Books

Judge Vanessa Gilmore, a self-identified judicial diva.

Back in 2007, I declared Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore (S.D. Tex.) to be a judicial diva (a term I first popularized over at my original blog, Underneath Their Robes). Judge Gilmore earned this delicious distinction through such behavior as allegedly throwing objects at attorneys in open court and dumping motions in the trash for using the incorrect font.

Well, it appears that Judge Vanessa Gilmore was pleased rather than perturbed by her diva designation. As she told the Texas Lawyer, she used it in the title of her new book, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Tales From a Judicial Diva.

This is Judge Gilmore’s second book. Her first literary effort, A Boy Named Rocky, was “a coloring book for the children of incarcerated parents.” (They sure could use it — if any kids need to be taught to stay within the lines….)

Let’s learn more about Judge Gilmore’s latest book — and check out the delightfully ridiculous cover art….

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This is a truly innovative approach to helping at-risk children. This is a truly sad commentary on the state of our society. This is a great way to introduce children to the concept of having a lawyer. I can’t believe we need to explain to children why they need a lawyer. This is a tale of a comic book, and it is truly the best thing I’ve seen that is so terrible.

The ABA Journal has a fascinating feature about a four-page comic book called: I Got Arrested, Now What. It was created as a final project for the Youth Justice Board, a program run by the Center for Court Innovation in New York City. The board is comprised of public school high school students from the City.

One of the students on the board explained the need for this comic book:

“All of us came in with the mindset that we wanted to change something in New York City,” says Khaair, a senior at Francis Lewis High School in Queens who didn’t want his last name published. “I feel like the youth of New York City don’t have representation—and we really need a voice, especially for the stuff that involves us.”

And since this is New York City, the “stuff” that our youths need guidance on is what to do when they get arrested. You simply must check out this comic book…

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I am a lawyer by creation, but not by practice. I’m a lawyer technically, but I wouldn’t hire me to write your will.

– Columbia law professor Tim Wu, in an interview with the New York Times about his new book, The Master Switch.

There is nothing I hate more than people who try to use the law to change the facts of history or science. I hate when Creationists try to take their Sunday School teachings into science class. I hate when Confederates try to retell the “War of Northern Aggression” in a way that ignores the abject racism that started the entire conflict. And I hate when parents sue because history textbooks aren’t sanitized to include enough bunny rabbits and rainbows when they are educating children about slavery.

That last thing is new. I only realized parents like this existed when I read a story in the Macomb Daily (gavel bang: ABA Journal). Apparently an African-American parent got angry over “outrageous statements” in a textbook used in his daughter’s class. The outrage: the textbook used the n-word… in the context of teaching children about the history of slavery in this country.

He claims his daughter was traumatized by the book, and he’s seeking more than $25,000 damages from the school.

Please God, let’s hope he doesn’t get it. Everybody should be “traumatized” by slavery when they first hear about it in grade school. It was a goddamn traumatic thing to put people through. And we can’t live in a world where that trauma is banished from our history books….

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* Everyone’s favorite anti-gay crusader, Andrew Shirvell (pictured), has been suspended. [TPM Muckraker]

UPDATE: Shirvell just got fired, according to the Detroit Free Press, “for conduct unbecoming a state employee” (including misuse of state resources).

* Our colleague Bess Levin wants to know: Does Wall Street have a problem with felony charges? [Dealbreaker]

* Professor Ann Althouse wonders why people are talking about marrying tables and clocks. Personally we prefer shoe marriage. [Althouse]

* Professor Tim Wu, something of a cult figure at Columbia Law, is writing a week-long series of posts over at Slate based on his new book, The Master Switch. [Slate]

* Is NYU Law gearing up for Above the Law’s next Law Revue Video Contest? Here’s a musical tribute to the Erie Doctrine. [bl1y]

* What do military leaders think of a possible “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal? [Metro Weekly]

* Congrats to Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, who appears on this list of 10 famous defense lawyers (despite her own recent brush with the law). [Criminal Justice Degrees]

I wasn’t able to catch Larry King’s interview with Clarence Thomas’s ex-girlfriend, Lillian McEwen. I had prior commitments (how ’bout them Cowboys). But after reading reports all morning, I can see why her memoirs are stuck in the “manuscript” stage. There doesn’t seem to be any “there” there.

Perhaps the most interesting thing we learned is that Lillian McEwen would rather date a raving, porn-obsessed alcoholic than an angry, black conservative. Don’t get me wrong, I feel precisely the same way. But if this is all the “dirt” she’s got on Thomas, then it’s difficult to see how this materially impacts our understanding of the man.

And that’s assuming that everything she said is true….

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It was probably T.M.I. But that’s the way it is.

Lillian McEwen, a lawyer and ex-girlfriend of Justice Clarence Thomas, talking about how she showed her memoir (in which Thomas features prominently) to her daughter.

I don’t want to step on Oprah’s toes, but I have a book recommendation for you: Law of Attraction. No, it has nothing to do with this law of attraction. Yes, you will enjoy it.

This Law of Attraction is a novel by Allison Leotta, a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. It’s a fun, fast-paced read; I could hardly put it down, finishing it in two sittings. I concur with the blurb by Harvard law professor and criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz: “I loved this novel. Law of Attraction is realistic, gritty, and filled with twists and turns. Allison Leotta’s female lawyer character is compelling and engaging. This is a great read for anyone who loves legal thrillers, cares about domestic violence, or wonders how lawyers can live with themselves.”

(Disclosure: I also enjoyed Law of Attraction because it contains an Above the Law cameo. After the protagonist, assistant U.S. attorney Anna Curtis, gets in trouble, her misadventures wind up on ATL (pp. 217-18). The novel even contains fictionalized comments from the peanut gallery of Above the Law commenters — which are hilarious.)

I spoke with Leotta recently, while she was in New York to meet with her agent and do a book reading. We discussed such subjects as why, and how, she wrote her novel; the Department of Justice review process for the book; how she juggles her day job as a prosecutor, her writing career, and being the mother to two kids; and her advice to lawyers who want to become writers.

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Today is the official release date of Law & Reorder, a new book by Deborah Epstein Henry, a leading consultant to the legal profession. Henry, whom we’ve interviewed and written about before, is an expert on such topics as workplace restructuring, talent management, work/life balance, and the retention and promotion of lawyers — all topics that are covered in her book.

We chatted with Henry on Friday over the phone, about the changes taking place in the legal profession, whether they’re good news or bad news, and how law students and lawyers can navigate in this new environment….

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Molly Wei

* Professor Larry Lessig’s review of The Social Network. [New Republic]

* Dahlia Lithwick’s review of the big new Brennan biography, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel. [New York Times]

* Molly Wei, one of the two Rutgers students involved in the Tyler Clementi case, feels “attack[ed]” — but she’s hanging in there. [Celebitchy]

* Reports of a hunter’s death may have been greatly exaggerated, but they don’t entitle him to a defamation award. [Courthouse News]

* “Thinking of a Career in Law? Hahaha!” (Or: the U.K. legal market sounds a whole lot like ours.) [Charon QC]

* Can a lawyer use publicly available information on Facebook in a pending case without friending the person? [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Vanderbilt law professor and leading class-action scholar Richard Nagareda, R.I.P. [TortsProf Blog]

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