Books

* In a Supreme Court decision split across gender lines, prosecutors can now get a do-over on criminal charges without double jeopardy, even if an otherwise deadlocked jury unanimously rejected them. [New York Times]

* And yet another day ended without a verdict in the John Edwards campaign finance trial, but the jury asked to review every exhibit in the case. The former presidential candidate must feel like he’s being punk’d. [CNN]

* The DOJ found that two prosecutors in the Ted Stevens case committed reckless professional misconduct punishable by unpaid time off. Looks like they’ll be getting an extended Memorial Day break. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Hot on the heels of Obama’s announcement in support of gay marriage, yet another California judge has found that DOMA is unconstitutional (along with a provision of the tax code). [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Occupy Wall Street is suing for $48K over the destruction of the group’s “People’s Library” after their eviction from Zuccotti Park. But let’s get real, who wants used books that reek like patchouli and pot? [Bloomberg]

* More than one million “de facto spouses” in Quebec may soon be automatically married by the state against their will. Imagine how much fun it’ll be to get a divorce from someone you never actually married. [Slate]

* Two waitresses who claim they were fired for complaining about their former employer’s “no fatties” policy will get to bring their $15M lawsuit before a jury. Hopefully Peter Griffin isn’t a juror. [Law & Daily Life / FindLaw]

Most of the time, the orders coming from certain judicial divas seem slightly, if not overtly, ridiculous and unnecessary. Like, I’m pretty sure Eric Holder knows that he is supposed to respect the Constitution. And sometimes when people sneeze in court, it’s just allergies, not disrespect.

But occasionally, judicial homework assignments seem to make more than a little bit of sense. Take this recent ruling regarding a defendant from Richmond, California. For a 23-year-old accused of trying to sell a grenade launcher to undercover ATF agents in a deal that went wrong and led to a bunch of shooting, the condition of his bond release is quite simple.

In the words of LeVar Burton: take a look, it’s in a book…

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Consider this definition (which I’m borrowing from my own work):

Business development: Playing golf with old college buddies. As in: ‘Of course I charged the firm for my business development trip to Scotland.'”

If you’re in high school, you did not think that was funny.

If you’re in law school, you have a bemused look on your face.

If you’re 50 years old and work at either a large law firm or a large corporation, you may well have just laughed out loud.

Why is that? I submit that there’s a generational divide in legal humor.

When my daughter was in first grade, and her classmates were all losing their baby teeth, I picked up Jessica’s arm one day and felt around in her armpit. “Hey, Jessica,” I asked, “are any of your classmates losing their baby arms yet?”

Jessica didn’t laugh. Instead, she gave me a look that said, “I’m pretty sure that he’s kidding — but if he’s not, this really sucks.”

I got that same look recently from a bunch of students at the University of Chicago Law School . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: The Generational Divide In Legal Humor”


First things first: Thank you.

In response to my solicitation a couple of weeks ago, my “commenters” and correspondents provided ample material for the last chapter of my forthcoming book, Inside Straight. The “commenters,” I must say, will test the mettle of whomever ABA Publishing assigns to edit the manuscript. I asked my readers to propose a subtitle for the book, and I promised to re-print in the book the best (and worst) of the suggestions. To my eye, Inside Straight: The Annoying Ramblings of an Uber Douche and Inside Straight: But Outside? Pretty Into Dudes both made the cut. But I’m easy; the unfortunate editor at the ABA will have his hands full.

(Why seek to savage myself in public? Because roughly 97 percent of visitors to Above the Law never bother to look at the comments. I’d like the book to reveal to those typical readers the odd relationship that bloggers can have with their blaudience. That relationship is multifaceted; people should understand both the vitriol of the commenters and the wisdom of crowds.)

Thanks also to my correspondents (including one New York Times bestselling author, who’s also a lawyer) who provided some additional “advance praise” that we’ve posted at the pre-publication web page offering Inside Straight for sale.

But enough of that. Let’s get back to business: What annoying ramblings can the uber douche inflict on readers today? Business meetings! We have them all the time, and people misuse them. We meet with outsiders whom we’re trying to impress, and we then cross-examine each other and reveal that we’re not very impressive at all. We meet to solicit help from business folks, and the lawyers blather on about legal technicalities that neither interest nor inform anyone. How can we fix this?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: The Annoying Ramblings Of An Uber Douche”

* California is cutting prisons. That’s step one. Step two is to shuttle all the prisoners to Los Angeles. Step three involves a series of earthquakes… [McClatchy]

* Private equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman isn’t into 50 Shades of Grey (affiliate link). But David Lat apparently is. I dunno, if you are going to bother with that kind of stuff, you might as well hit Brazzers and get it over with. [Dealbreaker]

* I’m all for making sure that the Violence Against Women reauthorization prevents violence against women, not annoyances against women, or criticism against women. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Speaking of violence against women, I never blame the victim, but dating gun-toting dumbasses rarely helps matters. [Legal Blog Watch]

* @chrisdanzig: Stop bullying Obama @realjonlovitz. Leave him alone. Leave Obama alone! [Huffington Post]

* What do Vladimir Putin and former Dewey partner John Altorelli allegedly share in common? Are you sure you want to know? [New York Post]

I’ve relented.

Under extreme pressure from all quarters — well, my wife thought it was a good idea, anyway — I’ve committed to publish a compendium of “Inside Straight” columns in the form of a book. ABA Publishing tells me that, in June, you’ll be able to hold in your hands Inside Straight: [followed by a clever subtitle]! (This obviously remains a work in progress.)

I have two items of good news about the forthcoming book and two requests for your help. First, the good news: The book will not simply be about me; it will also be about you! In addition to reproducing a collection of my columns, the book will include assorted “comments” that you, my readers, have appended to my posts. The book will thus answer many of your burning questions: Do I read the comments? Will I reproduce in the book the nastiest of the comments? (That raises the obvious derivative issue: Am I a self-loathing lunatic?) When I choose which comments to publish in the book, will “Bonobo Bro” make the cut? Will “Concerned Pastafarian”? Find out the answers to those questions — and more! — in Inside Straight: The Book!

The other good news is that David Lat has agreed to contribute a foreword to the book. Whatever you think of the quality of my writing, you know that Lat can write. The foreword alone is worth the entire price of the book!

So much for the good news; now, the requests for your help . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Provide ‘Advance Praise’ For ‘Inside Straight — The Book’!”

It is hard to beat Nirvana’s “Complete Sub Pop Singles.” And I’m a big fan of the Kooks. It’s very catchy and a little less loud than Nirvana and a little more family-friendly.

Paul Clement, the former Solicitor General and current Bancroft partner who argued Obamacare in the Supreme Court, discussing his musical tastes with the New York Times.

(Additional fun facts, plus a link to the full interview, after the jump.)

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Tucker Max

We recently wrote about world-renowned d-bag Tucker Max, and his attempt to donate $500,000 to Planned Parenthood of Texas. The organization’s executives snubbed their noses at Max’s half-million because they didn’t “feel it would be appropriate, given . . . [his] body of work.” This happened in August of 2011, but rejection hurts, even when you’re a hardcore bro. Max was unable to abort his frustration with the situation, and almost fittingly, he waited just about the length of a full-term pregnancy to reveal the dirty details of what went down.

But why did he wait so long to start spreading the news about this injustice? Wouldn’t the women of Texas have wanted to know about this sooner? Maybe it’s because he was scamming us all along….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Trials and Tribulations of Tucker Max: Did He Try to Pull a Fast One on Planned Parenthood?”

Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist, is available on Amazon, as is his previous book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy (affiliate links).

Atul Gawande is a medical superstar -– a surgeon at Harvard who’s also a New Yorker magazine writer, and the author of several books. His latest push is for doctors to use checklists to prevent common mistakes during surgery. A scary percentage of the time, it turns out, things grow overwhelmingly complicated in an operating room and a nurse or an anesthesiologist, or a resident (or whoever) gets distracted and forgets to do something basic -– like confirm there’s extra blood in the fridge, or plug that little hose into the machine that keeps you breathing.

It happens. People forget things. Best to err on the safe side, and use a checklist.

The idea comes from aircraft pilots. It turns out they use checklists for absolutely everything — a pilot literally can’t step into a plane without a checklist. Pre-take-off, take-off, pre-landing, landing, and every possible contingency that might happen in-between is assigned a checklist. That’s because when you’re a pilot and you forget something, well… it can be a problem. Kind of like a surgeon.

Or a lawyer….

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* How many friend requests did these firms just get? Fenwick & West and Simpson Thacher are the Biglaw stars of Facebook’s S-1 filing for its $5B initial public offering. Like. [Am Law Daily]

* The prosecution is expected to make its arguments today in Julian Assange’s appeal of his extradition from the U.K. to Sweden. Hope it won’t affect his role on The Simpsons. [CNN]

* Adventures in fourth-tier second-tier law school marketing: go to the University of Dayton School of Law, take a tour, and get your first-year textbooks for free. Mmm, the sweet smell of bribery. [National Law Journal]

* The little hybrid that could: Heather Peters, the former lawyer who decided to sue Honda in small claims court, has won her case. Maybe she should reconsider her career options? [Los Angeles Times]

* Looking for a way to shield your assets during a wrongful death suit? Just adopt your adult girlfriend. It has “nothing to do with the lawsuit” — dude just wants to bang his daughter. No big deal. [Palm Beach Post]

* Unpaid internships are so last season. A former intern for fashion mag Harper’s Bazaar wants class action certification for a lawsuit claiming that her free labor violated wage and hour laws. [New York Times]

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