Dinesh D’Souza

* The United States is launching air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but some have been compelled to wonder whether it’s legal under international law. Of course it’s legal, under the Rule of ‘MERICA, F*CK YEAH! [BBC]

* Dewey know whether this failed firm’s former COO can get out of paying $9.3M to its bankruptcy trustee? Dewey know whether we’ll ever be able to stop using this pun? Sadly, the answer to both questions is no. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Marc Dreier of the defunct Dreier LLP has been ordered to testify in person in his firm’s bankruptcy case in Manhattan, but he’d rather stay in the comforts of his prison home in Minnesota. Aww. [Bloomberg]

* Dinesh D’Souza won’t have to do hard prison time for his campaign-finance violations. Instead, he’ll be spending eight months in a “community confinement center,” which sounds just peachy. [New York Times]

* Northwestern Law is launching a campaign to fundraise $150M to be spent on an endless supply of Chick-fil-A sandwiches financial aid for students and curriculum improvements. [National Law Journal]

* When Dewey need to hire our own lawyers? Now would be good. As D&L leaders mull bankruptcy options, more than 50 former partners are expected to hire Mark Zauderer to defend them against potential clawback claims. [New York Law Journal]

* Day three of jury deliberations in the John Edwards campaign finance trial came and went without a verdict. The former presidential candidate must be wishing that he hadn’t came and went, because then there wouldn’t be a trial at all. [ABC News]

* Yet another law firm is walking away scot-free from the Dreier drama without losing a single dime. Ruskin Moscou Faltischek was able to get Fortress Investment Group’s case tossed on appeal. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* A Facebook investor has sued NASDAQ, claiming that the stock exchange bungled the social networking site’s IPO. With FB’s stock price dropping as we speak, he’s seeking class-action status. Like. [Bloomberg]

* Nafissatou Diallo amended her civil suit against Dominique Strauss-Kahn to include a claim alleging his “animus towards women.” Really, she just wants to introduce evidence of DSK’s sordid sexual past. [Reuters]

* Wow. David Brock, head of the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, “paid a former domestic partner $850,000 after being threatened with damaging information involving the organization’s donors and the IRS,” according to allegations in a lawsuit. [Instapundit]

* Is the Supreme Court going to gut affirmative action in the Fisher case? Not necessarily, according to Dan Slater. [Daily Beast]

* Should we be shocked by allegations that Ted Frank’s adversaries misquoted precedent? Maybe not; Mazie Slater has a talking website. [Center for Class Action Fairness]

* Are you a legal geek with a weakness for interesting historical tidbits about famous cases? Check out Professor Kyle Graham’s new blog. [NonCuratLex.com via Volokh Conspiracy (Orin Kerr)]

* If you’ll be in Los Angeles on March 8, consider attending this legal industry “battle of the bands” — with proceeds going to worthy charities. [Law Rocks]

* Could next year’s Oscar nominees include a Dreier documentary? The film does look pretty cool (movie trailer after the jump). [Am Law Daily]

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Judith Regan (left) and Roger Ailes

The lawsuit captioned Dreier LLP v. Judith Regan was filed back in March 2008, months before Ponzi schemer Marc Dreier’s eponymous law firm went bust. But it’s back in the headlines as of today, thanks to some juicy documents unearthed by the New York Times.

The documents in question — affidavits that were supposed to be kept under seal, but inadvertently kept in the public case file (until their recent removal) — implicate a number of famous figures. The boldface names include controversial publisher Judith Regan, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, former New York City mayor (and presidential candidate) Rudy Giuliani, former New York City police commissioner (and current prison inmate) Bernard Kerik, and, of course, the now-defunct Dreier law firm….

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Lawyer of the Year 2009 AboveTheLaw blog Above the Law ATL.jpgThanks to everyone who submitted possible nominees for our Lawyer of the Year award. We reviewed your 160+ comments and developed a slate of ten worthy candidates.

Before we reveal them, we’ll talk about a few folks we passed over. A number of you suggested Mike Leach, the lawyer turned football coach who was recently fired by Texas Tech University. Although Leach’s achievements on the gridiron are considerable, he’s more of a football figure than a legal figure, so he didn’t make the team.

A few of the lawyers you suggested, while certainly well-known, really belong to years prior to 2009. These include former New York governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace after his dalliances with prostitutes came to light; former administrative law judge Roy Pearson, of the infamous $54 million (originally $67 million) pants lawsuit; and prominent IP litigator Jeremy Pitcock.

Also named: Kathy Henry, a former Legal Secretary of the Day, whose alleged oversight could have cost PepsiCo a pretty penny — over a billion dollars (until the default judgment was vacated). But since she’s a legal secretary rather than a lawyer (or even a law student), we passed her over.

So who made the cut? Check out the nominees and vote for your favorite, after the jump.

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the 2000s decade.jpg* The decade’s 25 biggest legal stories. [National Law Journal]
* A former Fried Frank litigation associate, Julie Kamps, who previously filed a employment discrimination claim, is now filing a lawsuit against the firm, alleging sexual harassment by a female partner and discrimination because she is gay. She’s suing for $50 million and partnership. If granted the latter, that could be awkward. [AmLaw Daily]
* Hedge fund Fortress Investment Group sues Dechert. And it’s Marc Dreier’s fault. [Wall Street Journal via ABA Journal]
* A benchslap for California AG Jerry Brown’s office from the Ninth Circuit. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* An interview with Mark Herrmann, formerly of Drug and Device Law, about lawyerly blogging. [Chicago Tribune]
* Being forced to remain male is cruel and unusual punishment? [Associated Press]

Marc Dreier Marc S Dreier LLP.jpgVanity Fair has a detailed article on Marc Dreier. It’s TLDR fascinating. The magazine has a great quote from Dreier explaining how his life felt after he got divorced and split from his longtime business partner:

All this sent Dreier into an emotional tailspin. “I was very distraught,” he says. “I was very disappointed in my life. I felt my career and my marriage were over. I was 52 and [I felt] maybe life was passing me by…. I felt like I was a failure.” His feelings of despair were deepened by his keen, lifelong sense of entitlement, a hard-core belief that he was destined to achieve great things.

Dreier felt that way at 52. How many young lawyers feel that way at 25, after getting laid off early in their career or no offered entirely? Of course, some people rebound from that feeling with renewed motivation. Dreier used the emotion to underpin criminal activity. Our friends at Dealbreaker get into Dreier’s head this way:

It’d be enough to send anyone to a place where the next logical thing to do would be impersonate hedge fund managers and stage fake conference calls! And honestly, not to insult anyone here, but do you know how easy it is to scam these hedgie guys? Like crazy easy. It almost seems like the crime would be to not scam them, if you think about it.

If you don’t have the time to get through the whole VF article, check out the highlights on Dealbreaker.
Marc Dreier’s Crime of Destiny [Vanity Fair]
Marc Dreier Got Into The Ponzi Biz To Fulfill His Destiny For Greatness, To Fill A Void, And To Buy A Beach House [Dealbreaker]

Marc Dreier courtyard.jpgA certain big-time lawyer turned big-time fraudster — Marc Dreier, aka “Mini-Madoff” — will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars. He must miss his days of house arrest, when he got to hole up in 34C — not just a great bra size, but also a great apartment — at One Beacon Court.
That apartment is no longer his. The New York Law Journal reports:

The luxury midtown Manhattan apartment of disgraced attorney Marc S. Dreier was sold at auction for $8.2 million, about $2 million less than the $10.43 million he paid in 2007.

The sale of the condominium at 151 E. 58th St. came just one week after Southern District Judge Jed S. Rakoff sentenced Mr. Dreier to 20 years in prison for orchestrating a multi-year Ponzi scheme that fleeced more than $400 million from clients of Dreier LLP and investors to whom he sold bogus promissory notes.

Forty-six bidders registered for the auction held at Southern District Bankruptcy Court. In just five minutes, the price of Mr. Dreier’s 3,000-square-foot apartment in the Bloomberg Building at One Beacon Court rocketed to $8.15 million from an initial bid of $3 million.

Eight million isn’t chump change. But look at everything the buyer is getting!

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Marc Dreier small Mark Dreier Marc Drier Marc S Dreier LLP.jpgThe long (inter)national Marc Dreier nightmare is almost at an end. He’s been sentenced to 20 years for defrauding his clients and investors. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports:

Prosecutors had asked for a 145-year sentence, which harked back to the 150-year sentence U.S. District Judge Denny Chin readily handed down to Bernie Madoff, whose massive Ponzi scheme drained the bank accounts of countless investors. In both cases defense attorneys sought a fraction of that. Dreier’s attorney sought no more than 12-and-a-half years.

But Dreier drew U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who has been highly critical of the length of sentences under the federal sentencing guidelines, particularly in white collar crime cases.

Bernie Madoff gets 150 years, but Dreier only gets 20? Justice may be blind, but she’s certainly not deaf.
Breaking: Marc Dreier Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Is Marc Dreier Almost As Bad as Bernie Madoff?

Marc Dreier small Mark Dreier Marc Drier Marc S Dreier LLP.jpgThe federal government seems to think so, based on the sentence they’re seeking. We’re kind of proud that one of our own, a lawyer, can rank up there with one of the greatest swindlers of all time.
And what does Marc Dreier think he deserves? No more than 12 1/2 years, according to his sentencing memo. More details, including excerpts from Dreier’s seemingly heartfelt letter to Judge Rakoff, over at the WSJ Law Blog.
U.S. Seeks 145-Year Sentence for Lawyer in Fraud Case [City Room]
Sentencing Looming, Dreier Asks For No More than 12 1/2 Years [WSJ Law Blog]

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