Blogging

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyWell, maybe not quite. But we do find it interesting that, in the recent wave of publicity over Aaron Charney’s amended complaint, Sullivan & Cromwell’s public relations team at Sard Verbinnen reached out to us. They emailed the following statement to us:

“This is just a rehash of his original, now dismissed, complaint with the addition of some unsubstantiated allegations. We will continue to defend the Firm vigorously against these same baseless claims. Sullivan & Cromwell remains committed to fostering an inclusive workplace environment for all of its lawyers and staff and is proud of our track record of promoting diversity.”

It’s not a particularly exciting statement; but we were excited to receive it. Although they’ve been working extensively with the mainstream media over the past few months, Sard Verbinnen — which S&C hired specifically for L’Affaire Charney (a different media relations shop handles the firm’s general publicity) — had never contacted us before.
And we weren’t the only “new media” types to get the message. The PR gurus also emailed their statement to two leading Charneybloggers: Lavi Soloway and Professor Arthur Leonard.
Not to be outdone, Aaron Charney’s lawyers spoke to us on the phone. We had a quick conversation the other day with Dan Alterman, of Alterman & Boop, who had this to say:

“The amended complaint is a wonderful opportunity for us to get this case focused back on the main issues — especially the discrimination and retaliation claims.”

Public relations firms reaching out to us; lawyers talking to us on the telephone. We feel so… legitimate!
Charney v Sullivan & Cromwell, Take 2 [Arthur Leonard / Leonard Link]
I Received This Email, Moments After Posting About Charney’s Amended Complaint [Lavi Soloway]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIf you are still participating in any of the bizarre discussions from Friday morning’s open thread — which covered such diverse topics as open houses in Houston, childhood sleepover experiences, and the hipster quotient of the New Yorker — please don’t let us stop you. You can join in the fun by clicking here.
But if you’re looking for a forum for discussing subjects that are a bit more germane to ATL, such as associate pay raises and clerkship bonuses, then this new open thread is for you.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend; we’ll see you on Monday.

Alex Kozinski.jpgDespite his recent public criticism of blogs, we’ve always viewed that colorful legal genius, Judge Alex Kozinski, as a great friend of blogging.
Judge Kozinski’s nomination of himself as a “judicial hottie” played a crucial role in the development of our original blog, Underneath Their Robes. And he has been a supporter of our blogging over the years. Even his criticism of us has been constructive and well-intentioned (even if harsh).
But if Judge Kozinski has soured on blogging, perhaps it is showing through in his jurisprudence. Check out today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit in Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com (PDF).
We haven’t finished reading the opinions just yet. But based on Robert Loblaw’s this write-up, which provides a helpful summary and pellucid analysis, the decision doesn’t look like good news for bloggers — or any other websites that host user-generated content.
Sigh. This whole “blogging” thing ain’t as much fun as it used to be.
Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC
[U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (PDF)]
Important Ninth Circuit Decision on Websites’ Legal Immunity under the CDA [Decision of the Day]
Earlier: Kozinski On Blogs: “Hateful Things”

soccer field Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re a sucker for soccer — which is one of the world’s most popular sports, and which may soon take off on these shores, thanks to the arrival of David Beckham — then you should definitely check out the Volokh Conspiracy guest-blogging of our good friend and former co-clerk, Professor William Birdthistle.
Here’s a teaser, from Birdthistle’s first post:

I attempt to discern the cause of the deterioration of World Cup soccer into [such a] deplorable state. My conclusion, which I’ll explore further in coming posts, is that the rewards and punishments that referees have in their arsenal are too crude and too capable of determining the outcome of the game. The power of referees to work a game’s bouleversement with one blow of the whistle — either by sending off a star player or awarding a penalty — places officials at the center of the game.

Players then have a strong incentive to attempt to influence referees, often by bearing false witness to the facts with dives and operatic petitions. This phenomenon appears to be exacerbated at the quadrennial World Cup, where teams play relatively few games for enormous stakes and where caution and calculation often trump free-flowing football….

My proposals for addressing the situation, which I will also discuss further in future posts, focus primarily on ways of diluting and refining referees’ power.

For more thoughts, including details of his reform proposals, check out the links collected below.
Football Most Foul [Volokh Conspiracy]
The Universal Game [Volokh Conspiracy]
William Birdthistle, Guest Blogging [Volokh Conspiracy]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGPlease treat this post as a weekend open thread for discussion of associate pay raises, clerkship bonuses, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
There are a million things we want (and need) to write about. But we have a fairly full weekend planned, in terms of non-ATL-related activities. So you might not hear from us until Monday — unless Alberto Gonzales resigns, or New York firms raise to $200K (neither of which is happening anytime soon).
In recent weeks, current and future Biglaw associates have expressed gratitude to Above the Law for helping to increase their compensation. Even though we know ATL has a few influential readers — managing partners, hiring partners, and recruitment coordinators at top firms (we’ll keep them nameless) — we think our influence is exaggerated.
Nevertheless, some of you do believe that ATL deserves some credit for putting more dollars in your pocket. And some of you have asked us, in emails and in comments, what you can do to give back to this site.
All we ask is that you keep on reading Above the Law (and encourage everyone you know to read it as well). But if you’d like to do more, some suggestions appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skaddenfreude: Weekend Open Thread, and Shameless Plugs”

Anonymous Lawyer Above the Law blog.JPGHey, guess what, ATL readers? Here’s your chance to win free stuff!
Happy news: Anonymous Lawyer — Jeremy Blachman’s very funny novel about law firm life, based on his wildly popular blog — is now out in paperback. Hooray!
To learn more about the book, check out the hilarious website for Anonymous Law Firm LLP. Or read our review, from the New York Observer.
To celebrate this occasion, guess what? Thanks to the generosity of the publisher, Picador, we are giving away five copies of the paperback Anonymous Lawyer to lucky ATL readers. Exciting!
Here’s how to participate. Send a blank email to anonymouslawyergiveaway AT gmail DOT com (or just click here). We will pick five winners, at random, and notify them by email.
Good luck!
Anonymous Law Firm LLP [official website]
Anonymous Lawyer [Amazon.com]
Way Better Than Briefs: Legal Minds Turn To Blogs [New York Observer]

51st and Broadway Above the Law blog.JPGDo you work for a law firm in Midtown Manhattan? If so, feel free to drop in and say hello to your undersigned writer.
Last night we drove up from our regular base of operations, Washington, DC, to the Big Apple. Right now we’re hanging out, and working from, the Starbucks on the northeast corner of 51st and Broadway.
If you have some gossip you’d like to share — stuff that’s too juicy to send us by email — please swing by. Or just come by and say hi. (And do leave us with one of your business cards, so we can add you to the list of tipsters we use to verify information about specific firms.)
Hope to see some of you later today, when you’re on a lunch or coffee break. Thanks!
(After the jump: A random photo we took this morning, while walking through Rockefeller Center, of Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, of the Today show, with Antonio Banderas.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Programming Note: ATL Office Hours in New York”

DealBreaker DB Dead Horse Media Above the Law blog.jpgLaw-related stories are proliferating over at our big sibling site, DealBreaker. Here are three from yesterday afternoon alone:
1. Goldman Sachs Acquitted of All Charges. It’s good to be Goldman:

“In an effort to uphold the rule that the Masters of the Universe can pretty much get away with anything simply because they’re the Masters of the Universe (see, also: Jobs, backdating), a federal judge has ruled that Goldman cannot be included in a lawsuit by Fannie Mae shareholders.”

2. Dow Jones Insider Trading Watch: Two Charges, Dow Jones Director Scutinized. Hmm, this sounds a wee bit fishy to us:

“[T]he SEC filed a lawsuit against a Hong Kong couple, Kan King Wong and Charlotte Ka On Wong Leung, accusing them of insider trading. The couple had purchased $15 million of Dow Jones shares prior to the May 1st announcement.”

They liquidated the position after News Corp.’s unsolicited offer to boy Dow Jones, for a tidy profit of $8.2 million. More details here.
3. In the Future of a Defamation Lawsuit, Dimon Is the Law. Here’s a teaser, concerning the lawsuits that are flying between Dow Chemical and a former executive and board member: “It’s the legal equivalent of a John Woo action scene.”
You can check out the full post here.

Ernest Murphy Judge Ernest B Murphy Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… an ATL post not related to law firm pay raises!
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently issued a somewhat saucy opinion in a libel case brought by a state court judge, Ernest B. Murphy, against a New England tabloid, the Boston Herald. No, we don’t know who is more icky.
Given the demanding “actual malice” standard, libel cases can be tough to win — but in this case, the plaintiff prevailed. Judge Murphy won a $2 million verdict against the Herald. This verdict, as modified by the trial judge, was just upheld by the SJC.
Yesterday we sat down with the folks over at Gawker to chat about the case. Check out our IM conversation with them by clicking here.
Understanding The ‘Boston Herald’ Libel Case [Gawker]
Judge’s Libel Victory Against Paper Is Upheld [New York Times]
Murphy v. Boston Herald [Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (click on "Opinions" in lefthand column)]
Case Report for Ernest B. Murphy v. Boston Herald [MoreLaw.com]

gun pistol firearm Second Amendment Above the Law blog.jpgLiberal law professors can be pretty predictable in their tastes. Volvo stationwagons. Fair trade coffee. Guns.
Guns? Yes, guns. No, not gunners — guns. Firearms. Bang bang. The good ol’ Second Amendment.
According to a very interesting NYT article, by Adam Liptak:

In March, for the first time in the nation’s history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds. Only a few decades ago, the decision would have been unimaginable.

There used to be an almost complete scholarly and judicial consensus that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias. That consensus no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns.

In those two decades, breakneck speed by the standards of constitutional law, they have helped to reshape the debate over gun rights in the United States. Their work culminated in the March decision, Parker v. District of Columbia, and it will doubtless play a major role should the case reach the United States Supreme Court.

Legal academic debate with real-world ramifications? Wow. This truly is newsworthy.
Thoughtful blogospheric reactions from Jonathan Adler, Jack Balkin, Randy Barnett, and Michael Dorf, among others. We were most amused by Professor Dorf, who blog-slaps Liptak, before concluding his post in delightfully catty fashion:

Full disclosure: I spoke with Mr. Liptak last week and expressed skepticism (along the lines described above) about his causal claim. I guess I didn’t say anything quote-worthy.

HA. Hell hath no fury like a law professor not name-checked.
(Sorry, Professor Dorf — not everyone is as susceptible to your charms as Justice Kennedy. You may spend your entire life searching for a jurisprudential romance to match what you had with AMK at One First Street, back in the heady days of October Term 1991.)
A Liberal Case for the Individual Right to Own Guns Helps Sway the Federal Judiciary [New York Times]
Scholarship and the Second Amendment in the Courts [Dorf on Law]
How Liberals Saved the Second Amendment [Volokh Conspiracy]
Scholars and the Second Amendment [Volokh Conspiracy]
The Second Amendment is Embarrassing No More [Balkinization]

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