Drinking

I get that the legal profession has a drinking problem, if you will, but today we have an example of how a law school should not go about keeping young, would-be lawyers off the bottle.

Imagine you are a 1L. You just finished your first set of finals of your first year of law school, and so you decide to party a little bit. So you knock back a few beers on campus before heading out to whatever bar you are going to. It’s a time to celebrate, it’s a time to let your hair down. Maybe you get a little bit more drunk than you intended, maybe you have a beer (gasp) outside, but whatever — finals are done!

Did I say anything “unacceptable” above?

If you think that there’s no harm in the foregoing scenario, then boy do I have a law school for you to avoid. Apparently the administration at one law school was so freaked out by drinking on campus after first semester finals that the assistant dean of students felt compelled to send around an entire email reminding students of the school’s alcohol policy (reprinted in full below). We’re just getting this email now — it appears students wanted to be away for the summer before slamming their administration — but its existence is still shocking.

Somebody should ask Franklin Roosevelt if it makes sense to have draconian anti-alcohol policies during a recessionary environment…

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Toronto partner David Cowling, exonerated booty dancer.

Toronto partner David Cowling, exonerated booty dancer

Back in January 2009, a moot court after-party hosted by Mathews, Dinsdale & Clarke got wild enough to spark allegations of sexual harassment. Canadians do know how to party, eh? The “night of debauchery” has haunted David Cowling ever since; he was one of the partners accused of getting overly friendly with female associates and law students, while gettin’ jiggy.

He says that an internal law firm investigation cleared him of charges of inappropriate dance floor behavior, but that the firm refused to make that public, leading to rumors continuing to swirl in his work and social communities in Toronto. Oh, and have we mentioned that David Cowling specializes in labor and employment law? “If I were a personal injury lawyer, sexual harassment rumors would not be such a bad mark on my professional reputation,” says Cowling.

So he filed a libel suit against Adrian Jakibchuk and Sarah Diebel, the two associates who accused him of doing the really funky chicken on the dance floor. Apparently, they don’t study the Barbara Streisand effect in Canadian law schools. That got the allegations splashed across Canadian newspapers and here at ATL.

But now he’s got his name cleared, with a public statement from his prior firm, along with a seven-figurish settlement. He started a new firm and dropped his lawsuit against his accusers, and has a few things to say about his side of the story.

So say you’re the law student who supposedly got felt up by a partner on the dance floor, and his lawyer calls you up in the middle of exam week to talk about it. Yeah, that’s awkward. And Cowling sent along the transcript…

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Lat’s at NALP – 2011. If you don’t believe me, see Above the Law, April 26, 2011.

If he was here, maybe we’d have the resources to give each of these entertaining lawsuits the full posts they deserve. Instead, it’s just me, and I’m a little pressed for time now that Harvard has decided to release the transcripts of every black person ever admitted so it can prove that we were all more deserving than George W. Bush.

So we’re going to have to tackle three fun lawsuits in one post. Breathe deep and smell of funny, my friends…

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I’ve only been on one blind date in my life. Arranged by a journo friend, it was actually more like a sneak-peek date, since the suitor and I Facebook-friended and g-chatted prior to getting drinks for the first time.

My Courtship Connection participants are not so lucky. Their dates are completely blind — they don’t even know one another’s names prior to meeting. All they know is that they’re going to be meeting up with a lawyer or law student. I’m still in mild disbelief that risk-averse legal types are willing to participate, but I suppose the risk of being partner-less in perpetuity is greater than that of a single, potentially-horrific date.

So, how do you best set the tone for such a night? I always ask participants to wear or bring something distinctive so they can find one another. I recently paired a do-gooder attorney with a legal academic; the two seemed like hipster types to me, but I was hesitant about sending them all the way to H St. NE, so instead I chose The Passenger for their rendezvous. Our self-described “cheery, active, irreverent” lady lawyer said she’d be “wearing high heels and carrying a cantaloupe.”

So guess what our “hippie economist” brought? Hint: it’s phallic….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

After talking to so many happy small-firm lawyers, I have begun looking for my own niche to scratch. It came to me while driving in the suburbs a few weeks ago. There was a radio ad for an awesome night club (“18 to party and 21 to drink”) promoting ladies’ night and a wet t-shirt contest for the ladies until midnight.

As I got off the highway to head to the club, I realized that I had found my niche: ladies’ night is just for the ladies. What about man night? Where is the justice in the world? I should fight for all the men who are discriminated against by paying a cover charge on ladies’ night (well, except for those men who ultimately get preferential treatment from said ladies who enjoyed their free drinks).

Unfortunately for me, Roy Den Hollander took up this worthy cause before my fateful drive to the Boom Boom Room on Highway 12. Let’s learn more about him….

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[Partner David] Cowling and the very intoxicated summer student began to dance in a sexually explicit manner. The student’s arms were around Cowling’s neck and his hands were on her waist and buttocks. While dancing, Cowling placed his hand on the student’s breast. Shortly thereafter, the summer student fell to the floor. She was assisted to her feet by Cowling and others. The summer student then went to the washroom where she vomited over her hair, body and clothes

– Canadian lawyer Sarah Diebel, in the statement of defense she filed in opposition to a defamation lawsuit by David Cowling, a former partner at the Canadian law firm of Mathews Dinsdale & Clarke.

(Cowling sued Diebel and another former associate, Adrian Jakibchuk, for defamation, alleging that their statements about a wild party in January 2009 defamed him. We covered Cowling’s defamation lawsuit here. Earlier this week, Jakibchuk sued Mathews Dinsdale for wrongful termination, bringing the firm’s “night of debauchery” back into the news.)

Based on the overwhelming number of submissions we’ve received — please don’t be offended if yours doesn’t make the cut — it seems you’re enjoying our recent series on legally-themed license plates. You can send in your photos via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Here’s one license plate we received that’s not explicitly law-related. But the reader who submitted it described it as “a DUI lawyer’s worst nightmare.”

You should not drink and drive — especially if this is your license plate….

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Still shocked that yesterday our attorney lost to a pro se litigant that was immediately taken into custody after the verdict for drinking in court, being drunk while in court and blowing a .13!!!

Facebook status update of a person who works for a tow truck company who watched something horrible happen.

Prom date Ken probably doesn't know anything about sex in the stacks either.

Last week, we wrote about the crazy party at the “Over the Hump” law prom of UC Davis Law.

Many Davis commenters chimed in to say that the party really wasn’t all that crazy. That’s not surprising. If you go to a party that’s off the hook, only you didn’t witness or experience anything particularly memorable, it’s natural to downplay events. Better to accuse some people of “exaggerating” than to acknowledge the fact that you just missed out.

Luckily, a few additional King Hall students emailed us, stood up to our cross-examination, and shared some additional fun details about the dance.

One person even shared a picture, and I have to say there is definitely some “talent” at UC Davis…

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When you think about it, naming the band "Massa-Bossmans" would have been more ambiguous.

On Friday we wrote about the settlement agreed to by Cure Lounge, a club in Boston that was accused of discriminating against African-American patrons. In the comments, it seemed like some of our Southern readers where all too happy to point out that this example of racist behavior took place in the North.

Lord knows I’ve never said that racism is an exclusively Southern phenomenon. But I’ve met enough Southerners to know that they sometimes feel unfairly maligned just because of their Confederate past. Sure, I could argue that only Southerners would come up with the name like “Lady Antebellum” for a band — and only Southerners would defend that name as “merely” referring to a time before the Civil War, as if I’m supposed to be the idiot who forgets what was happening in the South before the Civil War. But whatever, the point is taken, modern racism exists North and South, East and West, probably in relatively equal “amounts,” if such a thing could be quantified.

But still, you have to give the South credit. When they go for it, they always seems to have more flair. They have a — what’s the word? — one might say “cavalier” way, at least at UVA Law, of going about racial intolerance.

It would be charming, if it wasn’t so damn disgusting…

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