it goes like this: A boy blogs about very sober legal issues in an incredibly earnest way and then the governor of New Jersey tells him to start Above the Law, The End. I may have missed some crucial details and got others flat-out wrong, but I think the kernel of truth is still in there somewhere.

At any rate, that boy was working for the United States Attorney’s office in Newark at the time. Doing anything on the internet, even if it was super-serious and incredibly sincere, could be considered controversial because of the position. The lawyers tasked with working in such a high-profile prosecutorial role must be seen as impartial, lest the cases they take on get tainted by their online presence.

Which is what makes it all the more surprising that history is repeating itself down in New Orleans, where two assistant United States attorneys have become embroiled in scandal after being caught commenting on not just the law in general (like our own dear leader), but the specific cases that came through their office.

It’s almost as if the New Orleans U.S. Attorney’s office is trying to outdo David Lat in some way. Which, I mean, trick please…

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Sorry guys, but I’m gettin’ out of here. Through the window, of course. Because why not?

So, it feels a bit surreal for me to say this, but today is my last day as an assistant editor at Above the Law. I wrote my first piece for the site, as a freelancer, nearly two years ago, and it’s been quite a ride since then.

As part of the ATL team, I attended the IP trial of the century, I’ve interviewed some incredible attorneys (and several less incredible ones), and I’ve written about Biglaw lawyers turned small business owners.

I’ve enjoyed working under the watchful eye of the ATL Commentariat, as well as the readers brave enough to send us actual emails. You all have kept me honest, kept my ego in check, and kept my spell-check working hard. I’ll miss you crazed internet goblins.

But it’s time to move on; it’s time to get goin’….

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What was the most anxiety-ridden ten minutes I’ve experienced under an editor’s gaze?

I had finished the manuscript of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law. My then-15-year-old son, Jeremy (who, like any teenager, would as soon spit in his father’s eye as praise him), said: “So, Dad, you wrote a book, huh?”

“Yes, Jere.”

Long pause. “Let me see the first chapter.”

I knew exactly what the kid was thinking: “I guess, if my Dad wrote a book, I should take a look. But this is going to be unbearable. So I’ll read a few pages and be done with it.”

Jeremy sat in the family room reading chapter one. I paced anxiously in the kitchen. My wife didn’t understand my anxiety: “Why are you so nervous? It’s only Jeremy.”

“Don’t you see? Jeremy’s my first truly neutral reader. He’s not a lawyer. He’s not inclined to read the thing. He won’t cut me any breaks. If Jeremy likes it, there’s a chance there’s actually an audience for this thing.”

After a few more anxiety-ridden minutes, Jeremy walked into the kitchen. After a seemingly endless pause: “Let me see chapter two….”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Writing For The Trash Or Writing To Be Read”

Okay, there’s a natural ceiling to how good a legal-themed Tumblr account is going to be. It’s not Binders Full of Women.

I don’t think any legal Tumblr can get to the Trap Her, Keep Her level. But come on, “Lawyer Men Explain Things To Me” should be good for a few laughs once it gets going, and “Life In Biglaw” is already out there making it happen….

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I realized this week my one-year anniversary writing for Above the Law had come and gone. For some of you, it may seem like I have way overstayed my welcome, and for others (especially the hundred or so who sent heartfelt letters to my Gmail account) it may have gone quickly. For me, the year has been, well, interesting.

I “applied” for the position of writing about in-house life in August 2011. To their credit, or not, Lat and Elie asked me to write about what life is like as in-house counsel. I figured that the opportunity would help keep my writing skills sharp, get my name around, and offer me an opportunity to interact with others in the same arena, or those who wanted to go in-house. All have come to fruition.

I looked through some of my past columns, and like other writers, am frankly embarrassed by some, and proud of others. Candidly, it is difficult to write a weekly column on a topic such as in-house life. I am awestruck that Mark Herrmann can do it twice weekly. You can discuss how you got here, why you got here, and how others can get here. Then, for the Biglaw folks, you talk about how to get work from here, how to write RFPs for here, and so on. Finally, you can discuss what you do, why you do it, and give some anecdotes about your failures and successes.

You can throw in some gossip from your stint as a clerk and in Biglaw, and some very veiled gossip about in-house life. You can even approach the precipice of being honest about your career, all the while keeping one hand behind you grasping to a root, as you must always remember that this is a highly public forum….

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Heather Clem

Sorry if I’m a little bit late to this story, but did you know that Hulk Hogan is suing Gawker for posting a sex tape of Hogan and his friend’s wife?

Let me back up: Gawker had a sex tape up with Hulk Hogan. Hogan initially used the Shaggy Defense, then came clean and contended that his friend Todd Clem (aka: Bubba the Love Sponge) set him up with his estranged wife, Heather Clem (pictured, and apparently able to be used as a floatation device in case of emergency).

Hogan claims that he didn’t know the sex (which took place six years ago) had been recorded, and he is suing Todd Clem, Heather Clem, and Gawker for posting the video.

And… did you know the Hulkster’s real name is Terry Bollea?

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Courtney Horne

You can’t keep a good story down. And the case of Courtney Horne v. Donald North, currently being tried in the court of public opinion, is a good story.

We first mentioned this ugly spat between a former law student at Southern University Law Center and her former criminal law professor in passing. Readers clamored for more coverage. So we did a follow-up post, a quick Quote of the Day — which racked up thousands upon thousands of pageviews.

So let’s give you what you want: more discussion of Courtney Horne, Professor North, and Southern University Law Center (SULC)….

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Ed. note: This column will be about entertainment, the law, and the intersection of those two things. If you know of a law-related personality you’d like to see interviewed here, please contact us.

Staci here. Are you interested in entertainment law, but don’t have a law license? Or even better, are you interested in entertainment law, but you have no legal training? Not to worry, my friend, because there’s still hope for you in the world of legal journalism.

This week, Mr. Legal Entertainment was able to chat with a leading legal journalist who covers the world of entertainment: Eriq Gardner, senior editor at the Hollywood Reporter and writer at the site’s Hollywood, Esq. blog. Garner gave us the scoop on what really goes into gathering background information and writing stories about our favorite celebrities’ latest legal affairs for the site….

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Courtney Horne

It amazes me that after [six] weeks in law school you now speak as an expert in a course where in my estimation you were mediocre at best. I accept my responsibility, as your professor, for trying to have Standards and Expectations. After thirty years in this profession, I am amazed that we have finally created a vehicle where cowards can express their accusations without retribution.

Southern University Law Center Professor Donald North, responding to Courtney Horne’s blog post explaining her choice to quit law school. Her post largely blamed the decision on Professor North and his class.

(Keep reading to see more of the back-and-forth between this former law school student and her ex-crim law prof…)

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If Arkansas allows medical pot, Clinton could finally inhale.

* A tipster writes: “PLEASE address this trash pile of an article… I’m begging you.” Well, here you go. [XOJane]

* The controversy over Elizabeth Warren’s phantom law license continues. Here’s more analysis of her allegedly unlicensed practice. [Legal Insurrection via League of Ordinary Gentlemen]

* Cravat swine and more? Court approves punishment for necktie thief. [Blog of the Legal Times]

* Where do Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent live? [TaxProf Blog]

* Check out this legal technology writing contest. Seriously. You could win $5,000. Hell, maybe I’ll enter too. [IT-Lex]

* Isn’t it oddly fitting that Bill Clinton’s home turf is the first southern state to consider allowing medical marijuana? [Fox News]

* Lat gives some protips on launching a successful law blog. [Law360 (sub. req.)]

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