Secretary law firm Biglaw Maggie Gyllenhaal James Spader Above the Law blog.jpgDuring one of our darkest hours as a law firm associate, when we were at our most stressed and depressed, we tried to boost our morale by typing up a Word document entitled “Things I Like About My Job.” Here’s an excerpt:

– My Blackberry and (free) cell phone.

– My laptop.

– Really good health insurance.

– Having a secretary.

But in reality, we didn’t use our secretary very much. Her primary duty was to assist us in printing out correspondence so that the text of letters fell below the sprawling firm letterhead.
We didn’t know how to best utilize our secretary. And based on your emails, it seems we’re not alone:

“You should do a post on secretaries. I have no idea what to do with mine other than expense reports. I think junior associates would appreciate it!”

“How about an open thread on what attorneys have their secretaries do? A lot of us first-year associates starting now have no idea how to use them. This applies to both transactional lawyers and litigators.”

We’re guessing our correspondents don’t have this secretary.
Here are a few other topics to add to the mix:

“You really should do an ATL piece on secretaries. E.g., how many high-powered partners are run by their secretaries, with their secretaries as the gatekeepers; how many leading lawyers couldn’t live without their secretaries, taking them from one position to the next.”

So here’s an open thread for discussion of Biglaw secretaries / administrative assistants. Any secretaries who are reading this site should feel free to chime in too — we know you have a lot to say about your bosses. In fact, some of you could even fill a book with your gripes (see link below). Thanks.
The Diary of a Mad Legal Secretary []

Jesse Sneed Jessie Sneed Indiana Law School Bloomington Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier this year, we visited Bloomington, Indiana, where we spoke at the Indiana University School of Law. We enjoyed our visit. The students we met were cool, friendly, and well-adjusted (especially for law students).
But we never met this guy. From the Indy Star:

An Indiana University law student suspected of firing shots outside of an apartment building on Bloomington’s southwestside today is in custody, police said.

Jesse Sneed, 27, Wood River, Ill., is charged with criminal recklessness with a weapon. He was arrested about 8:15 a.m. when he tried to sneak out of the building and drive away in a vehicle, police said. Police officers secured the scene about 11:30 a.m.

A message from the law school’s dean, plus some weird details about the incident, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Student Arrested in Shooting Incident (No, Not Adam Key)”

Clarence Thomas book My Grandfather's Son Above the Law blog.jpgWelcome. If you’re at home, tune in to C-SPAN, which is rebroadcasting the recent book party for Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas’s eagerly anticipated memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, is now in bookstores — and topping the bestseller charts (to the relief of his publisher, HarperCollins, which reportedly paid him a $1.5 million advance).
7:05: The party is being held at the elegant, red-brick Capitol Hill home of radio host and syndicated columnist Armstrong Williams. Expected to attend: 250 guests, including six Supreme Court justices, Vice President Dick Cheney, and several U.S. senators.
Armstrong Williams is interviewed. He explains that the party has been in the works since June. An overwhelming turnout is expected; more people were turned away than allowed to attend.
7:08: Justice Thomas climbs the stairs. When he enters the kitchen — which is right at the top of the stairs, and thus (oddly) where everyone enters and exits — he’s greeted by hearty applause.
Various guests hug him. One guest gushes over his 60 Minutes appearance. CT explains that CBS News made no promises about the nature of its coverage. Interesting. Considering how flattering that segment was, and how uncritical Steve Kroft was in his questioning of Justice Thomas, one might have suspected that Brangelina-type stipulations were in place.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Liveblogging the Clarence Thomas Book Party”

Takeover Charlie Savage Boston Globe Above the Law blog.jpg* Humor for tax lawyers. [TaxProf Blog]
* Additional thoughts on the Judge Samuel Kent case, from Ilya Somin. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Best magistrate judgeship ever? [San Jose Mercury News]
* Charlie Savage, whose book party we recently attended, is on the Colbert Report tonight. [Comedy Central]
* Also on television tonight (opposite the Colbert Report): Jan Crawford Greenburg interviews Justice Clarence Thomas, for Nightline. [ABC News]

Jeffrey Toobin The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.jpgMore good press for Jeffrey Toobin’s new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. It scored a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review, which is the Holy Grail of the publishing industry.
But we’re partial to this great Slate piece, by Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick (two of our favorite Supreme Court correspondents). Bazelon and Lithwick conduct a meta-review of critical reactions to Jeff Toobin’s book, which they use as a jumping off point for broader reflections on media coverage of the Court. They include a generous shout-out to ATL:

One of the oddest byproducts of the Internet has been the growth industry that is the Supreme Court gossip blog. These folks are less interested in the court as the place where Law Is Born, or where Politics Really Come From, and more fascinated by which clerks are sleeping with whom, and how much they earn while doing it.

No blog has a better bead on those items than David Lat’s Above the Law. Sure, ATL invariably tends to reduce the entire sweep of modern constitutional history to a form of girl-on-girl Jell-O-wrestling. But then at bottom, what else is there?

As one reader jokingly suggested, “Looks like your Facebook group membership finally paid off!”
Nine Ways To Read The Nine [Slate]
Meet the Supremes [New York Times Book Review]

Jeffrey Toobin Colbert Report Jeff Toobin Stephen Colbert Above the Law blog.jpgLast night’s Colbert Report was a bonanza for law nerds. The featured guest was Jeffrey Toobin, who spoke about his new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. Toobin and Colbert had a relaxed and easy rapport, and their conversation was highly entertaining — perhaps the best CR appearance since Neal Katyal. You can check out Stephen Colbert’s interview of Jeff Toobin by clicking here.
Before turning to the SCOTUS, they discussed the most recent legal troubles of O.J. Simpson. As you may recall, Toobin was one of the lead correspondents on the original O.J. trial, as well as the author of a bestselling book about it, The Run of His Life. Toobin summarized the defense strategy in the armed robbery case against Simpson as follows: “If it’s his s***, you must acquit.”
But that’s not all! There was a special shout-out to Bingham McCutchen, during the ThreatDown.
More details, plus a video clip, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Colbert Report for Legal Geeks”

Maynard Jessica Rudolph Delson Above the Law blog.jpgWe continue our occasional series on Ex-Lawyers of the Day, with this interesting email from a Biglaw tipster:

In the interest of lawyers turned novelists turned vigilantes — this is for all of us who have received several calls an hour from headhunters — the email below deserves a mention in your blog.

Rudy Delson is a former Simpson attorney who left law firm life for fairer pastures in Brooklyn to write a novel. His book is being published today. There are lawyers in the book. I understand it may even be literature.

Here’s an explanatory email, from Delson to our tipster:

So, check this out. When I worked at Simpson, I saved the email address of every headhunter who ever contacted me. And then this morning, I was able to send them this…

Rudy Delson’s blast email / spam to the headhunters, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Happily-Not-A-Lawyer of the Day: Rudolph Delson”

Erwin Chemerinsky Duke Law School UC Irvine Above the Law blog.jpgOkay, so the folks over at don’t chase them around yet. But here at ATL, we adore legal celebrities — and invite you to send in your encounters with them, for our Eyes of the Law sightings column.
Last Friday, for lovers of legal boldface names from the left or the right, William & Mary School of Law was the place to be:

William and Mary Law School (and the College) had a series of speakers of today, all wedged into a very tight schedule. They included:

At noon, former Dean of UC Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to his talk, so I can’t say whether he talked about the controversy.

At 1 PM, UC Berkley professor (and evil incarnate if you believe some blogs) John Yoo spoke. Yoo said in his introduction that he was being “wedged in” between “the former Dean of UC Irvine” and Stuart Taylor, who was speaking at 2 on his book on the Duke rape case, “Until Proven Innocent.”

We also had a panel on Saturday on “Judicial Modesty,” which included such leading lights as Dahlia Lithwick, Michael McConnell, Carter Phillips and Jeffrey Rosen. See here (PDF).

Quite the weekend for legal geeks! (Er. You know. If I was one of them).

Although this tipster wasn’t at the Chemerinsky talk, other ATL readers were. Check out this video, posted on the blog of the W&M chapter of the American Constitution Society. Isn’t Chemerinsky adorable?
Additional discussion of the Erwin Chemerinsky and John Yoo appearances, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: Legal Celebrities Descend on William & Mary”

Jeffrey Toobin The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.jpgNew Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin’s exciting new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, is being released tomorrow. But it’s already provoking some interesting discussion in the blogosphere. See, e.g., this post by Professor Rick Garnett (esp. the comments).
And it’s garnering some favorable reviews. The dean of the Supreme Court press corps, Nina Totenberg of NPR, has given The Nine her blessing.
How does The Nine compare to other recent books about the Supreme Court? Here is Totes’s take:

Jeffrey Rosen’s book about famous court personalities and rivalries is an interesting history packed into a professorial thesis. [A] biography of Justice Clarence Thomas by the Washington Post’s Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher is a credible, but limited, look at the justice. In addition, Thomas himself was paid a reported $1 million to write a book that is slated to come out this fall.

If you’re interested in the Supreme Court as an institution and as a collection of personalities, though, Toobin’s is the book to read.

Hey Nina, what about the book by that rather attractive lady reporter?

Supreme Conflict, by ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg, contains a fair amount of good conservative gossip about the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, but it lacks the balance, substance, and context of Toobin’s book.

Ouch. Jan, remember all those nice things you had to say about Nina? Care to take any of them back?
Toobin’s ‘The Nine’ Reveals Politics of High Court [NPR]
“The Nine” [PrawfsBlawg]
Earlier: In Defense of Nina: Jan Crawford Greenburg

Charlie Savage Book Party 1A.JPG
“Dear Jim: Thanks for the great job you do pushing the mail cart around the office. You truly are a special person!”
[Charlie Savage signs a copy of his book for Aaron Zitner, politics editor for the Los Angeles Times.]
Earlier this week, we attended a delightful book party for Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy, by Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe. Savage won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, based on his work on presidential signing statements.
Photos and discussion of the star-studded event — after you win a Pulitzer, everyone is your friend! — after the jump.

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