Deaths

Something like this is a no-no in several states.

* Leonard M. Rosen, one of the name partners of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, died earlier this week. Our very own Managing Editor David Lat once sat three doors down from this respected restructuring maven. Rest in peace. [Bloomberg]

* A judicial ethics board has recommended that this judge be removed from the bench because she once “sold out her clients, her co-counsel, and ultimately herself.” Oh Flori-duh, you give us so many reasons to <3 you. [Sun Sentinel]

* Gov. Christie named Dean Patrick Hobbs of Seton Hall Law as ombudsman for New Jersey’s executive branch. Congrats, but looks like Seton Hall may need a new dean. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* A woman working in retail was put on four months of forced maternity leave when she was four months pregnant. She’s due after her forced maternity period is up. Of course she’s suing. [Los Angeles Times]

* ICYMI, here’s a list of all of the fine states in America where blowjobs are illegal, but necrophilia is a-okay — or “anti-blowjobs, corpse-sex-friendly states,” as Adam Weinstein ever so eloquently puts it. [Gawker]

I’ve now written more than 250 columns at Above the Law; I’m invoking a point of personal privilege.

Neil Falconer (of Steinhart & Falconer in San Francisco) passed away last week at the age of 91. He was an extraordinary lawyer, a fine man, and a mentor to anyone who had the sense to listen. Between 1984 and 1989, I learned from Neil what it meant to be a lawyer – “be a sponge; soak up the law;” “never tell a small child not to stick peanuts up his nose;” “you take as long as necessary to solve the problem; let me worry about the bill” – and I later dedicated The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law to him. I expected to shed a tear when I read his obituary, but I didn’t expect to be dumbstruck. Words are a terribly feeble way to encapsulate a life. And sometimes you’re paid back, years later, for even the smallest of gestures. Here’s a link to Neil Falconer’s obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle. Rest in peace, Neil. And thank you.

Thinking about Neil caused me to reflect on the decision that I made, 30 years ago, to work at a small firm (of 20 lawyers) on the West Coast.

Everyone told me that I was nuts: “You can always move laterally from a big firm to a small one, but you can’t move laterally in the other direction!” “You can always move from a big New York firm to a firm in California, but you can’t move west to east!” “You have to start by getting the ‘big firm experience.’ Then you can always move to a small firm.” “Go to a big firm! That’s how you keep your options open!”

The conventional wisdom isn’t always right . . . .

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Rachel Canning

* If Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ever decides to step down from the Supreme Court (don’t worry, fans, she won’t), perhaps one of these relatively good-looking, relatively young lawyers will be able to step in. [Daily Comment / New Yorker]

* Dewey know who the seven secret tipsters are in the case against D&L? Nope, their pleas are sealed, and it’s “not the typical process.” In fact, it’s “highly unusual.” Guess we’ll find out eventually. [DealBook / New York Times]

* An ex-paralegal with a J.D. from Hofstra is suing Greenberg Traurig with claims of racial bias, saying she wasn’t promoted to an attorney position. Well, she did attend a contender for “Worst Law School in America.” [Am Law Daily]

* In a rare move, it seems that a partner was poached from Williams & Connolly. Jon Fetterolf will now be working at Zuckerman Spaeder, where he’ll be the firm’s first certified sports agent. [Legal Times]

* Reema Bajaj, everyone’s favorite neighborhood prostitute with a penchant for peddling punani for paper products, was suspended by the Illinois Supreme Court for a three-year period. Boo. [ABA Journal]

* Because only the coolest law students do legal research on their phones these days, here are 11 apps to download. Curiously missing from this list is the ATL app. You can get it here. [U.S. News & World Report]

* “The case is over. It’s time to move on.” Rachel Canning, the New Jersey schoolgirl who sued her parents for child support, has agreed to drop her case — and yes, it was all about her boyfriend. [New York Post]

* Robert Strauss, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld name partner, RIP. [New York Times]

* Justice Elena Kagan is looking forward to hunting a new kind of game next year with Justice Antonin Scalia. Gobble gobble, bitches. They’re going after wild turkeys, and not the whiskey. [Legal Times]

* If you’ve been wondering why Morrison & Foerster is referred to as MoFo, the backstory isn’t as cool as we were led to believe. It was the firm’s teletype address. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* Don’t worry, law profs, your precious tenure protections aren’t going anywhere yet. The ABA has officially given up on its quest to remove tenure as an accreditation requirement. [National Law Journal]

* Nicholas Spaeth, the former state attorney general of North Dakota who sued a slew of law schools for age discrimination after being passed over for a job after AALS, was found dead yesterday. RIP. [Inforum]

* If you’ve been waitlisted, send a letter of continuing interest. Convince them you’ll be employed within 10 months of graduation, and watch the acceptance letters roll on in. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

Miley Cyrus

* Dewey feel bad for Zach Warren? Totally. In the saddest revelation about his indictment, it seems D&L’s head honchos “had trouble remembering who [he] was” before arraignment. [New York Times]

* If you’re interested in going to law school (and if you want to pay off your loans), you’ll want to see the law schools where you’ll make the most bank after graduating. We’ll have more on this later. [Forbes]

* Fred Phelps Sr., founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, is near death. Not for nothing, but it would probably be fitting if people picketed his funeral in SCOTUS-approved protest. [Kansas City Star]

* The widow of Dustin Friedland, the attorney who was shot and killed during the Short Hills mall carjacking, has filed a wrongful death suit against the shopping venue’s owners. [Star-Ledger]

* Elizabeth Halverson, the former judge who rolled into our lives on a motorized scooter and was removed from the bench in 2008 for her courtroom antics, died earlier this month. RIP. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

* Miley Cyrus is being sued… over her tongue. A man who helped build her tongue slide (a prop, not a sex maneuver) was injured — he claims he wasn’t warned about the potential dangers involved. [USA Today]

Jason Bohn

The victim was a young woman who fought for her life until she was overcome by the defendant. He has justly been held accountable for his actions.

– Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, commenting on Jason Bohn’s recent conviction on first-degree murder charges in the death of his girlfriend. Bohn, a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law, was profiled in the New York Times in an article about the perils of law school.

The first rule of state court is: you do not talk about state court.

* Foreclosure attorney Bruce Richardson alleges that Hogan Lovells partner David Dunn hit him with a briefcase in front of a court officer. That’s how they roll in state court. (Expect more on this later.) [New York Daily News; New York Post]

* From cop killer to nomination killer: Mumia’s the word that stopped Debo Adegbile’s nomination to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. [Washington Post]

* In happier nomination news, congratulations to former Breyer clerk Vince Chhabria, as well as to Beth Freeman and James Donato, on getting confirmed to the federal bench for the Northern District of California. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* It’s been a good week for amicus briefs. Congrats to Professors Adam Pritchard and Todd Henderson for getting the attention — and perhaps the votes — of several SCOTUS justices. [New York Times]

* How a Cornell law student got her father to foot the bill for half of her pricey legal education. [ATL Redline]

* As I predicted, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in United States v. Maloney didn’t sweep the alleged prosecutorial misconduct under the rug by granting the government motion without comment. [The Atlantic]

* RACEISM™ alert: federal prosecutors allege that deputies to a North Carolina sheriff accused of racial profiling of Latinos shared links to a violent and racist video game. [Raleigh News & Observer]

* Speaking of mistreatment of Latinos, a recent Third Circuit decision spells good news for some immigrant communities. [Allentown Morning Call]

* Sarah Tran, the law professor who taught class from her hospital bed, RIP. [Give Forward]

File this under “Why People Hate Lawyers.”

A partner working with the Milwaukee law firm of Styles & Pumpian killed himself. That is sad and tragic news for his family. You’d think it would be sad and tragic news for his law firm colleagues, but they didn’t really see it that way. Instead, they took the “He’s dead? More for us!” angle that is more the kind of thing you’d expect from the Donner Party than a group of well-fed lawyers….

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Julia Papazian Law

Last May, a 26-year-old paralegal by the name of Julia Papazian Law was found dead in the bathtub of her boss and boyfriend, prominent Philadelphia defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. The news set tongues wagging in Philly. It had all the elements of a tabloid tale: a beautiful young woman, a wealthy and successful lawyer, and possible organized-crime connections. (Peruto has represented such prominent alleged Mob figures as Joey Merlino and Nicodemo Scarfo.)

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams convened a grand jury to investigate Julia Law’s death. This decision did not sit well with Charles Peruto, who claimed that it placed him under a cloud of suspicion that harmed his reputation and his legal practice.

With the grand jury probe concluded, District Attorney Williams made an announcement about its findings. What did he have to say?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paralegal’s Death In Boss/Boyfriend’s Bathtub Declared Accidental”

I didn’t know Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the gifted and apparently bedeviled actor who died of a heroin overdose this week. I have, however, known more than one friend who died from the same drug. They were middle class, suburban guys, honors students, active in their churches and communities. They would now be in their mid- and late-thirties, had they lived. But they didn’t live.

Even as a growing number of states begin the process of piecemeal decriminalization of marijuana, hard drugs like heroin remain another matter. Many people from both sides of the political spectrum agree that our marijuana laws ought to be radically reformed. I’ve written before about the economics of legalization. Civil libertarians, both right- and left-leaning, argue that prohibition offends principles of personal autonomy. Pot, though, is relatively safe — no more dangerous by most metrics than alcohol or tobacco, for however much that means. The fact that, as a general rule, people don’t die from smoking weed makes decriminalization an easier sell for legal reformers.

Heroin, on the other hand? The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that 3,038 people died of heroin overdoses in 2010, the last year for which the DEA has published statistics. A federal survey suggests that 335,000 people used heroin in the U.S. in the past month. (Compare this to an estimated 19.1 million pot users in the same time span, with nary an overdose among them.) Even when an overdose doesn’t kill, the addiction often leaves the user with an abysmal quality of life. Heroin addiction is also a perniciously treatment-resistant dependency. Abstinence rates for recovering opiate addicts are about 10 percent after one year.

Opioid replacement therapies like methadone offer one possible avenue for recovery from heroin addiction, but they are fraught with a lot of their own problems. Under federal law, methadone must be administered primarily at heavily regulated clinics often located in seedy neighborhoods. Also, methadone is a maintenance drug — instead of using heroin daily, an addict uses methadone daily for the long term. Furthermore, methadone carries its own alarming rate of overdose.

Ibogaine, a Schedule I drug in the United States, is available in many other countries, including Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico, Norway, and the U.K. among others, where it is used to treat addiction. Unlike methadone, ibogaine is not a maintenance therapy: addicts typically experience relief after one or two doses. Its efficacy rate is reportedly extremely high. So, why isn’t this potentially life-saving anti-addiction drug available in the United States?

Who’s to blame for the legal unavailability of ibogaine?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who’s To Blame For Ibogaine? A Debate Over Whether Big Government Or Big Pharma Is Keeping Heroin Addicts From Getting Well”

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