Cars

Not that we’re in the business of giving free legal advice, but there are a few things every lawyer should know. Lawyers should know how to handle a traffic stop, for instance. They should know how to handle cops who shout slurs at you from across the street. And of course, lawyers should never snitch.

Some of these lessons come as a shock to laypeople, and even some lawyers who didn’t pay enough attention during Criminal Procedure. But high on the list of things that trained attorneys should never do is submit to a breathalyzer test. You don’t need to be a DUI defense attorney to know that you don’t blow.

The unwritten rule isn’t there to protect drunk drivers (okay, it kind of is there to protect drunks who operate high-speed killing machines); it’s also there to protect innocent people who don’t want to get caught up in the criminal justice system.

An article in today’s Washington Post underscores the point: the breathalyzer simply cannot be trusted, and juries can’t be trusted to know that…

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There are two occasions that inspire people to scrawl messages on their cars’ windows: sporting events and graduations. With either one, white paint on the back windshield lets the world know you’re a winner.

An ATL reader spotted a writing-festooned Lexus parked outside of the Boston Harbor Hotel and sent us the photo below, which we turned over to you for captioning. This Boston law student’s graduation was celebrated with both caps thrown in the air and errors thrown into capital letters:

Over 3,400 caption contest votes were cast. The runner-up, with 17% of the votes, is:

“My other ‘M’ got deferred.”

And the winner is…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Caption Contest: Legal Lexus-Nexus Winner”

I talk a lot about what legal education doesn’t prepare you for. You know what it does prepare you for? Any future interaction with police officers. By the time I finished 1L year, I knew the golden rule for dealing with officers of the law: keep your mouth shut. Knowing the law and knowing your rights helps. But whenever you deal with a cop, you should say as little as possible.

Look, as a black man that lesson probably increases my life expectancy. But every person with legal training can benefit from simplicity of silence when cops are around. If I was the victim of a home break-in and called the cops myself, I wouldn’t say anything to them when they showed up. I’d just kind of point at things and shake my head.

You don’t even have to be a practicing lawyer to reap the benefit of these skills. On his blog, Concurrent Sentences (gavel bang: Volokh Conspiracy), a Michigan area law student explains how he masterfully handled a recent traffic stop. It’s a skill all lawyers should have…

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Today brings an update in the case of Gerald Ung. The Temple Law fourth-year got in trouble earlier this year for being the wrong kind of gunner.

While other Temple students have recently appeared in these pages, sporting legal tees and trying to get undergrads out of their tees, it’s been a while since we’ve heard news of Ung. Our last post on his alleged shooting appeared in February. But now the case is moving forward. From the Philadelphia Daily News:

Gerald Ung, the Temple University law school student arrested in January for shooting another man five times in front of the Old City Fox TV studio, this morning was ordered to stand trial on attempted murder and aggravated assault charges.

Philadelphia Municipal Judge David Shuter dismissed two gun charges because Ung had a legal permit to carry a gun from his native state of Virginia.

The article contains some additional (and apparently new) details about the underlying incident….

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Plus another Temple Law tragedy.

As you know, we’re big fans of University of Michigan law students. From time to time, the students there commit acts of douchebaggery that are very funny. But who knew extreme toolishness extended to adults practicing in Michigan who didn’t even go to UM Law School?

A Michigan area lawyer wanted to get a vanity license plate for his Corvette. Really, I could end the story right there. A vanity license plate on a ‘Vette is prima facie evidence of being a dick.

But our Michigan man took it one step further…

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lawyers or attorneys make worst drivers.jpgIf you’re a terrible driver, you’re in the right profession. According to Insurance.com, “Judge / Attorney” is the most dangerous driver by profession. From the Columbus Dispatch:

Legal eagles — both attorneys and judges — top the list of the most dangerous drivers, according to a study by Insurance.com, an online independent insurance agency in the Cleveland suburb of Solon.

Legal professionals who shopped for a car-insurance quote on the company’s Web site reported the highest percentage of previous accidents among occupation categories, at 44 percent.

Too much DUBI — “Driving under the Blackberry Influence”?
Verdict’s in: Lawyers, judges are bad drivers [Columbus Dispatch]
Top 10 Most Dangerous Drivers by Profession [Kicking Tires/Cars.com]
Top 10 Most Dangerous Drivers by Profession [Insurance.com]

H Rodgin Cohen Henry Rodgin Cohen Rodge Cohen Sullivan Cromwell chairman.jpgThat’s the most shocking revelation in an interesting New York Times profile of H. Rodgin Cohen, the nation’s top banking M&A lawyer and chairman of the venerable Sullivan & Cromwell. From the NYT:

After [Cohen and his wife Barbara] had paid their [restaurant] check, they went to fetch the car, and Mr. Cohen, a Boston fan since his days at Harvard Law, glanced down at his BlackBerry to check on the Red Sox. He drives a Subaru, a humble ride for a man who earned millions last year arranging shotgun weddings for the busted firms of Wall Street, and standing next to Barbara in the darkness, Rodge Cohen, a titan of the banking bar, struggled with his automated key, initially unable to — woop woop woop — release the lock.

Unlocking car doors by remote control — where’s a good associate when you need one?

Now, in re Subarus, we have nothing against them; they are fine cars. Some of our best friends drive Subarus. One of our co-clerks — a member of the Elect, no less — drives a Subaru Forester. The judge for whom we clerked — Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (9th Cir.), a top feeder judge — used to drive a purple Subaru (affectionately nicknamed “Grimace” by his clerks).

But as we know from the judicial pay controversy, federal judges don’t get compensated like partners at Sullivan & Cromwell. And Cohen is no ordinary S&C partner — he’s the chairman of the firm and its top rainmaker, generating tens of millions in business every year. A Subaru is shockingly downmarket for him. We realize that true wealth doesn’t have to advertise itself, and six-figure cars are for the nouveau riche, but this still seems a tad extreme.

More to the point, why is Rodge Cohen even driving himself? Wouldn’t it be more efficient for him to have a chauffeur-driven Maybach — john quinn, holla — so he can spend every waking minute on the phone, negotiating billion-dollar bank mergers? Isn’t it a waste of the brilliant Cohen’s brain cells to have him paying attention to yield signs when he could instead be thinking about yield curves?

More tidbits from the Rodge Cohen profile, along with commentary, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Rodge Cohen Drives a Subaru!”

John OQuinn.JPGWe wanted to give people an opportunity to reminisce about John O’Quinn, the legendary personal injury attorney, who apparently died this morning in a car accident. The Houston Chronicle reports:

Prominent Houston attorney John O’Quinn was one of two men who died this morning when their SUV slammed into a large tree on Allen Parkway after the driver apparently lost control, police said. …
It wasn’t immediately clear whether O’Quinn or the other, still-unidentified victim was driving.

O’Quinn is a huge name in Texas and around the country. He made his mark in PI work:

O’Quinn, who made his fortune largely in personal injury cases, most notably in successful breast implant cases in the early 1990s, was a local philantrhopist. He gave money to the Harris County Children’s Assessment Center, the Houston Council on Alcohol and Drugs and various Texas Medical Center institutions including St. Luke’s Hospital, which has a tower bearing his name.

R.I.P., John O’Quinn.
Attorney O’Quinn killed in car wreck [Houston Chronicle]
Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: John O’Quinn

Massachusetts Michigan bar exam results.jpgIf you’ve been waiting for bar results in the “M” states of Massachusetts and Michigan, your wait is over. We’ve been inundated with emails like this one:

Long time reader, first time caller. Just letting you know that letters for the MA Bar Exam went out today. (I passed!!!)

Congratulations! You have established that you are not an idiot:

Massachusetts bar results were received in the mail today. You are retarded if you failed.

Meanwhile, in the Midwest, Michigan bar results are out:

Michigan July 2009 bar results have been released to examinees. I got mine today. But are there any jobs for those of us who passed?

Good question. Times may be tough for Colorado law grads (even taking into account this correction), but Michigan comes in FIRST when it comes to high unemployment.
Michigan’s unemployment rate may largely reflect the troubles of the car companies. But might the auto industry and the legal industry share some things in common?
Feel free to crow about your bar exam passage, bemoan your bar exam failure, or discuss legal employment conditions in Massachusetts and/or Michigan, in the comments.

parking garage murder P2.jpgEd. note: This post has been updated. Please read below (updates in bold).
Not all Biglaw types are luxuriating in 1600 hours for the year. Some are still working long hours and spending late nights at the office. There can be hazards to late night assignments: canceled dinner plans, sleep deprivation, and running across an armed robbery in the car garage.
Such was the case last night, in a garage shared by many firms, including Paul Hastings. A Los Angeles attorney sent us this e-mail last night at midnight EDT/ 9 p.m. PDT:

This evening, some attys in the office received the following email:
“In case you guys were planning on leaving the office, there’s an armed car jacking going on in j2, its barricaded and cops aren’t letting anyone in. Some sort of stand-off with the cops now.”

Our correspondent has since retired. We have inquiries in to Paul Hastings but have not gotten an official statement yet. Are there any early risers on the West Coast who know more about this? Send us tips at tips@abovethelaw.com.
UPDATE: The Los Angeles garage in question is shared by Paul Hastings and other noteworthy Biglaw firms, such as Morgan Lewis, Winston & Strawn, and Jones Day.
The full story from a building manager is that a woman — we don’t know her Biglaw affiliation, if any — was approached by a man in the parking lot who demanded that she surrender her car keys. She did and called the police. That precipitated the closing of the garage. The police investigated the crime scene for a couple of hours, which is why nobody was allowed to leave the building during that time. No “stand-off,” just a crime scene investigation.
The criminal was not apprehended, but police reports indicate that the criminal left behind some physical evidence. As we understand it, the car jacker was not armed.
We’ll keep updating this post as we have more details to report.

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