This is what you could call a slow news week. It’s kind of the exact opposite of the week that inspired me to start writing these missives. Back then, the Supreme Court was handing down rulings and the Zimmerman trial was getting off to a disastrous start for the defense. It all seems so long ago.
The latter days of the summer are always slow in law as partners and judges go on vacation and students await the return to school. The bar exam provides some light entertainment and OCI generally provides a gem or two, but otherwise it’s a slow period.
And that’s when people can get tripped up by satire masquerading as news.
Here’s a short round-up of a few key stories from the week including how satire fooled a lot of the ATL-verse and some high profile cases that had milestone moments…
It appears that a lone gunman fired on a law office that was somehow involved in a personal injury case that was dismissed over a year ago. No lawyers were in the office at the time. The gunman, after shooting through the door to get into the office, fired multiple shots in the building before turning the gun on himself.
A Redditor whose mother works for the law office posted pictures of the damage and the crime scene. It appears that most of the firm’s employees were out to lunch…
Imagine this: You graduated from a middling law school at the top of your class, and you somehow managed to land a job at a Biglaw firm that’s notorious for laying people off. You’ve kept your job there because you’re incredibly intelligent. You’re an actual law firm 10. In fact, you’re beautiful. You seem to have everything going for you.
There’s just one little problem. It’s your husband. You see, he kind of had sex with an underage girl in your bed — numerous times. But like many of the wives of New York politicians and public figures who “strayed and only thought with the lower half of [their] body,” you’re standing by your man, because… why? Your husband is neither of those things; he’s just a teacher who banged a student.
* Chess match becomes eight-hour police standoff. Sure, that makes sense. [Lowering the Bar]
* A roundup of the worst courtroom jokes of all time. The decision to kick off Roe v. Wade with a sexist joke was so “meta.” [Salon]
* Order some fine wines from Barrister Winery, founded by two lawyers who bought a home wine-making kit and turned it into their business. [Barrister Winery]
* A Brooklyn ADA is not fired for calling hookers from his office phone. Charlie Hynes runs a tight ship over there. [Brooklyn Magazine]
* A new study suggests that smartphones may make you meeker. The flaw with the study is that someone with a desktop doesn’t walk away and “take the initiative” because they’re more gung ho, but because desktops are not as cool as sitting around and playing Temple Run on your smartphone. [The Careerist]
* Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, says that libertarianism has taken over the Supreme Court. I won’t believe it until they hand down a ruling about returning to the gold standard. [The New Republic]
* Teresa and Joe from The Real Housewives of New Jersey “charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud in a 39-count indictment.” Teresa’s reaction to the news after the jump…
This one escaped our attention for a while, but apparently Slate writer Matthew Yglesias set off a war of words a couple weeks ago with an article about the Zimmerman trial and the role of public defenders. Yglesias, best known for having a much better handle on inflation than Ben Bernanke, waded into legal commentary, contrasting Zimmerman’s trial experience with the experience of indigent criminal defendants.
Former public defenders took offense at the article and have taken to the Internet and social media to rip Yglesias. Yglesias has offered an apology and been rebuffed.
* When it comes to the U.S. Congress — especially the current one, said to be the least productive and least popular in history — and federal lawmaking, “action isn’t the same as accomplishment.” [Boston Globe]
* The Department of Justice won’t seek the death penalty against Edward Snowden, but only because the crime he’s charged with doesn’t carry that kind of punishment as an option. But oh, Eric Holder can wish. [CNN]
* Sorry to burst your bubble, but Biglaw as we know it is on a respirator, so be prepared to recite its last rites. The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber responds to the critics of last week’s hard-hitting piece. [New Republic]
* The grass isn’t greener on the other side right now. Revenue per lawyer rose at Biglaw firms in 2012 (up 8.5 percent), but small firms struggled (with RPL down 8.1 percent). Ouch. [National Law Journal]
* Let me Google that for you: Hot new technology startups have been looking to lawyers who hail from the innovative internet company’s ranks when staffing their own legal departments. [The Recorder]
* If you’re wondering why more financial crimes haven’t been prosecuted since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, it’s probably because they’re too just difficult for most juries to understand. Comforting. [NPR]
* In a recent interview having to do with all of the problems that law schools are currently facing, from shrinkage to joblessness, Professor Paul Campos sat down to politely say, “Told ya so.” [Denver Post]
* Want to know another thing that’s causing Biglaw to implode? All of these huge partner compensation spreads we’ve told you about are creating a “star culture,” and even law firm partners are capable of jealousy. [Am Law Daily]
* It looks like Charleston School of Law is the latest institution of legal education to be enticed and swallowed up into the for-profit InfiLaw System. Will a sale be next? We’ll have more info on these developments later today. [Post and Courier]
* Sorry, but in Pennsylvania, you cannot represent clients on a quid pro blow basis. You could get suspended for a year, like this guy. Wonder what his retainer agreement looked like. [Legal Intelligencer]
* The sole minority juror from the George Zimmerman trial — the one who was liable to allow the jury to be hung — is now telling the world she thought the acquitted “got away with murder.” [ABC News]
* Lawyers for accused kidnapper Ariel Castro are considering a deal offered by prosecutors that takes the death penalty off the table. He might be able to enjoy some ribs in prison if he’s there for life. [CNN]
Imagine returning home from vacation and finding your home cleaned out. The thieves grabbed all the furniture, all the gadgets, all the kitchenware, and left you nothing. That’s what happened to an Ohio woman recently, and the police are refusing to help.
That’s because the perpetrator was First National Bank. Except Katie Barnett was not behind on her payments; the bank just repossessed the wrong house.
Fair enough. Mistakes happen. The bank is going to pay her back though, right?
The pages of Above the Law are littered with lawyers who have tried to use their status as legal eagles to get out of brushes with law enforcement. Not their legal knowledge — smart lawyers who have run-ins with the law keep their mouths shut, don’t blow, and save their arguments for judges instead of arresting officers. But smart attorneys make for boring stories.
It’s the people who think that just being a lawyer will keep them out of jail who bring the real fun. Once a cop gets a look at your Cravath prestige points (or the local equivalent), he’ll just look the other way and allow you to stumble to your car.
Think of folks like the young associate who allegedly told a police officer, “You are going to… die. I’m a lawyer. You can Google me.” Or the future prosecutor who allegedly said, “I start with the Linn County Prosecutor’s Office next Tuesday. I want you to arrest me for not signing this.” Or the prominent lawyer who allegedly said, “You can’t arrest me. I represent Seattle and King County. You are making a mistake.”
Well, today we have another classy Seattle legal lady. But this one allegedly did her talking not just with her mouth, but with her anus…
[L]et’s try to help the person, she obviously had a bad night, and we don’t need to continue to hurt her dignity about this issue. So let the court do what the court’s supposed to do, and please, we don’t need to have theatrics around this issue.
– Alderman Tom Tunney of Chicago’s 44th Ward, in a voicemail message left for the owner of an adult sex shop about assistant state’s attorney Sarah Naughton, the “apparently intoxicated” prosecutrix who allegedly bit the leg of one of the porn purveyor’s employees, while the scandalous case was still pending.
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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