‘So when we look at Section 3, Subsection (d), we see that…’
Layoffs, mergers, bankruptcies, and more and more work is transitioning to contractors. Amid all the news that Biglaw firms are losing their once-secure place as consummate power brokers, it’s good to hear that some observers out there still believe that Biglaw has the power to change the world.
Those observers happen to be the sort of people you see on Ancient Aliens, but hey, you’ve got to take what you can get.
It doesn't help that Rich Whitney kind of looks like a Rich Whitey.
Sometimes, typos matter — a lot. We’ve seen typos get law firms into all kinds of trouble. And now a typo might ruin the already slim gubernatorial chances of a Green Party candidate.
Running on the Green Party line, Rich Whitney wasn’t likely to become the next Governor of Illinois anyway. But an error at the Chicago Board of Elections will cause Whitney’s name to be misspelled as “Whitey” on some touch screen ballots this November. Of the 23 wards affected by this typo, half of them are in largely African-American districts. And the error cannot not be fixed in time for Election Day.
So yeah, black people in Chicago will be able to vote for “Rich Whitey” this fall.
You remember that scene in Die Hard With a Vengeance where Bruce Willis has to stand in the middle of Harlem while wearing an offensive sandwich board? Things are going to turn out marginally better for Rich Whitney, but clearly Whitney would have been better off changing his last name to “not the whiteman’s bitch.” Or even “Kill Whitey,” as Juggalo Law suggests…
Let’s take a closer look at the torches and pitchforks the U.S. Congress is brandishing. As you have undoubtedly heard, Congress overwhelming passed the 90% tax on “things we don’t like.” 85 Republicans joined the fracas, so this is a bipartisan ex post facto effort.
Our sister site, Dealbreaker, has already weighed in on the legality of this tax. (Aren’t you glad law firms didn’t take any government money?) They neatly summarize some of the key legal questions:
The “bill of attainder” test keys off these two prongs:
Is it targeted at specific individuals?
Is it of punitive intent?
So what’s punitive intent? The Fifth Circuit’s SBC Communications v. FCC ruling is about the most direct on this as the Supreme Court hasn’t touched the issue in decades.
We’ve collected some of the arguments, for and against, for your perusal. After the jump, we invite you to take our reader poll.
My new colleague over at Dealbreaker has written a somewhat modest proposal. John Carney proposes creating an auction market for Electoral College votes, so that states which are traditionally overlooked during presidential elections (like New York) can recoup some political relevance in the free market.
Among general concerns about the fundamental nature of democracy, I’m pretty sure Carney’s elegant proposal is illegal, unconstitutional, and could possibly lead to the creation of subatomic black holes that could end life on earth.
But I’m always up for a spirited legal debate. If anyone disagrees with my reading of the 12th Amendment, please feel free.
Still, many people (who do not live in Ohio or Florida) believe that the EC needs some serious tweaking. But few people agree on how to do it.
So … write your own amendment. Is a straight popular vote really the way to go, or does that disproportionally represent populous coastal states? If you like Carney’s suggestion, how can he make it work constitutionally?
You can’t change the nature of the democratic process without talking to the lawyers. Could We Have A Market For Electoral College Votes? [Dealbreaker]
It appears that Jonathan Lee Riches — ATL’s favorite pro se litigant, who filed that famous $63,000,000,000.00 Billion lawsuit against Michael Vick — has some competition in the contest for craziest complaint.
Pro se litigant Gregory Newman has filed a lawsuit against “Covert Action Air Operations.” This entity does not exist. But that hasn’t stopped Mr. Newman from alleging that it erased his videotape of a “magnetic tornado” that descended upon his backyard.
Here’s an excerpt from the memorandum opinion dismissing the complaint, which describes some of Gregory Newman’s more colorful allegations:
You can read the two-page opinion — which includes some boilerplate and citations, perhaps helpful to the law clerks among you, for the proposition that complaints “that describe fantastic or delusional scenarios are subject to immediate dismissal” — by clicking here. Memorandum Opinion: Newman v. Covert Action Air Operations [U.S. District Court (D.D.C.)]
One of the allegations in Sullivan & Cromwell’s countersuit against its former associate, Aaron Charney, is that Charney leaked sensitive internal documents to the Wall Street Journal.
The firm’s Complaint implies that Charney physically removed — i.e., stole — confidential documents from the files of a partner. S&C alleges that Charney then leaked these materials to the Wall Street Journal.
And who, pray tell, was the Journal reporter who received the leaked documents? None other than Peter Lattman, author of the WSJ’s popular Law Blog, as well as a reporter for the print edition of the Journal.
Charney hasn’t admitted anything, so S&C’s allegations haven’t been proven (although the circumstantial evidence is very, very strong). How can the allegations be definitively established and thoroughly explored? Through the testimony of Peter Lattman, of course.
Thus far, Lattman isn’t giving up his source. When contacted by the New York Law Journal, the WSJ, through a spokesman, said that it “does not comment on sourcing.”
Has Peter Lattman said anything about his role in this controversy over at the Law Blog? No. Why not? Because he hasn’t been around.
Earlier today, a Lattman fan sent us this email:
Can you find out if Peter Lattman is away from the Law Blog this week because of his role in the S&C documents being made public? Usually he tells us when he’s going to be away. Who is Marmor?
After redacting our reader’s name and email address, we forwarded this query to the Law Blog. About ten minutes later, this post went up:
We’ve had some inquiries as to Peter Lattman’s whereabouts this week. Sorry we didn’t notify our loyal readership sooner, but Peter’s out of town through Wednesday on assignment. Meanwhile, thanks to colleague Jessica Marmor for stepping up and pitching in!
So P. Latt is away “on assignment.” Is that what they’re calling it these days? [FN1]
Very interesting. We previously speculated that Peter Lattman might make an appearance at Thursday’s hearing in S&C v. Charney. But in light of his delicate position at the eye of the storm, we doubt that he’ll show. In fact, he will probably try to stay as far away from 60 Centre Street as possible.
If “Charneygate” is the Biglaw version of the Valerie Plame saga, then Peter Lattman is our Judith Miller. Judy Miller went to jail to protect her sources. How far will Peter Lattman go? [FN2]
To lawyers who practice in First Amendment and media law: (1) Does New York have a reporter’s privilege and/or shield laws? (2) If so, what are the general standards that must be satisfied to invoke those protections?
[FN1] We have no reason to doubt that Peter Lattman is, in fact, out of town on assignment. But we love drama and mischief-making, so please indulge us.
[FN2] Yes, we know — any exposure Peter Lattman might have if he refuses to testify in a civil case is nothing compared to what Judith Miller faced. He might just have to pay a fine rather than go to jail (assuming he can even be held in contempt at all). But we love drama and mischief-making, so please indulge us. Update: This comment makes a good point (and our clouded thinking is probably a sign that we need to step away from the computer now). But we love drama and mischief-making, so please indulge us. Where’s Peter? [WSJ Law Blog] Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
* The feds and the ACLU wrangle over a classified document. Is such use of the grand jury subpoena creative, or improper? [New York Times]
* A Swift (& Co.) crackdown: federal raids on meatpacking plants in six states result in over 1,200 arrests on immigration charges. [Associated Press]
* MoveOn and those Swift Boat Veterans get fined. [New York Times]
* “Seventh Circuit reinstates claim asserting that … members of the plaintiff classes have bought products or services from some of the defendants that they would not have bought had the defendants not concealed their involvement in slavery.” [How Appealing]
* Girls Gone Wild guy gets community service for filming underage women. [MSNBC]
* “College Student Gets Mother-in-Law to Co-Sign $10,000 Loan to Buy Apple Computer, Has $7,800 DOI Income When He Repays Only $2,200 After Taking High-Paying Job at Microsoft.” [TaxProf Blog]
* A British police inquiry rejects conspiracy theories concerning the death of Princess Diana, concluding that the 1997 car crash was a “tragic accident.” [Associated Press]
* Does anyone know if “ABV D LAW” is taken? [WSJ Law Blog]
Ah, Wesley Snipes. Not only is he an alleged tax cheat, as well as a possible fugitive from justice; he’s also practically illiterate a rather poor writer.
In an email to Scott Maxwell, a writer for the Orlando Sentinel (huh?), Snipes wrote:
Hi Scott, guess you can imagine I’ve been a little busy. Wow this is so crazy . . . Scott this was almost (10) ten years ago. Why are they coming with this issue now? Were the statutes of limitation running out or what? We thought all issues had been resolved. Guess not, huh? Like the situation in New York, and Florida, I know this has more to do with a few individuals with access to power, making moves (trying to move up!) and less with some alleged crime against the whole population of the United States of America. This reminds me of Rape cases where the “victim” is flipped, turned or converted into the role of victimizer, the “architect conspirator.” It appears I’m to be the scapegoat, because there’s more public interest in “celebrities gone bad” than “rich people being taken advantage of.”
Why does Snipes think he’s being victimized? He thinks his race may have something to do with it: “Being, a black male who asks questions doesn’t help the situation either.”
An elaborate government conspiracy, directed against an African-American male celebrity? We’re getting a feeling of deja vu.
But don’t expect Snipes to write a “hypothetical” memoir titled “If I Did It.” Tax fraud isn’t quite as sexy as double homicide. Snipes says he’s ‘scapegoat’ in tax-fraud case [Orlando Sentinel] Actor Wesley Snipes Claims He’s “Scapegoat” in Tax Fraud Prosecution [TaxProf Blog]
Federal judges are brilliant people. But they aren’t always the best, or the safest, of drivers. We’ve had the privilege of riding in cars with federal judges, so we know this firsthand. Let’s just say that the reasoning in their opinions is often tighter than their left-hand turns.
Rumor has it that Justice Antonin Scalia can be rather aggressive when behind the wheel of his BMW 525. Some pedestrians fear Justice Sandra Day O’Connor “like a Floridian driver.” And it has been alleged that Judge Robert W. Gettleman (N.D. Ill.), the highly regarded Chicago judge, drives his vintage Porsche “like a cabbie.”
On a more serious note, sometimes placing a federal judge behind the wheel gives rise to tragic consequences. From the New Haven Register:
The motorist who struck and critically injured a city police officer working a traffic detail Tuesday is a senior federal judge in New Haven. John M. Walker Jr., who is in his mid-60s, had been chief judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for six years until Sept. 30, when he assumed senior status.
Police sources said Walker was the driver of the sport utility vehicle that struck Officer Dan Picagli, a 17-year veteran, on Chapel Street in the Wooster Square neighborhood. Picagli, 38, remains in critical condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Police are investigating the accident, which happened during a steady rain at 6:30 p.m. No charges have been filed.
Officer Picagli, who works in a youth-oriented policing unit and runs the Police Athletic League, a program for city youths, is well-loved by both his colleagues and the kids he works with.
More about this accident, after the jump.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.