Celebrities

Cameron Diaz Cadwalader Wickersham Taft CWT Above the Law blog.jpgAre you in the New York office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft? If so, then please rush up to the 39th floor — and take your camera phone!

Cameron Diaz is on the 39th floor of Cadwalader’s New York office, using a conference room for some movie being made on South End Ave. Don’t know what the movie is, do you?

Might it be What Happens in Vegas, starring both Diaz and Kutcher, and currently listed as “filming”?

Rumor from the secretaries has it that Ashton [Kutcher] and Demi [Moore] might be up there too. Apparently Greg Markel, chair of the litigation department, said the firm let them use the conference room. He was supposed to take his picture with her — and didn’t know who she was until minutes before!

Wow. Are Biglaw partners even more cloistered than federal judges?

It’s no Michael Jackson sighting, but maybe you still care to know. Does that make CWT an “it” firm now?

Sorry, not quite. But it does make up for the bedbug infestation!
Update: “Someone here also saw them setting up a ‘stars buffet’ outside of the conference room. LOL!”

Treat Williams apartment 2 James Whitman James Q Whitman AboveTheLaw blog.jpgNow that law school is back in session, students are once again paying attention to those poorly-dressed people standing at the front of the room (assuming they’re not focused on their laptops, where they read ESPN.com and ATL). And even if their law professors’ wardrobes are underwhelming, students can always marvel at their brilliance and erudition.
And maybe at their real estate holdings, too. Although legal academic salaries fall well short of Biglaw partner profits, a surprising number of law professors live in luxurious homes, as revealed in past installments of Lawyerly Lairs:

* Harvard Law School professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, aka “Feldsuk,” inhabit a $2.8 million mansion (which they recently renovated — ’cause we’re sure it was a total dump before that).

* Professor Sarah Cleveland, a recent addition to the Columbia faculty, lives in a $2.4 million, five-level townhouse.

* Her senior colleague, Professor Hans Smit, also calls a townhouse home — but a townhouse worth over ten times as much, on the market for $29 million.

The latest addition to these ranks: James Q. Whitman, the Ford Foundation professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School. Professor Whitman recently dropped $5.7 million on a New York co-op formerly owned by actor Treat Williams (pictured above right — the apartment, not the actor).
More details, including photos, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Back to School Edition”

* Um, let me get this straight: a U.S. judge is holding a hearing about whether France will comply with the Geneva Conventions? [BBC]
* Don’t be fooled by the arbitration award that she got; she’s still Jenny from the block. [AP via Fulton County Daily Report]
* Haditha officers sanctioned, but not criminals. [CNN]
* The Law Blog follows through on its whip count promise with a quiz. [WSJ Law Blog]
* And here are the answers (60 lawyers, if you want to cut to the chase). [WSJ Law Blog]


* It wasn’t me. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Well, I’m a pretty famous celebrity, so I got that going for me… [CNN]
* Divorce for Shaq. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Look what you’ve done, Specter. [CNN]
* Should we file RICO charges against Tom Cruise? [Jurist]

riordan.jpg
The Phil Spector trial is almost at its end, but Spector has nevertheless just added a lawyer to his legal team: San Francisco attorney Dennis Riordan.
Riordan comes on as Bruce Cutler departs, though presiding Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler took pains to clarify that Riordan is not replacing Cutler as lead counsel for Spector:

“I think that was a little bit of hyperbole,” Fidler said when asked by the prosecution if there was a new chief defense counsel.
“Mr. Rosen is the chief counsel, the one we rely on as I understand it,” Fidler said of attorney Roger Rosen, who effectively became leader of the defense while Cutler was often absent for several weeks to tape a TV judge show.
“Mr. Riordan is here to work on jury instructions,” Fidler said. He said Riordan would be considered a member of the defense team while assisting with jury instructions.
Riordan, asked if that was his understanding, replied: “As far as I know, ‘chief’ refers to a Native American. I am not chief counsel.”

[CNN]
Yeah, I guess it does, in that it’s a racist, derogatory term for a Native American. Could he not have settled for a simple “Yes, your Honor”? Jeez.
At any rate, since Riordan is known as an appellate lawyer, we suspect he’s ultimately there for more than the jury instructions.
As stated above, Cutler left because Spector wasn’t too happy with him missing so much of the trial, which he was apparently doing to film a TV judge show. Which will be better, his or Larry Seidlin’s?

Michael Vick 2 speak from heart middle finger Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgMichael Vick, dressed in a sober charcoal suit and gold tie, just made a short public statement about his case. He took no questions. Here are some excerpts.
“For most of my life, I’ve been a football player, not a public speaker…. I’d like to take this opportunity to speak from the heart.”
He apologized to Commissioner Roger Goodell, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and Vick’s teammates, for “not being honest” in “previous discussions we had.”
“I was ashamed. I’ve disappointed in myself, to say the least.”
“I’d like to apologize to all the young kids out there for my immature acts. What I did was very immature, so I need to grow up.”
[Dogfighting is inhumane, brutal, despicable -- but immature? It's not the first word that comes to our mind. And given the content of ATL, we consider ourselves experts in immaturity.]
“I take full responsibility for my actions.”
“Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I do reject it.”
“Through this situation I’ve found Jesus, and I dedicate my life to God.”
[Of course -- so predictable. Why can't we have disgraced public figures pledge themselves to the principles of Wicca?]
“I’ve got a lot to think about in the next year or so…. I’ve got a lot of down time to think about how to make Michael Vick a better person.”
[That's for sure -- and as just noted, Judge Hudson isn't bound by the parties' recommendations or the 12 to 18 month sentencing guidelines range. He's bound only by the five-year statutory maximum.]

Michael Vick middle finger Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe plea hearing for the embattled star quarterback took place this morning. One of Michael Vick’s lawyers, Billy Martin, spoke to reporters on the courthouse steps. He stated that “this matter is concluded until December 10th, when Judge Hudson will sentence Michael Vick according to the plea agreement.” He also announced that Vick will make a statement of his own at 11:30 AM today.
At the hearing, Judge Henry Hudson told Michael Vick something along these lines: “You know you’re taking your chances here. I’m not bound by the recommendations [of the parties].”
A correct statement of the law, especially after Booker? Yes. A smart thing for a judge to do at a plea hearing, to prevent the defendant from later claiming he was blindsided? Sure.
But, reading the tea leaves a bit, we’d hazard a guess that Judge Hudson might give Vick significantly more than the 12 or so months that the parties will recommend (per the plea agreement). Stay tuned.
(We’d guess that the parties will recommend a year and a day, which will make Vick eligible for certain “good time” credits applicable only to sentences over a year.)

The plea agreement (PDF) for star quarterback Michael Vick has been filed in federal court. In the statement of facts (PDF) accompanying the agreement, Vick admits involvement in the dogfighting conspiracy (including funding it), but declines to admit a number of other allegations. According to ESPN, Vick claims that he “did not place side bets and did not receive proceeds from purses from the fights.”
Here’s what the agreement provides with respect to sentencing:
Michael Vick plea agreement Above the Law blog.jpg
Assuming zero criminal history, an adjusted offense level of 13 gives you an imprisonment range of 12 to 18 months. Of course, and as noted in the agreement, the sentencing judge is not bound by the guidelines (thanks to Booker).
What’s next in procedural terms, from CNN:

Vick, 27, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday, where he is expected to plead guilty before a judge. The judge in the case will have the final say over the plea agreement.

Presiding over Vick’s case is Judge Henry Hudson, a Bush II appointee to the bench and a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (under Bush I). He has an impressive resume, but we don’t know much about him personally. We welcome your thoughts on Judge Hudson in the comments.
Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting [ESPN.com]
Vick admits dog killing, conspiracy [CNN]

Pacman smoking drinking drugs Above the Law blog.jpg* Nurse sues Pacman. [Reno-Gazette Journal]
* Defense rests in Spector trial. [CNN]
* Patent infringers in less treble. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Yeah, I’m sure Texas is going to stop killing people because Europe wants them to. [Jurist]
* State charges for Vick too? [AP via Yahoo!]

Michael Vick middle finger Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWoof woof! This just in, from Fox News (via AFP via Drudge):

The lead attorney for pro football star Michael Vick said Monday that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback will plead guilty to dogfighting and related charges and will “accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made.”

Billy Martin, heading up Vick’s legal team, issued the following statement:

“After consulting with his family over the weekend. Michael Vick ask that I announce today that he has reached an agreement with Federal prosecutors regarding the charges pending against him. Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of Guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made. Michael wishes to apologizes again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter.”

Especially all the poor pooches, God rest their doggie souls.
But wait — are we sure about this?

The statement apparently took federal officials by surprise.

Jim Rybicki, a spokesman for U.S. States Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, said he had not heard of an agreement in the Vick case, and that he was trying to reach prosecutors.

We’ll keep you posted.
Update: This looks solid; CNN has this report. Apparently a status conference is taking place this afternoon.
Vick Attorney Says Star Quarterback Will Plead Guilty in Dogfighting Case [Fox News]
Vick agrees to plea deal, prison possible [CNN]

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